The book of Acts is Luke’s sequel to his Gospel. It traces the first decades in the history of the church after the resurrection of Christ, focusing in particular on the work of Peter and Paul. There are a number of very good commentaries on the book of Acts, including Dr. Sproul’s expository commentary. The following are five that I have found to be the particularly helpful.
1. Craig Keener — Acts 1:1–2:47, Acts 3:1–14:28, Acts 15:1–23:35, Acts 24:1–28:31 (2012–2015).
Craig Keener’s four-volume commentary on Acts is not for everyone. At 4,500 pages, few will ever read all of it. But if you are looking for an exhaustive commentary that deals with every conceivable question, then, clear out about a foot and a half of shelf space and pick up this commentary (bend your knees when you do so). This will probably be the standard evangelical commentary on Acts for at least the next half century. For those who do not need a commentary with a bibliography longer than most other books, Keener also has an abridged version of his commentary that is only 635 pages.
2. Eckhard Schnabel — Acts (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2012).
Readers of this blog series know that the commentary series with my least favorite layout is the Word Biblical Commentary series. The Zondervan Exegetical Commentaries, on the other hand, has one of my favorite layouts. It is very helpful for teachers and preachers. Eckhard Schnabel’s already helpful commentary in this series is made more helpful because of this layout. Teachers and pastors will want to consult this volume.
3. Darrell L. Bock — Acts (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2007).
Darrell Bock’s outstanding two-volume commentary on the Gospel of Luke raised my expectations for his commentary on Acts in the same series. I was not disappointed. This work is equally outstanding. Like the other volumes in this series, it is somewhat technical. Greek words within the body of the text are transliterated, but if the reader does not have some understanding of Greek, it will likely become a bit confusing.
4. David G. Peterson — The Acts of the Apostles (The Pillar New Testament Commentary, 2009).
In my original list of Top 5 commentaries on Acts, I included Peterson in the “Runners-Up” section. Having had more time to use his work, however, I have grown to appreciate it more. I think it is one of the five best commentaries now available.
5. F.F. Bruce — The Book of the Acts (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1988).
First published in 1954, F.F. Bruce’s commentary on Acts in the NICNT series soon became a standard conservative evangelical commentary. In 1988, his commentary was revised and updated. It still remains one of the best commentaries on this book of Scripture.
There are a number of other helpful commentaries on the book of Acts, including those by Ben Witherington, I. Howard Marshall, C. K. Barrett (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, or abridged version), James Montgomery Boice, Dennis Johnson, J. A. Alexander, R. Kent Hughes, Ajith Fernando, Gordon Keddie, Joseph Fitzmyer, Richard N. Longenecker, William Larkin, John Polhill, and David Williams.
Helpful Related Works
All students of the book of Acts should take the time to read Alan J. Thompson’s The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus. A helpful work that places Acts in the larger redemptive historical context of Scripture is Dennis Johnson’s The Message of Acts. The five-volume set *The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting *will be helpful for those doing more in-depth study (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5).
This article is part of the Top 5 Commentaries collection.