Divine Empowerment of Leaders

Divine Empowerment of Leaders, Study of Luke(Page 10)

By Allen Quist 

Comparison and Contrast of Acts 2:17-21 to the Original Source, Joel 2:28-32
(part 5)

Joel 2:29 and Acts 2:18 essentially compare with two exceptions: the addition of the word “my” in “Even upon my slaves” and the addition to Acts 2:18 of the words, “and they shall prophesy.” The first addition to Acts 2:18 is the word “my” in “Even upon my slaves.” The word “my” is a critical word in the understanding of empowered leadership. In Acts 2:18, Luke’s reconfigures his recitation of Joel by adding the word “my” (“mou,” G3450) to the Joel text, “Even on the male and female slaves” (NRSV). In Acts 2:18, Luke records the text as “my” slaves. According to Barnes, Luke is emphasizing God’s ownership of those upon whom He pours out His Spirit (Barnes). Not only does Luke make a change from Joel in his emphasis, he makes a change from Acts 2:17 to 2:18. Luke changed his focus on the recipient of the Spirit from “your” sons and daughters, young men, and old men in Acts 2:17 to God’s servants in Acts 2:18. Luke is narrowing the number of people who will be empowered by the Spirit to those who are God’s bondservants. Young supports Barnes interpretation. In Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, this text is translated “upon My men-servants, and upon My maid-servants, in those days, I will pour out of My Spirit” (Young’s Acts 2:18). Note how using capital letters, Young’s translation emphasizes “My” servants as God’s servants.

Therefore, we can conclude, within empowered leadership theory, an empowered leader is one who is truly a “bondservant of Christ.” Under the divine empowerment of Christian leadership theory, Spirit-empowered leaders are those who have truly given their life to Christ as a “bondservant of Christ,” not keeping the right to make the final decision, but doing what pleases God. Divine-empowerment is triadic—it involves God providing the power to abandon oneself to God’s sovereignty and leading, the leader to accept God’s sovereignty and leading (sometimes referred to as a regency relationship), and the follower to be the recipient of the leadership of one submissive to God’s leading.

The second addition to Acts 2 is the addition of “and they shall prophesy.” The reason for this addition may be found in 1 Corinthians 11:4-5, “Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head” (NRSV). Luke was writing years after Peter’s speech, choosing material he received from witnesses (Witherington 77). It is probable, using a “reference” a form of cultural intertexture, Luke would include material, which would justify what he had witnessed as an accepted influence of the Holy Spirit. Given Luke’s emphasis on the role of women, Luke was likely to include “and they shall prophesy” since prophecy was one of the evidences of the Spirit working in women (Brisco notes; Witherington 71). In 1 Corinthians, prophesying is listed beside praying, as activities that women in Corinth were doing with their heads uncovered. Therefore, this would have been in a public Next Pagemeeting or it would not have mattered whether their heads were covered. The uncovered head was the breach of expected behavior, not the prophesying. Therefore, Luke added, “and they shall prophesy” to make it clear to the reader prophesying is not gender specific.

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