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Bible Commentaries
Acts 13

Contending for the FaithContending for the Faith

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Introduction

This chapter begins the second major division in the book of Acts. The first twelve chapters deal primarily with material pertaining to the Apostle Peter while the remaining chapters deal with the work of the Apostle Paul. It is with eager anticipation that the stage is now set for the narrative of Paul’s first missionary journey.

Verse 1

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers: There is some discussion as to the distinction between "prophets and teachers." McGarvey says prophets "were men who spoke by inspiration" while teachers "sometimes did and sometimes did not" (Vol. II 2) (see notes on 11:27).

as Barnabas: Barnabas is the most prominent man in Antioch; therefore, he is mentioned first in this list (see notes on 4:36).

and Simeon that was called Niger: The name Simeon is very common among the Jews; therefore, it is common to distinguish between them by use of a surname. In this case the surname is Niger, a Latin word meaning "black." This name (Niger) could have been given Simeon in reference to his physical appearance, or it could have simply been that his name is "Black, " which is a very common surname.

and Lucius of Cyrene: Some of the first preachers to come to Antioch are from Cyrene (11:20), an area in north Africa. It is likely that Lucius is one of these men; thus, he is one of the founders of the church at Antioch.

and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch: The literal meaning of the words "which had been brought up with" (suntrophos) is "foster-brother." Vine gives the following definition: "Primarily denotes one nourished or brought up with another" (Vol. II 127). The indication is that Manaen is raised as a close associate (foster-brother) to Herod.

Plumptre gives an interesting comment as to how Manaen and Herod may have become associates:

In the early youth of Herod the Great, his future greatness had been foretold by an Essene prophet of the name of Menahem or Manaen (Jos. Ant. xv. 10.5). When the prediction was fulfilled, he sought to show honour to the prophet. The identity of name makes it probable that the man who now meets us was the son, or grandson, of the Essene, and that Herod had him brought up with Antipas as a mark of his favour (80).

The Herod under consideration is not Herod Agrippa I who died in chapter 12 but rather Herod Antipas the Tetrarch of Galilee. It is this man who is responsible for the death of John the Baptist (Luke 9:7-9). This is the Herod who mocks Jesus before He is crucified (Luke 23:7-12). What a contrast in these two men raised as foster-brothers: the one a valuable leader in the cause of Christ; the other a ruthless enemy of the church of Christ.

and Saul: The great apostle to the Gentiles is listed last, but he will soon show himself to be the greatest New Testament missionary of all times.

Verse 2

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

As they ministered to the Lord: This is a reference to the day-to-day responsibilities of those who would be workers in the Lord’s church.

and fasted: Fasting is commonly employed for various reasons by the early disciples. "For what cause they were fasting just at this time we have no intimation; but from the instruction of the Master on the subject (Matt. ix. 15), we may safely infer that it was in consequence of some affliction which had befallen them" (McGarvey, Vol. II 3).

the Holy Ghost said: It is obvious this direct message from the Holy Spirit is given either to Simon, Lucius, or Manaen, perhaps even to all three.

Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them: The Spirit instructs that Barnabas and Saul are now to begin the work for which they are called. "That God had previously called Saul we are certain (26:16-18). But when the Lord spoke to Barnabas concerning this task we do not know, but that He did we are now assured" (De Welt 172).

It should also be noted when God selects men to carry on evangelism in foreign countries among strange peoples, He sends the most capable men available. He also sends two evangelists for obvious reasons. In the perils that are sure to be encountered, the two men can support and draw strength from each other.

Verse 3

And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them: By taking this action, the church at Antioch, through its leaders, show Barnabas and Saul are given the full fellowship and good will of the whole church. This laying on of hands has nothing to do with the imparting of a spiritual gift; it is evident because Barnabas and Saul already possess miraculous abilities.

The purpose of the fasting, prayer and laying on of hands is clearly indicated in the context: for what they did was doubtless what they were told to do; but what they were told to do was to "separate" the two to the work indicated; and, therefore, fasting, praying and laying on of hands was the method of separating them. This is the ceremony deemed suitable for such a separation by those under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and it follows that on all similar occasions, such as separating a brother to the ministry of the word, or separating one who is already an experienced preacher, as were both Barnabas and Saul, to some new and different field of labor, it is proper for those concerned in the movement to lay hands on him with fasting and prayer (McGarvey, Vol. II 4).

they sent them away: Thus, Barnabas and Saul are sent out by the church of Antioch to begin what will become known as Paul’s first missionary journey.

Verse 4

So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost: It cannot be overemphasized the part that God’s Holy Spirit plays in this initial attempt to take the gospel to the whole world. This is to begin a monumental effort that will literally change the history of the world. It is God’s intent that both Jew and Gentile have an opportunity to hear the gospel.

departed unto Seleucia: "Seleucia is a town near the mouth of the Orontes and the seaport of Antioch. It was built by Seleucus Nicator, ..." (Unger 992).

and from thence they sailed to Cyprus: It should be understood that the Holy Spirit is directing the course of this journey; but it also seems natural, since Cyprus is the birthplace of Barnabas, that he will want to see the gospel proclaimed on his former home island. The gospel has already been preached on Cyprus but only to the Jews (10:19-20) (For additional notes on Cyprus, see 4:36).

Verse 5

And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

And when they were at Salamis: "This was the principal city and seaport of Cyprus. It was situated on the southeast part of the island, and was afterward called Constantia" (Barnes 457).

