A 14th century copy of the Book of Acts in Minuscule 223
A 14th century copy of the Book of Acts in Minuscule 223
This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. (July 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
This article uncritically uses texts from within a religion or faith system without referring to secondary sources that critically analyze them. Please help improve this article by adding references to reliable secondary sources, with multiple points of view. (July 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The Holy Spirit plays a key role in the Acts of the Apostles, leading to the use of the titles "Book of the Holy Spirit" or the "Acts of the Holy Spirit" for that book of the New Testament.[1][2] of the about seventy occurrences of the word pneuma (πνεῦμα) in Acts, fifty five refer to the Holy Spirit.[2]

Continuation of the ministry of Jesus

From the start, in Acts 1:2, the reader is reminded that the Ministry of Jesus, while he was on earth, was carried out through the power of the Holy Spirit and that the "acts of the apostles" are the continuing acts of Jesus, facilitated by the Holy Spirit.[2] Acts thus presents the Holy Spirit as the "life principle" of the early Church and provides five separate and dramatic instances of its outpouring on believers: Acts 2:1-4, Acts 4:28-31, Acts 8:15-17, Acts 10:44 and Acts 19:6.[1]

Stephen in Acts 7 reproachfully exclaims to the Jewish authorities (see Sanhedrin trial of Jesus): "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." Acts 7:51—That means, as nobody ever told them before, they not only resisted Yahweh or Jesus, while he was on Earth, but they resisted the Holy Spirit also thereafter! It reminds oneself about the sin against the Holy Spirit, which Jesus taught, that ascribing the miracles of Jesus to the Devil, it is resisting the Holy Spirit's work through the life of Jesus. The context of the unpardonable sin is best described in this passage:

"The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. "Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"—because they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit."" (Mark 3:22-30).

Jewish resistance

The resistance of the Jews against the Holy Spirit has already been taught by Jesus. This was like a surprise for the Jews, since they believed they had been following YHWH. They may have been following his name, but, not his Spirit and not Jesus teachings about Love God and your neighbor as yourself. They have followed the part of Deuteronomy, but not the second part of Leviticus (Deut.6:3;Lev.3:1 (NASB). Jesus was the first in history to bring the two Bible passages to the point! (Mark 12:30-31): "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." But if the young ruler knew it, why did the Pharisees and the Scribes not see it? They then were the same ones who stoned Stephen and instigated Herod to put James, brother of Jesus, to death by the sword (Eusebius writes: beheaded), Saint Peter into jail (Herod Agrippa , a pagan, nominally a Jew by the conversion to Judaism from before his grandfather's time, Herod the Great),[3] and his nephew Herod Antipas had beheaded John the Baptist, and had Jesus sent back to Pontius Pilate, who was more favorable to Jesus than the Jews, but had to submit to the instigated crowd, because he wanted to let him go free at first (they were all converts form paganism to nominal Judaism, trying to please the Jews (Acts 12:3).[4] So, the Herodians were resisting the Holy Spirit too.

Continuous Work

References to the Holy Spirit appear throughout Acts 1:5 and 8, stating towards the beginning: "For John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit ... ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you" referring to the fulfillment of the prophecy of John the Baptist in Luke 3:16: "he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit".[5]

In addition to the Holy Spirit and in its impacts on the Book of Acts, this should include the Lord[specify]'s direct communication to Paul the Apostle. This encounter had a very pivotal in terms of Paul's defense against the Roman Empire and Jewish authority empowered by the Holy Spirit. Several passages, for example, Acts 9:1-9, Acts 18:10, Acts 23:11, and Acts 27:23 all reveal a pneumatological element that reshapes the outcome of Paul's trial bending towards the prevailing of God's will rather than the agony of Paul's death.


  1. ^ a b The Acts of the Apostles by Luke Timothy Johnson, Daniel J. Harrington 1992 ISBN 0814658075 pages 14-18
  2. ^ a b c A Bible Handbook to the Acts of the Apostles by Mal Couch 2004 ISBN 0825423910 pages 120-129
  3. ^ "Enduring Word Bible Commentary Acts Chapter 12".
  4. ^ "Pontius Pilate - Biography, Facts, & Death".
  5. ^ Reading Acts: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles by Charles H. Talbert 2005 ISBN 1573122777 pages 24-25