Introduction to the Book of Acts

from the Countdown to Acts reading plan

Genesis 3:8-19, John 20:30-31, Galatians 2:1-9

BY He Reads Truth

In anticipation of the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ reading plan—the He Reads Truth summer study beginning on June 6—we’ll spend this week in ‘Countdown to Acts’, a 5-day introduction establishing the historical and geographical context of the book. Read along with us as we set the stage with the people and places significant to the beginning of the early church. ‘Countdown to Acts’ is also available free on the He Reads Truth app.

The narrative arc of the Bible is told in essentially three movements:

1.     The Old Testament: the story of our creation and fall, and of God’s promise to redeem His people.

2.     The Gospels: the story of God’s promise fulfilled through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

3.     The Book of Acts: the story of Jesus’ impact on the world as His followers took the gospel message to Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (The only narrative portion of the New Testament not covered in Acts is John’s imprisonment and revelation on the island of Patmos.)

The book of Acts is not the end of God’s story, but rather the beginning of how the church found its way around the world and down through time to the places where we live and worship today.

Author: Though the book of Acts specifies no author, earliest records attribute the book to Luke, who also wrote the Gospel bearing his name. Luke’s name appears three times in Paul’s prison letters (Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Phml. 1:24), indicating he was one of Paul’s traveling companions. Colossians 4:14 also identifies Luke as a doctor, which is supported by the way Luke uses specific medical language (e.g. Acts 28:8).

Date: Both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are believed to have been written at the same time, during the early to mid 60s, likely during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. The events in Acts take place after the death of Christ in AD 33 and conclude in AD 62.

Theme: The book of Acts emphasizes the work of God through the Holy Spirit in the lives of people who devoted themselves to Jesus Christ—especially Paul, as he led the Gentile missionary endeavor. The Christian church was built, city by city, through the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit working through God’s chosen vessels.

Post Comments (103)

103 thoughts on "Introduction to the Book of Acts"

  1. Amiel Kennedy says:

    The gospel is for all who desires. It’s no longer for just the Israelites but it is for the Gentiles and all mankind.

  2. Amiel Kennedy says:

    Read my word more with an understanding and apply it daily to non believers.

  3. Amiel Kennedy says:

    Man is persuaded to sin very easily. The man was persuaded by the woman to sin and the woman was persuaded by the serpent to sin.

  4. Amiel Kennedy says:

    In the beginning man sinned and because of sin it separated us from God. But, God has a redeemtive plan to bring us back in fellowship with him through his word. When we sin we move away from God. When we obey His word we draw closer to Him.

  5. Amiel Kennedy says:

    I will pray for to God knowing he is real.

  6. Jeremy Head says:

    The power of the gospel never ceases. It still changes hearts. The truth stands through ages.

  7. Jeremy Head says:

    God’s perfect plan of redemption continues by the power of His Spirit through us, whom He has chosen to participate.

  8. Jeremy Head says:

    I will be intentional about being on mission and living according to God’s purpose.

  9. Jeremy Head says:

    Man cannot save ourselves. It is only Jesus who can. When we are saved, we graciously are welcomed into God’s community as participants in His grand work of redemption.

  10. Jeremy Head says:

    I will pray that I continue to grow in the knowledge of God and His gospel.

  11. Taylor Inman says:

    It teaches me that God has these specific stories in the Bible to teach us about Jesus. It’s a miracle of God that Paul is even in a position to be in these stories.

  12. Taylor Inman says:

    Oh my, what a waste of time our life would be without the Gospel! All of our efforts and our best attempt of being and doing good would be in vain without the cross of Jesus Christ and that’s the good news, right? That’s what the gospel is! It tells us that with Jesus God sees us perfect and blameless! Oh what a joy that is! What encouragement to know that bc of Jesus, even when we mess up, God looks at us and calls us sons and daughters! That grace and good news should propel us into doing things we couldn’t even imagine doing on our own!

  13. Taylor Inman says:

    It teaches me that as a man, human, God can use me even in my biggest of messes just thinking about Paul in general. Thinking of Adam and Eve, I see that God’s perfect plan became ruined but through his grace he can still use us. Basically it comes down to this, no matter how hard we try to be good or do the right things, bc I believe Paul and Adam had good intentions, we are going to mess things up but when we are doing things for God, he can come in and use our passion and zeal to fix our messes to glorify Him!

