Slide 1

Acts 13:17-19, 450 years, if one adds up all the numbers without allowing for overlapping

13:27-29. Fulfilling Scriptures in condemning him: esp, Is 53; cf. also psalms of righteous sufferers (Ps. 22, 69)


-              Ps 2:7

-              DSS applied to Messianic enthronement

-              David’s eternal dynasty


-              Isa 55:3: Israel’s future hope bound up with promise to David

-              Isa 55:4 (not quoted): hope for Gentiles

Slide 2

13: 35-37

-              gezerah shevah: “holy” in Is 55:3 leads to Ps 16:10

-              Ps 16 guarantees that object of David’s promise would never rot (cf 2:25- 28)


Hab 1:5:

-              Impending judgment under Chaldeans (1:6)

-              Only righteous remnant to endure by faith (2:4)

-              Here principle applied to the judgment of the end

Slide 3

13: 42-43

-              Many Gentiles attended synagogues with great interest (even as late as 4th cent.)


-              When famous speakers (e.g., Dio Chrysostom) would come to town, much  of town would go to hear him

-              Word spread quickly about new speaker at the synagogue

-              Paul billed as a rhetorician or philosopher


Is 49:6:

-              Servant = Israel in 49:3-4

-              In 49: 5-7 = one who fully carries out Servant’s mission and suffers for Israel (as in 52:13 – 53:12)

Slide 4


-              Jews predestined for salvation by virtue of descent from Abraham

-              Here many Gentiles ordained to life!

-              Already implied in Is 49:6

13: 50

-              Many prominent women interested in Judaism

-              Local aristocracies:

-              - most of political power

-              from them came decurions for local councils

-              their opposition could drive someone out of town

-              their authority was purely local

-              escape range of their jurisdiction

Slide 5



-              85 mi (135km) E on same Via Sebaste

-              Terrain rugged- could only take Via Sebaste

4 days’ walk

Shaking off dust

-              Jews returning to holy land

-              (cf. Lk 10:10-12)

Slide 6

Iconium (14:1-4)

Phrygian dialect, but also Greek (2nd language)

Used interpreters when needed (cf. 14:11, 14)

Worshiped esp. emperor, Phrygian mother- goddess

Later a major center of Christianity in Asia Minor

Slide 7


city magistrates could do whatever necessary to quell disturbances

meant banning them, not killing them

couldn’t stone them; mob action

Slide 8

“Cities of Lycaonia” (14:6-7)

-              Iconium culturally in Phrygia

-              Ancient writers sometimes included in Lycaonia

-              Lycaonia contained Lystra and Derbe

Fleeing: discretion is the better part of valor (life above honor)

-              Cf. Matt 10:23: “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next one.”

Slide 9



-              Roman colony for half a century

-              Emphasized local culture and Romanness alongside Pisidian Antioch, vs. Greek cities of region

Open Preaching

-              Elite philosophers served wealthy patrons or lectured in halls

Others preached in markets

-              Dio Chrysostom criticized philosophers who reserved lectures for classroom

Paul’s letters: he shared some of this type of philosophical ideal (1 Cor. 4:11-13)

Controversy stirred by opponents maybe added attention

Slide 10


Local Phrygian legend: Zeus and Hermes to Baucis and Philemon

Rest of Phrygia destroyed in a flood

Lycaonians not about to make the same mistake

Miracle workers sometimes understood as gods

Slide 11



-              Messenger of Olympians

-              Speaking for more dignified Zeus

-              (in other stories Zeus less dignified: out chasing women or boys)

Hermes and Zeus: worshiped together in Phrygian region

Sacrificial animals often decorated with garlands before being offered

Slide 12


Lystra’s citizens spoke Latin

But market town for whole region- local language

Understood Greek but spoke with one another in local language

Slide 13


Paul rejects worship

-              cf. Acts 3:12

-              Acts 28:6

-              Contrast Agrippa 1 in Acts 12:22-23

Biblical, but in terms Anatolian farmers could understand (God who rules nature)

