Do you want to take your understanding of the Book of Acts to the next level? When you learn and absorb the message of Acts, it will change your heart and draw you to God.
Acts is also the bridge that will help you understand the Gospels and the Letters of Paul better than ever. The right Bible commentary on Acts will help give you insight and understanding.
The Bible instructs Christians to seek wisdom (Prov. 1:7, James 1:5), and who better to learn from than pastors, theologians, and professors who have been studying and teaching Acts for decades?
10 Best Acts Commentaries
The best Acts commentaries are listed below. The recommendations include commentaries for every reading level and purpose, including individual Bible study, small groups, Sunday school, preaching, and teaching. The “Top 10” list is based on aggregate reviews.
Readers are encouraged not to use commentaries to replace prayer, the Holy Spirit, and the individual’s diligent study of Scripture. Nevertheless, a list based on aggregate reviews will likely point you in the right direction to find the right resource for your purposes.
Please use the list below as a starting point for learning about commentaries on Acts. It’s not intended as the “final word” on the topic but merely a “helpful word.”
1. Acts by Darrell L. Bock (BECNT)
Darrell Bock is renowned for his evangelical scholarship on the New Testament, especially Luke-Acts. A research professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, his work has made significant contributions to conservative biblical interpretation and understanding.
An evangelical commentary with a high view of Scripture
New Testament scholar D.A. Carson calls Bock’s commentary “a thorough and competent commentary.” Keith Mathison of Ligonier Ministries ranks it as the #1 commentary on Acts. Bible commentator and theologian Thomas Schreiner calls it “an excellent and clear commentary.”
Reviewers praise Bock’s commentary for its insightful exegesis, scholarly depth, and clear writing. The volume combines historical context with theological understanding, making it accessible to academics and pastors. Bock also wrote the best-reviewed Luke commentary in the same series.
The Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series is valued for its scholarly rigor and theological insight. The series thoroughly explores the New Testament from a committed conservative and evangelical perspective.
Please also see Best Commentary Series: The Top 50. Based on aggregate reviews.
2. The Acts of the Apostles by David G. Peterson (PNTC)
David G. Peterson is known for his significant contributions to New Testament theology. An acclaimed Bible scholar, he has written extensively on the Book of Hebrews and other biblical texts, influencing contemporary understanding of Christian doctrine and practice.
Excels in exegesis and theological reflection
Carson calls Peterson’s commentary “reflects careful work across the gamut of integral disciplines: text criticism, grammatical exegesis, historical considerations, literary criticism, and, above all, robust theological reflection.” Schreiner calls it “an outstanding commentary for pastors and teachers.”
Reviewers like Peterson’s commentary for its lucid exposition and theological depth. Drawing on extensive scholarship, Peterson provides clear insights and practical application, making it valuable to both pastors and lay readers. His work is appreciated for its faithfulness to the biblical text.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary series is liked for its scholarly yet readable approach. It provides clear theological insights without getting bogged down in academic jargon.
Also, see the best one-volume bible commentaries based on aggregate reviews.
3. Acts by Eckhard Schnabel (ZECNT)
Eckhard Schnabel is known for his scholarly work on the New Testament, particularly on the Acts of the Apostles and Pauline theology. His research provides historical insights into early Christianity, contributing to a deeper understanding of biblical texts and contexts.
An all-in-one resource on Acts from a great series
Carson calls Schnabel’s volume “very accessible, clearly written, and very strong on the theme of mission and on Greco-Roman history and sources.”
People like the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series for its clear, in-depth analysis. It offers both scholars and laypeople a detailed understanding of the text within its historical context.
The series blends scholarly research with practical insights, making it accessible and beneficial for a broad audience.
Also, see the Best Matthew Commentary based on aggregate reviews.
4. Acts by I. Howard Marshall (TNTC)
I. Howard Marshall was known for his extensive contributions to New Testament studies. A prolific writer, his research and commentaries on Luke and Acts and evangelical theology have made him a respected figure in biblical scholarship.
The best-reviewed (relatively) concise commentary on Acts
Mathison calls Marshall’s commentary “simple to read without being simplistic in content.” Schreiner recommends it, saying, “a brief exposition for pastors and scholars.” Carson refers to it as “very useful.”
People appreciate the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series for its concise and clear explanations. Designed for laypeople, students, and pastors, the series provides reliable expositions of the biblical texts.
It combines scholarly insights with practical application, making it a valuable resource for those seeking to understand the New Testament.
5. The Book of Acts by F.F. Bruce (NICNT)
F.F. Bruce was a renowned Bible scholar known for his articulate defense of the historical reliability of the New Testament. His writings, particularly on the apostle Paul, made significant contributions to evangelical scholarship and continue to be highly regarded.
A classic commentary from a renowned Bible scholar
Mathison calls Bruce’s commentary “one of the best commentaries on this book of Scripture.” Schreiner calls it “a lucid commentary.”
