Title

Paul, Ananias, And Authority: An Exegetical Study of Acts 22:30-23:5

Date of Award

3-1-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)

Department

Exegetical Theology

Abstract

This study considers what the confrontation between the apostle Paul and the Jewish high priest Ananias narrated in Acts 22:30-23:5 might contribute to a Christian understanding of submission to religious authority. Consideration is given to how this passage both informs and is informed by it compositional and canonical context, how it dialogues with the rest of the two-testament story of the one people of God where the requisite ethics for both the citizens of the kingdom of God and their rulers repeatedly come to the fore. The question of how ethical guidance can be drawn from a story or narrative is also examined, as are the challenges posed by the scriptural story's presentation of an overlap of the new covenant, the new Israel, and the new creation in Christ with the old covenant, the old Israel, and the old creation. The conclusion reached is that Paul's interaction with the Jewish high priest forms one scriptural component of Paul's imitation of Christ which Paul elsewhere charges his readers to imitate and so serves as a paradigm for how Christians are to submit to their spiritual leaders. Neither spiritual superiors nor self is to be exempted from scripturally grounded critique when exegetical and/or ethical concerns arise, yet the commitment to unity in Christ must override the temptation either to deride the divinely appointed authorities, whatever their faults and weaknesses may be, or to divide the glorious, if at times distorted, body of Christ. Longsuffering patience must be exhibited amid respectful dialogue in pursuit of the embodiment of truth and godliness, yet with the recognition that the Lord alone is able to and will, in his mysterious sovereignty, act to fully and finally deliver his people from all misinterpretation and misapplication of his divine program.