Today, we continue our study through the perspectives on election.
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. (NRSV)
Bruce Ware turns to his second text in Acts 13:48. Concerning the emphasized phrase above, Ware uses the Holman Christian Standard Bible and maintains, "One indisputable aspect of Luke's statement, 'All who had been appointed to eternal life believed,' is that God's appointment of those who would receive eternal life preceded the belief of these very people" (8). He goes on to say if those believed simply based upon their decision and no act of God, then why would Luke make so big of a point (ibid)? Ware maintains Luke is pointing out God's choosing. In other words, when the Gospel is presented to the Gentiles, according to Ware, it's because the Jews (as a whole) rejected the Gospel, whereas the Gentiles (as a whole) accepted the Good News. "In short, these Gentiles believed the Gospel, while Jews rejected the same saving message because God had chosen these very Gentiles to believe" (9).
The response to Ware is taken up by Jack Cottrell. As to this particular verse, Cottrell maintains the verb form of tetagmenoi "should be taken as middle voice, not passive" (60). In other words, Cottrell translates the verse, "As many as arranged themselves unto eternal life believed" or "As many as turned themselves toward eternal life believed" (ibid). How one translates the tense of the verb from the original language seems to make a difference.
Next week, we turn to the writings of Paul. Any thoughts in regards to the verse in Acts?
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