One of the books I picked up at ETS/IBR/SBL/AAR in Denver last November was the volume I’m reviewing today – L. Scott Kellum’s Acts in B&H Academic’s Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament (EGGNT), an interesting series that is a mix of commentary and Greek handbook. Kellum’s entry helpfully distills a wealth of scholarship into just over 300 pages – in a book that I think is both a useful commentary, and a useful aid to building a library.
The volume is straightforwardly structured – following a long contents page (which really breaks the book of Acts down into a lot of smaller pericopes) and a short introduction (Around 12 pages, covering the important issues, and signposting the reader to more in-depth treatments) this is a book that invites the reader to get stuck into the text. The text is not printed in the book – and it is a designed to get the reader into their Greek New Testament – and readers with no Greek will find it hard going as there is a lot of untransliterated Gk. in it. For those of us who have some Gk., the EGGNT format is both a challenge to and a tool for keeping it up and strengthening it.
As well as the textual focus, and the brief commentary, Kellum offers ‘Homiletical Suggestions’ (often three points!) for potential preaching, and further reading on each pericope/topic. This makes it a useful commentary or book for someone thinking through preaching Acts, as well as a sort of research assistant for those of us wanting to dig deeper into Acts and its contexts and cultures. This is an unashamedly (And quite refreshingly!) ‘conservative’ and ‘evangelical’ commentary – the author is pretty encouragingly unapologetic about the way in which God acts, both then and now: “The physical manifestation and the filling indicated God’s blessings on the event. The long-term answer to the prayer is indeed boldness in speaking” p. 65 on 4:31. There are pointers for more text-critical discussion, but that isn’t the purpose of this book (And, I imagine, the series). Calm and cautious on OT allusion/typology but open to it.
Overall, then this is a really helpful short commentary AND a refresher for New Testament Greek, AND a useful library building tool. Or possibly pedagogical aid – showing pastors how to build a library and students where to look for sources for an essay. This makes Kellum’s EGGNT on Acts a really useful purchase and tool – and a series I’ll look to keep adding to my library when possible.