There’s a huge discussion… long-running discussion… about interpreting narrative passages of Scripture like the Book of Acts. The question is: are the stories in Acts normative for the church today? This is the old descriptive vs. prescriptive discussion.
Certainly, the narrative parts of Scripture, including the Book of Acts, are descriptive. For example, in the Book of Acts, Luke describes what happened during the years following the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact that Acts is meant to be descriptive is rarely questioned.
But, did Luke also intend for the Book of Acts to be prescriptive? In other words, was he describing normative aspects of church life in the years following Jesus’ resurrection.
So, in reality, the descriptive vs. prescriptive question is this: Is Acts (and other narrative passages) descriptive only, or is the Book of Acts descriptive AND prescriptive.
As I’ve been thinking about this question, another set of questions came to mind:
1) If Luke only intended the Book of Acts to be descriptive, what benefit would the book be for his readers?
2) If Luke intended the Book of Acts to be descriptive and prescriptive, what benefit would the book be for his readers?