Preaching's Preacher's Guide to the Best Bible Reference for 2014 (New Testament Commentaries)
The Reformation was a call to return with renewed vigor to the biblical roots of Christian faith and practice. Still, for the Reformers, the truth of the Bible could never be separated from the true community of God’s people gathered by his Word. In the book of Acts, they found God’s blueprint for how the church should participate with the Holy Spirit in accomplishing his purposes in the world.
In the latest Reformation Commentary on Scripture, the diverse streams of the Protestant movement converge on the book of Acts, providing a lesson in the nature of biblical reform from those who bore it out for the first time. Authors Esther Chung-Kim and Todd R. Hains present a vivid portrait of the Reformers’ views on the contemporary church’s faithfulness to its God-given identity and calling.
The Reformers approached the narrative account of the early church in the book of Acts from diverse viewpoints. Commentators like John Calvin and the Swiss Reformer Heinrich Bullinger elaborated on the theological implications of the text with a great deal of historical detail. Others like reform-minded Catholic Johann Eck evoked episodes in Acts in response to pressing concerns of the day. Sermons upheld notable characters in Acts such as Peter, Stephen, Paul, Lydia, and Apollos as examples of robust faith and of life in Christian community. Anabaptists in their apologetic works focused heavily on the necessity of believer’s baptism.
The commentators’ interactions range from irate disagreement to irenic concord, but all exhort their readers not to dissolve “the holy knot” of the plain history of Christ’s works and their lasting fruits. For them, Acts is certainly history, but it cannot be mere history.
Explore more volumes in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture Series
“Because it is the fiftieth day after Easter. On Easter the children of Israel departed from Egypt through the Red Sea into the wilderness. Now on the fiftieth day after their departure they received the law through Moses on Mount Sinai.… But what is Pentecost?” (Page 18)
“Some—especially the Hutterites—believe that the example set forth is meant to be prescriptive for Christian communities, while others reject such interpretations that seek to turn the Jerusalem church’s use of property and possessions into a universal standard for all Christian communities. Nonetheless, there appears to be general agreement that the sharing and selling of possessions to provide for those in need within the community is praiseworthy and ideal, demonstrating unity in Christ through the Holy Spirit, while such practices are not meant to become new, compulsory laws for believers.” (Page 35)
“Therefore, the beginning of Acts establishes that Christ will be present in a new way, namely through the Holy Spirit.” (Page 4)
“First, that as soon as the truth of the gospel comes to light, Satan sets himself in opposition to it” (Page 48)
“The magician becomes blind; the proconsul becomes able to see. Unbelief makes the magician blind. Belief makes the proconsul able to see.” (Page 175)
This book is a thoughtful product of quality scholarship, and this is reflected in every page of the book. In its effort to discover and combine in one place how various reformers understood the book of Acts, this book truly bridges the gap between 'us' and 'them', and between 'us' and the first generation of Christians.
-Ervin Budiselic, Kairos, VII (2013)
In the Logos edition, this digital volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English Bible translations, and important terms link to a wealth of other resources in your digital library, including tools for original languages, dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, and theology texts. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Esther Chung-Kim (PhD, Duke University) is assistant professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California. She is the author of Inventing Authority.
Todd R. Hains is a PhD candidate in historical theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and assistant project editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture.