7 thoughts

  1. Bar-Jesus and Saul were both powerful, connected to powerful people and were both blinded, or blind to truth we could say. Then we learn that Bar – Jesus becomes enlightened, but before that he tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Saul persecuted followers of Jesus before he was blinded on the road to Damascus. The proconsul believed when he saw what happened. My question is about Elymas. That name does not mean Bar – Jesus, but it means wise, so are we being given a clue that Bar- Jesus will become very wise, will also be converted like the proconsul? The names Bar-Jesus and Elymas are not the same, but do the names represent the same person?

    1. I think we have to trust what the text says, “for that is the translation of his name.” When reading Acts we need to be careful to not read our own theological agendas into the text. There’s the possibility that Luke brought two different accounts together here, but we don’t know. Do we trust the text or don’t we? If Luke says they’re the same person, I’m going to trust that they are the same person. I think the point of this story is that we shouldn’t stand in the way of the Holy Spirit.

  2. Acts 8: 36 – I love this story – Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch! I love the question directly from the eunuch, “What is to prevent me from being baptized?” My question is: this is not just to be rhetorical, right? I think he’s being real, he wants Philip to talk to him about status, about rules, about the real question – Can a eunuch be baptized, or not? This is a whole conversation about social and cultural capital, and it’s coming from the eunuch! The chariot is stopped, the eunuch is baptized, but why does the Spirit of the Lord snatch Philip away? Why all this inappropriate grabbiness from the Holy Spirit?

    1. I would say that the question is rhetorical. It’s not until later versions of the text that the question is answered. I think if Philip had responded to the question, Luke would have recorded it. I’m basing my answer on all of the things that Luke records in Acts, especially all of the retelling and small details we get. And I don’t anything that the Spirit does in inappropriate. The Spirit does what it does. One of the things about the Spirit in Acts is that it’s disruptive; there’s a serious difference between “inappropriate grabbiness” and disruption.

  3. A few summers ago Bishop Eaton had a nationwide twitter conversation about the fact that the ELCA is not an inclusive church. We are too cautious! We say we believe in the Trinity, all THREE, yet we are afraid of how the Holy Spirit will work within us, and we are afraid of where we will be led. For real. The Holy Spirit is alive and well today, and the Holy Spirit is alive and well in us yet we want the Holy Spirit to be tame! Well, that’s not how it works! My favorite version of the Bible is the NRSV. I like it the best because I have studied the words, (The Word) the most from the NRSV. My parents always used the Revised Standard Version – not the same as the NRSV. KJV bibles were not used in my church experience. The Way was used in youth group in the 1970s. I don’t really like the Message bible.

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