The NIV Application Commentary - Acts

I don't normally review commentaries because I don't normally read them in great detail. While commentaries are useful tools, they are generally written in a rather sterile style.

I recently finished a 10-week sermon series on the first seven chapters of Acts that I called Revolution. I consulted a few different commentaries, but The NIV Application Commentary - Acts by Ajith Fernando was far and away the best. It's hard to put into words how much I enjoyed reading this commentary. Not only was it useful in my sermon preparation, there were several days that I received great insight personally from it. The section on Acts 6:1-7 is worth the price of the book all by itself.

If you're not familiar with this set of commentaries, it follows a very reader friendly format in all of its treatments. Each passage of Scripture is dealt with in three ways: Original Meaning, Bridging Contexts, and Contemporary Significance. The Original Meaning section obviously deals with what the particular passage meant in its original historical context. Bridging Contexts helps the reader apply the historical context to our contemporary world. Finally, Contemporary Significance really allows the author to put his personal touch on the rendering of the passage. Fernando did this expertly by weaving in stories of personal experience in the mission field. (He is the National Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka. But he's no hack - Th.M. and D.D. from Asbury Theological Seminary and Fuller Seminary and chairman of the academic affairs committee for Colombo Theological Seminary.)

Every week I would begin preparing my sermon with a pre-conceived idea of the direction I thought I would go. Inevitably, Fernando's commentary would reveal layers of meaning that I originally overlooked and knew needed to be addressed. I highly recommend this commentary. I have a few other volumes from this set and will eventually try to complete the set. I just can't say enough about The NIV Application Commentaries.

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