The Berean Expositor
Volume 24 - Page 9 of 211
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The Acts of the Apostles.
The book as a whole.
pp. 1 - 3
The very focal point of our witness is Acts 28:, for we believe that in that
chapter the dispensation of the mystery began. From time to time there have appeared in
The Berean Expositor studies of this great dispensational boundary, and from time to
time the place and purpose of Pentecost and allied themes have been touched upon. We
have, however, never found opportunity to give the Acts itself systematic examination in
these pages, and as we desire to remember the needs of new readers, and knowing that
the book of the Acts is the battleground of the whole position that we take up, the time
seems ripe for such an exposition.
In many minds one of the uppermost questions relative to the purpose of the book is:
Does the Acts introduce something new, or does it confirm something old? This of
course embraces the questions that arise out of Acts 1: 6 (where the apostles asked the
Lord if He would at that time restore the kingdom to Israel) and the place and purpose of
Pentecost. The baptism with the Holy Ghost that took place at Pentecost must certainly
be tabulated as a new experience, but the question that needs careful answer is: Did that
new experience usher in a new dispensation, or did it confirm something old? There is
but one true way to deal with this and all other subjects that come into our study, and that
is to see their place in relation to the book as a whole. This can only be done after a
patient perusal of the whole book, and the comparison of each part with its corresponding
member. To express opinions before this has been done is but to express opinions and
nothing more. Patiently to plough through the complete book to lay bear its structure is
not the work of a few hours merely. This, however, has been done, and although the
results may be glanced at in a few minutes, the bearing of the outline thus discovered
abides, and rightly influences the interpretation of every section.
Let us, then, go over the book of the Acts together, and make its outline our own.
Commencing our reading, we are at once apprised of the fact that another treatise had
been written by the same author, which must have some bearing upon the Acts itself.
While we cannot make a digression here to study the connection that may exist between
the first and second treatises, we are conscious that the opening verses of the first chapter
sound very much like a resumé of something already written. Upon examination we
discover that Acts 1: 1-14 overlaps Luke 24: 36-53, details of which we reserve for
another article. The recognition of this overlap, however, influences the structure, for,
with this fact before us and the truth as our goal, we compelled to tabulate our findings as
A | 1: 1-14. The former treatise. All that Jesus began to do and to teach.
The new record commences with Acts 1: 15: "And in those days Peter stood up in the
midst of the disciples", and the first act of the apostles is to make their number complete