In his recent book The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles (Abingdon, 2008) F. Scott Spencer describes the ‘”mission” impulse that drives the two-volume project.’ (p.95) Indeed, his book is structured around the explicit theme of mission.
He then fleshes this out in more detail illustrating some of the ways we can understand the Bible as (to put it one way) the product and record of God’s mission:
For all the scholarly debates about the genre(s) of Luke and Acts… in a very basic sense, these books present a grand mission story-that is, the story of God’s world-restoring mission advanced in word and deed through his Son Jesus Christ and Christ’s emissaries. The main characters keep on the move, and the plot largely coheres around a series of journeys across the eastern Mediterranean world. And these characters are fundamentally missionaries undertaking mission journeys-not commercial trips, political junkets, scientific expeditions, tourist excursions, recreational getaways, or any other type of travel we might imagine. These treks proceed by the divine commission for the sole purpose of carrying out God’s will and extending God’s rule on earth.
We may outline both Luke and Acts according to a broad four-part scheme of fulfilling God’s mission:
I. Preparing God’s Mission
Luke 1-4 Acts 1-7
II. Establishing God’s Mission
Luke 4-9 Acts 8-12
III. Expanding and Interpreting God’s Mission
Luke 9-19 Acts 13-21
IV. Defending God’s Mission
Luke 20-24 Acts 21-28
The headings are self-explanatory, charting a rapid, progressive growth in God’s mission through Section III, and then slowing down in Section IV to solidify the movement and defend it against detractors. (pp.95-96, his italics)