pretty interesting stuff…
Throughout the apologetic speeches of Paul, as Luke recounts elements of them for us in Acts, it is apparent that Paul is putting into practice his own stated philosophy of ministry, expressed in some detail in his first Letter to the Corinthian Christians:
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor. 1:9:19-23 NIV).
It is clear from these comments that Paul had thought very carefully about his unique calling as the
Apostle to the Gentiles and his role as a loyal son of Israel. To win his own Jewish brothers and sisters to Christ, Paul became as “one under the law”–though he was free in Christ. To the Gentiles who knew not Moses, the law, or Israel’s God, Paul instead became a man subject only to the law of Christ, so that those who were at one time “separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” might be won to Israel’s Messiah (Eph. 2:12).
Let us be careful to note that Paul was no mere pragmatist, adopting in chameleon-like fashion, the ideology of whatever group he happened to be facing at any given moment. Paul was not concerned with demographics or “success” in the modern American sense of church planting. He was concerned with being faithful to the commission given him by Jesus Christ. As recent Pauline scholarship has pointed out, perhaps it is best that we think of Paul neither exclusively as “systematic theologian,” nor, on the contrary, as a theological innovator. Instead we should view Paul as a man called to be an apostle by Jesus Christ, who in turn applied his core beliefs of an unchanging Gospel of free grace to very specific, yet very dynamic situations, which, in turn, became the occasion for a number of the Epistles of Paul which appear in our New Testament canon. Throughout the various apologetic speeches in Acts, we see Paul proclaim one Gospel to diverse audiences who stand poles apart from one another in terms of both their respective intellectual backgrounds and their interpretive “world and life” view. Paul was not concerned with demographics or “success” in the modern American sense of church planting. He was concerned with being faithful to the commission given him by Jesus Christ. How does the Apostle bridge the intellectual gap?
read the rest here under the title For the Sake of the Gospel — Paul’s Apologetic Speeches in the Book of Acts (41K)