And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Acts 20:25-27
The Greek word for “purpose” is boule.
The boule was an advisory citizen body of the Athenian democracy. Members had to be over 30 and citizens could serve on it twice, which was more than other elected offices. There were either 400 or 500 members of the boule, who were selected by lot in equal number by each of the ten tribes. In Aristotle's Constitution of Athens, he attributes to Draco a boule of 401 members, but Solon is generally taken as the one who started the boule, with 400. The boule had its own meeting house, the bouleterion, in the Agora.
- Source: The Ancient Greek Council, thoughtco.com
The boule that Paul talks about – the purpose of God – was God’s own advisory body, comprising Father, Son and Holy Spirit!!
Before the foundation of the world, this divine council came up with a plan to redeem sinners and take them to heaven to live eternally. Ephesians 1:3-14.
In Acts 20:25, Paul says he went about “proclaiming the kingdom,” while in Acts 20:27, Paul said he did not shrink from “declaring to you the whole counsel of God” – the whole purpose or plan of God.
When we today proclaim the kingdom of God, we must proclaim the whole plan of God – not just a few proof texts!
While preaching in Pisidian Antioch, Paul said:
“Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation … 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,
“‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’
34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’
35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Acts 13:26,32-39
Boule is used here in verse 36 to say that David “served the purpose of God in his own generation.” And that whole sermon of Paul also includes the whole purpose of God.
Are you serving the purpose of God in your generation?
Boule is found in some 12 places in the New Testament. Here’s one other of those significant places:
When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not
having been baptized by him. Luke 7:20-30.
John’s baptism was in God’s plan, but rejected by some Pharisees and Lawyers. Jesus’ baptism is in His plan:
And Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16
Sadly, today, many reject God’s plan when they distort God’s purpose by claiming water baptism is not essential for salvation.
Messing with God’s purpose is a terribly dangerous thing to do. Beware!
Luke 23:51; Acts 2:23; 4:26; 5:38; 27:12,42; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Ephesians 1:11 and Hebrews 6:11 are the other places boule is found. Here’s one of those, but try reading all of them!
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteed of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14
Are you in the purpose of God? Has God worked in your life “all things according to the counsel of his will”?