Acts 1:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach

New Living Translation
In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach

English Standard Version
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,

Berean Study Bible
In my first book, O Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach,

Berean Literal Bible
In the first account I composed, O Theophilus, concerning all the things that Jesus began both to do and to teach,

New American Standard Bible
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,

King James Bible
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach

International Standard Version
In my first book, Theophilus, I wrote about everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning,

NET Bible
I wrote the former account, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach

New Heart English Bible
The first account I wrote, Theophilus, concerned all that Jesus began both to do and to teach,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
I wrote the former book, Oh Theophila, about all those things that our Lord Yeshua The Messiah began to do and to teach

GOD'S WORD® Translation
In my first book, Theophilus, I wrote about what Jesus began to do and teach. This included everything from the beginning [of his life]

New American Standard 1977
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,

Jubilee Bible 2000
The former treatise I have made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

King James 2000 Bible
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

American King James Version
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

American Standard Version
The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach,

Douay-Rheims Bible
THE former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach,

Darby Bible Translation
I composed the first discourse, O Theophilus, concerning all things which Jesus began both to do and to teach,

English Revised Version
The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach,

Webster's Bible Translation
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

Weymouth New Testament
My former narrative, Theophilus, dealt with all that Jesus did and taught as a beginning, down to the day on which,

World English Bible
The first book I wrote, Theophilus, concerned all that Jesus began both to do and to teach,

Young's Literal Translation
The former account, indeed, I made concerning all things, O Theophilus, that Jesus began both to do and to teach,
Study Bible
1In my first book, O Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach, 2until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen.…
Cross References
Luke 1:3
Therefore, having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,

Luke 3:23
Jesus Himself was about thirty years old when He began His ministry. He was known as the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,
Treasury of Scripture

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,


Luke 1:24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself …

O Theophilus.

Luke 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all …


Acts 2:22 You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved …

Matthew 4:23,24 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and …

Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are …

Luke 7:21-23 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, …

Luke 24:19 And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, Concerning …

John 10:32-38 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; …

John 18:19-21 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine…

1 Peter 2:21-23 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for …

The Acts of the Apostles.--See Introduction as to the title thus given to the Book.

(1) The former treatise.--Literally, word, or discourse; but the English of the text is, perhaps, a happier equivalent than either. The Greek term had been used by Xenophon (Anab. ii. 1; Cyrop. viii. 1, 2) as St. Luke uses it, of what we should call the several "Books" or portions of his Histories. The adjective is strictly "first" rather than "former," and the tense of the verb, "I made," rather than "I have made."

O Theophilus.--See Note on Luke 1:3. It has been thought that the absence of the words "most excellent" implies that the writer's friendship with Theophilus was now of a more intimate and familiar nature. It is possible, just as a like change of relation has been traced in Shakespeare's dedication of his two poems to the Earl of Southampton, but the inference is, in each case, somewhat precarious.

That Jesus began both to do and teach.--The verb "begin" is specially characteristic of St. Luke's Gospel, in which it occurs not less than thirty-one times. Its occurrence at the beginning of the Acts is, accordingly, as far as it goes, an indication of identity of authorship. He sought his materials from those who had been "from the beginning" eye-witnesses and ministers of the word (Luke 1:2).

Verse 1. - I made for have I made, A.V.; concerning for of, A.V.; to teach for teach, A.V. The former treatise; literally, the first history, narrative, or discourse. The form of the Greek, τὸν μὲν τρῶτον, shows that the writer had in his mind at the time to contrast the second history, which he was just beginning, and that naturally τὸν δὲ δεύτερον or τοῦτον δὲ τὸν λόγον, ought both grammatically and logically, to have followed. But the mention of "the apostles whom he had chosen" drew him, as it were, into the stem of his history before he was able to describe it. O Theophilus. The omission of the title "most excellent," given to Theophilus in the Gospel (Luke 1:3), is one among other indications that the publication of the Acts followed very closely upon that of the Gospel. Began both to do and to teach Some take the phrase as equivalent to did and taught; others supply the sense and continued until the day, etc.; or, which is the same thing, supply the terminus a quo, making the whole sense equivalent to "all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day," etc.; others again, as Bishop Wordsworth, gather St. Luke's meaning to be that in the Acts he is about to narrate the continuance by our Lord in heaven of the work which he only began on earth. Meyer thinks that, by the insertion of the word "began," the thing said or done "is in a vivid and graphic manner denoted according to its moment of commencement;" so that our Lord is represented as at one time actively beginning to heal, then to teach, then to walk on the sea, and so on. But the words "began" and "until the day" certainly suggest the beginning and the ending of our Lord's ministry, or rather the whole ministry from its beginning to its end, so that the meaning would be "of all that Jesus did and taught from first to last." To do and to teach. So the disciples on the way to Emmaus speak of Jesus as "a Prophet mighty in deed and word" (Luke 24:19). Compare the stress laid upon the works of Christ in Acts 10:38, 39. The former treatise have I made,.... Meaning the Gospel written by him the Evangelist Luke, for from that he makes a transition to this, beginning here where he there left off; namely, at the ascension of Christ; see Luke 24:51.

