“Second Acts” is a project to collect the contemporary acts of God
in good historician’s manner. It was just
started
, but until now I don’t know if God recommends or forbids it
or if he’s indifferent about it. As this is important to known, I
prayed and thought about that, and here’s a thought that brought me
somewhat further.

If I want to know if “Second Acts” is justified, I could look at
“First Acts”. Which is justified in the sight of God, as can be seen
from it appearing, as man is used to say, in the “Word of God” (the
Bible). First and Second Acts are comparable, as they both try to
collect the contemporary acts of God, and the contemporary experiences
man made with God.

Now, Luke, the author of Acts, did not say much about its
justification:

“(1) In my first book, Theophilus, I wrote about everything Jesus
did and taught from the beginning, (2) up to the day when he was taken
up to heaven after giving orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he
had chosen.” [The
Bible, Acts 1:1-2, ISV
]

He seems to imply “this second book is to record what the Apostles
did as a consequence to that command”. Luke mentions no specific
justification for the Book of Acts, but he refers the reader to his
first book and does not mention that the justification of the second is
any different. In the first book we find:

“(1) Since many people have attempted to write an orderly account
of the events that have been fulfilled among us, (2) just as they were
passed down to us by those who had been eyewitnesses and servants of
the word from the beginning, (3) I, too, have carefully investigated
everything from the beginning and have decided to write an orderly
account for you, most excellent Theophilus, (4) so that you may know
the certainty of the things you have been taught.” [The
Bible, Luke 1:1-4, ISV
]

This states as the book’s purpose to assure Theophilus of the
certainty of the Christian belief’s content. And this is exactly the
aim of the Second Acts project, by executing a proof that God is indeed
real, living and active today. This makes up a basic justification for
“Second Acts”.

And the above verses contains some other interesting points that
support and extend this justification:

  1. The “events that have been
    fulfilled among us” (Lk 1:1) —
    The Greek “πεπληροφορημενων”
    (Strong 4135) rather means “being fully carried out in evidence”, and
    as the Greek form is (resultative) perfect, it should be translated as
    the result: “by which we have beedn fully convinced”. This is a very
    sober, rational word, and should not be translated “to be believed”, as
    in some German translation, to not mix up with the translations of “πιστευειν”
    (to believe, to be faithful towards). This implies that a
    rational-hearted approach to the content of the Christian faith is
    legitimate.
  2. “I […] have carefully
    investigated everything from the beginning” (Lk 1:3) —
    “Investigate”
    is the translation of “παρηκολουθειν” (Strong 3877), which is a
    compound meaning literally “follow near”. This activity, of “tracing
    the events from the least achievable distance” is Luke’s tool to assure
    Theophilus of what he has already heard from other sources (Lk 1:4).
    Which says practically, not every account of the Gospel is equally
    appropriate to let the reader recognize its truth. This depends on the
    sender of the Gospel message. In Theophilus case: he heard the Gospel
    message before from an unmentioned source, but that source was
    seemingly not sufficient to convince him fully of the genuineness of
    the Gospel facts. Then, he had the ideal case: he got the message from
    Luke, a skilled and trustable acquaintance; and Luke got it from the
    eyewitnesses (probably; see Lk 1:2), and the eyewitnesses got it from
    their eyes. Now, 2000 years and countless nameless transmitters after
    Luke’s books, it could be high time to reduce our distance from the
    facts about Jesus — by recording the facts that happen in our time.
  3. “the certainty” (Lk 1:4) —
    “Certainty” is “ασφαλεια” (Strong 803) in Greek. This is a compound
    noun starting with the negative particle “α”, so should be translated
    better “unfallability” or “inerrancy” to catch the notion.
  4. “the things you have been
    taught” (Lk 1:4) —
    Literally, “the words you have been instructed
    with”. By implication, “λογος” (Strong 3056) means also topic, doctrine
    and stuff, but the first meaning is “something said” (“word”). This
    vocabulary makes it somewhat more obvious why Theophilus needed some
    confirmation from a nearby observer he can trust: when hearing it, the
    Gospel is just made up of words, and words are not trustable per se.

To summarize these points, this would be my rendering of these
verses:

“(1) Since many people have attempted to
write an orderly account of
the matters of which we have been completely convinced, (2) just
accordingt to them being passed down to us by those who had been
eyewitnesses and servants of
the word from the beginning, (3) I, too, have carefully investigated
everything from the beginning as a near observer and have decided to
write an orderly
account for you, most excellent Theophilus, (4) so that you may know
the certainty of the words you have been taught.” [The Bible, Luke
1:1-4, my version]


Start date: 2008-04-27
Post date: 2008-04-28
Version date: 2008-04-28 (for last meaningful change)

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