The historical value of Acts

Does Luke give us an accurate account of what actually happened in the early years of the church and in the life and teachings of Paul?

Here I will take just one example: both Acts and Paul lay out the apostle’s view of pagan idolatry, yet they differ from one another sharply. In the book of Acts, Paul preaches to a group of Greek philosophers in Athens (Acts 17:22-31), and he informs them that they are in error to worship idols. Their fault is understandable, though: they have been ignorant and have not realized that were is only one God. God is willing to overlook their ignorance and forgive them. Contrast the with what Paul himself says in Romans 1:18-32. There he claims that pagans have always known that there is only one God, but they have wilfully rejected that view – known to everyone – to make idols for themselves, knowing full well these were not really gods. For that reason God does not forgive them but instead punishes them for acting contrary to what they knew to be true.

Well, which is it? Were pagans ignorant and readily forgiven by God? Or did they act knowing full well what they were doing and so subject to divine wrath?  


The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction by renowned biblical scholar and New York Times Bestselling author Dr Bart D. Ehrman, p. 349.



Categories: Bible, Dr Bart Ehrman, New Testament scholarship

4 replies

  1. Ehrmann is a nincompoop. Both groups were under the wrath of God. Both groups could be forgiven by repenting and turning to God.

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