"Salamis was afterward destroyed by war and earthquakes, and its site is now marked by ruins about four miles north of the modern town Famagosta" (McGarvey, Vol. II 6).

they preached the word of God: Luke’s silence on the success of preaching of the gospel in Salamis speaks volumes. We may assume the efforts of Barnabas and Saul produce no dramatic results.

in the synagogues of the Jews: There are many synagogues on the island of Cyprus attended by the large Jewish population. The disciples often take advantage of the crowds that gather at these places to preach the gospel (see notes on 6:9).

and they had also John to their minister: John Mark is here introduced by Luke as one who volunteers to assist in the work of Barnabas and Saul (see notes on 12:12).

Verse 6

And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus:

And when they had gone through the isle: From the account given here, it appears Luke has little to relate concerning this trip until the disciples reach the western side of the island. The entire distance across the island of Cyprus is about 170 miles while the distance from Salamis to Paphos is about 100 miles.

unto Paphos: This one time glorious city known for its idolatry "is now an insignificant village called Baffa, or Bafo" (McGarvey, Vol. II 7). Barnes describes Paphos as follows:

Paphos was a city at the western extremity of the island. It was the residence of the proconsul, and was distinguished for a splendid temple erected to Venus, who was worshipped throughout the island (457).

they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew: As is usually the case, there is always someone who is willing to step in and do all that he can to hinder the progress of the gospel. In verse 10, Paul describes this renegade Jew as "thou child of the devil and enemy of all righteousness" (see notes on 8:9).

The Greek word translated "sorcerer" is magos. The magi were originally a Median priestly caste, but in later Greek and Roman times the word was used more generally of practitioners of all sorts of magic and quackery (Bruce 264).

The Christian should be aware that God has never approved of those who would practice the black arts (Exodus 22:18; Levitcus 20:6). Such practices as fortune telling, star gazing, horoscopes, Ouija boards, attempts to communicate with the dead, etc., should not be dabbled in by true believers in Jesus Christ. People who claim to be witches, wizards, warlocks, mediums, fortunetellers, etc., should be avoided because they represent this dark side of life God condemns. It is a frightening thing in this modern age to see those supposedly educated, supposedly Christian, people who depend on this sinister practice of black magic for guidance in their lives. Jesus came to dispel darkness, superstition, and ignorance; in spite of this fact, many still prefer to listen to these "children of the devil."

whose name was Bar-jesus: "The word ’Bar’ is Syriac, and means son. Jesus or Joshua, was not an uncommon name among the Jews" (Barnes 457).

Verse 7

Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

Which was with the deputy of the country: It seems this crafty Bar-Jesus has worked himself into the confidence of Sergius Paulus and serves as one of his advisors. This "false prophet" realizes that if Barnabas and Saul have any influence with the proconsul he will be out of a job; therefore, he does all he can to defeat the power of the gospel. This is still the work of false teachers and preachers today; they are tools of the devil who will do all within their power to keep someone from learning the truth!

Sergius Paulus: This man is referred to as the "deputy of the country." The term "deputy" is an old English word that is better rendered "proconsul."

For a long time, modern skeptics contended that Luke here made a mistake in styling Sergius Paulus a proconsul. They alleged he should have been called "governor." ...In the years since the skeptics first assailed the historicity of Luke, coins and inscriptions of this era have been found... Still later, at Soli, a coin with the inscription "Paulus the proconsul" was found; and Luke’s veracity is again affirmed" (Reese 361, 362).

A picture of such a coin may be seen in Conybeare and Howson on page 138.

a prudent man: Vine defines "prudent man" as "a man of understanding" ( Vol. III 229). In opposition to the counsel of the false prophet, Bar-jesus, Sergius Paulus, this "man of understanding, "has the good sense to listen to the word of God.

who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God: It is pure speculation as to the motive behind Sergius Paulus’ desire to hear the message of Barnabas and Saul; but it is the view of this writer that he, like most of the Greeks of his day, just loved to "hear some new thing" (17:21). Regardless of his motivation, he is about to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Verse 8

But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation):"Elymas is the interpretation, not of the name Bar-jesus, but of the word rendered ’the sorcerer.’ It is an Arabic word, and means the same as ’Magus’ " (Barnes 457) (see notes on verse 6).

withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy: It is obvious that Elymas can see that his infamous career will come to an end and he will be exposed for the fake he really is if the proconsul comes under the influence of Barnabas and Saul. What approach Elymas uses to vilify Barnabas and Saul is uncertain; but it is certain it must have been something of the utmost deceit because Saul accuses him of being "full of all subtilty and all mischief" (verse 10).

from the faith: One may be assured Elymas uses all the lies and corrupt methods that his depraved mind can conceive to keep Paulus from accepting "the faith." But is not that the way it usually is? Anytime there is a chance that someone might be on the verge of becoming a Christian, there is always some "child of the devil" (verse 10) who will do his best to hinder his obedience.

Verse 9

Then Saul, (who also is called Paul, ) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

Then Saul, (who also is called Paul): There is much speculation as to the reason Saul begins to use the name Paul at this point in history. Much time and space could be used to examine the various explanations for the name change, but it does not seem practical to do so. Therefore, two reasons will be presented, one simple, the other a bit more fanciful. The reader may take his choice or even choose an explanation of his own.

The apostle to the Gentiles is called by two names. In the history of his life and work among the Jews he is called by his Jewish name Saul; but now that he is beginning his labors among the Roman Gentiles, his Roman name is used from this time on. Luke presents this new name in a remarkable way; the "also" does not mean that the name "Paul" was given now for the first time, but that he had always had it (Boles 202).

