|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:25-30 Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples, that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were called Christians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower of Christ; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief care to shape his life by Christ's precepts and example. Hence it is plain that multitudes take the name of Christian to whom it does not rightly belong. But the name without the reality will only add to our guilt. While the bare profession will bestow neither profit nor delight, the possession of it will give both the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Grant, Lord, that Christians may forget other names and distinctions, and love one another as the followers of Christ ought to do. True Christians will feel for their brethren under afflictions. Thus will fruit be brought forth to the praise and glory of God. If all mankind were true Christians, how cheerfully would they help one another! The whole earth would be like one large family, every member of which would strive to be dutiful and kind.
Verse 25. - And he went forth for then departed Barnabas, A.V. and T.R.; to seek for, for for to seek, A.V. Observe the remarkable providence which had made use of the violence of the Hellenist Jews at Jerusalem to drive Saul to Tarsus, where he would be close at hand to take up the work so unexpectedly prepared for him at Antioch. "It was in the spring of the year A.D. , or just ten years after the Crucifixion, that Barnabas proceeded to Tarsus, found Saul, and brought him to Antioch" (Lewin, 1:96). From Seleucia to the port of Tarsus would be about a twelve hours' sail; or, by land, a journey of about eighty miles would bring him to Tarsus from Antioch.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus,.... "In Cilicia" to seek Saul; who had been sent thither by the brethren that he might escape the rage of the Grecians, who sought to slay him, Acts 9:29.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ac 11:25, 26. Barnabas, Finding the Work in Antioch Too Much for Him, Goes to Tarsus for Saul—They Labor There Together for a Whole Year with Much Success, and Antioch Becomes the Honored Birthplace of the Term Christian.
25. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus for to seek Saul—Of course, this was after the hasty despatch of Saul to Tarsus, no doubt by Barnabas himself among others, to escape the fury of the Jews at Jerusalem. And as Barnabas was the first to take the converted persecutor by the hand and procure his recognition as a disciple by the brethren at Jerusalem (Ac 9:27), so he alone seems at that early period to have discerned in him those peculiar endowments by virtue of which he was afterwards to eclipse all others. Accordingly, instead of returning to Jerusalem, to which, no doubt, he sent accounts of his proceedings from time to time, finding that the mine in Antioch was rich in promise and required an additional and powerful hand to work, he leaves it for a time, takes a journey to Tarsus, "finds Saul" (seemingly implying—not that he lay hid [Bengel], but that he was engaged at the time in some preaching circuit—see on Ac 15:23), and returns with him to Antioch. Nor were his hopes disappointed. As co-pastors, for the time being, of the Church there, they so labored that the Gospel, even in that great and many-sided community, achieved for itself a name which will live and be gloried in as long as this world lasts, as the symbol of all that is most precious to the fallen family of man:—"The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." This name originated not within, but without, the Church; not with their Jewish enemies, by whom they were styled "Nazarenes" (Ac 24:5), but with the heathen in Antioch, and (as the form of the word shows) with the Romans, not the Greeks there [Olshausen]. It was not at first used in a good sense (as Ac 26:28; 1Pe 4:16 show), though hardly framed out of contempt (as De Wette, Baumgarten, &c.); but as it was a noble testimony to the light in which the Church regarded Christ—honoring Him as their only Lord and Saviour, dwelling continually on His name, and glorying in it—so it was felt to be too apposite and beautiful to be allowed to die.
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