How does God want Christians to profit concerning evangelism from Acts 22:14-15?

 Acts 22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

This passage reveals what God directed Ananias to say to Paul when Paul was brought to Damascus after his encounter with the risen, glorified Jesus. Based on what Ananias said to Paul, what do we learn about how God wants Christians to profit concerning evangelism from this revelation?

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RajeshG's picture

By closely comparing verses 14 and 15, we learn a vital truth:

Acts 22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

According to verse 14, we learn that God specifically chose Paul to both see and hear the risen Just One, Christ. Verse 15 then tell us that Paul would be the witness of that risen Christ to all men of what he had seen and heard.

By combining what the verses say, we learn something vital about Paul's witnessing to all men:

15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen ("that Just One") and heard ("the voice of his mouth").

This comparison of verses 14 and 15 reveals that God ordained that Paul would be Christ's witness to all men that he had seen the risen Just One and heard the voice of His mouth!

From this analysis, we understand that whenever Paul witnessed to people, he told them about the resurrection appearances of Christ to him! Based on this understanding, we know that Paul was faithful to his God-given mission by testifying to his having seen and heard the risen Christ whenever he evangelized lost people.

 

Kevin Miller's picture

You asked in the opening post, "what do we learn about how God wants Christians to profit concerning evangelism?" Do you have an answer for that? We know Paul was given a particular mission regarding evangelism. Does the fact that Paul was given this mission mean that every Christian is also given this same mission?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

You asked in the opening post, "what do we learn about how God wants Christians to profit concerning evangelism?" Do you have an answer for that? We know Paul was given a particular mission regarding evangelism. Does the fact that Paul was given this mission mean that every Christian is also given this same mission?

I'd like to hear what other people have to say first. I'm especially interested in seeing how they reason for what they think about the answer and how they interpret the Bible to get to their answer.

Also, I believe that it is very important not to make premature applications before the relevant biblical data has been thoroughly discussed. Put differently, we first need to determine accurately what the Bible reveals about apostolic evangelism before we can properly know what we are supposed to do.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

You asked in the opening post, "what do we learn about how God wants Christians to profit concerning evangelism?" Do you have an answer for that? We know Paul was given a particular mission regarding evangelism. Does the fact that Paul was given this mission mean that every Christian is also given this same mission?

To discover more about what we are to learn from this passage about how God wants us to profit concerning evangelism, think about how what this passage teaches us must inform how we interpret every account of Pauline evangelism. Many make errors in handling those evangelistic accounts by basing what they believe about what happened and what was said on those occasions by treating the passages as if they were exhaustive verbatim records of what was said and exhaustive records of what took place.

Applying what Acts 22:14-15 reveals about Paul's mission shows us that the lack of mention of his testifying to his seeing and hearing the risen Christ on any of those occasions is not at all in any way evidence that he did not testify to those things on those occasions. Without some compelling biblical basis to believe otherwise, we must hold that Paul was faithful and did testify to his seeing and hearing the risen Christ in all of those encounters.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

To discover more about what we are to learn from this passage about how God wants us to profit concerning evangelism, think about how what this passage teaches us must inform how we interpret every account of Pauline evangelism. Many make errors in handling those evangelistic accounts by basing what they believe about what happened and what was said on those occasions by treating the passages as if they were exhaustive verbatim records of what was said and exhaustive records of what took place.

Applying what Acts 22:14-15 reveals about Paul's mission shows us that the lack of mention of his testifying to his seeing and hearing the risen Christ on any of those occasions is not at all in any way evidence that he did not testify to those things on those occasions. Without some compelling biblical basis to believe otherwise, we must hold that Paul was faithful and did testify to his seeing and hearing the risen Christ in all of those encounters.

The verses in Acts say that Paul was given a mission, but does the existence of a mission automatically mean that Paul must have always, at all times, been faithful in that mission? I'm sure he tried, but he was human, of course, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to think there were some times when he wasn't able to accomplish the mission with some individuals.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

To discover more about what we are to learn from this passage about how God wants us to profit concerning evangelism, think about how what this passage teaches us must inform how we interpret every account of Pauline evangelism. Many make errors in handling those evangelistic accounts by basing what they believe about what happened and what was said on those occasions by treating the passages as if they were exhaustive verbatim records of what was said and exhaustive records of what took place.

