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Bible Commentaries
Acts 11

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 2

Acts 11:2 . Διεκρίνοντο , discussed or contended ) i.e. they showed that they had doubts as to that point.

Verse 3

Acts 11:3 . Ἀκροβυστίαν ἔχοντας ) They speak in a kindly tone: they do not call them uncircumcised , but having the foreskin . With this comp. (The sons of Jacob speaking in a conciliatory tone to Shechem and Hamor) Genesis 34:14 , ἀνθρώπῳ ὃς ἔχει ἀκροβυστίαν . εἰσῆλθες και συνέφαγες , thou wentest in and didst eat with ) An accusation heretofore plausible, and that accusation of a grave character and twofold. But Peter had just reasons for going in ; and after he had gone in, he got reasons also for eating with them.

Verse 4

Acts 11:4 . Ἀρξάμενος , beginning ) He began to speak in many words. ἐξετίθετο , expounded ) Peter was not offended at his being questioned, nor did he demand, that he, even without any exposition of his reasons, should be held as superior to all (any) objections being made on the part of his colleagues and all believers. It is not the indication of the best mind or the best cause, along with the Pope or his attendants (hangers-on), to be offended at the question, What art thou doing? Peter answers with mildness, as to a subject which he himself before had not very readily comprehended.

Verse 10

Acts 11:10 . Ἐπὶ τρὶς , three times ) the number of the men who applied to him, viz. three , accorded with this: Acts 11:11 .

Verse 13

Acts 11:13 . Τὸν ἄγγελον , the angel ) He speaks, adding the article, as of an occurrence now very well known to him.

Verse 15

[15. Ἐν τῷ ἄρξασθαί με , as I began ) How great must have been the fulness of Peter’s heart! V. g.]

Verse 16

Acts 11:16 . Ἐμνήσθην , I remembered ) Comp. John 14:26 , as to the Paraclete being about to bring all things to the remembrance of the disciples. In the words of Christ there were the seeds of the whole course of the Gospel.

Verse 17

Acts 11:17 . Τὴν ἴσην , the like ) So 2 Peter 1:1 . They are alike blessed, who have received the Holy Spirit immediately (without the mediation of ordinances) or mediately. ἡμῖν , πιστεύσασιν , unto us who believed , i.e. when we believed ) It was not, saith he, because we had circumcision, but because we had faith, that the Holy Spirit was given to us. ἐγὼ , I ) I, a mere instrument. The brethren had asked only concerning his having taken food with the Gentiles: Peter gives them also a satisfactory account concerning his having conferred baptism on them; and establishes the certainty that he had acted rightly, not only from the Divine command, but also from the event, which had been crowned by the Divine blessing.

Verse 18

Acts 11:18 . Ἐδόξαζον , they glorified ) A sign of firm (entire) assent. ἄραγε , so then ) It was not immediately evident to the Jews, that salvation was about to come also to the Gentiles: now, when it has come to them, the holy admiration of believers is the greater in proportion: ἄραγε , so then , expresses full approbation. This repentance denotes the whole mention of their spiritual state, and is a token and sample of the conversion of all nations. ἔδωκε , has given ) A great gift: ch. Acts 5:31 , note. [(Though it is a matter of joy, not sadness, it is a thing) which truly the world is exceedingly afraid of. V. g.] εἰς ζωὴν , unto life ) For where forgiveness of sins is, there life is. [Ezekiel 18:23 .]

Verse 19

Acts 11:19 . Ἐπὶ Στεφάνῳ , concerning Stephen ) The violence against Stephen was in continuation directed towards others. διῆλθον ἕως , passed on [through] to, travelled as far as ) So too Acts 11:22 . They preached the Gospel also in the nearer places. Φοινίκης , καὶ Κύπρου , καὶ Ἀντιοχείας , to Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch ) Phenice was to the north; Cyprus , to the west; Antioch , to the east. Ἰουδαίοις , to Jews ) Such as were themselves “scattered abroad” [just as these Christian Evangelists, Act 11:19 ].

Verse 20

Acts 11:20 . Κυρηναῖοι , men of Cyrene ) ch. Acts 13:1 , Lucius of Cyrene ; Acts 2:10 , The dwellers in the parts of Libya about Cyrene . These, as well as the Cyprians, were more accustomed to be conversant with Gentiles. Ἕλληνας ) The more common reading is Ἑλληνιστάς . 1 [66] But the Hellenists are opposed to the Hebrews , ch. Acts 6:1 , with which comp. ch. Acts 9:29 . The Greeks are opposed in this place to the Jews , as everywhere. [ Ἰουδαῖοι are either Hebrews or Hellenists : ch. Acts 6:1 . Not. Crit.] Ussher on A. M. 4045 rightly approves of this reading.

