Wednesday 22 April 2020

Bible Book:

Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, 'He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.' (v. 31)

Acts 2:1-14, 22-35 Wednesday 22 April 2020

Psalm: Psalm 28:1-2, 6-9


Peter’s first sermon is an example of proof-texting. He uses texts from the Jewish scriptures – which would have been familiar to his listeners – in order to prove the point he wants to make. His point is that Jesus, by his resurrection from the dead, now sits on the throne of his ancestor David.

Acts 2:25-28 is a quotation from Psalm 16:7-11. These verses relate the experience of someone who is brought through death to experience life again. David cannot have been speaking about himself here because he died and was buried and did not rise again. Peter therefore claims that David must have been speaking prophetically about Jesus.

In verse 34, Peter then quotes Psalm 110:1, which indicates that Jesus has been exalted into heaven. Now that he is seated at the right hand of the Father, Jesus has been able to send the promised Holy Spirit.

All these proof-texts make it easy to overlook two other significant points that Peter makes. Firstly, he tells his listeners that “you yourselves know” the deeds of power, wonders and sign that God did through Jesus (verse 22). Secondly, Peter mentions that he and his companions are witnesses to the resurrection (verse 32).

For me, these appeals to personal experience are more convincing that the proof-texting. I am more likely to be persuaded by someone’s own testimony than by a series of quotes from Scripture. The Methodist quadrilateral – Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason – reminds us that we need to pay attention to all four elements in our journey of faith.

Peter has recognised that speaking in a language that people can understand is the first skill needed in preaching. The second one is to make your comments relevant to the context and culture and existing knowledge of your listeners.    


To Ponder:

  • If you could only use one verse from Scripture to share (or prove) your faith, what would it be?
  • If Peter was training as a Methodist local preacher, what feedback would you want to give him after his first sermon?
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