|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:8-18 All things are possible to those that believe. When we have faith, that most precious gift of God, we shall be delivered from the spiritual helplessness in which we were born, and from the dominion of sinful habits since formed; we shall be made able to stand upright and walk cheerfully in the ways of the Lord. When Christ, the Son of God, appeared in the likeness of men, and did many miracles, men were so far from doing sacrifice to him, that they made him a sacrifice to their pride and malice; but Paul and Barnabas, upon their working one miracle, were treated as gods. The same power of the god of this world, which closes the carnal mind against truth, makes errors and mistakes find easy admission. We do not learn that they rent their clothes when the people spake of stoning them; but when they spake of worshipping them; they could not bear it, being more concerned for God's honour than their own. God's truth needs not the services of man's falsehood. The servants of God might easily obtain undue honours if they would wink at men's errors and vices; but they must dread and detest such respect more than any reproach. When the apostles preached to the Jews, who hated idolatry, they had only to preach the grace of God in Christ; but when they had to do with the Gentiles, they must set right their mistakes in natural religion. Compare their conduct and declaration with the false opinions of those who think the worship of a God, under any name, or in any manner, is equally acceptable to the Lord Almighty. The most powerful arguments, the most earnest and affectionate addresses, even with miracles, are scarcely enough to keep men from absurdities and abominations; much less can they, without special grace, turn the hearts of sinners to God and to holiness.
Verse 17. - And yet for nevertheless, A.V.; you from heaven rains for us rain from hearer, A.V. and T.R.; your for our, A.V. and T.R. Observe how the apostle adapts his preaching to his hearers. How different this address to the heathen Lycaonians from those to Jews and proselytes! Here he leads them from nature to God; there from prophecy to Jesus.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Nevertheless, he left not himself without witness,.... Of his kindness and goodness to them, during this long interval and period of time; for they had not the written law, yet they were not destitute of the law of nature; and had, besides, many instances of providential goodness, by which they might have known God: and should have been thankful to him, and glorified him as God, and not have worshipped the idols of their own hands; the goodness of God should have led them to repentance, and not have been abused to so many wicked purposes as it had been:
in that he did good; in a providential way, to persons very undeserving of it, of which some particular instances follow:
and gave us rain from heaven, which none of the gods of the Gentiles could, do, Jeremiah 14:22. So , "the key of rains", is by the Jews (a) said to be one of the keys which God has in his own hands, and which he does not commit to any other: and a wonderful blessing is this to mankind, and which God gives to the just and to the unjust, and did give to the ignorant and idolatrous Gentiles. Beza's most ancient copy, and four other ancient copies of his, and some others, read "you", instead of "us"; which reading seems most agreeable:
and fruitful seasons; spring, summer, harvest, and autumn, at which several times, different fruits of the earth appear:
filling our hearts with food and gladness; giving a sufficiency of food, and even an abundance of it, and that for pleasure and delight, as well as for support and refreshment: the Syriac version reads, "their hearts"; some copies read, "your hearts".
(a) Targum Jerus. in Genesis 30.22. & Jon. in Deuteronomy 28.12.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness—Though the heinousness of idolatry is represented as so much less in the heathen, by how much they were outside the pale of revealed religion, he takes care to add that the heathen have divine "witness" enough to leave them "without excuse."
he did good—scattering His beneficence everywhere and in a thousand forms.
rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons—on which human subsistence and all human enjoyment depend. In Lycaonia, where, as ancient writers attest, rain is peculiarly scarce, this allusion would have all the greater effect.
filling our hearts with food and gladness—a natural colloquialism, the heart being gladdened by the food supplied to the body.
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