Here is another insight drawn from Jim Hamilton’s God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment.
In an earlier post I showed how Luke clearly presents Jesus, Peter, and Paul all preaching the same Gospel.
In this post I want to share something I’d not realised before: that two verses (Acts 1:8 and 9:15) summarize the major sections of the book and provide a kind of basic structure of Acts.
The Structure of Acts: Three Regions
The first text, Acts 1:8, names three regions.
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.
Then in the rest of the book Luke narrates the missionary work expanding out to them.
- Jerusalem (Acts 1-7)
- Judea and Samaria (Acts 8-12)
- The ends of earth (Acts 13-28)
Of course, in a sense the work is not complete by Acts 28; the last region, the ends of the earth, has not yet been covered. Perhaps this is a reason for why the book ends so abruptly, Luke is not just telling us about the early church, he wants us to join in their (our) mission given by Jesus!
The Structure of Acts: Three Groups of People
The second text, Acts 9:15, names three groups to which Paul will be God’s witness.
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
Interspersed within the basic structure of the three regions, we then find Paul fulfilling his role to these three people groups.
- Gentiles (Acts 13-14; 16-20; 27-28)
- Kings (Acts 24-26)
- Children of Israel (Acts 15; 21-23; 28)
It’s amazing how the Scripture continually opens up with new surprises every day!
See other posts about God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment.