Acts 13:14
But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
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(14) They came to Antioch in Pisidia.—The town was one of the many cities built by Seleucus Nicator, and named after his father, Antiochus. It lay on the slopes of Mount Taurus, which the travelers must have crossed, had obtained the “Jus Italicum”—a modified form of Roman citizenship—under Augustus, and had attracted, as the sequel shows, a considerable Jewish population, who had made many proselytes among the Gentiles (Acts 13:42). It lay on the extreme limit of Pisidia, with Phrygia on the west and Lycaonia on the east.

Went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.—The act implied that they were not listeners only, but teachers. (See Notes on Matthew 5:1; Luke 4:20.) They sat as in the seat of the Rabbi, and their doing so was an indication, as the sequel shows, that they asked for permission to address the congregation. It will be remembered that the organisation of the synagogue excluded the sacerdotal element altogether, and that lay-preaching, assuming a sufficient training, was an established practice. It need hardly be said that neither elders nor scribes were necessarily of the tribe of Levi.

Acts 13:14-15. When they departed from Perga — Proceeding in the prosecution of their important work; they came to Antioch in Pisidia — A country to the north of Pamphylia; and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, (Paul making it a point in every place first to offer salvation to the Jews,) and sat down — Among those that were worshipping there. And after the reading of the law and the prophets — The law was read over once every year, a portion of it being appointed for each sabbath; to which was added a lesson taken out of the prophets; the rulers of the synagogue — Having probably some knowledge of the public character which the two celebrated strangers sustained, and being curious to hear from their own mouth that new doctrine which had made so much noise in other places; sent unto them, saying, If ye have any word of exhortation for the people — Any declaration to make which may conduce to their edification; say on — As this is the proper season for doing it. According to the Jewish writers, (see Maimonides on the Talmud,) after public worship was over, any one might make a speech to the people in the synagogue, on any subject which he apprehended might be for their advantage: this, it seems, however, was seldom done without the permission of the rulers, which was thus given to Paul and Barnabas.

13:14-31 When we come together to worship God, we must do it, not only by prayer and praise, but by the reading and hearing of the word of God. The bare reading of the Scriptures in public assemblies is not enough; they should be expounded, and the people exhorted out of them. This is helping people in doing that which is necessary to make the word profitable, to apply it to themselves. Every thing is touched upon in this sermon, which might best prevail with Jews to receive and embrace Christ as the promised Messiah. And every view, however short or faint, of the Lord's dealings with his church, reminds us of his mercy and long-suffering, and of man's ingratitude and perverseness. Paul passes from David to the Son of David, and shows that this Jesus is his promised Seed; a Saviour to do that for them, which the judges of old could not do, to save them from their sins, their worst enemies. When the apostles preached Christ as the Saviour, they were so far from concealing his death, that they always preached Christ crucified. Our complete separation from sin, is represented by our being buried with Christ. But he rose again from the dead, and saw no corruption: this was the great truth to be preached.They came to Antioch in Pisidia - Pisidia was a province of Asia Minor, and was situated north of Pamphylia. Antioch was not in Pisidia, but within the limits of Phrygia; but it belonged to Pisadia, and was called Antioch of Pisidia to distinguish it from Antioch in Syria - Pliny, Nat. Hist., 5, 27; Strabo, 12, p. 577 (Kuinoel; Robinson's Calmet). The city was built by Seleucus, the founder of the Antioch in Syria, and was called after the name of his father, Antiochus. He is said to have built 16 cities of that name ("Life and Epistles of Paul," vol. 1, p. 122).

Went into the synagogue - Though Paul and Barnabas were on a special mission to the Gentiles, yet they availed themselves of every opportunity to offer the gospel to the Jews first.

14. departed from Perga—apparently without making any stay or doing any work: compare the different language of Ac 14:25, and see immediately below.

came to Antioch in Pisidia—usually so called, to distinguish it from Antioch in Syria, from which they had started, though it actually lies in Phrygia, and almost due north from Perga. It was a long journey, and as it lay almost entirely through rugged mountain passes, while "rivers burst out at the base of huge cliffs, or dash down wildly through narrow ravines," it must have been a perilous one. The whole region was, and to this day is, infested by robbers, as ancient history and modern travels abundantly attest; and there can be but little doubt that to this very journey Paul many years after alludes, when he speaks amidst his "journeyings often," of his "perils of rivers" (as the word is), and his "perils of robbers" (2Co 11:26). If this journey were taken in May—and earlier than that the passes would have been blocked up with snow—it would account for their not staying at Perga, whose hot streets are then deserted; "men, women, and children, flocks, herds, camels, and asses, all ascending at the beginning of the hot season from the plains to the cool basin-like hollows on the mountains, moving in the same direction with our missionaries" [Howson].

Antioch in Pisidia; so called to distinguish it from the other Antioch, mentioned in Acts 13:1, which was a city in Syria, as this in Pisidia, next to, or part of, Pamphylia.

Went into the synagogue on the sabbath day; either to join with the Jews in their worship, which was not then unlawful; or to get an opportunity more publicly to preach the gospel unto them: they were no sooner come thither, but they mind that great business they went about.

