As the four evangelists describe in their Gospels the birth, life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, in this book is further described how His apostles, after CHRIST’S ascension, spread abroad the evangelical doctrine everywhere throughout the world, and gathered the church of Jews and Gentiles; and especially there is described what two of the chief apostles, Peter and Paul, did to this end.
Luke therefore, after the preface, sets forth when and how CHRIST ascended into heaven; and that Matthias was chosen by lot to be an apostle in the place of the traitor Judas who had hanged himself, chapter 1. Afterwards how the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles in the shape of fiery cloven tongues with a strong mighty wind, and that they spoke with several tongues; which some reproached, saying that they were full of new wine. Against which Peter defends them with much boldness, and teaches that this came to pass according to the predictions of the prophets, and proves out of the Psalms that CHRIST was to arise from the dead, and to ascend into heaven; whereby about three thousand were converted and baptized. He describes also the state of the first church, chapter 2. That Peter and John cured one who was lame from his mother's womb, sitting at the gate of the temple. When the people wondered at it, Peter informed them that this was done by the power of CHRIST, Whom they had murdered, and exhorts them to repent and to believe in Him, chapter 3. That the priests and Sadducees apprehended Peter and John for it, and they set them before the council, before whom Peter defended their act, who did marvel themselves, and laid a charge upon them to preach no more in the name of CHRIST, which they refused to obey. That the church prays for them, whose unity and love amongst themselves is described, so that they even sold their houses and lands for the maintenance of the poor, chapter 4. Which Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, doing this hypocritically, and keeping back part of the money, are by Peter punished for it with a sudden death. That many miracles, especially in healing the sick are done by the apostles, for which the High Priest and the Sadducees cast them into prison, out of which they are delivered by an angel, and preach in the temple. Which, being told the High Priest, he caused them to be brought into the council, and, having rebuked them, they took counsel to put them to death, but are dissuaded from this by Gamaliel, and they are released with scourging, and with the command to preach no more, which they do not observe, chapter 5. That for unburdening the apostles, seeing the Greeks complained, six deacons are chosen, to serve the tables and the poor, amongst whom Stephen was one, who, seeing he did great wonders and they that disputed against him could not resist him, is accused before the council by false witnesses that he spoke blasphemously against the law, chapter 6. That Stephen defended himself before the council, relating briefly the histories of the Old Testament from Abraham even unto Solomon, and reproving them for their stubbornness, wherefore they stone him to death, chapter 7. That a great persecutions raised against the church at Jerusalem, wherefore many flee to Samaria, where Philip preaches the Gospel and does many miracles, whereby many are converted and baptized; wherefore the apostles sent hither Peter and John, who give them the Holy Spirit; that Simon the sorcerer is also baptized there, and seeks to buy from Peter the gifts of the Holy Spirit with money, who refuses it, and manifests and reproves his hypocrisy. That the chamberlain of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia, is converted and baptized by Philip, chapter 8. That Saul persecutes the church, and on the way to Damascus is converted by a vision, and is smitten with blindness three days, is baptized by Ananias, and called by CHRIST to be an apostle, preaches the Gospel at Damascus, where snares are laid for him by the Jews to put him to death, which he escapes, being let down from the walls of the city in a basket. That the Churches in Judea, Samaria and Galilee, were in a good state, and increased greatly. That Peter healed one Æneas of the palsy at Lydda, and at Joppa raised one Tabitha from the dead, chapter 9. That Peter is sent for by a captain named Cornelius, and when he doubted whether he might come to an heathen man or not, that he was instructed and confirmed by a Divine vision from heaven; how he was received by him and by an excellent sermon converted him with his friends unto CHRIST, chapter 10. Which when some took this amiss, Peter related the whole matter, and thereby quieted them. That by those who were scattered even unto Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, the church is enlarged and Barnabas sent to Antioch to confirm the believers, where Agabus foretells the dearth, which happened afterwards under the reign of Claudius the Emperor; wherefore they determine to send relief to the poverty-stricken believers in Judea by Paul and Barnabas, who having performed this, return afterward to Antioch where the believers are first called Christians, chapter 11. That Herod Agrippa beheaded James the brother of John, and cast Peter into prison, to cause him also to be put to death, out of which he, being delivered by an angel of the Lord, comes to the believers assembled at the house of the mother of John Mark. That Herod caused the soldiers, which safeguarded Peter, to be killed. That Herod, while he spoke to the people at Cæsarea with great splendor and was accounted for a god by them, was smitten by an angel. That he was eaten of worms and died, chapter 12.
