May 25, 2018

Paul, the Apostolic Decree, and 1 Corinthians

Recently while working on 1 Corinthians, I came across an older article in my files addressing the question of why Paul does not mention the Jerusalem Council’s decree on the issue of food sacrificed to idols (8:1–11:1). A. S. Geyser suggests that that Acts 16:4 is a later addition. Therefore, Paul did not share the decree because it was only originally intended only for Syria and Cilicia. He goes on to argue that the later addition of 16:4 “is fairly obvious: as early as the end of the first century it became necessary for the Church to give universal effect to the Apostolic Decree” (p. 137).

While one can appreciate Geyser’s solution it seems to be lacking text critical evidence. It seems the better solution is to follow David Garland and others who see Paul as applying the principles of the decree without referring to the decree itself.

A. S. Geyser, “Paul, the Apostolic Decree and the Liberals in Corinth,” In Studia Paulina in honorem Johannis de Zwaan septuagenarii, 124-38 (Haarlem: De Erven F. Bohn N.V., 1953).

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