After many years of studying Hebrews, in 1992 I was asked by Eerdmans to write the Pillar Acts Commentary. Almost immediately, I was asked to write an article on ‘The Motif of Fulfilment and the Purpose of Luke-Acts’ for the first volume in a new series called The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Carlisle: Paternoster, 1993), 83-104. This was followed by an invitation to join with Howard Marshall as editor of a new volume on the theology of Acts (Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts [Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1998]). I wrote two articles for this publication, one on ‘The Worship of the New Community’, the other attempting to summarise the findings of the various contributors, called ‘Luke’s Theological Enterprise: Integration and Intent’.

So the commentary was delayed for several years, but these other projects added greatly to my understanding of Acts and showed me many of the issues I needed to address. In the process of writing the commentary, I also wrote a brief introduction to Acts in T. D. Alexander and B. S. Rosner (ed.), New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Leicester: Inter-Varsity; Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 2000), 285-91.

Other reflections on Acts include:

‘Acts and the Spirit of Prophecy’, in B. G. Webb (ed.), Explorations 5: The Spirit of the Living God (Part 1) (Homebush West: Lancer, 1991); republished as Prophecy and Preaching: Acts and the Church Today, Orthos 16 (Buxton: Fellowship of Word and Spirit, 1997). An updated version can be found as Prophecy and Preaching in Acts.

‘Resurrection Apologetic in the Theology of Luke-Acts’, in P. M. Head (ed.), Witness to the Resurrection: Papers from the First Oak Hill College Annual School of Theology (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1998), 29-57. An updated version can be found as Resurrection Apologetic in Luke-Acts.

‘The “Locus” of the Church – Heaven or Earth?’, Churchman 112 (1998), 199-213.

‘Atonement Theology in Luke-Acts: Some Methodological Reflections’, in P. J. Williams, A. D. Clarke, P. M. Head and D. Instone-Brewer (ed.), The New Testament in its First Century Setting. Essays on Context and Background in Honour of B.W. Winter on his 65th Birthday (Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2004), 56-71.

Kerygma or kerygmata: is there only one gospel in the New Testament?’, in C. Green (ed.) God’s power to save: one gospel for a complex world? Papers from the Ninth Oak Hill College Annual School of Theology (Leicester: Apollos, 2006), 155-84.

See also Gospel and Transformation in Acts.


2 thoughts on “Acts

  1. Prabo Mihindukulasuriya

    Dear Dr. Peterson,

    Greetings from Sri Lanka! My name is Prabo, and I teach biblical studies, theology and history at the Colombo Theological Seminary. First, thank you for the phenomenal Acts commentary! Thank you for keeping the reader primarily in focus and not the scholars you have needed to interact with. Your work is a brilliant model of truly readable yet rigorous scholarship. On behalf of God’s people everywhere, “Thank you!”

    Second, may I please ask you a question that I would be very grateful to have your thoughts on? As you observe in Paul’s Areopagus speech, God’s intention for creating humankind is spelled by the two purpose infinitives “to inhabit” (v.26) and “to seek” (v.27). Do you think these are two independent purposes running parallel to each other or is there a sense that God’s overarching, providential ordering of human civilization on the earth facilitates human seeking after God? Which of the two interpretations is best supported by the text?

    Kindly let me know your thoughts when you find the time.




    1. Prabo,

      Thank you for your encouraging words about my Acts Commentary. With reference to Acts 17:26-27, I think your second alternative is the sense: ‘God’s overarching, providential ordering of human civilization on the earth facilitates human seeking after God’. I think this is clear because of the participial clause which comes between the two infinitives (‘having marked out their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands’).

      Best wishes,


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