St. Paul as Contextual Preacher Quote

Will Brooks quote from “World Mission: Theology, Strategy, and Current Issues” by Scott N. Callaham, Will Brooks, eds.

In Acts, when Paul enters a new city, he goes to the synagogue first. Theologically, he goes there because he believes the Jews have salvation-historical priority (Rom 1: 16; 2: 9), 25 and perhaps more practically, he knows Godfearers will be there who will be both open to the gospel and familiar with the Old Testament (see Acts 13: 48; 14: 1; 17: 12; 18: 4, 7). When he preaches in those contexts, he explains that Jesus is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. He states that the Old Testament foresaw the need for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead (Acts 13: 17– 41; 17: 3; 28: 23). Acts 17: 2–3 provides a good summary of Paul’s approach among Jews: “He reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead.”

By way of contrast, when Paul preaches to a gentile audience, he knows that they have little to no knowledge of the one true God. Instead of using the Old Testament to show that Jesus is the Messiah, he explains the existence of the living God and states that God is the creator of all (Acts 14: 15– 17; 17: 24– 31). In response to the idol worship in Lystra, Paul says, “We bring you good news,”that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them” (Acts 14: 15 ). Paul’s speech in Athens reveals that though he starts with creation, his goal of proclaiming Christ stays the same (Acts 17: 22– 28). In that context , Paul speaks of God’s existence, autonomy, and sovereignty over all creation. He then transitions and speaks about the man whom God raised from the dead and appointed as the righteous judge of humankind (Acts 17: 29–31). Another interesting comparison is Paul’s

–Will Brooks, Chapter 11

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