After the four Gospels, the next chronological account in the Bible is known as “The Book of Acts” or “The Acts of the Apostles.” According to most scholars, Luke wrote Acts as a continuation of his Gospel account. In fact, many have called the Book of Acts “Part 2” of the Gospel of Luke.
It appears that Luke compiled his two books to collect the evidence and present the case for Jesus and his early followers. Luke wrote his two-volume set as a careful record of history – what he calls an “orderly account” – for a man named Theophilus.
Derived from the Greek, the name Theophilus probably means, “friend of God.” We don’t know much about Theophilus, but many scholars believe that he was the person who financially sponsored Luke’s research and writing.
The Book of Acts begins…
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:1-3)
Not only did Luke write an orderly account, he has passed the test of a true historian on multiple occasions. One of the greatest archaeologists of all time, Sir William Ramsay, said: “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense … in short, this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians.” (The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1915).
Another famous scholar, A.N. Sherwin-White, said: “For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming… Any attempt to reject its basic historicity must now appear absurd.” (Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament, 1963).