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÷÷ACTS 14

ACTS 14

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4

NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Paul and Barnabas at Iconium At Iconium Ministry in the Iconium Region and Return In Iconium Iconium Evangelism
14:1-7 14:1-7 14:1-7 14:1-4 14:1
14:2
14:3
14:4-7
14:5-7
Paul and Barnabas at Lystra Idolatry at Lystra In Lystra and Derbe Healing of a Cripple
14:8-18 14:8-18 14:8-18 14:8-13 14:8-10
14:11-18
14:14-18
Stoning, Escape to Derbe End of the Mission
14:19-20 14:19-20 14:19-20 14:19-20 14:19-20
The Return to Antioch in Syria Strengthening the Converts The Return to Antioch in Syria
14:21-28 14:21-28 14:21-23 14:21-23 14:21-23
14:24-28 14:24-26 14:24-26
14:27-28 14:27-28

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Third paragraph, etc.

How Does Paul's Mission Relate to Galatians?

A. These two aspects of background material must be dealt with together because two opposing theories of the identities of the recipients affect the dating of the letter. Both theories have logical weight and limited biblical evidence.

B. The two theories

1. The traditional theory that was unanimous until the eighteenth century.

a. It is called the "Northern Galatian Theory."

b. It assumes that "Galatia" refers to the ethnic Galatians of the northern central plateau of Turkey (cf. 1 Pet. 1:1). These ethnic Galatians were Celts (Greek Keltoi or Latin Gall) who invaded this area in the third century b.c. They were called "Gallo-Graecians" to distinguish them from their western European brothers. They were defeated in 230 b.c. by Attalus I, the King of Pergamum. Their geographical influence was limited to northern central Asia Minor or modern Turkey.

c. If this ethnic group is assumed, then the date would be the mid 50's during Paul's second or third missionary journey. Paul's traveling companions would be Silas and Timothy.

d. Some have linked Paul's illness in Gal. 4:13 to malaria. They assert that Paul went north into the highlands to get away from the marshy, malaria-infested, coastal lowlands.

2. The second theory is championed by Sir Wm. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1896.

a. Whereas the traditional theory defined "Galatia" as ethnic, this theory defines it as administrative. It seems that Paul often used Roman provincial names (cf. 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Cor. 1:1; 8:1, etc.) The Roman province of "Galatia" included a larger area than ethnic "Galatia." These ethnic Celts supported Rome very early and were rewarded with more local autonomy and expanded territorial authority. If this large area was known as "Galatia," then it is possible that Paul's first missionary journey to these southern cities of Antioch in Pisidia, Lystra, Derbe and Iconium, recorded in Acts 13-14, is the location of these churches.

b. If one assumes this "Southern Theory," the date would be very early—close to, but before, the "Jerusalem Council" of Acts 15, which addresses the same subject matter as the book of Galatians. The Council occurred in a.d. 48-49 and the letter was probably written during the same period. If this is true, Galatians is the first letter of Paul in our New Testament.

c. Some evidences for the southern Galatian theory

(1) There is no mention of Paul's traveling companions by name, but Barnabas is mentioned three times (cf. Acts 2:1,9,13). This fits the first missionary journey of Paul.

(2) It is mentioned that Titus was not circumcised (cf. Acts 2:1-5). This fits best before the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15.

(3) The mention of Peter (cf. Acts 2:11-14) and the problem of fellowship with Gentiles fits best before the Jerusalem Council.

(4) When the money was taken to Jerusalem several companions of Paul from different areas (cf. Acts 20:4) were listed. None, however, were listed from northern Galatia cities, although we know these ethnic Galatian churches participated (cf. 1 Cor. 16:1).

For a detailed presentation of the different arguments concerning these theories, consult a technical commentary. They each have valid points. At this point in time there is no consensus, but the "Southern Theory" seems to fit all of the facts best.