People like the New International Commentary on the New Testament series for its deep theological insights and scholarly rigor.
It provides a detailed analysis of the biblical text, blending historical context with theological understanding. The series is appreciated by both academics and clergy for its comprehensive and balanced approach.
Also, see the Best Genesis Commentary based on aggregate reviews.
6. The Message of Acts by John Stott (BST)
John Stott was known for his significant influence on evangelicalism, bridging the gap between traditional evangelical theology and social issues. A respected author and preacher, his writings and teachings have played a crucial role in shaping modern evangelical thought and practice.
A goldmine for pastors and teachers
People like the Bible Speaks Today series because it offers clear and applicable insights into the biblical text. Designed for laypeople, pastors, and students, the series helps readers relate the timeless truths of the Bible to contemporary life. Its accessibility and focus on practical application make it a popular choice.
7. Acts by Ajith Fernando (NIVAC)
Ajith Fernando is renowned for his work as a Bible scholar and theologian. He has written many insightful books emphasizing practical Christian living and spiritual commitment, particularly in the context of his native Sri Lanka.
Focuses on explanation and application
New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg calls Fernando’s commentary a priority volume on the Book of Acts. Schreiner calls it “a clear exposition with helpful application.” Carson calls it “very good.”
People appreciate the NIV Application Commentary series for its blend of scholarly exegesis and contemporary application.
It helps readers understand the ancient text within its original context and then apply its truths to modern life. This combination of depth and practicality makes it a favored resource among various readers.
Also, see the Best Revelation Commentary based on aggregate reviews.
8. Acts by Craig S. Keener (Stand Alone)
Craig S. Keener is renowned for his detailed commentaries on the New Testament. His work often explores the historical and cultural context of biblical passages, bridging gaps between ancient texts and modern understanding and earning respect in scholarly circles.
A groundbreaking examination of the socio-cultural background of Acts
Carson describes Keener’s work as ” straightforward prose, great learning, and impressive bibliography.” Blomberg considers it a priority commentary on Acts.
The publisher notes that this is “[Keener’s] magnum opus” and “may be the largest and most thoroughly documented Acts commentary ever written.”
9. The Acts of the Apostles by Ben Witherington III (SRC)
Ben Witherington III is known for his extensive New Testament scholarship. A prominent evangelical theologian, he has authored numerous books and commentaries focusing on the socio-rhetorical context of the Bible, contributing to a deeper understanding of biblical texts.
Reviewers consider this the best volume in the SRC series
Mathison says, “a large amount of information in this commentary that is not found in others.” Carson describes it as “very good indeed…his ‘socio-rhetorical’ approach is particularly suited to this sort of biblical book.”
People like the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary series for its unique approach to the biblical text, analyzing both social backgrounds and rhetorical strategies.
It uncovers cultural, literary, and social insights that enrich understanding, making it valuable for scholars and students seeking a deeper exploration of the context and impact of the Bible.
Also, see the Best John Commentary based on aggregate reviews.
10. Acts by Richard Longenecker (EBC)
Richard Longenecker is known for his substantial contributions to New Testament scholarship, particularly Pauline theology. His writings and research, focusing on the early church and the context of biblical passages, have profoundly impacted contemporary understanding of Christian doctrine.
Shorter than others on the list yet still helpful to pastors
The ministry, Desiring God (John Piper), lists this volume as the #1 recommended commentary on Acts. Schreiner calls it “a helpful and brief exposition for the busy pastor.”
People like the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series for its comprehensive yet accessible insights. Suitable for pastors, teachers, and students, it provides scholarly analysis with practical application.
The series combines historical context, theological interpretation, and contemporary relevance, making it a valuable resource for those looking to understand and teach the Bible.
10 More Commentaries on the Book of Acts
Why are the Acts commentaries below not in the “Top 10”? It’s not because they have received poor reviews or people haven’t found them helpful. The reasons vary.
Some are relatively new and haven’t been widely reviewed, read, or used. Others haven’t been broadly distributed, so getting enough information to aggregate is difficult. And others may be outdated in relation to biblical scholarship or out of print and difficult to acquire.
The “Top 10” list is reviewed annually. Readers are encouraged to consider the volumes in this section before purchasing an Acts commentary. These ten are not in any particular order.
Also, see the Best Romans Commentary based on aggregate reviews.
Acts by C.K. Barrett (ICC)
C.K. Barrett was renowned for his significant contributions to New Testament exegesis and theology. His in-depth commentaries on books like John and Acts have shaped modern biblical scholarship and continue to influence the understanding of Christian texts and doctrine.
The best-reviewed technical (though critical) commentary
Schreiner calls Barrett’s volume “a technical commentary for research purposes.” Mathison writes, “for students and pastors needing to look at every aspect of the text, it is invaluable.”
People like the International Critical Commentary series for its rigorous academic analysis of biblical texts.
