Jun 12, 2010

Threats to the Church in the Book of Acts

Interpreters have noted a recurring motif in Acts relates to threats against the nascent church in the Book of Acts (). Joseph Tyson has argued that, "Luke employs a standard literary pattern to report the resolution of certain problems. A number of specific episodes in this and later sections of Acts stress the theme of peace as the essence of the early Christian movement, while showing various threats to this peace and the ways in which the threats are resolved and peace is restored. Each of these narratives has four components: (1) peace; (2) threat; (3) resolution; and (4) restoration."

Tyson goes on to illustrate this pattern with the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 4:32–5:11).

1. Peace. All the believers are of one heart and soul; no one regards anything as his or her own, and all things are held in common. The apostles witness to the resurrection; no one is in need, and distribution is made according to need. The action of Barnabas is cited
as an illustration - 4:32-37. This is a rather full description that serves both as a general summary and as an introduction to the story of Ananias and Sapphira.
2. Threat. Ananias and Sapphra lie about retaining some of the proceeds from a sale of property - 5:l–2.
3. Resolution. Peter condemns the two and they both die; thus, the threat is eliminated from the community - 5:3–10.
4. Restoration. Awe comes upon the whole community - 5:11.

Tyson, Joseph B. “Themes at the Crossroads: Acts 15 in Its Lukan Setting.” Forum 4 (2001): 110.

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