Some Christians have a quick answer for putting Pentecostalism’s interpretation of the Bible in its place. They criticize the Pentecostal reliance on the Book of Acts, saying the didactic (or teaching) sections of the New Testament should be used to interpret the historical, narrative sections. But those who make this a sharp distinction need travel no further than Paul—and a didactic book—for illumination.

We read in 2 Timothy 3:16–17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In this Scripture, Paul reveals his theological methodology.

He used all of the Old Testament for his doctrine, not just the didactic passages. In fact, Paul does not distinguish in any way between portions of Scripture useful for teaching and portions of Scripture that are simply history. In Romans 15:4 he unapologetically explains his broad approach to Scripture. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

In Galatians 4, for instance, he takes the historical narrative of Hagar and Sarah to develop, by the analogy of faith, a contrast between gospel and law. The New Testament simply does not make the rigid distinction between historiography and teaching that evangelicals use to disembowel Acts of didactic content. This methodology is, in fact, a post-biblical Western invention.

By Charles Farah.

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