84 Confirmed Facts in the Last 16 Chapters of the Book of Acts

Courtesy of Truthbomb Apologetics

In his book The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, the late classics scholar Colin Hemer identified 84 facts in the last 16 chapters of the Book of Acts that have been confirmed by historical and/or archaeological research.

They are as follows:

1. the natural crossing between correctly named ports [Acts 13:4-5]
2. the proper port [Perga] along the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cyprus [13:13]
3. the proper location of Lycaonia [14:6]
4. the unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra [14:6]
5. the correct language spoken in Lystra-Lycaonian [14:11]
6. two gods known to be so associated-Zeus and Hermes [14:12]
7. the proper port, Attalia, which returning travelers would use [14:25]
8. the correct order of approach to Derbe and then Lystra from the Cilician Gates [16:1; cf. 15:41]
9. the proper form of the name Troas [16:8]
10. the place of a conspicuous sailors’ landmark, Samothrace [12:14]
11. the proper description of Philippi as a Roman colony [16:12]
12. the right location fro the river [Gangites] near Philippi [12:13]
13. the proper association of Thyatira as a center of dyeing [16:14]
14. correct designations for the magistrates of the colony [16:22]
15. the proper locations [Amphipolis and Apollonia] where travelers would spend successive nights on this journey [17:1]
16. the presence of a synagogue in Thessalonica [17:1]
17. the proper term [“politarchs”] used of the magistrates there [17:6]
18. the correct implication that sea travel is the most convenient way of reaching Athens, with the favoring east winds of summer sailing [17:14-15]
19. the abundant presence of images in Athens [17:16]
20. the reference to a synagogue in Athens [17:17]
21. the depiction of the Athenian life of philosophical debate in the Agora [17:17]
22. the use of the correct Athenian slang word for Paul [spermologos, 17:18] as well as for the court [Areios pagos, 17:19]
23. the proper characterization of the Athenian character [17:21]
24. an alter to an “unknown god” [17:23]
25. the proper reaction of Greek philosophers, who denied the bodily resurrection [17:32]
26. Areopagites as the correct title for a member of the court [17:34]
27. A Corinthian synagogue [18:4]
28. the correct designation of Gallio as proconsul, resident in Corinth [18:12]
29. the bema [judgement seat], which overlooks Corinth’s forum [18:16ff.]
30. the name Tyrannus as attested from Ephesus in first-century inscriptions [19:9]
31. well-known shrines and images of Artemis [19:24]
32. the well attested “great goddess Artemis” [19:27]
33. that the Ephesian theater was the meeting place of the city [19:29]
34. the correct title grammateus for the chief executive magistrate in Ephesus [19:35]
35. the proper title of honor neokoros, authorized by the Romans [19:35]
36. the correct name to designate the goddess [19:37]
37. the proper term for those holding court [19:38]
38. use of plural anthupatori, perhaps a remarkable reference to the fact that two men were conjointly exercising the functions of proconsul at this time [19:38]
39. the “regular” assembly, as the precise phrase is attested elsewhere [19:39]
40. use of precise ethnic designation, beroiaios [20:4]
41. employment of the ethnic term Asianos [20:4]
42. the implied recognition of the strategic importance assigned to this city of Troas [20:7ff.]
43. the danger of the coastal trip in this location [20:13]
44. the correct sequence of places [20:14-15]
45. the correct name of the city as a neuter plural [Patara] [21:1]
46. the appropriate route passing across the open sea south of Cyprus favored by persistent northwest winds [21:3]
47. the suitable distance between these cities [21:8]
48. a characteristically Jewish act of piety [21:24]
49. the Jewish law regarding Gentile use of the temple area [21:28] [Archaeological discoveries and quotations from Josephus confirm that Gentiles could be executed for entering the temple area. One inscription reads: “Let no Gentile enter within the balustrade and enclosure surrounding the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be personally responsible for his consequent death.”]
50. the permanent stationing of a Roman cohort [chiliarch]at Antonia to suppress any disturbance at festival times [21:31]
51. the flight of steps used by the guards [21:31, 35]
52. the common way to obtain Roman citizenship at this time [22:28]
53. the tribune being impressed with Roman rather than Tarsian citizenship [22:29]
54. Ananias being high priest at this time [23:2]
55. Felix being governor at this time [23:34]
56. the natural shopping point on the way to Caesarea [23:31]
57. whose jurisdiction Cilicia was in at the time [23:34]
58. the provincial penal procedure of the time [24:1-9]
59. the name Porcius Festus, which agrees precisely with that given by Josephus [24:27]
60. the right of appeal for Roman citizens [25:11]
61. the correct legal formula [25:18]
62. the characteristic form of reference to the emperor at the time [25:26]
63. the best shipping lanes at the time [27:5]
64. the common bonding of Cilicia and Pamphylia [27:4]
65. the principal port to find a ship sailing to Italy [27:5-6]
66. the slow passage to Cnidus, in the fact of the typical northwest wind [27:7]
67. the right route to sail, in view of the winds [27:7]
68. the locations of Fair Havens and the neighboring site of Lasea [27:8]
69. Fair Havens as a poorly sheltered roadstead [27:7]
70. a noted tendency of a south wind in these climes to back suddenly to a violent northeaster, the well-known gregale [27:13]
71. the nature of a square-rigged ancient ship, having no option but to be driven before a gale [27:15]
72. the precise place and name of this island [27:16]
73. the appropriate maneuvers for the safety of the ship in its particular plight [27:16]
74. the fourteenth night-a remarkable calculation, based inevitably on a compounding of estimates and probabilities, confirmed in the judgement of experienced Mediterranean navigators [27:27]
75. the proper term of the time for the Adriatic [27:27]
76. the precise term [Bolisantes] for taking soundings, and the correct depth of the water near Malta [27:28]
77. a position that suits the probable line of approach of a ship released to run before an easterly wind [27:39]
78. the severe liability on guards who permitted a prisoner to escape [27:42]
79. the local people and superstitions of the day [28:4-6]
80. the proper title protos tes nesou [28:7]
81. Regium as a refuge to await a southerly wind to carry them through the strait [28:13]
82. Appii Forum and Tres Tabernae as correctly placed stopping places on the Appian Way [28:15]
83. appropriate means of custody with Roman soliders [28:16]
84. the conditions of imprisonment, living “at his own expense” [28:30-31] [1]

With these facts in mind, it seems reasonable to conclude that the author of Acts [who I believe was Luke] was an eyewitness of the events recorded or at the very least had access to reliable eyewitnesses.

It is also of interest that in the Book of Acts, the author records 35 miracles.

Courage and Godspeed,

1. The facts are as listed by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p. 256-259.


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