On January 23, 2001 Professor Walker gave our class his presentation titled “Humor in the Book of Acts”. Some of the things he said have caused me to look at the way I read the New Testament in a different light. Even though I had read it a number of times before I never realized some of the humor or funny situations that he pointed out. He explained to us that he believed that the best way to read the New Testament is literally. Professor Walker explained that because of how familiar we are with the stories in the scriptures, even before we read them, often this knowledge is a stumbling block to our understanding and our seeing what is really happening. To help us overcome this he suggested that as we read we are supposed to ask ourselves two questions, “What’s going on?” and “How does it relate to us?” By doing this it will cause us to place ourselves into the situation and bring the Scriptures more to life.
I really enjoyed the way the book of Acts tells us about Peter and the change that he goes through, although I don’t think that I would depict Peter in exactly the same way as Professor Walker did. I love the contrast of Peter before his conversion, which as Brother Walker stated referring to the walking on water incident, “Good for the first few steps, then falls.” A perfect discription of any soul before they have received the conversion experience. Contrasted to Peter who preaches and leads with power in the face of adversity in Acts. Professor Walker portrayed Peter after his conversion as much of the same Peter as before, simply with a larger responsibility, almost as if he bumbled his way through miracles. As part of his support for this portrayal, he contrasted Jesus who told the invalid to “arise and take thy bed”, and Peter who told another invalid to “arise and make thy bed.” It seems like there is something there originally that was lost in our version. To me Peter seems more like a Ringo Starr, quite talented, but still a bit goofy. Someone that could sleep through his own rescue, even though when the time comes for him to be in the spotlight he comes through perfectly.
I felt as though Professor Walkers Description of Paul was perfect and quite humorous. As he described Paul, my mind painted pictures of LeGrand Richards covering up the red light during general conference, or the dreaded high council speaker. The Pauline Epistles started making more sense to me once I thought of Paul in this manner. Now it makes more sense when Peter says that Paul wrote “Some things hard to be understood (2 Peter 3:16)”. One couldn’t help but laugh at the story of Paul preaching so long that Eutychus fell out of the window and died, so Paul stopped preaching so he could raise him from the dead, and then he continued preaching. That just sounds like something Elder Richards would do. It also put a lot of pieces together for me when he explained the relationship of Paul and Peter. Peter although not as sophisticated or well spoken as Paul, still in charge.
I appreciated Professor Walker giving of his time to our class. I did gain a greater understanding of the New Testament in general, especially acts.