Acts 2:22 quotes St. Peter saying

"Men of Israel, listen to this message: Jesus of Nazareth was a man certified by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know."

The distinction between God, on the one hand, and Jesus, a man, seems fairly clear here, and comports with Unitarian views of God. This distinction is also clear throughout the rest of St. Peter's speech (for ex., 2:36 "Therefore let all Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!").

How do Trinitarians understand Peter's beliefs at Acts 2:22? Do Trinitarians think Peter is a Unitarian in beliefs, or do Trinitarians attribute proto-Trinitarian beliefs to Peter that aren't clearly expressed here? If so, how would they paraphrase Acts 2:22 so as to make clear what Peter is saying about Jesus and God?

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    This question focuses on a single text attempting a generalisation. No doctrine can be established by examining a single text. The Council of Nicea was very clear on the matter of the duality of the nature of Christ (Deity and humanity meeting in a single person without mixing or merging). I fail to see any fruitful purpose in repeatedly questioning what has already been made abundantly clear in established documentation. Studying the relevant documents of the Council of Nicea fully explains all that is required, here.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 5, 2021 at 8:04
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    Notice that the text does not say " Jesus of Nazareth was a man, and nothing but a man, certified by God...." Jesus was indeed a man and Peter correctly expresses it without definition or limitation. Aug 5, 2021 at 13:03
  • @NigelJ No, I am not suggesting a general doctrine can be derived from one statement in, in this case, Acts. If studying the 'relevant documents' 'explains all' then why not post such an answer? Aug 5, 2021 at 14:33
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    @MikeBorden If Jesus is God, why would he have to be certified by God? Did Peter hold to proto-Trinitarian views? If so, how is the use of words explained here? Aug 5, 2021 at 14:35
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    @OneGodtheFather The mighty works, wonders, etc. demonstrate that Jesus was from God. It's not a certification like a CPA. It's a demonstration. Jesus said, "If you don't believe my words, at least believe based on the works that I do." Believe what? That he came out of/out from God (a separation of a part from the whole. Seriously, look it up in Acts 2:22) That He and the Father are one. That He called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. That He is the Christ. Aug 5, 2021 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


And how exactly would you rather have him start ?

(Acts 2:22) Men of Israel, listen to this message: Jesus of Nazareth was a GOD certified by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know.

Don't you recall what happened the last time around ?

(John 5:17-18) Jesus answered them: My Father works hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

(John 10:30-33) I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them: Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me ? The Jews answered him, saying: For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, make thyself God.

If even the simple sentences My Father works hitherto, and I work, or I and my Father are one could determine the Jewish audience to respond in such drastic ways, perhaps easing them into it would have been better than the alternative ? Just saying; after all, we all know how Christ's story ended, don't we ?

(Acts 2:23) This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

As a general rule in life, when addressing any audience, it is usually recommended to start off with statements with whom most, if not all, are already in agreement.

  • Speaking of general rules in life, the fourth century Trinitarian bishop John Chrysostom wrote commentaries on almost every book of the New Covenant; his interpretation of this particular passage can be found here.
    – user46876
    Aug 5, 2021 at 9:06
  • Are you saying St. Peter was misleading his audience (leading them to believe Jesus is not God) because he didn't want to be killed? Aug 5, 2021 at 14:29
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    No. Pete wasn't hiding a truth; he was simply holding an idea in abeyance, perhaps until his audience could digest such a "controversial" doctrine. Look no further than 2 Peter 1:1, to learn of Peter's estimation of the personhood of Jesus: "Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours . . .." Aug 5, 2021 at 19:00
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    @OneGodtheFather Not in the parts recorded in Acts 2. rhetorician has hit the nail on the head. Aug 5, 2021 at 19:03
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    We have another evidence of Peter’s beliefs: he affirms in one of his epistles that Paul’s epistles are Scripture, and Paul frequently and strongly affirms that Jesus is God. So we have indirect as well as direct evidence of Peter’s beliefs. Besides, what he and others wrote as a scripture wasn’t a matter of their beliefs (though they believed it to be sure)—it was the words of God by the Holy Spirit, with a unified single message. Peter preached the same gospel as Paul, the same as James, the same as John...
    – bob
    Aug 6, 2021 at 2:34

They would interpret it in light of the whole of the Scripture, with many many passages that together show that Jesus is God. They would not paraphrase this verse differently than it is written, because there is no need to do so. God chose it to be as it is, and it is not in conflict with Trinitarianism.

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