Applying what Acts 22:14-15 reveals about Paul's mission shows us that the lack of mention of his testifying to his seeing and hearing the risen Christ on any of those occasions is not at all in any way evidence that he did not testify to those things on those occasions. Without some compelling biblical basis to believe otherwise, we must hold that Paul was faithful and did testify to his seeing and hearing the risen Christ in all of those encounters.

 

The verses in Acts say that Paul was given a mission, but does the existence of a mission automatically mean that Paul must have always, at all times, been faithful in that mission? I'm sure he tried, but he was human, of course, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to think there were some times when he wasn't able to accomplish the mission with some individuals.

 

Sure, circumstantial factors kept him from fulfilling his mission of bearing that testimony on various occasions. My point, however, is that unless we have compelling biblical evidence to establish on a given occasion that he did not bear such testimony, we must not assert that he did not bear that testimony on that particular occasion.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Sure, circumstantial factors kept him from fulfilling his mission of bearing that testimony on various occasions. My point, however, is that unless we have compelling biblical evidence to establish on a given occasion that he did not bear such testimony, we must not assert that he did not bear that testimony on that particular occasion.

Since Paul's encounter with the risen Christ was part of Paul's salvation testimony, it makes perfect sense for him to have been sharing that when he evangelized. Sharing one's own personal testimony of how one came to know Christ is a great way to start an evangelistic encounter. Of course, when we give our own testimony, we aren't going to be able to tell about getting our own personal post resurrection appearance of Christ like Paul did, but we can share the verses and the events that led us to our belief in Christ.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Sure, circumstantial factors kept him from fulfilling his mission of bearing that testimony on various occasions. My point, however, is that unless we have compelling biblical evidence to establish on a given occasion that he did not bear such testimony, we must not assert that he did not bear that testimony on that particular occasion.

 

Since Paul's encounter with the risen Christ was part of Paul's salvation testimony, it makes perfect sense for him to have been sharing that when he evangelized. Sharing one's own personal testimony of how one came to know Christ is a great way to start an evangelistic encounter. Of course, when we give our own testimony, we aren't going to be able to tell about getting our own personal post resurrection appearance of Christ like Paul did, but we can share the verses and the events that led us to our belief in Christ.

 

This is not a correct application of this material, and illustrates some of the problems that I am trying to address through this thread. Instead of jumping at this time to how this material is supposed to apply to our lives, there is a need to continue to work first towards a right understanding of the significance of this material for how we are to interpret biblical accounts of apostolic evangelism. Correct personal application can only be made when there is first a proper understanding of what has been revealed to us.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Kevin Miller wrote:

Since Paul's encounter with the risen Christ was part of Paul's salvation testimony, it makes perfect sense for him to have been sharing that when he evangelized. Sharing one's own personal testimony of how one came to know Christ is a great way to start an evangelistic encounter. Of course, when we give our own testimony, we aren't going to be able to tell about getting our own personal post resurrection appearance of Christ like Paul did, but we can share the verses and the events that led us to our belief in Christ.

 

This is not a correct application of this material, and illustrates some of the problems that I am trying to address through this thread. Instead of jumping at this time to how this material is supposed to apply to our lives, there is a need to continue to work first towards a right understanding of the significance of this material for how we are to interpret biblical accounts of apostolic evangelism. Correct personal application can only be made when there is first a proper understanding of what has been revealed to us.

I don't see any problem with what I wrote. Do you NOT believe Paul was giving his personal testimony when he evangelized? How is that not true? I certainly wasn't trying to make an application that everyone is commanded to give their own testimony, if that's what you thought I meant. I don't really see any commands for present day believers in those verses. I see them as a narrative of what Ananias told Paul that Paul's mission would be. We can certainly draw knowledge, and examples, from this narrative that apply to our lives even when there aren't commands for us, but I also think that since there is no office of apostle currently in place, there may well be some parts of the whole topic of "apostolic evangelism" that wouldn't apply to Christians today. In Acts 2, the apostles were speaking in tongues during their evangelistic effort. I wouldn't expect that ability to be part of my own evangelistic efforts. In Acts 3, Peter healed someone and then started his message by saying, "Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?" I certainly wouldn't expect healing people to be a part of my own evangelistic pattern. 

