Sunday, March 14, 2010


Acts 16-18

In chapter 16, Paul went to Derbe and then to Lystra, where he met Timothy, whose mother was Jewish and whose father was Greek, who was a believer. Paul wanted to take him along, so he was circumcised and and went with Paul as they traveled through the churches, bearing the decisions from the council in Jerusalem. Laster, as they were in Troas, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia begging him to come and help them. So they sailed from Troas and made their way to Philippi ("a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia") and stayed there for a while. On the Sabbath, they spoke outside the city gate and converted a woman named Lydia, and she and her household were baptized, and Paul and his companions stayed there. After driving a spirit out of a slave girl, Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail for "throwing [the] city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for ... Romans to accept or practice." In the middle of the night, there was an earthquake throwing open the doors of the jail and striking off the shackles of the prisoners. The jailer, seeing the doors opened, "was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped," but Paul called to him to tell him that all of the prisoners were still there. The jailer "rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas" and asked them what he had to do to be saved. The jailer took them to his home and he and his family were baptized. When the magistrates learned, the following day, that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they took them out of prison and asked them to leave the city.

In chapter 17, Paul travels to Greece. First in Thessalonica and then in Berea, they went in to the synagogues and the Jews were outspoken against them. In Berea, Timothy and Silas stayed while Paul went on to Athens. There "he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols." He reasoned with Jews and Greeks in the synagogues and the marketplace. A group of philosophers that he argued with brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus to "know what this new teaching is." He talked about an inscription - "To an unknown God" - and told them that "the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands." Many sneered but some wanted to hear more and were converted.

Acts 18 tells of Paul going to Corinth, where he worked as a tentmaker with a Jew named Aquila and his wife Priscilla. Whn Silas and Timothy joined him, Paul "devoted himself exclusively to preaching" but when the Jews opposed him, he "shook out his clothes in protest" and declared that he would, from now on, "go to the Gentiles." And he stayed in Corinth for a year and a half. He later sailed for Syran with Priscilla and Aquila, had his hair cut off in Cenchrea "because of a vow he had taken" and arrived at Ephesus where he left Priscilla and Aquila. He again preach in a synagogue, but refused when they asked him to stay, saying "I will come back if it is God's will." He visited the church at Caesarea and then went to Antioch. After some time there, he traveled again, through the region of Galatia and Phrygia.

A native of Alexandria, a Jew named Apollos, came to Ephesus with a "thorough knowledge of the Scriptures" and "taught about Jesus accurately." When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they invited him to their home for further discussion. "He was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ."

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • One of the most notable aspects of chapter 16 is the sudden change in voice. Through the first 15 chapters, everything is third person. In chapter 16, we get a shift into first person plural. While Luke the historian passes on what he has been told about the events in the Gospel and the first 15 chapters of Acts, he relates at least some of what happens next as an eyewitness to the events.
  • Interesting that Paul cutting off his hair because of a vow was noteworthy, but not noteworthy enough to give us anydetails about it.
  • It's hard, strictly using the internal sources in Acts, to date any of these even with any specificity. Or at least it seems that way to me.

Psalms 35

The psalmist cries for help. A martial plea for martial virtue and martial aid.

Psalm 35
Of David.
1 Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me.

2 Take up shield and buckler;
arise and come to my aid.

3 Brandish spear and javelin [a]
against those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
"I am your salvation."

4 May those who seek my life
be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin
be turned back in dismay.

5 May they be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the LORD driving them away;

6 may their path be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the LORD pursuing them.

7 Since they hid their net for me without cause
and without cause dug a pit for me,

8 may ruin overtake them by surprise—
may the net they hid entangle them,
may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.

9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD
and delight in his salvation.

10 My whole being will exclaim,
"Who is like you, O LORD ?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
the poor and needy from those who rob them."

11 Ruthless witnesses come forward;
they question me on things I know nothing about.

12 They repay me evil for good
and leave my soul forlorn.

13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,

14 I went about mourning
as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
as though weeping for my mother.

15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
attackers gathered against me when I was unaware.
They slandered me without ceasing.

16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked [b] ;
they gnashed their teeth at me.

17 O Lord, how long will you look on?
Rescue my life from their ravages,
my precious life from these lions.

18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
among throngs of people I will praise you.

19 Let not those gloat over me
who are my enemies without cause;
let not those who hate me without reason
maliciously wink the eye.

20 They do not speak peaceably,
but devise false accusations
against those who live quietly in the land.

21 They gape at me and say, "Aha! Aha!
With our own eyes we have seen it."

22 O LORD, you have seen this; be not silent.
Do not be far from me, O Lord.

23 Awake, and rise to my defense!
Contend for me, my God and Lord.

24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, O LORD my God;
do not let them gloat over me.

25 Do not let them think, "Aha, just what we wanted!"
or say, "We have swallowed him up."

26 May all who gloat over my distress
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who exalt themselves over me
be clothed with shame and disgrace.

27 May those who delight in my vindication
shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, "The LORD be exalted,
who delights in the well-being of his servant."

28 My tongue will speak of your righteousness
and of your praises all day long.

No comments:

Post a Comment