When the book of Acts is mentioned, a cluster of issues spring to mind, including speaking in tongues and baptism with the Holy Spirit, church government and practice, and missionary methods and strategies. At the popular level, Acts is more often mined for answers to contemporary debates than heard for its natural inflections.
Alan Thompson argues that Acts is an account of the “continuing story” of God's saving purposes. Instead of using Acts as a proof-text, he brings a biblical-theological framework to the account to expose Luke’s major themes as they relate to the book as a whole. Consequently, we find that Luke wants to be read in light of the Old Testament promises and the continuing reign of Christ in the inaugurated kingdom. Read in this way as a snapshot of God’s dynamic, unfolding kingdom, the book of Acts begins to regain the deep relevance it had in the first century.
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“This book will especially highlight Acts as an account of the ‘continuing story’ of God’s saving purposes. Luke intends his work to be read in the light of OT promises and the continuing reign of Christ. Acts is best understood, therefore, in this ‘biblical-theological’ framework that highlights the move from the OT to what the kingdom of God looks like now that Christ has come, died, risen and ascended to the right hand of the Father.” (Page 17)
“Thus ‘the author is continuing the story of Israel where it left off. That is to say, he is intending to write biblical narrative.” (Page 21)
“Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of God is best understood along the lines of ‘inaugurated eschatology’, or, in the words of George Ladd, ‘fulfilment without consummation’.” (Page 40)
“Luke is drawing attention to the continued outworking of God’s saving purposes specifically in the inaugurated kingdom of God through the reign of the Lord Jesus.” (Page 29)
“‘the Acts of the Lord Jesus, through his people, by the Holy Spirit, for the accomplishment of God’s purposes’” (Page 49)
No one should teach or preach from the Acts of the Apostles again without first reading this book.
—Douglas S. Huffman, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
This is a very helpful book which I have read with great appreciation. Thompson provides exactly what he sets out to do: a clear framework for reading Acts which takes careful account of many major themes and issues, and a framework which equips his readers to explore further themselves.
—Steve Walton, Evangelical Quarterly
This book will help readers further appreciate the organic and progressive nature of revelation and understand the narrative flow and canonical function of the book of Acts. The connections made with previous revelation . . . are very illuminating and will stimulate much thought whether one agrees or disagrees with Thompson’s conclusions. I recommend the book highly.
—Richard C. Barcellos, Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Alan J. Thompson is the Head of the New Testament Department at Sydney Missionary and Bible College, Australia. He is the author of One Lord, One People: The Unity of the Church in Acts (LNTS), The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus (NSBT), Luke (EGGNT), and Colossians and Philemon (TNTC).
Danie van Zijl