This classic commentary on the book of Acts was written by a scholar who set out to disprove Luke's authorship and became one of the greatest advocates for the authenticity and accuracy of Luke's account.
“The aim of our work is to treat its subject as a department of history and of literature. Christianity was not merely a religion, but also, a system of life and action; and its introduction by Paul amid the society of the Roman Empire produced changes of momentous consequence, which the historian must study.” (Page 1)
“I shall argue that the book was composed by a personal friend and disciple of Paul, and if this be once established there will be no hesitation in accepting the primitive tradition that Luke was the author.” (Page 14)
“If the work was left incomplete, the reason, perhaps, lay in the author’s martyrdom under Domitian.” (Page 23)
“It is rare to find a narrative so simple and so little forced as that of Acts. It is a mere uncoloured recital of the important facts in the briefest possible terms. The narrator’s individuality and his personal feelings and preferences are almost wholly suppressed. He is entirely absorbed in his work; and he writes with the single aim to state the facts as he has learned them. It would be difficult in the whole range of literature to find a work where there is less attempt at pointing a moral or drawing a lesson from the facts. The narrator is persuaded that the facts themselves in their barest form are a perfect lesson and a complete instruction, and he feels that it would be an impertinence and even an impiety to intrude his individual views into the narrative.” (Pages 20–21)
“I may fairly claim to have entered on this investigation without any prejudice in favour of the conclusion which I shall now attempt to justify to the reader. On the contrary, I began with a mind unfavourable to it, for the ingenuity and apparent completeness of the Tubingen theory had at one time quite convinced me. It did not lie then in my line of life to investigate the subject minutely; but more recently I found myself often brought in contact with the book of. Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne in upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvellous truth.” (Pages 7–8)
W. M. Ramsay (1851–1939) was professor of humanity at the University of Aberdeen. He was most well-known for his archaeological endeavors, as he traveled extensively throughout Asia Minor, studying the missionary journeys of Paul, conducting archaeological research, and writing numerous books on his findings and adventures.
He studied at Oxford, the University of Aberdeen, and Gottingen, and he later went on to become the first ever professor of classical archaeology at Oxford. Ramsey received awards for his work from Pope Leo XII, the University of Pennsylvania, the Royal Geographical Society, and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He was knighted in 1906.
His works include St. Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen. His original intent was to disprove Christianity through archaeology, but through his research he realized that the Bible was accurate and converted to Christianity.