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Word American Tract Society - Definition
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES A canonical book of the New Testament, written by Luke as a sequel to his gospel, and a history in part of the early church. It is not, however, a record of the acts of all the apostles, but chiefly of those of Peter and Paul. In his gospel, Luke described the founding of Christianity in what Christ did, taught, and suffered; in the Acts he illustrates its diffusion, selecting what was best fitted to show how the first followers of Christ in building up his church. Beginning were his gospel indeed, he narrates the ascension of the Savior and the conduct of the disciples thereupon; the outpouring of the Holy Spirit according to Christ's promise; the miraculous preaching of the apostles, their amazing success, and the persecutions raised against them; with other events of moment to the church at Jerusalem, till they were scattered abroad. He then shows how Judaism was superseded, and how Peter was led to receive to Christian fellowship converts from the Gentiles. The remainder of the narrative is devoted to the conversion and calling of the apostle Paul, his missionary zeal, labors, and sufferings, and the ends with his two years' imprisonment at Rome.

Luke himself witnessed, to a great extent, the events he narrates. His Greek is the most classical in the New Testament; and the view he gives of the spirit of the early church so many of whose members had "been with the Lord," is invaluable. The book was probably written about A. D. 64, that is, soon after the time at which the narration terminates. The place where it was written is not known.

In order to read the Acts of the Apostles with intelligence and profit, it is necessary to have a sufficient acquaintance with geography, with the manners of the times and people referred to, and with the leading historical events. The power of the Romans, with the nature and names of the public offices they established, and the distinctions among them, must be understood, as well as the disposition and political opinions of the unconverted Jewish nation, which were to prevalent among the Christianized Hebrews.