Acts 2:22-41

This episode will focus on two items of biblical theology that are controversial in biblical study:

How the New Testament writers / apostles quoted the Old Testament

The meaning of Acts 2:38

Of the two, the second is more familiar to Christians due to denominational debates about baptism. Acts 2:38 needs to be interpreted in light of the new covenant context that Luke has been framing since early in Chapter 1 and that we’ve been talking about in the preceding episodes.

The first issue is less known because many Bible readers never bother to compare what they read in the New Testament to the Old Testament, even when Old Testament passages are being quoted. Neglecting this simple exercise stunts one’s understanding of biblical theology, and leads to interpretations that are often out of context and idiosyncratic.

Transcript 38 Acts 2 v22-47

Acts 2:1-21

While this episode covers Acts 2:1-21, the emphasis is on vv. 14-21. The first thirteen verses are only summarized with respect to what they describe and its biblical-theological significance. Listeners are encouraged to watch the video Introducing the Divine Council Worldview (located under “New? Start Here!”). The second half of that video covers Acts 2:1-13, the events of Pentecost.

Acts 2:14-21 takes us back to the New Covenant idea of the Old Testament. Dr. Heiser talks about the connections between these verses and items in Acts 1, Jer 31:31-34, Ezek 36:22-27, and Joel 2:28-32, which Peter quotes in this section of Acts 2. The episode gets into how these inter-connections should inform how we think about eschatology (end times) and biblical theology in general.

Transcript 37 Acts 2 v1-21

Acts 1:12-26

This episode focuses on the decision to replace Judas and restore the number of disciples to 12. There are several issues of interest:

  1. What was an apostle?
  2. What was the significance of the criteria for choosing the replacement for Judas?
  3. What are the OT connections to these criteria?
  4. What does the replacement of Judas tell us about how God works to further his kingdom?
  5. What was important about keeping the number 21 intact?


Transcript 36 Acts 1 v12-26 

Acts 1:1-11

Most Bible students would say this passage is about the ascension of Jesus to heaven. For sure that’s described, but the passage directs our attention to several points of biblical theology that are simultaneously tied to the OT and look forward to the events of Pentecost described in Acts 2. In other words, Luke isn’t just reporting the ascension—he’s framing the theological context for what he’ll be describing in his second book.

In this episode we’ll see how Acts 1:1-11 makes us think carefully about how the NT writers connected their thoughts to the OT. The passage raises questions about the kingdom of God and eschatology—specifically, whose eschatology are we talking about, and what is the kingdom of God?  Rather than filter the passage through theological systems to which we’ve been exposed, we need to allow the OT to guide our thinking about Jesus’ teaching and the events of his life—just like the NT authors did. Discussing these things in the context of the OT passages to which Luke alludes helps us see the beginning of an important biblical-theological motif: the “already but not yet” nature of God’s plan for reclaiming the nations and having a human family to rule and reign with him.


Transcript 35 Acts 1 v1-11