The first 12 chapters of the book of Acts describe the establishment of the New Testament church under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Peter is the main character. The rest of the book of Acts — chapters 13 through 28 — chronicles the experiences of Paul’s missionary journeys.
The events recorded in Acts cover a period of about 30 years, beginning with the Lord Jesus’ ascension in A.D. 33 and extending to Paul’s two-year Roman house arrest that ended about A.D. 62.
The most popular view of the purpose of Acts is the historical view. It records the spread of the gospel message from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and to the ends of the earth (1:8). The little religious group that met in a corner of Palestine…..in 30 years their message reached Rome, a distance of around 2500 miles by land. Nothing could stop the steady growth of Christianity.
It is the only Bible book that records the historical transition from Judaism to Christianity….from law to grace….from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. It explains the change from a Jewish ministry to a Gentile one and from Peter to Paul. It provides basic information about and insight into the early church. It clarifies how God’s dealings with humankind had taken a different course because of the Jews’ rejection of their Messiah. And it challenges every modern Christian.
Acts displays the universality of Christianity. The gospel goes to Samaritans, Ethiopians, and Gentiles. It goes to the poor and the wealthy, the educated and uneducated, both men and women. It goes to different cultures, segments of society, races, economic standings.
The message of Acts is that the church of Jesus Christ is God’s instrument to glorify Himself in the present age. God’s sovereignty is clearly in view throughout these pages.