Date & Historical Context

In the late 60’s AD, the apostle Paul is thrown into prison and will sit in his cell for more than two years on the western coast of Israel in a town called Caesarea. While Paul is in prison, his friend, Luke, is staying close to Paul but is totally free to move throughout Israel. Luke tells us what he decides to do, presumably during these two years:

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye-witnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." – Luke 1:1-4

During his two years spent traveling Israel, Luke tracks down the truthfulness of every story about Jesus. He most likely interviews Jesus’ mom, Mary, to get intimate details no one else would know about the birth of Jesus. He is able to interview John Mark, Philip, the apostles Peter and John, and James, the Lord’s brother. These people all would have provided first hand details to this precise historian.

Why did Luke write Acts? With his mentor in prison, and the persecution of Christians sweeping the Roman world, all details point to Luke writing this book to officials in the Roman Empire letting them know they have nothing to fear about Christianity. Instead of fearing and persecuting Christians, they should embrace this ancient, peaceful, and powerful faith. Luke writes as an historian, diplomat, and theologian showing the Roman Empire the beauties of this great news that has happened and is happening in their midst.