Acts of the Apostles
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Latest revision as of 08:00, October 2, 2010
The Acts of the Apostles is a book of the Holy Bible that is usually placed as the fifth book in the New Testament. It is commonly referred to as simply Acts. The title "Acts of the Apostles" (Greek: Praxeis Apostolon) was first used by Irenaeus in the late second century.
Some have suggested that the title of this book should be interpreted as the "Acts of the Holy Spirit" or even the "Acts of Jesus," since 1:1 gives the impression that Acts is set forth as "an account of what Jesus continued to do and teach," Christ himself being the principal actor through the working of the Holy Spirit.
Acts tells the story of the Early Christian Church, with particular emphasis on the ministry of the Twelve Apostles and of Apostle Paul. The early chapters, set in Jerusalem discuss Jesus' Resurrection, his Ascension, the Day of Pentecost, and the beginning of the ministry of the Twelve Apostles. The later chapters discuss Paul's conversion, his ministry, and finally his arrest, imprisonment, and trip to Rome.
In the Orthodox Church, Acts is the first part of the Apostolos, a liturgical book containing the various Apostolic Readings. Acts is read liturgically from Pascha through Pentecost. Selections of Acts are also read at other feasts of the Church, St. Stephen's Day, and the Beheading of the Forerunner, and Baptist John. It is also the custom of the Church to read the book of Acts over the tomb of Christ on Holy Friday, and over the body of a deceased priest at the wake prior to his burial.