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True to the Faith

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By David Gooding

True to the Faith

The Acts of the Apostles: Defining and Defending the Gospel

Time has not worn down the words of this imperishable life, nor dimmed the hope they proclaim, nor reduced their relevance to our modern world…
True to the Faith - The Acts of the Apostles: Defining and Defending the Gospel

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The Acts of the Apostles is about more than the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth. By the time the ascended Christ had sent the Holy Spirit to guide his disciples, they had no doubt what the basics of the gospel message were: that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day and would one day come again. But, according to Luke’s account, difficult questions and challenges arose for the apostles as they began to spread this message. These questions, when once settled by the apostles, would further define the gospel with answers that are definitive for us today.

By carefully tracing Luke’s presentation of the historical material, David Gooding shows us that Luke has arranged his historical material into six sections, each containing a set of issues and a dominant question that confronted the church:

– Was the gospel to be under the authority of the Jewish Sanhedrin, even when they called into question the deity and messiahship of Jesus?
– Would the temple and its entire system of worship become obsolete because of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary, as Stephen claimed?
– What would God do when the observance of his own food laws became a barrier to preaching the gospel to Gentiles such as Cornelius?
– How would the apostles decide about the rite of circumcision and its relationship to salvation?
– How would the gospel distinguish itself from the spiritism, idolatry, religions and philosophies of the pagan world and state positively its own answer to questions of the origin of the universe and life’s ultimate goal?
– And how would Paul defend the gospel at the highest levels of society, against every kind of misrepresentation, when he found himself under the power of Roman law and order?

The conclusions that the apostles and the early churches reached under the guidance of the Holy Spirit are profoundly relevant. Their defence against each new challenge confirmed the truth of the gospel for every generation of Christ’s disciples. David Gooding’s exposition echoes Acts’ powerful, unspoken exhortation to examine ourselves honestly to see whether the Christianity that we represent and the gospel that we preach and defend are uncompromisingly the same as those established by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.


True to the Faith

  • Dale Ralph Davis

    Author and Professor of OT, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson

    Dale Ralph Davis, Author and Professor of OT, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson

    The last time I preached through Acts, True to the Faith was constantly at my side. My copy is marked up on every page–some highlighting, some pencil, some ink, different colors of ink, indicating it has been consulted ‘divers and sundry’ times. With good reason. Gooding not only explains, he stimulates thinking and stirs gratitude. Why any preacher would preach from Acts and not have Gooding at his elbow is beyond me.

  • Alec Motyer

    Author, formerly Principal of Trinity College, Bristol

    Alec Motyer, Author, formerly Principal of Trinity College, Bristol

    In this valuable book David Gooding applies to the Acts of the Apostles the approach that yielded such dividends in According to Luke–close analysis of the text, acute observation of the inter–relations of the individual sections, a clear understanding of the movement and intention of the whole–and throughout a firm understanding of the Bible as the written Word of God, and a delight in its study, and in the emergence of its truth. Happy are those (and surely they will be many) who ‘catch the bug’ of Bible analysis from David Gooding. His work on Acts proves that this is the way into the Bible, the most fruitful and accurate entry into what the Holy Spirit has planned for our instruction. I commend his book on Acts not only for its intrinsic worth (pure gold!) but as an example to follow and a standard to which to aspire.

  • Gilbert Lennox

    Bible teacher and elder at Glenabbey Church

    Gilbert Lennox, Bible teacher and elder at Glenabbey Church

    I own around a dozen commentaries on the Book of Acts and this is by some distance the best of them. David Gooding combines a remarkable variety of expertise–linguistic, literary, theological, philosophical–with the experience of a lifetime of teaching the Bible to bring us a fresh, original and brilliant analysis, with compelling logic and accessible style. In addition to the superb exposition the reader–and especially the Bible teacher–will find much in the way of contemporary application to some of the biggest issues facing the church.

  • Conrad Gempf

    London Bible College

    Conrad Gempf, London Bible College

    The book most likely to change how you view Acts is David Gooding’s artistic True to the Faith (Hodder and Stoughton, 1990). Way ahead of its time, it is an appreciation and celebration of Luke’s narrative genius. Rather than offering a strictly logical ‘outline’, Gooding approaches Acts more like a symphony with movements.

  • David Cook

    Author, formerly Principal of Sydney Missionary and Bible College

    David Cook, Author, formerly Principal of Sydney Missionary and Bible College

    Insightful comments and warm and piercing pastoral application are the features of this writing. I try only to have three commentaries with me in any series and in both Luke and Acts, David Gooding’s commentaries are part of the trio.

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