Acts Bible Commentary: Interview with author David G. Peterson

Mars Hill

Mars Hill

David G. Peterson (Ph.D. from the University of Manchester) was the Principal of Oak Hill Theological College, London, between 1996 and 2007, lecturing in Biblical Studies and Worship. He is an ordained minister of the Anglican Church of Australia. He was senior research fellow and lecturer in New Testament at Moore Theological College in Sydney where he now lectures part-time. He is the author of Encountering God Together.

1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on Acts?

For many years I taught Acts as part of an introductory course in New Testament at Moore College in Sydney Australia. This course was focused on the historicity of Acts and the way it provides a context for the study of the Pauline letters. I soon developed a growing interest in the theological meaning of the text and was especially encouraged in this by the work of Robert Tannehill. I wrote an article on ‘The Motif of Fulfilment in Luke-Acts’ for The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting Vol. 1 Ancient Literary Setting, edited by Bruce W. Winter and Andrew D Clarke. Then I was asked to edit with Howard Marshall and contribute to a volume of essays on the theology of Acts, entitled Witness to the Gospel. So, when I was asked to write the commentary on Acts in the Pillar series, I determined to focus on exploring the theological significance of Luke’s narrative.

2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? professors? students? lay Christians in the local church?

This commentary was especially written to benefit pastors in their preaching and students in their reflection on the meaning and significance of Acts. However, lay Christians should be able to benefit from the work as well, especially those leading Bible study groups and adult eduction classes.

3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to the study of Acts?

I believe it is the most thorough examination of the theology of Acts in commentary form presently available, using the method of narrative criticism.

4. What section or passage of this commentary was particularly memorable to research and write? Why?

I found that writing on Paul’s experience in Athens (Acts 17:16-34) was both memorable and challenging, because this passage speaks so clearly and relevantly to the ‘post-Christian’ secular environment in which I live.

5. What personally edified you in writing this commentary, increasing your affections for Christ?

Luke’s continuing focus on the word of the gospel as the means by which people of different nationalities and backgrounds are brought to faith and union with Christ and his people was a continuing encouragement to me. This increased my confidence in the risen Christ as the one who uses the word to grow his church.

6. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on Acts?

Robert Tannehill, The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation Vol. 2 The Acts of the Apostles (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990); Ben Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Michigan: Grand Rapids, 1998); Luke Johnson, The Acts of the Apostles (Collegeville, 1992); Darrell Bock, Acts (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007); C. K. Barrett, The Acts of the Apostles 2 vols. (Edinburgh: Clark, 1994, 1998); I Howard Marshall, The Acts of the Apostles (Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1980).

7. What is next for you? What project are you currently working on? How can people follow your work and ministry?

I have just finished writing a commentary on Romans, due to be published August 1st this year. This is part of a new series called Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation (B & H, Nashville). Details are on my website (davidgpeterson.com). My next project is to write a commentary on Hebrews for the revised Tyndale Commentary series.


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