Acts: A Bible Commentary for Every Day (The People's Bible Commentary Series)

Alexander, Loveday
The Bible Reading Fellowship (2006)
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Loveday Alexander is a penetrating theologian and a fine down to earth preacher; and both of these qualities illumine her commentary on Acts. It is contemporary without being trendy, theologically subtle without being knowing and it is lively without being excitable.

She has a natural enthusiasm for the characters in the book, not just Peter and Paul and perhaps her greatest strength is that she understands the way that Luke's mind works. In examining a book which is unique in the canon because of the heightened role of the Holy Spirit, the time period covered, the scope of the geography, the interplay of secular and religious politics and Jewish and Gentile Christians, her grasp is always firm but undogmatic. Her theological insights are grounded in the text and contemporary scholarship and she never stretches analysis beyond what is credible. Her cross referencing to other Biblical texts is comprehensive and she leaves the reader to explore further at will. Her history is lucid but never elaborate and her geography is helpful but unfussy. You will, however, need a good map to grasp some of the finer points of Paul's journeys.

The commentary is divided into 87 passages, each dealing with a logical block of narrative. Alexander first comments on individual words, then on the sense of the passage and, where necessary, puts this into the context of the whole work. Each section ends with a short prayer or reflection. As Acts is not quoted, you will need your own Bible.

From a personal standpoint, I found the format rather unsettling because Acts is a book I can't put down. Consequently, I found myself sliding over the prayers and reflections to get to the next Chapter. Perhaps books of the New Testament and their commentaries shouldn't be page turners but in the case of Acts and this commentary they are for me.