But when they departed from Perga,.... Where they seemed not to make any long stay; nor is there any account of what they did there; though it is certain here was a church of Christ in after times, and very likely planted by the apostles; for after this Paul and Barnabas preached the word in this place, Acts 14:25 and no doubt with success. In the third century there were martyrs of this church at Perga, which suffered under the Emperor Decius; and in the, fourth century, we read of a famous church in this place, over which Jovinian was bishop or pastor; and in the "fifth" century there was a church here, whose bishop is mentioned in the catalogue of bishops who assisted in the first council at Ephesus; and, in the same century, the church of this place was the metropolitan church of Pamphilia; and, in the "sixth" century, one Epiphanius was bishop of Perga; and, in the "seventh" century, it is spoken of as the metropolitan of Pamphilia; and, in the "eighth" century, we read of Sisinnius as bishop of it (i); so far down can we trace Christianity in this city.

They came to Antioch in Pisidia; so called to distinguish it from Antioch of Syria, from whence they were sent, Acts 13:1 and so this place is called Antioch of Pisidia by Ptolomy (k); and also from another Antioch in Mygdania, before called Nisibis, as Pliny (l) observes, and which is the Antioch in the Apocrypha:

"Afterward departed he in all haste, and returned unto Antiochia, where he found Philip to be master of the city: so he fought against him, and took the city by force.'' (1 Maccabees 6:63)

"Heard that Philip, who was left over the affairs in Antioch, was desperately bent, confounded, intreated the Jews, submitted himself, and sware to all equal conditions, agreed with them, and offered sacrifice, honoured the temple, and dealt kindly with the place,'' (2 Maccabees 13:23)

concerning which Josephus (m) has these words; Nisibis is the name of the country, and in it formerly the Macedonians built Antioch, which they called Mygdonia. Pisidia was a province of Asia; it had Pamphilia on the north, Lycaonia on the east, and Phrygia Pacatiana on the west; and it is mentioned together with Phrygia, Lycaonia, and Pamphilia by Pliny (n): and this Antioch in it, is, by the same writer, called Caesarea (o): his words are, the Pisidians have their seat upon the top (of the valley) formerly called Solymi, whose colony is Caesarea, the same with Antioch. This is the Antioch to which Paul and Barnabas came, when they went from Perga, where were many Jews, and who had a synagogue in it: we read before, in Acts 2:9 of devout Jews that came to Jerusalem, whose native places were Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphilia, to which Pisidia was near: wherefore it follows, and

went into the synagogue on the sabbath day; for though the ceremonial law was abrogated by the death of Christ, it still was observed by the Jews, who had their synagogues open on that day for religious service; wherefore Paul and Barnabas took the opportunity of going in when they were assembled together, in order to preach Christ to them, not having a convenient time on other days:

and sat down: on one of the seats in the synagogue; either as hearers of the law and prophets, which were read every sabbath day in the synagogues; or else to teach the word, expound the Scriptures, and preach the Gospel of Christ, it being usual to sit when this was done; See Gill on Matthew 5:1 and both were true, for they heard a part of the law and prophets read, according to the custom of the Jews; see the following verse, and Acts 15:21 and they also gave a word of exhortation to the people.

(i) Magdeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 3. c. 2. p. 2. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 3, 418. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 7. p. 3, 112, cent. 8. c. 2. p. 4. (k) L. 5. c. 4. (l) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 13. (m) Antiqu. l. 20. c. 3. sect. 3.((n) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 32. & l. 6. c. 34. & Solin Polyhistor. c. 53. & 57. (o) Plin. ib. l. 5. c. 27.

But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in {g} Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

(g) This distinguishes between it, and Antioch which was in Syria.

