Castor and Pollux

And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.” – Acts 28:11

What is the point of giving us the ship’s figurehead? It doesn’t further the narrative at all.

The point is: it’s an eyewitness detail. Luke gives it, because he was there (this is one of the “we passages”) and Castor and Pollux were the sign on their ship.

It’d be like me saying, “We drove to Morgantown in a car that had a “Baby on Board” sign on it. Why mention the sign? Because it was there and I included it in my eyewitness report. Maybe other passengers didn’t even see the sign, but it stuck out to me, so I included it in mine.

It is given to cement the Bible’s historicity and veracity.

Do & Teach; The Holy Knot

Knot on the ropeMy mom is a retired educator. My wife is an educator in a family of educators. So, I know firsthand the real life of teachers: the extra hours, the out of pocket expense, and the grading papers late at night. They have hilarious & heart-warming stories. Stories of triumph & defeat. Stories of devotion & sacrifice. Stories of life.

I also know firsthand the absolute LOVE they have for education and for the future of “their kids.” You see, they are like family.

I have had many wonderful teachers in my life. However, there is One that stands above them all; the greatest Teacher ever, the Master Teacher: Jesus.

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.” – John 13:13

In Acts 1:1, Luke says that he is writing “of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.Calvin called to do and teach “a holy knot that cannot be untied.”

That’s a teacher, isn’t it? Do and teach. They not only give you the tools, but also show you how to use them! They get right in the trenches with you! They fight with and for you! Teachers get up every morning to inspire, encourage, and challenge.

Eternal wisdom is imparted from Jesus (John 7:16). Every word that falls from His lips instructs and improves. Abide in the teachings of Christ (2 John 1:9)!

Recently a co-worker was talking about how much his mom hated Latin. Yet Latin was never mentioned. The comments were all about the teacher. The teacher made it a bad experience. Ironically, my mother also took Latin… but loved it.

Same subject. Different teacher. You see, a good teacher can even make Latin come alive.

If you love a subject, thank the passion of a teacher. If you excel in a subject, thank the encouragement of a teacher. And in all things, thank the Teacher of us all, Jesus Christ.


Ref: http://biblehub.com/greek/1321.htm

https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/acts-1.html

Who wrote Acts?

Who wrote Acts?

A Defense for Lukan Authorship of Acts

Who wrote Acts? Did you ever wonder? Because it doesn’t say. What’s the difference—Does it even matter? Well, yeah – I’d say it kind of matters. So, here’s a 1,950 year old spoiler alert: Luke most likely wrote Acts. Not only that, but he wrote Acts as a follow-up to the longest of the canonical Gospels; The Gospel of Luke. But, how did scholars arrive at this conclusion? How do we know? Here are some factors that we can use to determine the authorship of Acts. Will the real author please stand up?

Evidence to support Lukan authorship comes in two forms, external evidence and internal evidence.[1] The external evidence is what scholars have said about the document’s author and the internal evidence are what clues we can get from the document itself.

As far as the external evidence goes, at the top of the list is the testimony of the early Church Fathers. They fully supported Lukan authorship. This testimony is both early and unchallenged. Moving on, The Muratorian Canon (AD 180) affirms Lukan authorship, as does Irenaeus in his work, “Against Heresies” (ca. AD 180). Also the Anti-Marcionite Prologues, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian in “Against Marcion” all in the late 2nd Century unanimously support Lukan authorship.

When we come to the internal evidence the case is a little harder to establish, but still pretty clear. First of all, if you look at the formal literary introduction of the prologues of Luke and Acts, both mention that the recipient as “Theophilus” (which means, “Friend of God” [whether this was an actual person or a generic term for any Christian reader is debatable]). The author also mentions his “first book” in Acts, which would indicate that Acts was a second book (or what we might call today, a sequel). The sophisticated writing styles of Luke and Acts are extraordinarily similar: Hellenistic Greek used, vocabulary, common themes, and literary devices (such as the travel narrative). Both authors have knowledge of Roman law, nautical terms, and Greek society… which points to Luke.

 The “We” Passages of Acts

If Luke wasn’t there then how did he write about it? Here is where it gets interesting. First and foremost let’s not belittle the Holy Spirit’s work in all of this. “All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16).” However that process looks, the Holy Spirit was absolutely vital to the writing of Acts. Amen! Secondly, this privileged information that Luke mentions in Acts can be explained by the “We” Passages.

In Acts 23:25-30, 25:14-22, and 26:30-32, the author switches from the regular third person narrative (he, she, they) to a first person plural (we). This denotes someone who was actually there as an eyewitness. Some believe this portion to be copied from “an itinerary or diary that he himself wrote.”[2] This is intriguing for several reasons. The author obviously recognizes himself as a traveling “companion of Paul.”[3] We learn in Col 4:14 that Luke was one such traveling companion. Secondly, since the author uses “we,” he would not use his name in these instances and anyone mentioned in these passages cannot be the author. Thirdly, since this person is mentioned with Paul in chapter 27-28 as going with Paul to Rome, it is reasonable to assume that the author was with Paul as he was imprisoned.[4] While Paul was in prison he wrote many letters and mentions people by name that were there too. Luke is on that list. So if we take the names of the people mentioned in the “we” passages and subtract them from the people listed in the prison epistles, the only person is—Luke.


[1] Robert Wayne Stacy, TheDocinabox, “Lukan Authorship of Acts,” accessed January 14, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35FfvIyIZcw.

[2] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 292.

[3] Ibid., 296.

[4] Thomas D. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2003), 283.


Bibliography

Carson, D A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2005.

Lea, Thomas D., and David Alan Black. The New Testament: Its Background and             Message, 2nd ed. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2003.

Stacy, Robert Wayne. 2012. “Lukan Authorship of Acts,” TheDocinabox, January 3, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35FfvIyIZcw.


