Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Acts 1:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The former treatise - The Gospel according to Luke, which is here most evidently intended.

O Theophilus - See the note on Luke 1:3.

To do and teach - These two words comprise his miracles and sermons. This introduction seems to intimate that, as he had already in his Gospel given an account of the life and actions of our Lord, so in this second treatise he was about to give an account of the lives and acts of some of the chief apostles, such as Peter and Paul.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The former treatise - The former book. The Gospel of Luke is here evidently intended. Greek: the former λόγος logosmeaning “a discourse,” or “a narrative.”

O Theophilus - See the notes on Luke 1:3. Since this book was written to the same individual as the former, it was evidently written with the same design to furnish an authentic and full narrative of events concerning which there would be many imperfect and exaggerated accounts. See Luke 1:1-4. Since these events pertained to the descent of the Spirit, to the spread of the gospel, to the organization of the church, to the kind of preaching by which the church was to be collected and organized, and as the facts in the case constituted a full proof of the truth of the Christian religion, and the conduct of the apostles would be a model for ministers and the church in all future times, it was of great importance that a fair and full narrative of these things should be preserved. Luke was the companion of Paul in his travels, and was an eye-witness of no small part of the transactions recorded in this book. See Acts 16:10, Acts 16:17; Acts 20:1-6; Acts 13:10; 1 Timothy 1:16; James 1:2; Matthew 2:3; Matthew 3:5; Acts 2:5; Romans 11:26; Colossians 1:6. In each of these places the word here translated “all” occurs in the original, and means “many, a large part, the principal portion.” It has the same use in all languages. “This word often signifies, indefinitely, a large portion or number, or a great part” (Webster).

That Jesus - The Syriac Version adds, “Jesus our Messiah.” This version was probably made in the second century.

Began to do … - This is a Hebrew form of expression; meaning the same thing as that Jesus did and taught. See Genesis 9:20, “Noah began to be a farmer,” that is, was a farmer. Genesis 2:3, in the Septuagint: “Which God began to create and make”; in the Hebrew, “which God created and made.” Mark 4:7, “began to send them forth by two and two,” that is, sent them forth. See also Mark 10:32; Mark 14:65, “And some began to spit on him”; in the parallel place in Matthew 26:67, “they did spit in his face.”

To do - This refers to his miracles and his acts of benevolence, including all that he did for man‘s salvation. It probably includes, therefore, his sufferings, death, and resurrection, as a part of what he has done to save people.

To teach - His doctrines. As the writer had given an account of what the Lord Jesus did, so he was now about to give a narrative of what his apostles did in the same cause, that thus the world might be in possession of an inspired record respecting the establishment of the Christian church. The record of these events preserved in the sacred narrative is one of the greatest blessings that God has conferred on mankind; and one of the highest privileges which people can enjoy is that which has been conferred so abundantly on this age in the possession of the Word of God.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Our Lord told the disciples the work they were to do. The apostles met together at Jerusalem; Christ having ordered them not to depart thence, but to wait for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. This would be a baptism by the Holy Ghost, giving them power to work miracles, and enlightening and sanctifying their souls. This confirms the Divine promise, and encourages us to depend upon it, that we have heard it from Christ; for in Him all the promises of God are yea and amen.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 593

More than eighteen centuries have passed since the apostles rested from their labors, but the history of their toils and sacrifices for Christ's sake is still among the most precious treasures of the church. This history, written under the direction of the Holy Spirit, was recorded in order that by it the followers of Christ in every age might be impelled to greater zeal and earnestness in the cause of the Saviour. AA 593.1

The commission that Christ gave to the disciples, they fulfilled. As these messengers of the cross went forth to proclaim the gospel, there was such a revelation of the glory of God as had never before been witnessed by mortal man. By the co-operation of the divine Spirit, the apostles did a work that shook the world. To every nation was the gospel carried in a single generation. AA 593.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1051

Book of Acts, Instruction for Today—The whole of the book of Acts should receive careful study. It is full of precious instruction; it records experiences in evangelistic work, the teachings of which we need in our work today. This is wonderful history; it deals with the highest education, which the students in our schools are to receive (Letter 100, 1909). 6BC 1051.1

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 530

Study the first and second chapters of Acts. Light has been given me that our work must be carried forward in a higher and broader way than it has ever yet been carried. The light of heaven is to be appreciated and cherished. This light is for the laborers. It is for those who feel that God has given them a message, and that they have a sacred responsibility to bear in its proclamation. FE 530.1

The message of present truth is to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord. Let us understand this, and let those placed in responsible positions come into such unity that the work shall go forward solidly. Do not allow any man to come in as an arbitrary ruler, and say, You must go here, and you must not go there; and you must do this, and you must not do that. We have a great and important work to do, and God would have us take hold of that work intelligently. The placing of men in positions of responsibility in the various conferences, does not make them gods. No one has sufficient wisdom to act without counsel. Men need to consult with their brethren, to counsel together, to pray together, and to plan together for the advancement of the work. Let laborers kneel down together and pray to God, asking Him to direct their course. There has been a great lack with us on this point. We have trusted too much to men's devisings. We cannot afford to do this. Perilous times are upon us, and we must come to the place where we know that the Lord lives and rules, and that He dwells in the hearts of the children of men. We must have confidence in God. FE 530.2

Wherever you may be sent, cherish in your hearts and minds the fear and love of God. Go daily to the Lord for instruction and guidance; depend upon God for light and knowledge. Pray for this instruction and this light, until you get it. It will not avail for you to ask, and then forget the thing for which you prayed. Keep your mind upon your prayer. You can do this while working with your hands. You can say, Lord, I believe; with all my heart I believe. Let the Holy Spirit's power come upon me. FE 530.3

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