Now, Acts 22:14-15 do not mention anything about tongues or healing, but they do talk about directly seeing and hearing Christ. Paul himself experienced that, but I believe I was correct in my statement that believers today do not get a post resurrection appearance of Christ today. We do have accounts that were written by these people who had directly seen Christ, so that's why I said in my statement that we can "share the verses" that led us to our belief in Christ. The testimony of what Paul had seen and heard from Christ is available to us in the Bible.

If there is some way I am missing a "proper understanding," then you are free to express your own understanding, without just saying that a proper understanding needs to be reached but then staying silent.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Now, Acts 22:14-15 do not mention anything about tongues or healing, but they do talk about directly seeing and hearing Christ. Paul himself experienced that, but I believe I was correct in my statement that believers today do not get a post resurrection appearance of Christ today. We do have accounts that were written by these people who had directly seen Christ, so that's why I said in my statement that we can "share the verses" that led us to our belief in Christ. The testimony of what Paul had seen and heard from Christ is available to us in the Bible.

If there is some way I am missing a "proper understanding," then you are free to express your own understanding, without just saying that a proper understanding needs to be reached but then staying silent.

Acts 22:14-15 illumines faulty understandings about apostolic evangelism that many believers have because they have mishandled what many biblical passages say about what Paul (and the other apostles) did when they evangelized people. I would like to discuss that subject further because there is much more of value that needs to be treated in that respect.

RajeshG's picture

Paul in Antioch of Pisidia:

Acts 13:30 But God raised him from the dead: 31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. 32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

Paul (later on) in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Comparing Acts 22:14-15 with these two passages, should we hold that Paul was faithful to his mission in Corinth but not in Antioch?

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Acts 22:14-15 illumines faulty understandings about apostolic evangelism that many believers have because they have mishandled what many biblical passages say about what Paul (and the other apostles) did when they evangelized people. I would like to discuss that subject further because there is much more of value that needs to be treated in that respect.

I'm trying to figure out if you are implying that I myself have presented a faulty understanding or if you are just pointing out that "many believers," who haven't even posted on this thread and most likely aren't even aware of this forum, are having a faulty understanding.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Paul in Antioch of Pisidia:

Acts 13:30 But God raised him from the dead: 31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. 32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

Paul (later on) in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Comparing Acts 22:14-15 with these two passages, should we hold that Paul was faithful to his mission in Corinth but not in Antioch?

I don't see why anyone would even question his faithfulness in Antioch. Paul was testifying of Christ in both Corinth and Antioch, just had he had been given a mission to do.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Acts 22:14-15 illumines faulty understandings about apostolic evangelism that many believers have because they have mishandled what many biblical passages say about what Paul (and the other apostles) did when they evangelized people. I would like to discuss that subject further because there is much more of value that needs to be treated in that respect.

 

I'm trying to figure out if you are implying that I myself have presented a faulty understanding or if you are just pointing out that "many believers," who haven't even posted on this thread and most likely aren't even aware of this forum, are having a faulty understanding.

 

This statement is not based on what you or anybody else has said in this thread; it states the concerns that I have had for many years concerning this subject. Whether it may also apply to some aspects of your understanding in this area is unclear to me at this point.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Paul in Antioch of Pisidia:

Acts 13:30 But God raised him from the dead: 31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. 32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

Paul (later on) in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Comparing Acts 22:14-15 with these two passages, should we hold that Paul was faithful to his mission in Corinth but not in Antioch?

 

I don't see why anyone would even question his faithfulness in Antioch. Paul was testifying of Christ in both Corinth and Antioch, just had he had been given a mission to do.

Acts 22:14-15 says that Paul was to be Christ's witness to all men of what he himself had seen and heard. What is recorded about Paul's message in Antioch does not explicitly say anything about his testifying to that specific information.

Based on the record in Acts 13 of his message, some would conclude that Paul did not specifically testify of the risen Christ appearing to him and his seeing and hearing Him. Someone who interprets this passage that way would be saying that Paul did not fulfill his mission that he was given, as it is stated in Acts 22:14-15 and as 1 Cor. 15:8 explicitly states he did do in Corinth.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Acts 22:14-15 says that Paul was to be Christ's witness to all men of what he himself had seen and heard. What is recorded about Paul's message in Antioch does not explicitly say anything about his testifying to that specific information.