And now, from this point of the Apostolical history, Paul appears as the great figure in every picture. Barnabas, henceforward, is always in the background. The great Apostle now enters on his work as the preacher to the Gentiles; and simultaneously with his active occupation of the field in which he was called to labor, his name is suddenly changed. As "Abram" was changed into "Abraham, " when God promised that he would be the "father of many nations; "–as "Simon" was changed into "Peter," when it was said, "On this rock I will build my church; "– so "Saul" is changed into "Paul, " at the moment of his first great victory among the Heathen (Conybeare & Howson 135).

filled with the Holy Ghost: This term indicates that the events here recorded are under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s being "filled with the Holy Ghost" is able to detect the dishonest intentions of Elymas, to rebuke him for the imposter that he is, and to pronounce a divine punishment upon him; all by the miraculous power provided by the Holy Spirit.

set his eyes on him: One can only imagine the piercing look that might be produced by one with the character of Paul coupled with the power of the Holy Spirit. It must have been captivating indeed. Elymas must endure this penetrating stare from Paul for an extended period of time because it is the last thing he will see for "a season" (verse 11).

Verse 10

And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Paul unleashes a rebuke upon Elymas that is truly amazing in its scope. As McGarvey says, Paul perceives here is a man who "was a villain of the deepest dye, fighting against what he knew to be right, and perverting that which he knew to be true" (Vol. II 8). Paul spares no feelings but denounces this man in no uncertain terms.

And said, O full of all subtilty: Paul describes this evil sorcerer as being not just one full of "subtilty" but one "full of ALL subtilty." Vine defines "subtilty" as "guile" (Vol. IV 88). To be "full of guile" indicates one guilty of deceit who knows he is a fraud.

and all mischief: The word rendered "mischief" is used only this one time in the New Testament. Again, Paul does not simply accuse Elymas of being full of mischief but rather "full of ALL mischief." Hervey says the word mischief means, "reckless conduct, villainy, wickedness..." (403).

thou child of the devil: It is the well-known purpose of the devil to oppose the truth and deceive as many as he possibility can. Elymas is attempting to accomplish the same goals as the devil; therefore, Paul rightly refers to him as the offspring of the devil. Satan is here shown to be the father of those practicing deceit and fraud. It should be noted that the modern religious racketeers of the same ilk as Elymas get their impetus from the same source, their father, the devil.

thou enemy of all righteousness: Again, Paul emphasizes that this man is opposed to"all righteousness."Paul has exposed one devoid of any redeeming qualities: he is consumed in guile and villainy.

wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord: Elymas may not realize it, but he is about to have his life of religious villainy curtailed at least "for a season" (verse 11).

Verse 11

And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee: This statement shows the judgment against Elymas is not made by Paul but rather by God Himself.

and thou shalt be blind: The decision of God is that this deceitful opponent of righteousness will be struck blind. This is the only example of a miracle worked by the apostles that brought harm to anyone; and, even at that, the harm is only temporary.

not seeing the sun for a season: How long Elymas remains blind is not known. It surely is enough time for him to meditate upon the power of God in contrast to his fakery and be able to see the difference.

And immediately: Unlike the alleged miracles of today’s miracle workers, the miracles performed by God are "immediate."

there fell on him a mist: Luke’s medical training is evident when he says, "A mist"fell on him. The word rendered "mist" is used only here in the New Testament."... it is a medical term, very common in Hippocrates, (the father of medicine) to express a darkening and dimming of the eyes by cataract or other disease" (Hervey 403).

and a darkness: As a cloud might darken the sun, so the mist darkens the vision of Elymas.

and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand: This new experience of being blind must have had an humbling effect upon this one who is guilty of leading others into darkness. Now he gropes about for someone to lead him."The tense of the verb (’he was seeking’) seems to imply that he sought and did not find help" (Reese 364). Hopefully Elymas’ blindness will help him to see!

Verse 12

Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed: There is some discussion as to whether Paulus simply "believed" Elymas is an imposter, having been exposed by the Apostle Paul, or whether "believed" indicates he obeys the gospel and becomes a Christian. One would prefer to think that Paulus does believe and does obey the gospel, but Luke does not clearly resolve the question, so we are left in indecision.

being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord: The preaching of the word of God and its confirmation by working a miracle have the desired effects upon Paulus. He now comes into the grip of the gospel of Christ. As stated above, it is unclear whether he obeys. Although Elymas is temporarily suffering for his unrighteous life, even he is given the opportunity to repent.

Verse 13

Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

Now when Paul and his company: It is apparent that Paul has become the central figure in Luke’s record. Barnabas, Mark, and others who may have accompanied Paul are referred to as "his company."

loosed from Paphos: See notes on verse 6.

they came to Perga in Pamphylia: The disciples leave Cyprus and sail in a northwesterly direction, a distance of 170 miles, reaching the coast of Asia Minor at the province of Pamphylia. Pamphylia, in Bible days, was surrounded by Pisidia on the north, Cilicia on the east, Phrygia on the west, and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. Today it would be located in the modern country of Turkey.

