The Birth of the Christian Church


The book of Acts begins with the phrase, “In my former book, Theophilus.” Acts is the second volume of Luke’s history of the Christian church. The gospel bearing his name is the “former book” mentioned in Acts 1:1. Luke was a physician, a traveling companion of Paul, a historian, and a theologian. His two volumes combined make him the most prolific author in the New Testament. The gospel of Luke and the book of Acts were probably written during the two years that Paul was imprisoned in Rome.

Luke’s purpose in writing could simply be to record the history of the Christian church, but many theologians believe he wrote to provide Paul and other Christians with a legal defense for their faith. Luke writes consistently to prove three things: Christians are not a political threat to Rome; the Christian church is the continued ministry of God in the world; the Christian church is a diverse but united group of people who have received salvation in Christ.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)