The Ending of Acts
by Bobby Bruno 3/26/2014 / Christian Apologetics
"Paul rented a place to live for two full years and welcomed everyone who came to him.
He spread the message about God's kingdom and taught very boldly about the Lord Jesus Christ. No one stopped him."
Acts 28:30-31 (GW)
Paul is imprisoned in Rome and he has free reign to proclaim the gospel to all would come and hear. Here, the Book of Acts abruptly ends, there is nothing more to say, nothing more that Luke wants to tell us. Reasons for this may be that Luke died soon after Paul was imprisoned; he grew too old to travel as he and Paul once had; Luke knew that Paul would never get out of prison. Albert Barnes' Notes on the New Testament mirror these reasons, "Why Luke closed his history here is not known. It may have been that he was not afterwards the companion of Paul; or that he might have been himself removed by death. It is agreed on all hands that he did not attend Paul in his subsequent travels; and we should infer, from the conclusion of this book, that he did not survive the apostle" It is believed that Luke died within two years after Paul's arrest at the age of eighty four years.
Also, because Rome allowed Paul to speak about the Gospel all he wanted to, to whomever came to him to hear it, could be another reason why detailed accounts weren't needed anymore. Scripture says in Acts 28:31, "No one stopped him", meaning that Paul could say whatever he wanted to. Adam Clarke states in his Commentary on the New Testament that Paul, while imprisoned, had full "liberty of speech; perfect freedom to say all he pleased, and when he pleased. He had the fullest toleration from the Roman government to preach as he pleased, and what he pleased; and the unbelieving Jews had no power to prevent him." Why would Luke have had to continue detailing Paul's travels when Paul had all the liberty he needed to preach the Gospel without fear of persecution? And, because Paul was in prison, the Jews couldn't stop him from speaking about Jesus as much as he wanted. They couldn't stone a person they couldn't reach, and in prison, Paul was definitely unreachable to those who wanted to do him harm. About the final end of the Book of Acts, Barnes says, "Here closes the inspired account of the propagation of Christianity, of the organization of the Christian church, and of the toils and persecutions of the apostle Paul." Enough said.
Barnes. A. (2012). Barnes' notes on the new testament. Database 2012 WORDsearch Corp.
Clarke, A. (2004). Adam clarke's commentary on the new testament. Database 2004
Question: "In your research did you come across anything that stated that the book of Acts ended abruptly because of the fact that Luke likely wrote Acts in AD 62 and certain events had not take place yet (which is why he did not write about them)."
Author Response: I believe that both of my resources said that Luke was still alive during Paul's time in prison and died shortly after he was released so he wouldn't have been with Paul on his travels making the writing of Acts around AD 62.
Question: "I see the closing two verses as an open ended door for others like me and everyone in this class, and all those who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior to continue on with proclaiming the Good News that needs to go forward until that time when God instructs Jesus to go and bring his family home."
Author Response: Yes, the book of Acts is not finished yet. Many biblical historians have added to the Book of Acts ever since Luke stopped working on it. It hasn't been put between the pages of any book in its entirety. I guess we could say what scripture says that if we wrote down the whole story (or all the miracles that Jesus did) they couldn't build enough libraries throughout the entire world. And even if people never hear about what we've done for the sake of the Gospel, and if they never get written down and published, Jesus knows what we've done for Him. One day, we will stand before Him, and He will let us know what He's seen us do and say with the gifts and talents He has given us to proclaim His salvation to the World, or our little part of it. I don't care what the world knows about what I've done to bring people to Jesus, Jesus knows and that's all right by me.
Question: "This whole book is about the works and travels of Paul, so what better way to end it than by saying "...he preached the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.""
Author Response: I wonder why we question the way that Acts ends with the saying "...he preached the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." Do we question the Book of John when it says "Jesus also did many other things. If every one of them were written down, I suppose the world wouldn't have enough room for the books that would be written" (Jn 21:25/GW)? No, we don't, because we know that Paul's life had a shelf-life, and because we know that is Jesus still alive, guiding and protecting us the same way he protected Paul on his missions to spread the Gospel. Paul's life and story ended abruptly the day Paul was put to death, but his words, like Jesus', still guide and protect us even two thousand years later after they were written. Though the Christian body may die, the life of Christ still reigns on in the legacies we leave behind for others to experience. I have enjoyed being in this class with everyone. Let's just remember to keep the Gospel of Jesus Christ simple, as the apostle Paul did Christ's death and resurrection. It is and always was about Jesus. Paul understood this and preached it no matter what the opposition. May we all do the same with the knowledge we have all gained from Paul about how to act as a witness for Christ. The book of Acts will not end until Christ returns to establish the New Earth and New Heaven. On that day, the book of Acts will close forever, and the Book of the Lamb will open to everlasting life for those who, like Paul, endured with Christ and praised His Name as the Savior of the World.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.