  14. Taylor Inman says:

    Back to the last question, I want to follow and do things I feel God is calling me to. Even if they are things that are out of my comfort zone or seem like they are too big for me to do, I would to have the courage and faith that God is going to work in those hard and messy situations for his good no matter my shortcomings. I can’t focus on what I think I can do or can’t do, I have to know that God will fill in the spaces where I’m lacking the most and He will allow great things to happen, however large or small they may be, to bring glory to his name!

  15. Taylor Inman says:

    Man, I am going to have to pray for courage. I am going to need to be ready for the opportunities God presents to me. I need to pray for the strength today so I will be ready for the battle tomorrow. In the Old Testament, there is a story of people having to dig ditches even when it seemed crazy bc they were out of water in the desert so that they would be prepared for the rain that God had promised would come. I pray that I am faithfully digging my ditches today so that I’m prepared to collect as much rain as I can tomorrow.

  16. Steven says:

    This shows us that man is first, an imperative being, and has also been fighting to spread the gospel since its inception. I thought it was quite interesting that Luke was believed to be a doctor being I am in the medical profession.

  17. Steven says:

    This teaches me the importance of sharing the gospel and how it was shared early on.

  18. Steven says:

    This teaches us God is a loving God, but He means what He says. He is serious about us sharing the gospel across the ends of the earth.

  19. Steven says:

    I will attempt to first make the gospel more evident in my life and start talking to those around me about it. I will also start to try to plan to attend a mission trip soon.

  20. Steven says:

    I will pray for God to help me with my personal daily struggles and for God to be with all those who are sharing the gospel around the earth.

  21. Jake says:

    God always has been and always will be involved in the lives of his people. He was there when we chose to disobey and sin, he was there as Jesus Christ walking among us teaching us the heart of his word, he was there with Paul and Peter, speaking through them to reach Jews and Gentiles with the good news.

  22. Jake says:

    The passage from today teaches me that the power of Jesus was so mighty and wonderful and it could not be contained in just four Gospels. I think if we were to know all that Christ did, every miracle, every detail, we would be tempted to worship him in ways that do not glorify the father. We would end up worshiping the deeds and not the deity.

  23. Jake says:

    God has created man for significant things. The sin of Adam and Eve was absolutely a significant event. The events surrounding Jesus in the men and women involved, were very significant. The acts of Peter and Paul and the spread of the church has had a significant impact on the last 2000 years of human evolution. We are created for significance.

  24. Jake says:

    Right now I am seeking to adjust my life to him and his calling for me. If I proclaim his name but do not live my life in response to his name, what does that really make me?

  25. Jake says:

    Father God, I come to you in the name of Jesus first of all with gratitude. Thank you for loving us while we were still sinners, and for sending your only son to die for us in our sins. Thank you for extending forgiveness, and the opportunity to join you in your work here on earth. I pray that those of us reading together through Acts this summer will hear your call and adjust our lives to you, aligning our lives with you and the work that you’re doing in our cities and countries.

  26. Kevin says:

    That God truly is the creator of all life and through the sacrifice of his son Jesus, I have the power of the Holy Spirit alive in me today and I am capable of bringing people to Jesus in a mighty way!!

  27. Kevin says:

    By shouting his name to the far reaches of earth and singing praise to God daily in all that I do!!!

  28. Kevin says:

    That the Gospel is a relevant and timely roadmap on instruction for my current troubles and life!

  29. Kevin says:

    That we have been fallen and sinful since Adam and there is only hope for us through Jesus!

  30. Kevin says:

    Openly, honestly, and with humility and passion to see the will of God done in my life!

  31. Jake Davis says:

    God is at work in me through the holy spirit just as he was at work in the apostles soon after Jesus died. I have the same power of God inside of me that the apostles did, I need to always remember that.

  32. Weston Webb says:

    It teaches me that God gives second chances, and how he could’ve just killed us but instead let us indoor the punishment and learn from the scenario.

  33. Weston Webb says:

    That God is gracious God and gives us second chances instead of wiping the human race out

  34. Weston Webb says:

    I will think before I act

  35. Weston Webb says:

    It teaches me that we disobeyed God and that he has cursed us because of it, how man has to work, and woman has to bare the pains of child birth.

