Christianity in the Apostolic Age

By George T. Purves | Go to book overview

I
HISTORICAL SOURCES

62. FOR the history of the earliest expansion of Christianity we are again mainly dependent on Acts. The principal narrative is found in chapter viii. 4 to xiv. 28. In xxii. 1-21 and xxvi. 1-23 we have reports of Paul's addresses in which he recounted his early life and conversion. Further light on the same events is furnished by the apostle in Galatians i. 13-24, and allusions to his conversion occur in First Corinthians, ix. 1 and xv. 8. Second Corinthians (xi. 24 to xii. 9) also contains references to incidents some of which belong in this period; and in Second Timothy iii. 11 he alludes to occurrences during the journey through Phrygia and Lycaonia. In Acts, viii. 4 to xii. 25 appear to have formed the second great division of the book. It describes the transition from Jewish to Gentile Christianity. Here again Luke shows his intelligent grasp on the significance of the movement of events. We have five sections, exhibiting (1) the earliest expansion under Philip (viii. 4-40); (2) the conversion and early work of Paul, whereby the man was provided for the future diffusion of the faith (ix. 1-30); (3) the work of Peter in Syria which ended in the conversion of Cornelius and the demonstration to the church that God would accept uncircumcised believers (ix. 31 to

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