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Acts Introduction Acts or Luke-Acts? Problem 1: We have no manuscripts in which they are joined Problem 2: Canonically, Luke is intimately linked with Matt/Mark and Acts appears as an introduction to Paul’s Writings Problem 3: Patristic writers, who knew of their common authorship, treated them separately.
Luke-Acts Introduction 1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Luke-Acts Introduction Luke 1: 1 -4 is a formal, highly stylized literary introduction; different from the rest of the Synoptics. For example, no where in 1: 1 -4 is Jesus mentioned or his life. (comp. Matt 1: 1 or Mark 1: 1) The introduction identifies these as “things” (pragma, twn), strange way of referring to one person’s life story
Luke-Acts Introduction Does this introduction mean that the Luke of Luke-Acts is to be seen as different (genre) from the Gospel accounts of Matthew or Mark? Is it Gospel? Is it history, ancient history that is?
Luke-Acts Introduction Ancient History in brief • Quintilian (1 st century A. D. ) says the task of the historian was to teach and persuade the lover of knowledge by means of the true deeds and speeches (Inst. Or 2. 56. 11) • Aristotle says that the task of history is to be concerned with human deeds. (Rhet 1. 1360 A. 35)
Luke-Acts Introduction Ancient History in brief • Less concerned with modern positivistic concerns of history (validation) Qs. Can one objectively report events? Does Luke claim “objectivity”? (cf. Luke 1: 1) • More concerned with How is the past being interpreted (significance) (cf. Luke 1: 4)
Luke-Acts Introduction Ancient History in brief • Less focus on person and more on events • Less focus on personalities and more on the recording the significant event and their causes. It’s hard to escape the causation in both Luke and Acts. God’s Plan in Jesus Fulfillment Theme in Luke-Acts
Luke-Acts Introduction Luke of Luke-Acts vs. Mark • Mark is not interested in recording the speeches/sermons of Jesus (exception of Mark 4 & 13), more like ancient biography. • In Luke, the subject of the verbs with Jesus teaching is 36% of the time, in Acts 33% of the book is speeches, more like ancient history.
Luke-Acts Introduction Acts 1: 1 -2 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. Acts 1: 1 -2
Luke- Acts Introduction Does Luke depend upon Acts? And is Acts dependent upon Luke? Luke 1: 1 portrays Luke as a book about the things which have been fulfilled (plhrofore, w; perfect/passive) among us. Luke, prophetically speaking, is incomplete without Acts
Luke- Acts Introduction Does Luke depend upon Acts? Unfulfilled prophecy of Luke: • Promise of light to gentiles / all flesh Luke 2: 32 and 3: 6 • Paradigmatic sermon of Jesus in Luke 4: 24 -27 • Promise in Luke 24: 45 -49 Fulfillment in Acts: • Fulfillment language in Acts: 2: 16 -21; 3: 24; 10: 43; 13: 40 -47; 15: 15 -18; 28: 25 -28
Luke- Acts Introduction Does Luke depend upon Acts? Gospel Material held back: • Omission of Mark 7 / Matt 15 Clean/unclean Does Luke wait until Acts 10: 9 -15 Peter and Cornelius? • Omission of Charge of Jesus attacking temple in Jesus’ trial before Sanhedrin (found in Mark 14: 58) Does Luke wait until Acts 6: 14 Stephen?
Luke-Acts Introduction Fulfillment in Matt Son of Abraham/David Five OT Prophecy: Matt 1: 22 -Isaiah Matt 2: 5 -Micah Matt 2: 15 -Hosea Matt 2: 17 -Jeremiah Matt 2: 23 -unknown Fulfillment in Matt: Present looking backward J E S U Fulfillment in Luke Four Prophetic Speeches/Songs: Mary-Luke 1: 46 -56 Zechariah-Luke 1: 68 -79 Simeon-Luke 2: 29 -32 Anna-Luke 2: 36 -38 S Fulfillment in Luke: Present looking forward
Luke-Acts Introduction Simeon: Luke 2: 27 -35 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel. " 33 The Israel child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too. "
Luke-Acts Introduction Anna: Luke 2: 36 -38 36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem
Luke- Acts Introduction How does Luke parallel Acts? Luke 3: 21 Jesus praying after baptism 3: 22 The Spirit descending after prayer 4: 16 -30 Jesus’ ministry begins with sermon of fulfillment and rejection 10: 1 -12 Mission of 70, foreshadow of mission to gentiles 22: 26; 23: 1; 23: 8; 23: 13 Four trials of Jesus 23: 16, 22 Pilate says he will release Jesus Acts 1: 14, 24 Disciples praying as they await for “promise of Father” 2: 1 -13 The Spirit fills 2: 14 -40 Church’s ministry begins with sermon of fulfillment and rejection Chap 13 -20 Mission journeys of Paul to gentiles Chap 22, 24, 25, 26 Four trials of Paul 26: 32 Herod Agrippa says he (Paul) could have been released.
