Friday, January 17, 2014

The Acts of the Apostles: Spreading the Word (Ancient Faith Publishing)

There is no book that I love more than the Bible. For this reason, I have always loved Bible commentaries, even back in my Protestant days. I want to know and understand God's Word to the best of my ability, and I can only do that with the help of minds greater than mine. Currently, I am collecting and reading two sets of Bible commentaries - one Catholic and the other Orthodox. Today, I will be reviewing the the latest Orthodox volume called The Acts of the Apostles: Spreading the Word.

The Acts of the Apostles: Spreading the Word is the twelfth volume in The Orthodox Bible Study Companion Series. The series is not intended to be an in-depth word-by-word study, but instead an approachable study you can use either solo or with a group. Fr. Farley begins by explaining that the Acts of the Apostles was written by St. Luke to explain to Theophilus four apologetic points - 1. The Church was not politically suspect; 2. The Church is a legal religion and the True Israel; 3. The Holy Spirit guides the Church; and 4. Gentiles are welcome in the Church as it is God's will. After this introduction, he then dives into the commentary for Acts of the Apostles.

Like every volume in this series, Fr. Farley gives the reader both Scripture and commentary. The commentary provided is scholarly yet approachable. With some passages, he takes time to highlight key words and give their Greek equivalent and meaning. This helps take the passage to a deeper level than one could obtain by just reading the Scripture alone. As helpful as this is, especially for someone like me who is trying to learn Greek, I found the excursuses (or expositions on topics) even more enlightening. A few of the topics addressed in these expositions were the Resurrection of Jesus, Ascension of Jesus, and Lessons from St. Paul's Aeropagus sermon. Each mini-essay gives the reader an extra level of depth, and, since they are asides, the reader has the option to go deeper or just stick with the commentary.

I have been waiting for this one to come out for a few years since one should read Luke and Acts together, and it did not disappoint. Fr. Farley is very astute when he refers to the Acts of the Apostles as both a door and a bridge. It is a door because it gives us a small glimpse of what the Church was like in the First Century, and it is a bridge because it connects the Gospels to the Epistles. If you want to understand Acts better, then this is the book for you. I wholeheartedly recommend it, but I recommend that you purchase it with The Gospel of Luke: Good News for the Poor. Stay tuned in 2014 for the final volume of the New Testament entitled The Epistle to the Hebrews: High Priest in Heaven.

This book was provided to me for free by Ancient Faith Publishing in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!