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I. Luke-Acts compared with the other Gospels
II. Sources used
IV. Some textual variants
VII. Structure, purposes and conscious literary structuring
A. The Luke-Acts Prologue, Luke 1.1-4.30
The Lukan Prologue and a few parallels in the rest of Luke-Acts
B. A major aspect of the Evangelist's structuring is the Exodus pattern, Deut 26.5-9
Some further Exodus-pattern examples in Acts
C. Theological locality is the backbone of the structure of Luke-Acts
D. Broad Outline of Luke-Acts, with emphasis on locality (cf. Ac 1.8) and the Exodus pattern
1. Some further elements bearing on the unity of Luke-Acts: The Way (ὁ ὁδός
2. Two Parallel Stories regarding the Eucharist and Baptism
E. Further Evidence of arranging of narrative materials
1. Luke 1-2: Use of Samuel-typology to draw parallels between John and Jesus
2. Luke 1-2 as paralleling Genesis 27-43
3. Acts: Cities visited more than once by Paul
VIII. The Evangelist's apparent audience and aims
IX. Further theological aspects of Luke-Acts
1. Israel as divided in two: the faithful and the obdurate
2. The Temple in Luke contrasted to Mark and Matthew
3. Christology: Jesus as Prophet, not as Wisdom
4. Christology: Jesus as Son of God, God as Father
5. 'Signs and wonders': inversion of OT meaning
6. 'Apostles' and ministerial pattern in Acts
7. Holy Spirit in Luke-Acts: a significantly different model.
8. Stress on prayer
9. Shift of eschatological emphasis toward 'the long haul'
10. 'Faith' in Luke-Acts
LUKE-ACTS COMPARED WITH THE OTHER
The Third Gospel is Luke-Acts, one work in two parts which only became separated when the "gospels" were grouped together in the manuscripts.
Mark, Matthew and John:
(1) They are addressed primarily to the Christian communities for which they were written.
(2) They telescope into one narrative both the witness to Jesus and their concern for the ongoing life of the Church in the way of the cross and the mission to all men. The second is superimposed on the first.
(3) There is much internal cross-referencing by
(a) verbal parallels and
(c) structural parallels.
(1) is apparently addressed to those outside (which may include 'Most excellent Theophilus' - Lk 1..3; Ac 1.1) as well as those within. It certainly has an eye toward relations with those outside the community.
(2) Roughly, 'Luke' = Jesus' course (plus some 'Church concerns');
'Acts' = Church's course.
This means that themes and concerns from Mark are at times transferred to Acts (e.g., the motif of the Church as, in Christ, 'the temple made without hands' is transferred from Markan Passion of Jesus to the Passion of Stephen in Acts).
(3) There is
(a) less use of exact verbal parallels (although often similar but not identical phrases), but
(b) much use of structural parallels. (Besides the attached notes see also M. D. Goulder, Type and History in Acts (SPCK, London, 1964). (Back to Contents)
(1) Mark (in an edition without Mk 6.45-8.26, of which Luke shows no knowledge) which Luke tends to use in four blocks, unlike Matthew; this may indicate:
(a) the prior existence of Luke in an 'incomplete' edition (Proto-Luke), to which the appropriate Markan material has been added,
(b) or that Luke had his own lectionary sequence, following the Sabbath synagogue lectionary originating in Palestine (as discernible for at least Lk 1.1-4.37 [see Luke 1-2 as paralleling Genesis 27-43 (by C. T. Ruddick, Jr]; 9.28-18.14 [C. E. Evans] into which the appropriate sections of the Markan sequences were placed more or less in toto (this is Gibbs' suggested possibility, as yet not investigated further).
(2) Q-material (= materials common to Mt & Lk, consisting primarily and perhaps exclusively of sayings), differing at points from the form in which it reached Matthew (sometimes Lk and sometimes Mt presents what is judged to be the more primitive form of a saying). To the extent that this material was in a written form, it may have reached Luke in an alternative edition to the one that reached Matthew.
(3) Other traditions, some of which were originally in a Semitic language probably (including some Acts materials). Some traditions are common to John, but used differently (e.g., Mary and Martha, raising of Lazarus).
(4) A travel diary ('We" sections of Acts: 16.9-17; 20.5-16; 21.1-18; 27.1-28.16). (Back to Contents)
Probably a Hellenistic Jewish Christian of the Diaspora (Gibbs' view), probably a companion of Paul (see 'we' travel sections in Acts), and likely to be Luke, as tradition says. (Names were added to the gospels probably only when they began to be collected together in the second century CE).)
Most scholars as yet [as of 1978] take Luke to be a Gentile Christian on the basis of (1) his excellent Greek, and (2) Col 4.10-11, 14, where Luke is excluded from 'those of the circumcision', but if the phrase means those who insist on circumcision rather than simply Jewish Christians, then this is no argument against Luke being a Jewish Christian (cf. F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles: Greek Text, London, 1951, p. 228).
Among those who have taken Luke to be a Jewish Christian are: E. C. Selwyn (1901 - Luke's OT phraseology), C. F. Burney (1922 - with reservation based on Col 4.10 f., 14), A. H. McNeile (1923 - Hellenistic Jew); A. Schlatter (1931 - Luke's speech as Palestinian), B. S. Easton (1954), B. Reicke (1964), W. F. Albright (1964), E. Earle Ellis (1966). (Back to Contents)
SOME TEXTUAL VARIANTS
Here are some of the more important textual variants in Luke (taken from E. Earle Ellis, The Gospel of Luke [The Century Bible, New Edition; London, 1966], pp. 20-21):
(a.) Western text variants absent from (or different in ) Alexandrian text (sometimes referred to as 'Western interpolations'):
(1) The Heavenly voice at Jesus' baptism (3.22).
(2) Jesus' word to a Sabbath-breaker (6.5).
(3) Jesus' reply to the comparison of his mission with Elijah's (9.55).
(4) The longer text of the Lord's Prayer (11.2-4).
(5) Jesus' agony and vision of the angel in Gethsemane (22.43 f.).
(b) Alexandrian text variants absent from the Western text (sometimes referred to as the 'Western non-interpolations'):
(1) The comparison of healing on the Sabbath to the rescue of son (14.5).
(2) The title, 'sons of God', for those who attain the resurrection (20.36).
(3) The longer text of the institution of the Lord's Supper (22.19b-20).
(4) Jesus' ascension into heaven (24.51).
(5) The disciples' worship of the resurrected Jesus (24.52).
(c.) Other variants:
(1) Passages bearing on the virgin-conception of Jesus (1.34; 2.5, 41).
(2) A petition in the Lord's Prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit (11.2).
(3) The story of the woman taken in adultery (i.e. Jn 7.53-8.11 added after Lk 21.38).
(4) Jesus' prayer for those who crucified him (23.34 - omitted in some MSS). (Back to Contents)
Some scholars have posited separate daters and even places of writing for the two volumes (e.g., Acts earlier at Athens; Luke later at Rome, but the unity of structure of Luke-Acts means they were planned together so that the kind of data scholars have used for such ideas carries little weight (says Gibbs).
Terminus a quo: (1) Lk 11.49-51: 'from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah' - Ellis, Luke, p. 172, says likely 'Zechariah, son of Berischiah' (or Baris) who was murdered in the temple courts in 67/68 CE (Josephus, Wars 4.5.4), so that Lk 11.51b: 'it shall be required of this generation' likely points to the fall of Jerusalem, 70 CE. (2) Lk 21.20-24 on destruction of Jerusalem (cf. also Lk 13.34 f.: 'Jerusalem ... your house is forsaken'; 23.28-31: 'Daughters of Jerusalem ... weep for yourselves'). These all point to post-66 CE when Jewish revolt began, and probably to post-70 CE.
(1) Ellis: probable date 70-90 CE, perhaps closer to 70 CE.
(2) R. P. C. Hanson, Acts (Clarendon Commentary), p. 48: 70's or 80's CE as late enough but not too late for Luke (a) to have good knowledge of 50's and 60's but not of earlier period, (b) not to reflect late first century concern with ecclesiastical organization, and (c) to be able to make type of apologetic he does to Roman government. (Gibbs: post-70, since Pharisees and their scribes are exonerated - cf. AUDIENCE AND AIMS below.)
(3) Ca. 85-90 CE widely held (e.g., T. G. A. Baker, What is the New Testament?).
(4) 2nd century according to J. C. O'Neill, The Theology of Acts in its Historical Setting (SPCK, London, 1961 &B later edition), who dates Acts ca. 115-130 CE. (Back to Contents)
(1) 2nd century tradition (the anti-Marcionite Prologue) places Luke's home in Antioch, Syria, and Luke's writing in Greece (cf. Prologue in Ellis, Luke, p. 41), and so do some other MSS.
(2) Translated names (e.g. Lk 6.15; 23.33) show destination to be outside Palestine.
