Shelf Life Book Review: The Acts of the Apostles

By Abram Kielsmeier-Jones

The Acts of the Apostles: Interpretation, History and Theology
IVP Academic, 2016

Osvaldo Padilla calls his Acts of the Apostles “an ‘advanced’ introduction” (13). Acts is a “Hellenistic historical monograph in the Jewish tradition” (62), but Luke took an existing form and “appropriated it to communicate an essentially theological message of salvation through Jesus Christ” (65). The author of Acts, then, is a historian, but a decidedly “theological historian” (107).

In his final chapter, Padilla moves into conversation with postliberal theology. Interesting as the section is, even the theologically trained reader might be content with the good work of the first five chapters.

This book is not a comprehensive introduction; there is no outline of Acts nor concern for dating its composition. But for what Padilla aims to cover (theological and philosophical interpretation, specifically around genre and history), the book proves to be well-researched and engaging.

This review also appears in the September–October '16 issue of Bible Study Magazine.