That the Holy Spirit commands to send Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles, and that after the imposition of hands they traveled to Cyprus, where they preach in the synagogues of the Jews, and Paul vehemently reproves and smites with blindness one Elymas, a sorcerer, who was with governor Sergius Paulus, who is converted to the faith. That Paul at Antioch in Pisidia made an excellent sermon in the synagogue of the Jews, containing the sum of the christian doctrine, whereby many Gentiles were converted, but the Jews, stirring up certain women, cast them out of their borders, chapter 13. That Paul and Barnabas preached for some time at Iconium, and when a division arose in the city about it and they sought to do them hurt, that they fled to Lystra, where Paul heals a lame man; wherefore those of Lystra would have offered sacrifice unto them as unto gods, which they prevent; and afterward, being incensed, they stone Paul, who, being recovered, departs with Barnabas to Derbe, and afterwards come again to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, where they relate what God had done by them, chapter 14. And seeing some having come from Judea taught that the ceremonial law was still to be obeyed, and great contention arose about it, that it was good to refer this matter to the judgment of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, so that Paul and Barnabas with some others were sent hither, and that they, having made known their order, a Synod of the apostles and elders was gathered about it, in which after Peter, Paul and Barnabas had made their declarations, James propounded his opinion, that, being approved by all the rest, it was thought good to send the decision of this Synod with a letter unto Antioch and other churches, by Paul, Barnabas, Judas and Silas; and that when Paul and Barnabas would go to visit the churches, there happened a bitterness between them two for John Mark's sake, so that they parted one from the other, and Paul traveled into Syria and Cilicia, chapter 15. That Paul caused Timothy to be circumcised because of the Jews, and traveled with him from Derbe and Lystra through the cities there, and that the churches increased daily; that through Mysia they journeyed to Troas, where Paul was admonished by a vision to go into Macedonia, and came up to Philippi where he converts Lydia, the seller of purple, who was baptized with her household. That there he drives out a soothsaying spirit out of a maidservant, whose masters therefore stirred up the people against them, who cause them to be scourged and cast into prison, which, when they prayed and sang hymns, was opened by an earthquake, whereby the jailer is converted and baptized with his household; that the rulers of the city command them to go out of the city, which Paul would not do except they themselves would come and fetch them out of prison, which was done, chapter 16. That from there they departed to Thessalonica, where they preach and convert some, but the Jews stir up the people against them, and draw Jason before the magistrates; wherefore they depart from there to Berea, where they preach also, and those of Berea search the Scriptures, to see whether their preaching agreed wherewith. That Paul traveled from there unto Athens, where he, being brought before the Senate, disputes with the philosophers, and proves against them that there is but one true God, Who has created us all, and Whom he preached; and that there shall be a general judgment, and a resurrection of the dead; whereat they mocked, yet some believed, among whom were Dionysius, the Areopagite, and Damaris, chapter 17. That Paul came from there unto Corinth, where he finds Aquila and Priscilla, with whom he went to their house, and preaches in the Synagogue, which the Jews opposed and drew him before the judgment seat of the governor Gallio, who will not judge concerning the disputes of religion. That he departed from there towards Syria, after he had caused his head to be shaven at Cenchrea, comes to Ephesus, and from there departs through Cæsarea to Jerusalem, and so forward to Antioch, and having been there a little while towards Galatia and Phrygia. That at Ephesus Apollo powerfully convinced the Jews that JESUS was the CHRIST, chapter 18. That Paul also came to Ephesus, and there, finding certain disciples which had not yet received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, or did not know about it, gave them the same by imposition of hands. That he has taught there two years in the school of Tyrannus, and healed many sick. That he casts out an unclean spirit, which wounds certain conjurers and tears off their clothes. That many burnt their books of witchcraft, which were of great value. That Paul resolves to travel to Jerusalem. That at Ephesus a great tumult is raised against him by one Demetrius and other silver smiths, because by his doctrine their gain was lessened which they had by making little silver images for the temple of Diana, which tumult is quieted by the town clerk, chapter 19. That Paul with some company traveled through Macedonia to Troas, and that as he made a long sermon there before his departure, a young man called Eutychus fell to his death out of the window, and was raised up by Paul. That by Assos Mitylene, Samos and Trogyllium he came to Miletus, where he sent for the elders and overseers of the Church of Ephesus, of whom he takes his leave, earnestly exhorting them to take good heed to the Church, because after his departure many false teachers would arise, chapter 20.
