The Curious Affair of Ananias and Sapphira

Acts 5:1-11

Two things are vital to the understanding of this most curious little affair: First, we must recognize that this is a part of the same narrative as 4:32-37. We must not be confused by the chapter break which is entirely arbitrary and added centuries later. Second, we must properly understand what is meant by “kept back” in verse 2.

Luke has just given his readers the example of Barnabas in 4:35-36, an example of sincere giving that recognized both the authority of the apostles and the legitimate needs of some of the community of believers. In this passage, Luke provides an example of something that was not so sincere. It would appear that Ananias and Sapphira were rich enough to own real property and that they have announced their intention to sell it and give the entire proceeds of the sale to the apostles to be used in their ministry of benevolence, but when the sale had been completed and Ananias had delivered the sale proceeds, he did not set all at the apostles’ feet, having “Kept back” some of the money.

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A Closer Look at the Genre of the Gospels: Ancient and Modern Historiography: What are the Gospels?

A Rude Interruption

Acts 4:1-22 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. (4:1)

Already the Jewish religious leaders were becoming uncomfortable with the message they were hearing about what was going around, that the old disciples of Jesus were spreading… and here they were again addressing a big crowd right out there in the temple courts; they must do something. It’s interesting that the Sadducees are mentioned here, but there’s no mention of Pharisees, but then Peter and the others were talking about Jesus, saying that He had risen from the tomb, and that was clearly an affront to the Sadducees who taught that there was no resurrection from the dead.

They had the Apostles arrested and thrown into jail for the night.

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Peter’s First Address (2)

Acts 2:22-41

We left off earlier after Peter’s citation of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32 (cf. Acts 2:17-21). Our text picks up in verse 22 as Peter moves forward to drive his point home. I would certainly recommend that you read the text at this point, if you haven’t already. He mentions the name Jesus of Nazareth in that verse, reminding them that He performed miracles and wonders in the midst of the people which were intended by God to confirm His identity and authority, and that his hearers knew all about these things. Then Peter goes right to the nitty-gritty:

This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. (2:23)

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The Absolute Necessity of Scripture Memory

When Was Acts Written?

When was Acts written

This post is adapted from Darrell Bock’s Theology of Luke and Acts online course.

To determine when Acts was written, we need to evaluate the evidence from both Luke andActs, because the two books were written together, with Luke appearing slightly before Acts.

At first glance, it seems that the book of Acts was written around the same time of the last events it describes. The story ends; Luke writes the book. That’s the date.

For this reason, many people place Acts in the early 60s, because this coincides with the date of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome.

But why couldn’t Luke have written the book later?

It is possible Luke’s story isn’t really about Paul. Instead, it’s about the gospel arriving at Rome. In this view, it’s not important what Paul does after the gospel makes it to Rome; Paul’s imprisonment isn’t a factor in dating Acts.

This is a reasonable view, and it means Acts could have been written much later.

Let’s take a look at how we might come up with a date for Acts.

Why we need to start with Luke

Because Acts and Luke go together, we need to look at when Luke was written. To determine when Luke was written, the first thing we need to do is evaluate when the other Synoptic Gospels—Matthew and Mark—were written.

Why do we need to do this?

Because the most common view is that Luke used material from Mark, and we’re fairly certain that Mark was written sometime from the mid-50s to around AD 70. Here’s why: Mark assumes the church is suffering persecution or anticipates that possibility, making a date in the 60s plausible. Such a date fits the time of the persecution by Nero.

So if we know roughly when Mark was written, and we know Luke was written after Mark. The question, then, becomes how long after Mark Luke would have been written.

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Who Wrote the Gospels, and How Do We Know for Sure?

Earliest and latest possible dates for Acts

Christ is the focus

Christ-the focus