Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely

BRF: Acts 15-21

Posted on: September 25, 2007

OK, I fell off the wagon right away, but I’m back on now. I’m more or less used to our new schedule, so hopefully I will be able to keep up from now on. As usual, I have more questions than anything else about this week’s reading. Here goes:

The elders in Jerusalem say in their letter, “For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” Why does this explain what went before? (That they should tell the gentiles to abstain from food polluted by idols, exual immorality, the meat of strangled animals, and from blood.) And why should they abstain from these 4 things in particular? (I’m assuming that murder, stealing, dishonoring parents and coveting are also verboten, but why don’t they mention it?)
1) food polluted by idols – this seems to conflict with what Paul says elsewhere (I can’t find the reference), that food sacrificed to idols is not inherently unclean, and that what your conscience says is more important (do I have that right?)

2) sexual immorality – this is obvious
3) the meat of strangled animals – I think that strangling an animal keeps all the blood in it, but if that’s not the case, then why?
4) and from blood – yes, it’s gross, but why do we care other than that? Other disgusting and formerly forbidden things are now ok, so what’s wrong with blood?

When Paul & Barnabas split up, Paul had issues with Mark, but was he also mad at Barnabas, or was it an amicable split?

I think it’s interesting that there are now Pharisees who are believers. And it makes sense that they are the ones who want everyone to follow the law.

In Acts 16 They go to Philippi. Why did people meet at the riverside to pray? Why was it just the women?

In chapter 21, Paul acts like he is quite certain that he is to go to Jerusalem, even though he told the Ephesian elders that the Holy Spirit warned him in every city that prison and hardships awaited him. But the disciples at Tyre warn him “through the Spirit” not to go to Jerusalem. What’s up with that? I understand everyone else’s objections as representing their own objections to seeing bad stuff happen to him, while knowing in spite of that that God’s will must be done. But I would expect a warning “in the Spirit” to be something we and Paul should follow. So I don’t get that.

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2 Responses to "BRF: Acts 15-21"

Hey Heidi!! Nice to see your name there! 🙂 I love it that you have so many questions, many the same that I was thinking as I read. Sorry I can’t help you with many answers though. But the one about the meat offered to idols is one that baffled me as well and I looked it up in Corinthians (I think it was there) because we had read that in the spring for BRF. From what I understand of it so far Paul is talking to new Christians in Acts and they lived in an extremely sinful society. It was safer and more beneficial to their spiritual growth to obstain from certain things that were characterized by the unsaved so that there could be that obvious distinction between right and wrong. Once they started to mature in their faith, in Corinthians, they could see the issues more clearly and could decide to avoid it for themselves with the understanding that those younger in their faith could be swayed by their actions and drawn back to ‘the things of this world’. Does that make sense? I’m not really sure if that’s the way I’m supposed to see it, so I’d love to be corrected if I’m way off base. 🙂
I’ll be watching for you again. I know how busy life is and how hard it can be to find time to get things up on the computer. 🙂
Take care,
Shannon

Shannon, it does indeed make sense. It’s the best explanation I’ve heard yet; thanks!

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