|Volume 24 Number 7 July 2022
Gary C. Hampton
The author of the book of Acts is the same as the author of the Gospel According to Luke (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3). Luke has been generally accepted as the author of Luke for centuries. The “we” passages of Acts show the author was a companion of Paul (16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). Luke was with Paul when he wrote Colossians (4:14) and Philemon (24). The author had a special interest in diseases (Luke 4:38; 5:12; 6:6; 8:43-44, 55; 9:38ff.; 22:50-51), which might be explained because he was a physician (Colossians 4:14). Luke’s loyalty to Paul can be seen as he stayed with the apostle during very trying times (2 Timothy 4:9-12).
The recipient of the book was a man named Theophilus, meaning “one who loves God.” He was addressed as “most excellent” in Luke. This was a title used for some in service of the Roman government (Acts 23:26; 24:3; 26:25). One author suggested Theophilus was Luke’s benefactor. He may have become a Christian between the writing of Luke and Acts since the title is dropped in the latter.
Acts could be described as a continuation of the story of “all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (1:1). The church is, after all, the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23). McGarvey wrote, “Much the greater part of Acts may be resolved into a detailed history of cases of conversion, and of unsuccessful attempts at the conversion of sinners” (4). Such a statement of purpose fits nicely with the Lord’s marching orders.
He told the apostles, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (1:7-8 NKJV).
McGarvey, J.W. A Commentary on Acts of the Apostles. Seventh Edition. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, n.d.
How Much Are You
Willing to Trust God?
Being a follower of God has never been easy. Abraham was afraid for his life because of how beautiful his wife was, and so, he lied about their relationship (Genesis 20). Joseph maintained his integrity and resisted temptation but still wound up in prison and was left there for two years after he should have been released (Genesis 41:1). Job was faithful and righteous, but Satan was allowed to test him to the max, and then, he was accused of evil and unrepentant sin. Israel escaped Egyptian bondage, and after three days found no water (Exodus 15:22-23). The prophets of God were hidden in caves during the time of Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 18:4). The people Jesus came to save betrayed Him, and one of His close followers betrayed Him, too. The book of Acts details a number of times Christians were arrested, beaten, threatened and even martyred. The apostle Paul had his own list of times he experienced various dangers (2 Corinthians 11:24ff). Life is not always going to be fair or easy, so when the tough times come, how much are we willing to trust God (Romans 8:18)?
[Editor’s Note: The statement and sentiment of the three Jewish youths facing a fiery furnace ought to be demonstrated in the lives of Christians today. “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar… our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up’” (Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]