dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish


Book Review: The Message of Acts

When our church began a series on the book of Acts last fall, our pastors ordered a number of copies of John Stott's commentary, The Message of Acts, and made them available in the church resource center. This provided a great opportunity to go deeper into the book, so I bought a copy and used it for a couple of months as part of my personal devotional time.

I found The Message of Acts to be a good combination of history, theology, and application. John Stott is a scholar, and is adept both at giving a feel for the historical settings and at expounding the theology found in the narrative. Additionally, while seeking to be true to the first century origins of the book of Acts, he faithfully writes with twenty-first century application in mind.

The whole book was well worth reading, yet two chapters stand out in my mind. The commentary on the conversion of Saul (Acts 9) was worth the price of the book. Saul's conversion has always fascinated me--both for the clear working of the sovereign hand of God and for the transformation that follows, as Saul the Persecutor becomes Paul the Apostle. John Stott digs deeper into Acts 9, drawing on Paul's own spoken testimony (Acts 26) and later writings (Romans 7) to expound on how God already had been working on Saul. Stott's paragraph on the how divine grace is a freeing grace (and not a trampling grace) is profound.

The chapter on Paul in Athens (Acts 17) also affected me personally. Here Stott explores both Paul's righteous jealosy for the glory of God's name and Paul's response: his evangelistic heart for each of his audiences, ably speaking "with equal facility to religious people in the synagogue, to casual passers-by in the city square, and to highly sophisticated philosophers." To each group, Paul preached in different ways, yet he always preached the same Gospel.

The Message of Acts is one of a series of commentaries in "The Bible Speaks Today" series, published by InterVarsity Press since the 1980s (with new titles still being added). Each commentary in the series, of which John Stott is the New Testament general editor, covers one to three books of the Bible. After having been exposed to the series through Stott's Acts commentary, I will definitely consider using other volumes as part of my book studies in the future.

Rating: Recommended



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