|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-3 What an assemblage was here! In these names we see that the Lord raises up instruments for his work, from various places and stations in life; and zeal for his glory induces men to give up flattering connexions and prospects to promote his cause. It is by the Spirit of Christ that his ministers are made both able and willing for his service, and taken from other cares that would hinder in it. Christ's ministers are to be employed in Christ's work, and, under the Spirit's guidance, to act for the glory of God the Father. They are separated to take pains, and not to take state. A blessing upon Barnabas and Saul in their present undertaking was sought for, and that they might be filled with the Holy Ghost in their work. Whatever means are used, or rules observed, the Holy Ghost alone can fit ministers for their important work, and call them to it.
Verse 3. - Then for and, A.V. It does not follow that the laying on of hands was on the same day. On the contrary, the mention of the fasting again in this verse makes it impossible so to understand it. Doubtless, on receiving this intimation of the Spirit, they fixed a day for the ordination, and prepared for it by fasting and prayer. The ember days of the Church before ordinations are m accordance with this precedent of Holy Scripture. With this departure of Barnabas and Saul commences the second and main part of the Acts of the apostles.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when they had fasted and prayed,.... Not when they had done fasting and praying, at the time the Holy Ghost made an impulse on their minds, to separate two of their brethren to a work they were appointed to; but at another time, which was fixed for that purpose; when they fasted and prayed, not for direction, who they were to set apart and send; for the persons were before pointed out to them, but that they might have every needful gift and qualification for the work, and be succeeded in it:
and laid their hands on them; not as ordaining them, for this was not an ordination; the Apostle Paul particularly was not ordained an apostle by man, but by Jesus Christ; who personally appeared to him, and made and ordained him his minister and apostle; and much less by men inferior to himself, as Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen were; but this was a gesture and ceremony used among the Jews, when they wished any blessing or happiness to attend any persons; and so these prophets, when they separated Paul and Barnabas from their company, and were parting from them, put their hands on them, and wished them all prosperity and success: could this be thought to be an ordination, as it cannot, since both of them were stated and authorized ministers of the word, and one of them an apostle long before this; there might seem some likeness between it and the Jewish ordination of elders, which was done by three (b), as here were Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen; but then this was not done without the land of Israel, as here, nor by imposition of hands (c): now when they had thus prayed for them, and wished them well, they sent them away; to do the work they were called unto; not in an authoritative way, but in a friendly manner they parted with them, and bid them farewell.
(b) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 3.((c) Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. & Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 4. sect. 2, 3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. laid their hands on them—(See on Ac 6:6)—"recommending them to the grace of God for the work which they had to fulfil" (Ac 14:26).
sent them away—with the double call—of the Spirit first, and next of the Church. So clothed, their mission is thus described: "They being sent forth by the Holy Ghost." Have we not here for all time the true principle of appointment to sacred offices?
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