Perga was the capital of Pamphylia, located on the river Cestrus, about seven miles from its mouth... The site is now called by the Turks Eski–Kalesi. It was celebrated for the worship of Artemis (Diana), whose temple stood on a hill outside the town (Unger 844).

and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem: Here is a most interesting statement that surely tweaks the curiosity of Bible scholars. Why does John Mark depart the company of Paul in the midst of this missionary journey? Coffman surmises the reason John leaves is "due to his resentment of Paul’s replacing his uncle Barnabas as the leading missionary" (258-259). Howson suggests that John is a coward afraid to face the "perils of robbers" found in the mountains. "As he looked up from Perga to the Gentile mountains, his heart failed him... The lawless and marauding habits of the population of those mountains... were notorious in all parts of ancient history" (Conybeare and Howson 145). Regardless of the motivation for John Mark’s abandoning the mission, it is not well received by Paul. Paul refuses to take John Mark on the next journey (15:36-41).

Verse 14

But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

But when they departed from Perga: Luke makes no mention of any events that may have transpired in Perga; therefore, because of the silence of the scriptures, one is left to wonder what happened there.

they came to Antioch in Pisidia: Leaving Perga, Paul and company travel north about one hundred miles to Antioch in Pisidia. This is a very dangerous trip because of the hazards of mountain travel and the presence of notorious robbers, but one is left to follow in silence as Luke gives no record of the journey. Antioch in Pisidia is not to be confused with Antioch in Syria.

Antioch in Pisidia, founded by Seleucus I Nicator (312–280 B.C.), was a commercial center commanding the great trade route between Ephesus and the Cilician Gates. ... The ruins of Pisidian Antioch are in the vicinity of the modern Turkish town of Yalovach (Unger 69).

and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down: Paul’s primary thrust is to take the gospel to the Gentiles, but he never lets any opportunity pass to preach to the Jews. Since the synagogue is the gathering place for the Jews on the sabbath (Saturday, the seventh day), it is here that Paul takes his seat and patiently waits for an opportunity to address the audience. (For additional notes on the "synagogue, " see notes on 6:9).

Because Paul often meets in the synagogue on the sabbath, there are those who would try to make him a "Sabbatarian" and bind the seventh day (Saturday) as the appointed day for the assembly of the saints in the New Testament. This is an erroneous conclusion. The "first day of the week" (Sunday) is the appointed day for the assembly of Christians (20:7). Paul met in the synagogue on the sabbath simply because that is where he could find the Jews assembled.

Verse 15

And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

And after the reading of the law and the prophets: Luke here provides a brief description of a portion of the services conducted in the synagogue. Reese gives more information in the following description of the order of services in the synagogues (386-387):

1. The recitation of the Shema. This was a confession of God’s unity consisting of passages from Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:13-21, Numbers 15:37-41.

2. Prayers. The most important prayers were the Shemoneh esreh, "eighteen eulogies, " a cycle of 18 prayers.

3. The reading of the Law and Prophets. After the prayers, the parasaah, i.e., the pericope from the Law for that Sabbath, was read, and the interpreter translated verse by verse into Aramaic (or into whatever was the native language of the worshippers).

4. The sermon. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the sermon followed ... Anyone in the congregation might be asked by the ruler to preach, or might ask the ruler for permission to preach.

5. The benediction. After the sermon a benediction was pronounced (by one of the elders or the ruler), and the congregation answered "Amen."

the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on: Here is a ready-made opportunity for the Apostle Paul. He is invited to address the congregation. There is some speculation as to how Paul receives the invitation to speak. Plumptre suggests the "elders apparently saw strangers taking the position of teachers" (83), that is, Paul and Barnabas are sitting in the seats reserved for the Rabbis (teachers); while McGarvey says, "... they took pains, before the service began, to introduce themselves to the rulers, and ask the privilege of addressing the audience ere it should be dismissed" (Vol. II 13).

Verse 16

Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.

Then Paul stood up: It seems to be customary for the Jews to sit while speaking (Luke 4:20), but Paul evidently prefers the custom of standing to speak as done by the Greeks and Romans (17:22).

and beckoning with his hand said: This statement provides two ideas that are noteworthy. First, it provides evidence that Luke is definitely one of Paul’s "company" as he is an eyewitness to this gesture made by Paul. Secondly, the use of this particular hand movement is understood to call for silence and the attention of the audience (12:17; 19:33; 21:40; 26:1).

Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience: Here begins the first recorded sermon of the Apostle Paul. He starts by addressing all those who are gathered in the synagogue. "Men of Israel" refers to the devout Jews while "ye that fear God" is in reference to those "of heathen origin, and had not become proselytes in the full sense of the term, but were known as the so-called ’proselytes of the gate’" (Plumptre 83). The details of Paul’s sermon will continue through verse 41.

Verse 17

The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.

The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers: The Jews loved to hear their history recited, especially how God chose them as a peculiar people and favored them through the years of their glory (Deuteronomy 7:6-7). Paul begins his sermon in this way not only to gain the favorable attention of his audience but also to lay the foundation for preaching Jesus to them. The phrase "chose our fathers" has reference to the calling of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be the forefathers of Israel (see notes on 7:8).

Here is an amazing circumstance: Paul begins his sermon by following the same basic outline as used by Stephen in chapter seven. One must wonder if the words Paul now preaches must have struck some tender chords on his own heart as the haunting words of Stephen are recalled by the very one who guarded the clothes of those who stoned Stephen to death (7:58).

and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt: Even while slaves to Egypt, the people of Israel enjoyed the blessings of God. Stephen says, they "grew and multiplied" (7:17). God never forgot his people but rather in due time delivered them from Egypt.

and with an high arm brought he them out of it: Barnes supplies the following comments on "with an high arm":

The expression "an high arm" denotes great power. The arm denotes strength, as that by which we perform anything. A high arm, an arm lifted up, or stretched out, denotes that strength exerted to the utmost. The children of Israel are represented as having been delivered with an outstretched arm, (Deuteronomy 26:8; Exodus 6:6; )(Barnes 459).

