Unlike any other book of the New Testament, the book of Acts is a historical work, and the so-called council of Jerusalem is a historical event. All too often historical events get interpreted through the lens of one’s current ideology. In the case of the Jerusalem council, the long-held interpretation that the apostles and elders came together to decide whether Gentiles need circumcision, was interpreted through the lens of post-Nicene church leaders who themselves asserted similar authority and needed a Scriptural example for doing it.
Unlike Christians in the past who were denied Scriptural examination, we have the privilege of not only examining Scripture, but to do it in any language or translation we like. So when Christians today propagate the same interpretations held by those who formed them for selfish gain, it astonishes me. It astonishes me because Luke, the author of the book of Acts, took valuable time and effort to lay the foundation of what transpired in Jerusalem nearly two millennia ago; context that is largely ignored.
A new page on the Onefold Blog details the event in context. Beginning with Paul’s conversion to the faith, the article walks the reader through the context laid out by Luke and adds historical insight. It follows Paul and Peter along different paths and demonstrates that they, and the other apostles and elders, had been of the same understanding regarding Gentiles for nearly twenty years prior to the meeting in Jerusalem. It examines the underlying issue in the Jerusalem church that grew like a cancer and eventually culminated in the largest controversy of the apostolic church.
To read the article, click here, or navigate through the menu above.