Jewish apologists used philosopher’s teachings on supreme god, which Jews felt contradicted pagan worship of idols

Jews: God had lower moral standard for Gentiles, but idolatry not permitted

Slide 14

Phrygia (14:17)


Worshipped esp. mother-goddess providing fertility

Stoic philosophers: nature itself testified to character of supreme god

Slide 15


-              mobs often changed quickly

-              denying gods considered impious, hence would appear as magicians

Jews from Antioch:

-              Nearly 100 miles (160 km) away

But Lystra and Antioch “sister cities”


-              Most common form of urban mob violence

-              Stones, tiles, and cobbles readily available in ancient streets

-              Suitable for blasphemy

-              Irony: Paul preaching monotheism

Slide 16

Derbe (14:20)

-              60 miles (95 km) SE, maybe unpaved road

-              3 day’s journey

-              Greek language and perhaps culture but became Greek “city” only afterward

-              Getting far away!


-              Period of intense suffering before Kingdom

Slide 17

Elders (14:23)

Elders governed and judged in towns and villages

In synagogues, generally filled a religious office

Several per synagogue (acting as councils rather than as individuals)

Title generally called for respect

Greek E. accorded much influence to Gerousia, clubs made up of “elders”

Slide 18


Attalia:; Pamphylia’s main port on mouth of the Catarractes


Diaspora Jews promoted Judaism, welcomed converts

But not concerted “missions”

Synagogue communities kept in contact through travelers who reported news

Slide 19

The Controversy (15:1-6)

Slide 20

Views (15:1)

Most: righteous Gentiles saved (Noahide laws)

Others: had to convert to Judaism

None accepted them as part of Israel

Slide 21

Apostles and Elders (15:2)

-              Churches, like synagogues, ruled by local elders

-              Apostles had more translocal role; Jerusalem church had elders

-              Synagogues respected messengers from Temple authorities in homeland

-              Judean believers in Jesus held special status (15:1)


-              Many strict Pharisees: signs insufficient vs. traditional interpretations (15:5)

-              But Chr’s respected miracles

Slide 22

Pharisees’ complaint (15:5)

Conservative nationalism since Agrippa 1

Among Pharisees:

-              Hillelites more generous toward Gentiles

-              But stricter Shammaites dominant


-              Respected for piety, Torah knowledge

-              Prob. high status in the Jerusalem Church

Slide 23

15:6-11: Peter’s Response

15: 6-7

models for conflict resolution

other Jewish groups also had “general” session (Qumran: priests, elders and people)

apostles did not rule without the elders

both engaged in vigorous debate, like Jewish teachers in their schools

sought to achieve consensus (v.22)

Slide 24

James’ Response (15:12-21)


“A people for his name”: in OT, normally = Israel

James applies to Gentile Christians

Based on Amos, whom he cites in v. 17

“Tabernacle of David” (Amos 9:11) prob. = “house of David,” fallen into disrepair

rebuilding = raising up a Messiah after Davidic line’s rule cut off (mess. also in DDS)

15: 17-18

Amos 9:12 says, “remnant of Edom”

By slightly changing the spelling: “remnant of Adam” of “humanity”

Slide 25


representative of Noahide laws (idolatry, immorality, blood in meat)

Lenient Jewish position: any righteous Gentiles have share in world to come

-              Here about table fellowship, not about membership in God’s people (vs. Paul’s views)

-              Even stricter Pharisees had to get along with the majority of more lenient people

-              Thus teachers didn’t try to invalidate majority views

Slide 26

The Jerusalem Church’s Decree



-              In later rabbinic academies, the majority view prevailed

-              Here a partial compromise (in favor of Antioch) commanded consensus


-              Content of letter

-              Ethnic Gentiles called “brethren”

-              Greetings: standard

-              Circular letter, to be copied and circulated by its messengers to these different regions

-              Common to cite the contents of letters

-              Would be widely known


-              “It seemed good” = “be it resolved” (in Greek decrees, often after votes in citizen assemblies

Last modified: Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 10:03 PM