As we study the book of Acts this year, an interesting aspect to watch for and pay attention to are the speeches. Luke doesn’t just observe and explain what is going on, he extensively quotes a wide variety of speakers to document the history, context and message of the early church. There are approximately 24 speeches recorded which comprise over 30% of the total book. These are not summaries, but quotes of the words said.
Why is this important? I think paying careful attention to the voice of the people recorded in Acts will provide great insight and perspective. But, most importantly, I believe it emphasizes the the message of the good news of Jesus Chris is “the message.” It is not a set of rules. It is not an act of obedience such as circumcision of wearing of certain prayer boxes of articles of clothing. It is not a strict memorization and recitation. It is the same message being delivered over and over again, by numerous men and women to strengthen each other, defend the faith from attack, demonstrate devotation and dedication in the face of persecution and, most importantly, to deliver the message to those who had not heard or did not yet believe.
The message of the speeches is the message of God’s love and redemption through Christ.