Thesis Statement: In this paper, I will be examining Jesus’ phrase “you shall be my witnesses” for the purpose of scholarly accuracy and modern relevancy.
The Book of Acts has been a source of inspiration and hope for countless Christians over the past two thousand years. It also has been a source of the many conflict-ridden doctrines that have led to most of the division one finds in the Body of Christ. There is the doctrine of whether one should speak in tongues or not. There are also the doctrines of infant baptism, the necessity of observing the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, and even the ritual of snake handling. Yet, after reading & studying Acts I want to suggest that none of these things is the reason Dr. Luke wrote this book. It may be possible to glean to some good doctrinal theology, but none of that, as evident by Luke’s prologue in Acts 1:1-2, is the reason He wrote the book. Acts is written as a story or what some call a narrative. This story has many sub-plots that make up the theme of the book.
Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart suggest that Luke was trying to show how the church emerged from its origins as a small sect within the religion of Judaism to become a predominantly Gentile, worldwide phenomenon called Christianity. At the center of this extraordinary story Luke shows how the Holy Spirit was directly responsible for the successful & forward – moving expansion of the gospel into the Gentile world. Luke shows how the empowering of the believers resulted in transformed lives and changed communities. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus said that His disciples would become witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. With so many contending views on the Holy Spirit, I will discuss the purpose of the power the Spirit gives, as related to Acts 1:8. In my conclusion I will seek to present an accurate and relevant stance for what it means to be a witness in today’s...