This engaging book guides readers through one of the most colorful books of the Bible, illuminating passages from Acts that show the Christian gospel expressing itself through the lives, speech, struggles, and adventures of Jesus's followers.
The book emphasizes the disruptive character of the Christian gospel and shows how Acts repeatedly describes God as upsetting the status quo by changing people's lives, society's conventions, and our basic expectations of what's possible.
Suited for individual and group study, this book by a New Testament scholar with a gift for popular communication asks serious questions and eschews pat answers, bringing Acts alive for contemporary reflection on the character of God, the challenges of faith, and the church.
Road Map: As You Read This Book
Acts 1:1-11: Waiting to Go
Acts 2:1-21: Making Sense of Things
Acts 2:22-41: Keeping an Old Promise
Road Map: Emerging Realities
Acts 3:11-26 and 4:5-12: The Ultimate Disruption
Acts 4:32-5:11: Communal Harmony as a Matter of Life or Death
Acts 6:1-7: Growth Brings Change--and Surprise
Acts 7:54-60: Using Violence to Keep God under Control
Road Map: Expansions
Acts 8:4-25: Spiritual Power, Spiritual Gift, and Spiritual Greed
Acts 8:26-40: Absurdly Good News
Acts 9:1-30: Seeing a Different Reality
Acts 9:32-43: The Work, Pain, and Tenderness of Christian Service
Acts 10:1-11:18: Old Boundaries Obliterated
Acts 12:1-19: Coming to Our Senses
Road Map: God Is Still Speaking
Acts 13:1-4: Called and Commissioned
Acts 14:8-20: Learning to Recognize God
Acts 15:1-35: Discerning God
Road Map: Very Public Disturbances
Acts 16:9-40: Battle of the Gods
Acts 17:16-34: The Gospel in the Flesh
Acts 18:1-17: When the Good News Escapes Attention
Acts 18:24-19:20: There's Power in the Name
Acts 19:21-41: Far-Reaching Disruptions
Road Map: The Witness Goes to Rome
Acts 21:1-6: Spirit-Led Disagreement
Acts 22:30-23:11: How to Be a Hero
Acts 25:1-12: The Gospel and the Empire
Acts 27-28: Open Horizons
What others are saying about Intrusive God, disruptive Gospel
"Matthew Skinner probes the book of Acts in an impressively effective way. He successfully negotiates the vexed issue of history and theology and offers a concise, accessible theological twist to every text he considers. His study shows the way in which the narrative text of Acts continues to be compelling for the church's self-understanding and mission."
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"The book of Acts tells an exciting story that warrants the sort of engagement it is afforded here. Skinner takes us beyond the pedantic concerns of academia to experience the power of the story itself, to participate in its transformations and discoveries. Anyone who is spiritual and/or religious will benefit from this disruptive encounter with 'absurdly good news.'"
Mark Allan Powell, professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
"There is no doubt that Acts is an entertaining read, full of the stuff of legend and tall tales. But what is a twenty-first-century Christian to do with such an unusual collection of stories about the early years of our faith? Enter Matthew Skinner, an internationally renowned scholar of Acts who has, for decades now, immersed himself in Acts--studying, writing, teaching, and preaching it. In this book, Skinner grips our attention, all of it, as he honestly, artfully, judiciously, concisely, and consistently connects our experience with the book of Acts. Chapter by chapter, Skinner teaches us, raises crucial questions--the raw, complex questions that we real readers have--and then offers bold conclusions born from his observations as both a scholar and a Christian."
Jaime Clark-Soles, associate professor of New Testament, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
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