Quick notes on Acts
Acts is cinematic. Try reading it as a movie, and its narrative structures are more easily seen: closeups and pull back shots, old-fashioned follow-the-dots-on-the-map travel sequences, deeply focused individual and general crowd scenes, with movement used to shift focus from a character to a group action and then back to a small group of characters, etc., etc. There’s even a quick recap of what’s happened and a foreshadowing of what’s to come (think: montage + voiceover) in Paul’s speech in Jerusalem before he begins his legal march toward Rome. Luke writes for listeners.
The disciples install Matthias in Judas’ place, but Jesus throws Paul into the mix. A traitor to Christ and suicide is replaced with a former persecutor of Christ (9:4) on a martyr’s trajectory.
Paul appears to continually exercise Jesus’ directive to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Mt 10.16). Had this verse appeared in Luke, we would likely read it as programmatic for Paul’s work (as we then could Mt 10:16–25).
The momentum of the Church, the work of the Spirit, is always, ever outward; while plenty of work continues to be done amongst and for those who have been baptized into Christ (6.1–7; 11:29), the Spirit drives Paul and many others out to the nations, while those whose interest is in reconverting those who have been so brought into Christ (15:1–35), in remaking them in their own image, are decisively decided against, and are, narratively speaking, left behind.
Acts (and Scripture as a whole) is much funnier than we’re trained to expect.