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.
Given the difficulty in choosing either of the traditional understandings indicated above9, I would propose a third option. It has to do with both grammar and sense. First, grammar. The Grammar of Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich observes, At times dia/ w. gen. seems to have causal mng.10. Examples are given: from Romans (8,3) and 2 Corinthians (9,13)11. So we do find this usage of dia/ with the genitive in the New Testament; it is an admittedly rare usage, and not found in Luke-Acts. Yet, rare as it is, it does exist, and so can be, grammatically speaking, a possible reading here.
The sense of this usage of the preposition presents a two-fold question. First, what does dia_ pneu/matoj a(gi/ou modify? I would apply it to the ou$j e)cele/cato clause, which indicates that Jesus chose his apostles because of the Holy Spirit.
Second, what would be the meaning of this reading? Luke had concluded his resurrection chapter with a look to the future, to the gift of the Holy Spirit from my Father, to be received soon in Jerusalem. It is a gift to be sent upon you. You are witnesses of these things. As for you, you stay... The reader looks forward to the apostles reception of this promise.
Once Luke begins his second volume, logically he refers first to his first volume, then in particular to the deeds and teachings of Jesus recounted therein, and finally to the last-mentioned item of that volume: the day of Jesus being taken up. But as he prepares his reader for this second volume, he also notes, in the present understanding of the text, that the apostles were chosen because of the Holy Spirit. That is, they were chosen then to be given soon now the Holy Spirit. Of this choice, and its purpose, Luke explicitly reminds his reader12. And in a manner typical of Luke, he three times, at the beginning of Acts, brings to the readers attention, in a short space of time, this coming of the Spirit upon the apostles: vv. 2, 5 and 8.
Thus, instead of asking the reader to think that Jesus had been under the influence of the Spirit when he chose his disciples at Luke 6,12-16, or even to think that his giving orders at Luke 24,49 was under the inspiration of the Spirit, Luke, I suggest, is asking his reader to recall, at Acts 1,2, one of the