Friday Files: Whitby on Acts 13:48

, posted by Godismyjudge

Dr. Whitby discusses Acts 13:48 in his Discorses on the 5 Points, page 70. First, he gives three problems with the Calvinist translation and then provides multiple examples of how tasso ‘ordained’ is often translated ‘disposed’.

Election entails reprobation and so what necessity could there be, ‘that the word of God should be first preached to them as we read, verse 46. Was it only that their damnation might be greater? This impugns God’s character.

The Apostle gives this reason why he turned from the Jews to the Gentiles,—because ‘the Jews had thrust away the word of God from them, and judged themselves unworthy of eternal life; (verse 46,) but that’s not a good reason to turn from the Jews to the Gentiles, since the Jews were just rejecting because they had to.

If Paul knew they were reprobate, why doth St. Paul, by God’s commission, speak here to them thus, ‘ Be it known to you, brethren, that by this Jesus is declared to you remission of sins? Why does he add, ‘and by this man every one that believes is justified, &c..? Why does he vehemently exhort them to ‘beware lest that saying of the prophet Habakkuk should be verified of them, You will not believe though one declare it to you? For could God have determined that these very persons should not believe to life eternal, and yet commission his apostles to tell them, that ‘remission of sins and justification to life,’ was proposed to them?

These things seem clearly to evince, this cannot be the proper import of the words. But they will very well admit of these two senses: (1.; As many as were disposed for eternal life, believed; for the word tetagmenos, which we here render ‘ ordained,’ is used in this very book to signify a man, not outwardly ordained, but inwardly disposed, or one determined, not by God, but by his own inclinations, to do such a thing; as when it is said, St. Paul ‘ went on foot from Assos hto gar hen diatetagmenos for so he was disposed;'(Acts 20:13) the son of Sirach says, that the conduct or government of a wise man is tetagmenos, not ordained by God, but ‘well ordered or disposed by himself.’ (Sirach 10:1) Thus Philo saith to Cain, “Thou needest not fear being killed by them who are, art en se tetagmenoi, ‘ranked on thy side’,” (quod deter. p 144) or of the same dispositions and inclinations with thee; and he saith to those children who having had vicious parents, were themselves virtuously inclined, that they are ameino tetagmenoi tazei, ‘ placed in a better rank;’ (De Nobilit. p. 702. c)and speaking of Esau and Jacob, he represents Esau as fierce, subject to anger and other passions, and governed by his brutish part, but Jacob as a lover of virtue and truth, and so en beltiovi tetagmenon tazei, ‘ placed in a better rank,’ (De praemiis et poenis. p. 712 B) or of a better temper and disposition; and adds, that ° Samuel was tetagmenos to Theo, ‘ well disposed towards God.’ (De Termul. p. 203. C.) So Simplicius interprets this word; for when Epictetus had said, “If thou desirest to be a philosopher, so retain the things that seem best to thee, us os upo Thex tetagmenos eis tauten ten tazin, ‘as being by God placed in that rank,’ (Enchir. c. 29) that is,” saith he, os upo Thex protrepomenos epi tauta,” ‘as being by God incited to these things’.” (Simp. p.139) And to this sense the context leads, the persons opposite to those ‘disposed for eternal life,’ being those who through their indisposition to embrace the offer of it, were ‘ unworthy of eternal life’.