For the past couple of years, the B&H Publishing Group has released a series of commentaries called, “Christ-Centered Exposition.” These commentaries are geared in not only assisting pastors in their sermon prep, but also for small group settings. These commentaries are like reading a book where there is teaching in them unlike some commentaries where they give the meaning of the verse and attempt to interpret it in its original context. Tony Merida, David Platt, and Danny Akin have been the editors of this series and have a great job gather authors seeking to make much of Jesus in this books by showing Christ in the pages of the Bible.
I recently received Exalting Jesus In Acts which was written by Tony Merida. One of the reasons I wanted to look this commentary over is our church just finished going through the book of Acts in Sunday School for our adults. Like all the commentaries in this series, each chapter is outlined as far as what that particular chapter will be looking at as well what verses it will be covering. Since Acts is such a big book in the Bible, the book itself is pretty lengthy even the chapters are not. This is probably one of the thickest commentaries from this series I have. Each chapter ends with some discussion questions which is good for small group settings and possible application points for a sermon.
I want to touch on a couple of particular verses in Acts the Merida comments on. The first being Acts 2:38-39, which says, “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (The commentary mostly uses the Christian Standard Bible [CSB], but I will quoting from the English Standard Version [ESV]). This is one of the go-to passage for those who embrace Infant Baptist. I wish I could say that Merida did touch on that, but he went in the area of baptismal regeneration, which the belief that when you are baptized, you are saved, which was an interesting discussion, but I wished he would have addressed more on the Infant Baptism viewpoint.
The second one is Acts 8:39-40, which says, “And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.” This passages takes place right after Phillip shared Christ with the Ethiopian Eunuch and baptized him. You might be wondering why I wanted to look at this passage. My reason is a few years ago, I heard a preach say that the reason God took Phillip and zipped him from one place to another was to thank him for his service. You can imagine the confusion I had when I heard that. There is not many answers as to why Phillip was beamed like a Star Trek transporter by God to Azotus. Sadly, Merida does not go there nor did he give a theory as to why that happened. I guess this part of Acts will remain a mystery.
Despite my disappointment with the two passages I mentioned, this is an excellent commentary and highly recommend it.