That he traveled from there by Coos, Rhodes and Patara to Tyrus in Phenicia, and from there to Ptolemais, and so forward to Cæsarea, where in the house of Philip, the prophet Agabus foretells Paul that he would be taken and bound at Jerusalem, wherefore the believers besought him that he would not go up to Jerusalem, which Paul refuses, and travels forward toward Jerusalem, where, being come at the house of James in presence of the elders, he relates what God had done by him among the Gentiles; that James advises him that for the weak Jews’ sake, he should let his head be shaven, which he does; that certain Jews out of Asia, raised the entire city in an uproar against him, and thought to kill him, but that the chief captain took him from them by force, and brought him into the camp, who, having examined him, permits him to make his defense before the people, chapter 21. In which he relates his entire life and conduct, and especially his conversion and calling to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles; whereupon the Jews cried out and ranted and raved the more, so that the chief captain would have caused him to be scourged, but understanding from Paul that he was a citizen of Rome, he refrained from it, and let the entire council of the Jews come into the camp for to hear him, chapter 22. Before whom Paul beginning his defense, by the command of the High Priest Ananias is smitten on the face, for which Paul sharply reproves him, and declares that he was brought into judgment for the belief of the resurrection of the dead, from which a great strife and cry arose between the judges, forasmuch as some were Pharisees, and some Sadducees. That more than forty Jews bound themselves with an oath, that they would neither eat nor drink before they had killed Paul, which by Paul’s sister’s son is discovered unto him, and to the chief captain; that the chief captain Claudius Lysias sent him by night with a convoy unto Cæsarea, with a letter to the governor Felix, who put him in prison in Herod’s judgment hall until his accusers would have come, chapter 23. That Ananias and the elders came to Cæsarea to accuse him, which is done by the advocate Tertullus, who accuses him of sedition and profanation of the temple; that Paul denied both these points, relating what was done, and wherefore he came to Jerusalem; that Felix deferred the business until the arrival of Lysias, giving him more freedom in the prison, and that he often sent for to come to him and his wife that they might hear him. That he is thus kept prisoner until Festus came in his place, chapter 24. That the Jews, when Festus came to Jerusalem, besought him that Paul might be judged at Jerusalem, which he refuses, and commands them to accuse him at Cæsarea before him; that they do so, and Paul defends himself, and when Festus would send him to Jerusalem, he appeals to Cæsar. That king Agrippa and Bernice desire to hear him, before whom he is brought, chapter 25. And defends himself against the accusations of his adversaries, relating how that at first he persecuted the church, and how he was wonderfully converted unto CHRIST, and is therefore accused about it; for which Festus mocks him, and Agrippa declares that he might be set free if he had not appealed unto Cæsar, chapter 26. That Paul is delivered with certain other prisoners to the captain Julius, to be taken to Rome; that to that end they go into a ship of Adramyttium, and sail towards Sidon, from there along by Cyprus to Myra, and going over into a ship of Alexandria along by Cnidus, and Crete unto Fair Haven, where Paul advises them to winter, but the captain follows the counsel of the pilot, and sails forward along by Crete unto Clauda, and there arises a great tempest, so that they are constrained to cast the goods overboard; that God by an angel reveals unto Paul, that no man would perish, but that they would be cast upon an island, wherefore Paul exhorts them to be of good cheer; that they cast out four anchors before them, and that the seamen thought to escape with the boat, which Paul hinders; that they cast the wheat overboard, and that after they have eaten somewhat, they came near land where the ship ran aground; that the soldiers would have slain the prisoners, which the captain hinders, and that so, suffering shipwreck, they swim to land, chapter 27. That this land was the island Melita, and that they were kindly entertained by the inhabitants; that an adder remains hanging on Paul's hand, which he shakes off without hurt; that Paul cures the father of Publius of a fever and bloody flux, and other sick persons on that island; that after three months they sail forwards from there towards Italy along by Syracuse, Rhegium, Puteoli and Appiiforum, and come to Rome, where Paul is delivered to the commander of the camp, and kept by a soldier; that Paul declares to the Jews there, why he was sent as a prisoner to Rome, and that he discussed with them concerning religion, and proved unto them that JESUS was the CHRIST, which some believed and others not; that Paul abode there in an hired house two years, preaching the Gospel freely, chapter 28.