Verse 18

And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.

And about the time of forty years: The "forty years" is a reference to the time the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness (Exodus 16:35).

suffered he their manners in the wilderness: There is some discussion concerning the meaning of the word "suffered" as to whether Paul is saying that God "tolerated" the manners of Israel (their murmuring and rebellion) or if it means that God "nursed" or "sustained" them. The reason for the discussion lies in the fact that "some manuscripts read ’to bear with’ (etropophoresin) rather than ’he sustained, or nourished’ (etrophophoresin)" (Reese 368). In the context of Paul’s sermon, he is emphasizing the patience and care of God; therefore, the preferable translation is that God cared for Israel as a nursing father would bear his child.

Verse 19

And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.

And when he had destroyed seven nations: In the conquest of the land of Canaan, God gives Israel victories over "seven nations greater and mightier" than they are (Deuteronomy 7:1). The seven nations that fall before Israel are the Hittites, the Gergashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

in the land of Chanaan: The land of Canaan is the name given to the entire area known to Israel as the "promised land."

he divided their land to them by lot: Upon subduing the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, the Israelites received their inheritance. Because of the care of a benevolent God, the dream of Israel, the promised land, has been realized.

Verse 20

And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.

There is much discussion on the exact chronology of the events here listed. The difficulty arises in the attempt to determine the exact period of Jewish history that is covered. The King James Version indicates this "four hundred fifty years" is the time the various judges ruled Israel. If this is the case, it should be understood that the rule of some of these judges is contemporaneous. Other versions, such as the American Standard Version, place the phrase "four hundred fifty years" in verse 19, thus designating this as the time of the wandering in the wilderness, the conquest of Canaan, and the distribution of the land during the rule of the judges. Regardless of the time period here intended, one can rest assured that Paul makes no mistake about his chronology. Also, there seems to have been no problem in his calculations for this audience of Jews who surely would have recognized any discrepancy. In reality the only problem is for us to determine when the "four hundred and fifty years" of Jewish history begins and ends.

Verse 21

And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

And afterward they desired a king: Samuel was the last judge over Israel. When he was old, the people of Israel demanded that he "give them a king" as other nations had (1 Samuel 8:4-7). This was not a rejection of Samuel but rather a rejection of God’s rule over them (1 Samuel 8:7).

and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin: Saul becomes the first king over the people of Israel (1 Samuel 9). The history of Saul as king is a calamity to say the least. He started out very well but ended his reign in disgrace, having to be removed by God.

by the space of forty years: The duration of Saul’s reign is not given in the Old Testament. Paul must have gained this knowledge from the inspiration by which he writes.

Verse 22

And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

And when he had removed him: Because of King Saul’s disobedience to the commands of God to "utterly destroy" the Amalekites, he is "removed" as king of Israel (1 Samuel 15:6-26).

he raised up unto them David to be their king: David is chosen to replace Saul. The record telling how David is selected is found in 1 Samuel 16.

to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will: Samuel told Saul God would choose "a man after His own heart" to be king over Israel (1 Samuel 13:14). In view of the life David lived, it is obvious he committed grievous sins in the eyes of God. In particular, he committed adultery with Bathsheba and eventually murdered her husband, the faithful soldier Uriah (2 Samuel 11:1-27). When convicted of his sins, David was quick to acknowledge them, to repent, and to seek God’s forgiveness. He was a "man after God’s own heart" in the fact that he worked to maintain his relationship with God, he opposed idolatry, and he worked for universal obedience to God among the people of Israel.

Verse 23

Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

Of this man’s seed: Upon the mention of David, who is a very popular character to the Jews, Paul now quickly and skillfully introduces Jesus, "the Son of David" (Matthew 1:1).

hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: Paul has arrived at the purpose of his sermon, to present Jesus, the Son of David, as the promised Messiah. Paul will now begin a systematic proof of the Messiahship of Jesus. The following points will be presented as evidence:

1. The testimony of John the Baptist (24, 25).

2. The prophecies fulfilled in the death of Jesus (26-29).

3. The resurrection of Jesus (30-37).

Verse 24

When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

When John had first preached before his coming: John preached a message of preparation for the Savior. Paul here reminds these Jews of John’s being the forerunner of the Messiah, one who was to"make his paths straight" (Matthew 3:3).

the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel: John’s "baptism of repentance" was to prepare a people to receive Jesus the Messiah (Matthew 3:11). The teaching of John is very much abbreviated here, but it is certain that Paul’s audience is acquainted with John’s message. No Jew could have attended one of the many religious feast days in Jerusalem without having heard of John; therefore, there is no need to elaborate.

Verse 25

And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.

And as John fulfilled his course: John had a special mission to fulfill: to the very end of his ministry, he declares the One who would come after him, Jesus.

he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose: It seems there were some who would have received John as the Messiah. John, in order to avoid this misdirection of attention, declares, "I am not he.""I am not worthy to loose" the sandals of the "ONE" who "cometh after me!" Who could John have been referring to other than Jesus, the Savior?

In his first point to show Jesus as Savior, Paul has used the testimony of John. One can only guess at the reception of his audience, but doubtless there are those who see the truth of Paul’s words. This conclusion seems evident in the following verse.

Verse 26

Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.

