Respected scholar Darrell Bock delivers in this volume on his topic of the theology of Luke and Acts in the BTNT series. Mr. Bock, already hailed as having given us the best modern exegetical commentary on Luke, writes on a subject here he has given many years of his life to study.
You will find all the usual suspects on the study of Luke and Acts–the connection of Luke and Acts, salvation, Christ, the Holy Spirit, women, and the poor. But there’s more. Things I hadn’t thought much of in regards to Luke and Acts, all laid out in a cogent, clear, persuasive form. As you would expect, he interacts much with other scholars and their opinions as he travels along his subject. As a pastor I can’t help but see some of that as the straitjacket the scholarly world has wrapped around itself. Still, he is concise enough that his text holds interest. If you are like me, you so think of Luke as one of the Gospels that you at times forget its special connection to Acts.
Zondervan asked we reviewers to pick one chapter and particularly review it. I chose the one that I felt I had the least knowledge of–“The Law in Luke-Acts” (Chapter 18). It really didn’t seem to me Luke or Acts had a lot to say on that subject.
Mr. Bock shows us that the scholarly world has had occasion to analyze the subject recently. He laid out the basics clearly in 3 paragraphs. I appreciate Mr. Bock fairly representing other viewpoints while telling his conclusion. In doing so he dodges the problem of becoming so immersed in details, as many do, that they forget a conclusion was why we went digging in the first place. I don’t have to agree to enjoy the evidence being weighed and a conclusion being drawn.
He concludes that “… in the end law-abiding for Luke is only a consideration for Jewish believers, while Gentiles must be sensitive to certain practices tied to the law.” His idea seems to be “law-sensitive” is the orientation of Luke and Acts, and that it carries “realized promise” but no “salvation benefit.” Of course it has no salvation benefit, and I doubt Luke is really “conservative” in regards to the Law. More likely, to my mind, it’s Jewish person-sensitive since Christ has uprooted what has been deeply ingrained into the very fiber of their people. I’d say it’s more a sensitivity to the complications of a progressive revelation.
He also masterfully discusses the issues of whether or not the Law failed, or at least how should what Jesus did be accounted for with the Law. He lays out all the possibilities available to form an opinion. I left it thinking that the Law failed in doing what people imagined it would while it fully succeeded in all the Lord planned for it to do.
He traced things like Sabbath incidents and gave us the data that is needed to form our opinions. Mr. Bock succeeds because he gave me what I needed to decide for myself. And he did it well. The whole book delivers in this way. I suspect this book will be popular among scholars, students, and pastors. As for me, it will hold a prominent place on my shelves and will be the first volume I reach for on questions of Luke-Acts theology. What better recommendation could a pastor possibly give?
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .