In the legal manouvreing at the start of this reading Paul quotes Isaiah: “Listen and listen but not understand look and look but not see!” But if the Bible is perspicuous (listen to The Perspicuity of Scripture) so is creation: we can’t miss evidence of God, but sometimes we don’t want to hear… And what a frustrating ending! How does Paul’s story end? Luke presumably knew if Acts was written about AD 70 because these events had happened some 8 years earlier. But Acts is not Paul’s story! Acts 1:8 as program for the book: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit hasRead More →

These five chapters describe Paul’s second and third missionary journeys, amid many trips covering between them about a decade there are lots of exciting stories. The approach Paul took in Athens is of particular interest, it’s a very early example of Christianity not merely translating but contextualising – expressing the message not only in the words but also the culture of another people. Paul use elements of Athenian culture – even their “unknown god” – despitebeing “deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols” Paul does not apply the knee jerk Jewish response (fun though it is) to idol worship. Rather heRead More →

This week’s readings tell the exciting story of how the Church broke loose. Till this time faith and culture had been intimately related. So if you wanted to convert to Judaism you became Jewish and adopted the rules and customs of Jewish life. In particular you adopted the 613 rules of the Torah. The first two readings tell of Saul’s conversion and (the now renamed) Paul’s first missionary journey and the conversion of Jews and Gentiles. Then Acts 15 tells of the revolutionary Council of Jerusalem and the dramatic decision it took. The last two readings tell of a decade of Paul’s preaching around theRead More →

There are a couple of things to notice here: firstly how Luke stresses the role of the Holy Spirit (or rather, God, since at the start it is “an angel of the Lord”) it may have been a desert/wilderness road but like Abraham in Gen 12 “he got up and went” our response to such promptings is often more cautious, even at times Jonah-like the Ethiopian official was prepared (been to temple, so God-fearer, reading Scripture – measure of his importance he had a copy) Isaiah again! [amtap amazon:asin=0310245664] Like Yancey’s friend (see Reading prophets for pleasure and profit) he recognised what he was readingRead More →