Today we begin Chapter Five of the Read Along with Apologetics 315 project. This is a chapter-by-chapter study through the book The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas: Paul’s Mars Hill Experience for Our Pluralistic World by Paul Copan and Kenneth D. Litwak. (Hear the introductory interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter Five, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You’re also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact on the Christian Apologetics Alliance Facebook page here.
Chapter Five: Paul’s Speeches in Acts
Chapter 5 begins by examining the genre of the book of Acts and Luke’s approach in writing it. The authors then explore Paul’s approach and methods, the mixed response that was received, and the example that the speeches present for Christians.
Luke followed this practice in the speeches in Acts. These speeches provide the gist of what was said by Peter, Paul, Stephen and others. This in no way takes away from the historical reliability of Acts. (Kindle 1111-1112)
The speeches in Acts that quote biblical texts explicitly are often seeking to bring Jews to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Speeches made to Gentiles that have an evangelistic focus , however, do not quote biblical texts, even though these speeches reflect biblical themes. (Kindle 1158-1159)
Acts offers two speeches as models for approaching non-Christian audiences that have little or no background in biblical ideas. This is relevant for us because many people in our culture have only a vague idea of some of what is in the Bible and are far from being biblically literate or able to summarize even core theological teachings of the Bible. (Kindle 1205-1208)
- Why do you think it is important to understand the genre of Acts when thinking about Paul’s speeches?
- What does the mixed response to Paul’s message teach us about our evangelistic efforts?
- What do you think successful evangelism looks like, and why?