I love the book of Acts, and I have been studying the book recently, so I was extremely excited about the opportunity to review Acts in the Evangelical Press Study Commentary series. The book was written by Guy Prentiss Waters, a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. The commentary is written at the general level and is written from a Reformed, evangelical perspective. As a whole, the book is excellent. Two aspects in particular stand out.
First, the book is incredibly well-written for a study commentary. It is not overly technical or academic, and it will benefit teachers and pastors looking for clear and practical insight from Acts. The book is not as detailed as the commentaries of Bock (BECNT), Schnabel (ZECNT), or Polhill (NAC), but Waters is certainly aware of the issues surrounding each text. He simply chooses not to get bogged down in tertiary issues. For example, when discussing Peter’s vision in Acts 10, Waters wrote:
Peter ‘became hungry.’ Again, commentators differ as to whether meals were customarily served at midday in the first century. Peter’s hunger, however, establishes a point of contact between his present circumstances and the vision he is about to receive.
Waters acknowledges the issue but refuses to get sidetracked. I very much appreciated his focus and ability to stay on track.
Second, the book is well organized and incredibly practical. The outline of Acts is clearly marked in the titles and subtitles, and each section contains explanation and application. The application sections always contained helpful teaching and preaching insights, like the following quote from Acts 2:
Lastly, Peter’s sermon is characterized by specific application. He is not afraid to identify the sins of his audience. But he does not simply declaim those sins. He shows the sinfulness of their sin in light of the majesty and glory of the Saviour against whom they have sinned. He then invites them to flee from those sins in repentance and to turn in faith to the Saviour who is willing to receive them.
Peter’s sermon helps provide a model for contemporary preachers, and Waters shows how. Declaim sin, point to the majesty of Christ, and call them to repentance and faith in Christ.
Bottom line: this book is a must have for preachers. While not going into great depth concerning the Greek language or covering every secondary issue, it covers all the main issues and will help teachers and preachers understand and communicate biblical truth from the book of Acts. Pick up this book and add it to your collection.