Review: Acts (EP Study Commentary)

Waters, Guy Prentiss. “Acts: EP Study Commentary,” Evangelical Press, Watchmead, UK: 2014. 614 pp. $44.99

Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews, I’ve had the opportunity to review another book. This time around, to my delight, it is a commentary. I own a few commentaries on Acts, so I was curious to see what this one might offer. The EPSC is a solid series that boasts a handful of renowned scholars and theologians, and it seems that it just keeps getting better. Guy Prentiss Waters’ volume on Acts is a welcome addition.

                                                                               The author dedicates this book to Richard Gaffin (author of “Perspectives on Pentecost”) and relies heavily on commentators such as F.F. Bruce and John Stott, which are good indicators as to where he is coming from. Waters is a confessional Presbyterian (a teaching elder in the PCA) and Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, which are appealing credentials.

The commentary begins with a useful outline and introduction that includes information about the author, date, title, genre, and purpose. Waters breaks the commentary up into 18 chapters, focusing on “a geographical progression—Jerusalem; Judea and Samaria; the end of the earth,” including a supporting role of Jewish and Gentile missions as documented by the respective ministries of the apostles Peter and Paul (pp. 22–23). This is helpful for the reader because it orients the narrative in salvation history—which is crucial for proper interpretation of the book of Acts.

One of things I appreciate the most about this commentary is the “Application”  at the end of each chapter. Waters uses these sections to drive home the practical aspect of the narrative. This is where we catch a glimpse of the authors’ pastoral heart. Though it is clear he has done the heavy exegetical work for the reader, he doesn’t bog the audience down with the intricacies of his scholarship. What we do see is the fruit of a masterful expositor rightly dividing the word of truth.

I would happily recommend this commentary to anyone who has the task of teaching the word of God, or even the lay person who just wants to dig deeper. A commentary on Acts written from a confessionally Reformed perspective is a great benefit to the Church, and Guy Waters’ volume in the EPSC holds a respectful position in the ever-increasing archive of biblical commentaries.

Recommended reading:

Effective December 1, 2009, Federal Trade Commission guidelines state that bloggers receiving any kind of compensation should disclose that information clearly on their blog when posting a review of the product… that being said: I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK.

Notable & Newsworthy

Here are the links and stories for the day…

Get Richard Phillips’ “The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men” for up to 50% OFF from Westminster Bookstore

Get Timothy Witmer’s “The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family” for up to 50% OFF from Westminster Bookstore

Enter to win a subscription to Leadership Journal from The Brave Reviews

Get a FREE $5 gift certificate to Gospel Tract Planet

Dane Ortlund on what the Bible says about swearing

Nehemiah Coxe on the relationship between the Abrahamic Covenant and Mosaic Covenant

Ken Puls on singing the great hymns of the Faith

The common denominator of declining churches

“The redemptive message has implications for all of life; a truncated life results from a truncated message.” (Carl Henry)

“All true and saving repentance tends to holy practice.” (Jonathan Edwards)

Please take some time to browse the other pages on this site (located in the tabs above). You’ll find several articles, FREE e-books, and book recommendations for your edification. Check out the Exegetical Theology page or Pastoral Theology page first. Thanks!

SALE: Douglas Kelly’s Systematic Theology


Volume Two of Douglas Kelly‘s critically acclaimed Systematic Theology, “The Beauty of Christ: A Trinitarian Vision” (Christian Focus Publications) has just been released, and Westminster Bookstore has an awesome deal on it. You can purchase either volume individually at 40% OFF, or buy both volumes at 50% OFF.

Click the links or images above and below to be redirected.

The God Who Is—The Holy Trinity
“Douglas F. Kelly is one of the English-speaking world’s leading Reformed theologians. Here we begin to enjoy the fruits of his labors. What a feast it is. Few Protestant theologians in our day know the terrain of the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Person of Christ, as well as Professor Kelly… He is at his best when opening up to us the unrealized importance and glory of these foundational truths about our Savior God. For those who yearn for an orthodox Reformed catholicity, Kelly shows the way forward.” (Ligon Duncan)

 

 

The Beauty of Christ: A Trinitarian Vision
“Among the several systematic theologies that have recently been released, Doug Kelly’s three-volume work deserves special attention. It is comprehensive in its coverage of the doctrinal issues, and it combines exegesis with careful analysis of the historical and present-day theological literature. Volume Two, The Beauty of Christ: a Trinitarian Vision, is now available, and its approach to Christology is striking indeed. Quite remarkably, and delightfully, it organizes the biblical teaching under the category of “beauty”––the beauty of three divine persons united to one another in love.” (John Frame)

 

For more information, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

 

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Sale: David F. Wells

Over at Westminster Bookstore, they have an excellent deal on a number of books by David F. Wells (Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary).

