Jul 16, 2009

Repetition in Acts

H. Porter Abbott notes concerning repetition that, “Repetition is one of the surest signs of the meaningful. If you are stuck trying to interpret a text, one good question to ask yourself is: What is repeated in this narrative?” With that in mind, it is worth noting that there are several events in Acts that Luke mentions three times. Paul’s conversion (9:1–22, 22:1–23, 26:1–23), the conversion of Cornelius (10:1–48; 11:1–18; 15:7–11 [also alluded to by James in 15:14]), and the prohibitions from the Jerusalem Council (15:20, 29; 21:25) are all mentioned three times. Is it accidental that all three of these triads relate to the mission to the Gentiles?

H. Porter Abbott, The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 195.

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