Sunday, July 30, 2006

Churches of Asia - Revelation and Paul

In reading through Kee (Beginnings of Christianity, 331, n. 40) I thought it was interesting to note that the letters addressed to the seven churches of Revelation 1-3 are located in an area where Paul, according Acts 16.7, was forbidden from going to. Several short implications come to my mind:

(1) Was the prohibition due to the fact that Paul did not want to tread on someone elses (i.e. John's) territory (cf. Rom. 15.20)? Or did John and the Johannine circle fill in the gap left by Paul's failure to plant churches there himself? (I have to ask where does the church at Colossae and Laodicea fit into all this as well?)

(2) What does this tell us about Luke? Did Luke want to explain why no Pauline churches were established in the interior parts of Asia Minor? Or (and what I think more likely) is that Luke had genuine knowledge of Paul's itinerary.

1 comment:

Alan S. Bandy said...

Those are very interesting insights. Elsiabeth Schüssler Fiorenza has a good essay titled "Apocalyptic and Gnosis in Revelation and in Paul" in The Book of Revelation: Justice and Judgment, 114-32. She discusses the similarities between John's and Paul's opponents (in 1 Cor). Then she compares the theology of John and Paul. In the coming years, I hope to explore this relationship in more detail.