For one week, you will be able to purchase his newest book, “God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-Love of God Reorients Our World” at a 45% discount and the other three volumes of his masterful quartet on American Evangelicalism at a 50% discount.

Click the images or links below:

“No Place for Truth: Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?”

Publisher’s Description:
Has something indeed happened to evangelical theology and to evangelical churches? According to David Wells, the evidence indicates that evangelical pastors have abandoned their traditional role as ministers of the Word to become therapists and “managers of the small enterprises we call churches.” Along with their parishioners, they have abandoned genuine Christianity and biblical truth in favor of the sort of inner-directed experiential religion that now pervades Western society.

Specifically, Wells explores the wholesale disappearance of theology in the church, the academy, and modern culture. Western culture as a whole, argues Wells, has been transformed by modernity, and the church has simply gone with the flow. The new environment in which we live, with its huge cities, triumphant capitalism, invasive technology, and pervasive amusements, has vanquished and homogenized the entire world. While the modern world has produced astonishing abundance, it has also taken a toll on the human spirit, emptying it of enduring meaning and morality.

“God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams”

Publisher’s Description:
Building on the trenchant cultural and religious analyses of evangelical Protestantism set forth in his first volume, Wells argues in God in the Wasteland that the church is now enfeebled because it has lost its sense of God’s sovereignty and holiness. God, says Wells, has become weightless. He has lost the power to shape the church’s character, outlook, and practice.

By looking afresh at the way God’s transcendence and immanence have been taken captive by modern appetites, Wells is able to argue for a reform of the evangelical world—a reform without which evangelical faith will be lost—and develop a powerful biblical antidote to the modernity which has invaded the church.

“Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World”

Publisher’s Description:
Above All Earthly Pow’rs, the fourth and final volume of the series that began in 1993 with No Place for Truth, portrays the West in all its complexity, brilliance, and emptiness. As David F. Wells masterfully depicts it, the postmodern ethos of the West is relativistic, individualistic, therapeutic, and yet remarkably spiritual. Wells shows how this postmodern ethos has incorporated into itself the new religious and cultural relativism, the fear and confusion, that began with the last century’s waves of immigration and have continued apace in recent decades.
Wells’ book culminates in a critique of contemporary evangelicalism aimed at both unsettling and reinvigorating readers. Churches that market themselves as relevant and palatable to consumption-oriented postmoderns are indeed swelling in size. But they are doing so, Wells contends, at the expense of the truth of the gospel. By placing a premium on marketing rather than truth, the evangelical church is in danger of trading authentic engagement with culture for worldly success.

“God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-Love of God Reorients Our World”

Publisher’s Description:
Building on years of research, writing, and cross-cultural ministry, renowned author and theologian David Wells calls our attention to that which defines God’s greatness and gives shape to the Christian life: the holy-love of God.

In God in the Whirlwind, Wells explores the depths of the paradox that God is both holy and loving, showing how his holy-love provides the foundation for our understanding of the cross, sanctification, the nature of worship, and our life of service in the world. What’s more, a renewed vision of God’s character is the cure for evangelicalism’s shallow theology, with its weightless God and sentimental gospel.

For more on this subject, please visit the Apologetics Page.

Recommended Reading:

John Owen Kindle Sale

All five volumes of John Owen’s writings published by Christian Focus Publications is currently on sale for Amazon Kindle. Click the link or image below to be redirected…

 

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

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Thanksgiving Thursday

BE PARTICULAR IN YOUR THANKS TO GOD

“Thank God for success in our callings and affairs, comfort in relations, and comfortable places of abode…

It is God who equips us with strength and makes our way blameless, who has blessed the work of our hands; and it may be that though our beginning was small, yet our latter days will be very great.

