Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Philosophy
Gerald F. Knoblet
Luke-Acts, Apologetics, Gospels, Gospel Studies, Acts of the Apostles, Acts as History, New Testament
Williams, James C., "Reconsidering the Apologetic Purpose of Luke-Acts" (2024). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 5205.
The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles are two critical works in the Bible. Together, these two books make up approximately twenty seven percent of the New Testament. Their literary contribution to what is known about the origins of Christianity and its rapid spread in major cities of the Roman Empire is immeasurable. It is appropriate that so much has been written regarding these two key books’ origins, genre, and purpose. Yet, with all that has been written, there is still much debate about this subject. Should these two books be treated separately, as two different genres, or should they be treated as one unified work? Thomas Phillips does well when he states, “The question of the genre(s) of Luke and Acts may seem like a mere scholarly trifle, but one’s answer to this question does have interpretive implications.” This dissertation contends that Luke and Acts (hereafter known as Luke-Acts) is a single, continuous work, divided into two volumes. As a continuous work, this study suggests that there is an apologetic purpose behind the making of Luke-Acts, which includes defending the legitimacy of Christianity and the innocence of Paul. This purpose makes what appear to be superfluous details crucial points of evidence.