(3) Hebraic-structured Greek (vs Aramaic-structured Greek in Mark and Matthew) points toward some Palestinian traditions being used, probably. (Lk 1.5-2.40 especially)
(4) Such things as the tile roof of Lk 5.19, which is general Roman building practice, not Palestinian, points to a destination outside Palestine.
(5) Prominence is given in Acts to Rome and Antioch, and some late MSS name Rome as place of origin. Rome is perhaps more likely, since Acts ends without its sequel regarding Paul (which would be known to all there). (Back to Contents)
SOME NOTES ON LUKE-ACTS
CONCERNING (1) STRUCTURE, (2) PURPOSES, AND (3) CONSCIOUS LITERARY STRUCTURING
Needless to say, these notes are not exhaustive. they are intended to bring together some materials from books, periodicals and my own studies. it will be obvious that some of these materials bear on two or even all three of the above issues, but I have tried to place them where they are most immediately relevant and thus will be more likely to be memorable.
A. THE PROLOGUE (OR INTRODUCTORY SECTION) OF LUKE-ACTS IS LK 1.1-4.30
Each of the canonical gospels begins with a section, either brief or extended, which precedes the main gospel narrative. The apparent function of this prologue we may summarize in three statements. (1) The prologue functions as a précis of the remainder of the gospel, and thus it includes a guide to the structure of the gospel. (2) It provides the setting or frame of reference in terms of which the whole of each gospel is to be understood. (3) It is also, so to speak, a table of contents which indicates, either explicitly or implicitly, the major themes and motifs of each gospel.
Detecting the Prologue: Since the prologue is sort of a 'table of contents', the end of the prologue should match the end of the gospel. At the end of Acts: Paul in Rome is (a) speaking to Jews (b) about the fulfilment of a prophecy in Isaiah; he then speaks about God's salvation being sent to Gentiles, and (d) Paul at the end preaches unhindered to all comers (Ac 28.23-31).
The earliest in Luke that we reach this combination is Jesus in synagogue at Nazareth of Galilee (a) preaching to Jews (b) about the fulfilment of a prophecy in Isaiah; (c) he then speaks about God's salvation being sent to Gentiles in Elijah's and Elisha's days, and (d) he ends up passing unhindered through the midst of those who would kill him (Lk 4.16-30).
Thus the Lukan prologue is Lk 1.1-4.30. (see Gospel Prologues and Their Function). (The Lukan prologue with some matching structural elements is given below.) (Back to Contents)
|The Lukan Prologue (Lk 1.1-4.30) and a few parallels in the rest of Luke-Acts|
were from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the
|[1Jn 1.1||That which was from the beginning, that which wwe have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands have handled, concerning the Logos of life ...]|
|1.9 ff.||Zechariah in Temple||Ac 4-5||Apostles in Temple.|
|1.32 f.||Son of the Most High ... throne of father DEavid ... endless kingdom||Lk 19.38||and Zech 9.9 f. (Entry to Jerusalem)|
|1.37||Citing of Gen 18.14 (re Isaac - at Annunciation)||[ see Isaac Typology and the New Testament as connecting Isaac's 'binding' (Gen 22) eith Passover, then note the following:|
|Lk 9.31||(Transfiguration:) Exodus he will fulfil at Jerusalem;|
|Lk 22.7||necessity of sacrificing pascha;|
|Lk 22.19b||Passover Seder breaks off before they reach the Lamb & third cup, because Jesus is the pascha - note immediate shift to betrayal motif, 22,21.]|
|2.8-14||(Angels to shepherds)||Lk 19.37-38||(Disciples to all at Entry to Jerusalem)|
|2.13||multitude of heavenly host||Lk 19.37b||the whole multitude of the disciples|
|2.14||Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace...||Lk 19.38||Blessed is the King ... peace in heaven and glory in the highest|
|2.22||(Purification:) up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord||Lk 19.45 f.||Temple cleansing after entry|
|2.25 f.||Description of Simeon||Lk 23.50 f.||Description of Joseph|
|2.28||Simeon receives Jesus in his arms||Lk 23.53||Joseph takes body of Jesus|
|2.32||(Nunc Dimittus) A light for revelation to the Gentiles||Ac 8-28||After Stephen's Passion (having said God does not dwell in house made with hands, 7.48-50): mission to Judea, Samaria, Gentiles.|
|2.41||To Jerusalem at Passover||Lk 19.28-44||To Jerusalem at Passover|
|2.46||after three days, Jesus (at age 12)||Resurrection motif?|
|teaching in Temple||Lk
|Jesus teaching daily in Temple (and Ac 1-5, apostles teaching daily in Temple)|
|2.47||all that heard were amazed at his understanding and answers||Lk 19.47||the [people all hung on him, listening - cf. also 31.38|
|Ac 5.12-16, 42||apostles in Temple with similar response|
|3.21||Jesus' baptism with Spirit||Ac 2.1-4||Church's baptism with Spirit at Pentecost|
|3.22-38||Genealogy, going back to Adam [i.e. all men] Son of God [contrast this and temptations to Ezra 7.1-10 - apparently vs Qumran Essenes, with their priestly emphasis]||Ac 2.5-11||Devout Jews [only Jews, but they were:] from everfy nation under heaven|
|4.10||angels ... to guard you (Ps 91.11 - Lukan addition)||Lk 22.43||angel from heaven strengthens him (Western text)|
|4.16-30||Synagogue at Capernaum||Ac 28.23-31||(Paul), but also parallel Jesus' passion-resurrection-exaltation|
|Speech leading to Gentuile elements||Ac 7.2-53||Stephen's speech, leading up to 7.48-50 (transferred from Markan Passion) about the Most High not dwelling in house made with hands.|
|Attempt to cast Jesus down||Ac 7.54-60||Stoning of Stephen (many //s to Jesus' Passion;|
|Ac 8.1-3||'In vain' persecution of the Church.|
|Passes through their midst and goes his way||Ac 8.4-28.31||Church expands to all Judea, Samaritans, then to Gentiles and heart of Gentile world: Rome.|
|4.23||Physician, heal thyself! [Lukan addition]||Lk 23.35||He saved others; let him save himself.|
|Lk 23.36||Save thyself!|
|Lk 23.39||Save thyself and us!|
|(For many parallel structures in Acts, including some relating of these to Luke, especially in term,s of a passion-resurrection sequence [i.e., akin to our suggested -4-step Exodus pattern], see M. D. Goulder, Type and History in Acts [SPCK, London, 1964].)|
|Lk 21.18||'Not a hair of your head will perish' [Lukan addition to Markan apocalypse material] (Back to Contents)||Ac 27.34||Paul's words to those about to be shipwrecked.|
B. A MAJOR ASPECT OF THE EVANGELIST'S STRUCTURE IS THAT OF THE EXODUS PATTERN; CF. DEUT 26.5-9:
(1) Initial success (Deut 26.5: 'he became a nation, great, mighty and populous');
(2) Opposition/oppression (Deut 26.6: 'the Egyptians treated us harshly, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage');
(3) Vindication/release from oppression (Deut 26.7 f.: 'the LORD ... saw ... our oppression; and the LORD brought us out' of Egypt with a mighty hand ...');
(4) Greater success (Deut 26.9: 'and he brought us into this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.').
(These four steps are seen in the presentation of Jesus' way in Luke, as indicated below in the broad outline of Luke-Acts. They are then repeated many times in the life and work of the Church as presented in Acts. Some examples of this pattern are given below in these notes, and the significance of why Luke does this will be indicated in the further notes concerning Luke's encouraging Christians to persevere.)
Only in Luke does Jesus explicitly fulfil the Exodus. In a major addition to the Markan Transfiguration narrative (Mk 9.2-8), Lk 9.31 says that Moses and Elijah (representing the Law and the Prophets, i.e., the Scriptures) 'spoke of his Exodus that he would shortly fulfil in Jerusalem' (ἔλεγον τὴν ἔξοδον αὐτοῦ ἥν ἤμελλεν πληροῦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ).
The four-fold pattern as applied to Jesus:
(1) Initial success: 'many thousands' gathered to Jesus (Lk 12.1, a Lukan addition).
(2) Opposition: Passion.
(3) Vindication: Resurrection.
Lk 14.14: 'in the resurrection of the righteous', ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει τῶν δικαίων;
Lk 20.35: 'those accounted worthy to attain ... the resurrection from the dead',
οἱ δὲ καταξιωθέντες τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐκείνου τυχεῖν καὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῆς ἐκ νεκρῶν.
I.e., these Lukan additions explain, least in part, why Luke shifts the centurion's confession to, 'Certainly this man was righteous', Ὄντως ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος ἦν, Lk 23.47b, because 'Thou [= God] wilt not give thy Holy One to see corruption', Ps 16.10, cited in ac 2.27 and 13.35, so that it is as the one who has been tested and found 'worthy' and 'righteous' that Jesus has been vindicated by being raised by the Father.