O Theophilus; See Gill on Luke 1:3.

of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. This is a summary of his former treatise, his Gospel, which gave an account of what Christ began to do, and did; not of the common and private actions of his life; or of what was done, either in public, or private, throughout the whole of his life; for excepting that of his disputing with the doctors at twelve years of age, no account is given by him of what he did, till he was about thirty years of age; but of his extraordinary actions, of the miracles he wrought; and these not all, and everyone of them; but many of them, and which were sufficient to prove him the Messiah; and particularly of all things he did relating to the salvation of his people; of the whole of his obedience; of his compliance with the ceremonial law; of his submission to baptism; of his holy life and conversation, and entire conformity to the law; of his sufferings and death, how that thereby he made full atonement for sin, brought in an everlasting righteousness, and obtained eternal redemption for his people: and not only Luke, in his Gospel, gave an account of these his actions, but also of many of his excellent discourses, his parables, and his sermons, whether delivered to the people in common, or to his own disciples: and now, as this was the subject of his former book, he intended in this latter to treat, as he does, of what the apostles of Christ began to do and teach. THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES Commentary by David Brown


This book is to the Gospels what the fruit is to the tree that bears it. In the Gospels we see the corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying: in the Acts we see it bringing forth much fruit (Joh 12:24). There we see Christ purchasing the Church with His own blood: here we see the Church, so purchased, rising into actual existence; first among the Jews of Palestine, and next among the surrounding Gentiles, until it gains a footing in the great capital of the ancient world—sweeping majestically from Jerusalem to Rome. Nor is this book of less value as an Introduction to the Epistles which follow it, than as a Sequel to the Gospels which precede it. For without this history the Epistles of the New Testament—presupposing, as they do, the historical circumstances of the parties addressed, and deriving from these so much of their freshness, point, and force—would in no respect be what they now are, and would in a number of places be scarcely intelligible.

The genuineness, authenticity, and canonical authority of this book were never called in question within the ancient Church. It stands immediately after the Gospels, in the catalogues of the Homologoumena, or universally acknowledged books of the New Testament (see Introduction to our larger Commentary, Vol. V, pp. iv, v). It was rejected, indeed, by certain heretical sects in the second and third centuries—by the Ebionites, the Severians (see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.29), the Marcionites, and the Manicheans: but the totally uncritical character of their objections (see Introduction above referred to, pp. xiii, xiv) not only deprives them of all weight, but indirectly shows on what solid grounds the Christian Church had all along proceeded in recognizing this book.

In our day, however, its authenticity has, like that of all the leading books of the New Testament, been made the subject of keen and protracted controversy. De Wette, while admitting Luke to be the author of the entire work, pronounces the earlier portion of it to have been drawn up from unreliable sources (New-Testament Introduction, 2a, 2C). But the Tubingen school, with Baur at their head, have gone much farther. As their fantastic theory of the post-Joannean date of the Gospels could not pretend even to a hearing so long as the authenticity of the Acts of the Apostles remained unshaken, they contend that the earlier portion of this work can be shown to be unworthy of credit, while the latter portion is in flat contradiction to the Epistle to the Galatians—which this school regard as unassailable—and bears internal evidence of being a designed distortion of facts for the purpose of setting up the catholic form which Paul gave to Christianity in opposition to the narrow Judaic but original form of it which Peter preached, and which after the death of the apostles was held exclusively by the sect of the Ebionites. It is painful to think that anyone should have spent so many years, and, aided by learned and acute disciples in different parts of the argument, should have expended so much learning, research, and ingenuity in attempting to build up a hypothesis regarding the origination of the leading books of the New Testament which outrages all the principles of sober criticism and legitimate evidence. As a school, this party at length broke up: its head, after living to find himself the sole defender of the theory as a whole, left this earthly scene complaining of desertion. While some of his associates have abandoned such heartless studies altogether for the more congenial pursuits of philosophy, others have modified their attacks on the historical truth of the New Testament records, retreating into positions into which it is not worth while to follow them, while others still have been gradually approximating to sound principles. The one compensation for all this mischief is the rich additions to the apologetical and critical literature of the books of the New Testament, and the earliest history of the Christian Church, which it has drawn from the pens of Thiersch, Ebrard, and many others. Any allusions which it may be necessary for us to make to the assertions of this school will be made in connection with the passages to which they relate—in Acts, First Corinthians, and Galatians.

