Luke’s Use of the Old Testament, Part 2 -- By: Bruce A. Baker

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 07:22 (Dec 2003)
Article: Luke’s Use of the Old Testament, Part 2
Author: Bruce A. Baker

Luke’s Use of the Old Testament, Part 2

Bruce A. Baker

Doctoral Student
Baptist Bible Seminary

In this article Baker continues his discussion of specific OT passages and how they are utilized by Luke, especially in the Book of Acts.

The Prophets (cont.)


“The way Peter uses Joel 2:28–32 is of great significance (1) for an appreciation of early Christian exegetical practices and doctrinal commitments and (2) as a pattern for our own treatment of the OT.”1 This being said, it is equally true that few passages have generated so much discussion and disagreement among conservative scholars. The complication that has generated such controversy is succinctly put by Fruchtenbaum: “Virtually nothing that happened in Acts 2 is predicted in Joel 2.”2 Joel does not even suggest that people would be speaking in supernaturally generated foreign languages. Conversely, the sun was not turned to darkness nor was the moon turned to blood.3

There is no evidence of signs and wonders either in heaven or on earth that consisted of blood and fire and billows of smoke. Likewise, if old men dreamed dreams of an unusual sort, Luke does not record it. The closest evidence of visions are those of Saul and Ananias in chapter nine, and of Cornelius and Peter in chapter ten. Yet both sets of visions are considerably removed in time from Peter’s pronouncement in chapter two that the events on the day of Pentecost were related to the prophecy in Joel. In fact, there are only two points of contact between these two passages: God did indeed pour out his Spirit, and those that called on the name of the Lord were saved.

The proposed solutions to this problem are as numerous and varied as the number of commentators who have addressed it.4 Longenecker suggests that, while the citation is made emphatic by Peter’s introductory formula, the entire section is quoted “because of its traditional messianic significance and because its final sentence (“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”) leads logically to the kerygma section of his sermon. But Peter might not have known what to make of the more physical and spectacular elements of Joel’s prophecy, though he probably expected them in some way to follow in the very near future.”

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