[66] 1 This had been preferred by the larger Ed., but both the 2d Ed. margin and the Germ. Vers. answers to the Gnomon. E. B.

Ἑλληνιστάς is the reading of B (judging from the silence of the collators) E. But AD corrected have Ἕλληνας . This seems to be required by the sense: for it was nothing new to preach to Hellenists or Grecian Jews ; but it was a special “grace of God,” taken particular notice of by the Church, ver. 22, 23, that the Gospel should be preached to idolatrous Gentiles . Even Cornelius had been a devout Gentile, or proselyte of the gate; but these converts were made of Greeks , idolaters. Hence the need of the new name, then first given, Christians , to distinguish them altogether from the Jews; whereas before they might seem to have been a mere sect of Judaism. Vulg. has Græcos , but it does not seem to distinguish Hellenists and Hellenes E. and T.

Verse 21

Acts 11:21 . Χεὶρ Κυρίου , the hand of the Lord ) His spiritual power, putting itself forth by the Gospel. So the arm of the Lord , John 12:38 .

Verse 23

Acts 11:23 . Παρεκάλει , exhorted ) The best kind of exhortation , which is stimulated by joy. προθέσει , with stedfast purpose ) ch. Acts 27:13 , “Supposing that they had obtained their purpose .” The contrary is in Hebrews 3:12 , “An evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” προσμένειν , to adhere to, cleave to ) To be converted , is the act: to adhere , is the state.

Verse 24

Acts 11:24 . Ἀγαθὸς καὶ πλήρης Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ πίστεως , a good man and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith ) Galatians 5:22 , “The fruit of the Spirit is love goodness, faith .”

Verse 26

Acts 11:26 . Εὑρὼν , when he had found ) It is probable that Saul had lain hid. ἐνιαυτὸν ὅλον , a whole year ) How very little, in our days, is a year spent without fruit thought of! Many in the present day make not much progress in many years. χρημάτισαι , it came to pass that the disciples were named ) χρηματίζω (viz. με ), reciprocal or neuter, thence also Passive. A remarkable verb, whereby is denoted an appellation received in common use. τοὺς μαθητὰς , the disciples ) inasmuch as their multitude was now a very large one. Χριστιανοὺς , Christians ) Whereas heretofore they had been called Nazarenes and Galileans . The name, Christians [ i.e. adherents of Christ. V. g.], as the name of Christ itself, though noble in itself, was odious in the estimation of those without. Comp. 1 Peter 4:16 .

Verse 28

Acts 11:28 . Ἀναστὰς , having stood up ) in the assembly. ἐσήμαινε , signified ) What, in the case of all other men, natural or political sagacity may foresee, that the Spirit foresees in the case of believers. [This prophecy was a great gain to the brethren in Judea. Never is the indication of things future unattended with its use, where it is laid out to good account. V. g.] μέλλειν ἔσεσθαι , that there was about to be ) A double future.

Verse 29

Acts 11:29 . Μαθητῶν , each of the disciples ) Luke does not say, of the Christians . At the commencement the name, disciples , continued the customary one among themselves: others distinguished them (the same persons) by the name, Christians , especially the more friendly lookers-on. ὥρισαν , determined ) They who determine , the more readily afterwards give effect to their determination: Acts 11:30 . ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ , in Judea ) The bounty of the believers at Antioch very much assured the Jews as to the reality of the conversion of the former.

Verse 30

Acts 11:30 . Πρὸς τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους , to the elders ) [through whose agency it should be distributed to the brethren. V. g.] Therefore the office of the seven deacons, and the community of goods, no longer now were on the same footing as at the beginning: but they were not, however, on the same footing as in our day. Βαρνάβα καὶ Σαύλου , of Barnabas and Saul ) “Here thou seest how they regard as a weighty and serious business this collection for the poor saints: otherwise they would not employ so great personages, and these moreover leaders in the ministry of the word, Paul and Barnabas. So above, in ch. 6, we heard of most influential and spiritual men having been appointed Deacons . So, in 2 Corinthians 8:0 , Paul says that he did not employ in this business any persons except such as were of approved faith. And yet we in our day think it sufficient to commit this so great a business to any persons whatever, from whatever quarter they may present themselves to us.” Justus Jonas.

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Acts 11". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/acts-11.html. 1897.
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