Everything you need to kick start your study of the Book of Acts: maps, charts, key words, history, background, outlines, and links to help you study.
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- Author: Luke, the physician
- Who was Luke?
- Date written: c 62 AD (many arguing for 75-85 AD)
- Time period of events: 30-62 AD. The book begins in the year of Christ’s death/resurrection and ends with Paul’s imprisonment in Rome.
- Genre: historical narrative
- Audience: Believers
- Chapters 1-12 – main character is Peter. Chapters 13-28 – Main character is Paul.
Many have been proposed, including:
- Evangelistic: to awaken faith (especially through the speeches recorded)
- Political: to show Roman citizens that Christianity should be tolerated; Luke shows many Roman officials refusing to stand in the way of the new movement
- Edification of believers: seeks the confirmation of what they have been taught (Luke 1:1-4)
- Defense of Paul: Luke intended to defend Paul against rumors and false charges about his authenticity
- Reconciliation between Jewish and Gentile believers by showing Peter and Paul in agreement over the basics of the faith
- Historical-theological: to explain the movement of the church from Jerusalem-based, Judiasm-oriented to worldwide, Gentile-dominated.
- Chapters 1-12: Peter and the beginnings of the church in Palestine; 1:1-9:31 – Judea, Galilee and Samaria; 9:32-12:25 – as far as Phoenicia, Cyrus and Antioch.
- Chapters 13-28: Paul and the expansion of the church from Antioch to Rome; 13:1-15:35 – throughout Phyrgia and Galatia; 15:36-21:16 – over to Macedonia; 21:17028:31 – to Rome.
6 sections marked by summary statements
- 1:1-6-7 – The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. – Acts 6:7
- 6:8-9:31 – So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. – Acts 9:31
- 9:31-12:24 – But the word of God increased and multiplied. – Acts 12:24
- 12:25-16:5 – So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. – Acts 16:5
- 16:6-19:20 – So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. – Acts 19:20
- 19:21-28:31 – He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. – Acts 28:30-31
- The Holy Spirit‘s power guides the church’s growth (Acts 1:8; Acts 4:8; Acts 8:28; Acts 8:39; Acts 10:19; Acts 13:2; Acts 15:28; Acts 16:6; Acts 20:22).
- 5 separate accounts of an outpouring of the Holy Spirits (Acts 2:1-4; Acts4:28-31; Acts 8:15-17; Acts 10:44; Acts 19:6).
- Leading characters are each “filled with the Holy Spirit” (e.g. Acts 2:4; Acts 4:8; Acts 6:3; Acts 7:55; Acts 11:24; Acts 13:9; Acts 13:52).
- Prayer (e.g. Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42; Acts 4:23-31; Acts 6:4; Acts 7:59; Acts 9:40; Acts 10:9; Acts 10:30; Acts 12:12; Acts 13:3; Acts 14:23; Acts 16:16; Acts 16:25; Acts 20:36; Acts 21:5).
- Joy (e.g. Acts 8:8; Acts 13:52; Acts 14:17; Acts15:3; Acts 16:34).
- Suffering and persecution to advance the church (e.g. Acts 4:7; Acts 5:18; Acts 5:40-41; Acts 8:1; Acts 8:3; Acts 9:16; Acts 9:23; Acts 12:1-2; Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5; Acts 14:19; Acts 14:22; Acts 16:22-23; Acts 17:5; Acts 18:12; Acts 20:3; Acts 20:23; Acts 21:30; Acts 23:12; Acts 28:20).
Genre: Understanding Narrative
Background, Outlines & Timelines
NIV: Introduction to Acts
ESV: Introduction to Acts
J Vernon McGee Notes on Acts
James Van Dine: Analysis of Acts
David Malick (Bible.org): An Introduction To The Book Of Acts
David Malick: An Argument Of The Book Of Acts
Daniel Wallace: Acts: Introduction, Outline, and Argument
Bob Utley: Introduction to Acts
Maps from Bible-History.com
Maps from Holman Bible Atlas
Key Words in Acts
Occurrences are based on New American Standard Text. “4x/3v” means the word appears 4 times in 3 verses. “3x” means the word appears 3 times in 3 verses.
Lord (101x) – Strong’s G2962
Jesus (71x); Christ (26X)
Spirit (64x) – Strong’s G4151
word (39x) Strong’s G3056 in Act 2:41; Act 4:29; Act 4:31; Act 6:2; Act 6:4; Act 6:7; Act 7:14; Act 8:4; Act 8:14; Act 8:25; Act 10:36; Act 11:1; Act 11:16; Act 11:19; Act 12:24; Act 13:5; Act 13:7; Act 13:15; Act 13:44; Act 13:46; Act 13:48; Act 13:49; Act 14:3; Act 14:25; Act 15:7; Act 15:27; Act 15:35; Act 15:36; Act 16:6; Act 16:32; Act 17:11; Act 17:13; Act 18:5; Act 18:11; Act 19:10; Act 19:20; Act 20:32; Act 20:38; Act 28:25.
baptized (19X) – Strong’s G907 in Act 1:5; Act 2:38; Act 2:41; Act 8:12; Act 8:13; Act 8:16; Act 8:36; Act 8:38; Act 9:18; Act 10:47; Act 10:48; Act 11:16; Act 16:15; Act 16:33; Act 18:8; Act 19:3; Act 19:4; Act 19:5; Act 22:16; baptism (6x) – Strong’s G908 in Act 1:22; Act 10:37; Act 13:24; Act 18:25; Act 19:3; Act 19:4.
