John Kilgallen, «`The Apostles Whom He Chose because of the Holy Spirit' A Suggestion Regarding Acts 1,2», Vol. 81 (2000) 414-417
In Acts 1,2 Luke has placed `through the Holy Spirit' between two verb forms, the participle `having given orders' and the verb `he had chosen'; suggestions have been offered over the years as to which of these two verb forms `through the Holy Spirit' is supposed to modify. In this note, there is offered a fresh suggestion to resolve this syntactical problem; moreover, with this suggestion Luke's intention is better clarified.
more3. Undoubtedly, it is always possible that Luke, in a second volume, means to include a detail now which he did not include when he provided the same basic narration at an earlier time. But, after some reflection, one is left with a certain dissatisfaction if one reads Acts 1,2: having given orders under the influence of the Holy Spirit. One simply does not understand that, in the resurrection chapter, Jesus was under the influence of the Spirit when he ordered4 his apostles to stay in the city till you are clothed in power from on high (Luke 24,49).
Again, in the second of the above suggestions, the matter is immediately one of grammar and of sense. No doubt, the phrase dia_ pneu/matoj a(gi/ou can, despite its position5, modify e)cele/cato. But the problem brought against the first opinion can be brought now against this second opinion. In the story of Jesus choosing the Twelve (Luke 6,12-16), there is no reference to the influence of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus. True, he is described at prayer all night6. This detail, coupled with the remarks noted above at Luke 4,14 and 4,18, might justify a later statement, that under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus chose the apostles. But again the conclusion drawn is possible, but little more.
Finally, one more rightly, on the basis of sentence structure, should choose in favor of the second of the two opinions cited above. The reason for this preference is the flow of the sentence7. If, as the first opinion suggests, one links in thought e)nteila/menoj, a)posto/loij and dia_ pneu/matoj a(gi/ou, while all the time keeping the Lucan word-order, one ends up with a very precariously dangling clause ou$j e)cele/cato which appears to be a last-minute addition. Whereas, if one links in thought a)posto/loij, dia_ pneu/matoj a(gi/ou and ou$j e)cele/cato, one has a comfortable thought unit, which gives emphasis to either the third or second of its elements. Luke often shifts forward words he wishes to stress8. It seems more reasonable, from the structural point of view, to read dia_ pneu/matoj a(gi/ou with ou$j e)cele/cato. But given the difficulties noted above regarding this way of reading Acts 1,2, the structural argument helps one only in a small measure.