The ending of Luke and the beginning of Acts include the following parallel ideas:
|GOSPEL OF LUKE||BOOK OF ACTS|
|“It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way….While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them…. (24:34-36)||After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive…. (1:3)|
|“…repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (24:47-48)||“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (1:8)|
|“I am going to send you what the Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (24:49)||“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” (1:4)|
|While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. (24:51)||After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. (1:9)|
|Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. (24:52)||Then they returned to Jerusalem…. (1:12)|
|And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (24:53)||They all joined together constantly in prayer…. (1:14)|
This close association between the final chapter of Luke and the first chapter of Acts suggests that Acts is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke, or perhaps the second volume in a two-volume work.
Commentator Richard N. Longenecker (1981) describes what may have happened:
Originally the two volumes [Luke and Acts] circulated together as two parts of one complete writing. But during the late first or early second century, the first volume became associated with the Gospels identified with Matthew, Mark, and John, thus forming the fourfold Gospel. Luke’s second volume was left to go its own way. It was at this time, it seems, that the second volume received its present title. (p. 207).
The significance of the relationship between these two books will be explored in Topic 2.
Scripture readings for this week: ____Acts 1 ____Acts 2 ____Acts 3 ____Acts 4