Acts' Place in the New Testament Acts is a chronicle of the early church, beginning with Christ's ascension and ending with Paul's imprisonment in Rome. It generally spans the years 30 AD to 62 AD. The book of Acts is not only important for its historical value, but also for the principles it teaches about living out one's faith in today's world.
According to tradition, Peter was crucified c. AD 64. Paul was imprisoned at Rome sometime after 56 AD when he wrote his first letter to the church there. Therefore, Acts had to have been written by someone who was either a companion of Paul or someone well acquainted with him. Since Paul called Timothy his "son" in 16:3, some scholars believe they are the same person. However, since Timothy did not take leadership roles in the early church and since he never met Peter, this argument is not conclusive.
The traditional date of writing for Acts is around 65-70 AD. However, recent research has shown that parts of the book may have been written as late as 90-95 AD! This means that someone could have written parts of Acts without knowing it (since the book would have been lost over time). Also, some historians believe that Luke, the author of Acts, might have written his own story about Peter's life before 70 AD because it matches what we know about Peter from other sources.
The evidence from the book of Acts is unequivocal. The rules of the Old Testament were not in conflict with Paul and the early Church! Its first chapters chronicle the church's formation and early years, while its later chapters recount the apostle Paul's travels and acts. If Jews had been allowed to keep worshiping Jesus after His death, then surely they would have done so! Instead, Paul began preaching that "Jesus is the Christ," meaning the Son of God. By this announcement, he did not violate any Jewish law, because Judaism had no written law at this time.
In fact, the New Testament reveals much about Jesus and Christianity that was not known or recognized by most Jews at the time. They would have rejected such ideas out of hand as heresy. But the gospel writers used eyewitness testimony and the power of the Holy Spirit to write true accounts of what they had seen and heard. These books are accepted by many scholars as reliable historical documents.
So the Bible is clear: Jesus is the only way to heaven, and He died to save everyone who will believe in Him.
The fifth book of the New Testament, Acts of the Apostles (abbreviated Acts), is a remarkable chronicle of the early Christian church. Acts was apparently composed in Greek by St. Luke the Evangelist. The Gospel of Luke closes where Acts starts, with Christ's ascension into heaven. Although the author does not identify himself in Acts, many scholars believe that he is the same person as the "Luke, the physician" from the opening chapter of the Gospel of Luke.
Acts covers the period from about AD 30 to 64. It begins with Jesus' death on the cross and his resurrection three days later (chapter 1). As we read about the growing number of believers who have converted from Judaism to Christianity, we learn that these men and women are now called Christians. Actss also tells us about Paul, one of Jesus' most important disciples, who is responsible for bringing the gospel to many parts of the world. The book ends with Peter standing up before an audience of Jews at Jerusalem's temple and preaching about Jesus.
In addition to Acts, St. Luke wrote two other books which were included in the New Testament at the time they were written: 1 & 2 Corinthians and Galatians. These four books are referred to as the "Epistle of Luke".
Scholars believe that Luke was a doctor who lived during the first century AD.