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THE POSSIBLE INFLUENCE OF
LXX EXODUS 20:11 ON ACTS 14:15
THOMAS B. SLATER
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
gave the Torah to Moses on
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. (
275-278; F. J. Foakes Jackson and
Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles, vol. 4, English Translation and Commentary, by F. J.
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.
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
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
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
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 (
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.
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