Criswell Theological Review 5.1 (1990) 93-97.
Copyright © 1990 by The
COMMENTARIES ON ACTS
In preparation for a thorough study of the Book of Acts, it is worth-
while to take stock of the resources available. For a book which is as
pivotal as Acts to our practice of NT Christianity, it is deplorable that
there are so few really exceptional commentaries available. Hopefully,
this situation is beginning to improve. There are two new books which
have just been completed on Acts. The first, by J. Stott (InterVarsity,
1990) is already available. It is written primarily in narrative form and
deals with the material by paragraph rather than verse by verse. The
second, which will be out in December, is by S. Kistemaker in the New
Testament Commentary (Baker, 1990). We look forward to this one
because of the thorough approach and careful scholarship. E. Ellis calls
it a "’meat and potatoes’ book with solid exposition."
Perhaps the best two commentaries available on Acts are those by
F.Bruce (Eerdmans, 1954)
Bruce in fact, has two commentaries on Acts: one for the student of
Greek and one for the English reader (NIC). The NIC volume is now
available in a newly revised edition (Eerdmans, 1989). This work is
valuable not only because of its solid exposition and theological insight,
but because of its attention to historical details which are helpful to the
is part of the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series and
E. M. Blaiklock's work in that series, which was too brief to
justice to a lengthy book such as Acts.
Other current works which are worthy of note include E. F.
good introduction to Acts which would be appropriate for an inter-
mediate student of this subject. This commentary, however, deals with
94 CRISWELL THEOLOGICAL REVIEW
the material by paragraphs, and lacks something in detail as a result. If
one desires a more in-depth treatment of Acts, another good work is
that by R. N. Longenecker, in the Expositor's Bible Commentary
(Zondervan, 1981). Longenecker uses a verse by verse approach and
stops to discuss the theological interpretations of controversial passages
such as Acts 2:38. Also included in each section and set apart for easy
reference are notes on the Greek text.
Older works which one should obtain if the opportunity arises
include R. B. Rackham, The Acts of the Apostles (Baker, 1978; reprint
of the 1901 edition). This is considered by many to be a classic on Acts,
and was called by W. Smith the greatest of all the commentaries on
Acts (in Profitable Bible Study). This work includes an extensive intro-
duction, including articles on the theology of Acts, and a verse by verse
commentary. Another classic work on Acts is the five volume study by
J. Foakes-Jackson and K.
(Baker, 1979 repr). This may include more than many want to know
about the subject; for instance, volumes 1 and 2 deal only with pro-
legomena such as background studies and critical matters, and volume
3 deals only with the problem of the text of Acts. Volume 4 contains a
full commentary, and the final volume has additional notes and studies
relating to the interpretation of Acts, such as roman law, chronology,
and titles of Jesus.
If one is looking for a homiletical work on Acts, the best one
available is W. H. Griffith Thomas' Outline Studies in Acts (Eerdmans,
1956). This volume contains 133 outlines with brief comments on the
text interspersed. A brief commentary for Sunday school teachers or
other such use is Acts, in The Bible Study Commentary, by C. Vaughan.
it is concise,
When it comes to works that comment on the Greek text, it is hard
to improve on the older works by R. J. Knowling (Expositor's Greek
Testament) and A. T. Robertson, who has an entire volume devoted to
Acts in his Word Pictures in the Greek New Testament. A more recent
work of this type is that of F. F. Bruce (The Acts of the Apostles, 1951).
Do not confuse this volume with the commentary on the English text in
One other category which should be included are works dealing
primarily with critical issues. While there are many works which deal
with critical issues, there is one which definitely deserves attention. It is
the work by W. Gasque (A History of the Criticism of the Acts of the
Apostles). This work is a valuable contribution on the history of inter-
pretation. It focuses primarily on the 19th and 20th centuries, and
provides information on the scholars involved as well as the material
discussed in the Book of Acts.
Gerald Cowen: COMMENTING ON COMMENTARIES ON Acts 95
While none of us need consult all of the works mentioned in order
to prepare to teach Acts, it is hoped that this will help guide one to the
books that will be most beneficial. Acts is a pivotal work which relates
to us the early days of the church, and its development and spread
zeal that those early believers had, and give us insight into ways we can
apply the same principles they used to spread the faith of Jesus the
Christ to all the world.
Alexander, A. J. Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. Scribner, Arm-
strong & Company, 1875.
Arnot, W. Studies in Acts.
