The Trinity in Acts 20.28?

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (NASB)

It did not take long for the early Christians to start to qualify (or quantify) the relationship between the Father and the Son, not to mention what role if any the Holy Spirit played in this family of sorts.

Yesterday, while discussing the Book of Acts with my Sunday School class, I read this as a measure of the author’s (not Paul’s) Christological stance. The developing Trinitarian motif of the verse stood out in stark contrast to Paul’s subordinationism.

Here, all three Persons play a role in the Church.

The Church belongs to God (the Father, as indicated by the relationship to the spilt blood), but is governed by the Spirit. The blood (of the Son) is what secured the Church. Throughout Paul’s speech in Acts 20.17-29, the role of the Spirit is heightened much more so than it is in the Pauline Corpus, making it parallel to the role of the Spirit in the life of the Church in Ephesians. Further, the speech begins with a salutation to Jesus but ends with a commendation to God the Father.

Unless, of course, you believe God has blood and can die?

Post By Joel Watts (10,113 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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4 thoughts on “The Trinity in Acts 20.28?

  1. “Father and the Son, not to mention what role if any the Holy Spirit played in this family of sorts”…Of course a family includes a mother. So Sophia (Wisdom) influenced some to become gnostics….I’m still interested in the gnostic side of the story. Seems like common sense would make the Holy Spirit feminine. Makes more sense that this Holy Ghost stuff. Casper was male.

    • Ghost is an older version of Spirit. Same thing really.

      However, the idea the Gnostics explored is a bit different than the Jewish Sophia. And, if it helps, Paul called Jesus Sophia. And, John’s Logos is modeled directly on Wisdom.

      And, their is a mosaic from the 14th century, i believe, showing the trinity as two males and one female.

  2. In this verse the Greek rendered “His own blood”, διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου, is ambiguous and could equally mean “the blood of his own [son]“. See the NIV footnote. It is interesting to me that almost all of the apparent NT references to the divinity of Christ are similarly ambiguous in Greek, e.g. “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:1 – one person or two? Could the authors have been using deliberately veiled language, to keep some kind of Messianic secret, or to avoid offending Jews?

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