Based on the record in Acts 13 of his message, some would conclude that Paul did not specifically testify of the risen Christ appearing to him and his seeing and hearing Him. Someone who interprets this passage that way would be saying that Paul did not fulfill his mission that he was given, as it is stated in Acts 22:14-15 and as 1 Cor. 15:8 explicitly states he did do in Corinth.

Yeah, I think it would be a faulty understanding if someone felt Paul's mission meant he had to specifically say that he himself saw the risen Christ each time he evangelized. To be consistent, someone who believes that would also have to claim that Paul needed to say exactly what he heard as well, which was that Paul was persecuting Jesus and that Paul needed to go see Ananias. That is, after all, exactly what Paul heard on the Damascus road.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Acts 22:14-15 says that Paul was to be Christ's witness to all men of what he himself had seen and heard. What is recorded about Paul's message in Antioch does not explicitly say anything about his testifying to that specific information.

Based on the record in Acts 13 of his message, some would conclude that Paul did not specifically testify of the risen Christ appearing to him and his seeing and hearing Him. Someone who interprets this passage that way would be saying that Paul did not fulfill his mission that he was given, as it is stated in Acts 22:14-15 and as 1 Cor. 15:8 explicitly states he did do in Corinth.

Yeah, I think it would be a faulty understanding if someone felt Paul's mission meant he had to specifically say that he himself saw the risen Christ each time he evangelized. To be consistent, someone who believes that would also have to claim that Paul needed to say exactly what he heard as well, which was that Paul was persecuting Jesus and that Paul needed to go see Ananias. That is, after all, exactly what Paul heard on the Damascus road.

Letting the Bible interpret itself, I think that 1 Cor. 15:8 shows what Paul's obedience to his mission looks like when it is presented in a summary form, but even in that passage what we are given is only a mere summary of what he preached in Corinth and not an exhaustive, verbatim record.

In fact, it is a serious hermeneutical error to treat any biblical account as an exhaustive, verbatim record of all that was said and done on that occasion.

There is no basis or need to see Acts 13 or any other passage as evidence that Paul did not testify on a given occasion to his own seeing and hearing the risen Christ. It may be true that he did not do so on some occasions, but his not doing so on any given occasion is something that we do not have the information to establish.

Having said that, it is vital to pay attention to what a thorough comparison of Acts 13:31, 1 Cor. 15:8, and Acts 22:14-15 reveals--all three are inspired records that concern apostolic testimony about the resurrection appearances of Christ.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Letting the Bible interpret itself, I think that 1 Cor. 15:8 shows what Paul's obedience to his mission looks like when it is presented in a summary form, but even in that passage what we are given is only a mere summary of what he preached in Corinth and not an exhaustive, verbatim record.

In fact, it is a serious hermeneutical error to treat any biblical account as an exhaustive, verbatim record of all that was said and done on that occasion.

There is no basis or need to see Acts 13 or any other passage as evidence that Paul did not testify on a given occasion to his own seeing and hearing the risen Christ. It may be true that he did not do so on some occasions, but his not doing so on any given occasion is something that we do not have the information to establish.

Having said that, it is vital to pay attention to what a thorough comparison of Acts 13:31, 1 Cor. 15:8, and Acts 22:14-15 reveals--all three are inspired records that concern apostolic testimony about the resurrection appearances of Christ.

I guess I haven't lived in any circles where teachers have taught that the Scriptural record of the Apostle's preaching or teaching is an "exhaustive, verbatim record of all that was said or done." Can you point to any commentaries that claim that, or any to any teachers that have written down that claim? You seem to be arguing against something that I personally have never seen happen.

Now, I do believe that the information that was written down is sufficient for what we need to live out our own Christian lives. For example, Paul did not give out any unwritten commands that we ourselves are supposed to obey today, even though they were never written down. That would pretty much be the Catholic claim that their Tradition needs to be obeyed even if the particulars are not directly stated in Scripture.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Letting the Bible interpret itself, I think that 1 Cor. 15:8 shows what Paul's obedience to his mission looks like when it is presented in a summary form, but even in that passage what we are given is only a mere summary of what he preached in Corinth and not an exhaustive, verbatim record.