Luke-Acts Introduction Purpose of Luke-Acts 1. Apologetic View • Political apologetic (cf. Acts 18: 12 -18, religio licita) • Paul’s Defense brief at his trial(s) in Acts • Defending Paul’s Apostolic authority against his detractors (cf. Galatians, 2 Cor)
Luke-Acts Introduction Purpose of Luke-Acts 2. Theological / Hermeneutical Focus Luke does not limit himself to record the “things fulfilled among us” but to explain it in an “orderly fashion” so that Theophilus (and we) can understand its sense and meaning. He is not trying to prove that something happened as much as to communicate what these events signify
Luke-Acts Introduction Purpose of Luke-Acts 2. Theological / Hermeneutical Focus • God’s Plan (Luke 2: 30 -32; 4: 18 -21) Social Incorporation
Luke-Acts Introduction Good News to “Poor” Luke 4: 16 -21 Note three verbs: to proclaim (euvaggeli, zw ) to send forth (avposte, llw ) to preach (khru, ssw ) Who are “Poor” (ptwco, j) Poor economically? Status in ancient world was one of birth not performance One was included or excluded based upon social markers
Luke-Acts Introduction Ministry of “Release” There is a direct connection between Isaiah 61 & 58 with Lev 25; The Year of Jubilee (Lev 25: 10) The hearers (and present day readers) have entered into this new epoch of the salvation of the Lord; release/forgiveness (a; fesij) (see; Luke 1: 77; 3: 3; 5: 20 -21; 5: 23 -24; 7: 47 -49; 11: 4; 12: 10; 17: 3 -4; 23: 34; 24: 47) Throughout Luke, the power of release is at work against diabolic forces (see esp, 13: 10 -17).
Luke-Acts Introduction Ministry of “Release” Let’s not forget that “release” also carries direct social consequences. What is forgiveness if not removing the barrier (sin) which has excluded an individual from community life? “Release” is a thorough-going entrance to wholeness, NOW, not simply a future hope or promise. A removal of both diabolic and social chains.
The Ruler Social Stratification: The Governing Class Merchants Artisans Retainers and Priests Peasants Unclean/Degraded Expendables
Luke-Acts Introduction Lists of Social Exclusion Priesthood: Lev 21: 16 -24 Blemish; blind; lame; broken foot; hunchback; blemish in eyes; dwarf; scabs, etc. Dead Sea Scrolls: Rule of Community (1 QSa 2: 5 -7) Boys, Women, Lame, blind, crippled, defect, etc.
Luke-Acts Introduction 4: 18 poor, captive, blind, oppressed Luke’s Lists of Social Inclusion 6: 20 7: 22 14: 13 and poor, blind, 14: 21 hungry, lame, mournful, persecuted 16: 20, 22 poor, ulcerated, hungry leper, deaf, dead, poor, maimed, lame, blind
Luke-Acts Introduction Luke’s Lists of Social Inclusion This continual list of adjectives in the narrative flow draws attention to the fact that to the nature of those who are unexpected recipients to the good news (4: 16 -30; 7: 18 -23) and blessedness (6: 2026) to the status of the normally excluded are now welcomed (14: 12 -14; 14: 15 -24; 16: 19 -31) in each case, poor is at the top of the list (except 7: 22, where it is climactic!
Luke-Acts Introduction Acts Passages of Social Inclusion For the poor, cf. Acts 6; 9: 36 ff For the diseased, cf. Acts 5: 12 -16; 9: 32 ff For women, cf. Acts 9: 36 -42; 12: 12 -17; 16: 12 -15; 18: 24 ff; 21: 8 -9 For the possessed, cf. Acts 8: 4 -8; 16: 16
Luke-Acts Introduction Purpose of Luke-Acts 2. Theological / Hermeneutical Focus • God’s Plan (Luke 2: 30 -32; 4: 18 -21) Geographic (ethnic) Incorporation
Acts: Geographical & Biographical Climax Geographical Climax 1: 8 All Judea and Samaria Acts 8 -12 Jerusalem Acts 2 -7 Jews only Rome Uttermost parts - Earth Acts 13 -28 (and Jerusalem) Jews, Samaritans, God-fearers Biographical Climax Jews, Samaritans, God-fearers, Pagan Gentiles
Luke-Acts Introduction Purpose of Luke-Acts 2. Theological / Hermeneutical Focus • God’s Plan: Continuity (1) Between Jesus and His followers (2) Between Judaism and Christianity (3) Between OT Prophecy and Fulfilled Events (“among us”)
Luke-Acts Introduction Remarkable Aspects of Luke-Acts 1. Speed of Rapid Expansion • Success was not dependent upon military or diplomatic power but upon the persuasive speech of its missionaries. • Only demonstrations of power that they offered in support of this message were acts of healing
Luke-Acts Introduction Remarkable Aspects of Luke-Acts 1. Speed of Rapid Expansion • Success took place under the conditions of duress • Persecution from insiders more than outsiders (Judaizers not imperial persecution) • In 1 st generation they lost their leaders • Did not have a strong controlling center, but a poor and impoverished mother church • Did not have any Post-Jesus textual supports
Luke-Acts Introduction Remarkable Aspects of Luke-Acts 2. Geographic Expansion • After destruction of Temple in AD 70, no homeland. 3. Sociological Expansion • Shift from rural movement in villages to urban society located in households in major cities in Roman Empire.
Luke-Acts Introduction Remarkable Aspects of Luke-Acts 4. Cultural Expansion • From Palestine dominated by Jewish culture (though Hellenized) to culture dominated by Greco-Roman religion and philosophy. 5. Linguistic Expansion • From Aramaic to Greek. All of Paul’s letters (earliest part of NT) are Greek. The scriptures Paul quotes (LXX) are Greek.
Luke-Acts Introduction Remarkable Aspects of Luke-Acts 6. Demographic Expansion • Christianity begins as a sect within Judaism…Jesus paid attention to Jews not gentiles. • Christianity fails among most of the Jews and by AD 70 Christianity was predominately a Greco-Roman religion. After destruction of Temple in AD 70, no homeland.