On September 1, 2008 Reading Acts published its first post, “Why Acts?” I originally set up this blog as a supplement to my preaching through the Book of Acts at Rush Creek Bible Church. My plan was to offer a few thoughts before and after I preached on a particular text in Acts. After the series concluded, I kept the blog going, expanding to Pauline Theology and other New Testament topics. At some point I began adding a link to the audio for the study, although I am resisting the urge to call that a “podcast.” Remarkably, people really do download the sermons. I have no evidence the listen to them, but I appreciate the fact that someone is listening.
Reading Acts has grown consistently over the years. This is not my first attempt at blogging, but the others died a lonely death while Reading Acts thrived. In the four years I have been blogging, I have written 700 posts and now average well over 500 views a day. This summer I passed the 250,000 mark, and will likely hit 300,000 before the year is over. I find this all quite remarkable and humbling. I sometimes think that 90% of the traffic is Brazillan spam hoping to con me into buying a time-share in the Mediterranean, but that does not always seem to be the case. It is gratifying that Reading Acts is consistently in the Top Ten Biblioblogs (#8 for August 2012), although I know that several popular blogs have dropped off that list in the last year, inflating my rank just a bit. I get the occasional mention in the BiblioBlog Carnivals and some good links from Zondervan and Eerdmans.
I hosted the Biblical Studies Carnival for July on Reading Acts and took over the responsibility for drafting volunteers for the Carnival from Jim Linville about the same time. I think that these carnivals are important since they highlight some of the more serious scholarship that is happening on the internet.
Last summer I wrote a post on Top Apps for Bible Study in the iPad. This remains my top post by far and attracts more hits every month. The top non-iPad post all-time is “Who were the Judaizers?” A close second is “The Roman Cult of Emperor Worship.” I suspect that I am helping Bible College students with their papers (properly cited of course!) In the last year my post on Paul’s Disagreement with Barnabas continues to generate discussion. I think that my view is a bit different than what is usually heard from the pulpit, accounting for the occasional dissenting opinion.
Aside from iPad Apps for Biblical studies, the top search engine term which hit Reading Acts were “who were the judaizers?” and “Why did Judas betray Jesus?” I got quite a few hits from “harry potter praise,” which might be a new genre of church worship (if so I will alert the Barna Group immediately of this trend). I notice that I often get hits with this sort of a search term: “5. how did paul’s roman citizenship impact his evangelistic efforts?” Protip: If you are going to cheat on your homework, at least delete the number from your google search. My summer series on Bible Commentaries was popular, I am thinking of expanding it into some form of eBook in the future.
One of the new cool features WordPress introduced this year on the stats pages was country flags. Since February 2012, The US, UK, Canada and Australia are the most common countries to visit Reading Acts. Philippines, India and Singapore are also in the top ten. In fact, about half the hits to this blog on 2012 were from outside the US, which is remarkable (insert Brazillain spammer joke here). Occasionally google translate appears in the site log, so I know that people are reading who are not native English speakers. I would love to hear from any regular readers who visit from outside the US. Hopefully I am providing you with material you can use in your ministry or Christian walk.
What to Expect on Reading Acts. Since I am in academia, I tend to think of the year as starting in September rather than January. (I also think it ends in May, and the summer months do not count, but that is my problem). Starting in September, Reading Acts will “reboot” and return to the Gospels. Since I am teaching Jesus and the Gospels, I thought I would read through Luke and Acts on the blog, commenting on Bock’s new Theology of Luke-Acts and Talbert’s Reading Luke and Reading Acts. (Sadly, I did not realize that Talbert had written that book when I started this blog!) I am planning on teaching through the Thessalonian letters on Sunday evenings, so I will continue my practice of posting a few comments from that study along with a link to the audio.
I am looking forward to another great year on Reading Acts, thanks to everyone who regularly reads the blog. I do appreciate your interest and comments.