Study the Church Resources for studying the Bible and Church History

The Book of Acts

Acts is important for two reasons:


Place and Time of Writing

Unique Characteristics



Details about Acts

Timeline of Acts:  All dates are approximate [Note: as with most dates in the first century, different scholars have different viewpoints; if you go to other sources you may see slightly different dates.]

Outline of items in this section:

The Ascension: 1:1-11

Choosing a new Apostle to take Judas' place: 1:12-26

Day of Pentecost: 2:1-13: Beginning of “speaking in tongues."

To close this section, a reminder: the Bible does describe speaking in tongues. Over time the understanding of what that means has grown so that several different types of “speaking in tongues” exists in Christianity today. On the other hand, many Christians believe that "spiritual gift" was only intended for Christians in the first several decades of Christianity and it ended sometime in the mid-first century.

Peter was the most prominent Apostle: chapters 1-12

Paul’s biography up to his First Missionary Trip

Paul’s 1st Missionary Trip (1MT): chapters 13 & 14

Council of Jerusalem: 15:1-35

Paul became the most prominent Apostle

Paul’s 2nd Missionary Trip (2MT): 15:36-18:22

Paul’s 3rd Missionary Trip (3MT): 18:23-21:26

Paul’s Arrest and Trip to Rome: 21:27-28:31 (the end of the book)

Acts ends here and we do not know what happened to Paul. Many scholars believed Paul was eventually released and traveled to different kingdoms, and perhaps as far west as Spain. Paul then returned to Rome where, according to one source, Paul was beheaded and Peter was crucified upside down on the same day under the rule of Nero.

Outline of Acts

Peter's name is in blue boldface and Paul's name is in red boldface so you can see the shift from Peter to Paul.


Timeline up to the book of Acts

Dates are approximate.

Year Event
63 B.C. Romans conquer Israel.
27 B.C. Pax Romana began and lasted until A.D. 180.
4 B.C. Jesus born.
All dates after this are A.D.
27 Jesus baptized.
30 Jesus was crucified, buried, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven.
Apostles travel to Jerusalem and choose Matthias to replace Judas as an Apostle.
Day of Pentecost: Peter assumes leadership of Christianity.
30-50 Peter was leader of Christianity.
33 Jesus appeared to Paul and Paul became a Christian.
48-50 Paul's First Missionary Trip.
50 Council of Jerusalem; Paul became one of the main Christian leaders.
50-55 Paul's Second Missionary Trip.
55-60 Paul's Third Missionary Trip.
60-62 Paul arrested in Jerusalem and taken to Rome.
62-63 (Not in Acts) Paul probably released from prison during this time.
63-65 (Not in Acts) Paul probably traveled. He may have gone to Spain.
64 Fire in Rome and Christians persecuted by Emperor Nero.
65 (Not in Acts)Paul back in Rome; he and Peter arrested and martyred: Peter crucified upside down and Paul beheaded.
67 Gospel of Mark written.
70 Temple in Jerusalem destroyed by Romans (it has not been rebuilt).
80 Gospels of Matthew and Luke written.
90 Gospel of John and book of Acts written.
95 Christians persecuted by Emperor Domitian; Apostle John exiled on island of Patmos where he wrote Revelation.
96 Emperor Domitian died; Apostle John probably moved to Ephesus.
100 Apostle John died; he was the last Apostle to die.
390's New Testament canon "closed" at Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397).
1200's Chapters added to the New Testament.
1500's Verses added to the New Testament.

©2016 Mark Nickens