(4) Greater success: Exaltation and continued mission of Jesus through the Church (Ac 1.8-11; cf. Ac 1.1) to heart of Empire.
This pattern is repeated time and again in the life and witness of the Church in Acts, for, in R. R. Williams' phrase, 'Nothing Can Stop the Gospel', or, perhaps to put it more accurately, 'Nothing can stop the Holy Spirit' (not even the Church!), for the Spirit will overcome all obstacles to the increase of God's glory. Several of these examples are given in the broad outline of Luke-acts below. Some further examples are given after the outline (see Exodus pattern examples in Acts).
[When I first discovered this in 1969, Roger Gayler, a student at Lichfield Theological College, noted that it is the same four-fold pattern of a romantic novel: (1) boy meets girl, they fall in love, (2) they have a falling-out, (3) they are reconciled, and (4) they marry and live happily ever after. But I do not think this is what Luke had in mind!] (Back to Contents)
Some further Exodus-pattern examples in Acts: (a = I.S.; b = OP; c = V.; d = G.S.)
|Church:||(a)||2.42-47:||Quality of Church's fellowship causes 'fear' to come on all (v. 47).|
|(a')||4,32-7:||Effective witness of the Church's communal life.|
|(b)||5.1-2:||Deceitfulness of Ananias and Sapphira.|
|(c)||5.3-10:||Convicted out of their own mouths, they are 'expunged' by the Holy Spirit through Peter.|
|(d)||5.11:||'A great fear' falls on the Church and all who heard these things, 'and more than ever believers were added to the Lord' (v. 14).|
|[Note the above seems to be based on Ps 64:|
= Ps 64.2-6;
(c) = Ps 64.7-8;
(d) = Ps 64.9.]
|Apostles||(a)||5.12-16:||Signs and wonders; apostles held in honour; more than ever added to the Lord.|
|(b)||5.17-18:||High priest, Sadducees jealous, arrest apostles, put them in common prison.|
|(c)||5.19:||Freed by angel of the Lord.|
|(d)||5.20-24:||'Go stand in Temple and speak'; they did; captain and chief priests perplexed.|
|(b)||6.1b:||Hellenists (i.e. Greek-speaking Christians) murmur vs Hebrews (i.e. Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christians) re food distribution to widows.|
|(c)||6.2-5:||Choice of the Seven to wait tables [Bote: this likely has to do with prebyterate, not diaconate].|
|(d)||6.7:||Word of God increased; number of disciples greatly multiplied; great many priests obedient to the faith.|
|Stephen||(a)||6.8:||Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.|
|(b)||6.9-8.3:||Arraignment; Stephen's sermon; stoning.|
|(c)||7.55-8.1a:||Stephen's vision and forgiving at his death.|
|(d)||8.1b, 4::||Persecution only scatters (and spreads) the Church throughout Judea and Samaria, with preaching by Philip in Samaria [8.5-25], to first Gentile [eunuch, 8.226-39], and to all towns 98.40]).|
|Gentle Mission (cf. Broad Outline of Luke-Acts above for details)|
|To 'East'||To 'West'|
chosen by God, mission prospers:
Jerusalem parley, circumcision party objects:
Peter puts Gentile case, capped by Scripture:
Mission spreads and prospers:
|Paul (details)||(a)||Paul purposes by Spirit (19.21), encouraged by Lord (23.11), to witness in Jerusalem, then in Rome.|
|1||(b)||Hard trip to Jerusalem (19.22-21.14) in face of dire prophecies (20.23; 21.4, 11)|
|(c)||Witness to Jerusalem (21.17-26) speech (22.1-21).|
|2||(b)||Conspiracy to kill Paul (23.12-15).|
|(c)||Plot foiled (23.16-35)|
|3||(b)||Paul accused by Jews before Felix (24.1-9)|
|(c)||Paul's defence (24.10-21); Felix keeps him safe with some liberty (24.22-27); Porcius Festus (15.1-22) and Agrippa (26.1-31) acquit Paul but send him to Rome (26.32).|
|4||(b)||Hard trip to Rome (27.1-28.16).|
|(c)||Vindication before Roman Jews (28.17-24).|
|(d)||Openly preaching to all in own hired house for two years (28.30 f.). (Back to Contents)|
THEOLOGICAL LOCALITY IS THE BACKBONE OF THE STRUCTURE OF LUKE-ACTS
Key passage: Ac 1.8: You shall be my witnesses in:
(2) all Judea,
(3) Samaria, and
(4) to the end of the earth.
(This has been highlighted below in the broad outline of Luke-Acts.)
D. BROAD OUTLINE OF LUKE-ACTS, with emphasis on LOCALITY (cf. Ac 1.8) and (in Luke) the EXODUS PATTERN (cf. Deut 26.5-9).1. ELEMENTS OF OVERALL STRUCTURING IN LUKE-ACTS
|1.1-4.30||I.||PROLOGUE (which, like Mk 1.1-15; Mt 1.1-4.15, Jn 1.1-14, sets forth outline of whole work, starting in Jerusalem and Temple (Lk 1-2), moving to Gentiles (4.18-30). (see Gospel Prologues and Their Function)|
|4.31-Ac 1.11||II.||JESUS' WAY AND WORDS - A WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT|
|Note how locality and/or concern shifts from Galilee (of Gentiles) to Samaria/Samaritans to Judaea, to Jerusalem (heart of Judaism).|
in Galilee up through Transfiguration (but cf. 4.44: 'in
synagogues of Judea' - Lampe, Peake's Commentary: probably means
land of the Jews, not the province of Judea).
People from 'all Judea': 5.17; 6.17; cf. 7.17.
Gentiles: 6.17 - people from Tyre and Sidon; 7.2-10 - centurion.
|9.31||(The die is cast: The Exodus is to be fulfilled at Jerusalem.)|
|9.51-18.15||B.||The Lukan Narrative ("The Greater Interpolation") of the Journey to Jerusalem (cf. 9.53) - Deuteronomy-based (C. F. Evans)|
|1.||Samaritan villages not receive him, for his face is set toward Jerusalem.|
|9.57-17.10||2.||On demands of discipleship (alternating between disciples and opponents)|
|10.25-37:||Hated Samaritan ad neighbour to be loved.|
|12.1:||'Many thousands gathered to Jesus (Lukan 'success' motif)|
|13.1-17:||Controversies on sin, forgiveness, healing, with some Jews, including parable of fig tree (= one more chance for recalcitrant Jews).|
|13.18-30:||The Kingdom of God (mustard seed; exclusion/inclusion).|
|13.31-35:||Necessity of perishing in Jerusalem.|
|14.1-35:||More controversies on those within/without the Kingdom.|
|15:||Three parables (sheep, coin, prodigal son) on need to rejoice over the return of the lost, addressed to Pharisees and scribes.|
|16.1-13:||To disciples, on serving one master faithfully.|
|16.14-31:||To Pharisees, on riches, Torah's hopes and demands as now becoming a present reality in the Gospel of the Kingdom (i.e. Jesus), and necessity of hearing Moses and the Prophets.|
|17.1-10:||To disciples on discipleship.|
|17.11-19||3.||On way to Jerusalem, passing along border between Samaria and Galilee, ten lepers cleansed, one Samaritan 'foreigner' praises God, thanks Jesus.|
|17.20-18.34||4.||The Coming of: The Kingdom, Son of Man, judgement and vindication.|
|17.20-21:||To Pharisees on coming of Kingdom.|
|17.22-18.8:||To disciples on coming of Son of Man to judge, vindicate.|
|18.9--14:||To ones who trust selves, despise others (Pharisees and tax-gatherer in Temple).|
|18.15-30:||On entering Kingdom (little children; rich man)|
|18.31-34:||We are going up to Jerusalem; everything written of Son of Man will be completed.|
|18.35-19.10||C. (In Judea:)||a.||Near and in Jericho: healing of blind man and bringing of salvation to Zacchaeus, the rich sinner.|
|19.11-27||b.||Near Jerusalem: the coming reckoning.|
|D. In Jerusalem|
|19.28-48||1.||Jesus going on ahead up to Jerusalem; the entry of the King, the time of visitation, driving out sellers from Temple and daily teaching there.|
|2.||Questions: authority: Caesar's taxes, resurrection, Son of David.|
|3.||Warning vs (rich) scribes; commending poor widow's gift.|
|22-23 OPPRESSION (OP)||E. The Passion Narrative.|