C. Relationship of Galatians to Acts

1. Paul made five visits to Jerusalem, recorded by Luke in the book of Acts

a. 9:26-30, after his conversion

b. 11:30; 12:25, to bring famine relief from the Gentile churches

c. 15:1-30, the Jerusalem Council

d. 18:22, brief visit

e. 21:15ff., another explanation of Gentile work

2. There are two visits to Jerusalem recorded in Galatians:

a. 1:18, after three years

b. 2:1, after fourteen years

3. It seems most probable that Acts 9:26 is related to Gal. 1:18. Acts 11:30 & 15:1ff. are the setting of unrecorded meetings which are mentioned in Gal. 2:1.

4. There are some differences between the Acts 15 and Gal. 2 accounts but this is probably due to

a. different perspectives

b. different purposes of Luke and Paul

c. the fact that Gal. 2 may have occurred sometime before the meeting described in Acts 15 but in conjunction with it.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

÷ACTS 14:1-7

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: ACTS 14:1-7
 1In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. 2But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. 3Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. 4But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 5And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, 6they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; 7and there they continued to preach the gospel.

14:1 "Iconium" There is a second century non-canonical book known as The Acts of Paul and Thekla, which is reported to be Paul's activities in Iconium. This book possibly contains the only physical descriptions of Paul ever recorded: short, bald, bowlegged, heavy eyebrows, and protruding eyes. It is quite uninspired and yet reflects the impact that the Apostle Paul had in this region of Asia Minor. Most of this area was in the Roman Province of Galatia.

▣ "entered the synagogue" This was Paul and Barnabas' regular pattern. These hearers, both Jews and Greeks, would be familiar with the OT prophecies and promises.

▣ "a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks" This phrase shows the purpose of Acts. The gospel is spreading vigorously among various people groups. The implications of the OT promises to all humanity (cf. Gen. 3:15; 12:3) are now being realized. See Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan

For "believe" see Special Topic: Faith, Believe, or Trust

These summary statements relating to the rapid growth of the church are characteristic of Luke's writings.

14:2 "the Jews who disbelieved" Salvation is characterized by "believed" (cf. Acts 14:1), spiritual blindness and recalcitrance is characterized by "disobedience" or "disbelief." The refusal to respond to the gospel dooms one to blindness and lostness!

Luke documents the virulent antagonism of Jewish unbelief and active persecution. It is their rejection that opens the door of faith to the Gentiles (cf. Romans 9-11).

Special Topic: Jews

▣ "stirred up" This is a common Septuagint verb for rebellion (cf. 1 Sam. 3:12; 22:8; 2 Sam. 18:31; 22:49; 1 Chr. 5:26), but it is used in the NT only in Acts 13:50 and here.

▣ "embittered" This is another common term in the Septuagint to describe evil, oppressive people who mistreat others. Luke uses this term often in Acts (cf. Acts 7:6,19; 12:1; 14:2; 18:10).

14:3 God used the miraculous to confirm His gracious character and the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this new area (cf. Acts 4:29-30; Heb. 2:4).

▣ "speaking boldly" See Special Topic: Boldness

14:4 "But the people of the city were divided" The word of truth always divides (cf. Acts 17:4-5; 19:9; 28:24; Matt. 10:34-36). Some of the Jews in the Synagogue believed, but others became militant against the gospel.

▣ "with the apostles" This refers to both Paul and Barnabas. In this chapter (i.e., Acts 14:4 and 14) is the only time Luke uses this term to refer to anyone except the original Twelve. Barnabas is called an apostle (cf. Acts 14:14). This is also implied in 1 Cor. 9:5-6. This is obviously a wider use of the term "apostle" than the Twelve. James the Just (half brother of Jesus) is called an apostle in Galatians 1:19; Silvanus and Timothy were called apostles in 1 Thess. 1:1 combined with 2:6; Andronicus and Junius (Junia in KJV), are called apostles in Rom. 16:6-7; and Apollos is called an apostle in 1 Cor. 4:6-9.

The twelve Apostles were unique. When they died no one replaced them (except Matthias for Judas, cf. Acts 1). However there is an ongoing gift of apostleship mentioned in 1 Cor, 12:28 and Eph. 4:11. The NT does not provide enough information to describe the functions of this gift.

