If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. Some of the assumptions and biases in Dr. William J. Larkin’s IVP New Testament Commentary on Acts are so obvious and contrary to Scripture that it reveals the degree of ‘traditions of men’ we have in Churchianity. Some of this bias we have seen in our previous posts, but today we’ll try to identify language geared toward steering the reader in a prejudicial manner.
The Blind Leading the Blind
As Paul is about to set out on the last leg of his journey to Jerusalem…He divides his party, sending some—the Asians Tychichus and Trophimus—or possibly all his companions ahead to Troas by ship. After celebrating Christian Easter in Philippi (Passover A.D. 57 was April 7-14) and a five-day sea journey against contrary winds……
Are you kidding me?? The Greek, over which Larkin is supposed to have mastery, clearly says,
…ἡμέρας τῶν ἀζύμων… [days of unleavened (bread)]
WOW!! Not just biased, but outright changing the Word of God! Lest I really get derailed by this blatant bias, I’ll move along.
Less than five sentences later he says, concerning Acts 20:7,
At the end of a week’s stay in Troas, Paul continues his ministry of encouragement in the context of a worship service. In the earliest unambiguous reference to early church practice concerning Sunday worship, Luke tells us that on the first day of the week we came together to break bread (compare 1 Cor 16:2; Rev 1:10; Didache 14:1; Epistle of Barnabas 15:9).
Another complete fail! The Greek for Acts 20:7 says,
…μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων…
a phrase we took a really good look at earlier. It means, ‘one of the sabbaths.’ Christendom tries to make it mean something else, but multiple proofs demonstrate the failure. Larkin’s multiple cites, with the exception of 1 Cor. 16:2, all say ‘the Lord’s day,’ which proves nothing. Yeshua said, ‘the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath,‘ which would make the Sabbath, the Lord’s day!
I find the statement ‘unambiguous reference’ to be utterly laughable. Even more comedic when we read further in his commentary on this passage and he has to admit,
Hence although the first day of the week was a workday, Christians hallowed it at its beginning and end,
Yeah… So let me get this straight. They changed the Sabbath to Sunday and continued with it being a workday… Again! Complete fail. No need to address this mockery further.
Continuing with the next section of Larkin’s commentary,
Paul consciously bypasses Ephesus, and Luke tells us why: he does not want to be slowed down on his way to Jerusalem, for he desires to arrive there, if possible, by the day of Pentecost. Though Jewish piety may motivate him (see Deut 16:16), a celebration of the Spirit’s outpouring on the first Christian Pentecost is certainly reason enough (Acts 2:1-13). Still, Paul’s pastor’s heart overcomes his personal schedule. He cannot do without one last contact with the church in Asia. With earnestness and authority he summons the elders from Ephesus, thirty-odd miles away.
Wow! The text clearly tells us Paul’s motivation is Pentecost, or rightly, Shavuot. Larkin can’t help but twist the facts by
- denigrating Paul’s Torah obedience and turning feast observance into ‘Jewish piety,’
- forcing on us a ‘Christian Pentecost!’
Radical antisemitic/antiTorah assumption that just makes me shake my head. Very sad! No wonder Christendumb is so messed up! This is what a conservative New Testament scholar teaches! Hate to read the liberals!
Next up, a quote from his commentary on Acts 21:17ff,
In the midst of some Jews’ death-dealing intentions counterbalanced by Roman protective justice stands the Christian witness Paul. He shows that rare combination of loyalty to his ethnic traditions (that’s what gets him into trouble in the first place) and boldness to seize every opportunity to proclaim the universal gospel.
Death dealing Jews and protective Romans! Christian Paul! And, what gets him in trouble is loyalty to ethnic traditions??
Oh, my aching head! The breathed Word of God, the Torah is just… ethnic traditions!
Maybe Larkin needs to read The Apostle Paul was NOT a Christian!
Here’s another bold assumption,
…The key role Ananias played in Paul’s conversion demonstrates to the audience that being a pious Jew and being a Christian convert are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Larkin’s bias is on full display here. There is ZERO evidence that any Jews ‘converted’ to anything! Most certainly, they did not turn to some other religion! They found and believed in the Hope of Israel! Ananias was a Torah observant Jew who believed in Yeshua haMashiach. And, lost on Christendom, is the fact that Yahweh works miracles through Torah observant Jews! (Come to think of it, is there a single example in all of Scripture of a miracle being worked through someone who was NOT Torah observant? I’ll have to think on that, because nothing comes to mind…)
There are more biases, assumptions and misdirections throughout this commentary, but that is the mainstay of most of Christendom. I think I’ll stop here. The point is that much of what Christians believe needs to be re-evaluated through the light of Scripture and NOT through false presuppositions, bias, prejudice and doctrines of men. Much of what we have been taught is rooted in falsehood.
In closing the series, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a young pastor about 18 months ago. He told me I needed to read more ‘church fathers’ to clear up my misunderstandings. I guess he rightly understood that I was not inculcated enough with the party line… too prone to ‘free-thinking.’
Today, I am a Free Thinker! I’m free of false doctrines and antisemitic church fathers and I can think clearly as I approach passages… The freedom and thinking grows with each passing day! HalleluYah!