Acts is the second volume of Luke’s account of events related to Jesus and the life of the early church. As such it can be seen as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke and is addressed to the same person, Theophilus. Acts relates the history and development of the church from Christ’s ascension to Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. To call the book the Acts of the Holy Spirit and not the Acts of the Apostles, like some do, would be fitting. Christ departs and promises his disciples the Holy Spirit who would enable and equip them.

There are a few ways in which we can divide events in the book. We will examine three of those in this course:

  • We can divide the events in the book by prominent leadership figures. The first part focuses on Peter as the main leadership figure (chapters 1-12) and the second part is dominated by Paul as the figure of leadership (chapters 13- 28).
  • Acts can also be divided by the areas of missionary activity. Chapters 1-6 focuses on the mission in Jerusalem. In chapters 7-9 the focus shifts to Judea and Samaria and finally, in chapters 10-28, the message of Good News reaches the ends of the earth.
  • Perhaps one of the best ways to look at Acts is to divide it according to the five summaries that Luke provided, in 6:7, 9:31, 12:24, 16:5 and 19:20. It seems that these sections in Acts focus respectively on Jews only, Samaritans, God-fearers, Gentiles, Nations and finally Rome.

We will expose you to a highly effective approach to missiology, known as the Praxis Matrix, which was developed by missiologists from the University of South Africa (UNISA). This is not only an effective approach to mission praxis, but it also serves well as a model of missiological research. We will read selections from Acts with the aid of the Praxis Matrix.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the structure of the book of Acts and its historical context.
  • Critically compare different author’s views on Acts and the missional church.
  • Explain the understanding of Christian mission as God’s mission
  • Explain the “praxis matrix” approach to missiology
  • Demonstrate the impact of the praxis matrix on your own missiological approach and mission experiences.
  • Discuss how the concepts of ‘being with’ and ‘doing for’ challenge your understanding and practice of mission.
  • Design a ‘Missional church model’ for your context.

Course Outline

  • Unit 1: Structure and Background of the Book of Acts
  • Unit 2: Views on Acts and the Missional Church
  • Unit 3: The Christian Mission as God’s Mission
  • Unit 4: The “Praxis Matrix” Approach to Missiology
  • Unit 5: The “Praxis Matrix” and Your Own Missiological Approach
  • Unit 6: The Concepts of ‘Being With’ and ‘Doing For’ and Mission
  • Unit 7: A ‘Missional Church Model’ for Your Context

Required Reading
Adeyemo T (Gen. ed.) 2006. Africa Bible Commentary: A One-Volume Commentary Written by 70 African Scholars. Nairobi: WordAlive Publishers.
Bennema C 2011. Spirit and mission in the Bible: toward a dialogue between biblical studies and missiology, Trinity Journal, 32, 2, pp. 237-258. (EBSCOhost)
Kelly G 2012. Church Actually: Rediscovering the Brilliance of God’s Plan. Oxford: Lion Hudson Place. (EBSCOhost)
Mbewe C 2014. Insights from the Lives of Olive Doke and Paul Kasonga for Pioneer Mission and Church Planting Today. Cumbria: Langham Monographs.
Nelson S 2013. Culture: Living in the Places of God, Downers Grove: InterVasity Press. (EBSCOhost)
Ngewa SM 2010. Galatians (Africa Bible Commentary Series). Grand Rapids: Hippo Books (Zondervan).
Nguyen V 2012. Dismantling cultural boundaries: missiological implications of Acts 10:1-11:18, Missiology, 40, 4, pp. 455-466. (EBSCOhost)
Rae K, Muyombo M, Nhanala J, Kurewa JW, Russell JSM, Ayité-Beugré P, Musooko M, Sign S, Ndjungu N 2014. Evangelization and Church Growth in the African Context. Grand Avenue: Discipleship Resources International.
Rasumussen S, Mutua H, Mekonnen A, Sesi JM, Sesi (Author) SM, Chul-Soo Kim C 2009. African Missiology: Contribution of Contemporary Thought. Nairobi: Uzima Publishing House.
Strauss SJ 2012, The purpose of Acts and the mission of God. Bibliotheca Sacra, 169, 676, pp. 443-464. (EBSCOhost)
Walton S 2012. What does ‘mission’ in Acts mean in relation to the ‘powers that be’?, Journal of The Evangelical Theological Society, 55, 3, pp. 537-556, (EBSCOhost)
Wheeler A 2015. The commissioning of all believers: toward a more holistic model of global discipleship, Missiology, 43, 2, pp. 148-162. (EBSCOhost)
Wilder TL 2012. A Biblical Theology of Missions and Contextualization, Southwestern Journal of Theology, 55, 1, pp. 3-17. (EBSCOhost)