Carl Holladay has produced the latest volume in the New Testament Library series. The Book of Acts has had several major commentaries in the last few years, but this one shoots more at being a midsized commentary. There’s a little over 500 pages for the entire Book of Acts. Though NTL is known for being more from the critical camp, I found it more conservative than I expected. In addition, I found it helpful.
Though the commentary as a whole is midsized, he provided a major introduction in 70 pages. Frankly, it was a joy to read. Even if I didn’t agree on every point, I appreciated the clear writing. He is not antagonistic to Luke being the author and he can accept a more conservative date though he would only be nailed down to a rather large range of dates. For sure, I was more confident of the historical trustworthiness of the history Luke provided than Mr. Holladay was.
Scholars will love his detailed description of the textual history of Acts that covered several pages, though that will be the least interesting part of the Introduction to most pastors. I became very interested again when he discussed the literary structure. His discussion of the speeches in the Book of Acts was outstanding including theology and purpose of the speeches. His explanation of the use of “witness” and use of the Old Testament was helpful. The final section of the narrative unity of Luke-Acts was thought-provoking. Again, I found much food for thought about what the Book of Acts seeks to accomplish.
The commentary proper was briefer than some of the other major commentaries I use, but still included several creative thoughts and every passage I reviewed.
This book might not be the first commentary I turn to when studying Acts, but it is one I will be checking in future studies. I predict this may become one of the more respected volumes in the series.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.