  36. Weston Webb says:

    I will thank God more in my prayers

  37. Adam Peterson says:

    God has a purpose for the earth. He has planned for our redemption from the beginning. He anticipated the spread of his fame and glory through the first century world. Ultimately this points to a God of desire. A Lord who desires the company of his people. Our Father truly is a good good Father.

  38. Nick says:

    Believing in Jesus.
    Knowing his Word.
    Turning from sin.
    Trusting in Him.

  39. Nick says:

    We all have a ‘people’ to be preaching to, and a crew to be preaching with.
    Man will sweat, and work; There will be thorns in his side and pain in his life.
    Our aforementioned life will not be in vain but glory to God if we believe in his Son.

  40. Nick says:

    It can not be stopped.
    It is for all people.
    It starts with belief and then leads to action.
    All the work is done by Jesus Christ.

  41. Nick says:

    The only relationship God puts enmity (hatred) in is Jesus and sin.
    “God shows no partiality.” Gal 2:6

  42. Nick says:

    Non-approval seeking.
    Thinking of others.

  43. Isaac Jones says:

    God made a way to overcome the Devil from the beginning.

    Jesus did many works that are not recorded, but what was recorded was to give us proof and reliability of faith in Him.

    People are equal before God; a church leader, a layman believer, and an important business man are all equal to God. We should not judge people on their worldly worth, but on their faith.

  44. Isaac Jones says:

    A man would overcome the Devil; Jesus was a man; Jesus overcoming the devil is the good news.

  45. Isaac Jones says:

    As seen in John 20:30-31, Jesus is the Messiah and Christ. His works are trustworthy and we can have all confidence to believe in Him for our salvation from our sins and separation from God. Glory to God!

  46. Isaac Jones says:

    I will have faith toward Jesus work, and remember who wrote Acts (Luke). I will continue goin through this study and see how we should relate to God as New Testament Believers of faith.

  47. Isaac Jones says:

    Heavenly Father,

    Please bless the reading and study of your Word. As I and others are worshiping you through devotions, please bless the efforts of our hearts and transform our minds to understand and obey. May we have the faith they had at the beginning. Lead us to sanctification through Christ’s righteousness and redeem is for yourself. May you be glorified by our readings and applications; amen.

  48. James Hamer says:

    That it doesn’t change. Our message stays the same as then because the truth never changes. The beautiful illustration of the wedding never changes. We are and always will be his bride. We have been gifted with this love and are called to preach the gospel to all by showing love and bearing the fruits that come naturally as a Christian who understands the gospel.

  49. James Hamer says:

    That the Holy Spirit living inside of man can work through man to do all things! All things are possible through the power of the Holy Spirit and to not believe that is to deny reject acts and limit the power of God.
    This teaches me that God can and will work through any man or woman

  50. James Hamer says:

    From this I am definitely excited to start going through the book of acts again! I learned the time period in which it was written(mid to late 60s)
    I learned that it was written in the time period where Paul was imprisoned and the events concluded to ad 62.

    Now about GOD this teaches me the actual impact that the work of the cross had in the first century afterward.

  51. James Hamer says:

    I will diligently study acts and be committed daily to applying it to my life.

  52. James Hamer says:

    God give me the will to do yours. To put you first no matter how hard it is. Let me imitate you like Paul does and be a rock like Peter. To spread your gospel.

  53. Graham says:

    Man is very deceitful!

  54. Angelo Rosario says:

    I will pray that God helps me to have a perspective that can understand clearly how relevant the ministry of God’s people is today, through the upbringing of his church.

  55. Derek Beatrice says:

    I want to pick up what Paul did. I want every word and action I do be a way to spread the Gospel. I don’t want it to be cloudy or unclear as to what my intentions are, which is to spread Gods love and win people to Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit.

  56. Derek Beatrice says:

    This teaches me that Gods plan involving Jews and Gentiles was planned and executed very well. The Bible is Gods revelation, from start to beginning, of his love for his creation and his plan to restore them.

  57. Derek Beatrice says:

    The Gospel is such a complex story. Much more complex than I originally thought. It isn’t just Jesus, it started back in the Garden, carried in after Jesus’ Ascension, and continues today through believers. It is truly a continuing story of the best possible news.