Special Topic: Send (apostellō)

14:5 "with their rulers" This could refer to the leaders of the city or the leaders of the synagogue. Some early scribes and modern commentators assert two persecutions, (1) Acts 14:2 and (2) Acts 14:5, but the context implies just one.

NASB, NRSV, TEV   "mistreat"
NKJV   "abuse"
NJB   "make attacks"
REB   "maltreat"
Peshitta   "menaced"

The Greek term hubrizō is more intense than "mistreat," possibly "to run riot," or "to commit violent acts." It is very common in the Septuagint. Luke uses this term often in three senses.

  1. insult, Luke 11:45
  2. violent act, Luke 18:32; Acts 14:5
  3. loss of physical property, Acts 27:10,21

▣ "stone" This second descriptive term shows just how violently the opposition planned to attack the believers. Probably the Jewish element chose this specific means because of its OT connection to blasphemy (i.e., Lev. 24:16; John 8:59; 10:31-33).

Special Topic: Stone to Death

14:6 "and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe" Iconium was in Phyrgia. It was close to the boundary of a racially distinct group. This detail shows the historicity of the book of Acts.

14:7 The VERB is a PERIPHRASTIC PERFECT MIDDLE, meaning that they preached again and again. This is the theme of Paul's missionary journeys (cf. Acts 14:21; 16:10). Those who trusted Christ under his preaching also sensed the urgency and mandate to present the gospel to others. This was/is the priority (cf. Matt. 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8)!

÷ACTS 14:8-18

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: ACTS 14:8-18
 8At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother's womb, who had never walked. 9This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, 10said with a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And he leaped up and began to walk. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have become like men and have come down to us." 12And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 15and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; 17and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness." 18Even saying these things, with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.

14:8 "At Lystra" This town was Timothy's home (cf. Acts 16:1). This is a Roman colony established by Augustus in A.D. 6. There was probably no synagogue here, so Paul and Barnabas conducted street preaching.

So that there was no possibility of a trick or deception (cf. Acts 3:2). There are three specific descriptive phrases describing this man'spermanent condition.

  1. no strength in his feet
  2. lame from his mother's womb
  3. had never walked

▣ "no strength" The term adunatos usually means "impossible" or literally "unable" (cf. Luke 18:27; Heb. 6:4,18; 10:4; 11:6), but here Luke uses it like the medical writers in the sense of impotent or weak (cf. Rom. 8:3; 15:1).

It is interesting that Luke, in many ways, parallels Peter's and Paul's ministries. Peter and John heal a lame man in Acts 3:1-10 now so too, do Paul and Barnabas.

14:9 "when he had fixed his gaze on him" Luke uses this phrase often (cf. Acts 3:4; 10:4). See note at Acts 1:10. Paul saw that this man was listening intently. Therefore, he commanded him to stand up and walk (cf. v 10) and he did!

▣ "that he had faith to be made well" This is used in the OT sense of the term "saved," meaning physical deliverance. Notice that Paul's ability to heal was based on the man's faith. This is often, but not exclusively, the case in the NT (cf. Luke 5:20; John 5:5-9). Miracles had several functions:

  1. to show the love of God
  2. to show the power and truth of the gospel
  3. to train and encourage the other believers present

Special Topic: Salvation (OT)

Special Topic: Healing

Special Topic: The Faith

14:11 "in the Lycaonian language" Obviously Paul and Barnabas did not understand what the crowd was saying. This was the indigenous language of the region.

14:12 "calling Barnabas Zeus and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker" A local tradition asserted that the Greek gods often visited humans in human form (cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses 8:626ff). From local inscriptions we learn this was an area where Zeus and Hermes were worshiped (cf. Acts 14:13).

Notice that Barnabas is mentioned first. This is probably because Paul, as the spokesperson, would be understood by these pagans as the equivalent of Hermes (Mercury); the silent Barnabas must then be the high god Zeus (Jupiter).

