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Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 3


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Highly respected New Testament scholar Craig Keener is known for his meticulous and comprehensive research. This commentary on Acts, his magnum opus, may be the largest and most thoroughly documented Acts commentary available. Useful not only for the study of Acts but also early Christianity, this work sets Acts in its first-century context.

In this volume, the third of four, Keener continues his detailed exegesis of Acts, utilizing an unparalleled range of ancient sources and offering a wealth of fresh insights. This magisterial commentary will be an invaluable resource for New Testament professors and students, pastors, Acts scholars, and libraries.

The indexes for the entire four-volume set may be downloaded under the Resources section on the left side of this page.


"Keener's incredibly detailed megacommentary on Acts is a scholarly achievement that is unlikely to be surpassed in the foreseeable future. The author has an enviable mastery over an amazing number of primary and secondary sources, evident on nearly every page in footnotes providing both documentation and stimulating discussions. He provides in-depth discussions of various critical approaches to the major interpretive issues in Acts, revealing the strengths and weaknesses of each position while carefully arguing his own position. The commentary also includes a rich variety of informative excursuses that provide detailed analysis of a wide variety of important side issues and topics. Every serious student of Acts owes it to herself or himself to carefully work through this significant contribution to scholarship."

David E. Aune, Walter Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, emeritus, University of Notre Dame

"Keener's scholarship and personal experience give a distinctive cross-cultural perspective to his commentary. His excursuses are treasure troves of cultural information on topics such as ancient anti-Judaism; dreams; patrons, clients, and reciprocity; and suicide. This detailed commentary will deservedly be a major resource on Acts in many libraries--personal and public--for years to come."

John J. Pilch, Johns Hopkins University

"As in the previous volumes, the author proffers a very detailed and nuanced analysis of the text's exegetical problems while also paying close attention to the Greco-Roman environment that shaped Luke's narrative. Scholars of the New Testament, theologians, and classicists, but also laypersons, will want to consult and will benefit from Keener's erudite, impressive work."

Andreas Bendlin, Department of Classics, University of Toronto

"Keener's massive commentary on the book of Acts is a gold mine of valuable information. His socio-historical reading of the text demonstrates the crucial importance of interpreting Acts in the context of Greek and Roman historiography. In addition, the vast amount of references to ancient sources and literature will be helpful for anyone interested in doing serious research on Acts."

Samuel Byrskog, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University

The Author

  1. Craig S. Keener

    Craig S. Keener

    Craig S. Keener (Ph.D., Duke University) is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is author of 30 books, 5 of which have won awards in Christianity Today. More than a million copies of his books are in...

    Continue reading about Craig S. Keener


"This third volume of what is already the most extensive commentary on Acts ever written . . . continues to keep the high standard set in the earlier two volumes. . . . As in the earlier volumes, Keener's observations are usually to the point, his interpretations well documented, and his conclusions fairly balanced. Keener is very clear on his own presuppositions, especially with regard to questions of the historicity and reliability of Acts. Hence, his conclusions are often predictable but not shallow: the reader is offered all the pros and cons of an argument. . . . Keener offers us a mass of useful information and a lot of insights that are worth taking note of. Acts scholars, then, are forever deeply in debt to Keener for his magnificent work."

Arie W. Zwiep,

Review of Biblical Literature

"Acts is a model of scholarly fidelity and endurance. . . . The style is clear and flowing. . . . Another attractive feature is the absence of rancor. Keener disagrees with many ideas but does not need to attack the morals, piety, or intelligence of his dialogue partners. . . . For most this weighty set will be a reference work. I hope that those who came for a quick check on a verse will linger to savor some more."

Richard I. Pervo,

Review of Biblical Literature

"This commentary is in a class by itself, not only because of its mega-size (with vol. 3 it reaches 3,348 pages and counting!) but also because of its thoroughness and the meticulous scholarship it displays. Keener . . . summarizes past and current scholarly opinion on the historical and theological dimensions of Luke's account plus numerous and informative excursuses on various aspects of the Jewish and Greco-Roman cultural and social context contemporary with Luke's work. For those desiring an encyclopedic analysis of the Acts of the Apostles, this is definitely the resource to turn to."

