THE THEMES OF ACTS
By Jason Barker
Department of Youth Ministry
Simon J. Kistemaker lists several themes woven by St. Luke throughout the Acts of the Apostles. We will briefly note those themes here:
The Holy Spirit. Christís promise that His followers would receive the Holy Spirit following His Ascension is fulfilled when the Holy Spirit is poured out on the gathered Christians at Pentecost. St. Luke further shows the importance of the presence of the Holy Spirit by depicting His being received by Samaritans, Gentiles in Caesarea, and Jews in Ephesus.
Evangelism. St. Lukeís emphasis on the missionary work of the Apostles ó especially Ss. Peter and Paul ó underscores the central theme of the importance of evangelism.
Apostolic Authority. The work of the Apostles in organizing the Church and teaching the Gospel ó and particularly the importance of the Apostolic gathering at the first council in Jerusalem ó reinforces the importance of bishops in the Church.
Opposition to Christianity. Another important theme in the Acts of the Apostles is that Christians will encounter opposition. The opposition endured by the early Christians, and their faithfulness to Christ and His Church in the face of that opposition, is very instructive to modern Christians.
Defense of the Gospel. Related to the theme of opposition is the theme of defending the Gospel. From St. Peterís defense of the Gospel before the religious and governmental leaders in Jerusalem to St. Paulís defense before philosophers in Athens and governmental authorities throughout the Empire, early Christians were willing and able to answer any objection to their faith.