Utilizing historical-critical methods, it provides detailed exegesis and critical interpretation, appealing to scholars and serious students of the Bible. Its thorough research and scholarly perspective make it a valuable resource for in-depth biblical study.
Acts by John B. Polhill (NAC)
John B. Polhill is known for his scholarship on the New Testament, particularly the Pauline Epistles. A respected theologian, his academic writings, especially his well-regarded commentaries on Acts, have made substantial contributions to evangelical studies and biblical understanding.
This series reflects a Baptist perspective
People like the New American Commentary series for its blend of scholarly research and practical exposition. Aimed at ministers and Bible teachers, it offers theological insights and clear explanations rooted in a commitment to biblical inerrancy.
The series connects the biblical text with contemporary life, making it valuable for various readers.
Acts by R.C. Sproul (SAEC)
R.C. Sproul was known for his clear articulation of Reformed theology and his ability to make complex theological concepts accessible to laypeople. A respected theologian, author, and pastor, his teachings have had a significant impact on modern evangelical Christianity.
An Acts commentary from R.C. Sproul
People like the Saint Andrew’s Expositional Commentary series for its clear and pastoral insights. Written by R.C. Sproul, it offers readers a blend of scholarly understanding with a heart for the church. This series is valued for its faithful exposition and practical application, appealing to pastors and lay readers alike.
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 by Joseph A. Fitzmyer (AYBC)
Joseph A. Fitzmyer was a prominent Catholic biblical scholar, known for his expert work on the Aramaic language and extensive commentaries on the New Testament. His research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Luke-Acts has significantly influenced contemporary biblical studies.
A Catholic priest wrote this volume
People like the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary series for its scholarly depth and ecumenical approach. Drawing from diverse theological perspectives, it offers a comprehensive examination of the biblical text.
Its in-depth research and critical analysis make it a valuable resource for academics, clergy, and serious students of the Bible.
Acts by Derek Thomas (REC)
Derek W.H. Thomas is known for his Reformed theological teachings and insightful commentaries on various biblical books. A pastor and author, his writings contribute to the understanding of the Bible within the Reformed tradition, influencing both scholars and laypeople.
This commentary has been discontinued
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…”
Acts by David J. Williams (UBCS)
David J. Williams was known for his contributions to New Testament scholarship, particularly his commentaries on the Book of Acts. His work, focusing on historical and theological analysis, provided insightful perspectives that have influenced academic understanding and Christian ministry.
This volumes is deigned for pastors
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.”
Acts by William J. Larkin Jr. (IVPNTC)
William J. Larkin Jr. is known for his scholarship on the New Testament, particularly his in-depth commentaries on the Book of Acts. His work combines historical and theological analysis, contributing to evangelical studies and enhancing the understanding of early Christian history.
Theis is series similar to the NIV Application Commentary series
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.”
Acts by Robert Wall (NIBC)
Robert Wall is known for his theological insights into the New Testament, particularly the writings of the Apostle Paul and the Book of Acts. A respected scholar, his works provide comprehensive analysis and interpretation that enrich contemporary biblical studies.
The NIBC volumes has a reader-friendly layout
People like the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary series for its ecumenical insights and scholarly rigor. Accessible to both clergy and laity, it offers theological reflection, biblical interpretation, and practical application.
Its blend of academic depth and pastoral sensitivity makes it a popular choice for those studying or teaching the Bible.
The Acts of the Apostles by James D.G. Dunn (Stand Alone)
James D.G. Dunn was known for his influential work on the New Testament, particularly his research on the Holy Spirit and the historical Jesus. A leading voice in biblical scholarship, his writings have shaped modern understanding of early Christianity.
Dunn reflects on Acts’ theology
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.”
Acts by Mikeal C. Parsons (PCNT)
Mikeal C. Parsons is known for his scholarship on the New Testament, with a focus on Luke-Acts. His work often emphasizes narrative and rhetorical criticism, contributing to a deeper understanding of the literary and historical contexts of biblical texts.
Parson is Baptist
People like the Paideia Commentary series for its focus on the cultural, literary, and theological settings of biblical texts.
It appeals to students and scholars by providing insightful interpretations without overwhelming technical details. The series is appreciated for its engaging approach, emphasizing the broader narrative and themes of the Scriptures.
Acts by Carl R. Holladay (NLT)
Carl R. Holladay is renowned for his work on the New Testament and Hellenistic Judaism. His scholarly contributions, particularly his insights into the Book of Acts and early Christian history, have provided valuable perspectives within the field of biblical studies.
An Acts commentary for pastors and scholars
People like the New Testament Library series for its scholarly yet accessible insights into the New Testament. Written by renowned scholars, the series provides thoughtful interpretations, historical context, and theological understanding.
It appeals to academics, clergy, and serious Bible students, offering a rich resource for study and reflection on the text.