Saturday, September 12, 2009
The Paulineness of Paul's Speech in Acts 13
Paul's evangelical preaching in Pisidian Antioch in Acts 13.16-41 and in Lystra/Derbe in Acts 14.15-17 are among the lesser studied speeches of Acts (lesser compared to Peter's Pentecost sermon, Stephen's martyrdom speech, and Paul's Areopagus address). The authenticity of the speeches in Acts are obviously question since it is debated as to whether Luke was even intending to give an accurate account, did he have sources that heard and remembered the orations, then there is the relative uniformity of the speeches and their accordance with Luke's own theological perspective, not to mention the practice of speech narration in antiquity. As I'm reading Jimmy Dunn's Beginning from Jerusalem (and for the rest of my natural life I shall probably still be slowly wading through it), Dunn makes a good point about the elements of contact that Paul's speeches in Acts 13-14 have with Paul's letters:
- Paul's understanding of the gospel as for the Jew first and also for the Greek (Acts 13.46/Rom 1.16).
- Paul as fulfilling the mission of the Servant of Isaiah 49.6 (Acts 13.47/Gal 1.15-16, etc.)
- Paul's sermon in 14.15-17 is a variation of his indictment of paganism in Rom. 1.20-23.
- Echoes of Paul's exhortation abut suffering as a necessary prequisite to glory in Acts 14.22 are common enough in his letters.
Steve Walton did his Ph.D thesis on Paul's Speech to the Ephesian elders and the exhortaton in 1 Thessalonians (SNTS), and I wonder if a comparison of the Paulinism of Acts 13-14 with Romans would be a good subject for some other brave soul.