Luke-Acts comprises about twenty-seven percent of the New Testament. This represents the largest percentage by a single author. In this volume, A Theology of Luke and Acts, Darrell Bock gives us an introduction to and a theological survey of the Lucan Corpus. This book is part of a larger series published by Zondervan titled: Biblical Theology of the New Testament.
I have read three different commentaries by Bock on the book of Luke. That being said, the material here is organized in a much different fashion. This is not an expositional commentary on the text. Rather, it consists of introductory material, theological themes and canonical discussion. Bock is an excellent New Testament scholar and he shares with us the fruits of his study in this volume.
For this review, I have chosen to focus on chapter 22: Luke-Acts in the Canon. This sections deals with 1. The Reception of Luke-Acts into the Canon, 2. Luke’s Contribution to the Canon, 3. Luke’s Parallels with Other Parts of the New Testament and 4. How Normative is Luke-Acts?
1. The Reception of Luke-Acts into the Canon
This section introduces the reader to the acceptance of the early church to Luke as the author of the Gospel account that bears his name as well as it’s acceptance into the canon of scripture.
2. Luke’s Contribution to the Canon
This section is split into two sections: Contributions Tied to God, Jesus, and the Spirit and Contributions Tied to the Activity of the Church.
A. Contributions Tied to God, Jesus, and the Spirit
Bock shows us here how God works out his plan of salvation in the person of Jesus through the power of the Spirit. He discusses the unique contributions Luke makes in helping us understand the program of God, eschatology, divine providence, Jesus’ teachings especially through parables, the role of the Holy Spirit, and the miraculous activity of God through Jesus and the apostles.
B. Contributions Tied to the Activity of the Church
Here we see Luke’s contribution to our understanding of the church’s mission, structure, preaching, missionary activity, ethics, and prayer.
3. Luke’s Parallels with Other Parts of the New Testament
In this section, Bock shows us the parallels with the various other parts of the New Testament: The Synoptics, John’s Gospel, Paul’s Writings, The Catholic (Universal) Letters, and Revelation. Bock does a masterful job of showing how the themes and theology weave in seamlessly with the rest of the New Testament canon.
4. How Normative is Luke-Acts?
Here we ask the question: Should we expect the things that happen in Luke-Acts to be a normal experience in the life of the church and believer?
Bock leads us into the understanding that God acts when and how He wills. We should never presume upon God and say that He has to act in a certain way.
Overall, I have found this book to be informative and an excellent guide to understanding Luke’s theology. I recommend this as an introduction to any study of Luke-Acts. You will find that this book will give you a good foundation for teaching, preaching, or studying through these texts of Holy Scripture.
This book was provided to me for the purpose of review by Zondervan.
- Hardback: 494 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan
- ISBN-13: 978-0310270898
There are many tools available for studying scripture. Many books discuss in great detail the culture or the literary style of the biblical books. This book is a “guide to Christ-focused reading of scripture.” It has a simple format and the chapters are very short. The aim is to see Christ in and through the entire Bible. Sometimes that is very explicit. At other times it is implicit. Michael Williams has put together a useful guide to help us along the way.
The chapters start with a theme for the specific book of the Bible. This theme is pronounced in a box as to be easily identified. The paragraph before and after the box help to flesh out the theme. We are then given a memory passage that ties into the theme. The next section is called “the Jesus lens”. This ties in with the theme as well telling us how Jesus is either the fulfillment of or how He accomplishes the theme. Contemporary Implications is the next section and it tells us why the theme matters today. Finally, we have a section called “Hook Questions”. These questions are designed to help us apply the theme to our own life.
I recommend this book as a companion to one’s Bible reading. It will help you see Christ as He is revealed in all of scripture. This tool is a welcome addition to the many tools that are helping in the area of Bible literacy.
This book was provided to me by Zondervan for the purpose of review.
- Paperback: 288 Pages
- Publisher: Zondervan
- ISBN-13: 978-0310331650
“Two concepts of Christian spirituality-one narrow, the other holistic-now circulate. The narrow version is concerned with experiencing the presence, voice, and consolations of God in a direct, right here-and-now way……Holistic spirituality is about living all of life before God.” (Glen Scorgie, excerpt from chapter 1) Much of the Christian world in the past century seem to have been more concerned with the first (narrow) view to the neglect of the second (holistic) view. If you study Christian history, you will find an overall more balanced view. In recent years, Christians have shown an increased interest in the holistic approach as they want a deeper more substantial faith than that of their predecessors.
The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality will be a useful guide in understanding what shapes us as spiritual beings. This book has two main sections. The first section includes 34 articles written by various scholars discussing integrative perspectives. These include perspectives on spirituality in the scriptures, spirituality in history and how spirituality shapes how we function in the world around us. I have found these articles to be well written and instructive. The second section is a dictionary of ideas and people that have shaped Christian spirituality over the centuries. The entries are concise but thorough.
I have not had much time to spend with this book but the time I have spent in it has been intriguing and informative. This promises to be a valuable reference tool for years to come. This book is cost efficient considering the scholarly research that went into its making. The format is pleasing to the eyes and the cover is durable enough to last for many years. It also looks good on the shelf. Thank you Zondervan for this valuable addition to the growing discussion of Christian spirituality.
- Hardcover: 864 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan (July 16, 2011)
- ISBN-13: 978-0310290667
This book was provided to me free of charge by the publisher for the purpose of review.
When I first heard about this book, I was excited. I liked the title: The King Jesus Gospel. I knew that he would talk about how the Gospel relates to the Kingdom of God. I wondered if he would mention Lordship salvation. I hoped that he would talk about the grand narrative of scripture. McKnight does this and more. This book is a reaction to the shallow evangelistic methods and anemic “gospeling” of the day.
Scot McKnight writes this book as a corrective for much that has gone wrong in modern evangelism. “I believe we are focused on the wrong things”,writes McKnight. Anyone who grew up in a church that used scripted evangelistic programs and/or programmed visitation can relate to the experiences and disappointments that McKnight recounts. As I read the introduction, I found myself transported back in time to my own experiences. Throughout the book I saw McKnight put into words the thoughts that have been in my mind for some time. So what is the problem and how do we fix it?
McKnight suggests that we have a salvation culture not a gospel culture: “The evangelical culture focuses on the experience of personal salvation as the decisive factor for creating that culture.” We are concerned with people being saved from hell but we are not dedicated to them living in the light of the gospel for the rest of their lives. This is why true discipleship is lacking in the church. Our focus is on saving them from something but not necessarily to something. We fail to address the kingdom living issues. I found myself in complete agreement with the author on this assessment.
After our attention has been brought to bear on this diminution , we are taken to the reality of the full gospel. The source is of course the scripture. We are given examples in the writings of Paul, the gospel according to the four evangelists and the teaching of Jesus Himself. I rejoice that the author goes to scripture for the answer to the question, “What is the Gospel?” McKnight then goes on to instruct us on how to usher in this gospel culture. I do not want to spoil your reading of the book so I hope this whets your appetite.
I do not always agree with McKnight. Indeed, I did not always agree with what he said in this book. But I found McKnight to be correct in reacting against the current culture, compelling in his arguments, kind to those he disagrees with and passionate about proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope that this book gains a wide reading. I hope that this topic is much discussed. And I hope that his critics will exhibit the same gracious spirit that he does in his writing.
This book was provided to me free of charge from Zondervan for the purpose of review.
- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan (September 13, 2011)
- ISBN-13: 978-0310492986