Acts 13:14. διελθόντες: in this journey northwards to Antioch the Apostles would probably follow the one definite route of commerce between Perga and that city; the natural and easy course would lead them to Adada, now Kara Bavlo, and the dedication there of a church to St. Paul may point to the belief that he had visited the place on his way to Antioch (Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 21, and Zöckler, in loco, who agrees here with Ramsay’s view). Although disagreeing with C. and H. in bringing the Apostles to Adada, Ramsay fully agrees with them in emphasising the dangers of the journey across the Pisidian highlands, and in referring to his travels from Perga across Taurus to Antioch and back his perils of rivers, and perils of robbers, 2 Corinthians 11:26 (see too Wendt, in loco (1899), in agreement with Ramsay, whose instances of the dangers of the way, from the notices of the inscriptions, should be consulted, u. s.).—Ἀντιόχειαν τῆς Πισιδίας, see critical notes. If we adopt with R.V., etc., . τὴν Πισιδίαν = an adjective, τὴν Πισιδικήν, “Pisidian Antioch,” or, as it was also called, Antioch towards Pisidia, or on the side of Pisidia, to distinguish it from Antioch on the Maeander, or Carian Antioch. At this period Antioch did not belong to Pisidia at all (trabo, pp. 557, 569, 577), but later the term Pisidia was widened, and so the expression “Antioch of Pisidia” came into vogue. Ptolemy, v., 4, 11, employs it and so some MSS. in the passage before us; see critical notes, and Ramsay, “Antioch in Pisidia,” in Hastings’ B.D., Church in the Roman Empire, p. 25, and Wendt (1899), in loco; see further on Acts 16:6. On the death of Amyntas, B.C. 25, Antioch became part of the Roman province Galatia, and a little later, some time before 6 B.C., it was made a colonia by Augustus, with Latin rights, and as such it became an administrative and military centre in the protection of the province against the Pisidian robbers in their mountain fortresses, Ramsay, u. s. There can be no doubt that Paul would also find there a considerable Jewish population, as the Jews were trusty supporters of the Seleucid kings, and found a home in many of the cities which they founded.—ἀπὸ τῆς Πέργης: Ramsay supposes that the travellers hurried on from Perga (chief town of Pamphylia on the Cestrus, and an important place of commerce) to Antioch, without any evangelisation on their way, because in Perga the Apostle had been smitten with an attack of malarial fever, which obliged him to seek the higher ground of Antioch. In Galatians 4:13 Ramsay finds a corroboration of this view, a passage in which Paul himself states that an illness occasioned his first preaching to the Churches of Galatia, i.e., of the Roman province Galatia. The suggestion has much to recommend it, see St. Paul, p. 92. McGiffert’s remarks, however, should be consulted in support of the view that the illness overtook the Apostle at Antioch rather than at Perga, Apostolic Age, p. 177, and Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age, i. 275, E.T.—εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν, “to the Jew first,” was Paul’s primary rule, and here amongst those φοβ. τὸν Θεόν he would find, perhaps, the best soil for his labours, cf. Acts 16:14, and also Acts 13:5, Acts 14:1, Acts 16:13, Acts 17:2; Acts 17:10; Acts 17:17, Acts 18:4, Acts 19:8. Against the doubts raised by the Tübingen School as to the historical character of the notice, see especially Wendt, 1888 and 1899 editions. It is inconceivable, as he says, that Paul, who could express himself as in Romans 1:16; Romans 9:32; Romans 10:16; Romans 11:30, should entirely disregard the Jews in his missionary efforts. The notice in Acts 16:13, from a “We-source,” of St. Paul’s first. Sabbath at Philippi enables us to form a correct judgment as to his probable course in other places.—τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν σαβ.; not necessarily the first Sabbath after their arrival; some time may have been spent previously in mission work before a critical event took place, Ramsay, St. Paul, pp. 99, 100.—ἐκάθισαν: the word may mean that they sat down in the seat of the Rabbis, so J. Lightfoot, in loco, as intimating that they expected to be called upon to preach, or we may infer, Acts 13:15, that they were called upon on the present occasion because they were well known in the city as men who claimed to have a message to deliver, and the rulers of the synagogue could invite whom they would, Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, p. 281; Lumby, p. 252, “on the Jewish Manner of reading the Scriptures”.

14. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia] Better, “But they having passed through from Perga, came,” &c. Pisidia lay inland to the N. of Pamphylia, and Antioch was in its extreme northern part, so that the verb “passed through” is very correct, for they crossed the whole district. Dean Howson (Life and Epistles of St Paul, i. 175) suggests that it was perhaps in this journey that St Paul and his companion were exposed to those “perils of robbers” of which he speaks 2 Corinthians 11:26. Pisidia was a mountainous district rising gradually towards the north, and the quotations given by Dr Howson from Xenophon and Strabo shew that there was a great deal of brigand-like life there even in these times, from which Paul and his company may have been in danger.

and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down] Though he is the Apostle of the Gentiles it is ever to the synagogue that St Paul first finds his way. For the law of Moses ought to be a better schoolmaster to bring men to Christ than the law of nature.

Acts 13:14. Ἀντιοχείαν τῆς Πισιδίας, Antioch in Pisidia) a different one from that, concerning which Acts 13:1 speaks.—ἐκάθισαν, they sat) which was the usual posture of hearers. The antithesis is ἀναστὰς, having stood up, Acts 13:16.

Verse 14. - They, passing through from Perga, came for when they departed from Perga they came, A.V.; of for in, A.V.; they went for went, A.V. Traveling due north into the interior for over a hundred miles, they would reach Antioch in Pisidia, now a Roman colony. It would be a difficult and dangerous road, infested with robbers (2 Corinthians 11:26), mountainous, rugged, and passing through an untamed and half-savage population. Pisidia was part of the province of Galatia. The direction of their route was probably determined by the locality of the Jewish populations, which were always their first object, and their door of access to the more pious heathen. Sat down; perhaps, as many think, on the seat of the rabbis - those "chief seats in the synagogues," which our Lord rebukes the scribes for loving (Mark 12:39), but which "Paul as a former Sanhe-drist, and Barnabas as a Levite," had a fair claim to occupy; but more probably on the seats of ordinary worshippers, where, however, the presence of strangers would at once be noticed. Acts 13:14
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