What One Must Know to be Saved: Pisidion Antioch

April 2, 2011

In an effort to revive my blogging activities, I am going to re-post some “greatest hits” beginning with this series titled “What One Must Know to be Saved.”   This is the fifth article in that series, and was first published in July 2008.

In Pisidion Antioch, Paul entered the synagogue and taught the gospel.

In his message, Paul summarized the period of Israelite history from Egypt through King David, and taught that Jesus was descended from David. He reminded them of what John the Baptist had said about Jesus. He told them about the crucifixion and resurrection, and how those events fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. He told them of the eyewitnesses to the resurrection. Finally, he told them about the forgiveness of sins available to everyone who believes.

So, similar to Peter, Paul included the following points in his gospel message:

  1. Jesus is the Savior, the Holy One of God spoken of in the Old Testament
  2. Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, in fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy.
  3. John the Baptist pointed to Jesus with a message of repentance and baptism.
  4. Forgiveness of sins comes to those who believe in Jesus.

Subsequent accounts of Paul’s gospel message to the Jews include Thessalonica and Ephesus. In these accounts we learn that Paul’s message specifically included the facts that Jesus was the Christ and that repentance was a key part of his message. Paul’s gospel message to Jews was the same as that of Peter:

  1. Jesus is the Christ
  2. Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, in fulfillment of Old Testament propecy.
  3. Jesus is Lord
  4. In response we are called to repent and turn to God for forgiveness.

By now it should be pretty clear what made up the gospel message to a person with a knowledge of first century Judaism.

But what about Paul’s message to Gentiles?


  1. It’s amazing that one can know so much about what Paul taught and not know that he taught and practiced baptism “into Christ.” Paul did not disagree with the teaching of Peter on the day the church began which called for new believers in Jesus as Lord to both repent AND BE BAPTIZED. Paul never taught salvation by faith alone or by faith and confession of faith without obedience to the gospel. Nor should we!

    • Ray, you can read about other things Paul said about baptism in my previous posts in this series. At this point in the series I’m simply inventorying the statements actually recorded in the text. So when it’s recorded in a particular account that Paul spoke of baptism into Christ, I’ve mentioned that. If you see an account where I missed it, please let me know.

  2. Alan – here’s what I don’t fully understand (and maybe it’s in the message to the gentiles) I know fellowships that use the Acts conversions as their teaching tools with people. But the conversion stories appear to be devoid of all the ‘disciple’ instructions Jesus gave in the gospels (you must ‘x’ and ‘y’ or you aren’t my disciple, etc). So those groups may not really touch on that a lot. Should we just infer that what Jesus said about being a disciple was part of the discussion re “Jesus is Lord” but is just not recorded specifically?

    • Hi TTK,

      It’s great to be exchanging comments with you again!

      I agree that it is puzzling that there is not more of Jesus’ discipling teaching shown in Acts. But Acts does not exist in a vacuum. It is part two in a series that begins with Luke. The way I read these accounts is that each subsequent account assumes what came before. In other words, Luke often left out some parts of the message in a particular instance that have been thoroughly described in previous encounters. I also believe that they deferred some of that teaching to after baptism (Matt 28:18-20… also consider the case of Simon the sorcerer). It also seems that the message of the early church was heavily based on the teachings of Jesus passed on by word of mouth — basically, the sermon on the mount. So those details of lordship would have been heavily emphasized early after baptism if not before.

      • Which, I suppose, begs the question…..do we place an undue overemphasis on the ‘what does it mean to be a disciple’ and the cognizance issue (eg if you didn’t know this before you were baptized you weren’t really saved) part over the message of just leading to people to belief in Jesus as savior and lord, repentence and baptism? And accepting those that have?

        And yes, good to be chatting with you again!

      • The gospels are about Jesus and His life as a Jew. He explained what God expected of “good” Jews, and these teachings are surely of value in understanding being a disciple of Jesus. The book of Acts is about entering the kingdom of Jesus. The gospels and the apostolic letters deal with how Christians should live. But unless one has become a Christian, there’s NO merit in seeking to live as a Christian. We ignore Acts at our peril.

  3. TTK, perhaps we do overemphasize that part. On the one hand, John the Baptist demanded signs of repentance before baptism (Luke 3:7) OTOH Jesus said that if a person sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes to you and says “I repent” you should accept his claim of repentance. So it’s a little cloudy to me. I put this one in the category of 1 Cor 3:11-15 and 1 Cor 4:5. Different people build differently, and we should judge nothing before the appointed time.

  4. Ray,
    Yes, Jesus was living under the old covenant in the gospels. But his teachings did not become obsolete upon completion of his three year ministry. He was training the twelve how to take the gospel to the world, and he taught what it means to be his disciple. All that applies directly to us in the Christian church.

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