Acts of the Apostles

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra Jacob Pynas

Written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke, the Acts of the Apostles is a continuation of the story of Jesus’ followers.  Luke, traditionally identified as a physician and Paul’s traveling companion, makes his reason for writing these volumes quite clear.  In the opening verses of both Luke and Acts, the writer states that his objective is to write “about all that Jesus did and taught”.

Acts begins by describing the events, confusion, and challenges followers of Jesus experienced immediately following his death.  The experience of the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the midst of these folks is remembered in the Christian church as Pentecost.  Peter clearly stands up in the role of leader and explains how the prophet, Joe, predicted Pentecost.  He continues his ministry, preaching and performing miracles.

Saul (Paul) and his conversion are described as the story continues.  It becomes very clear that Jesus’ message is meant for both the Israelites and the gentiles. The work done by these first followers of Jesus resulted in the spread of Jesus’ teachings through the world and through the centuries. Understanding these roots helps us today to connect to our own understanding of this message.


Dr. Harold W. Attridge

Dr. Harold W. Attridge is the Sterling Professor of Divinity at Yale Divinity School. Professor Attridge, dean of Yale Divinity School from 2002 to 2012, has made scholarly contributions to New Testament exegesis and to the study of Hellenistic Judaism and the history of the early Church. His publications include Essays on John and Hebrews, Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, First-Century Cynicism in the Epistles of Heraclitus, The Interpretation of Biblical History in the Antiquitates Judaicae of Flavius Josephus, Nag Hammadi Codex I: The Jung Codex, and The Acts of Thomas, as well as numerous book chapters and articles in scholarly journals.

He has edited twelve books, most recently, with Dale Martin and Jurgen Zangenberg, Religion, Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Galilee; and The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue? Professor Attridge is the general editor of the HarperCollins Study Bible Revised Edition (2006).

He has been an editorial board member of Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Harvard Theological Review, Journal of Biblical Literature, Novum Testamentum, and the Hermeneia commentary series. He has been active in the Society of Biblical Literature and served as president of the society in 2001. Professor Attridge is a fellow of Saybrook College.

David Bartlett headshot Rev. Dr. David L. Bartlett

Rev. Dr. David L. Bartlett, who passed away in 2017, was the J. Edward and Ruth Cox Lantz Professor Emeritus of Christian Communication at Yale Divinity School and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Yale University, Prof. Bartlett was the author of numerous publications including Fact and Faith, The Shape of Scriptural Authority, Between the Bible and the Church, and What’s Good About This News? Preaching from the Gospels and Galatians, among others. He was also the co-editor of the Westminster Bible Companion and Feasting on the Word commentary series. An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches, USA, Prof. Bartlett served as the Senior Minister for congregations in Minnesota, Illinois, and California.