Recently I completed the skeletal structure of a paper that I am writing on the use of the Book of Psalms on the evangelistic speeches of the Book of Acts. By “evangelistic speeches” I mean narratives where a speech is being delivered by a Christian representative to a non-Christian audience. The speeches that qualified were Peter’s Pentecost Speech (2.14-36); Peter’s Trial Speech (4.8-12); and Paul’s Synagogue Speech (13.16-41). I aim to share the paper in its current state on the blog soon to solicit feedback. If all goes well I may propose the paper for a SBL regional next year.

What I found to be most interesting/exciting is the Lukan emphasis on the Davidic Covenant. In 2.14-36 there are quotations from Psalm 16.8-10 (vv. 25-28); 89.4 and 132.11 (v. 30); 16.10 (v. 31); and 110.1 (v. 34). In 4.8-12 we find Psalm 118.22 in v. 11. In 13.16-41 we find 89.20 (v. 22); 2.7 (.v 33); and 16.10 (v. 35).

In these speeches these psalms are used to (1) connect Jesus with David as the Davidic heir; (2) present Jesus as the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant; and (3) present the death and resurrection of Jesus as vindication for this claim using intertextual readings of the Book of Psalms along with other books like 2 Samuel and Isaiah.

Now I know Scot McKnight gave attention in The King Jesus Gospel to how the Gospel is presented in the Book of Acts, and I think he had something to say about this subject, but I remain surprised with how the Davidic Covenant (especially as it adopts and directs the Abrahamic Covenant) has disappeared from our presentation of the Gospel.

I know some may say that when we proclaim the Gospel we do so to a biblically illiterate audience. I understand this and I think Paul’s Athenian sermon shows that the Luke doesn’t expect David to be mentioned in every sermon. Also, I see that the speeches I mentioned have Jewish audiences. That said, it was important enough to Luke to give the subject prominence in at least two sermons.