Our houses have been safe from fear, and there has been no rod of God upon us; so that glad songs of salvation have been in our tents from day to day.

With our staff it may be we have crossed this Jordan, and now we have become two camps; and it is God who settles the solitary in homes.

If we have enjoyed life with our relations, and they have been to us as a lovely deer, a graceful doe, we must give you thanks for it; for every creature is that to us, and no more, that you make it to be.” (Matthew Henry)

 

SUPPORTS AND COMFORT

 

 

For more on this subject, please visit Method for Prayer.

 

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Westminster Wednesday

THE WESTMINSTER LARGER CATECHISM

What Man Ought to Believe Concerning God…

Question 6:

Q. What do the Scriptures make known of God?

A. The Scriptures make known what God is (Heb. 11:6), the persons in the Godhead (1 John 5:17), His decrees (Acts 15:14–15, 18), and the execution of His decrees (Acts 4:27–28).

 

Question 5

 

THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH

Chapter I: Of the Holy Scripture

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

 

ARTICLE 5

 

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

 

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Of Doctrine and Delight

OF DOCTRINE AND DELIGHT

“Doctrine is the foundation of true delight. And if we do not get our doctrine of God right, we will destroy the foundations of delight. Joy may flourish for a generation when the root is severed, but in the end, delight in God will die without true doctrine. And both means of glorifying–seeing and savoring–God will vanish.” (John Piper)

For more on this subject, please visit the Apologetics page.

 

Recommended reading:

Thanksgiving Thursday

BE PARTICULAR IN YOUR THANKS TO GOD

“For the many instances of His goodness…

The goodness of His providence relating to our bodies and the life that now is; and this, first, with reference to all the creatures and the world of mankind in general:

You have stretched out the heavens like a tent, and in them you have set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. And you make your sun rise on the evil and on the good, and send rain on the just and on the unjust.

When we look at the heavens, the work of your fingers, the sun, the moon, and the stars which you have set in place, Lord, what is man that you care for him? For truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun: All glory be to the Father of light, who commands the morning and causes the dawn to know its place.

You did not leave yourself without witness among the nations, in that you did good by giving them rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying their hearts with food and gladness.

You cover the heavens with clouds, and prepare rain for the earth, and make grass grow on the hills. You give to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.

You bring rain on the desert in which there is no man, to satisfy the waste and desolate land.

You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field; and beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.

You have set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved; you set a boundary to the waters of the sea, so that they might not again cover the earth. You have shut up the sea with doors, and prescribed limits for it, saying, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther; here shall your proud waves be stayed.’ And you have made good what you have sworn, that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth.

Your covenant with the day and with the night is not broken; but still you give the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, and are faithful to that covenant of providence: That while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.

The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth you have given to the children of man; and you have put all things under their feet, and given them dominion over the works of your hands; so that the fear of man and the dread of man is upon every beast of the earth and upon the birds of the heavens, and into his hand they are delivered; because you had a favor to him and delighted in the children of man.

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that you may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen his heart.

You give to all life and breath and everything; and the earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love.

All the creatures look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. This, your glory, shall endure forever, and you rejoice in these works.

It is through your goodness, O Lord, that as one generation of mankind goes, another generation comes; and that you have not blotted out the name of that corrupt and guilty race from under heaven.” (Matthew Henry)

THE GOODNESS OF HIS NATURE

For more on this subject, visit Method of Prayer.

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Family Friday

TOWARD A CHRISTIAN PARENTING PHILOSOPHY

“A proper approach to parenting needs to leave adequate room for the relational component in parenting. Christian parenting should be undergirded by wisdom derived from meditation on Scripture, the filling of the Holy Spirit, advice from others (this is where quality literature on parenting can be very helpful if it is balanced and based on biblical principles), and relational experience with the child. Ultimately, we should be careful not to rely on any one human method that, no matter how biblical it may claim to be, is always one step removed from the Bible. Our supreme trust should be in God and in his Word, and we must humbly acknowledge that our understanding of Scripture is not to be equated with the teaching of Scripture itself.” (Andreas Köstenberger)

For more on this subject, please visit Biblical Foundations.

 

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