Book Review: A Life-Changing Encounter With God’s Word From The Book Of Acts

A Life-Changing Encounter With God’s Word From The Book Of Acts, by the Navigators

As the fourth and final book that I read in relatively quick succession in this series [1], this book is unfortunately the worst of the series so far, and somewhat surprisingly, far longer than the rest at over 200 pages (hardly a long book, it should be noted).  On the positive side, this book has many features that the rest of the series has, and it was comfortable to read them and worthwhile also to examine the way that the book included helpful commentary on Roman history to give context to the materials of Acts.  As the authors note, Acts is far from an exhaustive account on what the Apostles did after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as some apostles are not mentioned at all, and even those that are are not discussed completely, not even Paul, whose missionary efforts after his first release from prison around 62AD are not included, to say nothing of the missionary journeys of Thomas and others, which would have been an exciting book, it should be noted.  The fact that the authors note this does speak positively for it at least a little, and given the way that this book falls short because of the antinomian approach of the authors [2], that ought to be seen as at least some excellence.

As should not be surprising given the previous reviews of this series, the book begins with a discussion on how to use the study, an overview of the book along with a timeline and a map of the Roman empire, and then eighteen lessons about the contents of Acts (which are divided up into units that are not always in order), before a concluding review and a discussion of some study aids, some of which [3] will likely be familiar to many readers.  As might be expected given the fact that the book takes only about 200 pages to cover a reasonably large book of the Bible, there is a lot of skipping and superficial reading here.  In the case of Acts, this is particularly lamentable, given the fact that this is a book which rewards close reading of a kind that this study does not provide because that would likely make the book too long to be salable, and books that are not salable do not become flagship efforts as part of a popular series.

There are really two main problems in this book that are mirror images of each other that result from the superficial and agenda-driven way the authors approach this book.  On the one side, the authors are at pains to mention over and over again, speciously, that Christianity appealed to many godfearers because it managed to underbid Judaism when it came to what was required in terms of obedience to God.  Specifically, the authors appear to have something against the food laws, which are mentioned over and over again despite the fact that the Bible nowhere even hints that such laws are no longer in effect for believers.  On the other side, the authors appear to not draw conclusions from the way that the book of Acts consistently shows Paul keeping the Sabbath wherever he goes, and more than a few of the Holy Days as well, something that the authors would do well to reflect on and compare to their own practices.  At any rate, this book is not without value, but the poor approach towards God’s law greatly detracts from the enjoyment and worth of this particular volume.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/20/book-review-a-life-changing-encounter-with-gods-word-from-the-book-of-titus/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/20/book-review-a-life-changing-encounter-with-gods-word-from-the-book-of-nehemiah/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/20/book-review-a-life-changing-encounter-with-gods-word-from-the-book-of-1-peter/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/11/15/a-compendium-of-sabbath-observance-in-the-book-of-acts/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/07/20/the-politics-of-acts-part-one/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/08/02/acts-2017-38-the-enduring-relevance-of-pauls-warning-to-the-ephesian-elders/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/07/23/you-shall-not-eat-an-examination-of-the-biblical-food-laws/

[3] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014/02/20/book-review-paul-apostle-of-the-heart-set-free/

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About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Book Reviews, Christianity, Church of God, History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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