In fact, it is a serious hermeneutical error to treat any biblical account as an exhaustive, verbatim record of all that was said and done on that occasion.

There is no basis or need to see Acts 13 or any other passage as evidence that Paul did not testify on a given occasion to his own seeing and hearing the risen Christ. It may be true that he did not do so on some occasions, but his not doing so on any given occasion is something that we do not have the information to establish.

Having said that, it is vital to pay attention to what a thorough comparison of Acts 13:31, 1 Cor. 15:8, and Acts 22:14-15 reveals--all three are inspired records that concern apostolic testimony about the resurrection appearances of Christ.

 

I guess I haven't lived in any circles where teachers have taught that the Scriptural record of the Apostle's preaching or teaching is an "exhaustive, verbatim record of all that was said or done." Can you point to any commentaries that claim that, or any to any teachers that have written down that claim? You seem to be arguing against something that I personally have never seen happen.

 

Now, I do believe that the information that was written down is sufficient for what we need to live out our own Christian lives. For example, Paul did not give out any unwritten commands that we ourselves are supposed to obey today, even though they were never written down. That would pretty much be the Catholic claim that their Tradition needs to be obeyed even if the particulars are not directly stated in Scripture.


 

Although I have not encountered people who explicitly claim that the biblical records are exhaustive, verbatim records, many people have argued in ways that in effect amount to holding such a position. Anyone who says that a person did not say something on a given evangelistic occasion in Scripture makes such a claim because saying that is to assert that the record comprehensively records what was said and anything that the record does not say was not said.

For example, many people have preached and argued to varying extents that Paul did not preach the gospel in Athens (Acts 17:22-31) because the record does not explicitly say anything about him speaking of the Cross or even speaking of Jesus by name. Roland Allen in his book, "Missionary Methods: St Paul's or Ours?," takes such a position:
 

"Every one of the characteristics of the sermon at Antioch is here, the sympathy and conciliatory address, the courage, the respect, the confidence; but of the elements very few. There is no setting forth of the Gospel" (p. 66)

 

"In the light of these facts, it is is I think, impossible to maintain that the speeches at Lystra and Athens represent St. Paul's Gospel" (p. 67).
 

Moreover, I have had people argue with me that Paul and Silas did not tell the jailor about the Resurrection and that the jailor was saved without hearing about the Resurrection. Taking that position based on the brief summary in Acts 16:31 is a flagrant mishandling of that text.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Moreover, I have had people argue with me that Paul and Silas did not tell the jailor about the Resurrection and that the jailor was saved without hearing about the Resurrection. Taking that position based on the brief summary in Acts 16:31 is a flagrant mishandling of that text.

I'd agree with that, since the text contains verse 25, "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." The jailor was listening, too, and the text doesn't detail what the words of the prayers and the hymns were. I'd be astounded if Paul's words didn't include the death and the burial and the resurrection of Christ. Now, I'd be skeptical if someone claimed Paul said exactly these words in exactly this order, but it's logical that the basic framework of the gospel was presented before Acts 16:31.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Moreover, I have had people argue with me that Paul and Silas did not tell the jailor about the Resurrection and that the jailor was saved without hearing about the Resurrection. Taking that position based on the brief summary in Acts 16:31 is a flagrant mishandling of that text.

 

I'd agree with that, since the text contains verse 25, "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." The jailor was listening, too, and the text doesn't detail what the words of the prayers and the hymns were. I'd be astounded if Paul's words didn't include the death and the burial and the resurrection of Christ. Now, I'd be skeptical if someone claimed Paul said exactly these words in exactly this order, but it's logical that the basic framework of the gospel was presented before Acts 16:31.

I do not see any evidence in the text that we should believe that the jailor was listening. Acts 16:27 says that the jailor awoke from sleep when the earthquake happened suddenly while Paul and Silas were singing.

More importantly, Acts 16:32 says explicitly that Paul and Silas "spake unto him the word of the Lord," which means that they testified to him much more than just the one sentence that is recorded in 16:31. Even if Acts 16:32 were not in the passage, I would still say that it is nonsense to assert that the jailor was saved by only hearing a one-sentence gospel message.

