Only 49 days to the end!
Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Acts 12:6-19): Whether Peter was rescued for his own faith or because he had people praying for him or both, I think we can take from this scene, the results that can be realized through group prayer. Rob, can you tell us of any verses where God or Jesus is telling us to pray together?
A. Actually, that is not a topic that Jesus really addressed outside of Matthew 18:19-20, which says that He is there in our midst when we gather and will give us what we seek, which is certainly applicable here. It is the other works of the NT that will have more to say about this topic, so keep watching.
Q. (Acts 13:3): Also, can you tell us more about the “laying of hands.”
A. Sure: it was a way for a community to pray for a person. The person prayed for would sit or stand in the midst of a group, and the group would place hands upon that person as they prayed — something many churches still do today. It is frankly nothing especially complicated, but is merely a method of community praying.
Q. (Acts 13:9): I always thought that Saul became Paul after his transformation to Christianity. But, as I googled it and referred to Wikipedia, I see that Saul is his Jewish name and Paul is his Roman name. It says that he used Paul to put those to whom he was preaching at ease.
A. It is a common assumption that Saul’s name change to Paul was divinely inspired, the way that God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Jacob to Israel, but that is not the case. You have the right information on what Paul was doing, using his name to make the people more open to his message. This will not be the last time that Paul will take advantage of his dual life. Paul was a devout Jew in his former life as Saul, which helps him address Jews with authority, as he will do in Philippians. And he will also pull out his Roman citizenship — something quite valuable in his day — when necessary as well to get out of trouble. No doubt about it Paul is resourceful.
Q. (Acts 13:48): What does the author mean here when he says, “and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers.” This makes it sound like the Kingdom of God uses predestination.
A. There is certainly some role of selection in the Kingdom, but once again I would point out: we do not know what is the criteria that makes a person “selected”. It’s very possible that it is faith in God that makes one selected.
Q. (Acts 14:19-20): Is there any point worth mentioning about Paul being stoned, but not dead?
A. I guess what happened is that the people assumed he was dead, but he was not. This verse is part of the reason that many scholars think that Paul was disfigured by this incident and the others to come — it will not be his last brush with trouble — but it certainly gave him a powerful witness.