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Acts: A Theological Commentary on the Bible (Belief: a Theological Commentary on the Bible)

4.66  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  20 reviews
In this new commentary for the Belief series, award-winning author and theologian Willie James Jennings explores the relevance of the book of Acts for the struggles of today. While some see Acts as the story of the founding of the Christian church, Jennings argues that it is so much more, depicting revolutionlife in the disrupting presence of the Spirit of God. According t ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 5th 2017 by Westminster John Knox Press
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Robert D. Cornwall
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Karl Barth's commentary on Romans proved to be theologically provocative and even disruptive. From time to time theologians have followed Barth's lead and have written theologically rooted biblical commentaries, but for the most part the task of biblical commentary has been left to the specialists. Yes, theologians engage with scripture, but more often in thematic ways, rather than tackling the text itself in an extended manner. Fortunately, there are a growing number of commentaries being writt ...more
Adam Shields
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Takeaway: Commentaries are under-appreciated forms of devotional literature.

In general, I do not read the Bible straight through in a reading plan. I generally read the bible either with the Book of Common Prayer or with a Liturgy of the Hours (this is the one I use right now mostly). I prefer dated versions where I read that day and that day only. If I get behind, I get behind.

But almost two months ago now I went on a silent five-day retreat. And I brought Willie James Jennings’ commentary on A
Dwight Davis
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of course Willie Jennings wrote the best commentary I’ve ever consulted. Of course he wrote a commentary that I sat down and read from cover to cover, a thing I’ve literally never done with a commentary on a book of the Bible. Of course Willie Jennings, a systematic and constructive theologian, is also a brilliant biblical scholar.

This commentary isn’t you’re typical commentary. Jennings doesn’t delve into the context or linguistics of the text. Rather, he leans into the narrative form of Acts
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
‘Maybe our goal should be to form common life along the lines of Paul waiting for his day before the emperor - in a house where the struggle for justice meets radical hospitality and where people from every walk of life wander into a space filled with hope, surprise, and very good news.’ 257

This is a disruptive, challenging and vital commentary shedding new light on the Book of Acts. A must read for all Christians and especially those who would teach and preach in the church today.
John Medendorp
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biblical-studies
This isn’t your grandpa’s commentary! If you’re looking for how Luke uses the subjunctive, how heavily he relies on Q, or whether there is a chiastic structure to Acts, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you want to see how the Spirit bridges cultural divides, shakes the foundations of prisons, and pushes God’s people to the edge of grace in divine embrace of human bodies throughout time and space, read on!
Joseph Yoo
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of the best commentaries on Acts I've ever read. ...more
This book is unlike most modern commentaries. Most commentaries give you an understanding of what the text is saying, often with engagement with past interpretations and full of historical background details. These commentaries are valuable tools to help the interpreter understand what the text is saying, but they lack the interpretive judgements and conclusions that are necessary for any preacher. This commentary, and the series it is a part of seeks to address these weakness. As a result, whil ...more
Matthew Codd
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can’t imagine preaching again out of Acts without having first engaged Jenning’s piercing and challenging insight. A true gift to the church in its reading and interpreting of Scripture.
David Smith
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A political theological reading

Most commentaries on Acts delve into the history of the events themselves. Jennings commentary goes beyond this to the sociological and political domains. He broadens the horizon by reading the history portrayed in Acts anew that speaks to incarceration and individualism in our postmodern era. A worthy read for the biblical scholar as well as a pastor looking to push their congregation beyond the self help mentality.
Sep 28, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019, preaching, theology
Another one of the commentaries I read throughout a 48 part sermon series I did in the book of Acts. Unlike any of the other commentaries I read. Jennings writes with a compelling zeal and urgency. While I didn't agree with all of his conclusions, I loved reading this. ...more
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exquisite and profound. I am happy beyond all expression that Willie James Jennings has agreed to be part of the writing project for which I am lead author, a feminist commentary on Acts for the Wisdom series (Liturgical Press). Look for it in 2022.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Maybe our goal should be to form common life...a house where the struggle for justice meets radical hospitality and where people from every walk of life wander into a space filled with hope, surprise, and very good news.”
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books
The language is rich and poetic, sometimes wearyingly so, but this is a sharp, fresh, anti-colonial, and critically aware commentary. It's refreshing to read even if some of it is not directly preachable in my parish context. ...more
Jonathan Griffiths
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, sharp, passionate. Would that all commentaries had the same life in them! No doubt many readers will find some ideas to challenge, but it's well worth the wrestling and the processing. ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Paradigm shifting book
Van Jones
Fantastic book. Eye opening. Very informative.
Eric Clapp
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-bookshelf
I can’t say I’ve ever read a commentary straight through, but his insights made every page worthwhile.

It changed the way I see Acts, Paul, Scripture, God in such life-giving ways. I’ll be referencing this constantly and can’t wait to read everything else he’s written.
Christian Sawyer
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great commentary, especially relevant for the time in which we are nowing living!
Sooho Lee
What prophetic roar, what fiery witness! This, Willie James Jennings’s commentary on Acts, is without a moment’s hesitation one of the best theological works I have ever read.

“The revolution of the intimate is here!”

Jennings heralds. And how profound is this unseemly way of flipping the world right-side. It is not one of violence, forcing the Kingdom of God like the Roman Empire (or any other empires). It is also not one of cowardice, succumbing to the fears—real fears, nevertheless—of diaspora.
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