I’m certainly not qualified to comment on aspects of scripture when one delves into the Greek or Hebrew. By necessity, I have to trust those who have studied the languages, history and culture. I welcome debate and don’t mind being challenged on things I believe. But perhaps I’m becoming calloused – or possibly even jaded when I see a Calvinist posit something (in this case, the meme above) about their doctrines – particularly as to unconditional election.
I have no doubt that the five-point Calvinist extraordinaire, Mrs. Robinson, stridently believes that Acts 13:48 is a standard-bearer verse in support of unconditional election. But it should be noted at this time in Paul’s ministry, the Jews had become hardened as to, well, matters of faith. The Jews wished to continue as per the law. The Gentiles, on the other hand, were certainly more receptive to eternal life through faith. No one could rightly describe God-fearing Gentiles as totally disabled, hardened or God haters in need of some sort of supernatural grace to effectuate faith. Rather, they already had faith in God. Or at least many of them did. As was, the Gentiles simply did not as yet know about the Messiah. Cornelius is a good example of a devout and God-fearing Gentile (Acts 10:2). And this isn’t something emanating from the foundation of the world. Rather, Cornelius is told by the angel, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”
Notice that the text of Acts 13:48 does not say that these Gentiles are believing in God for the very first time. Only that they are believing the truth about Jesus and their inclusion into the covenant by faith alone. Many God-fearing Gentiles genuinely worshipped God and, unlike the Jews, had not grown calloused in the religiosity of the Pharisaical teachings.
No one could rightly describe these God-fearing Gentiles as totally disabled, hardened, God haters in need of some sort of supernatural grace to effectuate faith. They already had faith in God, they simply did not know about the Messiah yet. The Gentiles are willing to listen – unlike the Jews. And they are ready to receive the mystery of the gospel – as evidenced by Cornelius.
Perhaps Acts 13:48 could be better understood as, “As many had positioned themselves.” Or “As many as were open to everlasting life.” This understanding certainly does not conflict with John 3:16 – whoever believes.
The Calvinistic presuppositions within Acts 13:48 by way of being unconditionally appointed by God before the foundation of the world are not consistent with the whole of God’s word. Nothing in this text suggests that the appointing of these Gentiles was done arbitrarily by God before the creation of the world. And there’s nothing in this text to suggest that the appointing of these Gentiles was done arbitrarily by God before the creation of the world.
For more information, a good video presentation from which much of the above wording has been taken from can be found at: