Early Church Fathers
1 St. Chrys. had made the same complaint at Antioch in the Homilies (a.d. 387) in Principium Actorum, etc. t. iii. p. 54. "We are about to set before you a strange and new dish. ...strange, I say, and not strange. Not strange; for it belongs to the order of Holy Scripture: and yet strange; because peradventure your ears are not accustomed to such a subject. Certainly, there are many to whom this Book is not even known (polloij goun to biblion touto oude gnwrimon eoti) and many again think it so plain, that they slight it: thus to some men their knowledge, to some their ignorance, is the cause of their neglect. . ...We are to enquire then who wrote it, and when, and on what subject: and why it is ordered (nenomoqethtai) to be read at this festival. For peradventure you do not hear this Book read [at other times] from year's end to year's end."
2 The two reasons which Chrysostom urges for the study of the Acts are also the two chief grounds upon which modern criticism depends for establishing not only the general trust-worthiness of the book, but also its authorship by Luke. They are in substance, (1) The continuity of the history as connected with the gospels and, particularly, coincidences of style, matter and diction with the third gospel, and (2) The remarkable undesigned coincidences of statement between the Acts and Pauline Epistles which exclude the possibility of inter-dependence. From Col. 1. 11Col. 1. 14; Philem. 24; 2 Tim. iv. 11, we learn that Luke was a close companion of Paul. In the part of the Book of Acts which treats especially of the work of Paul, the writer frequently refers to himself in the use of the first person plural as an associate of the apostle (vid. xvi, 10; xx. 6 sq.; xxi. 1 sq.; xxvii. 1). These considerations demonstrate the fitness of Luke to prepare such a treatise as the Acts and render the supposition of his authorship plausible. When they are combined with those mentioned under (1) and when the dedication of both books to a certain Theophilus is considered, the argument becomes very cogent and complete. -G. B. S.
3 The reference in the Text of the expression: "the Gospel which ye received," (1 Cor. xv. 1) to Luke's "gospel" is, of course, groundless. Paul speaks of it as the gospel which he preached unto them. It is "his gospel" as in Rom. ii. 16; Rom. xvi. 25; Gal. i. 11, etc. The use of euaggelion to denote a book is post apostolic.- G. B. S.
4 Hom. in Princip. Act. p. 54. "First we must see who wrote the Book. ...whether a man, or God: and if man, let us reject it; for, `Call no man master upon earth: but if God, let us receive it.0' "
5 Hom. cur in Pentec. Acta legantur, t. iii. p. 89. E. "The demonstration of the Resurrection is, the Apostolic miracles: and of the Apostolic miracles this Book is the school."
6 The statement that the Acts is a "Demonstration of the Resurrection" has a certain profound truth, but is incorrect if intending to assert that such was the conscious purpose of the author. The resurrection of Jesus is a prominent theme in the Apostolic discourses but the book is no mre designed primarily to prove the resurrection than are the Epistles to the Romans and Corinthians. The immediate purpose of the book is to record the labors and triumphs of the Apostolic Church as supplementary to the narrative of the teaching and work of Jesus (i. 1. 2). The events narrated presuppose the resurrection and would have been impossible without it.-G. B. S.
7 Chrys. states too confidently that "the brother" whose praise is referred to in 2 Cor. viii. 18, is Luke. It cannot be determined who this "brother" was. See Meyer in loco. Other conjectures are: Barnabas, Mark, Erastus, and an actual brother of Titus.-G. B. S.