church (17x) Strong’s G1577 in Act 5:11; Act 8:1; Act 8:3; Act 9:31; Act 11:22; Act 11:26; Act 12:1; Act 12:5; Act 13:1; Act 14:23; Act 14:27; Act 15:3; Act 15:4; Act 15:22; Act 18:22; Act 20:17; Act 20:28.
faith (14X/13V) – Strong’s G4102 in Act 3:16; Act 6:5; Act 6:7; Act 11:24; Act 13:8; Act 14:9; Act 14:22; Act 14:27; Act 15:9; Act 16:5; Act 20:21; Act 24:24; Act 26:18.
believe (10x/9v) Strong’s 64100 in Act 8:37; Act 13:41; Act 15:7; Act 15:11; Act 16:31; Act 19:4; Act 26:27; Act 27:25; Act 28:24; believing (4x) Strong’s G4100 in Act 9:26; Act 11:17; Act 18:8; Act 24:14.
saved (12x) Strong’s G4982 in Act 2:21; Act 2:40; Act 2:47; Act 4:12; Act 11:14; Act 15:1; Act 15:11; Act 16:30; Act 16:31; Act 27:20; Act 27:31; Act 28:4.
witnesses (9x) – Strong’s G3144 in Act 1:8; Act 2:32; Act 3:15; Act 5:32; Act 6:13; Act 7:58; Act 10:39; Act 10:41; Act 13:31.
witness (7x) – Strong’s G3144 in Act 1:22; Act 22:15; Act 22:20; Act 26:16; Strong’s G3140 in Act 10:43; Act 23:11; Strong’s G267 in Act 14:17.
Commentaries & Study Bibles
Paul Apple: Acts Commentary
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Luke-Acts, Theology of
American Tract Society: Acts of the Apostles
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Acts, Book of
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Acts of the Apostles
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Acts of the Apostles
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Acts of the Apostles
Holman Bible Dictionary: Acts
Morrish Bible Dictionary Acts of the Apostles
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Acts of the Apostles
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Acts of the apostles
1911 Encyclopedia Britannica: Acts of the Apostles
McClintock and Strong’s: Acts of the Apostles
The Nuttall Encyclopedia Acts of the Apostles
McClinktock & Strong: Luke
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Luke
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Luke
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Luke
Fausset’s Bible Dictionary: Luke
Holman Bible Dictionary: Luke
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Luke
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Luke, the Evangelist
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Luke, Lucas
Nutall Encyclopedia: Luke
Luke, means “luminous, white” – Hitchcock’s Bible Names
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Paul the Apostle
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Paul
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Paul
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Paul
Holman Bible Dictionary: Paul
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Paul the Apostle
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Paul
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Paul
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Paul, the Apostle
McClintock and Strong: Paul
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Paul
The Jewish Encyclopedia:
American Tract Society: Barnabas
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Barnabas
Easton’s Bible Dictionary:
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Barnabas
Holman Bible Dictionary: Barnabas
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Barnabas
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Barnabas
Morrish Bible Dictionary:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
McClintock and Strong: Barnabas
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Barnabas, St.
American Tract Society: Timothy
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Timothy
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Timothy
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Timothy
Holman Bible Dictionary: Timothy
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Timothy
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Timothy
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Timotheus, Timothy
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Timothy
McClintock and Strong: Timothy
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Timothy
American Tract Society: Silas; Silvanus
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Silas
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Silas
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Silas
Holman Bible Dictionary: Silas, Silvanus
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Silvanus
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Silvanus
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Silas
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Silvanus
McClintock and Strong: Silvanus
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Pharisees
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Pharisees
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Pharisees
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Pharisees
Holman Bible Dictionary: Jewish Parties in the New Testament
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Pharisees
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Pharisees
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Pharisees
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Pharisees
McClintock and Strong: Pharisee
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Pharisees
The Jewish Encyclopedia: Pharisees
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Sadducees
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
Holman Bible Dictionary: Jewish Parties in the New Testament
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Sadducees
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Sadducees
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Sadducees
McClintock and Strong: Sadducee
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Sadducees
The Jewish Encyclopedia: Sadducees
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Scribes
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Scribes
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Scribes
Holman Bible Dictionary: Scribe
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Scribes
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Scribes
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Scribes
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Scribes
McClintock and Strong: Scribes, Jewish
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Scribes, The
The Jewish Encyclopedia: Scribes
John the Baptist
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: John the Baptist
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist
Fausset Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist
Holman Bible Dictionary:
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: John the Baptist
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: John the Baptist
Morrish Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: John the Baptist
McClintock and Strong: John the Baptist
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: John the Baptist
The Jewish Encyclopedia: John the Baptist
Whyte’s Dictionary of Bible Characters
Bible.org Acts – Multiple Resources
Bob Deffinbaugh – The Unique Contribution of the Book of Acts
Myer Pearlman – Through the Bible – Acts
James Gray – Acts of the Apostles
William W. Orr – Key to Acts
Greg Herrick: A Study Outline of Acts
Treat like any commentary: read carefully and thoughtfully.