Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Acts Intro

The Book of Acts is Volume II of Luke's presentation of Christianity to a man named Theophilis, most likely a Gentile as Luke was also. Volume I, the Gospel of Luke, was also addressed to Theophilis as Luke 1:3 indicates. The introductions to both volumes emphasize the idea of convincing proofs. Notice how the gospel of Luke starts:
"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."  Luke 1:1-4 (niv)
Compare this with Acts
"In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God." Acts 1:1-3 (niv)
Belief in Christ is not a blind faith, but rather based upon many convincing proofs. For the content of the gospel contains not only propositional truth but also miracles done in an historical context which would have been difficult to contrive had they not actually occurred.


Interpretation and Applications

We must keep in mind that Acts is primarily historical rather than didactic. Luke accurately describes what happened, while leaving it up to the reader to infer applications. As such we must take care not to assume our applications of the book of Acts are necessarily "Biblical" just because they may be derived from such historical accounts. Rather we have to make sure that any application we derive is also consistent with what the Bible explicitly teaches. For the didactic passages have priority over the historical passages when it comes to application. In fact the issues in Acts are not primarily those of interpretation, but rather of application. Interpretation is relatively easy. Such and such happened. What is the interpretation? The interpretation is that such and such happened. But what is the application? That is where the controversy lies. For it is easy to come up with many even contradictory applications from an historical passage. Thus we find preachers at times ignoring the context and simply allegorically reading into the Bible whatever is their particular theology or their particular application, which is easy to do with the historical passages. But we must remember also that if there is no application there is no relevance to Bible study. However applications and opinions derived from the Bible shouldn't themselves be treated as if they were the Bible.


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015