The right interpretation of this passage is to hold that Acts 16:31 is merely a brief summary statement of much more that was said.

I find it noteworthy that you say, "I'd be astounded if Paul's words didn't include the death and the burial and the resurrection of Christ," and yet make no mention of Paul's fulfilling his mission as it is explicitly revealed to us in Acts 22:14-15. Did Paul testify to the jailor and his family about the resurrection appearances or not? 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

I do not see any evidence in the text that we should believe that the jailor was listening. Acts 16:27 says that the jailor awoke from sleep when the earthquake happened suddenly while Paul and Silas were singing.

You're right. there is no evidence in the text that he was listening. However, there is also no evidence in the text that he was sleeping the entire time Paul and Silas were singing and praying. The text doesn't say he had gone to bed and shut out the lights and had been sleeping for 5 or 6 hours. He may have been, but he also could have been dozing for just 20 minutes. When the earthquake happened, he saw the prison doors were open and he drew his sword.  The fact that Paul was able to see him draw the sword indicates to me that the lights were still on in his "office," which was close enough for Paul to directly see into. I can't make a definitive assertion about this, but it seems unlikely that the jailor would have been sleeping with the lights on and still wearing his sword for the entire time Paul and Silas were singing and praying. Also, the jailor came to Paul and said, "What must i do to be saved," which indicates to me that he had heard enough to realize his own need to be saved.

Quote:
I find it noteworthy that you say, "I'd be astounded if Paul's words didn't include the death and the burial and the resurrection of Christ," and yet make no mention of Paul's fulfilling his mission as it is explicitly revealed to us in Acts 22:14-15. Did Paul testify to the jailor and his family about the resurrection appearances or not? 
I don't know how "noteworthy' it is that I didn't try to put a bunch of words in Paul's mouth when the Bible doesn't tell us exactly what was said. I already mentioned earlier in the thread that it makes sense for Paul to be sharing his own encounter with the Lord when he evangelized, but since I wasn't there, I can't make a definitive assertion about particular statements Paul may have said when he "spoke the word of the Lord to him." (Acts 16:32) We don't have an exhaustive verbatim record of what was said.

RajeshG's picture

If we do not deal with the details of what Scripture has revealed, we will not profit fully from what God has revealed. Paul was an eyewitness who himself saw and heard the risen Christ. The record of his preaching the gospel in Antioch, however, not only does not explicitly record that he testified to his own seeing and hearing the risen Christ, but also it records that Paul said the following:

Acts 13:30 But God raised him from the dead: 31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

Why does the Spirit record that Paul testified of the others who saw the risen Christ but does not record that Paul testified of his own seeing the risen Christ?

Moreover in Corinth, Paul also testified about the others who saw the risen Christ:

1 Corinthians 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

Why did Paul do this?

In Caesarea, even though Peter was an eyewitness himself, Peter testified that he and others saw the risen Christ:

Acts 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

In 3 key evangelistic passages, the Spirit has highlighted that even apostles who were eyewitnesses themselves yet testified of others who saw the risen Christ. Why has the Spirit recorded that the apostles did this in their evangelism?

 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:
In 3 key evangelistic passages, the Spirit has highlighted that even apostles who were eyewitnesses themselves yet testified of others who saw the risen Christ. Why has the Spirit recorded that the apostles did this in their evangelism? 
I don't think there is any verse that tells us exactly why the Spirit recorded that the Apostles did this. Without a specific verse, I can only relate what I understand from looking at the related passages in a general way. Sometimes Paul mentioned just himself and sometimes he mentioned others.  I think if Jesus had appeared to just one person, it would have been easy for the religious authorities to dismiss the claims that Jesus was alive, but with so many people having first-hand knowledge of the resurrection, that placed greater authenticity on the message. Listeners could even go to the people who had been mentioned and get their own first-hand account from some one who had seen the risen Christ.