14:13 "gate" This could refer to the city or, more probably, to the temple of Jupiter (Zeus) which was located just outside the city gate and facing it. It was a time of great confusion and misunderstanding.

14:14 "apostles" See note at Acts 14:4.

▣ "Barnabas" See Special Topic: Barnabas

▣ "tore their robes" This is a Jewish sign of mourning and blasphemy (cf. Matt. 26:65; Mark 14:63). It surely would have communicated even to these pagans that there was a problem.

▣ "rushed out" This is a common term in the Septuagint for "leaping out" or "rushing out," though it is used only here in the NT. Paul and Barnabas sprang up and out into the midst of the crowd.

14:15-17 Here is a summary of Paul's first sermon to pagans. It is much like his sermon on Mars Hill (cf. Acts 17:22-33).

Special Topic: The Kerygma

14:15
NASB, NKJV   "men of the same nature as you"
NRSV   "we are mortals just like you"
TEV   "we ourselves are only human beings like you"
NJB   "We are only human beings, mortal like yourselves"
REB   "We are human beings, just like you"
Peshitta   "We are also ordinary human beings like you"

The term is homoiopathēs, which is a compound of "the same" and "passions." This term is used only here and in James 5:17 in the NT. The locals had thought Paul and Barnabas were gods (homoiōthentes, cf. Acts 14:11), which means "made like" men. Paul uses the same root to denote their common humanity. Luke shows the humility of Paul and Barnabas in contradistinction to Herod Antipas in Acts 12:20-23.

▣ "you should turn from these vain things" The term "vain" means empty, void, non-existent. Paul is directly confronting their superstitious paganism.

▣ "to a living God" This is a play on the term YHWH, which is from the Hebrew VERB "to be" (cf. Exod. 3:14). YHWH is the ever-living, only-living God.

Special Topic: Names for Deity, D.

▣ "who made" This is a quote from Exod. 20:11 or Ps. 146:6. The Hebrew term Elohim (cf. Gen. 1:1) describes God as creator and provider (cf. The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 1, pp. 468-469) as YHWH describes Him as Savior, Redeemer (cf. The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 1, pp. 471-472) and covenant-making God.

Special Topic: Names for Deity, C. and D.

14:16 "In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways" This phrase may be an allusion to Deut. 32:7-8 in which Moses asserts that YHWH establishes the boundaries of the nations. Theologically this affirms God's care and attention to the nations (Gentiles, cf. Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament, pp. 258-259). God desired that they know Him, but the fallenness of humanity caused superstition and idolatry (cf. Rom. 1:18-2:29). However, He continued to pursue them (cf. Acts 14:17).

The Gentile's ignorance of God is contrasted with the Jews' knowledge of God. The irony is that Gentiles respond in mass by faith to the gospel, while Jews respond in mass rejection and persecution toward the gospel (cf. Romans 9-11).

14:17 "He did not leave Himself without witness" This is the concept of natural revelation (cf. Ps. 19:1-6; Rom. 1:19-20; 2:14-15). All humans know something about God from creation and an inner moral witness.

▣ "rains. . .food" The local pagan tradition said that Zeus was the giver of rain and Hermes was the giver of food. Paul, following Deuteronomy 27-29, affirms God's control of nature.

These pagans did not know God so the covenant curses of Deuteronomy are replaced by God's patience (cf. Acts 17:30; Rom. 3:25; 4:15; 5:13). Paul was God's unique choice (apostle to the Gentiles) to reach the nations! Paul uses God's creation and provision through nature (cf. Ps. 145:15-16; 147:8; Jer. 5:24; Jonah 1:9) as his point of contact.

It is interesting that there is nothing of the gospel per se in this sermon summary. One assumes that Paul continued in the same line of reasoning as he did in his Athenian sermon in Acts 17:16-34. One wonders whether Luke got this summary from Paul or possibly Timothy (this was his home).

Special Topic: Natural Resources

14:18 This is an eyewitness detail.