Submitted to Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of the course NBST 520 New Testament Orientation II

A Man Named Philip

20131228-115716.jpg

There was a man named Philip… not the Apostle Philip, but another Philip,… who treated an audience of thousands and an audience of one with the same zeal. A man who did not discriminate between race and class. A man who was miraculously transported across the land. He was a man who, no doubt, inspired countless missionaries with his wisdom and compassion.

Let’s take a second and remember Philip.

In Acts 6, the early church has just gotten started. Now, you would assume that it was perfect, right? However, it had problems just like today’s churches do. The conflict in this instance was that certain widows were being overlooked with the food distribution.

So they appointed seven men to handle the food. The qualifications for these deacons were: they had to be full of the Spirit and full of wisdom. Philip was one of the seven chosen. Therefore, we know that Philip was respected as being full of the Spirit and wisdom.

The next time Philip is mentioned is in Acts 8:5-40.

Here is where it gets really interesting!

The early leaders were commissioned with spreading the Gospel outside of Jerusalem. Philip is spreading it in Samaria. Why is that significant? Well, the Jewish people held the Samaritans as “half-breeds” and therefore hated them. Philip’s example demonstrates that the Good News is for everyone, regardless of class or color. Hatred, bigotry, and ignorance have no place in spreading the Good News of our Savior!

Now, skip down to verse 26.

Philip is approached by an angel and told to go to Ethiopia. On that road he runs into an Ethiopian eunuch who is reading the Book of Isaiah. The eunuch was having a hard time deciphering it. Starting there, Philip begins preaching the about Jesus.

Philip baptizes him and is “taken away.” He then “appears” many miles away. Did he fly? Was he teleported? Who knows, but anything is possible! There’s nothing that the Spirit of the Lord cannot accomplish!

So what can we glean from the life of Philip? What can’t we?!

• He was full of the Spirit and wisdom.

• He did not discriminate who could and could not hear the Gospel.

• He also could share his witness with a whole nation or a single person because both are equally important.

What a great example. Take some time to meditate on Philip and his admirable characteristics. How can you apply these to your walk?

God bless!

Name Above All Names

Phil. 2:9-11
Phil. 2:9-11

There have been many great names throughout history. Ask 10 people who they would say were great and you’ll probably get 10 different names. Different names are important to different people. We all have our heroes. We all have names of folks who really inspired us or made a difference.

For instance, I would say: da Vinci, van Gogh and of course, Picasso.

My wife would say: Newton, Aristotle and Pythagoras.

As great as those names are, none have even an ounce of power.

Only one name has power.
Only one name has real authority.
Only one name IN ALL OF HISTORY is above all names.
Only one name is The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6).

Jesus!

Jesus is the only name you need to know. Wrapped up in 5 letters comes all strength and all salvation (Acts 4:12).
Einstein was genius, but speaking his name will not heal you.
Michelangelo was brilliant, but praying to his name could never save you.

7eventh Time Down puts it perfectly: “Just Say Jesus!

God bless!

#JesusReigns #MySaviour #JustSayJesus

Where You Belong

mrpatvincent
Acts 1:25

When Peter announced to the first believers that they needed to fill Judas’s empty position*, he used a phrase that always glares at me. I feel it piercing my heart every time I read it. It’s almost as if those words growl and claw. He prays “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go WHERE HE BELONGS” [emp. added].

To go where he belongs. Ouch. I think we all know where that is.

“To go where he belongs” is the NIV translation. The KJ and NAS say, “to go to his own place” and the MSG says, “to go his own way.”

We all belong somewhere. There is a place where we are going to go. You and I cannot be in two places at once. It is either going to be here or it is going to be there. Only God can be in multiple places. Not even the enemy can do that.

There is no spiritual fence-riding. If you think you are straddling that fence, think again. As Peter prayed, God knows EVERYONE’S heart. He knows which side your heart is really on. We fool others and we may even fool ourselves, but there is no fooling God.

Going where you belong can be a comforting thought or a frightening one.

For a Child of the King, where you belong is in the house of your Father. Where you belong is a place you have longingly envisioned a million times and it will be a million times more magnificent that you ever could dream.

For a child of the world, where you belong is in the house of your father. Where you belong is a place you never ever thought of and it will be a million times more horrifying than you could have ever envisioned.

Where will you belong?

God bless!

*Acts 1:15-26

Fighting Against God

Acts 5 • mrpatvincent
Acts 5 • mrpatvincent

If God is in it, there can be no stopping it. If He is not, it will fail.

This was Gamaliel’s advice to the Sanhedrin when the apostles were arrested in Acts 5:17-42. “Leave these men alone! Let them go! If their activity is of human origin, it will fail. But, if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Who was this Gamaliel anyways?

Gamaliel was a Pharisee which means He was a teacher of the law. He was honored by all the people. He was smart enough to learn from past mistakes. I can’t say if he was for the apostles or not, but it seems like he was only giving this advice to save his own hide, doesn’t it? He wasn’t saying, “These ARE men of God! Let them go!” He was saying, “IF they are from God.”

Regardless of Gamaliel’s motives, what he said is absolutely true: If God is in it, you will not be able to stop it. You will only find yourself fighting against God.

Fighting against God. Even as I type that line I think just how ridiculous a concept it is. Ha! Good luck with that, pal. You have about as much of a chance as… (what’s the most silly thing I can think of?)… about as much of a chance as the Taco Bell chihuahua would have in a boxing match against Mike Tyson.

The opposite is also true: If it’s just humans, it will fail. I am reminded daily just how frail and flawed we humans are. It is only if we are in step with God’s will that we can ever hope to accomplish anything.

So, I have to thank Gamaliel for putting it so succinctly. He was right on the money.

God Bless!