  58. Derek Beatrice says:

    Man can be used by God in amazing ways. With the Holy Spirit guiding, man can bring about change for the glory of God and impact those around him in incredible ways.

  59. Derek Beatrice says:

    I will pray for a spirit of joy, compassion, and love so that, in all I do, the Lord will be honored, praised, and proud.

  60. Mason Blue says:

    Though we have been given freedom through Christ, there are always people who will try to subvert the story of Gods grace and try to put us back under the burden of the law.

  61. Mason Blue says:

    That God doesn’t ask us to do something that is impossible, or that he hasn’t already done through his Son Jesus.

  62. Mason Blue says:

    I will work to live out the Gospel in my daily life and work to give an example to my children to do the same.

  63. Mason Blue says:

    God made such an impact in this world ind the gospel records that carries that good news through the ages.

  64. Mason Blue says:

    For compassion and for a hunger for justice.

  65. Trevv says:

    He is faithful and loving. He leads us in the perfect direction if only we can submit to his Word and follow the Holy Spirit with reckless abandonment. Though we fail him consistently, He is love. Unlike our behavior, He is steady in His ways and never fails us.

  66. Trevv says:

    We are faulty. We often find ourselves on our own path to what we think is best for us. That oath often, if not every time, is contradictory to what God would have for us. We are a people that need direction and grace delivered to us through Jesus.

  67. Trevv says:

    It is the perfect love story. Incomprehensible to a man or woman who is unwilling to accept an indescribably God, the Gospel is the ultimate sacrifice for the eternal freedom of God’s people. It is UNCONDITIONAL. It does not have “add-ins.” One of my favorite quotes says, “With the Gospel there is no Jesus +. Jesus + religion, Jesus + righteous living, Jesus + a good diet. There is no Jesus +.”

  68. Trevv says:

    I need to seek that direction that is so graciously and freely given to me every single day of my life, regardless of the mistakes I make. I need to latch onto the Gospel’s message of hope, grace, and mercy and never let my failures seem bigger than my God. I need to dig deep into the Word because if I don’t know my Jesus very well, how am I going to know where He wants me to go? A good relationship is a two way street.

  69. Trevv says:

    Intentionally. Purposefully. Powerfully. Faithfully. At all times. In all circumstances. In every context. To one God. Like I know He’s listening.

  70. Geoffrey Belk says:

    This teaches us that man will always want to do things on his own with no help from others. Knowing that he is truly in need of God to help him, but still not look to Him for guidance.

  71. Geoffrey Belk says:

    The Gospel is the true word of God. Even though written by man, it is God breathed and God inspired to man. The true guide fir our lives.

  72. Geoffrey Belk says:

    This teaches us that God is the ruler over all creation. From the beginning of creation until the end. He is a loving God and a merciful God.

  73. Dillon Davis says:

    That He has plans. That He wants to encourage us.

  74. Dillon Davis says:

    That we picked ourselves over a relationship with God. That we blame others and attempt to justify our mistakes. That sometimes we get things right and get to enjoy things.

  75. Dillon Davis says:

    It was intended to rectify the earlier mistakes made by man. It was the “crushing of the serpents head beneath a holy heel”

  76. Dillon Davis says:

    I will respect my origins. I will read them with more of a sense of understanding and respect.

  77. Dillon Davis says:

    Lord, thank you that I have somewhere to look to see where I’ve come from and where I could go. Thank you for the records of the church. Thank you for giving us time to read these and ample mercy when we mess up.

  78. Nathan Porter says:

    It was written with the intent that I would have the opportunity to read it.

  79. Nathan Porter says:

    Man’s obedience is key to Gods plan.

  80. Nathan Porter says:

    By living out the gospel in my own narrative.

  81. Nathan Porter says:

    That God inspired the right people all thought the history of the Bible to record the narrative he was writing.

  82. Nathan Porter says:

    I will pray for guidance in this journey. I will pray for opportunity to use narrative to communicate the gospel.

  83. Jared Phillips says:

    The thing I learn is that Gods word is not a bunch of separate stories, but a whole story of his creation, promise and plan to rescue His people!