|F. The Resurrection Narratives, set in Jerusalem, emphasizing that it is the crucified One who has been raised, and the scriptural necessity of Jesus' Passion and Resurrection (= vindication).|
'The Tale of Two Cities', from Jerusalem to Rome
by way of Judea and Samaria:
What Jesus continues to do and say (Ac 1.1) as the Spirit-powered Church
|Acts 1.1-11||G. Exaltation: The Ascension: You shall be my witnesses in:|
|SUCCESS (G.S.||(ii)||all Judea.|
|(iv)||uttermost part of the earth.|
|1.12-26||H. Preparation for witnessing:|
|prayer and choice of Matthias to restore the Twelve (= postles).|
|III.||THE CHURCH'S MISSION, ADVANCING (OR BEING PRODDED) BY THE SPIRIT|
|from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, to all Gentiles (= Rome).|
|A. In Jerusalem and Temple|
|2||1.||Pentecost, the Jewish missionary feast: (Jewish) representatives of all nations witnessed to in Jerusalem.|
|3.1-6.7||2.||Witnessing in Jerusalem and Temple by deeds, words and quality of Church's life, all opposition being more than overcome by the Holy Spirit, outside and inside Church.|
|6.8-7.60||3.||Preparation for breakthrough: Stephen's speech and passion (note parallels to Jesus' passion, Lk 23.34, 46 and Ac 7.59 f.).|
|B. All Judea and Samaria|
|8.1-25||1.||Church spreads as result of persecution throughout Judea (8.1) and Samaria (8.1-25); spread approved by Jerusalem apostles (8.15 f.).|
|8.26-40||2.||Church spreads to outcasts: The (maimed) God-fearing Ethiopian eunuch brought by Spirit through Philip into the Temple-made-without-hands through baptism, as type of all non-Jewish converts (cf. Isa 35.5 f.; Ac 7.48. Temple = Jesus - cf. Ac 9.5).|
|9.1-31||3.||Preparation for Gentile Mission: Paul's conversion to be witness to Gentiles, kings and sons of Israel.|
|9.32-43||4.||Peter heals Aeneas at Lydda and Tabitha at Joppa [Is this for the sake of intermixing Peter's and Paul's activities?]|
|C. Beginning of ('Eastern') Gentile Mission:|
|10 (I.S.)||1.||Holy Spirit starts with Cornelius, then brings in Peter: i.e. Holy Spirit forcing the hand of the Church.|
|11.1-2 (OP.)||2.||Opposition by circumcizers to eating with non-circumcized.|
|11.3-18 (V.)||3.||Approved of at Jerusalem.|
|11.19-12.25 (G.S.)||4.||Then continued.|
|D. Beginning of 'Western' Gentile Mission|
|13.1-14.28 (I.S.)||1.||Through Paul and Barnabas.|
|15.1-2 (OP.)||2.||Circumcizers from Jerusalem object.|
|15.3-35 (V.)||3.||Approved of at Jerusalem (includes 'Apostolic Decree').|
|15.36-19.20 (G.S.)||4.||Mission continued further west.|
|19.21-28.31||E. Paul's culminating witness in Jerusalem and Rome:|
|(I.S.)||(Paul purposes by Spirit (19.21), and is encouraged by the Lord (23.11), to witness in Jerusalem, then in Rome.)|
|19.22-21.16 (OP.)||a.||Hard trip to Jerusalem in face of opposition.|
|21.17-23.10 (V.)||b.||Witness in Jerusalem.|
|23.11-28.16 (OP.)||a.||Hard trip to Rome in face of opposition and plot to kill him.|
|28.17-24 (V.)||b.||Vindication before Roman Jews.|
|28.30-31(G.S.)||c.||Openly preaching to all in own hired house.|
Some Further Elements bearing on the
unity of Luke-Acts:
The Way (ὁ ὁδός
Whereas Mark, and even more clearly Matthew, telescope Jesus' way of the cross and the disciples' (the Church's) way of the cross into one volume, Luke-Acts spreads them over two volumes. The centrality of the demand for the disciples to be those of 'the Way, Jesus' Way, the Way of the Cross-cum-Exodus model, is demonstrated in Acts.
Christians are simply spoken of as being those of 'The Way' in Ac 9.2; 19.9, 23; 22.4; 24.14, 22.
'Way of salvation': Ac 16.17.
'The Way of the Lord': Ac 19.25 =
'The Way of God': Ac 18.26.
An entering upon the Way may also be implied in such passages as Ac 8.26, 36, 39; 9.17, 27; 13.10. See Lk 24.13.
This Way is the 'salvation' of God. Except for Jn 4.22 ('Salvation is from the Jews'), 'salvation', σωτηρία
Likewise 'Saviour', σωτήρ
Stories: Luke 24.13-33 (the Emmaus incident) and Acts 8.26-39 (the eunuch's
baptism) See Luke
24.13-33 and Acts 8.26-39: Emmaus Incident and Eunuch's Baptism
Road to Emmaus: Deed-Jesus-Scriptures-Eucharist
Ethiopian eunuch: Scriptures-Jesus-Deed-Baptism (Back to Contents)
|VIII. THE EVANGELIST'S APPARENT AUDIENCE AND AIMS|
|(1)||To Gentiles (as potential converts) or to recent converts (which Gibbs thinks more likely)|
|(i)||Both volumes addressed to 'Theophilus', which means 'God-lover', perhaps akin to 'God-fearer', the hanger-on of the Jewish synagogue.|
is commonly translated as 'most excellent', so that 'most
excellent Theophilus' sounds like a Roman official is being addressed,
and this would imply that a Roman official would take the time to read
these two volumes, which seems unlikely. However, κράτιστος
literally mans 'most powerful, and so that 'most powerful lover of God' may mean a recent convert rather than a Roman official. Gibbs thinks this is more likely - see on 1 Jn 2.12-14 in Wisdom, Power and Well-being for strength and conquering associated with new convert.)
|(ii)||Note Jesus' genealogy goes back to Adam, and hence includes all men (Lk 2.23-end).|
|(iii)||But note that converted Gentiles are mainly 'God-feareres', e.g. Ethiopian eunuch (Ac 8.27), Cornelius (Ac 10.1, 22); cf. centurion in Luke's version of capernaum (Lk 7.1-10, espec. v. 4).|
|(iv)||See end (Ac 28.30 f.): Paul's house open to all // Lk 4.25-26: salvation coming to Gentiles in Elijah's and Elisha's day).|
with an eye to Roman officials - to convince them not to
but Gibbs thinks this material is more likely, in effect, to be addressed to Jews to convince them that they need not disown the 'party of the Nazarenes', i.e. Christians, as being outside Judaism or the Jewish people.
|(i)||At every fair trial, Roman officials have always acquitted Jesus and Paul twice over (a requirement of Jewish jurisprudence, which requires two witnesses to prove a case; Roman law did not require this):|
|(a) Jesus: acquitted by both Pilate and Herod (Lk 23.14-18).|
|(b) Paul: Roman magistrates of Philippi apologize and release (Ac 16.39).|
proconsul of Achaia, 'paid no attention'. i.e. did not consider the
case actionable (Ac 19.17).
Claudius Lysias, tribune at Jerusalem, acquits Paul (Ac 23.29), sends him to Felix the Governor (23.26-30).
Porcius Festus, successor to Felix, acquits Paul (Ac 25.17-19).
King Agrippa acquits him also (27.30-32).
desired status of Christians in eyes of Roman government:
religio licita, a 'legal religion', or
natio, a 'nation' or 'people' who would be free to practice their own religion.
|(According to F. C. Grant, 'Religio Licita', in Studia Patristica, Vol. IV (Berlin, 1961), pp. 84-89, there was no such thing as the religio licita category until the 3rd century CE, so that in NT times there was only the status of a natio in Roman law, but not all scholars agree with him.)|
|Hence Luke needs to show that all Christians, including Gentile ones, are members of the religio licita of Judaism or of the natio of the Jews, whichever category existed in his day, and therefore can claim the Jews' privileges.|
|(a)||Thus in Acts it is Jews who speak of the Christians as 'the party of the Nazarenes' (24.4) and 'this party' (28.22), thus placing Christians among the Jews as a party such as the Essenes or Sadducees had been.|
|(b)||A major structural element of the Luke-Acts narrative pertaining to this is|
the place of Jerusalem in Acts, combined with
(B) the place of the Jerusalem Temple in Luke-Acts, and
(C) the shift (from Mark) of the onset of the mission to the Gentiles.
