Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
As the fifth book of the New Testament and a sequel to the Gospel of Luke (or the second volume of what is often called “Luke-Acts”), the Acts of the Apostles continues the story begun by Luke. Unlike the other three New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and John), which end the narrative shortly after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Lukan story continues beyond these epical events. This ongoing story includes a wide range of scenes and situations: from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem to the Areopagus in Athens, from outlandish opposition to angelic intervention, and from the utopian scenes among the Christian believers in early chapters to life-threatening crises later on (see Acts 21:27-36). While the plot of Acts extends geographically and thematically beyond the Gospel of Luke, both the repetition of numerous aspects of Luke 24 (in the opening eleven verses of Acts) and the similarity between the depiction of Jesus in Luke and key Christian characters in Acts support the conclusion that one should read the Acts narrative as a continuation of the story begun in Luke.
As one reads the Acts, the words of Jesus in Acts 1:8 provide a general preview of the story’s progression: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (author’s translation). Thus, the first portion of the book (1:1-8:3) focuses on persons...
(The entire section is 1187 words.)
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