NT3—Study Paper

2007

Brendan Moar

Use of the Old Testament in Luke-Acts
1. Insights of Biblical Theology
We understand the NT through the OT, or in light of the OT. The NT continues the story of Salvation history begun in the OT. Biblical Theology requires us to read the whole Bible as one book. The OT is the fundamental framework for Luke-Acts. The thematic material contained within Luke-Acts garners its significance from the existing revelation of God, namely, the OT Scriptures. The OT influence can be explicit, such as a quote or an allusion. Contrastingly, the influence of the OT in Luke-Acts can be much more subtle and harder to detect, such as an echo or an assumption of OT thought system. It is worth noting that an understanding of OT Scriptures was widespread among the god-fearing Gentiles; Paul upbraids the Corinthian (Gentile) Church for failing to act on their knowledge. The knowledge in question here is OT knowledge.

2. Israel's History and the Gospels as Two Chapters in One History
In the OT, revelation is tied the history of Israel, God's chosen people. The Gospels carry that narrative forward. The Others Gospels: In John, the revelation which God gives through Jesus is compared and contrasted with the revelation given through Moses. In particular, the signs performed by Jesus reflect the signs and wonders that accompanied and validated Moses' ministry. Jesus' ministry will bring about a new exodus—a new saving event. In Matthew the continuity with Israel's history is explicit from the outset. The opening genealogy firmly fixes the ministry of Jesus within the context of God's saving purposes: "Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham"[1:1]. He uses more than sixty direct quotations, forging a strong link with God's past saving activity, and pointing towards Jesus as the Christ. In Mark, the gospel is cast in the mould of Isaiah's prophecy of a new exodus [Isa 40:3]. He has a number of quotes, and OT themes and passages underlie a large amount of the narrative. In Luke and Acts, there are explicit citings (e.g.; Lk 3:4-6 quotes Isa 40:3-5; Acts 2:17-21 quotes Joel 2:28-32) and allusions (see notes on Lukan Christology below) to many OT passages, as well as distinctively OT flavoured language and style.

OT in Luke-Acts

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NT3—Study Paper

2007

Brendan Moar

2.1. The OT in the Gospel of Luke: Greek At the beginning of the Gospel, Luke's Greek is stylistically closer to the Greek of the LXX than his later chapters, where it takes on a much more Hellenistic characteristic. Fulfillment The clearest indication that Luke viewed the story of Jesus and the early church as the continuation of the Biblical story is the motif of 'fulfilment'. Luke appeals to the promises of the OT, and points to Jesus as the fulfilment of these words. E.g.: David; 1:30-32, 68-71 point to Jesus as the fulfilment of 2 Sam 7:16 Abraham; 1:54-55, 72-73 point to Jesus as the fulfilment of Gen 12:1-3 etc. Luke also portrays Jesus as the interpreter of Scripture: it is all about him Lk 24:2549.

2.2. The OT in the Acts of the Apostles:
Speeches The speeches of Peter, Stephen and Paul advocate a salvation-historical approach to reading the OT. Peter: 2:16-36; 3:12-26 Stephen: 7:2-56 Paul: 13:16-41 Law Both Luke and Acts are conscious of the Jewish Law. Jesus and his parents are portrayed as upright, obedient Jews [Lk 2 passim], fulfilling the requirements of various laws. Paul refers to his belief in the Law [Acts 24:14], while Luke highlights the limits of the Law, without denigrating it [Acts 13:39]. Greek Acts has been heavily influenced by the Old Testament. In particular, the language, form, content and presuppositions of the book reflect this influence. • The language in which the book is cast is highly Semitic, even down to the syntax and the idiomatic use of Semitisms, and is highly reminiscent of the LXX. This is truer of the opening chapters of Lk and Acts than it is for the whole book. • Much of the thematic material of Acts has OT grounding. The importance of Jerusalem, the Jews and the Law of Moses are examples of such themes. In Luke's Gospel the narrative progresses towards Jerusalem, while in Acts it progresses out and away from Jerusalem. • The stylistic approach that Luke has taken to both his Gospel and Acts is highly reminiscent of the Deuteronomic history. His use of major speeches interspersed with editorial comments is a key likeness. • The particle dei/ 'it is necessary' is used frequently in Acts, and indicates submission to the divine sovereignty of God. Similarly, key events are narrated as acts of God.

OT in Luke-Acts

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NT3—Study Paper

2007

Brendan Moar

3. Luke's Typological Christology
Christology: The study of the Person of Jesus Christ. Typology: The study of patterns of correspondence between and original model and the prototype that follows. Luke has a typological Christology. That means that Luke understands the person of Jesus Christ through people, events and patterns in the OT. Key comparisons are drawn between Jesus and: Samuel: similar birth narratives [Lk 2:52 & 1 Sam 2:26] Hannah's thanksgiving is echoed in Mary's Magnificat: [Lk 1:46-55 & 1 Sam 2:1-10] Elijah and Elisha: [Lk 9:54 & 2 Kings 1:10, 12] Servant of the Lord: [Lk 22:37 & Isa 53:12; Acts 8:32-33 & Isa 53:7-8] Moses: Explicitly; Jesus fulfils Deut 18:15-19 'Prophet like Moses' [Acts 3:22-23; 7:37] The many connections with the OT historical works suggest that Luke intended to write a history in the vein of those seen in the OT. Furthermore, we can conclude that Luke was concerned to link the book of Acts not just with the time of Jesus, but also with the time of Israel.

4. Conclusion:
Luke-Acts is clearly steeped in OT tradition and style. In writing his two volume work, Luke clearly had in mind the notion that he was continuing the narrative of salvation-history presented in the OT. Jesus is part of the ongoing soteriological work of the God of the OT. More specifically, Jesus is understood as the fulfilment of this work.

Appendix
Overview of the use of the OT in Luke-Acts The Old Testament is the fundamental framework for Luke-Acts. There are both explicit and implicit examples of the influence of the OT in the text of Luke-Acts. Discernible influences range from quotations and allusions, to echoes and assumed thought patterns. Continuity between Luke-Acts and the OT can be seen in: The fulfilment motif Typological Christology Linguistic / Stylistic affinities between Lk-Acts and the Gk OT (Lxx)

OT in Luke-Acts

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