New Book: A Theology of Luke and Acts

Darrell Bock’s new book A Theology of Luke and Acts came in yesterday’s mail (Thanks Zondervan!)  I have read parts of the book through NetGalley, but it is good to have a real book in my hands at last.  I had considered it as a textbook for my Gospels and Acts class next year, but it was not released in time for use as a textbook in the fall.

The book is akin to Andreas Kostenberger’s Theology of John and his Letters (Zondervan, 2010).  Both books have the same general format (bibliography at the beginning of a chapter ala the Word Biblical Commentaries; numbering sections of the book, and dual-column footnotes).  Both books also have a simple table of contents followed by a very detailed outline Table of Contents (8 pages!) I find this extremely useful for finding a detail buried in a chapter.  The legal-style number for sections is fine, but really should have been dropped for the fourth chapter, an outline and summary of Luke – Acts.  Paragraphs with the heading A are not particularly helpful.

After four chapters of introductory material, Bock provides 16 chapters  on major theological themes in Luke – Acts. He begins with the plan, activity and character of God (ch. 5) and the promise / fulfillment texts as a witness to the plan of God  (ch. 6).  Chapters 7-8 deal with aspects of Jesus as Messiah, chapter 9 concerns the Holy Spirit in Luke – Acts.  This is interesting to me since books of this sort tend to emphasize Luke’s view of the Holy Spirit.  Bock has an efficient 14 pages on the topic, although the Holy Spirit is a motif which runs through most of the other topics as well.  Chapters 10-11 deal with Salvation in Luke and Acts, then a chapter each on Israel, Gentiles the Church, and Disciples in Luke-Acts (12-15).   Chapter 16 discusses the opponents in Luke – Acts, and provides a window into Luke’s view of the Roman empire.

Chapter 17 is worthy of a monograph, Bock discusses Luke’s view of women and the poor, although most of the chapter deals with women in Luke – Acts.  This is a sociological study, and while not as detailed as other studies it is an excellent introduction to Luke’s unique view of women in the New Testament. Chapter 18 is a brief look at Luke’s view of the Law. The chapter is a mere 10 pages, making me wonder if law is is an important enough theme to include in the book.  The theology section concludes with a chapter on Ecclesiology  and Eschatology in Luke – Acts.  Bock concludes the book with a chapter on Luke and the Canon (synoptic issues, but also parallels with Paul and the catholic epistles).  His final chapter summarizes the book into six key theological themes in Luke.

I have only scanned the material in this book, having already read portions via NetGalley.  The book certainly lives up to my expectations in providing the biblical theology missing from Bock’s commentaries on Luke and Acts.   Zondervan is to be applauded for continuing to publish serious scholarship written by Evangelicals, and I look forward to other contributions to this series. While this book will not please everyone, Bock has contributed a readable summary of the major aspects of Luke’s theology.