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N.T. Wright for Everyone Bible Study: Acts
About this Series
The widely respected pastor and New Testament scholar, N. T. Wright, walks you book by book through the entire New Testament in this series. Perfect for group use or daily personal reflection, these studies use the popular inductive method combined with Wright's thoughtful insights to bring contemporary application of Scripture to life.
About this Volume
The mysterious presence of Jesus haunts the whole story of Acts. Jesus is announced as King and Lord, not as an increasingly distant memory but as a living and powerful reality, a person who can be known and loved, obeyed and followed, a person who continues to act within the real world. We call the book "The Acts of the Apostles," but we should think of it as "The Acts of Jesus: Part Two." These studies help us to do so, and to see how Jesus' acts through the apostles inform and empower our acts today.
This volume also available as part of a money-saving bundle.
- Includes suggestions for individual and group study (with leader's guide)
- Features the popular inductive Bible study method with notes and comments from a world-renowned New Testament scholar
- Designed specifically for lay people to facilitate contemporary application of Scripture
From the Preface
The book of Acts is full of the energy and excitement of the early Christians as they found God doing new things all over the place and learned to take the good news of Jesus around the world. It's also full of the puzzles and problems that churches faced then and face today--crises over leadership, money, ethnic divisions, theology and ethics, not to mention serious clashes with political and religious authorities. It's comforting to know that "normal church life," even in the time of the first apostles, was neither trouble-free nor plain sailing, just as it's encouraging to know that even in the midst of all their difficulties the early church was able to take the gospel forward in such dynamic ways.
At one level, this book is the story of the early church--told very selectively, like all history, and told with an eye to particular concerns and interests. But Luke wants us to read it, all the way through, as a book about Jesus, a book indeed with Jesus as the principal actor, rather like some of the plays by Samuel Beckett, where the action on stage sometimes crucially depends on a person whom the audience never actually sees.
As a result, Luke wants us to read his work on another level as well. This is a play in which we are invited to become actors ourselves. The stage opens up and we discover we're in the middle of the action. That is part of the point of the "ending" which isn't really an ending: the story continues, and we are part of it.
As we do so, Luke is keen that we latch on to two things which are fundamental to his whole book and his whole view of the world. First, everything is based on the resurrection of Jesus. In the last chapter of his Gospel, Luke described some of the scenes in which Jesus met his followers after being raised from the dead: he was really alive, richly alive, in a transformed body that could eat and drink as well as walk and talk but which seemed to have . . . some different properties. His body could, for instance, appear and disappear, and come and go through locked doors.
To us, that sounds as if he was a ghost, someone less than properly embodied. What Luke and the other writers who describe the risen body of Jesus are saying, rather, is that Jesus is more than ordinarily embodied, not less. His transformed body is the beginning of God's new creation in which heaven and earth will come together in a new way (Rev 21 and Ep 1). Jesus' risen body is the beginning of a heavenly reality which is fully at home on, and in, this physical world, and the beginning of a transformed physical world which is fully at home in God's sphere. The point of the resurrection itself is that without it there is no gospel, no ongoing work of Jesus. There would only be the sad memory of a great but failed teacher and would-be Messiah. The resurrection of Jesus who died under the weight of the world's evil is the foundation of the new world, God's new world, whose opening scenes Luke is describing.
The second thing Luke wants us to latch onto, which he gets to right at the beginning, is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. From the start he insists that the Spirit is present and that they are about to discover the Spirit as a new and powerful reality in the lives of his followers. Rather than being John's baptism of water and repentance to restore Israel, the Spirit's baptism would restore humanity, celebrating the fact that God was becoming king of the whole world, and knowing that as a reality inside their own selves. At the heart of Luke's book is that God is at work doing a new thing in the whole world.
Acts is a book where more journeys take place than anywhere else in the BibleŚwith the last journey, in particular, including a terrific storm and a dramatic shipwreck. There isn't a dull page in the story. But equally important, the whole book reminds us, as I said earlier, that we are part of the story ourselves. Whatever "journey" we are making, in our own lives, our spirituality, our following of Jesus, and our work for his kingdom, his Spirit will guide us too, and make us fruitful in his service.
About the Author(s)
N. T. Wright, formerly bishop of Durham in England, is research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He was formerly canon theologian of Westminster Abbey and dean of Lichfield Cathedral. He also taught New Testament studies for twenty years at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. Wright's full-scale works The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God and The Resurrection of the Son of God are part of a projected six-volume series titled Christian Origins and the Question of God. Among his many other published works are Surprised by Hope and Simply Christian.
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The Fine Print
Copyright © 2010-2017 by Laridian, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Laridian, PocketBible, and MyBible are registered trademarks of Laridian, Inc. DailyReader, Memorize!, PrayerPartner, eTract, BookBuilder, VerseLinker, iPocketBible, DocAnalyzer, Change the way you look at the Bible, and The Bible. Anywhere. are trademarks of Laridian, Inc. Other marks are the property of their respective owners.
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