Original Research

Was Paul fully Torah observant according to Acts?

Philip La G. du Toit
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 3 | a3396 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i3.3396 | © 2016 Philip La G. du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 March 2016 | Published: 31 August 2016

About the author(s)

Philip La G. du Toit, Department of New Testament, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


This article primarily examines the question if the Acts of the Apostles portrays Paul as being fullyTorah observant. This question secondarily coheres with the question if it can be derived fromActs whether it was expected of all Christ-believers from the loudaioi to fully adhere to the Torah,or that such a belief was universal in the early church. The conclusions on all of these questions arenegative. These conclusions are reached by way of analysing these claims against the text of Acts(mainly 15:1–35; 16:3; 18:18; 21:17–26; 21:39; 22:3, 23:6 and 26:5) in comparison with the principlePaul laid out in 1 Corinthians 9:19–23 to be everything to everyone. The latter principle is foundto be compatible with the narrative in Acts, although the difference in the approaches of Luke andPaul is acknowledged, especially in terms of their portrayal of the Mosaic Law.


Paul; Law; Acts; Judaism; Identity


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