W. The Acts of the
Apostles. The Daily Study Bible.
C. K. Luke the Historian in Recent Study.
J. V. The Acts.
The Century Bible, ed. W. F. Adeney.
Blaiklock, E. M. The Acts of the Apostles. Tyndale New Testament Commen-
tary. .Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963.
Cities of the New
Bruce, F. F. Commentary on The Book of The Acts. New International
The Acts of the
Scribner's Sons, 1895.
H. J. The Making of
Calvin, J. The Acts of the Apostles. Calvin's New Testament Commentary,
Carter, C. W. and R. Earle. Acts.
W. O. The Acts of the
W. A. Acts: An Exposition. 2 vols.
Cullmann, O. The Early Church.
Dibelius, M. Studies
in the Acts of the Apostles.
Easton, B. S. Early Christianity. S.P .C.K., 1955.
Eddleman, H. L. An Exegetical and Practical Commentary on
TX: Books of Life, 1974.
Filson, F. V. Three
Crucial Decades: Studies in the Book of Acts.
John Knox, 1963.
J. A. The Acts of the
F. J. and K.
Foakes- Jackson, F. J. The Acts of the Apostles.
96 CRISWELL THEOLOGICAL REVIEW
Gaebelein, A. C; The Acts of the Apostles.
W. and R. P. Martin. Apostolic
History and the Gospel.
Gasque, W. W. A History of the Criticism of the Acts of the Apostles. Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975.
Gloag, P. J. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles,
Green, M. Evangelism
in the Early Church.
Griffith- Thomas, W. H. Outline Studies in Acts.
Gutzke, M. G. Plain
Talk on Acts.
H. A. The Acts of the
Hackett, H. B. A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. An American
Commentary on the
cation Society, 1882.
R. P. C. The Acts.
The New Clarendon Bible.
E. F. Acts: The Expanding Church.
J. H. E. The Holy
Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles.
J. L. An Archaeologist Follows the
Kistemaker, S. J. Acts. New Testament Commentary.
Knowling, R. J. The Acts of the Apostles. The Expositor's Greek Testament.
Krodel, G. A. Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament: Acts. Minne-
G. E. The
Lange, J. P. John and Acts. A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures. Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 1884.
LaSor, W. S. Church
Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of the Acts of the
Longenecker, R. N. The Acts of the Apostles. The Expositors Bible Commen-
The Ministry and
Message of Paul.
Luccock, H. E. The Acts of the Apostles in Present-Day
Harper & Brothers, 1942.
Lumby, R. J. The Acts of the Apostles.
Macgregor,G. H. C. and T. Ferris. Acts-Romans.The Interpreter's Bible. New
Luke: Historian and Theologian.
Meyer, H. A. W. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Acts of the Apostles.
Gerald Cowen: COMMENTING ON COMMENTARIES ON Acts 97
G. C. The Acts of the
Munck, J. The Acts of the Apostles. The Anchor Bible. Garden City, NY:
W. The Acts of the
Apostles. New Century Bible.
Morgan, & Scott, 1973.
Ogilvie, L. J. Acts. Commentators Commentary.
J. C. The Theology of
Acts in its Historical Setting.
J. W. The Acts of the
Rackham, R. B. The Acts of the Apostles.
W. M. St. Paul the Traveller
and the Roman Citizen.
Baker, reprint edition 1949.
Ridderbos, H. N. The Speeches of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles. Tyndale
New Testament Lecture,
Robertson, A. T. The Acts of the Apostles. Word Pictures in the New Testa-
in the Life of
Scroggie, W. G. The Acts of the Apostles. The Study Hour
Marshall, Morgan, & Scott, 1931.
J. The Voyage and
Reprint of the 1880 edition.
R. H. Acts. Concordia Commentary.
T. C. The Broadman Commentary.
Stagg, F. The Book of Acts.
Stiller, J. M. The Acts of the Apostles.
G. T. The Acts of the
Apostles. The Expositor's Bible.
Armstrong & Sons, 1003.
J. The Spirit, The
Church and the World.
Thomas, D. The Acts of the Apostles.
C. Acts. Bible
van Ryn, A. Acts of the Apostles: The Unfinished Work of
Williams, C. S. C. The Acts of the Apostles. Black's New Testament Com-
Williams, R. R. The Acts of the Apostles. The Torch Bible Commentaries.
A. C. The Acts of the
Apostles. Layman's Bible Commentary.
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