"Began" or "from the Beginning?" (a thought from Acts 1:1)

Yesterday, we started our study of the book of Acts, the second part of Luke's 2-part series written to teach a Gentile named Theophilus about Jesus and the movement he started.  

There is a significant translation issue in the NRSV for Acts 1:1.  There, the verse, speaking of the first part (the Gospel of Luke), reads that Luke had written to Theophilus "all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning...." 

But that's not what the Greek says.  A better translation* would read: "all that Jesus began to do and teach..."  

Why is that a big deal?  Because the way the NRSV changes the words, it doesn't emphasize that fact that Luke believes Acts will tell the story of all that Jesus continues to do and teach, through the Holy Spirit.  Luke is very intentional with his words there, it sets the tone for the whole thing.  

I didn't mention this in the sermon.  Jesus is alive and active, or in the words of Francis Schaeffer, "he is there and he is not silent."  

*Note: you should always be a bit hesitant when I claim to have more translation insight than the fine scholars who worked on the great New Revised Standard Version.  I don't want to insinuate any intention on their part to reduce the miraculous claims of the text... the rest of their translation in Acts proves they had no such intention. 

Rev. Mike Wright2 Comments