Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Kathryn Smith
October 31, 2001
"Introduction to Acts"

I.   Author
A.   Same author as Luke
B.   Anonymous
C.   The "We" passages - Book written in third person until 16:10-17
1.   Acts 16:10-17
2.   20:5-21:8
3.   27:1-28:16
D.   Traveling companion of Paul. - Possibly the book was written out of Paul's travel diary
II.   Historical Setting - Rome 30 - 64 AD
A.   Rome is ambivalent to the "Christian group"
1.   Rome provided some protection to the Jesus followers
2.   But they were clearly distraught with a group catching influence over the people
B.   Persecution by Nero
1.   Huge fire broken out during July of 64 AD
2.   He was accused by many people of starting the fire
3.   He blamed the Christians to take the heat off him
4.   The people of the day hated Christians because of the stir they were causing and because they thought they were cannibals
5.   Started an incredibly period of persecution
III.   The Purpose of Acts (Brawley)
A.   Common misconception - Purpose of Acts based on Acts 1:8 & the story of Geographic expansion
1.   A two-fold message
2.   Problems
a.   Story dominated by 2 men - Peter and Paul
i.   Where are the other 11 Apostles
ii.   There is not much mention anywhere else, either in Acts or other writing
iii.   Jesus set these men up to lead His church - however, Luke doesn't care about the 11 of the 12
iv.   This may indicate that Acts isn't so much of a book about Historical growth of the church, but rather the legitimacy of Paul theological
b.   Does not relate the expansion of the church
i.   Does not explain the growth or beginnings of the probably most important church - Rome
ii.   Other church growth and creation is not that recorded in Acts
iii.   Barnabas's and Apollos's is not preaching is not recorded
iv.   It wasn't that Luke was ignorant, but rather he didn't feel it necessary to cover it theologically
c.   Jerusalem dominates the story line throughout
i.   Acts never leaves Jerusalem in the past
ii.   The message is rather a constant return to Jerusalem
B.   The true purpose is to Legitimate Paul
1.   Since Paul did not witness Christ form the beginning and his ascension to heaven
2.   Had a lot of struggle with the early church and his authority
3.   The authority and profoundness of his letters, and his death helped to bring his authority into view

C.   Legitimating of Paul & His Mission
1.   Links Paul's activities very closely to Peter's
a.   Nobody is criticizing Peter authority
b.   In a sense, whatever Peter can do, Paul can do better
c.   Example: Acts 10 (Peter baptizes a convert with out circumcising)
2.   Legitimates with supernatural events
a.   Paul's conversion
b.   Paul is released from prison by a miraculous earthquake
c.   Paul healing a crippled man, like Peter earlier in Acts
3.   Affirms affinity with Judaism
a.   He was a Jew
b.   His mission to the Gentiles is not an exclusive one, leaving the Jews, but expanding to include the Gentiles - Zech. 8:23 Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from nations of every language shall take hold of a Jew, grasping his garment and saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."
4.   Legitimates before both Jewish and Gentile leaders