Best Acts Commentaries

The best Acts commentaries are listed below. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews. You will also find options for commentaries on Acts that help pastors, teachers, and readers with application of the Bible, commentaries that approach the Scripture verse-by-verse, classic Christian commentaries, and much more. (See more about the scholars, pastors, ministries, and schools whose commentary reviews are being utilized.)


Best-Reviewed Acts Commentaries


Acts (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Darrell L. Bock

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Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Acts; “a thorough and competent commentary”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Acts

Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Acts; “outstanding”

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “an excellent and clear commentary”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Bock takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is a progressive dispensationalist.1 Bock teaches at Dallas Theological Seminary. This volume is best for readers who can follow a technical commentary. Bock is well-known for writing the Luke commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that commentaries in the BECNT series aim “to provide, within the framework of informed evangelical thought.” See more about the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.


The Acts of the Apostles (Pillar New Testament Commentary) by David G. Peterson

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Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Acts; ” reflects careful work across the gamut of integral disciplines: text criticism, grammatical exegesis, historical considerations, literary criticism, and, above all, robust theological reflection”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Acts

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “an outstanding commentary for pastors and teachers”

Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with David G. Peterson on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Peterson takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume is known for its theological exposition and narrative analyses. Peterson also wrote the Romans commentary in the BTCP series. The publisher notes that commentaries in the PNTC series combine “rigorous exegesis and exposition, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and the contemporary relevance of the Bible.” See more about the Pillar New Testament Commentary series.


Acts (NIV Application Commentary) by Ajith Fernando

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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a clear exposition with helpful application”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Acts

D.A. Carson: “very good”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Fernando, who is from Sri Lanka, takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Fernando also wrote the Deuteronomy commentary in the Preaching the Word series. The publisher notes that the NIVAC series “helps you think through the process of moving from the original meaning of a passage to its contemporary significance.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series. Also compare NIVAC and IVPNTC commentaries.


Acts (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) by I. Howard Marshall

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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a brief exposition for pastors and scholars”

Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Acts; “simple to read without being simplistic in content”

D.A. Carson: “very useful”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Marshall takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He was Arminian (d. 2015). This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume is pastor-friendly, reflects on history and theology, and is not technical. Marshall is well-known for his 1-2 Peter commentary in the IVPNTC series. The publisher notes that commentaries in this series explain “the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation.” See more about the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series.


Acts: An Exegetical Commentary (four volumes) by Craig S. Keener

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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Acts

D.A. Carson: “straightforward prose, great learning, and impressive bibliography”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Keener takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Arminian. This commentary is best for scholars and academics. It consists of four volumes and is 4,500 total pages in length. It’s received raved reviews for its insights into cultural background and mastery of source material. Keener is well-known for his Matthew commentaries. The publisher notes that this is “[Keener’s] magnum opus” and “may be the largest and most thoroughly documented Acts commentary ever written.”


The Acts of the Apostles (A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary) by Ben Witherington III

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Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Acts; “very good indeed…his ‘socio-rhetorical’ approach is particularly suited to this sort of biblical book”

Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on Acts; “a large amount of information in this commentary that is not found in others”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Witherington takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Arminian. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This is the best-reviewed volume in this SRC series. Witherington also wrote the Mark commentary in this series. The publisher notes that in the SRC series Scripture “is interpreted within the context of the world in which it was written and read.” See more about the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary series.


The Book of the Acts (New International Commentary on the New Testament) by F.F. Bruce

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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a lucid commentary”

Keith Mathison: #2 commentary on Acts; “one of the best commentaries on this book of Scripture”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Bruce takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Bruce is well-known for his Hebrews commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that the NICNT series “provide earnest students of the New Testament with an exposition that is thorough and abreast of modern scholarship and at the same time loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.” See more about the New International Commentary on the New Testament series.


Acts (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Eckhard Schnabel

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Reviews and Accolades:

D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on Acts; “very accessible, clearly written, and very strong on the theme of mission and on Greco-Roman history and sources”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Acts

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Schnabel is an evangelical Christian who has taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume is over 1,100 pages in length and is well-reviewed for its treatment of the Greek text and for its applications. The publisher notes that the ZECNT series was “refined over time by an editorial board who listened to pastors and teachers express what they wanted to see in a commentary series based on the Greek text.” See more about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series. Also see The Visual Aid Pastors Will Love in the ZEC commentary series.


Acts (International Critical Commentary) by C.K. Barrett

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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a technical commentary for research purposes”

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Acts; “for students and pastors needing to look at every aspect of the text, it is invaluable”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Barrett takes a critical approach to Scripture. He was Methodist (d. 2011). This volume is best for readers who can follow a technical commentary. The cover image above shows the abridged version. The unabridged is two volumes and provides a detailed exegesis of the Greek text. The publisher notes that the ICC series has “sought to bring together all the relevant aids to exegesis, linguistic and textual no less than archaeological, historical, literary and theological to help the reader understand the meaning of the books of the Old and New Testaments.” See more about the International Critical Commentary series.


Acts (Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Revised) by Richard Longenecker

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Reviews and Accolades:

Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on Acts

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a helpful and brief exposition for the busy pastor”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Longenecker takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Longenecker is known for his Galatians commentary in the WBC series. The publisher notes the REBC series is “committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible…the chief principle followed in this commentary is the grammatico-historical.” See more about the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series, original and revised.


Acts (New American Commentary) by John B. Polhill

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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “invaluable and clear exposition for pastors and scholars”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Pohill takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Baptist. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the NAC series bridges “the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.” See more about the New American Commentary series.


