|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:19-26 Paul ascribed all his success to God, and to God they gave the praise. God had honoured him more than any of the apostles, yet they did not envy him; but on the contrary, glorified the Lord. They could not do more to encourage Paul to go on cheerfully in his work. James and the elders of the church at Jerusalem, asked Paul to gratify the believing Jews, by some compliance with the ceremonial law. They thought it was prudent in him to conform thus far. It was great weakness to be so fond of the shadows, when the substance was come. The religion Paul preached, tended not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. He preached Christ, the end of the law for righteousness, and repentance and faith, in which we are to make great use of the law. The weakness and evil of the human heart strongly appear, when we consider how many, even of the disciples of Christ, had not due regard to the most eminent minister that even lived. Not the excellence of his character, nor the success with which God blessed his labours, could gain their esteem and affection, seeing that he did not render the same respect as themselves to mere ceremonial observances. How watchful should we be against prejudices! The apostles were not free from blame in all they did; and it would be hard to defend Paul from the charge of giving way too much in this matter. It is vain to attempt to court the favour of zealots, or bigots to a party. This compliance of Paul did not answer, for the very thing by which he hoped to pacify the Jews, provoked them, and brought him into trouble. But the all-wise God overruled both their advice and Paul's compliance with it, to serve a better purpose than was intended. It was in vain to think of pleasing men who would be pleased with nothing but the rooting out of Christianity. Integrity and uprightness will be more likely to preserve us than insincere compliances. And it should warn us not to press men to doing what is contrary to their own judgment to oblige us.
Verse 22. - The R.T. omits the clause in the T.R. rendered the multitude must needs come together in the A.V.; they will certainly hear for they will hear, A.V. and T.R. The πάντως, which in the A.V. belongs to the omitted clause, is rendered "certainly" in the R.T.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What is it therefore?.... Is it true or not? or what must be done in this case? what method must be taken to remove these objections, and reconcile the minds of the people? the multitude must needs come together; either the whole church at Jerusalem, or the great confluence of people, even of believing Jews, that were come from all parts thither; there is no hindering of their coming together, to see the apostle, and to hear what he has to say to the objections against him, and complaints of him;
for they will hear that thou art come: this can never be kept a secret, and as soon as they hear it, they will flock in great numbers; they will come open mouthed, and be loud in their complaints, and it will be difficult to pacify them; there is danger in the case, the consequence may be bad; and therefore something must be done, to remove the opinion they had formed of the apostle, and the prejudice they had entertained against him; and therefore what follows is advised to.
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