Read an Excerpt
By Clinton E. Arnold Mark L. Strauss
ZondervanCopyright © 2002 Mark L. Strauss
All right reserved.
Chapter OneUnity and Main Themes of Luke and Acts (Luke-Acts)
It is widely recognized today that Luke and Acts are two parts of a single two-volume work (Luke-Acts). Acts picks up where the Gospel ends and claims to be a continuation of the story that began with Jesus' life, death, and resurrection (Acts 1:1-2). The two works share not only a common style and vocabulary, but also a common purpose, themes, and theology.
1. Promise-fulfillment. The central theme running throughout Luke-Acts is that the coming of Jesus the Messiah heralds the dawn of the new age-the age of salvation. What was promised by the Old Testament prophets is now being fulfilled. Through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection forgiveness of sins is now offered to all people.
2. The age of the Spirit. The new age of salvation is the age of the Spirit. In Luke's birth narrative (Luke 1-2), the long-silent Spirit of prophecy suddenly breaks forth in praise and prophetic declaration through Zechariah, Mary, Elizabeth, and Simeon-representatives of Israel's righteous remnant. At Jesus' baptism the Spirit anoints and empowers him to accomplish the messianic task (3:22; 4:1, 14, 18). Finally, in Acts Jesus pours out his Spirit on the church, empowering its members to take thegospel to the ends of the earth. As promised by the Old Testament prophets, the coming of the Spirit means that the last days have arrived, so that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:21, citing Joel 2:28-32).
3. A gospel for all nations. Closely related to the theme of promise-fulfillment is the universal application of the message of salvation. While the gospel message arises from within Israel and fulfills the promises made to her, it is a message for all people. Just as the prophets predicted, the coming of the Messiah inaugurates a new era, when all nations will be called to participate in the salvation available through Jesus the Messiah. The key for Luke is the continuity between the history of Israel, the person and work of Jesus, and the expansion of his church from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. This theme is introduced in the Gospel and comes to fruition in the worldwide mission of the church in Acts.
* Luke IMPORTANT FACTS:
AUTHOR: Luke: physician, coworker, and traveling companion with the apostle Paul. Probably the only New Testament work written by a Gentile.
PORTRAIT OF CHRIST: Jesus, the Savior for all people. Part One of a Two-Volume Work: Luke's Gospel is the first half of a single two-volume work ("Luke-Acts"), sharing purpose, themes, and theology with the book of Acts.
CENTRAL THEME OF LUKE-ACTS: Luke seeks to show that God's great plan of salvation has come to fulfillment in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Messiah, and continues to unfold as the Spirit-filled church takes the message of salvation from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
OTHER KEY THEMES:
1. Promise-fulfillment: The age of salvation has arrived in Jesus the Messiah.
2. The age of the Spirit: The sign of the new age is the coming of the Spirit in the ministry of Jesus and the early church.
3. The gospel is "good news" for all people, regardless of race, gender, or social status.
PURPOSE IN WRITING: To defend and legitimize the claims of the church as the authentic people of God in the present age.
RECIPIENT: Theophilus, but intended for a larger Christian audience.
Excerpted from Luke by Clinton E. Arnold Mark L. Strauss Copyright © 2002 by Mark L. Strauss. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.