|1.||Acts is the 'tale of two cities': from Jerusalem to Rome.|
|2.||In Acts Paul keeps returning to Jerusalem as home base (5 or 6 visits in Acts versus 2 plus projected 3rd in Pauline epistles).|
|3.||Jerusalem leaders in council set seal of approval on 'eastern' (Ac 11) and 'western' (Ac 15) missions to Gentiles (see above in the Broad Outline and also below).|
|4.||In persecution one attacks leaders, but it is precisely the leaders, namely the apostles, who stay in Jerusalem (Ac 8.1), and it is these apostles who go out from Jerusalem to set the seal of approval (by blessing with Holy Spirit) the Samaritan mission (Ac 8.14-25), and approve of Paul at Jerusalem (Ac 9.27 f.) after his calling/conversion.|
|5.||'Tension' between Jerusalem (Jewish) Church and Gentile Churches is resolved early (Ac 15), versus Paul's concern in epistles for 'the collection' as a peace-and-love offering from Gentile to Jewish Christians.|
|(B) The Temple:|
|1.||Luke's Gospel begins in Temple (Lk 1.9), i.e. in the very heart of Judaism, with Jesus brought to the Temple for the 'Purification' (actually Jesus' redemption as the firstborn, Lk 2.22-39), his parents going to Jerusalem every year for Passover (Lk 2.41), and Jesus going to the Temple at Passover at age 12 (Lk 2.42--51).|
|2.||Apostles daily in Temple in Ac 1-5 (Lk 24.55; Ac 2.42; 3.1, 3, 8; 5.21, 42), like Jesus (Lk 19.47).|
|3.||Paul, still a Pharisee to the end (Ac 23.9), goes to Temple as a good Jew on his last visit to Jerusalem (Ac 21.23-26).|
|4.||See (C) below. See G. W. H. Lampe, St Luke and the Church of Jerusalem (Athlone Press, London, 1969) on Luke's Jewishness, centring in Jerusalem, Temple, etc.|
|(C) The beginning of the mission to all men (in addition to Jews):|
|In Mark and Matthew this begins with the rending of the Temple veil, Jesus' dying, Gentile centurion's confession, 'Truly, this man was God's Son' (Mk 15.39 // Mt 27.54); cf. Jn 12.21, Greeks: 'Sir, we would see Jesus', and Jn 12.23: 'The Hour is come' = Cross.|
|1.||In Lk 19.45 f. cleansing of Temple is toned down, omitting Markan reference to Gentiles (cp. Mk 11.15-19).|
|2.||No christological confession by centurion, only, 'Certainly this man was righteous' (Lk 23.47 - i.e. one for God to raise, cf. above, VII. B.: Exodus pattern as applied to Jesus).|
|3.||Gentile mission does not start until after Stephen's speech (to which Luke transfers motif of 'house made without hands', Ac 7.48; cf. Ac 17.24; cp. Mk 14.58, omitted by Luke) and Stephen's death, accompanied by opening of heavens, ac 7.56). First Gentile (albeit a God-fearer): Ethiopian eunuch, 8.26-33.|
|(iii)||To present Jews (i.e. Pharisaic Jews) - to live in relative peace with them.|
After 70 CE (i.e. end of first Jewish revolt of 66-70 CE, Herodians,
Sadducees, priests (and their scribes) were no longer a force to be
reckoned with. Pharisees and their scribes were now
dominant. Luke shifts onus of Jesus' death from latter to former,
and 'whitewashes' Pharisaic party in part.
In Luke-Acts although Pharisees and their scribes 'murmur' about the company that Jesus keeps (Lk 15.2; cf. 19.7; cp. Israel's murmuring in the Wilderness, Exod 16.2, 7, 8; Num 14.2; Josh 9.18), they are never said to be involved in putting him to death or even in tempting him (cp. Lk 20.20 to Mk 12.13 about paying taxes to Caesar). The Pharisees warn Jesus of Herod's intention to kill him (Lk 13.31). Paul remains a Pharisee according to Ac 23.6, and 'some of the scribes of the Pharisee party' find nothing wrong in him (Ac 23.9).
The scribes are linked with the Pharisees in being disturbed by Jesus' teaching and actions in Lk 5.21, 30; 6.7; 11.53; 15.2, but scribes are often linked with the chief priests (plus often the elders) in killing Jesus (Lk 9.22; 19.47; 20.1, 19; 22.2, 66; 23.10). Scribes speak favourably of Jesus' words in 20.39 (and of Paul in Ac 23.9), and it would appear to be only ostentatious scribes whom Jesus castigates in 20.46 f. Peter and John are arraigned before rulers, elders, scribes and chief priests in Ac 4.5 f., and Stephen is brought to the council where the chief priest presides (Ac 7.1) after the people, elders and scribes have been stirred up (Ac 6.12). Thus in Luke-Acts there appear to be scribes allied to the high priests and scribes of the Pharisees (who were a lay group, dominant in the synagogue, the institution which continued after 70 CE), and it would appear that Pharisaic scribes, while perhaps recalcitrant, are not condemned.
Jesus' scathing remarks are reserved for scribes and Pharisees who are (a) ostentatious in their piety, (b) smugly self-righteous, (c) inhospitable, and (d) above all, unwilling to enter into fellowship with the ritually impure and (repentant) sinners (cf. especially Lk 15 in its entirety, where they refuse to rejoice that the lost have been found).
|(iv)||To rehabilitate appeal of Gospel to the Jews:|
|(Mainly drawn from J. van Goudoerver, 'The Place of Israel in Luke's Gospel', Novum Testamentum 8 (1966), pp. 111-123.)|
|Briefly, the as-yet-unbelieving Jews' way to Jesus will be though the Law and the Prophets (and the Psalms), not through the preaching of Jesus' resurrection per se. Since Torah and Prophets (and Psalms) are Messianic, they should find their way eventually to Jesus through them.|
|Lk 5.39: old wine is good and preferred (cf. Sir. 9.10).|
|(Even though the 'new wine' of the Spirit-filled community cannot be contained in the limitations of the 'old wineskins', i.e. restrictions of Judaism, 'a yoke ... which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear' [Peter's words, ac 15.10], still the Pharisaic Jews prefer the old ways.)|
|Lk 6.48: on digging deep to build house on rock foundation|
|(i.e., Jews searching Scriptures; cp. Mt 7.24-25)|
|Lk 13.6-9: Let the fig tree [= unbelieving Jews] alone one more year|
|before cutting it down (i.e., Luke changes the judgemental withering of the fig tree, a judgement against the Temple, in Mk 11.12-14, 20-21, into a parable giving the Jews one more chance).|
|Lk 16.29-31 (rich man and Lazarus): 'They have Moses and the Prophets;|
|let them hear them.' 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.' ('My five brothers' = Jews; contrast Jn 11, where Lazarus is raised and it becomes the cause in John for the killing of Jesus.)|
|The Scriptures bear witness to Jesus' way as intended by God:|
the repeated phrase, 'Behold, two men ...', ἰδοὺ
'Behold, two men ... Moses and Elijah [= witness of the Law and
Prophets] talking with Jesus about Exodus he will shortly fulfil
in Jerusalem (Lk 9.30) - i.e. the Cross.
Empty Tomb/Resurrection: 'Behold, two men' (Lk 24.4).
Ascension/Prediction of Parousia: 'Behold, two men' (Ac .10 f.).
(See Lk 24.27, 44: Moses and Prophets [and Psalms] witness to Jesus.)
|(v)||To encourage Christians to persevere indefinitely, trusting the Holy Spirit.|
|To achieve this Luke does at least three things:|
|1)||Thoughts of the Parousia (= literally 'presence', metaphorically 'Coming', referring to the Final Coming) are emphatically put to one side, viz: Ac 1.7, Risen Lord says, 'It is not for you to know the time or seasons ...' Also, the unmistakeable nature of his Coming is indicated, perhaps to scotch false rumours, Ac 1.10 f.: the 'two men' say to the disciples, 'This Jesus ... shall so come in like manner as you beheld him going into heaven'.|
are two epochs in Luke-Acts: (1) The age of Israel and the Scriptures,
and (2) the age of the Spirit in Jesus and the Church. Lk 16.16:
'The Law and the Prophets were until John. From then on
the Kingdom of God is evangelized.' ('From then on', ἀπὸ
, occurs only once in Luke-Acts, and marks the onset of something new.)
|(H. Conzelmann, The Theology of St Luke (Harper Row, 1961), claims there are three epochs: (1) time up to John, (2) time of Jesus, (3) time of Church,. Most scholars do not agree with him, and our chiastic layout of Luke-Acts by locality also goes against this, plus the item in Ac 1.1. that the first book dealt with 'what Jesus began to do and to say', so that the second book deals with what he continues to do and say through his witnesses, the Church.)|
|3)||Holy Spirit (= present power of God, or God's powerful presence) waxes, not wanes, as time goes on. See this, e.g., in miracles: Ac 3.6 f. lame raised by hand; 5.15 cures by Peter's shadow; 19.11 f. cures by Paul's hankies and aprons (primary relics!) - i.e. cures at distance and without overt will or faith of even apostle, much less of one healed.|
|4)||Luke presents Jesus' and Christians' way in Exodus pattern, which holds out, in the midst of an unencouraging situation, the promise that God's spirit will bring them through to better things.|
|(vi)||Peter and Paul in Acts|
|There is substantial evidence that Luke arranges his materials and his narrative (and very likely creates some of it, not merely rearr4anges extant materials) in order to present Peter and Paul on a basically equal footing. Here are two examples.|
|1)||This is drawn from J. C. Hurd, Jr, The Origin of I Corinthians (SPCK, London, 1965), pp. 37-41.|
|[Gibbs]||[Hurd] A Comparison of the Order of Events in Ac 11 & Ac 15|
|Exodus Pattern||Ac 10.44-11.30||Ac 14.27-15.33|
|Initial Success||God chooses Gentiles||10.44-7||14.27|
|Opposition||Judea hears of mission||11.1||15.1|
|Delegates to Jerusalem||11.2, 3 (Peter)||15.2 (Paul & Barnabas)|
|Circumcision party objects||11.3||15.5|
|Vindication||Case for the Gentiles||11.4 (put by Peter)||15.7 (put by Peter)|
|(a) God's choice||11.5-12||15.7|
|(b) Holy Spirit given||11.15||15.8|
|(c) Prophecy fulfilled||11.16 (word of the Lord)||15.15 (words of prophets)|
|Church accepts Gentiles||11.18||15.19|
|Greater Success||Gentile mission spreads||11.20||15.22|
|Barnabas & Paul to Antioch||11.22, 15 f.||15.22, 30|
|Antioch mission prospers||11.26||15.35|
|Miraculous freeing of apostle from prison||12.1-17 (Peter)||16.16-40 (Paul)|
The only new material in Ac 15 is the Apostolic Decree (which is also to
be found in Ac 21.15). Hurd and M. Dibelius, independently,
believe Ac 15 is a literary creation of the author.