The manifest connection between this book and the third Gospel—of which it professes to be simply the continuation by the same author—and the striking similarity which marks the style of both productions, leave no room to doubt that the early Church was right in ascribing it with one consent to Luke. The difficulty which some fastidious critics have made about the sources of the earlier portion of the history has no solid ground. That the historian himself was an eye-witness of the earliest scenes—as Hug concludes from the circumstantiality of the narrative—is altogether improbable: but there were hundreds of eye-witnesses of some of the scenes, and enough of all the rest, to give to the historian, partly by oral, partly by written testimony, all the details which he has embodied so graphically in his history; and it will appear, we trust, from the commentary, that De Wette's complaints of confusion, contradiction, and error in this portion are without foundation. The same critic, and one or two others, would ascribe to Timothy those later portions of the book in which the historian speaks in the first person plural—"we"; supposing him to have taken notes of all that passed under his own eye, which Luke embodied in his history just as they stood. It is impossible here to refute this gratuitous hypothesis in detail; but the reader will find it done by Ebrard (The Gospel History, sect. 110, Clark's translation; sect. 127 of the original work, Wissenschaftliche Kritik der Evangelische Geschichte, 1850), and by Davidson (Introduction to New Testament, Vol. II, pp. 9-21).

The undesigned coincidences between this History and the Apostolic Epistles have been brought out and handled, as an argument for the truth of the facts thus attested, with unrivalled felicity by Paley in his Horæ Paulinæ, to which Mr. Birks has made a number of ingenious additions in his Horæ Apostolicæ. Exception has been taken to some of these by Jowett (St. Paul's Epistles, Vol. I, pp. 108 ff.), not without a measure of reason in certain cases—for our day, at least—though even he admits that in this line of evidence the work of Paley, taken as a whole, is unassailable.

Much has been written about the object of this history. Certainly "the Acts of the Apostles" are but very partially recorded. But for this title the historian is not responsible. Between the two extremes—of supposing that the work has no plan at all, and that it is constructed on an elaborate and complex plan, we shall probably be as near the truth as is necessary if we take the design to be to record the diffusion of Christianity and the rise of the Christian Church, first among the Jews of Palestine, the seat of the ancient Faith, and next among the surrounding Gentiles, with Antioch for its headquarters, until, finally, it is seen waving over imperial Rome, foretokening its universal triumph. In this view of it, there is no difficulty in accounting for the almost exclusive place which it gives to the labors of Peter in the first instance, and the all but entire disappearance from the history both of him and of the rest of the Twelve after the great apostle of the Gentiles came upon the stage—like the lesser lights on the rise of the great luminary.


Ac 1:1-11. Introduction—Last Days of Our Lord upon Earth—His Ascension.

1, 2. former treatise—Luke's Gospel.

Theophilus—(See on [1929]Lu 1:3).

began to do and teach—a very important statement, dividing the work of Christ into two great branches: the one embracing His work on earth, the other His subsequent work from heaven; the one in His own Person, the other by His Spirit; the one the "beginning," the other the continuance of the same work; the one complete when He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, the other to continue till His second appearing; the one recorded in "The Gospels," the beginnings only of the other related in this book of "The Acts." "Hence the grand history of what Jesus did and taught does not conclude with His departure to the Father; but Luke now begins it in a higher strain; for all the subsequent labors of the apostles are just an exhibition of the ministry of the glorified Redeemer Himself because they were acting under His authority, and He was the principle that operated in them all" [Olshausen].1:1-5 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.
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