Peter’s Interpretation of Psalm 16:8–11 in Acts 2:25–32 -- By: Gregory V. Trull

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 161:644 (Oct 2004)
Article: Peter’s Interpretation of Psalm 16:8–11 in Acts 2:25–32
Author: Gregory V. Trull

Peter’s Interpretation of
Psalm 16:8–11 in Acts 2:25–32a

Gregory V. Trull

Gregory V. Trull is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Western Baptist College, Salem, Oregon, and Senior Pastor, Valley Baptist Church, Perrydale, Oregon.

The New Testament refers to Old Testament passages in a variety of ways. These include the Sarah-Hagar allegory of Galatians 4, the muzzled ox analogy of 1 Corinthians 9, the faith of Abraham illustration in Romans 4, and a host of others. Both Peter (in Acts 2:27) and Paul (in 13:35) based their argument about Jesus’ resurrection on Psalm 16:10. These two sermons distill the apostolic message proclaimed by the two key leaders of the early church. Therefore Psalm 16:10 serves as a critical theological support for Christ’s resurrection in two key proclamations of the gospel in Acts.

Psalm 16:10 stands apart from many Old Testament quotations in the New Testament because of Peter’s inspired commentary. Many Old Testament passages are utilized without detailed explanation of how the New Testament writers understood the original context. In this case, however, Peter offered several insights into his perspective on the original meaning of Psalm 16:10.

Setting and Overview of Peter’s Sermon

The setting of Peter’s sermon (Acts 2:1–13) has four important background elements. First, the nations represented at Pentecost (vv. 9–11) foreshadow the universal spread of the gospel in the remainder of Acts. Second, Peter’s sermon expressed the “wonders of God”1 being spoken by the disciples (v. 11). This includes the wonder of the coming of the Messiah in the person of Jesus. Third, the coming of the Holy Spirit, which enabled the believers there to testify

of Jesus in unlearned languages, raised questions in the minds of some (vv. 7–8, 12–13) that Peter utilized as an opportunity to speak of Jesus’ exaltation. Fourth, the false claim of drunkenness (v. You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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