I have an odd relationship with the book of Acts.
I was initially exposed to Acts in a fourth-grade Sunday School class. The teacher in charge of the class liked to show a 3-hour movie made in the 80’s which told the story verbatim from the NIV translation. There were a few occasions where the teacher showed us the same clips the next week. Looking back, I don’t think this particular teacher really knew how to connect with children, so the film was an easy way to teach Bible without having to actually talk to us.
At any rate, the result was that since I have a very good memory for images, I remember almost all the book of Acts. But what I remember is so closely linked to the movie I saw that I can’t read the book anymore. The images in my head make it hard to approach the text by itself, without any of the associations or interpretations that movie gave me almost a decade ago.
In that context, it’s not surprising I’m a little wary of Biblical adaptations. I pay more attention to how people add in speculative details or add interpretations and nuances that aren’t explicitly part of the original text. At the same time, I appreciate when writers finds ways to negotiate those problems and produce something that captures the dramatic power of the Bible.
Russ Ramsey’s book Mission of the Body of Christ is a good example. An interesting follow-up to his earlier book on the Four Gospels, here Russ Ramsey dramatizes stories from the Book of Acts, plus a few narrative details taken from Paul’s letters. You can read my review of Ramsey’s book here: