Monday, January 25, 2016

Interesting tidbit - 24

Q:  In the Book of Acts, Paul goes to the Jews first in every city he visits. Why did he do that if he was the apostle to the Gentiles (1 Tim 2:5-7)?

A:  From the beginning of Christ's earthly ministry until God grants Cornelius repentance unto life in Acts 10 (about 7 or 8 years after Pentecost in Acts 2), God's order is "to the Jews only." Beginning with Paul's ministry out of Antioch in Acts 11 until Acts 28:25-28, God's order is "to the Jews first, also to the Gentiles." After Paul's statement in Act 28:28, "this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles," God's order is "to the Gentiles, also to the Jews" (Eph 2:17).

The Book of Acts records this transitional period of the setting aside of Israel. Throughout the entire book, God's order is either "to the Jews only" (Acts 1-9) or "to the Jews first, also to the Gentiles" (Acts 10-28).  When Paul comes on the scene, God's order changes from "to the Jew only" to "to the Jews first, also to the Gentile."  Paul also became as one under the law to those who were under the law in order to win unbelieving Jews for Christ (Acts 16:3; Acts 18:18; Acts 20:16; Acts 21:18-28; Acts 23:5-6).

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some (1 Cor 9:20-22).  

As an aside: According to 1 Corinthians 1:22, "Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom." So throughout the Book of Acts (when Paul writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans) the sign-gifts continued (1 Cor 12:8-11).  After Acts 28:25-28 — when God's order is no longer "to the Jews first" — credential signs, signs-gifts, and tongues ceased (1 Cor 13:8; cf., Phil 2:27; 1 Tim 5:23; 2 Tim 4:20).

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