Why should the author have inserted the narrative of Ac 15 into an otherwise unified travel account at this point? Hurd, (op. cit. p, 41) suggests the following reasons:
"(a) Acts 15 is vitally necessary to the purpose of Acts, since official approval of the western mission is not provided by the Cornelius episode [referred to in Acts 11]. But (b) this approval cannot be given until the western mission had grown large enough to be significant. It must in a real sense represent the Gentile world at large to which the book of Acts is addressed. On the other hand, (c) this approval if delayed until Paul had reached Corinth and returned would have been both anticlimactic and after the fact. And finally (d) the further Paul journeyed from Syria, the more difficult it would have been to bring him back to Jerusalem and return him to the mission field. Thus the author, it appears, waited until Paul's second miracle (Acts 14.8-18), and then inserted his own account of the meeting which united the original Jewish-Christian Church and the newer Gentile Church."
|2)||This is drawn from J. C. Fenton, "The Order of the Miracles performed by Peter and Paul in Acts", Expository Times Vol. 77, No. 12 (Sept., 1966), 381-3. It is widely recognized (by, e.g., Hurd, G. W. H. Lampe, C. S. C. Williams, and B. S. Easton) that in Acts the miracles attesting Paul's preaching correspond to those attesting Peter's. Fenton's contribution is to have noted that they are related by pairs, each Pauline pair being in the inverse order of the Petrine pair.|
|Peter's miracles||Paul's miracles|
The lame man, 3.1 ff.
B. Ananias & Sapphira, 5.11 f.
Elymas, 13.6 ff.
A'. The cripple at Lystra, 14.8 ff.
The sick cured by Peter's shadow, 5.14 f.
D. The sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, 5.16
The slave girl at Philippi, 16.16 ff.
C'. Cures performed by Paul's handkerchiefs and aprons, 19.17 f.
Aeneas, 9.32 ff.
F. Tabitha, 9.36 ff.
Eutychus, 20.7 ff.
E'. The father of Publius and others, 28.7 ff.
|(See Fenton's article for arguments for and against his arrangement. On balance, I am convinced he is correct, and therefore this strengthens the argument that Luke-Acts is not mere history-recording but a conscious literary structure.)|
|(vii)||Luke-Acts may well be addressed to those of a gnosticizing tendency or under the influence of such a tendency, so that Luke-Acts is anti-gnostic.|
|E. Earle Ellis, Luke, pp. 58 f., basically agrees with H. Schürmann (Erfurter Theologische Studien, 12, 1962, 43 ff.) that Luke is combating a de-historicizing of the Gospel events by gnosticizing Christians.|
|Gibbs thinks it is fairly likely for the following reasons:|
|Although 'Gnosticism' as found in the 2nd century CE systems is hard to define precisely (because of the variety of gnostic sects), there are certain characteristics of them which are widespread and which Luke-Acts may well be dealing with:|
|1)||There is a special gnosis, 'knowledge', not known to ordinary Christians, which is a special knowledge or revelation reserved for the limited few.|
|Lk 24.27, 44 :||emphasize that Jesus opens to the disciples all the things concerning him in the Law, the Prophets and the psalms.|
|Ac 1.3:||concerning Jesus 'speaking the things concerning the Kingdom of God', is followed by the Ascension after 40 days (that's a lot of teaching, man!), plus the assurance of the 'two men' (= witness of Law & Prophets) that he will come (only) in manner they have seen him go (Ac 1,.11).|
|2)||There is a dualistic tendency, which assigns no (or negative) value to the physical (and historical) and positive value only to the 'spiritual'.|
|Lk 24.39-40:||emphasizes the hands and feet (i.e. passion wounds showing that it is as the one once crucified that he has been raised).|
|Lk 24.39:||with Jesus' invitation to handle him shows he is physical.|
|Lk 24.41-43:||with Jesus eating before them proves the same.|
|Ac 1.3:||emphasizing that 'he also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs' reinforces this point further.|
|3)||There is a tendency to have many intermediaries between God and the creation.|
|Ac 4.12:||'in none other [than Jesus] is there salvation; for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved', may well be combating this.|
|Thus the raised Lord as being (a) the one crucified (i.e., the passion marks show that the Cross was no mere charade), (b) physical (by being handled and eating), (c) teaching all things in Law & Prophets concerning him, and yet indicating that the disciples are not to know times and seasons known only to the Father (Ac 1.7), and (d) being the bearer of the only name that avails for salvation, taken together appear to point toward a combating of gnosticizing tendencies. Perhaps we might add to this the emphasis in Paul's Athenian speech that 'we are all his [= God's] offspring (Ac 17.28), which may be combating a 'limited numbers' idea. (Back to Contents)|
IX. Further theological aspects of Luke-Acts
|1 Luke's view of Israel as divided into two parts: the faithful and the obdurate|
|1) 'True' Israel (= the Church now) has a strongly Jewish base.|
Matthew, Mark and Paul, where Jesus alone is 'righteous', δίκαιος
, i.e. the 'Righteous Remnant' of one, Luke has numerous 'righteous' (δίκαιος
) or 'devout' (εὐλαβής
) Jews who look for the coming of the Kingdom:
|i)||Zechariah and Elizabeth are 'righteous', Lk 1.6.|
|ii)||Simeon is 'righteous' and 'devout', 'looking for the consolation of Israel', Lk 1.25 f.|
|iii)||Anna the prophetess, of great devotion (Lk 1.37), gives thanks and|
|iv)||speaks of Jesus 'to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem', Lk 1.38|
|v)||'Devout Jewish men of every nation', Ac 2.5|
|vi)||'Devout men' buried Stephen and lamented over him, Ac 8.2|
|vii)||'Ananias, a devout man according to the Law' restored Paul's sight: Paul's recounting in Ac 22.12|
|viii)||Joseph of Arimathea, 'a councillor, a good man and righteous', Lk 23.50|
|b)||Mass conversions of Jews: Ac 2.41, (47); 4.4; 5.14; 6.1, 7; 9.42; 12.24; 13.43; 14.1; 17.10 ff.; (19.20); 21.10.|
|c)||Because of obduracy of the leaders of Israel , the Twelve become the new leaders in (the eschatological) Israel, Lk 22.30.|
|2) Church (= true Israel) as the heir of the promises of the Scriptures,|
|especially as seen in the outpouring of the Spirit, 'the promise of my father', Lk 24.49; Ac 1.4; 2.33.|
|3) The Law is upheld, e.g. Lk 1-2: Jesus and parents uphold Law;|
|Lk 16.18: cuts down Mk 10.1-12 on divorce so as to uphold validity of Mosaic law (e.g., by removing reference to women doing the divorcing). (Back to Contents)|
|2. The Temple in Luke contrasted to Mark and Matthew|
|1) Many activities in Temple in Luke-acts.|
|2) But no 'presence of God' motif adheres to the Temple per se.|
|(In Mk 15.38 // Mt 27.51, the Shekinah, i.e. the Cloud of God's Presence, leaves the Temple at the moment of Jesus' death and the Centurion's confession of Jesus as Son of God; Luke-Acts in this is like John, where all the 'Presence' motifs surrounding Jewish ideas of the Temple and associated with the Feasts, are associated during the narrative with Jesus; note that Jn 2.19-21 explicitly identifies Jesus' body with the Temple.)|
|i)||In Luke these motifs are associated with the Spirit-filled Jesus.|
|ii)||In Acts they are associated with the Church.|
|iii)||In both books they are associated with the Temple only when Jesus or the apostles are in the Temple.|
the Spirit (= God's powerful presence) is associated with God's people,
not a building; see Ac 7.46-50 (Stephen's speech): David [rightly]
'asked to find a dwelling place (σκήνωμα
) [for God] in the house of Jacob' (i.e., among the people of Israel), but Solomon [wrongly] 'built him a house (οἶκος
)', something in which God does not dwell.
