Commentary: Acts, Deuteronomy



I. H. Marshall’s Luke-Historian and Theologian (Paternoster, 1970) and R. Maddox’s The Purpose of Luke-Acts (T & T Clark) are worthwhile starters to the book of Acts. There are also some very helpful articles in Apostolic History and The Gospel (Paternoster, 1970) by W.W. Gasque and R. P. Martin.


The two commentaries by F. F. Bruce-Acts of the Apostles (2nd Edition, Tyndale, 1952) and The Book of the Acts (3rd Edition, Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1962)-are complementary. The former is a special Tyndale publication (not in the Tyndale Series) and gives an introduction and commentary on the Greek text. The latter is an exposition of the English text (although there are some helpful references to the Greek text in the footnotes). As far as conservative commentaries go, Bruce’s work is still foundational and invaluable.

The new commentary in the Tyndale Series (IVP, 1980) by I. H. Marshall replaces the rather limited work by E. M. Blaiklock. It is more up to date with regard to scholarly discussion and sometimes gives more theological analysis than Bruce. R. N. Longenecker has written an excellent up to date commentary in The Expositors Bible Vol. 9 (Zondervan, 1981).

None of these books, apart from Bruce’s work on the Greek text, are beyond the general reader.


As the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land Moses addresses them and teaches them how they are to now live, in the light of what God has done and what God has said. Deuteronomy therefore sums up the message of the first five books of the Bible.


There are many books, other than commentaries, which deal with Deuteronomy in one way or another, like Meredith Kline’s Treaty of the Great King (Eerdmans, 1963) which interprets the book along the lines of a treaty document between God and Israel; or R.E. Clement’s God’s Chosen People (SCM, 1968) which discusses a number of important theological themes in Deuteronomy. These are worth a read.


The commentary by Gerhard von Rad [Deuteronomy, Old Testament Library (SCM, 1966)] is limited in its value by its one-eyed form critical approach. To understand the commentary you need to read the Introduction very carefully, and have some idea of the weaknesses of form criticism.

A more recent, and more detailed commentary, but which shares the same kind of weaknesses is that by A.D.H. Mayes [Deuteronomy, New Century Bible Commentary (Eerdmans, 1979)]. The verse-by-verse critical analysis loses the wood for the trees.

Much more helpful is P.C. Craigie’s The Book of Deuteronomy [New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1976)]. Craigie is concerned to illuminate the meaning of Deuteronomy from the literary milieu of the ancient world.

The commentary I have found most informative has been J.A. Thompson’s in the Tyndale series.

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