Who are the major players in Acts? Peter takes up the first 12 chapters, and, including chapter 9, Saul/Paul fills in the rest of the chapters from Acts 13 to the end. Who led the church, the Jesus movement, this new people in Christ? In his commentary on James, William Varner suggests that James, the brother of Jesus, didn’t play as small of a role in the church as we often think he did.

Varner, backed with evidence from Martin Hengel and Richard Bauckham, claims,

A careful reading of Luke’s account in Acts and Paul’s comments in Galatians fully supports the idea that James was not merely a significant leader in the early church and not just the leader of the Jerusalem church, but that he was the leader of the church. The implications of this fact are significant not only for the Roman Catholic attitude toward Peter, but…

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