I had a study with a brother in Christ, concerning the qualifications for the apostleship in Acts 1:21-22. In verse 22 it says “beginning from the baptism of John”.
My friend says he is referring to the beginning of Jesus’ baptism of John, and I said it refers to the beginning of John preaching repentance and baptism before Christ was baptized. Because he was preaching and crying out saying, “prepare ye the way of the Lord” and those that believed were baptized for repentance of sin. So those that were there first had to have believed that Christ was coming according to John preaching and preparing the way. Which do you think is the correct interpretation. It is not a matter of who’s right or wrong, just want to come to the conclusion of the truth, according to Scripture.
In this particular case, there isn't a question as to the meaning because of Greek grammar. Phrases in Greek are tied by the case of the words back to the first noun in the same case. There are rare exceptions to the rule, but it is fairly fixed. The word translated "beginning" comes from the Greek word arxamenos. It is in the nominative, singular, masculine case. The noun that comes just before it (immediately in the Greek) is the phrase "the Lord Jesus," which is also in the nominative, singular, masculine case.
In other words, "beginning" refers to the beginning of Jesus' ministry, starting with his baptism by John. It continued to his ascension.
Thank you very much for your insight into this text. Your knowledge of the word study of the text helps me to understand it better and has also encouraged me to do more word study during my study.
I always use "precepts upon precepts" (Isaiah 28:10) and look at God's purpose and fulfillment of prophecy in Isa.40:3-5; Matthew 3:3. In one dictionary,
"Prepare" in the Greek (hetoimazois)
- drawn from the oriental custom of sending on before kings on their journeys persons to level the roads and make them passable
- to prepare the minds of men to give the Messiah a fit reception and secure his blessings.
Looking at John 1:35-40, Andrew and Simon Peter were baptized under John's baptism and it is a necessary inference that. That is what I was referring to of what Peter was saying, they had to first believe the preaching of John of repentance and baptism because that what he was called by God to do, prepare the way.
While Peter and John (not Andrew) were called disciples of John in John 1:35-40, such a designation was not given to any of the other disciples. Since Peter clearly (in the Greek) states that they were looking for someone who had been with Jesus from the beginning of Jesus' baptism to ascension, you cannot infer that it was required for the apostles to be followers of John prior to being followers of Jesus.
Besides, as John himself pointed out, "John answered and said, 'A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him.' He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease'" (John 3:27-30). Preparation for Jesus was made by John in getting Israel ready for the Messiah. However, this task was taken over and extended by the disciples. In Matthew 10, the twelve apostles were selected to prepare the way for Jesus. In those instructions, Jesus also discussed the work they would be doing after his death. In Luke 10 is another case where seventy disciples were sent out to prepare the way for Jesus.
While John was the first to prepare the way, his preparation wasn't necessary for coming to Jesus later.