The Septuagint And Apostolic Hermeneutics“:” Amos 9 In Acts 15 -- By: W. Edward Glenny

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 22:1 (NA 2012)
Article: The Septuagint And Apostolic Hermeneutics“:” Amos 9 In Acts 15
Author: W. Edward Glenny

The Septuagint And Apostolic Hermeneutics“:”
Amos 9 In Acts 15

W. Edward Glenny

Northwestern College

The decision of the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 clarified the identity and mission of the church. James’s speech in 15:13-21 is the most crucial and controversial part of the discussion at the Council, because he gives the scriptural basis for the decision of the Council. According to Acts 15, James resolves the controversy at the Council by appealing to an adapted and conflated text of the Septuagint of Amos 9:11-12. This essay addresses some of the issues concerning the meaning, exegetical basis, and historical credibility of James’s scriptural argument, as reported in Acts 15. In making its decision, the Council employed Jewish hermeneutical methodology, the Septuagint and MT texts, and testimony concerning God’s recent work among the Gentiles. This essay argues that the scriptural basis in Amos 9:11-12 for the inclusion of Gentiles, as Gentiles, in the end-time people of God is the restoration of the “tent of David,” which is the reign of the Davidic dynasty in the person of Jesus Christ. This Messianic reign is not as it would have been envisioned in the time of Amos; it is the reign of Messiah Jesus as universal Lord at God’s right hand, and it involves the administration of new covenant blessings.

Key Words: Acts 15, Amos 9, apostolic decree, Davidic covenant, Jerusalem Council, Jewish hermeneutics, Leviticus 17-18, LXX, Septuagint


One of the most important turning points in the spread of the gospel and the book of Acts is the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. The church was facing a crisis: Could Gentiles be saved as Gentiles without circumcision and the Law of Moses? At issue was the interpretation of the Law of Moses (“custom of Moses,” 15:1) concerning the place of Gentiles in the eschatological people of God.1 This had become such a problem in the church at Antioch

that they sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and elders (15:1-5). The problem was resolved, according to Acts 15, by a quotation from Amos 9 LXX, which differs markedly from the MT and seems out of place in a council at Jeru...

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