This review appeared in the Apr-Jun 2013 vol. 170 no. 2 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
A Theology of Luke and Acts: God’s Promised Program Realized for All NationsZondervan, Grand Rapids June 5, 2012
The Biblical Theology of the New Testament series, edited by Andreas J. Köstenberger, “provides upper college and seminary-level textbooks for students of New Testament theology, interpretation, and exegesis. Pastors and discerning theology readers alike will benefit from this series” (back cover). The series attempts to engage “one of the most promising avenues of biblical and theological research today. In essence, Biblical Theology engages in the study of the biblical texts while giving careful consideration to the historical setting in which a given piece of writing originated. It seeks to locate and relate the contributions of the respective biblical documents along the lines of the continuum of God’s salvation-historical program centered in the coming and salvific work of Christ. It also endeavors to ground the theological exploration of a given document in a close reading of the respective texts(s), whether narrative, discourse, or some other type of literature” (p. 19).
Bock, research professor of New Testament at Dallas Theology Seminary, has published several commentaries on the books of Luke and Acts. In this volume his goal is “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 he was responsible for launching” (p. 28). Bock defends the thesis that “Luke-Acts seeks to show that the coming of Jesus, Christ, and Son of God, launched the long-promised new movement of God. The community that has come from his ministry, the suffering these believers experienced, and the inclusion of Gentiles are part of God’s program promised in Scripture” (p. 29).
In part 1, “Introductory Matters,” Bock defends treating the two books as a unit, and provides an outline and narrative summary of the contents. Part 2, “Major Theological Themes” discusses the plan and activity of God, the character of God and His work of salvation, the mission of the Messiah, the work of the Holy Spirit, God’s plan for Israel and Gentile nations, the church and discipleship, social justice and care of the poor, eschatology, and the Scriptures. Part 3 discusses issues on “Luke and the Canon” and concludes with a brief summary of Luke’s theology.
This volume gives evangelical biblical scholars, theologians, and pastors an excellent resource and should help them understand the importance of biblical theology and an exegetical and homiletical approach that is canonically and theologically grounded.
—Glenn R. Kreider