÷ACTS 14:19-23

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: ACTS 14:19-23
 19But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. 21After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." 23When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

14:19 Jewish opposition in the cities where Paul had preached united in recurrent attacks on him (cf. 2 Cor. 4:7-15; 6:3-10; 11:23-30). Notice that the attack was focused on Paul, not Barnabas. Notice also the fickleness of the pagan crowd. Paul and Barnabas are honored as gods one moment and stoned the next!

▣ "they stoned Paul" This was not a resuscitation miracle, but an account of Paul's physical stamina and bravery (cf. Acts 14:20-21). 2 Corinthians 11:25 and Galatians 6:17 also refer to this same event. The stoning planned in Acts 14:5 now became a reality!

Special Topic: Stone to Death

14:20 "while the disciples stood around him" Although it is not specifically stated, I think this was a prayer meeting to which God wondrously responded. Notice how persecution continued to be the mechanism/motivation for the spread of the gospel (i.e., a new city).

14:21 "After they had preached the gospel to that city" This refers to Derbe (cf. Acts 14:20). This city was also in the Lycaonian part of the Roman province of Galatia. This was as far eastward as Paul and Barnabas traveled on this missionary journey.

This city also wonderfully responded to the gospel and many were saved.

Special Topic: The Kerygma

Special Topic: The Gospel

▣ "they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch" Apparently they did not preach publicly on this return visit, but were privately organizing and encouraging the believers (cf. Acts 14:22-23).

14:22 This verse is a summary of Paul's discipleship message. Notice it is focused on (1) perseverance and (2) tribulation. Believers are matured through trials (cf. Rom. 5:3-4; 8:17-18; 1 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 3:12; James 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 4:12-16).

Special Topic: Why Do Christians Suffer?

▣ "strengthening" This term is used several times in the Septuagint in the sense of "to cause to rest on" or "to be established." Luke uses this term several times to describe Paul's follow-up discipleship ministry (cf. Acts 14:22; 15:32,41; 18:23).

▣ "the souls of the disciples" The term soul (psuchē) is used in the sense of the person or their mental activities. This is not the Greek concept of every person having an immortal soul, but the Hebrew concept of soul (nephesh, BDB 659, KB 711-713, cf. Gen. 2:7) as a way of referring to a human being (cf. Acts 2:41; 3:23; 7:14; 14:2,22; 15:24; 27:37).

Special Topic: Body and Spirit

▣ "encouraging them to continue in the faith" See Special Topic: The Need to Persevere

Special Topic: Canon (NT)

▣ "the kingdom of God" This is a difficult phrase to interpret. Jesus used it often in connection to His own ministry. However, the Apostles obviously misunderstood its significance (cf. Acts 1:3,6). In Acts it is almost synonymous with the gospel (cf. Acts 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23,31). However, in Acts 14:22 it takes on eschatological implications. It is this "already" (cf. Matt. 12:28; Luke 16:16) vs. "not yet" (cf. Matt. 24:14,30,36-37; 25:30,31; 2 Pet. 1:11) tension which characterizes this age. The Kingdom has come in Jesus Christ (i.e., First Coming), but its consummation is future (i.e., Second Coming).

Special Topic: Kingdom of God

Special Topic: The Second Coming

Special Topic: This Age and the Age to Come

14:23 "they had appointed elders" The term "elders" (presbuteros) is synonymous with the terms "bishop" (episkopos) and "pastors" (poimenos) in the NT (cf. Acts 20:17,28 and Titus 1:5,7; see Special Topic: Elders). The term "elder" has a Jewish background (cf. Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament, pp. 244-246 and Frank Stagg, New Testament Theology, pp. 262-264), while the term "bishop" or "overseer" has a Greek city-state background. There are only two church officers listed in the NT: pastors and deacons (cf. Phil. 1:1).

The term "appoint" can mean "elect by the show of hands" (cf. 2 Cor. 8:19 and Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon, pp. 363, 484). The term is later used of "ordination" by the early church fathers. The real issue is how does "elect by vote" fit this context? A vote by these new churches seems inappropriate (although the church in Jerusalem voted for the Seven in Acts 6 and the church votes to affirm Paul's ministry to the Gentiles in Acts 15).

