Friday, August 26, 2011


Today, I would like to discuss Paul's interpretation of the Gospel as it is presented in the Book of Acts. When one considers the volumes upon volumes that have been written concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the past nineteen centuries, it is absolutely astounding that the word only appears six times in Acts. The first time is in Acts 8:25. In verses 4-13, Philip was led of the Lord to proclaim the good news to those living in Samaria. When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had accepted Jesus, they sent Peter and John to confirm it (v. 14-25). Luke wrote that they then "returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Gospel in many villages of the Samaritans" (v.25). Even though this is the first time the Gospel is mentioned, every single person saved to that point, and since, has heard and accepted the Gospel of Christ's death, burial, and Resurrection (Rom. 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor. 15:3-4).

In chapter nine, Saul of Tarsus was saved by trusting in Christ. In verse 9:6, we are told that Paul's first words, when he understood that it was Jesus speaking to him, were "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" After having his eyesight returned, Luke says, "And straightway (Paul) preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God" (v. 9:20). Although it is obvious that Paul preached the Gospel from that point on in his life, the word, "Gospel," is not mentioned again until Acts 14:21.

In Acts 15, Luke wrote something that amazes me. In verses 1-5, men from Judaea had been insisting that in order for a Gentile to become a Christian, he needed to be circumcised; in other words, become a Jew. I find it incredible that the Apostles had to come "together for to consider of this matter" (v. 6). It seems clear to me that even the Apostles had not yet grasped the fact that the Gospel is salvation by faith and not works. In verse 15:12, Paul explained to them the Gospel! Later, in his second epistle, Peter wrote, "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood...." (3:15-16).

The last two references to the Gospel in Acts are found in verse 16:10, and 20:24. In the first, Paul was led to go to Macedonia to preach the Gospel unto them." In the latter, it seems fitting to conclude our study with the following quote:

"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:21-24).

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