|3)||Thus there is no 'desolation' of the Temple as in Mark and Matthew (cf. parenthetical note in 2) above).|
|4)||But there is movement out from the Temple into wider mission from Stephen's passion onwards. Whereas this shift occurs at Jesus' Passion in Mk 15.38-39 // Mt 27.51-54, in Luke-acts its onset is tied to Stephen's Passion, with its intended parallels to that of Jesus:|
|Cp. Cross-sayings of Jesus||Lk 23.34:||'Father, forgive ...'|
|Lk 23.46:||'Father, into thy hands ...'|
|Reversed and now addressed to Jesus:||Ac 7.59:||'Lord Jesus, receive ...'|
|Ac 7.60:||'Lord, lay not this sin ...'|
|(Back to Contents)|
|3. Christology: Jesus as Prophet, not as Wisdom|
|1)||Unlike Matthew, Paul, John (and probably Mark, too), Jesus himself is not the Wisdom of God, but rather he and John are the 'children of Wisdom' (Lk 7.35; cp. Mt 11.19), and Jesus speaks of Wisdom as a personified entity other than himself (Lk 11.49; cp. Mt 23.34 where Jesus replaces Wisdom as the speaker of the saying).|
|2)||Thus, since such passages as Sirach 51.26, where Wisdom's yoke = yoke of Torah, mean that Wisdom = Scriptures, Luke does not equate Jesus with Wisdom, since he wants their witness to abide in a stronger sense than do Matthew, Mark, John or Paul.|
|3)||Luke's emphasis on Jesus as a prophet:|
|Lk||4.24:||(= Mk 6.4=Mt 13.57): '... no prophet is acceptable in his own country'.|
|7.16:||crowd at Nain: 'A great prophet has arisen among us!'|
|7.39:||Simon the Pharisee: 'If this one were a/(the) prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is ....'|
|9.8:||(cf. Mk 6.15): Some take Jesus to be a prophet in terms of 'a prophet, one of the old ones, has risen'.|
|9.19:||(cf. Mk 8.27; Mt 16.14): of Jesus: 'a prophet, one of the old ones, has risen'.|
|11.50:||'the blood of all the prophets' (cp. Mt 23.35: 'all righteous blood').|
|13.28:||'There you shall weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out.'|
|13.33:||'It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem'.|
|13.34:||(= Mt 23.37): 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you....'|
|22.64:||Mocking men: 'Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?' (= Mk 14.65; cp. Mt 26.67: 'Prophesy to us, O Christ')|
|24.19:||Disciples on road to Emmaus: 'Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people'.|
|Ac||3.22 f.:||(Peter:) 'Moses said, "The Lord God will; raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up. ... every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people'. (Deut 18.15 f.)|
|7.37:||(Stephen:) 'This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, "God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up"'. (Back to Contents)|
|4. Christology: Jesus as Son of God, God as Father|
|1)||Lukan emphasis in Passion on Jesus' filial relationship to Father:|
|Lk||23.34:||'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'|
|23.46:||'Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!'|
Lukan reticence: Jesus proclaimed as 'Son of God' only twice in whole of Acts, both times by Paul, both times in synagogue (i.e. among Jews):
|Ac||9.20:||(Damascus) - linked with title 'Christ'|
|13.33:||(Pisidian Antioch), quoting Ps 2.7, connected with 'the things of David' (13.33-34).|
|3)||In Acts God is spoken of as Father only in 1.4, 7; 2.33, that is, in Jerusalem in Jewish church.|
|Why this combined emphasis and reticence? Why are God as Father and Jesus as Son kept solely within Jewish bounds?|
|a) OT-Jewish usage: in Hebrew family:|
|i.||By the sovereign act of a father was one designated as a son (mother might be wife, concubine, harlot; 'son' might be adopted slave; lacked Graeco-Roman emphasis on physical procreation).|
|ii.||Father supplied sustenance and teaching.|
|iii.||Son, by dependence, obedience and submission to father, was in effect to show forth the character of his father, and if he refused to obey, he was stoned to death.|
|b) OT-Jewish application of title 'Son of God':|
|i.||To Israel as a whole: Exod 4.22 f. (Yahwist source); Hos 11.1; Jer 31.9.|
|ii.||Israelites as sons of God: Deut 14.1; Isa 1.2; 43.6 f.; Jer 3.22; probably Deut 32.8, etc.|
|iii.||Angels as sons of God, always in the plural (a later use than Israel being spoken of as 'son of God'): Gen 6.2, 4; Deut 32.8; Job 1.6; 2.1; 38.7; Ps 29.1; 82.6; cf. Dan 3.25.|
|iv.||Davidic king as son of God: 2 Sam 7.14; Ps 2.7; 89.26 f.|
|v.||Messiah as 'Son of God': 4Q Florilegium 10-14, plus a 4Q Daniel Apocryphon, the former using 2 Sam 7.14 (i.e., from Dead Sea Scrolls).|
|c) Hellenistic usage generally thought of sonship in procreative terms,|
|and applied the title 'son of God' as a title of honour on many benefactors, especially figures of power, and more particularly on the Roman Emperor. (It is probably in direct and conscious contrast to the might of the Emperor that Matthew and Mark have a Roman centurion [Mk 15.39 // Mt 27.54] say of the one who is 'not able', literally, 'not powerful [enough]', to save himself [Mk 15.31 // Mt 27.42; but changed in Lk 23.35 to 'Let him save himself'].)|
|d) Thus, on the whole, OT-Jewish usage understood 'son of God'|
an inter-personal, moral, theocentric and covenantal role-designation of
one or a group whose job is to embody God's will by obedience and
On the other hand, Hellenistic usage tended to apply the term as one of honour (not role) most readily to figures of prominence and power, without thinking necessarily at all of an interpersonal, moral and theocentric relationship.
|e) Thus, as the righteous Israelite par excellence, the Messiah of David's line|
|who has lived and died in obedience and dependence on the Father, it is fitting that Luke-Acts should keep Jesus' Sonship firmly within an overtly Jewish framework (even if Hellenistic influences have been at work within that framework, as they were in the whole of Judaism at various levels, both in Palestine and the Diaspora).|
|For detailed background of the foregoing, see Son of God. (Back to Contents)|
|5. 'Signs and wonders': inversion of OT meaning|
|1)||In the OT 'signs and wonders' invariably used of God's judgements and punishments against the (Gentile) oppressors of Israel (most often against the Egyptians), (In even the one apparent exception, Isa 8.18, Isaiah and the remnant are 'signs and wonders' against apostate Israel.)|
|2)||But in Luke-Acts they are the 'signs and wonders' of God's mercy to all men.|
|3)||Thus the intentional omission of 'and the Day of Vengeance of our God' (Isa 61.2b, in Lk 4.19) followed by mercy to Gentiles instead of Jews in days of Elijah and Elisha (Lk 4.25-27).|
|4)||(See 'signs and wonders' used in OT sense, and then set aside, in Jn 4.48, a story apparently echoing the feast of Purim, which was concerned with Jewish rejoicing in, and anticipation of, God's punitive triumph over Israel's Gentile oppressors.)|
|(Back to Contents)|
|6. 'Apostles' and ministerial pattern in Acts|
|1)||Luke severely limits the term 'apostle' to the Twelve in Jerusalem, even to the point of restoring the Twelve by Matthias' election.|
|2)||The apostles are those who set the seal of approval on every new stage of advance of the mission (e.g. to Samaritans, and eastern and western Gentile missions (Ac 8, 11, 15).|
|3)||When the apostles claim that it is their job to preach and pray, not to wait tables, the Holy Spirit instead sends forth the Seven (table waiters) to preach (Ac 6.2-8.40) - so much for uppity prelates!|
1 Cor 12.28, speaks of 'First apostles, second prophets, third
teachers', and the remainder of the list are only gifts, not people, all
introduced by 'then' (ἔπειτα
). In (deutero-Pauline) Ephesians, the 'holy apostles and prophets' (= the founding evangelists and first pastoral preachers) are now spoken of as 'the foundation' (with Jesus made 'chief cornerstone'; cp. 1 Cor 3.11!), and the present set-apart ministry corresponds to Paul's:
|Apostle||= Evangelist||= itinerant church founder|
|Prophet||= Pastor||= local pastoral preacher|
|Teacher||= Teacher||= roughly, catechist|
|(For fuller details see "Recognized" Ministry in the New Testament)|
|5)||It is against the above threat of a fixed ministerial pattern (apparently) that Paul's No. 2 and No. 3 groups, the 'prophets and teachers' at Antioch (Ac 13.1) set apart Paul and Barnabas (Ac 13.2 f.), who are then twice, and twice only, called 'apostles' in Iconium (Ac 14.4) and Lystra (14.14).|
