Why Peter Quotes Psalm 16

Question from a Site Viewer
In Acts two why does Peter quote Psalm 16?

Tim’s Answer
Peter quotes Psalms 16 because it was a statement by David that would be true of the Messiah, and it was true of Jesus, giving further proof that Jesus was the Messiah. Psalms Psalms 16:10 states: “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

The question, even before we get to the New Testament, is:  who does David reference when he speaks of “Your Holy One?” The word for “Holy One” is most often used to describe God’s people, and if that is what was meant, we would translate it “. . . nor will You allow Your holy one to see corruption.”

However, in Psalm 145:17, another Psalm of David, the word is used to describe God. “The LORD is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.” The word translated in the New King James Version as “gracious” is the same word translated “Holy One” in Psalm 16:10.

Because the word can be either a reference to men or to God, we must look at the context to see whether David is referencing God or himself. This is where Peter begins in Acts 2. Peter points out clearly that David died and suffered corruption. David’s tomb was still in existence at the time of Acts 2. David’s body had turned to dust. Because we know this is true, Peter puts two and two together. David said that God’s Holy One would not see corruption. David saw corruption. Therefore, the question is (long before Christ came on the scene):  who is the Holy One who would not see corruption? Because it cannot be a reference to David, Peter explains that it could only be a reference to the Messiah (the Christ). As Peter points out and as the Jews well knew, the Messiah was promised to come from David’s descendants. Thus, Peter concludes that since David is not talking about himself, the most obvious second choice is David’s coming descendant, the Messiah.

Now, if this is so, then this is a remarkable prophecy, because it speaks of the Holy One’s soul being in Sheol (or in the Greek, Hades). There is only one way anyone’s soul could be in Sheol. They had to die. And there is only one way for the body not to decay after death. It had to be resurrected. And the prophecies were clear that the Messiah would reign forever. Thus, in putting everything together, Peter argues that David foresaw the death and resurrection of the Messiah. It is difficult to argue with the logic of Peter. There is no one else who has died and not seen corruption.

I trust this will help you. May the Lord Jesus guide you as you seek to love and serve Him.

a fellow sojourner,


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