- Why does the Book of Acts just stop where it does?
- It seems like it doesn’t have an end. Like it is an anti-climax. What is going on Ian?
Let me take you back to some things I said when we started Acts.
Clipped from Bible Gem 1334 – The Structure of the Book of Acts
Acts is similar to Luke’s Gospel in that he has been careful to give us an ordered account. He makes that point clear to us in the beginning of his Gospel. But as we have seen as we gemmed Luke’s Gospel, the order is not chronological. Luke carefully structures his Gospel in expanding themes and linking ideas together. He has something very particular to say. This ordered structure is no less true of his second book, The Acts of the Apostles as it has become titled. Similarly there is structure to the way Luke has written this second historical account. Once more he has carefully researched it. As I told you in an earlier Gem, he has no doubt interviewed many of the notable participants. Again the book is addressed to Theophilus. So all I wrote in Gem 733 applies to the Book of Acts as well. For that reason, permit me to repeat again what I wrote in that Gems.
it seemed good also to me, having traced out all things accurately from the first, to write in order to you, most excellent Theophilus,Luke 1:3
Indeed, O Theophilus, I made the first report concerning all things which Jesus began both to do and to teach,Acts 1:1
Notice too in terms of structure, that Acts is arranged in particular ways. The most significant thing to note is the comment made by Jesus in Acts 1:8 appears to become a statement of intent around which the Book of Acts is arranged. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 There is clearly a progression in the Book of Acts which follows the order of Jesus statement.
- First: Jerusalem
- Second: Judea and Samaria
- Third: Ends of the Earth – well the extent of the Rome Empire at that time.
There is yet another pattern in this book to note as we move through the details before us. Take note of the following verses:
So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.Acts 6:7
The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.Acts 9:31
Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers.Acts 12:24
So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.Acts 16:5
So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.Acts 19:20
The above features will help us to get a handle on Luke’s second book and enable us to work out what his purpose was. After all, that is the paramount task in hand. Why was the Book of Acts written as it was and what is its message to us?
He who has a why . . . can bear almost any how.Nietzsche
It is the height of ignorance to reject something you know nothing about!Anon
The prudent man looks at all angles and weighs up the evidence before forming his conclusions.Anon
Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision. (ISV)2 Timothy 2:15
Give diligence to present yourself approved to God, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (LITV)2 Timothy 2:15