If you were writing a letter to a friend, trying to convince him or her that some very supernatural events were real, what would you do? I think that a probable course of action is to link it to something in reality to make it more believable and understandable. You might also link it to the religion of your friend so that it fits into their worldview. When Luke tells about Paul’s (the text still refers to him as Saul at that point) vision of Jesus (Acts 9) this is precisely what he does.
The Apostle Paul seemed to constantly be fighting an uphill battle in regard to his apostolic authority. He writes in multiple letters about this topic because some doubted his authority, teaching, and even his motives. One way for him to link his authority to Jesus, to the prophets, and to God was the retelling of his commission. How did Paul use this true story to speak to the faithful? Let’s dig in.
If you’re like me, then even after you hagah (roar like a hungry lion and then devour) the scriptures, they’re still bouncing around in your head. After I posted the shorter version of this post I called my friend Bryan Nix and we shot ideas back and forth and in the process came up with some very cool links in these two passages and I wanted to share them.
The blog post that follows is almost all of the text of part 1, but much more in-depth.
My recent posts have all been about finding where else in the text a story comes from because the Bible builds upon itself and finding where the writer is pulling from brings powerful new insight to the passage you were originally reading. Each of these posts have also been curiously placed in the “Hagah” category but up until now I have not actually explained what “Hagah” means. To explain that I have asked a friend of mine, Rob Touchstone, to be a guest blogger here on Think Hebrew.
Every time you read a Bible story, ask yourself: where else in the text can this story be found? And also ask: how does knowing where this text is coming from help in my understanding of it? The Bible frequently plays upon and expands upon itself. Why is this relevant? A substantial portion of the entire New Testament is written in this manner. Time after time, Jesus uses the Tanakh (Old Testament) as a foundation for what he teaches and the stories he tells.
Join me today as we look at an interesting story in the New Testament which expands upon at least three other stories in the Bible! Is this a story about Paul having a hard time getting from one place to another? Or is there something deeper going on?
If you are a first time reader of my blog or if you have read every article I’ve ever written, there is a very important concept to understand about the Bible that I continue to reiterate: the text plays and expands on the text. Over and over again we see this happening. When you see a story in the text, ask first: where else in the text is this coming from? Let’s look at an example, in Jesus’ brilliant exposition in Luke 15.
Over and over again in the New Testament it’s clear that the story has some basis in the Tanakh (Old Testament). Over and over again, when we do a little digging, we find that the all-important backdrop of the New Testament is found in the Tanakh. From the way people talk to the things they do, it’s all firmly rooted in God’s book.
A good example of this is in Acts 16. When Paul and Silas are in prison, what they do there is no exception to this rule, and knowing what the backdrop of this story is helps to enrich it greatly! Continue reading →