Acts (St. Andrews Expositional Commentary) by R.C. Sproul

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Reviews and Accolades:

D.A. Carson: “offers many stimulating suggestions for the preacher”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Sproul takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He was Reformed (d. 2017). This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. This series reads like printed sermons. Sproul is known for his book, The Holiness of God. About this series, Dr. Sproul wrote, “The dear saints who sit under my preaching encouraged me to give my sermons a broader hearing. To that end, the chapters that follow were adapted from a sermon series I preached at St. Andrews.”


The Acts of the Apostles (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by Jospeh A. Fitzmyer

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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended; “a concise and clear commentary”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Fitzmyer takes a critical approach to Scripture. He was a Catholic priest (d. 2016). This volume is best for readers who can follow a technical commentary. Fitzmyer also wrote the 1 Corinthians commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that the Anchor series “vigorously pursues the goal of bringing to a wide audience the most important new ideas, the latest research findings, and the clearest possible analysis of the Bible.” See more about the Anchor Bible Commentary series.


Free Resources:


Verse-by-Verse Expository Commentaries


Acts (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Derek W.H. Thomas

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Thomas takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. This series reads like printed sermons. The publisher notes that the REC series has “four fundamental commitments. First, these commentaries aim to be biblical…Second, these commentaries are unashamedly doctrinal…Third, these commentaries are redemptive-historical…Fourth, these commentaries are practical…” See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.


The Message of Acts (The Bible Speaks Today) by John Stott

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Stott takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He was Reformed (d. 2011). This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume is well-reviewed for pastoral use because of its exposition and theological clarity. Stott also wrote the Ephesians commentary in the same series. The distinctives of BST series are (1) “authors are committed to a serious study of the text in its own integrity,” (2) that “expositors should not be antiquarians, living only in the remote past” but suggest application for living, and (3) “each book is intended to be both readable in style and manageable in size.” See more about the Bible Speaks Today commentary series.


Acts (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series) by David J. Williams

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume was published in 1990 and is almost 500 pages. The publisher notes that commentaries in the UBCS series break “down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers.” See more about the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series.


Acts (IVP New Testament Commentary) by William J. Larkin Jr.

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Larkin takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Larkin highlights early Christian missions in this commentary. The publisher notes that each commentary in the IVPNTC series is “informed by the best of up-to-date evangelical scholarship, presents passage-by-passage commentary based on the NIV along with background information on authorship, setting, theme and various interpretive issues.” See more about the IVP New Testament Commentary series.


Acts (New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary) by Robert Wall

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Interview: See Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Robert Wall on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary offers critically sound biblical interpretations. Guided by scholars, pastors and laity representing diverse traditions and academic experience, this collection of commentary meets the needs of preachers, teachers, and all students of the Bible.


The Acts of the Apostles by James D.G. Dunn

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Dunn is an advocate of The New Perspective on Paul. He is known for his Romans commentary in the WBC series. The publisher notes that “Dunn first takes the reader through questions of authorship, audience, date, purpose, and literary structure. He then considers the kind of history writing that we find in the narrative of Acts, delineates the book’s theological teaching, and offers bibliographic comments on sources and selected studies.” See more about the IVP New Testament Commentary series.


Technical Commentaries


Acts (Paideia Commentary on the New Testament) by Mikeal C. Parsons

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Parsons is Baptist. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that each commentary in this series “approaches each text in its final, canonical form, proceeding by sense units rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse. Each sense unit is explored in three sections: (1) introductory matters, (2) tracing the train of thought, (3) key hermeneutical and theological questions. Graduate and seminary students, professors, and pastors will benefit from this readable commentary, as will theological libraries.” See more about the Paideia commentary series.


Acts (Hermeneia) by Richard I. Pervo

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Pervo takes a critical approach to Scripture. He was an Episcopalian priest (d. 2017). This volume is best for readers who can follow a technical commentary. It is over 800 pages in length. The publisher notes that “the name Hermeneia, from the Greek, has a rich background in the history of biblical interpretation as a term for the detailed, systematic exposition of a scriptural work. Hermeneia is designed for the serious student of the Bible.” See more about the Hermeneia Bible commentary series.


Acts (New Testament Library) by Carl R. Holladay

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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Holladay teaches at Emory University. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the NLT series “offers authoritative commentary on every book and major aspect of the New Testament, providing fresh translations based on the best available ancient manuscripts, critical portrayals of the historical world in which the books were created, careful attention to their literary design, and a theologically perceptive exposition of the biblical text.” See more about the New Testament Library commentary series.


Classic Christian Commentaries


Acts (Ironside Expository Commentaries) by H.A. Ironside

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Synopsis: This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. H.A. Ironside (1876-1951) was an internationally acclaimed Bible teacher and preacher, as well as the author of more than sixty books. For eighteen of his fifty years of ministry, Dr. Ironside was pastor of the historic Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, Ill.


Acts (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture) edited by Francis Martin

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Synopsis: This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. About this series, the publisher notes that “each portion of commentary has been chosen for its salient insight, its rhetorical power, and its faithful representation of the consensual exegesis of the early church.”


Also see:

Compare 65 different commentary series on the Bible Commentary Series Comparison Chart


Are you a pastor?

On the page Acts Commentaries for Pastors you find commentaries that uniquely designed for pastors in that they focus on application and spend less time on technical discussions.


Footnotes:

  1. All dispensationalists view the dispensations as chronologically successive. Progressive dispensationalists, in addition to viewing the dispensations as chronologically successive, also view the dispensations as progressive stages in salvation history.