Luke has Philip joining an Ethiopian on a road near Gaza, south of Jerusalem. The man was returning from worshiping at Jerusalem, probably after one of its Holy Day seasons, which, in this case, would probably be Passover of 35 CE. (accounting for a six-month ministry for Philip in Samaria). Read the rest of this entry »
Monthly Archives: January 2012
What makes a “Q” Gospel necessary? All scholars admit that there is absolutely no hard evidence for “Q”. In fact, some scholars are uncomfortable with “Q” and actually prefer replacing it with a “Mark First” position. Nevertheless, if an oral tradition is presumed, there is absolutely no reason not to allow any one of the Gospel narratives to be the first written account. A known “oral” tradition makes “Mark First” unnecessary. It would also make “Q” unnecessary. Would it not? Read the rest of this entry »
The Angel of the Lord appeared to Philip in the Samaritan village as he was ending his ministry there and told him to go south toward Gaza (Acts 8:26). The Apostles had returned to Jerusalem, but Philip was a hunted man, perhaps not by name but because of his faith and how he interpreted that faith. He was more liberal in his faith than the Apostles, who had adopted a more conservative stance of preaching the Gospel. Both expressions of the Messianic faith were used by Jesus to spread the Gospel. Philip could no longer preach openly in Jerusalem during the Holy Days when pilgrims from all over the Empire visited Jerusalem, but the Apostles were still able to do so. Read the rest of this entry »
Many scholars (but not all) claim the New Testament manuscripts (Synoptic Gospels) were copied from one another and were probably written late in the 1st century AD—after the destruction of Jerusalem, or even early in the 2nd century AD. If we assume as reasonably true the tradition of the Christians of the 2nd century, that Mark is actually Peter’s Gospel, written by Mark who traveled with Peter, then we can see how both Matthew and Luke could be very similar to Mark in many places without actually having a copy of Mark before them. How so?
Well, if, as is presumed by many, the Gospel accounts were an oral tradition for a number of years, then both Matthew and Luke could be very similar to Mark without their having a copy before them as they wrote their accounts. After all, would any American Christian really need a copy of the hymn, Silent Night, before him or her if one wished to write it out for a friend? Once something is memorized one doesn’t need to have the text before him to copy. The Gospel of Mark was written when Peter was in Rome just before he died in the Nero persecution. However, Peter’s Gospel (Gospel of Mark), if it was an ‘oral tradition’ would have been memorized by many for decades, if, indeed, it was Peter’s evangelistic narrative. So, both Matthew and Luke could have been written long before Mark actually wrote down Peter’s Gospel.
In other words, if the presumption of oral tradition during the first century AD is true, all of the Gospel narratives could have been written independently of each other, and any one of them could have been written first, although even Christian tradition puts John last. Each writer, if he were not an Apostle, would certainly have had to interview the eyewitnesses and construct his account accordingly. Luke tells us in the first four verses of his account that he was diligent in tracing out his records to their sources. This would have to have included Peter (traditional source of Mark), whom all the Gospel accounts claim was a chief Apostle. Nevertheless, there is no reason to believe any Gospel narrative bearing the name and written by an Apostle wouldn’t have been corroborated by several other Apostles before copied for distribution.
Personally, I don’t hold to the oral tradition assumption, at least not in the manner that is presently assumed by many of its advocates. That is, oral tradition was a fact of the culture during the first century AD, but this does not mean, as is erroneously assumed by many critics, that nothing was written down very early. So, I want to be upfront about that. Nevertheless, even if the oral tradition is assumed to be exactly like many of its advocates perceive (i.e. without Peter’s Gospel being a written record in Aramaic before Mark wrote it down in Greek) why couldn’t things have occurred just as I have argued above? Is there something in the accounts themselves that would contradict my reasoning and prove it wrong? If so, do you care to discuss it?
When Philip preached in Samaria the people listened, believed the Gospel and were baptized (Acts 8:5-7, 12). However, Luke tells us that, when Peter and John learned of the Samaritan’s repentance and came to the Samaritan village where Philip was preaching (Acts 8:14), they found the new believers had not received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:16)! Why would this be so? Was anything lacking in Philip’s preaching? Read the rest of this entry »
While Philip preached the Gospel in a Samaritan village, a man named Simon is said to have believed and was baptized (Acts 8:13). What is interesting is that Philip’s works among the believing Samaritans is contrasted with this man’s works before Philip arrived. Philip did miracles, drove out evil spirits and healed the people (Acts 8:6-7), while Simon used sorcery and bewitched the people (Acts 8:9). Philip preached Christ, but Simon preached himself as a great one. The Greek word megas (G3173) means great one and is the root from which the 2nd century church fathers derived Simon’s other name, Magus. Read the rest of this entry »
At long last the word of God is going out to the nations as promised by Jesus in Acts 1:8, but probably not as originally expected by the Apostles. Instead, the Gospel explodes outwardly in the form of evangelism brought on by persecution. It wasn’t planned—at least not by the Church. Nevertheless, the prophecy was fulfilled as the King of the Kingdom of God reached out to embrace the uttermost parts of the earth, beginning with Samaria and bringing all under his authority. Read the rest of this entry »
Even if a persecution did not follow the death of Stephen, the Gospel would have had to break out of the haven at Jerusalem where it was nurtured by the Spirit of God since Pentecost. The Jewish religious authorities, in killing Stephen, had officially rejected Jesus as the Messiah and the Kingdom of God whereby the believer is the bearer of the Shekinah Presence of God and considered thereby to be the Third Temple of God built by the Messiah. Having rejected this, they set up the abomination that eventually made Jerusalem and its Temple a desolation. Read the rest of this entry »
For about three and one-half years the disciples had been witnesses at Jerusalem, the capital of Judaism. Miracles were done in the name of Jesus and the Gospel was preached and believed in power. Thousands were baptized into the Kingdom of God and most of these traveled home to various parts of the Empire taking the Gospel with them. Nevertheless, the power behind the Gospel seemed to build up pressure at the capital like waters behind a damn of clay. Something had to occur sooner or later, and finally it did. Read the rest of this entry »