Does Acts 13:48 teach that God predestined before the foundation of the world certain select Gentiles to believe and be saved? Let us read this Acts 13:48 out of its context and see how Calvinist or Reformed Theology Christians interpret this verse.

Acts 13:48.

“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and AS MANY AS were ORDAINED TO eternal life BELIEVED.”

Now, Calvinist Christians INTERPRET this verse to mean that many Gentiles heard the gospel but ONLY those who were ORDAINED before the foundation of the world TO be SAVED were able to BELIEVE the Gospel. And what they mean by this is that if any of these Gentiles were NOT ordained before the foundation of the world then they could not be able to BELIEVE and be saved.

The first thing that I want you to notice is what this verse does NOT say. This verse does NOT say that only some of these Gentiles were ordained to be saved. This verse does not say that only certain Gentiles were ordained to eternal life before the foundation of the world. Nor does this verse say that it was God who ordained these Gentiles to eternal life.

The Greek word translated as “ORDAINED” in the King James Version has several meanings. It can mean ADDICTED. It can mean APPOINTED. It can mean SET. It can mean ordained. And it can mean DETERMINED.

Here is what the Bible concordance says that this Greek word “TASSO” means.





A prolonged form of a primary verb (which later appears only in certain tenses); to arrange in an orderly manner, that is, assign or dispose (to a certain position or lot): - addict, appoint, determine, ordain, set.

Total KJV occurrences: 8

The Greek word “tasso” is used 8 times in the New Testament. And of those 8 times it is used only one time where God is the one doing the ordaining. And when  we read the context of Acts 13:48 it will become clear that these Gentiles were ordained by Almighty God to eternal life. In other words, ALL of mankind is ordained to eternal life. It is just a matter of each individual person BELIEVING in God’s so great a salvation unto the end. They heard the gospel and then the made an APPOINTMENT to hear MORE.

Please understand the other meanings of this Greek word and how it is used in other verses. Let us read 1 Corinthians 16:15 where some brethren “TASSO” or ADDICTED THEMSELVES to the ministry.

1 Corinthians 16:15.

“I beseech you, brethren, you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have ADDICTED (Or  ORDAINED or TASSO) THEMSELVES to the ministry of the saints,”

The Greek word translated as ADDICTED in this verse is the same Greek word “tasso” used in Acts 13:48 that is translated as ORDAINED. The English word ordained means to appoint, to consecrate, and to invest.

One of the meanings of consecrate means to dedicate. The word invest means to spend one’s time and effort toward something worthwhile. The word appoint means to engage and to be determined.

So these Gentiles in Acts 13:48 SET themselves to hear the Gospel that was teaching them about eternal life. Let us read the CONTEXT and you will see that this is the true meaning of this verse.

Please read Acts 13:42-49.

“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles BESOUGHT that these words might be PREACHED to them the next sabbath. (Here we see that the Gentile HEARD the word of God and they made an APPOINTMENT with Paul to hear MORE of the Gospel next week. In other words, these gentiles SET THEMSELVES to hear more of the Gospel of salvation. They wanted to know more about this ETERNAL LIFE Paul was preaching about.)

43.  Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. (Persuading followers of the gospel to continue in the gospel does not mesh with Calvinism that teaches once saved always saved. Reformed Theology teaches that the elect will be saved and therefore there is no need to persuade the elect to continue in the faith)

44.  And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. (Now, either God chose almost the whole city to be saved or the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel spread to almost the whole city and they wanted to know more about this good news or gospel of how to receive eternal life)

45.  But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. (So then, either the multitudes must have mostly been Gentiles or the Jews were not Jewish Christians because they envied the multitude that went to hear Paul preach the gospel of Jesus Christ)

46.  Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing YOU put it from you, and judge YOURSELVES unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. (Here we see that some of the Jews made the choice of their own free will to REJECT the so great of salvation being offered to them. Then we see that this was a part of God’s BIGGER plan of salvation to INCLUDE the rest of the world. For some reason God chose to place a veil over the eyes of his chosen people Israel after they have heard the gospel of salvation first so that God could turn to the Gentiles and offer them the same salvation. But this was all ordained by God in PROPHECY as part of his bigger plan of salvation)

47.  For so has the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set you to be a light of the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

48.  And when the Gentiles HEARD THIS (The TRUTH of the Gospel that salvation was ordained for THEM as well as the Jews), they were glad, and glorified the WORD of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Or as many as ADDICTED THEMSELVES to hear more about this ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.)

49.  And the WORD of the Lord was published throughout all the region.”

Good news travels fast. The last phrase of verse 48 in the LITERAL translation reads.

“...and they believe whoever were being set into eternal life.”

In other words, whosoever of the Gentiles or the Jews who were DETERMINED and SET to hear how to be saved BELIEVED. You see, when Paul was preaching who the unknown God was to some pagans they were interested in hearing what Paul had to say UNTIL they hear the one word “RESURRECTION”. And because of what they had come to believe previously this resurrection stuff was just too hard for them to accept. So then those pagans were NOT DETERMINED to hear the WHOLE matter. Just the one word “resurrection” caused them to dismiss whatever Paul had to say.

But these Gentiles were GLAD and they rejoiced when they HEARD the word of God concerning ETERNAL LIFE and they DETERMINED THEMSELVES to hear more. And as many as were DETERMINED to ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.

And that my dear brothers and sister is our Lord Jesus Christ, is what Acts 13:48 TRULY means in the light of the whole word of Almighty God.

Now any Reformed Theology Christian that is truly honest with themselves and with God know full well that Acts 13:48 does not state the God ordained certain Gentiles to eternal life. This is ASSUMED or INTERPRETED based upon another verse of scripture that is assumed or INTERPRETED. In other words, all of Reformed Theology hinges upon the Calvinistic INTERPRETATION of Ephesians 1:4 being CORRECT. And if the ONE Reformed Theological interpretation of Ephesians 1:4 is INCORRECT, then all of Calvinism falls apart. For you see, Calvinism teaches that everything God ordained he predestined BEFORE the foundation of the world. Please read the study “WHAT DOES EPHESIANS 1:4 TRULY MEAN?”

Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly as you continue to seek the truth of the whole word of Almighty God.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark.



The NEXT VERSE we will study is 2 Timothy 1:9 in the study called “DOES 2 TIMOTHY 1:9 TEACH CALVINISM?”