Andrews University Studies, Summer 1992, Vol. 30, No. 2, 151-152.

Copyright 1992 by Andrews University Press. Cited with permission.

 

THE POSSIBLE INFLUENCE OF

LXX EXODUS 20:11 ON ACTS 14:15

 

THOMAS B. SLATER

University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

 

A number of recent commentators have noted that in Acts

14:15, Luke does not mention Jesus as the content of the gospel, but

instead mentions God the Creator as that content.1 Some

interpreters, such as E. Haenchen, have also observed that Acts

14:15b contains a quotation from LXX Exod 20:11.2 However, no

one, so far as I can tell, has investigated the theological affinity

between the two verses. To do so is the purpose of this brief study.

In short, my suggestion is that Acts 14:15 quotes LXX 20:11 as

a validation of the Gentile mission. This mission as a fulfillment of

the divine plan is, of course, a major theme of Luke Acts (cf. e.g.,

Acts 13:44-52 and 28:28).

Exod 20:11, like Acts 14, refers to God as the Creator of the

world. In fact, it contains the only reference to an act of God within

the context of the Decalogue. As such, it could have been consid-

ered an ideal text for first-century Gentile Christians to use in

demonstrating that the Creator God included all humanity when

he gave the Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Although God first

revealed himself to the Jews, He did so with an understanding that

ultimately the entire human race would obey the Torah. Both Rev

7:4-9 and Rom 9-11 appear to convey expectation.

Acts 14:15b is almost a verbatim quotation of the correspon-

ding line in LXX Exod 20:11. The only difference is that hos in Acts

 

1 For example, F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,

1988), 275-278; F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake, eds., The Beginnings of

Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles, vol. 4, English Translation and Commentary, by F. J.

Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake (London: Macmillan, 1933),165-166; E. Haenchen,

The Acts of the Apostles (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1971), 431; W. Neil, Acts (Grand

Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), 164-165.

2 Haenchen, 428; cf. Bruce, 276.

151

 



15 THOMAS B. SLATER

 

replaces kurios in Exodus. This change could result from the gram-

matical syntax and/or from the writing style of the author. The

author has "God" in the main clause as the antecedent and there-

fore the subordinate clause reads better with the relative pronoun.

There is a similar passage in LXX Ps 145:6, but there the verb

is an aorist active participle, whereas the verb in both LXX Exod

20:11 and Acts 14:15 is an aorist active indicative. Thus on purely

literary grounds, the quotation in Acts 14:15 appears more closely

related to the Decalogue passage than to LXX Ps 145:6.

Acts 14:15b tends to support M. Dibelius' contention that the

speeches in Acts are for the reader rather than for the participants

in the story? They do not, for example, contain a quotation

formula by the speaker (cf. Acts 2:16 and 23:5b). The use of Exod

20:11 in Acts 14:15 would have had the intent of conveying to the

reader the immutable plan of God. Specifically, by quoting the

Decalogue, the text in Acts 14 associates the giving of the Torah

with the mission to the Gentiles. The intent of the author might

well have been to convey to the reader the concept that the same

God who gave Moses the Ten Commandments and established a

covenant with Israel had now established, through the Gentile

mission, a new people of God, the Church, as part of the divine

plan (see 15:7-11 and 15:13-21). Indeed, Luke-Acts concludes with

God's calling a new people from among the Gentiles because the

Jews had rejected the Christian gospel (28:26-29; cf. 14:19).

Acts 14:15b is an integral part of the agenda of Acts 13-15, the

narrative of the first missionary journey and of its acceptance by

the Jerusalem Church. These chapters indicate that the first

missionary journey of Paul was ordained by God, and that the

results of the mission--the persecution from the Jews (e.g., 13:32-

41, 46, 50; 14:1, 19; cf. 14:22) and the positive reception by the

Gentiles (13:46-47; 14:8-18, 21-28; 15:7-11, 13-21; cf. 14:21 and

15:3)--also were ordained by God. Thus, the quotation from LXX

Exod 20:11 tells the reader that the Creator God, who gave the

Torah at Mt. Sinai and chose a select people to Himself, now has chosen

a new people, the Christians, from among the Gentiles (cf. 28:26-29).

 

3 M. Dibelius, Studies in the Acts of the Apostles, ed. H. Greeven (London: SCM,

1956), 4-11; see also, Bruce, 276-277 and 332-342; B. Gartner, "Paulus and Barnabas

in Lystra: Zu Apg 14, 8-15" Svensk exegetisk arsbok 27 (1962): 83-88; see also, J. T.

Sanders, The Jews in Luke-Acts (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), 54-56.

 

This material is cited with gracious permission from:

Andrews University Seminary Studies

SDA Theological Seminary
Berrien Springs
, MI 49104-1500

http://www.andrews.edu/SEM/

Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at: thildebrandt@gordon.edu