Is The Acts Of The Apostles Historically Reliable?1 Part 2 of 2 -- By: Brian L. Janeway

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 005:2 (Apr 1999)
Article: Is The Acts Of The Apostles Historically Reliable?1 Part 2 of 2
Author: Brian L. Janeway

Is The Acts Of The Apostles Historically Reliable?1
Part 2 of 2

Brian Janeway*

[*Editor's note: Brian Janeway earned his B.A. degree from the University of Kentucky and has begun work towards an M.A. in biblical archaeology. He has worked on several archaeological digs in Israel with the Associates for Biblical Research. Mr. Janeway is employed as a pilot for American Airlines in New York City. His email address is [email protected]]

Part One of this article initially detailed the history of the criticism of the Book of Acts by tracing the birth of radical skepticism.2 In response to the Tübingen thesis, a “weighty counter-blow” was struck by new archaeological discoveries, especially those of Sir William Ramsay who affirmed the historicity of Acts. Finally after examining the speeches in Acts and the ancient practice of historiography, Luke was found to be a faithful recorder of history in the best tradition of historians like Thucydides and Lucian.

Part Two of this article will analyze three more aspects of Luke’s work: 1) the we passages, 2) archaeological and historical data, and 3) alleged difficulties in the text. Lastly, based upon the findings of both Parts One and Two, the question of whether or not the Book of Acts is worthy of our trust will be answered.

WE Passages

Style Criticism

The so-called we passages in Acts present a unique and interesting opportunity to probe Luke’s reliability. Analyses of these accounts are often bound up with regard to the identity of the author. Whether or not the author actually accompanied Paul on these voyages, Cadbury called an “insoluble riddle.”3 Upon closer examination, however, the “riddle” does not appear to be insoluble.

The we passages all appear in the last chapters of Acts. Since the author moved in and out of the narrative as a participant, the accounts are linked with theys. The passages in Acts being considered are:


Journey from Troas to Philippi


Journey from Philippi to Miletus


Journey from Miletus to Jerusalem

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