Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
DBSJ 4 (Fall 1999) p. 165
A Bible Handbook to the Acts of the Apostles, Mal Couch, Gen ed. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1999. 455 pp. $25.99.
Dispensationalist commentaries on the crucial book of Acts are few and generally quite brief; thus a 455-page contribution to this field raises considerable interest. The volume is not called a commentary, but a handbook, a somewhat nebulous designation that reveals little about its contents. The reader will find the book comprised of three parts, the first and second being a collection of essays on eight topics within Acts: introduction, the church, the person of Jesus Christ, use of prophecy, demonology, Paul, the temple, and two chapters on the Holy Spirit. Part three is a 223-page verse-by-verse commentary on the book of Acts. The commentary is followed by four appendices: a timeline and three topical essays: one each on the laying on of hands, sign gifts, and progressive dispensationalism as they relate to the book of Acts. The volume is compiled from the research of twelve contributors, most with ties to Tyndale Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX), the conservative offspring of Dallas Theological Seminary. The general editor, Mal Couch, is founder, president, and director of the department of theological studies at Tyndale.
The value of the work is severely restricted by a litany of distracting editorial glitches. As in Couch’s earlier editorial effort, Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1996), there are numerous typographical errors. The endnotes (problems in and of themselves for the serious academic reader) are also littered with mistakes. Endnotes 3–9 of the introduction are out of order, and part 2, chapters 1–2, are mislabeled as chapters 8–9. The notes themselves are frequently incomplete, leaving the already frustrated endnote-seeker even further distracted. For instance, chapter 1, n. 16 (p. 425) reads, “Stanley Toussaint and Charles Dyer, Pentecost Essays (Chicago: Moody, 1986), 24.” The reader is forced to do a bit of detective work to discover that the note should read, “Stanley D. Toussaint, ‘The Kingdom and Matthew’s Gospel,’ in Essays in Honor of J. Dwight Pentecost, ed. Stanley D. Toussaint & Charles H. Dyer (Chicago: Moody, 1986), p. 24.” Many readers will be unable to find the work as cited. Finally, reprint editions are frequently listed without reference to their original publication, leaving the false impression that the writers are interacting with recently published materials.
DBSJ 4 (Fall 1999) p. 166
There are also numerous internal problems in the book. Overlapping and duplication of topics (e.g., sign gifts and their cessation—pp. 37–42; 64–69; 169–175; 412–16) are frequent. Further, when several co...
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