From: Bill Ross (
Date: Sat May 13 2000 - 18:51:16 EDT

I believe both the immediate context...

What in the immediate context?

...and the broader context require that TON LOGON TOU KURIOU refer not to
the news of v. 47, that salvation
has been brought to the Gentiles, but to the word of the Lord regarding
salvation, that is, the good news of the gospel.

The phrase LOGON TOU KURIOU occurs 6 times in Acts (8:25, 13:44, 13:48,
15:35, 16:32, and 19:10). Everywhere else in Acts, including 4 verses
earlier (13:44 where B and the majority have KURIOU), the meaning is
clearly the word of the Lord regarding salvation. It means nothing else in

We often underestimate two things:

* the progressive nature of the Church's understanding of the inclusion of
the Gentiles
* the centrality of the inclusion of the Gentiles to the message of Acts

The genetive KURIOU can mean either "concerning" or "from". In Acts 13 and
15, it appears to be "from". I have not researched all of the others.

But even if it means "concerning" in these places, in the context it is
placed in contrast with the teaching of Moses - the Law. So, the "word of
the Lord - justification by faith alone" is in opposition to "the word of
Moses - Law-based righteousness."

But here are some excerpts from Acts 15:

15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and
said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be
2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation
with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of
them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this
3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice
and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great
joy unto all the brethren.
4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church,
and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had
done with them.
5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed,
saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep
the law of Moses.
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto
them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice
among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel,
and believe.
8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the
Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the
disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall
be saved, even as they.
12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and
Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles
by them.
13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and
brethren, hearken unto me:
14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to
take out of them a people for his name.
15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David,
which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will
set it up:
17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles,
upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the
Gentiles are turned to God:
20 *********But that we write unto them*************, that they abstain
from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled,
and from blood.
21 **********For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him,
being read in the synagogues every sabbath day**************.
22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send
chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely,
Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and
elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the
Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have
troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be
circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
25 **********It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to
send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul*********,
26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus
27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same
things by mouth.
28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no
greater burden than these necessary things;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from
things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye
shall do well. Fare ye well.
30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had
gathered the multitude together, ***********they delivered the
31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.
32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the
brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from
the brethren unto the apostles.
34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.
35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the
word of the Lord, with many others also.
36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit
our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and
see how they do.
37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them
from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder
one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren
unto the grace of God.
41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

If so, then what was believed (EPISTEUSAN, v. 48) was the good news
regarding eternal life. This causes problems for your view inasmuch as
belief in the gospel then is the result of their having devoted themselves
into eternal life. But, such is foreign to the text of Acts, let alone the
rest of the NT.

I do not hold that their justifying faith is being cited as the result of
their having set themselves to eternal life, because it seems that the
context is referring to a particular dictum, but the concept itself is not
so foreign to Scripture:

Romans 2:
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and
honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey
unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

John 7:
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that
sent me.
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it
be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

Bill Ross

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