The book of Acts is an historical narrative written by Luke — actually, it’s part 2 of his writings, with the Gospel of Luke being part 1. It’s a chronicle of the early church from the ascension of our Lord Jesus to Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. It’s called the “Acts of the Apostles”, but could easily be called the “Acts of the Holy Spirit” as the Lord is growing his church with power. It’s a book about faith, boldness, spiritual power, and the various kinds of difficulties and persecution that the church receives.
Transition. But it’s more than a mere history of the early church. It’s a book of transition, from a small Jewish movement in Israel to a primarily Gentile (non-Jewish) world movement expanding into the Roman world. There’s also a transition from the Apostles in Jerusalem, with Peter being prominent, to the Apostle Paul and his companions in mission across the Mediterranean. We begin to see a distinctively New Testament church taking shape.
Structure. Many have recognized that the narrative of Acts moves in fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The gospel is proclaimed first in Jerusalem (chaps. 1-7), then in Judea and Samaria (chaps. 8-12), and then across the Roman world to its capital, Rome (chaps. 13-28).
Below is a simple chart showing this movement. Enjoy reading Acts!