The “We” Passages In Acts -- By: E. B. TreFethren

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 063:252 (Oct 1906)
Article: The “We” Passages In Acts
Author: E. B. TreFethren


The “We” Passages In Acts

E. B. TreFethren

Waubay, South Dakota

1. No doubt others1 have thought of the same thing before myself; and perhaps have worked it out fully, which I cannot claim at present to have done. But it may, nevertheless, not be out of place for me to propose that Timothy wrote the documents from which the author of Acts made use of the “we” passages. This thought has come to me purely through an inductive study of the book of Acts. I was somewhat surprised, not to say startled, when the thought first came to my mind. Let us consider the various “we “passages in order.

2. The Bezan “we” of Acts 11:27-28 need not be taken into consideration. The text is as follows: “In these days there came prophets down from Jerusalem to Antioch, and there was great rejoicing; and when we had assembled, one of them, Agabus by name, said,” etc. (Codex Bezae, D, Acts 11:27f.). Ramsay says, as to the value of the Bezan text at this point: “The Bezan “we” in [Acts] 11:28 [27] will satisfy those who consider the Bezan text to be Lukan; but to us it appears to condemn the Bezan text as of non-Lukan origin “(St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen, p. 210; see McGiffert, Ibid, p. 238. n. 1.).

3. Passing on, the first use of the first person plural which need receive our special notice is to be found in the sixteenth

chapter. This chapter opens with a short account of Paul’s finding Timothy at Derbe, on his second missionary journey. This is the first mention of Timothy. He accompanies Paul and Silas as they proceed westward on their journey until they arrive at Troas. Here Paul has his vision and the call into Macedonia. This account is followed immediately by the use, for the first time, of the first person plural: “And when he [Paul] had seen the vision, straightway we sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us for to preach the gospel unto them” (Acts 16:10). So far as we know, the company consisted of but the three,—Paul, Silas, Timothy. We have no record of anyone’s having joined them before they came to Troas, or at Troas. The atmosphere of the first person is retained until verse 17; from here the narrative concerns especially Paul and Silas, until the fourteenth verse of chapter seventeen. Paul and Silas, as the instigators of a disturbance, had been imprisoned at Philippi. Having been release...

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