The book of Acts “is narrative literature like the Gospels and was written to enrich Christians in our purpose and identity as the people of God. Acts models for us how to live out that purpose in a hostile environment” (Russell, 2000, p. 217).17
As always, when observing what you are reading you are looking at what the author is saying. It is easier in Acts to gather some of the facts such as when, where, what and who. Luke is a colorful writer so pay attention to his narrative style.
When interpreting Acts, ask questions such as: Is the example portrayed a good example or a bad example? What is the main point the author is making? Again, since Acts is narrative literature, much of the previous principles presented in the narrative section apply to the book of Acts.
One of the main questions that arises when studying Acts is how to apply it in our context. Is what takes place in Acts normative for our lives? Dr. Russell states two criteria to use to determine its application (Russell, 2012, p. 76). Based on these criteria, answer the questions for the passage you are studying:
Is the behavior or emphasis or event repeated throughout the book of Acts? If so, where? In other words, does it create a consistent pattern?
|Behavior, Emphasis, or Event||Reference|
Is the pattern consistent with the main themes of Acts (spreading of the Gospel to Gentiles, the Church as community, the filling of the Spirit in helping believers to teach the Gospel, etc.), Luke, and elsewhere in Scripture? If so, how can it be applied to your context?