Hearing Peter's Speech in Acts 3: Meaning and Truth in Interpretation

Donald H. Juel

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 1/1/1992

Issue: Luke-Acts (Vol. 12, No 1, Winter, 1992)

While historical and literary matters require attention, the real question is how we will hear the claims made in the two-volume work. Luke-Acts makes public claims about God and Jesus that it expects readers to find convincing, claims that promise to enrich and sustain life. The narrative seeks to make a case that “what you have been taught” is reliable—that it is true. As readers, we are challenged to determine if we are included in the “you” who will find the narrative argument convincing. Historical study and literary analysis can assist in the process of becoming a sensitive audience. But until we have asked what the narrative means to “us” in our historical particularity and have heard its claims, we have not finished the task of interpretation. What follows is an argument about Peter’s speech in Acts 3:11-26. It seeks not to determine what the speech meant for its narrative audience in Jerusalem or for Luke’s first-century readers, though we may ask about such matters, but what the speech means for us—and how we may understand its claim to be true.

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