Scholars, pastors and serious Bible students will find great benefit in Darrell Bock’s new work, A Theology of Luke and Acts: God’s Promised Program, Realized for All Nations (Biblical Theology of the New Testament Series). This volume is the product of decades of research and study by Bock on Luke’s two contributions to the New Testament.
Bock’s states his goal in producing this book:
To reconnect the volumes to each other and to tell Luke’s theological story in which one cannot see Jesus without understanding the story of the community that he was responsible for launching (p. 28).
As a contribution to the genre of biblical theology, readers will be directed God-ward as Bock focuses on the strong trinitarian foundation of Luke. God the Father is the “key actor” in the two New Testament books. They are not primarily about the church and the apostles. They are about God.
Luke’s portrayal of Jesus is that he appeared to bring fulfillment to the promise of God and to carry out the plan of God. The promise-plan theme is crucial.
The Holy Spirit is also key. He is the gift given to the church and drives the preaching and mission of the new community of believers.
The remainder of this review will center on Chapter 19, “Ecclesiology in Luke-Acts”. First, consider the chapter outline.
19.1 The Church: Old and New
19.2 The Church Becomes Distinct
19.3 A New Thing: The Church as a Spirit-Indwelt Community
19.4 The Church and Jesus Rule
19.5 The Apostles and the Church
19.6 Israel and the Church
19.7 Key Personalities in the Early Church
19.8 Structure, Activity, and Worship in the Church
For those who turn to Luke or Acts for a detailed manual on worship styles, church programs or organization will be disappointed. Luke writes little about those issues. He describes some basics such as being devoted to the apostles’ teaching, breaking bread and prayer.
Luke is far more interested in how the church engages their calling to take the message of the gospel into the world. Almost all of the activity we just traced in the key personalities moves in this direction (p. 387).
Bock’s work is highly recommended to those who desire to see the church today be grounded in biblical truth that has a laser focus on fulfilling the gospel mission given by God.