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Acts…Lesson 1: Luke the Physician

Memory Verse: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” Acts 1:8.

Daily Bible Readings: Acts 1:1–6:7; Acts 6:8–12:24; Acts 12:25-16:5; Acts 16:6-19:20; Acts 19:21-26:32; Acts 27:1-28:31

Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1-11

Introduction:

Did you read through the book of Acts in preparation for this lesson? Try to do so if you did not.

Luke is known to be the author of The Acts of the Apostles (Acts) and the Gospel of Luke. How do we know that? In the first chapter of Acts, we see that the same author that wrote the Gospel of Luke wrote Acts.

What else do we know? We know that the author of Acts was someone who accompanied Paul on some of his later journeys. For example, look at the use of “we” in Acts 16:10-17; 20:7; 21:1, 17 and 27:1. We also have the testimony of several early Christian writers, who refer to the author as Luke. Irenaeus (A.D. 178), Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 190), Tertullian (A.D. 200) and Eusebius (A.D. 325) all record the author as Luke.

When did Luke write Acts? We can assume that the book was not finished until two years after the start of Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, because of the reference in Acts 28:30. That would fix the date about A.D. 63. The time period covered by Acts was from Christ’s ascension into heaven until A.D. 63, or about 30 years.

What was Luke’s source of information for writing Acts? Luke, as a companion of Paul, was an eyewitness of the growth of the early church. His close contact with Paul and other leaders of the church no doubt filled in the gaps as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Who was Luke the Physician? This lesson is going to take a look at who the author was as recorded in Scripture. We are also going to develop some ideas of why Luke chose the stories that are in Acts of the Apostles. Finally, we’ll get started with the study of Acts by looking at chapter one.

Lesson Questions:

Luke the Physician

  1. Review the Scriptures that mention Luke and the introductions to the Gospel of Luke and Acts. Who was Luke and why was he a good choice to write a Gospel and the story of the early church? Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3; Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24.
  2. Is “The Acts of the Apostles” an appropriate name for the book?
  3. Speculate about Luke’s purpose in writing Acts? Acts 1:1-8; 2:47; 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:4-5; 19:20. Was Jesus’ statement about the spread of the early church in Acts 1:8 fulfilled?
  4. Did Luke write a complete history of the early church and the early church leaders? Romans 15:19; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 1:1.
  5. Are the stories described in the Book of Acts to be a model or set a pattern for the church today? What stories in Acts should churches use as models for the church?

Acts 1:1-26.  The Promise of the Father and the Ascension of Christ

  1. About how many days had passed since the resurrection of the Lord Jesus before His ascension took place? Acts 1:3. How many days was this before the Day of Pentecost? Acts 2:1.
  2. How did Jesus prepare His followers for His ascension? John 6:62; 14:2-3; 16:5, 16-18, 28-29.
  3. Where did He go? Acts 2:33; Ephesians 1:20-22; 1 Peter 3:22.
  4. The apostles were commanded to wait for the “promise of the Father.” When did the apostles receive this promise? Acts 1:4-5; Luke 24:49.
  5. What was the requirement for the apostle chosen to replace Judas and why? Acts 1:15-26.

Question for thought:

It is said by some that Luke spent several years growing the church at Philippi while Paul traveled on to other cities. See Acts 16:10-17 and Acts 20:3-5 versus Acts 18:1-3, 23; 19:1-2. Note the use of the word “us” or “we” in the narration, compared to the lack of “us” in the narration in between. What do you think of this idea?