|6)||All scholars agree (as far as I know) that Acts presents no single, fixed ministerial pattern. Gibbs strongly suspects that Luke feared 'prelacy', which would explain items (3) and (5) above, plus his placing greater reliance upon the stabilizing effect of the Scriptures. (Back to Contents)|
|7. Holy Spirit in Luke-Acts: a significantly different model.|
|1)||Both Luke and Acts are solidly 'earthed' to the working of the Spirit, unlike:|
|a) Paul: 1 Cor 15.45: 'the Last Adam became a life-making Spirit',|
|i.e., 'the Spirit of God' (subjective genitive) has God the Father as its author, and it is|
|'the Spirit of Christ' (objective genitive) with Christ as its content. so that the Spirit in the Church is the effective presence of God, creating the Church 'in Christ', and the Spirit in effect is abiding 'proof' of Jesus' resurrection and Lordship in the Church (e.g. 1 Cor 12.3; Gal 4.6; Rom 8.15) and comes only after Jesus' passion.|
|b) John is similar to Paul: the Spirit is sent after the passion|
|and is the effective 'presence' of Jesus/Logos in their midst (cf. Paraclete sayings, Jn 14.16, 26; 15.26; 16.7), even though John the Baptist is presented as having seen the Spirit descend as a dove and remain on Jesus (Jn 1.32 f.).|
|c) Although Mark and Matthew indicate that the Spirit descends on Jesus at his baptism|
|(Mk 1.10 // Mt 3.16) and Mk 1.8 indicates that Jesus will baptize with Holy spirit, plus the Spirit driving (Mk 1.12) or leading (Mt 4.1) Jesus to his wilderness temptations, with Matthew adding conception by the Spirit (1.18, 20), a reference to Jesus as endowed by God with the Spirit (12.18 = Isa 42.1) and casting out demons by the Spirit of God (12.28), this cannot begin to match the emphasis during Jesus' ministry in Luke on the Spirit.|
|d) References to the Spirit in the Synoptics:|
|Mark: 6 times.|
|Matthew: 12 times (Gibbs, H. C. B. Green, Stendahl, Conybeare, etc.:|
|11 times, since Mt 28.19 on baptizing in the Triune Name is a later interpolation).|
|Luke: 17 times|
|Lk 1-2: 7 times, 6 of which speak of prophetic inspiration:|
|1.15 (John Baptist)|
|2.25, 26, 27 (Simeon)|
|(1.17, the 7th, says that John will go before the Lord 'in the spirit and power of Elijah', so it is similar to the other six)|
|(Cf. G. W. H. Lampe, 'The Holy Spirit in the writings of St. Luke', in Studies in the Gospels ed. by D, E. Nineham, pp. 159-200, especially pp. 160-168.)|
|2)||Jesus in Luke:|
|Well-born by Spirit, Lk 1.35: conception by Holy Spirit|
|Wise by Spirit, Lk 10.21-22: Jesus 'rejoiced in the Holy Spirit|
|... knows [Father the Son; Son the Father, and those to whom the Son reveals the Father].|
|Powerful by Spirit, Lk 4.(1), 14, (18): 'in the power of the Spirit'. (Back to Contents)|
|8. Stress on prayer in Luke-Acts:|
|1)||Insistence on Jesus praying before:|
|a)||Choosing Twelve: 'prayed all night',||6.12 (Lukan addition)|
|b)||Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi,||9.18 (Lukan addition)|
|c)||Transfiguration,||9.28 (Lukan addition)|
|d)||Arrest: 'he prayed more earnestly',||22.44 (Lukan emphasis -|
|but there are textual uncertainties in Lk 22.43-44)|
|2)||Continued in Church in Acts, e.g. before:|
|a)||Choosing 12th apostle||1.24|
|b)||Angel of Lord appears to Cornelius||10.2-3, 30|
|c)||Peter's sail-cloth vision||10.9|
|d)||Commissioning Paul and Barnabas||13.3|
|3)||As a general mark of the Church:|
|a)||Ac 1.4: With one accord 'devoted themselves to prayer'.|
|b||Lk 18.1: People 'ought always to pray and not lose heart'.|
|9. Shift of eschatological emphasis toward 'the long haul':|
|If Luke, unlike (say) Matthew, no longer uses 'apocalyptic-type' imagery|
|to heighten the call to obedience NOW (as Matthew does by adding his 'Watch! [γρηγορεῖτε] parables. such as the wise and foolish virgins, at the end of each teaching discourse as a note of impending accounting),]|
|he nevertheless uses other means for encouraging perseverance:|
|a)||the four-fold Exodus pattern: 'Hang on - God will see you through to even better things';|
|b)||the emphasis on the Spirit waxing, not waning, and|
|c)||the emphasis on prayer as keeping one in good heart (Lk 18.1), not to mention|
|d)||Luke's addition of 'daily' in Lk 9.23: 'let him take up his cross daily and follow me'. (Back to Contents)|
|10. 'Faith' in Luke-Acts: shifting from personal 'trust in Luke towards ecclesial 'belief' in Acts|
understanding of 'faith' (πίστις
) or 'to believe (πίστιεύειν
) was bi-polar among Christians to begin with, as can be seen in 1 Cor 15.1-10, namely, it included both:
|a)||a believing in (trusting in) God,||- TRUST|
|b)||who had acted in Jesus for us in a way attested to by the Sctriptures||- CREDAL CONTENT|
|that is, it included both a|
|i)||believing/trusting in God (therough Christ) and|
|ii)||believing that God had acted in a certain way in Christ.|
|Later in the first century, as 'internal heresies' bothered the Church,|
|there was a strong tendency to shift 'faith' more and more toward credal belief (this is the case with, for example, 1 John and the Pastorals), a shift resisted bluntly by James ('You show me your faith by your words [= creed] and I'll show you my faith by a life lived [= obedient trust]'. Matthew resists it in more subtle fashion by using 'to believe that' (πίστιεύειν ὅτι) only once (Mt 9.28), when the response is the disobeying of his strong command to tell no one (Mt 9.30 f.). Matthew also makes 'understanding' (i.e. credal content) the presupposition of faith, so that Matthew's use of 'faith' and 'to believe' have only 'obedient trust' as their content.|
|In Luke 'faith' is still dominantly 'trust', 'your faith', but in Acts there is a shift|
|to 'the faith' [= credal belief].|
|Ac||11.23: [Barnabas to Christians at Antioch:] 'to remain attached to the Lord', which parallels|
|Ac||14.22: 'abiding in the faith'.|
|I.e., it has now become ecclesial faith, not individual faith.|
|(Cf. Schuyler Brown, Apostasy and Perseverance in the Theology of Luke , pp. 114, 146-149.)|
E. Further Evidence of arranging of narrative materials
1. Luke 1-2: Use of Samuel-typology to draw parallels between John and Jesus
|1||Elkanah, Barren Hannah, son Samuel||1.5-25||Zachariah, barren Elizabeth, son John|
|1.20||She [= Hannah] called his name Samuel||1.31||[Gabriel to Mary:] 'Thou shalt call his name Jesus'|
|2.1-10||Song of Hannah||1.46-55||Magnificat|
|(1 Kings 1.48||David re Solomon as king||1.68||Opening of Benedictus)|
|2.11b||And the child ministered to Yahweh||1.80||And the child grew and waxed strong in spirit [John]|
|2.40||And the child grew and waxed strong [Jesus]|
|2.26||and child Samuel grew and was in favour both with the Lord and also with men.||2.52||And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age-of-strength and favour with God and men. [Wise-powerful-wellborn model]|
|4.21||And she names the child Ichabod [= 'the glory is departed']||1.62
mother answered ... 'He shall be called John'
[Simeon:] 'For mine eyes have seen ... the glory of thy people Israel;'
|2.12 ff.||Sons of Eli: 'sons of Belial'||3.7||[John:] 'You offspring of vipers' (Back to Contents)|
2. Luke 1-2 as paralleling Genesis 27-43
See Luke 1-2 as paralleling Genesis 27-43 (by C. T. Ruddick, Jr)
3. Acts: Cities visited more than once by Paul
One indication of how the author is arranging his materials in Luke-Acts (and of how much he is doing so) may be seen from the following table drawn from J. C. Hurd, Jr, The Origin of I Corinthians (SPCK, 1965), Table 2, p. 29. It shows that, to quote Hurd (p. 30), "although Paul may visit a city several times, his adventures occur only on one of his visits, usually his first." This might be historical, but it is more likely that it represents a Lukan tendency to present a single unified picture of all the traditions connecting Paul with a given locale. The one major exception is probably Jerusalem, with Paul's final major act of witness there.
Cities in Acts visited by Paul upon more than one occasion
Church afraid; Saul preaches
With James and elders
To Temple with four men
Paul's speech to Jews & uproar
Paul before the council
Plot to kill Paul & his rescue
|Lystra (& Derbe)||14.6-21
Hermes & Zeus
Synagogue (three weeks)
Teaching 18 months
Argued 2 years
Sons of Sceva
|(Back to Contents)|