Aug 6, 2009

Blomberg on the Prohiitions in Acts 15

Whatever their [the prohibitions in Acts 15] precise origin, the important observation to make is that the council is not imposing on Gentile believers a new law here, however abbreviated. The practices they are to avoid remain particularly offensive for Jews, who had been dispersed throughout most of the Roman Empire (v. 21). When the council writes its letter to believers in Antioch and nearby regions explaining their decision (vv. 22–29), it concludes simply by stating, "You will do well to avoid these things" (v. 29), hardly a way to refer to mandatory legislation. These are merely restrictions that the Christian leaders hope Gentile believers will voluntarily adopt for the sake of not offending Jewish consciences unnecessarily. That the Christians who received this letter were glad and encouraged, sending the letter carriers off with a blessing of peace, suggests they understood the ‘decree’ in the milder sense (vv. 30–35). That Paul later writes about food sacrificed to idols to both the Corinthians (1 Cor. 8–10) and the Romans (Rom. 14:1–15:13), without referring to this decision, likewise suggests its limited scope and audience.”

Craig L. Blomberg, From Pentecost to Patmos: An Introduction to Acts through Revelation (Nashville: B & H Academic, 2006), 53.

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