This verse seems to indicate a brief break in Paul’s sermon. At this point Paul again calls for the attention of the assembly as he does in verse 16. Paul, being the masterful teacher he is, perhaps recognizes in his audience a lack of attention or perhaps some other distraction; he feels the need to stress the urgency of his message: "The word of this salvation is sent to you."

Verse 27

For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.

Paul now begins his second proof of Jesus as the Messiah, the evidence provided by the prophecies that are fulfilled by the death of Jesus.

For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not: As tactfully as possible, Paul lays the responsibility of the death of Jesus upon "they that dwell at Jerusalem and their rulers." He gives the possible explanation as "because they knew him not." Peter says, "... through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers" (3:17).

nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day: Here Paul cites the reason the Jews do not know Jesus. They do not receive Jesus as the Messiah because of an ignorance of their own prophets. In the Old Testament, there is a multiplicity of prophecies that reveal such detailed information on the coming Messiah that anyone with knowledge of these prophecies should have had no problem in recognizing Jesus. Paul surely must have had pangs of conscience when he makes this accusation of ignorance against his Jewish brethren because he himself was a student of the Law, yet he also failed to recognize Jesus as Messiah. Sadly, the same scenario is being repeated today. Because of a lack of knowledge of God’s word, in this case the New Testament, the majority of the world is going to miss Jesus again!

they have fulfilled them in condemning him: The very prophecies fulfilled by the Jews in the condemnation of Jesus prove His Messiahship. For an example of one of these prophesies, read Isaiah 53.

Verse 28

And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.

And though they found no cause of death in him: Paul continues to build his case for Jesus as Messiah by pointing out that Jesus committed no crime, yet he was put to death.

yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain: It should be remembered that the Jews themselves can put no one to death: they need the consent of the Roman governor. Pilate is very reluctant to pronounce the death sentence upon Jesus "for he knew that for envy they had delivered him" (Matthew 27:18). Upon the demands of the Jews, "let him be crucified, " Pilate "delivered him to be crucified" (Matthew 27:26; Luke 23:14-24).

Verse 29

And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him: When Jesus dies upon the cross, the prophecies of the death of the Messiah have been fulfilled. The Jews should have recognized Jesus as Messiah in the fulfillment of these predictions.

they took him down from the tree: The details of the crucifixion are summarized by Paul with this statement. It is apparent that Paul knows his audience is aware of the proceedings in the death of Jesus. "The apostolic preachers stressed the offense of the cross, ’Cursed is every one that is hanged on a tree’ (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13)" (Coffman 264). (See 5:30 for additional notes on "tree.")

and laid him in a sepulchre:"They ... laid him in a sepulchre."The pronoun "they" refers to "they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers" in verse 27. It seems that both the enemies of Jesus and his friends (Joseph and Nicodemus who actually claimed the body of Jesus and laid it in the tomb) are considered together as players in the"fulfillment of all things" (Matthew 27:59-60; John 19:38-39).

Verse 30

But God raised him from the dead:

Man crucified Jesus, but "God raised him from the dead." The preaching of the glorious resurrection of Jesus is the very heart of Christianity (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Paul, at this verse, begins his third proof of Jesus as Messiah by presenting the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (see notes on 2:23-24).

Verse 31

And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

Paul begins his affirmation of the resurrection of Jesus by the mention of eyewitnesses. Luke says, "... he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days" (1:3). Later Paul records, "... he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto the present" (1 Corinthians 15:6).

It was the absolute certainty of the first-century Christians that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead which motivated the apostolic preachers and gave the faith of our Lord Jesus a sweeping victory throughout the world of that era (Coffman 264).

Verse 32

And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

It is with joy that Paul declares the good news. The promise of a Savior who was made known to "the fathers" is now made a reality to them.

Verse 33

God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children: The promise of a Savior through the lineage of David is now fulfilled by Jesus.

in that he hath raised up Jesus again: Paul has now shown that Jesus is the promised Messiah not only by the predictions of the Old Testament but also by the fact that God raised him from the dead, a fact confirmed by many eyewitnesses.

as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee: One would ordinarily conclude that "this day" is a reference to the day of birth of the person under consideration, but here the reference is to the day of His resurrection (Romans 1:4). This same recognition of Jesus as the "Son of God" has occurred on other occasions. At the time of the baptism of Jesus, the voice of God rang out of heaven with the declaration, "this is my beloved son..." (Matthew 3:17).

Verse 34

And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.

And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption: Jesus truly is the Savior who "ever lives, " having broken the power of death forever: "Death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:54). Unlike the death and resurrection of Lazarus, or of the Shunammite’s son, or Jairus’ daughter, the death and resurrection of Jesus is a final victory over death; "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him" (Romans 6:9). Through the resurrection of Jesus, His faithful followers of today can thank God that the sting of death has been removed and the "victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" is realized (1 Corinthians 15:54-58).

he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David: This passage is a quotation from Isaiah 55:3.

What were the "sure mercies of David" but the "everlasting covenant" of mercy, which was to find fulfillment in One who should be "a leader and commander to the people?" We may well believe the few words quoted recalls to St. Paul and to his hearers the whole of that wonderful chapter which opens with "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters" (Plumptre 85).

Verse 35

Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Wherefore he saith also in another psalm: The "other psalm" is in reference to Psalms 16.

Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption: Here is another example of an Old Testament prophecy foretelling the resurrection of Jesus. Only a resurrection from the dead could prevent the corruption of one in the grave.

