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Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

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Acts 1:1

The Title is simply Acts (Praxeiv) in Aleph, Origen, Tertullian, Didymus, Hilary, Eusebius, Epiphanius. The Acts of the Apostles (Praxeiv apostolwn) is the reading of B D (Aleph in subscription) Athanasius, Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Theodoret, Hilary. The Acts of the Holy Apostles (Praxeiv twn agiwn apostolwn) is read by A2 E G H A K Chrysostom. It is possible that the book was given no title at all by Luke, for it is plain that usage varied greatly even in the same writers. The long title as found in the Textus Receptus (Authorized Version) is undoubtedly wrong with the adjective "Holy." The reading of B D, "The Acts of the Apostles," may be accepted as probably correct.
The former treatise (ton men prwton).
Literally, the first treatise. The use of the superlative is common enough and by no means implies, though it allows, a third volume. This use of prwtov where only two are compared is seen between the Baptist and Jesus (John 1:15), John and Peter (John 20:4). The idiom is common in the papyri (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 662, 669). The use of men solitarium here, as Hackett notes, is common in Acts. It is by no means true that men requires a following de by contrast. The word is merely a weakened form of mhn=surely, indeed. The reference is to the "first treatise" and merely emphasizes that. The use of logov (word) for treatise or historical narrative is common in ancient Greek as in Herodotus 6 and 9. Plato (Phaedo, p. 61 B) makes a contrast between mutov and logov.

I made (epoihsamhn).
Aorist middle indicative, the middle being the usual construction for mental acts with poiew.

O Theophilus (O Teopile).
The interjection O here as is common, though not in Luke 1:3. But the adjective kratiste (most excellent) is wanting here. See remarks on Theophilus on Luke 1:3. Hackett thinks that he lived at Rome because of the way Acts ends. He was a man of rank. He may have defrayed the expense of publishing both Luke and Acts. Perhaps by this time Luke may have reached a less ceremonious acquaintance with Theophilus.

Which Jesus began (wn hrxato Ihsouv).
The relative is attracted from the accusative a to the genitive wn because of the antecedent pantwn (all). The language of Luke here is not merely pleonastic as Winer held. Jesus "began" "both to do and to teach" (poiein te kai didaskein). Note present infinitives, linear action, still going on, and the use of te--kai binds together the life and teachings of Jesus, as if to say that Jesus is still carrying on from heaven the work and teaching of the disciples which he started while on earth before his ascension. The record which Luke now records is really the Acts of Jesus as much as the Acts of the Apostles. Dr. A. T. Pierson called it "The Acts of the Holy Spirit," and that is true also. The Acts, according to Luke, is a continuation of the doings and teachings of Jesus. "The following writings appear intended to give us, and do, in fact, profess to give us, that which Jesus continued to do and teach after the day in which he was taken up" (Bernard, Progress of Doctrine in the N.T.).

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Acts 1:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/rwp/view.cgi?book=ac&chapter=001&verse=001>. Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960.

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