During our years on a church planting team in rural Africa we spent a lot of time as a team reflecting on what the book of Acts could teach us about the practical aspects of bringing the gospel to the unreached. This is the lens which I've often approached the book, looking for instruction, or patterns to guide best practices of evangelism and discipleship.
Picking up this book on the theology of Acts, I was humbly reminded of ways I keep on an invisible pair of glasses as I read scripture, prone to interpreting the words through my experience and perspective. It may be a natural inclination for us to do so, yet there's such importance to taking a step back from our own perspective and search the text with new eyes, benefiting through the wisdom of other teachers and theologians, to gain a new understanding of a text that may be familiar to us.
In The Mission of the Triune God by Patrick Schreiner, he follows the theological themes in Acts to show us God's mission and how the Father, Son and Spirit interact to bring his plan to completion.
So often, we think about Acts as a book about the Holy Spirit, or as the acts of the apostles, but this text dives deeper into who God is and how He acts through the apostles in the early church.
The first three chapters discuss the roles of God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit throughout Acts. The remaining 4 chapters show us the progress and spread of the Word, how salvation is offered to all people, how the church was formed into community, and the role of the church as witnesses to the ends of the earth.
He summarizes it this way,
"the triune God stands at the head because the remaining themes flow from God the Father's plan, centered on the risen and enthroned Jesus, and the empowerment of the Spirit. The Spirit then empowers the word concerning salvation in Jesus's name. Through the word, salvation in Jesus's name is announced to all flesh. Salvation creates the church (the body of Christ), which witnesses to the actions of the triune God."
We may find it difficult to understand the concept of the Trinity, one God who exists in three persons as Father, Son and Spirit. But this book beautifully shows how God orchestrates through Christ who lives and rules, through the empowering Spirit-one God acting for His mission and purposes in the world.
This helps me understand how He continues to act in the world today, that the Father is sovereign over all things, that Christ is reigning in heaven, interceding for us, and how the Spirit brings God's presence to earth. Our God is majestic and wonderful and he is moving through out the world today to establish his kingdom and his purposes.
When we lack hope or fear amidst uncertainty, we need only to reflect on who God is to recognize his presence and activity around us.
So, if you're studying the book of Acts, taking the time to explore the different theological themes, I'd highly recommend this one! It's not long, but it takes some time to go through. It may challenge you, but there's some really great insights and principles to glean!
# of pages: 193
Level of Difficulty: Moderate - for theological concepts
My Rating: 5 stars!
*A big thanks to Crossway for the complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to post an honest review.