Verse 36

For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

This is the same line of reasoning used by the Apostle Peter in his sermon on Pentecost. The logic is since David died and "saw corruption, " the promise was not to David but to "the son of David, " Jesus Christ (see notes on 2:27-30).

Verse 37

But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

This verse is a reiteration of Paul’s strong point: Jesus has to be the promised Messiah because God raises Him from the dead. His body "saw no corruption."

Verse 38

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

Having clinched his argument that Jesus is truly the Savior of the world, Paul now "offers the invitation." The purpose of Jesus’ being born on earth is to "save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).

It is a sad commentary on modern religion that the pulpit has become a soapbox for politics, a crying towel for the social gospel, and a platform for religious racketeers to fleece the willingly ignorant of their money. The singular purpose of the Lord’s church is to present Jesus as the only hope for a lost and dying world.

Verse 39

And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

And by him all that believe are justified from all things: Because of the misconceptions of the denominational world, it is necessary to clarify how one is "justified" by believing. James makes it clear one is not "justified" by believing only or "faith only."

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only (James 2:24).

To be "justified" by believing in Jesus involves obedience to all the commands that are taught as being necessary for salvation. Faith is the motivating factor in salvation. Today one must allow his faith in Jesus to motivate him to obey the necessary steps to salvation. Everyone who believes in Jesus (John 8:24), repents of past sins (Luke 13:3), confesses Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 10:32), and is baptized in water (8:36-39) will receive the "remission of sins" (2:38), which one can receive in no other way. (See 10:43 for more extensive notes.)

"Justified means to be regarded and treated as if they are ’not guilty’. They are pardoned and admitted to the favor of God and treated as if they had not offended" (Reese 376). "All things" has reference not only to the guilt of sin but also to the everlasting penalty of sin, which can be avoided by those who believe.

from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses: This statement surely is a shock to the thinking of this Jewish audience. They have trusted in the teachings of Moses all of their lives, and now they find out that their salvation is dependent not upon the sacrifice of bulls and goats, whose blood could never take away sins; but their salvation is entirely dependent upon the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:1-4).

Verse 40

Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;

After proving Jesus as the Messiah by the testimony of John, by the fulfillment of prophecy by the life and death of Jesus, and through His resurrection, Paul must have perceived the resentment and dissatisfaction of his audience; therefore, he reminds them of the following prophecy.

Verse 41

Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

This quotation is taken from Habakkuk 1:5 and is intended to warn the audience not to reject the precepts of the gospel automatically just because they are a new and startling concept. "The words, ’though one should declare it unto you, ’ imply that the declaration of it would contain such evidence as would make the rejection of it inexcusable" (McGarvey, Vol. II 26). The doctrine of atonement, based upon the punishment of the innocent for the guilty, from a human standpoint is a difficult concept to believe; yet this is the glorious truth upon which man’s salvation hinges. To reject this truth is to perish.

Verse 42

And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.

And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue: There is some discussion on this verse as to which "Jews" left the synagogue first. If one stays strictly with the King James text, the indication is that a portion of the Jews, perhaps the leaders in the synagogue, reject the teaching of Paul and without hesitation leave the assembly. Other manuscripts render "And as they went out" for "when the Jews were gone." Hervey says, "... they means Paul and Barnabas, who went out of the synagogue before the formal dismissal of the congregation; and, as they were going out, received an invitation to repeat their instruction on the next sabboth" (408).

the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath: Regardless of who left the assembly first, a portion of Paul’s audience is interested enough in his message to request more information on the next sabbath.

Verse 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.

Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: When the assembly "was broken up, " some of the Jews and those devout Gentiles whom Paul has addressed twice in his sermon as "ye that fear God" (16, 26) follow after the disciples to hear more of their word.

who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God: The content of the disciple’s continuing message to these people is not given, but one can rest assured this audience is further persuaded of the validity of Jesus as Savior. The fervent interest shown by this crowd is encouraged with the words "to continue in the grace of God, " "an expression which means only that God regarded them with favor, as he does all earnest seekers after truth; and should they continue in it, as the apostles exhorted them, they would soon attain to the remission of sins which he had offered in Christ" (McGarvey, Vol. II 27).

Verse 44

And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

And the next sabbath day: One week from the initial sermon, Paul and Barnabas again make their way to the synagogue to be met by an overwhelming crowd.

came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God: The indication is that the major portion of the population of the city, both Jews and Gentiles, gather in and about the synagogue to hear the "word of God" from these preachers.

Any time the "word of God" enjoys such attention as witnessed here, one can rest assured that Satan, the adversary, is at work to muster his forces in opposition. He is ready to "take away the word" lest it find root in some good heart (Mark 4:15).

Verse 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.

But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy: These Jews have never seen a crowd of this size at the synagogue. This is certainly a blow to their egos. They are used to being the ones who are the dispensers of truth in this city; therefore, they are filled with jealousy at the popularity of these new preachers.

And spake against those things which were spoken by Paul: It must be assumed that Paul and Barnabas continue the theme of the discourse delivered on the first sabbath. They continue to affirm the salvation that can be found only in Christ. One can understand the fierce passion that is stirred up in the Jewish heart by this message. The Jews can see their own religion being superseded by the doctrine of Christ.

contradicting and blaspheming: These indignant Jews do not hesitate to contradict the teaching of Paul and evidently enter into "blasphemy" ("To rail at or revile." Vine, Vol. I 131). Judging from the reaction of Paul and Barnabas, this blasphemy is aimed not only at them but also against the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 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 ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold: It is now time for Paul and Barnabas to wax indignant. In the face of this blasphemous attack, the disciples seem to realize the futility of trying to convince these Jews about Jesus; therefore, they are ready to turn their efforts to a more receptive audience, the Gentiles.

and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: It is the plan of God that the gospel should be offered to the "Jew first" and then to "the Greek" (Romans 1:16).

but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life: It is obvious to Paul that these Jews have rejected the word of God; thus, they have counted themselves "unworthy of everlasting life."

lo, we turn to the Gentiles: These are indeed bold words to speak in a synagogue. The disciples could have said nothing that would incite the Jews more than to say that salvation is now to be offered to these uncircumcised Gentiles! The Jewish mind-set has always been that salvation is reserved for the Jewish nation only.

