Sunday, April 5, 2015

An Acts commentary you would enjoy

Guy Prentice Waters is a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, and author of a number of academic and popular-level books. His first Bible commentary came out last year on Acts in the EP Study Commentary series.

He opens up his commentary with an admission: since he began work on this commentary in January 2009, at least four exegetical on Acts have been published. This begs the obvious question: What makes this one any different?

Waters offers three reasons, each of which has merit. He mentions that his commentary is relatively brief. Bear in mind that it stands at around 600 pages. The Tyndale New Testament Commentary series prides itself on being concise, but even its volume on Acts is 447 pages. I recently purchased the Acts volume in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series, which has 1168 pages. Waters looks at every verse in Acts, but he doesn’t belabor his readers with so much detail that only scholars and the deeply inquisitive would find helpful.

Second, the commentary is aimed at clearly explaining the text for people who want to understand it better for themselves or for explaining it to others. Ultimately this is the purpose of most any commentary, but I think its conciseness makes this easier to see. When it takes a number of pages to explain a verse, it can be difficult to see the message the whole passage is trying to convey.

Third, Waters in unapologetically Reformed. He is, after all, a professor at a reformed seminary and an elder in a Presbyterian church. His Reformed background comes out when he includes quotes from people like John Calvin, but nothing he says feels out of place, as though he were pushing an agenda. He didn’t make a case for infant baptism.

It’s still a hefty volume, but one that any pastor or believer with a desire to learn more about the book of Acts can benefit from.

I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of providing a review.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

March in Review

And there goes March. Every December we receive many Christmas cards with a "year in review" letter, so I decided that I wanted to do that this year. But since so much happens in one year, I thought it better to do a "month in review" and later pick the best of the best for our annual Christmas letter.

As the saying goes, March came in like a lion. Overnight we got six or seven inches of snow and I was reminded yet again that I should get a snowblower.

The following day Hannah and I drove up to Fishers to check out and ultimately buy a couch and chair set. Everything seemed to go wrong. First, we left the money at home, then we discovered the couch didn’t quite fit in the van. This meant we had to write a check as collateral while we borrowed a bungee cord and drove the couch home, picked up the money, and made the return trip. It probably added an hour to the whole ordeal, but we got our couches! Moving them into the house with just us was a hassle too, and both Hannah and I bonked our heads on either the furniture or the wall trying to wrestle them into the living room.

By March 3rd, we didn’t think anything else big could happen, but it did. We found out we have a baby on the way. After a number of appointments, we settled on a due date in mid-November—quite possibly on my birthday, November 14.

One day one of the college students from church called me up and asked to come over and talk. We did, for about two hours, which resulted in him professing faith in Christ. I had the privilege of baptizing him a week and a half later in front of the whole church, and many of his family members came to see it.

Hannah and I took the kids up to Michigan to visit with her parents and mine, as well as my sister Alyssa and her husband Kyle. I introduced them to a new card game, Stalag 17, and together we watched a movie with the same name. That Sunday I preached at First Baptist Church in Big Rapids, the church I had grown up in. My grandfather, who himself had been a pastor and was serving as their interim pastor, almost burst from the excitement of seeing me preach. It has certainly awakened in me a desire to step into full-time ministry, but that will ultimately depend on God’s timing, not mine.

After we came back from Michigan I took Hannah out on an early birthday date to Maggiano’s, a classy Italian restaurant, with Santos and Roksana Garcia and Karina Davila.

As the cold gradually gave way to warmer and warmer weather, we finally took Abby and Lukas to the park. Abby acts a lot braver this year; she’s comfortable climbing ladders and going down slides by herself. Lukas isn’t brave nearly as much as he’s just a daredevil. We have to keep a constant eye on him because he likes to try climbing on things just a little too high for our comfort. He got pinkeye towards the end of the month, so we got to spend some fun father-son time together while Hannah and Abby went to church. After church Hannah had a bunch of women over to talk about her experience growing up in an adoptive family.

At the end of the month my sister Amy; her husband John; and their three kids, Katelynne, Kyleigh, and Thaddeus, came down to visit all the way from L’Anse, Michigan. They appreciated the warmer weather going to the park with us, having a backyard Easter egg hunt, and spending half a day at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. While there, John and I managed to sneak off by ourselves and appreciate an exhibit of props and costumes from TV shows and movies.

We’re excited about what the future holds for us, and we can certainly say the year has gotten off to an amazing start.