Pisidian Antioch Speech

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Marshall comments that the variety of speeches in Acts 'is no doubt meant to illustrate the different ways in which the Gospel was presented to different groups of people, Jews and Greeks, cultured and uncultured'.

During the time when Luke was writing, speeches were often invented by the authors. So some scholars argue that the speeches in Acts do not give an exact report of what Paul, Peter, Stephen and others said. For example, Paul's speech at Pisidian Antioch would probably have lasted a lot longer than what is recorded. Luke isnt present so he would have to get his information from another source.

Longnecker points out that each sermon is only a precis of what was said, as the longest in its present form would take only three minutes to deliver. Robertson suggests that Paul may have written out notes of the sermon afterwards for Luke. Stott says that this speech is very Jewish in context. It is given in a synagogue. It is on the Sabbath and the readings are from the Old Testament. The sermon give us the idea of how Paul preached to people who knew the Hebrew scriptures.  

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Preparation for the coming of the Messiah

Fitzmyer describes this section as 'a recital of salvation history'. Paul summarises a select number of incidents of Israel's history which provides an overview of God's unchanging faithfulness, from the election of Israel to the time of Jesus. While normally, teachers in the synagogue sat to teach, Paul stands up. Paul motions with his hand to get the audiences attention. He shows immediate respect by addressing his Jewish hearers as 'men of Israel' and the Gentile God-fearers as 'you who worship (fear) God'.

The first section designed 'to suit an audience with a background of knowledge about the Old testament according to Fernando. Paul begins highlighting 'God's mighty acts in the election of Israel'. Paul clearly understood their pride in their history and their knowledge of scriptures: God was the God of the Israelites. He chose the patriarchs out of all the nations of the earth. God had worked with the Jews and made them great while in Egypt. He rescued them out of Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land.

God demonstrated his power by driving out seven nations from this promised land so that his people could inherit the promise given to Abraham. God rasied up judges to help them in their rebelliousness, until the time of Samuel the prophet.

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Preparation for the coming of the Messiah

The people asked for a king and got Saul. God showed them mercy by removing Saul and raising a new and fathful king David. From David, Paul not turns to Jesus. Just as David was raised up at a particular time in Israel's history, so Jesus also came to take his part in history by rising from the dead.

Paul next speaks about the ministry of John the Baptist. Bock sees John as a bride figure (and he provides a connection to Jesus having announced and prepared for Jesus coming- making it clear 'I am not the one- he is coming after me whose sandals I cannot untie)

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The rejection, crucifixion and resurrection of the

Paul now comes to the second part of the speech. Calling the Jews 'brothers' he is preparing himself to talk about recent events in Jerusalem, proof that Jesus was the Promised Messiah. Brothers, children of Abraham and God-fearing Gentiles- it is to us that the message of salvation has been sent. Jesus was rejected and crucified by the Jews of Jersualem.

These events fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. Most of the Jews didnt realise this at the time. Jesus was innocent of the charges agaisnt him. Jesus was taken from a tree and laid in a tomb but God raised him from the dead. Fitzmyer points to a contrast between what God has done and what man has done. The apostles personal witness of Jesus' resurrection is highlighted.

The promise made to David has come about- (a seed from his own body would succeed him and establish his Kingdom forever). Davids promised heir had come in Jesus.

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The rejection, crucifixion and resurrection of the

Three Old Testament passages support the fulfillment of this promise.

Psalm 2:7 "You are my son, today I have become your father" refers to raising up David as Israel's King and is interupted in terms ofthe resurrection of Christ.

"I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David". Since Jesus rose from the dead, God can give people the blessings that he promised would come through David.

"You will not let your holy one see decay". Marshall explains that Psalm 16:10 cannot be applied to David himself because he died an oridnary death. Psalm 16 implies that the holy one would not die. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead and that his body did not decay is proof he is the Holy One.

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The application and appeal

Calling his hearers "brothers" he emphasises that "through Christ came forgiveness of sins, justification and a message not to be scoffed at". This is the only place in Acts where Paul's teaching on justification by faith is mentioned. "Through him everyone who believes is justifed in a way the Law of Moses cannot justify you".

The result/outcome of the speech seems to be favourable at first, as both Jews and Gentiles wanted to speak further about the matters raised by Paul. Before the next Sabbath, the Jews incited God-fearing women of high standing and leading men and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas.

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