Does Acts 13:48 Teach Unconditional Election?

Acts 13:48 reads “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Are the Calvinists correct that this verse teaches salvation is not conditioned upon anything man does?

Whatever else we might say about this verse, it teaches election/salvation is conditional – it is conditioned upon belief as the text notes.

It is impossible to tell from the Greek here who did the ordaining – God (if in the passive voice) or the people themselves (if in the middle voice). Compare to “they have addicted (same Greek word #5021) themselves to the ministry of the saints” – I Cor 16:15.

Verse 46 says “Then Paul … said, It was necessary that the word of the God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” So these Jews made their own choice of rejecting the word of God; they “put it” from themselves; they judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life. God didn’t make the decision for them.

So in verse 48, the people were “ordained” to eternal life in the sense that God ordained that all good hearted men would obey and receive eternal life:

· Luke 8:15 – “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

· And it’s up to us to have a good heart (“make you a new heart” – Ezek 18:31).

So Acts 13:48 teaches all those with an honest and good heart believed the gospel. There is no Calvinism in that.

hear the latest Bible Crossfire on “The Five Points Of Calvinism” at:


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