Saturday, April 4, 2015

Acts: EP Study Commentary - by Guy Prentiss Waters

If you're looking for a commentary on the book of Acts that is more of an overview but still exegetical, this commentary by Guy Prentiss Waters is a pretty good choice.  He hits at a high level on some controversial issues/textual debates where he deems it necessary, but it is still kept at a minimum and further reading for delving deeper is usually suggested in the comments. 

I think that it is a nice commentary to have that you can start with in your studies, turning to it first to get the 'high-level' view and then after reading Waters on a text, turn to the ones that are more critical. Or you can just 'read it through' on its own, the author really helps you get your thoughts moving on a text, for instance, in the account of Pentecost, I had never considered that "Like wind, fire is a sign of God's presence with his people", which caused me to 'connect the dots' and remember the tabernacle in the wilderness and the cloud that had the appearance of fire by night and the tongues of fire possibly partly symbolizing the presence of God in our bodies/temples(1 Cor 6:19).    

At the end of different sections he has an 'application' part that summarizes the ways the accounts of Acts apply to us today.   In his discussion of the application of chapters 4:32-5:11 where it speaks of Christians selling their property and giving the proceeds to the Apostles to be distributed to the needy Waters points out that, "Many commentators note, as we have done, that this passage does not warrant the abolition of private property in the church.  In saying this, we need to take care not to ignore the main point of these verses:  one mark of a church filled with the Holy Spirit Is that believers  are from the heart concerned for the physical needs of their brothers and are prepared to take extraordinary steps, if necessary , to meet those needs……How do we view our possessions?  Are we enslaved to them or have we been freed from that bondage in the service of our Savior God?  If we profess to know this freedom, then are we taken providentially-appointed opportunities to assist our brothers in Christ?" 

I need to note that Waters is 'Reformed' and holds to the Westminster Standards, so if you, as I do, hold to an earthly millennial reign of Christ in a redeemed Israel(having redeemed, and given new hearts to  the descendants of Jacob- see Ezek 36:26-38) note that Waters does not see that, and this is evinced especially in his views on the first chapter of Acts.   

But overall I think it is a good commentary, and a good tool for assisting in the study of Acts.

Many thanks to the folks at Cross Focused Reviews for sending me a free review copy of this book to review(My review did not have to be favorable.)


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