Acts 13:23-25

Not open for further replies.


PuritanBoard Honor Roll
We read Acts 13 as part of family worship this evening. The following passage opened up a question I had never considered before.

23 Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:
24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.

-- Acts 13:23-25 (AV)

The context is Paul's sermon in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch. In the sermon he quickly summarizes the history of the children of Israel and the prophecy concerning Christ, and then transitions to John the Baptist.

Note especially v 25. The verse is consistent with and resembles the wording in [KJV]Mark 1:7[/KJV], [KJV]Luke 3:16[/KJV], [KJV]John 1:27[/KJV] and is similar to [KJV]Matthew 3:11[/KJV].

Here's my question. None of the above passages concerning John the Baptist, to our knowledge, were published at the time Paul gave the sermon. Where would Paul have gotten knowledge of John the Baptist right down to the detail of knowing almost word-for-word what John the Baptist actually said, and would eventually be recorded as inspired Scripture?

'I'm thinking one of three possibilities -

A) The risen Christ revealed it directly to Paul.
B) An apostle (likely Peter) or possibly John Mark told Paul about it.
C) Paul witnessed the baptism of John with other Pharisees and was among the lot termed "brood of vipers" by John, [KJV]Matthew 3:7[/KJV].

I have Matthew Henry and Calvin and didn't find anything there. Other possiblilities? Thoughts?

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
Off the cuff, I would go with something like choice B. I didn't find anything in John Gill's commentary regarding it, and Luther did not mention anything regarding it, at least in referencing that particular verse. I would say that both A and C are possible, but, I think it would be somewhat safe to speculate that B probably happened, even if A and C occurred. Paul spent time with Peter, and especially with those under Peter's influence.

That's my thinking for now.


Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
I would go with B. But let us not rule out that the Gospels could have been written before Paul preached that sermon.


Puritan Board Junior
This may have been something John the Baptist said very often, especially since we know he was to prepare the way of the Lord. Perhaps it was more widely known than we might think?


Puritan Board Freshman
I think the most likely option is B.

The gospels themselves may not have been written yet (although even among "scholars" the dating of the gospels continues to trend earlier), but this doesn't mean Paul couldn't have known this information. There were plenty of sources available both from those who were witnesses to these events (which weren't much earlier than Paul's sermon), and surely early written accounts of these life-changing events, which may or may not have been some of the sources Luke refers to in Lk. 1:1-4.
Not open for further replies.