Acts 1:1-26

Feb 3, 2019 // By:Dave // No Comment

first account = book of Luke

Theophilus = lover of God, referred to in Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1

“most excellent”: κράτιστος  used by Luke

Acts 23:26  Felix the governor

Acts 24:3   Tertellus addresses Felix

Acts 26:25  Paul addresses Porches Festus (procurator) in court

two primary categories of meaning of κράτιστος. 

The first category contains texts using κράτιστος as a superlative adjective from κρατύς that may be translated as ‘best‘ (Liddell & Scott 1996:991). The adjective may identify the elite part from within a larger group. Examples include ‘the best of the sheep and of the cattle’ (1 Sm 15:15, LXX) and ‘forty of the best of his foot soldiers’ (Ant. 17.282). 2 T

the second category of meaning of κράτιστος is ‘most excellent’. In this domain, it is a superlative adjective, probably from αγαθός ( & Scott ibid:991-992, cf. Bauer 2000:§4388). This superlative adjective frequently sits in close proximity to a proper name.

Theophilus may have, and likely been, a person of social and political standing in the Roman government ladder.

This would be a factor as Luke is writing to a government official, he would be including many accounts of legal proceedings, court conversations, name dropping, etc. (which is what an official of higher learning and means be looking for)  

refined koinia greek (educated greek)

many legal proceedings

Acts illustrates repeatedly that Christianity is for Greeks and for Jews. Theophilus would have been familiar with the exclusive nature of Judaism

The message of Gentile inclusion is an invitation for those who were previously outside to come in – under the new covenant. There is place for Theophilus in the kingdom of God.

Luke indicates that Theophilus had already received some teaching about Christianity when he states that his purpose for writing his gospel in Luke 1:4 is ‘that you may know the certain truth concerning of the message [λόγων] which you were taught [κατηχήθης]’.

Most instruction was oral in these times, only the higher levels of social strata used written instruction

Many scholars believe that since Luke begins Acts 1:1 with such a short introduction mainly referring to his “former” work that these two go together (and the fact that both are addresses to excellent Theophilus supports this conclusion)

meaning the purpose and intent for Acts may be found in the introduction of Luke’s Gospel

Luke 1:1 ¶  Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things 1aaccomplished among us,

Luke 1:2 just as they were handed down to us by those who afrom the beginning 1were beyewitnesses and 2cservants of dthe 3word,

Luke 1:3 it seemed fitting for me as well, ahaving 1investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you bin consecutive order, cmost excellent dTheophilus;

Luke 1:4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been 1ataught.

“know the exact truth”  used elsewhere in Acts (understand the facts amidst uncertain things or clouded perception)

set the record straight

This emphasis serves to draw Theophilus’ attention to the author’s central point: the content of the narrative finds its roots amongst eyewitnesses.

Luke and Acts comprises approx 26% of NT

the message is: The God of the Jews has made a way and a place for gentiles in His kingdom.

or put another way:

God is no longer rejecting the gentiles, He now allows gentiles the power to reject Him.

what was the task given to the disciples ?

by what power were they to do this ?

is this same task given to us ?

by what power are we to do this ?

side topic

Judas Iscariot:

funds for field likely what he embezzled in John 12:6

after throwing the silver back in the temple, as we read in Matthew, Judas did not stay in the city and hang himself.  Rather, he ran away to hide in the field that he had so carefully and secretly purchased.  However, being unable to deal with his guilty conscience regarding his betrayal of innocent blood, he found that his ill-gotten land no longer held any joy for him.  Finally, in his torment, he hung himself on the very plot of ground he thought would be his greatest achievement.  Yet remember that no one knew that Judas had been purchasing this field.  When he disappeared, men must have suspected he had done away with himself, yet no one knew where to look.  The result was that Judas remained so long hanging on the rope that his body “became swollen” (not “fell headlong.”)  His decomposing flesh burst open, and his bowels spilled out, as is described.  This caused the land Judas purchased to become a defiled piece of ground.  It was not defiled because it was in the Valley of Hinnom…Judas would not have purchased his nest egg there!  ANY land on which blood was spilt became defiled, an “Akel Dama,” a field of blood.  That was just the result of the clean and unclean laws in Israel. since the priests bought the field with the 30 pieces of silver

Zechariah 11:12-13  I told them, ‘If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord to the potter.”

in Matthew 27. 

  • Judas is filled with remorse for betraying the Lord, and 
  • he tries to return the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests (verse 3). 
  • (When the elders refuse to accept the money), Judas throws the coins into the temple and 
  • leaves and hangs himself (verses 4-5). 
  • Not wanted to put “blood money” into the treasury, the priests use it to buy a potter’s field (verses 6-7). 

“Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me’” (verses 9-10). Zechariah 11 is, therefore, a Messianic prophecy, because it is explicitly identified as such by Matthew.

A seeming difficulty is the fact that Matthew attributes the prophecy to Jeremiah, not Zechariah. 

The explanation: Hebrew Bible was divided into three sections: the Law, the Writings, and the Prophets. 

The Prophets began with Jeremiah and ended with Zechariah, 

and it was common for people to refer to the whole section (which included Zechariah) as “the book of Jeremiah.”


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