In this book report, I am going to write on the Acts of the Apostles written by, Marshall I.H. I am also going what view point and character Marshall used to write on the Acts of the Apostles.
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
In this book, Marshall presents the Acts of the Apostles through the eyes of Luke, who was travelling companion of the apostle Paul. Luke’s desire in writing the book of acts is to give a true historical account of the events, that took place in the early church. Marshall, states that acts has been confirmed as a source to be depended on historically.
The book of acts, and the acts of the Apostles were written by an eye witness. Marshall, notes that from Acts 16:10 onwards, Luke writes in the first person plural form. Marshall, mentions in his book, that Luke’s mention of individuals, their positions in society, their tittles and surrounding have been proved to be true archaeologically.
There is a reference, in Acts 12:12 of a prayer meeting place in the house of Mark’s mother, it is assumed that’s where the believers and the apostles met for prayer. Luke, also writes about the life of Paul, from Paul’s position as a Pharisee to an apostle of Christ. Luke, in his writing would often give a good account of the events that were taking place in the lives of the apostles and because the information is so accurate and has been proved to be true, Luke being present to watch and learn from the Apostles. Therefore, Luke’s writing proves that it was not imagination or fiction but true and significant. Marshall, notes that even Mark new a lot about the growth of the church and the council of Jerusalem, Mark also was a travelling companion of Paul. Since the writer of acts is Luke, who knew the disciples from their positions in society before they called to be apostle. When Luke interacted with the apostles, he found out a lot of information about the apostles and their individual life stories. Luke, also mentioned the names and positions of different people governing Israel and the surrounding areas, people like Gallio who governed Greece. Luke also writes about Agabus, who prophesied about a great famine, that would take place all over the world and this prophecy was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius Caesar.
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Luke’s writing, also shows that commerce was truly present in the days of the apostles. Acts16:11-15 tells us of Paul and his companions, sharing to a woman by the name Lydia who was a purple merchant from the city of Thyatira. Lydia’s name is a reminder that Thyatira was located in the ancient kingdom of Lydia, a place that manufactured purple dyes.
Any examination of the book of Acts is incomplete without some reference to Luke’s original purpose for writing as recorded in Luke 1:1-4. Luke’s first volume, the Gospel of Luke, is actually the real preface to Acts as well as the Gospel itself. The first thing that should be observed is that Luke does indeed claim to be writing an accurate historical account of the life of Christ in the preface to his Gospel, and there is general agreement amongst scholars that Luke intends this statement to extend to his second volume. Carson, Moo and Morris have observed how some scholars say that those who claimed to be historians in ancient times were well known for writing from their own biased agenda and therefore cannot be trusted to give an accurate historical account, but it should be noted that although it is true that some ‘historians’ did write more fiction than fact, the best ancient writers were careful to give an accurate presentation of the facts in much the same way that would be expected of modern historians. Luke deserves to be placed amongst these ancient historians and only differs from modern historians because he does not set out to present every historical detail but is deliberately selective, choosing to concentrate only on events relevant to the growth of the Church. Like the Gospel, the second volume of Luke’s history is dedicated to Theophilus who is addressed as “most excellent” 1:1-3. Bruce observes how it has been suggested that because the name Theophilus means ‘dear to God’, it is simply being used by Luke to refer to the Christian reader in general, and not to a specific historical individual as such.10 However, Bruce continues to point out that this is unlikely for two reasons. Firstly, the use of the title “most excellent” suggests an individual c.f. 23:26; 24:3; 26:25, and secondly, the literary style in which Luke writes his dedication bears striking resemblance to other historical documents of antiquity.
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Those who regard the book of Acts as non-historical often point to the difficulties between the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:1-29 and the writing of Paul in Galatians 2:1-10.19 Although Luke’s account of the council is straightforward, the main difficulty arises when it is compared with what appears to be the same event as described by Paul in Galatians.20 In Galatians Paul is speaking about his second visit to Jerusalem after his conversion, but in Acts Luke says that it was his third.21 This difficulty has long been recognised by biblical scholars and there are several explanations offered to resolve it.22 Bruce considers that the difficulties arise because the authors are actually speaking about two entirely different occasions. He arrives at this conclusion by observing how the discussion reported by Paul in Galatians differs from Acts because it centres around missionary activity; the issue of circumcision is only marginally alluded to; and no mention is made of appeasing table fellowship amongst Jews and Gentiles.23 Probably the most significant difference between the conference of Galatians 2:1-10 and council meeting in Acts 15:1-29 is that the former was held in private while the latter was held publicly, before the Jerusalem Church.24 Wainwright also agrees with Bruce in these differences and recognises a more consistent pattern with Galatians 2:1-10 in Acts 11:27-30.25
In my report of this book by Marshall I H, I agree to what the book says about the author of the book of acts that the author was Luke. I also agree to the fact that the information Luke gave about the lives and events surrounding the apostles is true and because he was a travelling companion of Paul, he knew a lot about the apostles from their position in society to their positions in the church.
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