It has been a long while since I have posted anything, due to the fact that my wife and my seminary studies and my preaching and teaching have been my priorities. However, I have decided that in between writing essays and sermons I need to have some sort of place to scrawl my ramblings into coherence, and this will be the place!
Yesterday I read through the book of Acts in order to compare it to Paul’s chronology in Galatians. The results: I disagree with contemporary scholars who believe Acts is inaccurate or an untrue tale. I believe Paul wrote Galatians after the Jerusalem council (Acts 15), though the debate between the intended audience is still ‘up in the air’.
The thing about Acts that most fascinates me is the nature of the gospel proclamation. Here is a list of every testimony to Jesus Christ in Acts, as well as several off-handed statements about the nature of these testimonies: 2:14-42; 3:12-26; 4:8-12; (4:33); 5:29-32; 7:2-53; (8:12); (8:35); (9:20-22, 28); 10:34-43; (11:20); 13:16-41; 13:46-48; 16:30-31; 17:2-3; 17:22-31; (18:28); 19:4-5; (19:8); (20:21, 24); 22:1-21; 23:6; 24:10-21; 24:25; (25:19); 26:2-23; (28:20); 28:23-31. Each of these testimonies carries its own distinct characteristics: some focus on the resurrection, others point out mainly the Kingdom of God, but there are several unifying threads to every account. First, the speakers (mainly Peter, Paul, Stephen) always seek to prove Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God from the Scriptures. For example, their main point of contention with Jews is about the nature of the Messiah: whether or not the Scriptures teach that the Messiah must suffer and die and be raised again. Similarly, the Scriptures are cited to prove that the Messiah will be a beacon of light for both Jew and Gentile, causing both to glorify God. Second, though repentance is not always mentioned within the testimony of the gospel, the desired result is always that the audience will repent and ‘turn to God’, and will thus be forgiven of their sins through faith in Jesus Christ. For example, at the conclusion of Peter’s speech (10:43), Peter does not declare that the Gentiles repent, but simply states,“Of Him [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” Directly after this, the Spirit falls upon those who were listening.
There is much more to discuss, but that’s all I have for now. Time to return to an essay on Paul’s discussion of union with Christ in Galatians!