  84. Park Lukich says:

    I will pray and thank God for choosing to show mercy on me, a sinner. In my prayers today, I will honor God with my lips and choose him with my thoughts. When my mind begins to wander away from wholesome things, I will remind myself by the Holy Spirit, that God continued to search for me, even after I think I’ve been found.

  85. Park Lukich says:

    We blame others. It’s what we do best. We are in need of rebuking and not simply because we’ve done something wrong, but because we refuse to acknowledge and own our sin.

    We are predisposed to not believe Christ. Our nature is antichrist. We must experience the grace and truth provided through the Holy Spirit in order to enter into this relationship with God.

  86. Park Lukich says:

    It is initiated by God and God alone. God searched for us in the garden. God searched for us in His son. And God continues to search for us through his church. We are so destitute that we don’t even understand how destitute we are without the grace and truth of Christ. There is mercy available for us and because of the apostles firm foundation in the church, I am able to confidently gather in tradition and scripture that’s handed down from my messiah.

  87. Park Lukich says:

    God first deals with sin and does not condemn the sinner. Everything that God does is to glorify himself through his son so that we may believe. He shows no partiality in this process, as Jesus did on earth eating with sinners not saints saying, “The healthy need no physician.”

    God is a loving being who pursues me simply because he wants to. There’s nothing that I can do to curry his favor, but only in depending on him can I bring him glory and myself joy.

  88. Park Lukich says:

    God, thank you for choosing to have mercy and compassion on me.

    I do not deserve your delight, nor did I earn it, but it’s freely given through your Son and the life that he offers.

    Thank you for establishing your church so that I may experience my our grace and truth more fully.

    Help me Holy Spirit to acknowledge and live out my Christian life in honor and memory of the sacrifices that the apostles made so that I may walk with you today.

  89. Sean Thelen says:

    God has a design to fix our broken condition. Christ came to suffer and die, to rise again, ascend into heaven, and come in glory. He implemented the Church as a means to spread this message, to build one another up, and to commune with God.

  90. Sean Thelen says:

    We need to be fixed. We do the wrong thing on a regular basis, and we need someone to fix us. We need God to take mercy on us, and we need to gather as believers in Jesus to do the work that He calls us to do.

  91. Sean Thelen says:

    We needed someone to save us. Jesus is able to save us because He lived a perfect life and died as a perfect sacrifice in order to restore our relationship with God. One goal of the Church is to make sure everyone knows, understands, accepts and lives this out in their daily lives.

  92. Sean Thelen says:

    Since I’m trying to apply these principles in every relationship, be it family, friends, coworkers, members of my church, or complete strangers, I will try to proclaim the Gospel to them fearlessly, as I should.

  93. Sean Thelen says:

    I will pray that God to help both my words and actions speak the Gospel to each person I interact with, be it friends, family, coworkers, members of my church, or complete strangers.

  94. Ethan Wymer says:

    That He has a story that progresses throughout the Bible. This is the part where He is starting the new world after Jesus had been resurrected.

  95. Ethan Wymer says:

    That we can do incredible things through God. We can use what Jesus has done for us and use it to build up His Kingdom. It also tells that us humans have spread Jesus’s story and that we are very capable of doing it. We just have to trust in God to do what he asks us.

  96. Ethan Wymer says:

    That it isn’t just one continuous story or just 66 stories in the Bible. It shows that God is wanting us to know what happened before Jesus, during Jesus, and after Jesus.

  97. Ethan Wymer says:

    I will pray for wisdom that will come from me reading His word. I want to be able to spread his word to those who haven’t heard it. I pray that I will gain a spiritual uplifting and a better understanding of Acts from this plan.

  98. Ethan Wymer says:

    I will pray that I can spread the word of God as those did after Jesus. I will be a disciple that will trust in God.

  99. Jon Markley says:

    That we broke the relationship between god and man and the god gave his one and only son to die on the cross for all of us

  100. Jon Markley says:

    That he will be there for me when I am at my lowest point in my life and that he is the almighty father and I can do all things though Christ and he is the controller of my life.

  101. Jon Markley says:

    That I need to read and study it more to learn about god and to tell about god though the gospel

  102. Jon Markley says:

    I will respond by doing more stuff like tell more people about god and what he did in my life

  103. Jon Markley says:

    I will pray and ask god to forgive me for my sins

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