(This is the 4th and final post in a series on 13:48. To start at the beginning of this series click here)
I concluded the last post by suggesting we understand Acts 13:48b in the following manner:
“…as many as were appointed [according to the foreknowledge of God] to eternal life believed.”
When Luke noted that those who believed had already been appointed to eternal life, the Calvinist imagines that this appointment was done without the consideration of how men would respond to the gospel. By ignoring that salvation is conditioned on a person’s response to the gospel they remain consistent with their belief in divine determinism, but they stray far from the plain teaching of scripture (Mark 16:15, John 3:18).
It seems reasonable to conclude that God is the one doing the appointing in this verse, though some non-Calvinists would argue that the Greek grammar in this verse could imply that the individuals are “appointing” themselves in the sense of “inclining” or “disposing” themselves to eternal life. But in the 2nd post on this topic I showed my reasons for rejecting that argument. In short, I tried to demonstrate that the other four times Luke used the Greek word tasso he never used it in that way.
Continue reading “Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 4 – Answering Objections)”
(This is part 3 of a series on Acts 13:48. To start at the beginning of this series click here.)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.
In this verse Luke gives us an outline of the book of Acts. The book is not a general history of the early church, but a specific account about the spread of the gospel to the Gentile world. It starts with the gospel being publically proclaimed to a large crowd of Jews and converts to Judaism on the day of Pentecost. That day a remnant (3,000 people) of the crowd came to faith in Christ. By chapter 8 the gospel has spread into Samaria and once again the crowds are listening to, and responding to, the public proclamation of God’s word. This account is the Samaritan equivalent of what happened to the Jews in Acts 2.
Continue reading “Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 3)”
(This is the second post in a series of posts on Acts 13:48. To read the first post please click here.)
The Greek word “tasso” translated “appointed” or “ordained” in most Bible translations is the cause of many non-Calvinist headaches, though it needn’t be. Many, in an attempt to relieve their aching head, have tried very hard to find various ways to translate this word into something more appealing. But I believe there is plenty of scriptural evidence to show that “appointed/ordained” are valid English translations for Luke’s use of the word. Given that I am almost totally unschooled in biblical Greek many might be tempted to ignore my opinion on this point, I can accept that. And if what I present is at odds with the majority of Greek scholars, I would suggest that would be wise. But thankfully, there is a biblical way to determine what Luke had in mind without knowing the ins and outs of biblical Greek.
Luke uses the same Greek word (tasso) in four places besides Acts 13:48. By looking at how Luke uses the word elsewhere we can get a fairly accurate idea of how he intends to use it in the verse we are considering. Luke uses this particular word more than any other New Testament writer. Paul uses it twice in Romans 13:1 and 1 Corinthians 16:15. Matthew uses it once in Matthew 28:16. But Luke uses it a total of five times (Luke 7:8, Acts 13:48, 15:2, 22:10, and 28:23). So before jumping into the context of Acts 13:48, let’s take a look at these other passages and see how Luke uses the word.
Continue reading “Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 2)”
Acts 13:42-52 (English Standard Version)
42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
The Issues with the Verse
Continue reading “Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 1)”