After the Resurrection of Jesus the message of the Gospel was proclaimed by the
followers of Jesus. Their witness began in Jerusalem and spread from there, first
to Samaria, then throughout the Eastern Roman Empire. The Acts of the Apostles describes
the activities of the Apostles as they spread the Gospel from Jerusalem in about
30AD to Rome in 62AD.
The accounts of events in acts covers the provinces of Judea, Syria and Cilicia,
Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, Achaia and Italy. The Apostles visit scores of cities,
from Antioch to Rome and from Jerusalem to Athens. Everywhere, the details of the
area correspond to what is known of the customs and geography of the period. The
correspondence between Acts and the Letters written by the various Apostles is subtle
but nevertheless clear if one looks for it.
The detail within the letters of the Apostles also fits the customs and geography
of the area. It is possible to follow the footsteps of the Apostles and read of their
concerns in their own words.
Evidence to support the reliability of the New Testament as it covers this period
includes the following:-
Archaeology: Descriptions of places, people and events in Acts or the Epistles match
what is seen from archaeology. Acts was not made up, but written by someone from
the time and place of the first Apostles.
Undesigned Coincidences: The narrative of Acts is meshed with the letters and the
letters with one another in a way that could not have been made up.
Evidence of Dating: The letters can often be dated to within a few months. As this
is done by comparison with Acts, Acts must also be an accurate record of the period.
Manuscript Evidence: Thousands of New Testament manuscripts guarantee the textual
integrity of Acts and the Epistles.
Ultimately the authority of Acts and the Epistles depends on the accuracy of the
writing but also on the authority of the Apostles whose words are contained them.
The authority of the Apostles is derived from the Holy Spirit which inspired their
words. The evidence of this comes in the words of Jesus, the abilities of the Apostles
to perform miracles and endorsement by the other Apostles. This is supported by the
words of Jesus, who promised to send his spirit to teach the Apostles and bring the
words of Jesus to their memory. Evidence of fulfilled prophecy and the unity of teaching
of Acts and the Letters shows that they are inspired along with the rest of the Bible.