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"Reality Search" One Book at a Time

The Book of Acts

Michelle Nailon
B. Arts, B.Theol., M. Theol., GradDipTheol.

sociology of the book of Acts Related Sites:

A Description of books on the Reality Search Analysis

Gospel of the Day

Animated Workshops

Gospel Workshops

Gospel of Mark

Gospel of Matthew

Gospel of Luke

Gospel of John

All the pages of the Reality Search Analysis, in their analysed format

sociology of the book of Acts

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sociology of the gospel

The Book of Acts is Part 2 of Luke's gospel. In fact he states this at the start of Acts. The gospel, obviously, deals with the life of Jesus culminating in his death and resurrection. The Book of Acts carries on from there to give an account of what happed after this. There is an interesting literary technique that Luke uses so that references or parallels start at the beginning of Acts. The first one matches the end of the gospel. Then a second one steps backwards into the gospel. A third references matches the third last reference in the gospel and so on.

The Book of Acts (as it is known) appears to be more loosely written than the tightly packed stories about the life of Jesus. The first part of the book largely deals with the very early church. Then in Ch 15 there is an account of a Church Council in which the Church leaders try to work out how to integrate the many gentile (non-Jew) people who want to join them.

The leaders, namely James, decide on a formula to avoid blood, fornication and strangulation. It appears (and to many then and now) that this was about dietary rules the new converts needed to follow - instead of the intricate rules of Judaism, including circumcision.
But if viewed in another way, the three rules could refer to the avoidance of cruelty of any kind (something rife in the Roman Empire of the time). They meant to avoid sexual relations without commitment (Temple prostitution was one example of this). The rule about strangulation could also mean to avoid unjust business practices (and not just obvious stealing). In this way the rules were a "raising of the bar" of the three commandments of "thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal"

After the Church council in Ch 15 the book of Acts mainly has a focus on the adventures of St Paul (i.e. Saul who was renamed Paul). Paul reached out into the Gentile Communities and founded churches around Asia. He set out a model of church for future generations of Christians to follow.

In the Book of Acts there are themes, for example about "the Word," which are picked up in the gospel of John. This theme for instance has much to teach about democracy and the voice of the people which is a model of society that comes from the Roman Empire and Greek philosophy and which is continued today.

Note: Some introductory material on the realitysearch books can be found on

Reality Search

A Line of Logic
Outline of text 4

Value Frameworks
Section on Acts

Two World Views
Section on Acts

Five Pivotal Texts
Section on Acts

Translation Analysed
Section on Acts

Section on Acts

Animated Workshops
can be accessed on

Material to help in understanding

Towards a Sociological Interpretation of the Gospels

Questions and Answers

The booklet above is the first section of a much fuller exploration of positions in the material below,

This referenced material, below (over 300 pages), explores positions that are either at the base of the Reality Search Gospel analysis or which are raised by the analysis.

Is There a Critique of Greek Philosophy in the Gospels?

Also, given that the Reality Search Analysis uses Semiotic Analysis as a method of interpretation an explanation of this method is provided here.

according to the Catholic Pontifical Biblical Commission 1994
Reality Search (semiotic) analysis of the book of Acts.