Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Foreshadowing of Paul's Death (Acts 20)

1. Paul wrote at least two letters during the first three verses of Acts 20.  Paul writes 2 Corinthians on his way through Macedonia after he left Ephesus.  He goes as far south as Corinth and writes Romans before he heads back north again through Macedonia.

2. Paul picks "Luke" back up at Philippi.

3. The group accompanying him look like those bringing gifts to Jerusalem (1 Cor. 16:3-4).  But quite puzzlingly, Acts never mentions the gift.  Did it fail to get delivered?  Did Paul use the money to pay for the vow of the men mentioned in Acts 21? Some of the men delivering the gift are mentioned in various of Paul's letters (e.g., Tychicus in Ephesians).

4. They came together for worship on the first day of the week, probably as a weekly reminder of the resurrection.  Paul preaches long enough for Eutychus to fall out the window and die, so we can imagine that the sermons of Acts at the very least are abridgments of what were originally much longer sermons. Paul raises someone from the dead, just as Peter did, just as Jesus did.

5. Paul avoids Ephesus. I know Acts doesn't say so, but could it at least be in part because he left there in big trouble, maybe even was kicked out of the city?  It's fun that Paul wants to get to Jerusalem in time for Pentecost, since this is where Acts began. Verse 21 gives us a great glimpse of the early message preached--repent and have faith.

6. The rest of the chapter is filled with foreshadowing. "You will see my face no longer" (20:25, 38). What does that mean???
  • The "fourth missionary journey" hypothesis of F. F. Bruce, the one that has 1-2 Timothy-Titus written after Paul is released after his first appearance before Nero, requires Paul to see their face again.
  • By the way, Ephesians 3:2 is quite bizarre if Ephesians was written primarily to Ephesus just a couple years later. Of course they had heard of Paul's ministry. He had been there for some 3 years. In this regard, it's worth noting that the words "at Ephesus" are not in the earliest manuscripts of Ephesians 1:1.
  • So 1) Does Luke not know what happened to Paul at the end of Acts when he finally appeared before Nero?  I don't consider this option likely at all, even though it is often suggested. Luke's paraphrase of Mark 13 seems to assume the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 and the most likely source reconstruction puts Luke in that same period.
  • 2) Does Luke syncopate two appearances before Nero into one, for space reasons or artistic purposes?  I think it's relevant to mention that this two appearance theory is a fairly recent trend. Wesley, for example, assumed that Paul died at the end of Acts.
  • 3) Paul died at the end of Acts, Luke knew it, Luke foreshadowed it.  This hypothesis creates other problems, but seems by far the most likely conclusion.
We will see this foreshadowing of impending doom throughout the rest of Acts. 20:23--I know hardships and prison is a comin'.

7. I wonder if there are allusions to 2 Timothy in these comments. Paul wants to finish the race (20:24). He warns them about false teachers who will come in. Verse 30 may allude to some of the people that John would later have trouble with.

Paul has not taken their money, like the lovers of money in 1 Timothy 6. He has worked with his own hands. He gives us a Jesus quote that isn't in the gospels, which is really cool.


val said...

A gift for you....truth.

Our heavenly Father will NOT put any child of his into a hell fire no matter what their sins, whether they repent or not. Sin doesn't scare God! He created it Isa 45:7 to teach us ALL the knowledge of good and evil Gen 3:22 for our eternal placement in his coming kingdom. Throwing a child of his into a hell fire has never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5. Anyone preaching a hell fire or second death for any child of God has been deceived into teaching lies. The whole world has believed in the god of hate murder and revenge (The devil Rev 12:9). The true word of God John 1:1 is now delivered Rev 12:5 and proven on this weblog diary http://thegoodtale.blogspot.com

God chose a woman Rev 12 to be the prophet raised up of her brethren Acts 3:21-22 like unto Moses Num 12:3 delivering the true word Rev 12:17, Luke 8:11 and power of God boldly as Elijah, Matt 17:3 to the whole world as a witness Matt 24:14. The true Gospel (Gospel means Good Tale) turns the hearts of the Father's to the children of God Luke 1:17. A true witness delivereth souls...Proverbs 14:25. All souls are now delivered. Our ALMIGHTY God Luke 1:37 has an eternal place for all of his children in his coming world Rev 21 either on the NEW EARTH Ezek 37:26 or on a new planet in the NEW HEAVENS Matt 25:30, Acts 10:34, Rom 14:11,Heb 8:11, 1 John 1:9 according to their works Rev 20:13. Turn your heart to the children of God! His truth sets you free John 8:32! Jesus died for the sins of the whole world 1 John 2:2. No one can come to God unless he draws them John 6:44. God is calling many to choose the few who will live by his every word Matt 4:4 now delivered.

Acts 3:23 "And it shall come to pass, that EVERY SOUL, WHICH WILL NOT HEAR THAT PROPHET, shall be destroyed from among the people".

A righteous judge hears ALL THE EVIDENCE BEFORE making a judgment 1 Cor 6:2, 1 Thes 5:21, Pro 18:13 .

Susan Moore said...

Dr. Schenck,
You've gotten to another chapter that I've had some questions about.
1. Perhaps in regards to the foreshadowing, back in Acts 9 the Lord was talking with Ananias about going to Paul to restore his sight, and the Lord said, "I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Any thoughts on the interpretation of that verse 16, then or now?
2. 1Kings 17:21 describes Elijah physically stretching himself out on the widow's dead son before he was brought back to life. In Acts 20:10 Paul "threw himself on the young man" as part of bringing him back to life. Any thoughts on what were the practices of the day for resuscitation? Or did Paul's idea come from knowing what Elijah had done?

Ken Schenck said...

Susan, maybe 20:10 is actually alluding to the Elijah story... good observation!

Pastor Bob said...

I found your blog through Keith Drury on fb. I am a retired pastor, still do some evangelistic and write a blog, gospel for common people,
Enjoyed your thoughts.