I like the passage in John 20, where Jesus recognized that not everyone is going to have a first-hand experience. He told Thomas in verse 29, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Fortunately the Apostles were inspired to write down their first-hand experiences, John 1:1-3 says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." So Paul wasn't the only one with a mission to proclaim what he had seen and heard. The other apostles had that mission as well.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:
In 3 key evangelistic passages, the Spirit has highlighted that even apostles who were eyewitnesses themselves yet testified of others who saw the risen Christ. Why has the Spirit recorded that the apostles did this in their evangelism? 

I don't think there is any verse that tells us exactly why the Spirit recorded that the Apostles did this. Without a specific verse, I can only relate what I understand from looking at the related passages in a general way. Sometimes Paul mentioned just himself and sometimes he mentioned others.  I think if Jesus had appeared to just one person, it would have been easy for the religious authorities to dismiss the claims that Jesus was alive, but with so many people having first-hand knowledge of the resurrection, that placed greater authenticity on the message. Listeners could even go to the people who had been mentioned and get their own first-hand account from some one who had seen the risen Christ.

You say, "Sometimes Paul mentioned just himself and sometimes he mentioned others." This is precisely the kind of statement that we cannot say factually because we do not have any biblical basis to establish its validity. To claim that this was the case factually is to say that the accounts that we have are exhaustive, verbatim accounts . . .

Still, you are on the right track with what you say here. Peter and the other apostles knew that they had been commissioned to be witnesses of Christ's resurrection (Acts 1:21-22). Peter and rest of the apostles did not just give their own individual testimony to having seen the risen Christ because they sought to be in conformity to the divinely given standard that the truth of important facts of this nature (of which the Resurrection of Christ is arguably the supreme) is supposed to be confirmed by the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses (cf. 2 Cor. 13:1).

Although Paul was not one of the original apostles, he too did the same thing for the same reason. In order to meet that divine standard and fulfill his specific mission, I believe that Paul evangelized people in all places the same way that he did in Corinth--giving testimony to the resurrection appearances to others as well to himself. Neither Acts 13 nor any other passage provides any definitive evidence that Paul did not do so on any given occasion.

Whenever in actuality he may not have done so, it was only because he was prevented from doing so for one or more reason, such as being cut off in the middle of his witness, etc.

Kevin Miller wrote:

I like the passage in John 20, where Jesus recognized that not everyone is going to have a first-hand experience. He told Thomas in verse 29, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Fortunately the Apostles were inspired to write down their first-hand experiences, John 1:1-3 says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." So Paul wasn't the only one with a mission to proclaim what he had seen and heard. The other apostles had that mission as well.

The correct reference for the passage that you cite here is 1 John 1:1-3. Although it is possible that this passage also refers to their having seen, looked at and touched Christ after His resurrection, I am not aware of any direct statement to that effect in 1 John. In any case, I agree that the apostles that the Spirit chose to record their encounters with the risen Christ have provided that information for us in written form.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

I don't think there is any verse that tells us exactly why the Spirit recorded that the Apostles did this. Without a specific verse, I can only relate what I understand from looking at the related passages in a general way. Sometimes Paul mentioned just himself and sometimes he mentioned others.  I think if Jesus had appeared to just one person, it would have been easy for the religious authorities to dismiss the claims that Jesus was alive, but with so many people having first-hand knowledge of the resurrection, that placed greater authenticity on the message. Listeners could even go to the people who had been mentioned and get their own first-hand account from some one who had seen the risen Christ.

 

You say, "Sometimes Paul mentioned just himself and sometimes he mentioned others." This is precisely the kind of statement that we cannot say factually because we do not have any biblical basis to establish its validity. To claim that this was the case factually is to say that the accounts that we have are exhaustive, verbatim accounts . . .

Of course it's the kind of statement we can factually say. Did you not read my entire post? I said, "I can only relate what I understand from looking at the related passages in a general way. Sometimes Paul mentioned just himself and sometimes he mentioned others."  How can you deny that within the wording of the related passages, Paul sometimes mentioned himself and sometimes he mentioned others? During Paul's life, he very well may have mentioned many things every single time he evangelized, but the Scriptures, as they were written, are sufficient for our understanding. We don't have to draw principles from what we think may have been left out of the written accounts or from what we think should have been included. We draw our principles from looking at the related passages as they were given to us, and we can factually say that within the related passages, Paul sometimes mentioned just himself seeing the risen Christ and sometimes he mentioned others seeing Christ. 