Donald Senior, CP,

The Bible Today

"By far the greatest contribution of this commentary is its wealth of primary references. For every topic in the commentary Keener provides a litany of Greek, Latin, and Jewish sources that illuminate the passage and provide greater depth of insight. . . . In addition to the substantial commentary, Keener provides extensive excurses . . . on related subjects. . . . These entries are a real strength of the work as Keener provides detailed investigations on topics that not only directly impact our understanding of the Acts text, but provide a broad understanding of specific issues from an ancient perspective. . . . I would highly recommend these books for anyone interested in understanding the Acts text or the first century Christian context more broadly."

Sean A. Adams,


"Keener's commentary on the Acts of the Apostles is by any measure a mammoth project. . . . The work is very readable, with clear sectioning and engaging content. . . . Keener's insights will serve and benefit preachers and pastors, and not just scholars. They deserve to be more widely known and more widely read. I can see two broad areas where we owe a debt to Keener. First, he is committed to the historicity of scripture. . . . Keener often serves as tour guide, offering informative, even filmic, descriptions of the ancient world beyond the briefer pen pictures typical of other commentators. . . . Second, Keener is committed to locating scripture within mission in particular places. He is conservative in historicity and adventurous in application. . . . An indisputable contribution to our reading of Acts. Keener digs out treasures old and new, and works various and multiple angles on the text which often render helpfully refreshing views."

Matthew Sleeman,


"It is encyclopedic, giving full and lucid discussion verse-by-verse, but also [includes] informative excursuses. . . . Keener's bibliography is huge. . . . Though not the last word, it is an amazing resource."

David Wenham,

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"One of the strengths of the commentary [is] its abundant use of ancient sources to contextualize Acts. . . . The list of modern sources demonstrates Keener's considerable engagement with secondary scholarship as well. Once again, the volume is littered with useful excurses. . . . This commentary is a must for Acts scholars."

William Sanger Campbell,

Religious Studies Review

"The third volume of Craig Keener's Acts commentary continues his amazingly thorough work. . . . This is an amazing commentary, a gold mine of information. . . . Nothing else matches this commentary, particularly for understanding the book's ancient backgrounds. Keener carefully weighs all the evidence on practically every issue. . . . As a reference it is indispensable."

Ray Van Neste,

Preaching (2015 Survey of Bibles and Bible Reference Works)

"The primary and unique focus of this volume (and series) is the Greco-Roman (and secondarily Jewish) backgrounds of Acts, namely, its social-historical and rhetorical contexts. While its focus is not upon grammatical, literary, and theological aspects of Acts (like most commentaries), Keener nonetheless does not spurn these approaches but uses them intermittently where appropriate. Keener, thus, has spotted this hole in Acts research, and generously filled it with his contribution of expertise in Greco-Roman (and Jewish) backgrounds. His citation and comparison of Acts with Greco-Roman (and Jewish) ancient sources is exhaustive. . . . One might easily mistake Keener for a senior scholar of Classics, competent in Greco-Roman literature, history, rhetoric, and philosophy. . . . This volume (and series) will inspire a cornucopia of new research and dissertations, but even more so will inspire scholars of all perspectives to go to the Greco-Roman primary sources themselves. . . . I highly recommend this third volume for scholars and academic students of Acts. . . . It is the new norm and landmark in Acts scholarship and cannot be overlooked or avoided."

Timothy J. Christian,

Asbury Journal

"Keener's in-depth approach to the text provides an opportunity for important issues to be discussed. . . . Keener's handling of many interpretive problems is thorough. . . . [The] excurses enhance this commentary and also provide general information that will impact reading much of the New Testament. . . . Keener's contribution to study of Acts is invaluable."

Joseph D. Fantin,

Bibliotheca Sacra