Verse 47

For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

This is a partial quote from Isaiah 49:6. The entire verse is rendered below to further demonstrate how ignorant the Jews are of their own prophets. It is truly amazing to see the clarity with which this Old Testament scripture plainly teaches it is "too small a thing" to limit salvation to Israel only, but His Servant Messiah, Jesus, would also be a "light to the Gentiles."

And he said, It is too small a thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Verse 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.

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad: One cannot imagine the joy of these Gentiles, who have always been treated as second class human beings by the Jews, to realize they are now equal in the sight of God (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 9:25; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

and glorified the word of the Lord: In contrast to the Jews’ contradicting and blaspheming the word of God, the Gentiles delight in the new and glorious truths just revealed, including them in eternal salvation.

and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed: Herein is an amazing concept. God had a plan in his mind for the salvation of fallen man even before the world was founded. God foreordained (appointed) that those who would listen to and obey His word, thus submitting their will to His will, would receive "eternal life." Here Paul tells us that those Gentiles who had receptive minds and submissive spirits "believed." Perhaps the clearer understanding of "ordained" is as Plumptre says, "as many as were disposed for" (87).

There is no evidence in this verse or any other verse to indicate the doctrine of predestination or election as espoused by Calvin and embraced by many in the denominational world. This false doctrine of predestination holds that certain ones are preordained (elected) to salvation while others are irrevocably preordained to be lost eternally. This doctrine, if true, would eliminate the need to preach the gospel as those who are ordained to be saved would be saved while those ordained to be lost would be lost and neither group could change their eternal destiny!

The inescapable conclusion to this false doctrine is that those who are lost would be lost due to no fault of their own; but because God did not "ordain" (elect) them to salvation, it would be God’s will that they be lost! Dear reader, you need not lose any sleep over such a heresy. There is no specificity in God’s plan in respect to individuals. It is God’s ordained plan to save ALL those who will believe and obey His word (Matthew 7:21; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 5:8-9; 1 John 2:3-4).

Verse 49

And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

Although the Jews reject the gospel, a great many of the Gentiles receive it. The Revised Standard Version renders the word "published" as "spread abroad."

The Apostle Paul was never content to preach the word only in the city visited but the whole region or province in which the city was situated was to hear the word also, and so it was here in Pisidia, as it will be in Asia and other places "the word of the Lord spread abroad throughout the region" (De Welt 184).

Verse 50

But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women: These are the women of high estate, most likely proselytes to the Jewish religion, who are connected with the ranking families of the city. They, being the elite of the social and political order, are less inclined to be interested in Paul’s message than those of a more meager estate. It is entirely possible that the Jews use these "honourable women" to influence the "chief men of the city" who are their husbands.

and the chief men of the city: The chief men are the counter parts of these "honourable women." As is suggested above, it may have been that these men are taking orders from their wives when they mount a general persecution against Paul and Barnabas.

and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts: The Jews of Antioch of Pisidia will no longer suffer the preaching of Jesus; they are finally able to muster the assistance of the general population to oust Paul and Barnabas from their borders.

Verse 51

But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

But they shook off the dust of their feet against them: This symbolic demonstration by the departing apostles is not intended as merely a sign of contempt, nor is it a childish display of resentment. This symbolic shaking "off the dust of their feet" is designed as a solemn "testimony against them." The rejection of God’s chosen messengers is a rejection of God Himself, which will have everlasting consequences.

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11).

and came unto Iconium: The apostles travel about sixty miles southeast of Antioch of Pisidia to the city of Iconium. (For more details on Iconium, see 14:1).

Verse 52

And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

And the disciples were filled with joy: Luke gives one last backward look at the new Christians in Antioch; they "were filled with joy." The reception of the good news of Jesus Christ always produces joy in the hearts of men (8:8; 8:39). Until a man gets his life right in God’s sight, he can never experience true joy.

and with the Holy Ghost: The concept of being "filled with the Holy Ghost, "is not new. It assuredly can be understood that these new disciples receive the "gift of the Holy Spirit" when they obey the gospel and are baptized "for the remission of" sins (2:38). This promise of God’s indwelling Spirit is made to all Christians (2:38-39); but it can also be implied that certain ones also receive miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the apostles’ hands. The exact meaning of this phrase can sometimes be determined by the context. (See 8:15-17 for more extensive notes.) These miraculous abilities were necessary for the furtherance of the church until the New Testament was confirmed and written down.

Christianity is on the march! In spite of the stringent opposition of the Jews, a persecution Paul would later recall in 2 Timothy 3:11, the word of the Lord has made its mark in Antioch. Paul and Barnabas leave in this hostile city a band of joyful believers who now constitute the church of Christ in Antioch of Pisidia!

Bibliographical Information
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on Acts 13". "Contending for the Faith". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ctf/acts-13.html. 1993-2022.
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