The book of Acts is the historical record of the beginnings of the Christian church. Acts is of the narrative genre in literature, with the growth of the new church directed by the apostles of Jesus Christ as its central theme (Duvall and Hays, 2008). The author of the book is not directly mentioned, but the authorship has been attributed to Luke since the second century. Iranaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian are several of the early sources which support this view (Kent, 1972). Most scholars tend to agree that it was written between AD 60-62. There are several reasons for this including the destruction of the Jewish temple not being mentioned (AD 70), the persecution of the Jews by Nero (AD 64-65) is not spoken of, and nothing is said about Paul’s imprisonment after his first trial (AD 62) (Hindson and Towns, 2013).
There are two purposes attached to the book of Acts with one being the continuing work of Jesus Christ through his Spirit-filled disciples. Although Luke does not include everything that happened during the early churches history, he is careful to include those stories that were critical in furthering the Christian movement. The second purpose involved shedding light on the truth of the Christian faith in a world that sought to destroy and persecute its adherents (Kent, 1972). Even though there are many persons mentioned in its pages, Acts centers around the ministries of Peter and Paul, with Peter preaching the first sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38) and Paul preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. The major events include witnessing in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and finally to the uttermost parts of the earth (Hindson and Towns, 2013). The birth of the church occ...
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...nd Barnabas was sent to survey the goings on in the city (Kent, 1972). There was a lack of leadership in the eyes of Barnabas, so he sent for Paul to come and establish the church more fully. Once Paul made his way to Antioch, both he and Barnabas stayed for a year preaching and teaching the gospel to the church (Kent, 1972). It was at Antioch that the label “Christian” was first used to describe the believers of Jesus Christ.
The city during this time was very wealthy due to its location along trade routes and was a command location for the Roman garrison to thwart any attacks for the Persian’s to the east (Antioch, 2014). The ancient city during biblical times is not visible today due to being buried by deposits from the Orontes River. Some archaeological digs have uncovered a great deal of artifacts including floor paintings from the Roman period (Antioch, 2014).
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