Thursday, January 20, 2011

What was so important about Acts 15:20?

At first thought, if you've read it before, it doesn't seem like it stands out. But there is a huge interpretive key in Acts 15:20. What should Gentile believers in Jesus do in relation to the Law of Moses? The early church council interpretive key was to hold them to pre-Law standards. While the 'strangled meat and from blood in meat' stopping comment by James seems random, it certainly is not. If you go to the book of Genesis, before the Law was given in chapter 9, you'll find that God made all meat available for man to eat, except not to eat it with its lifeblood still in it. That's not the main thing I want to weigh in on though, but the fact that they leap back previous to the giving of the actual Jewish Law, to the early days with Noah and his family. Just as Paul leaps pre-Law to say that Abraham the patriarch was justified by faith, faith allowed him to have God's righteousness simply credited to his account (chapter 15 Genesis). If you are wondering how to handle the Law as a Gentile Christian, you've got a strong indicator from the way the early church did as well in Acts 15:20. Just some thoughts on understanding your Bible...

1 comment:

David Keuss said...

It is also interesting that in ancient times, such as the Damascus museum records with its thousands of gold ornaments and jewlery, and earrings, that fashion was a huge deal. Thus 1 Peter 3:1-6 connects to that with Peter's thoughts on where to invest time (wives in that case, husbands elsewhere). But Peter's advice in that passage is very hermenutically revealing. He allows that women are doing those things (probably not supposed to have head uncovered in Judaism for women, Peter was Jewish at heart), but allows Gentile women to do that, except: they are to focus more on the inner person. The heart. The wives there are to focus on inward beauty in respect and purity. This is much like avoiding Jewish tradition, but keeping complete loyalty to Yahweh, the LORD. Granted, I'm not sure of any passage in the Old of the top of my head saying women had to wear coverings on their head. But it was a tradition it seems from some reading. Still looking into this though. Granted it is extrabiblical tradition corrected by biblical heart teaching....