If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the biblical characters after Acts—from the well-known Matthew to the lesser-known Bartholomew—then this book is for you. Join Dr. Bryan Litfin as he guides you through Scripture and other ancient literature to sift fact from fiction, real-life from legend.
Skillfully researched and clearly written, After Acts is as accurate as it is engaging. Gain a window into the religious milieu of the ancient and medieval church. Unearth artifacts and burial sites. Learn what really happened to your favorite characters and what you should truly remember them for.
- Did Paul ever make it to Spain? Was he beheaded in Rome?
- Is it true that Peter was crucified upside down?
- Was the Virgin Mary really bodily assumed into heaven?
The book of Acts ends at chapter 28. But its characters lived on.
“In After Acts, Bryan Litfin provides an engaging, critically informed, and edifying account of what early church traditions tell us about the major figures of the New Testament after the period described in the book of Acts. Through careful detective work, Litfin sifts history and legend to show what Christians today can learn from these important traditions.”
—Michael Graves, Armerding Associate Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
“The strength and integrity of what you find in these pages are rooted in Bryan Litfin’s painstaking scholarship. But Bryan is no ordinary historian. He is also a preacher who loves to showcase the movements of divine grace through the events that we call history. Therefore, this book not only provides insight into the apostles; it also presents the glorious God whose hand continues to enliven men and women with apostolic faith.”
—Chris Castaldo, Senior Pastor, New Covenant Church, Naperville, Illinois, author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel
Litfin has provided a fascinating survey of the “rest of the story” of the lives of the apostles (plus Mark, Luke, and Mary) beyond what we learn directly from the pages of Scripture itself. With a sure hand born of solid scholarly discernment concerning the extant historical documents and their varying reliability, he helps us to sift through fact and fantasy, and separate trustworthy traditions from fanciful embellishments. The results are realistic portraits that appropriately honor these great heroes of the faith (and their Lord) by confirming their redeemed humanity and their vibrant and courageous witness to the gospel.
—Ron Man, Pastor of Worship/Missionary in Residence, First Evangelical Church, Memphis, Tennessee; Director, Worship Resources International
There has been a resurgence of interest in the past twenty years among evangelicals into the history and theology of the early Christian church. This has resulted in a number of scholarly monographs and collections of primary sources in translation. What is now happening, in large part due to the work of Dr. Bryan Litfin, is that such scholarly work is making its way into the hands of Christians in both the academy and in the church. After Acts continues that trajectory. Though erudite, it is written in a style and manner that is immediately accessible to all readers. Dr. Litfin tells a series of amazing stories, separating the wheat from the chaff in such a way that these disciples come alive once again. Dr. Litfin honors the Christian tradition but is not afraid to stand against the grain when the historical record demands it. Anyone interested in the men and women of the New Testament will find this book useful and fascinating.
—Greg Peters, Associate Professor of Medieval and Spiritual Theology, Torrey Honors Institute
Too often, contemporary discussions of extrabiblical data about the New Testament’s main characters appeal to a vague entity called “early Christian tradition.” In After Acts, Litfin does a great service by introducing ordinary readers to the actual sources in that tradition–in all of their glory and ambiguity–and explaining in a lively way how these things matter for ordinary Christians. The treasures laid bare by this book will delight anyone with a growing interest in the early church and its relationship to the New Testament.
—Stephen T. Pardue, Assistant Professor of Theology, Asia Graduate School of Theology (Manila)
Bryan Litfin has distinguished himself among evangelical theologians for his deep appreciation for the continuity of the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Adding to his growing list of books along these lines comes his latest: After Acts: Exploring the Lives and Legends of the Apostles. Illuminating for students, useful for pastors, accessible to everyone, this is an excellent introduction to the traditions that foreground the New Testament. Bryan traverses lots of territory and canvases a dizzying number of ancient sources to bring us this sure-footed, readable, and practical guide. If you’re eager to grow in your appreciation for the characters who populate the pages of the New Testament–from Peter to Paul, James to John, Luke to Mary–I can think of no better place to start. Highly recommended!
—Todd Wilson, Senior Pastor at Calvary Memorial Church
Listen to Bryan’s interview with Chris Fabry about After Acts (February 10, 2015).