Thanks for mentioning the correct reference for my I john quote. i should have caught that.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Of course it's the kind of statement we can factually say. Did you not read my entire post? I said, "I can only relate what I understand from looking at the related passages in a general way. Sometimes Paul mentioned just himself and sometimes he mentioned others."  How can you deny that within the wording of the related passages, Paul sometimes mentioned himself and sometimes he mentioned others? During Paul's life, he very well may have mentioned many things every single time he evangelized, but the Scriptures, as they were written, are sufficient for our understanding. We don't have to draw principles from what we think may have been left out of the written accounts or from what we think should have been included. We draw our principles from looking at the related passages as they were given to us, and we can factually say that within the related passages, Paul sometimes mentioned just himself seeing the risen Christ and sometimes he mentioned others seeing Christ. 

I disagree with you about how we are supposed to understand the sufficiency of Scripture. A consistent application of your understanding would lead to holding that the apostles were routinely disobedient to the mission that Christ gave them. Sometimes they preached what He commanded them to preach, but many times they did not. On that understanding, they often preached at length about what they wanted to preach about and did not (apparently) care about saying what Christ commanded them to say.

Such thinking leads to many faulty views, such as Roland Allen's view (which I cited in an earlier post) that concludes that the lack of mention in Acts 17 of the Cross and of the name of Jesus shows that Paul did not preach about the Cross in Athens and therefore did not preach the gospel in Athens.
 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

I disagree with you about how we are supposed to understand the sufficiency of Scripture. A consistent application of your understanding would lead to holding that the apostles were routinely disobedient to the mission that Christ gave them. Sometimes they preached what He commanded them to preach, but many times they did not. On that understanding, they often preached at length about what they wanted to preach about and did not (apparently) care about saying what Christ commanded them to say.

I don't understand your disagreement with what I wrote. If you think the Scriptures, as they were written for us, are not sufficient for our own personal lives today, then you must believe that the authors of Scripture were routinely disobedient to what God wanted them to write down for future generations. Sometimes they wrote down exactly what God wanted us today to know, and sometimes (apparently from laziness or lack of caring) they left out what they should have had related to us for our spiritual growth.

Quote:
Such thinking leads to many faulty views, such as Roland Allen's view (which I cited in an earlier post) that concludes that the lack of mention in Acts 17 of the Cross and of the name of Jesus shows that Paul did not preach about the Cross in Athens and therefore did not preach the gospel in Athens. 
Surely you know, from reading my earlier posts, that my own thinking does not include that faulty view.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

I disagree with you about how we are supposed to understand the sufficiency of Scripture. A consistent application of your understanding would lead to holding that the apostles were routinely disobedient to the mission that Christ gave them. Sometimes they preached what He commanded them to preach, but many times they did not. On that understanding, they often preached at length about what they wanted to preach about and did not (apparently) care about saying what Christ commanded them to say.

 

I don't understand your disagreement with what I wrote. If you think the Scriptures, as they were written for us, are not sufficient for our own personal lives today, then you must believe that the authors of Scripture were routinely disobedient to what God wanted them to write down for future generations. Sometimes they wrote down exactly what God wanted us today to know, and sometimes (apparently from laziness or lack of caring) they left out what they should have had related to us for our spiritual growth.

No, the Scripture writers were never disobedient to God. Your approach to handling the passages is what I disagree with. At least we agree that we are to profit from the Scriptures.

RajeshG's picture

Although Paul was an eyewitness of the risen Christ, Scripture records that he nonetheless evangelized people by telling them about other people who heard and saw the risen Christ (Acts 13:31; 1 Cor. 15:5-7). Scripture does not provide any conclusive basis to hold that Paul ever omitted such testimony when he evangelized people. 

We are commanded to be followers of Paul (1 Cor. 11:1). To do what Paul did in evangelism, we must acknowledge that there are no people alive today who are eyewitnesses of the risen Christ.

Because none of us are eyewitnesses ourselves and there are no other people living who are eyewitnesses themselves, we should evangelize people by diligently telling them about the biblical records of those who were eyewitnesses of the risen Christ. Giving such testimony to people when we evangelize them gives them the God-intended proof that God wants them to receive of the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead.

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