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.

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