The Apostles’ inspired proclamation concerning The risen Christ in the book of Acts Pt. 1

In this post I am going to be tackling Muhammadan Paul Bilal Williams’ comments to Christian apologist Samuel Green’s statements regarding the inspired testimony of Acts to the Deity of Christ. You can read William’s response by clicking here https://bloggingtheology.net/2017/03/16/31512/#comment-44003.

WILLIAMS

and none of these say Jesus is Yahweh!

A better more scholarly translation of Acts 20:28 (New Revised Standard Version):

‘Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son’

RESPONSE

Correction. The better and more scholarly translation is one that doesn’t insert the word “Son”, seeing that no Greek manuscript of Acts contains that word. Therefore, the correct rendering is the one we find in the following versions:

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to the entire flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood (ten ekklesian tou Theou, hen periepoiesato dai tou haimatos tou idiou).”

“… You must be shepherds to the church of God, the people he bought with his own blood.” ERV

“… to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” ESV

“… to feed the Church of God which he hath purchased with that his own blood.” GNV

“… to be shepherds for God’s church which he acquired with his own blood.” GW

“… to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.” HCSB

“… This is the church that God bought with his own death.” ICB

“… to be shepherds of God’s church, which he acquired with hs own blood.” ISV

“… you are to be shepherds to the Church of God, which he won at the cost of his own blood.” PHILIPS

“… to feed the congregation of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.” JUB

“… to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” AKJV

“… and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his blood…” TLB

“… God himself thought they were worth dying for.” MSG

“… to be shepherds for God’s church which he acquired with his own blood.” NOG

“… in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood.” NABRE

“… to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” NASB

“… Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” NIV

“… to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” NKJV

“… Feed and care for the church of God. He bought it with His own blood.” NLV

“… Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood…” NLT

“… to feed the church of God, which he purchased with his very own blood.”

“… over the Kehillah of Hashem which Adoneinu purchased for the Geulah with his own dahm [kapporah].” OJB

“… to shepherd the community of God—which He obtained with the blood of His own.” TLV

“… to shepherd the assembly of the Lord and God which he purchased with his own blood.” WEB

“… They are the Lord’s people. He gave his blood for them.” WE

“… to rule the church of God, which he [hath] purchased with his blood.” WYC

“… to feed the assembly of God that He acquired through His own blood,” YLT

This next one is interesting:

“… to feed the church of the Lord which he obtained with his own blood.” Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

Catch the glaring bias of the translators of the Revised Standard Version. When the translators go with the reading God they will insert the word Son in order to avoid having the blessed Apostle Paul proclaiming that God shed his own blood to redeem his church. But in the Roman Catholic edition of the RSV, the scholars that worked on this version opted for the variant Lord instead of the word God. Conveniently when it came to this reading of Lord, the translators had no problem rendering the Greek phrase as “his own blood,” as opposed to “the blood of his own Son.” Why, then, did they render it as “the blood of his own Son” when the reading God was employed seeing that the Greek is identical in both instances?

Now note carefully the Greek underlying both readings:

ten ekklesian tou Theou… dia tou haimatos tou idiou (the church of the God… through the blood of his the own of his).

ten ekklesian tou Kyriou… dia tou haimatos tou idiou (the church of the Lord… through the blood of his the own of his).

Since the Greek is identical, consistency would therefore demand that the RSV translate Acts 20:28 as God having purchased the church with his own blood, not with the blood of his own Son.

With that said, the reading, church of the Lord (ekklesia kuriou), would still be a reference to Deity since Lord in this context functions as the Greek synonym or equivalent of the Divine name Yahweh. In fact, ekklesia kuriou occurs seven times in the Greek version (Septuagint [LXX]) of the Hebrew Bible, and always in connection with the congregation which belongs to Yahweh:

“He that is fractured or mutilated in his private parts shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord (ten ekklesian Kyriou). [One born] of a harlot shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord (ekklesian Kyriou). The Ammanite and Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord (ekklesian Kyriou), even until the tenth generation he shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord (ten ekklesian Kyriou), even for ever… If sons be born to them, in the third generation they shall enter into the assembly of the Lord (ekklesian Kyriou).” Deuteronomy 23:2-4, 9 [Heb. 1-3, 8]

“And now [I charge you] before the whole assembly of the Lord (pases ekklesias Kyriou), and in the audience of our God, keep and seek all the commandments of the Lord our God, that ye may inherit the good land, and leave it for your sons to inherit after you for ever. ” 1 Chronicles 28:8

“Weep not with tears in the assembly of the Lord (ekklesia Kyriou), neither let [any] weep for these things; for he shall not remove the reproaches,” Micah 2:5

Hence, to speak of the church of the Lord is to speak of the church of God Almighty, since Lord here refers to the one true God revealed in inspired Scripture, Yahweh Elohim.

For a more thorough discussion on this particular text and how it affirms the essential Deity and perfect humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, we recommend the following articles:

The Blood of God: An Examination of the Christological Implications of Acts 20:28 www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/blood_of_god.htm

Is the NWT’s “the Blood of his Own” the Most Likely Translation? http://forananswer.org/Acts/Bowman_Acts20_28.htm

With that said we are ready to proceed to part 2 https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/the-apostles-inspired-proclamation-concerning-the-risen-christ-in-the-book-of-acts-pt-2/.

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