Acts 1:1
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.

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.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.

John 21:25
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