The Acts of the Apostles

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 135–58


Author:Luke is the author of the Acts of the Apostles (see the introduction to the book of Luke, p. 72). He wrote the Acts as a sequel to his Gospel (see Luke 1:1–4; Acts 1:1). In the Gospel of Luke he testified of the birth, life, death, and Resurrection of the Savior. The book of Acts adds the account of the Lord’s Apostles declaring this gospel message throughout the world (see Acts 1:1–8; see also Bible Dictionary, (“Acts of the Apostles,” pp. 603–4; (“Luke,” p. 726).

Audience:Luke wrote to a man named Theophilus, who may have been a Roman official (see the commentary for Acts 1:1 in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, p. 243). Though Acts, like the book of Luke, seems to be addressed to a single individual, all who carefully read Luke’s writings will increase their understanding of the gospel.

Historical Background:The events described in Acts occurred over a period of about thirty years as the Church grew and expanded into areas of the world ruled by Rome. The book focuses mainly on the ministries of Peter and Paul. Luke served many years as a companion to Paul, so most of Acts deals with Paul’s missionary journeys. Acts concludes about A.D. 62 with an account of Paul’s preaching at Rome while under house arrest (see “Date and Place of Writing” in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, p. 242).

Unique Features:See “The Significance of the Acts of the Apostles” in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles (pp. 242–43).

Theme: Acts 1:8could serve as an outline for the entire book of Acts, which gives accounts of apostolic missionary work in Jerusalem (chapters 1–7), Judea and Samaria (chapters 8–9), and “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (chapters 10–28).

The Apostles were to take up their ministry only after they had been “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49), or in other words endowed with the Holy Ghost. President Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:

“If there is one message I have repeated to my brethren of the Twelve it is that it’s the Spirit that counts. It is the Spirit that matters. I do not know how often I have said this, but I never tire of saying it—it is the Spirit that matters most” (address delivered at mission presidents’ seminar, 3 Apr. 1985, in Missionary Guide: Training for Missionaries [1988], 73).