F. F. Bruce, Answers to Questions, p. 79 says, "originally indicated appointment or election by a show of hands (literally by stretching out the hand), it had lost this specific force by New Testament times and had come to mean simply 'appoint,' no matter by what procedure." One cannot advocate or reject an ecclesiastical polity by the use of this term in the NT.

Notice that Paul instructs Titus to also appoint "elders" on Crete, but to Timothy in Ephesus Paul says let the church select persons with certain qualifications (cf. 1 Timothy 3). In new areas leaders were appointed, but in established areas leadership traits had a chance to be manifested and be affirmed by the local church.

Notice that Paul's missionary strategy is to establish local churches who will continue the task of evangelism and discipleship in their area (cf. Matt. 28:19-20). This is God's method for reaching the entire world (i.e., local churches)!

▣ "church" See Special Topic: Church (ekklesia)

▣ "having prayed with fasting" This may be purposefully parallel to 13:2-3. Paul had experienced the Spirit's power and direction at Antioch. He continued this same spiritual pattern. They had to prepare themselves for God to reveal His will.

Special Topic: Fasting

▣ "in whom they had believed" This is a PLUPERFECT ACTIVE INDICATIVE which denotes a settled action in past time. These new elders had believed for a period of time and had proved to be faithful exhibiting leadership qualities.

This grammatical construction of eis connected to pisteuō (cf. Acts 10:43) is characteristic of John's writings, but is also present in Paul's (cf. Rom. 10:14; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 1:29) and Peter (cf. 1 Pet. 1:8).

Special Topic: Faith, Believe, or Trust

▣ "they commended them to the Lord" This does not refer to some type of ordination. The same VERB is used in Acts 14:26 of Paul and Barnabas, while in Acts 20:32 for those who were already elders. Ordination is helpful in that it emphasizes the truth that God calls people into leadership roles. It is a negative and unbiblical if it makes a distinction between believers. All believers are called and gifted for ministry (cf. Eph. 4:11-12). There is no clergy-laity distinction in the NT.

Special Topic: Ordination

÷ACTS 14:24-28

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: ACTS 14:24-28
 24They passed through Pisidia and came into Pamphylia. 25When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26From there they sailed to Antioch, from which they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had accomplished. 27When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28And they spent a long time with the disciples.

14:24 The highland province of Pisidia is just north of the coastal province of Pamphylia. Perga was the chief city of the region. Paul apparently only passed through this city earlier (cf. Acts 13:13), but now returned and preached the gospel (cf. Acts 14:25).

14:25 "Attalia" This was the seaport of Perga.

14:26 "sailed to Antioch" They did not return to Cyprus. Barnabas will return after the dispute with Paul over John Mark (cf. Acts 15:36-39).

▣ "they had been commended to the grace of God" The VERB is a PERIPHRASTIC PLUPERFECT PASSIVE. This first missionary journey, initiated and sustained by the Spirit, was a marvelous success.

14:27 "gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done" Notice they were responsible to the church. "Even the Apostle to the Gentiles" reported to a local church (See Special Topic: Church). They also acknowledged who accomplished this great accomplishment—YHWH/Spirit.

They did not report to the leaders (cf. Acts 13:1), but to the congregation and later reported on their mission activity to the congregation in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15:4) and, for that matter, all other congregations along the way (cf. Acts 15:3). I think it was the whole congregation who had laid hands on them and commissioned them on their journey.

▣ "and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles" Paul used this phrase "door of faith" quite often (cf. 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:3; and also notice Rev. 3:8). God opened a door to all humanity in the gospel that no one could close. The full implication of Jesus' words in Acts 1:8 is now being fulfilled.

Special Topic: "Door" in the NT

Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. Outline Paul's first missionary journey by geographical sites.
  2. Outline both of Paul's sermons; to the Jews and to pagans.
  3. How is fasting related to modern Christians?
  4. Why did John Mark quit the missionary team?

 

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