Acts 14:21
And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
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(21) And had taught many.—Better, made many disciples. The word is the same as in Matthew 28:19. Among these we may note Gaius, or Caius, afterwards conspicuous as one of St. Paul’s companions (Acts 20:4). The work done implies a stay of, it may be, some months’ duration. During this time the violence of the hostility of the Jews at Antioch and Iconium had probably subsided, and the Apostles could revisit those cities, as they retraced their steps, without any great danger.

Acts 14:21-22. And when they had preached, and taught many — Namely, at Derbe; and, it seems also, in Galatia and Phrygia: see Colossians 4:13. Greek, μαθητευσαντες ικανους, having made many disciples; they returned again to Lystra, &c. — Being doubtless directed so to do by the Spirit; confirming the souls of the disciples — Whom they had converted in their former journey; exhorting them to continue in the faith — With a steadfastness becoming the evidence and importance of it; and testifying that we must through much tribulation — Which will unavoidably lie in our way; enter into the kingdom of God — A kingdom which, however, will amply recompense us for all the sufferings that we shall meet with in our way to it. “The cross was eminently the way to the crown in those days: the Head, says Zanchy, having been crowned with thorns, it is not fit the feet should tread on roses: — an easy way to heaven is a false one.” 14:19-28 See how restless the rage of the Jews was against the gospel of Christ. The people stoned Paul, in a popular tumult. So strong is the bent of the corrupt and carnal heart, that as it is with great difficulty that men are kept back from evil on one side, so it is with great ease they are persuaded to evil on the other side. If Paul would have been Mercury, he might have been worshipped; but if he will be a faithful minister of Christ, he shall be stoned, and thrown out of the city. Thus men who easily submit to strong delusions, hate to receive the truth in the love of it. All who are converted need to be confirmed in the faith; all who are planted need to be rooted. Ministers' work is to establish saints as well as to awaken sinners. The grace of God, and nothing less, effectually establishes the souls of the disciples. It is true, we must count upon much tribulation, but it is encouragement that we shall not be lost and perish in it. The Person to whose power and grace the converts and the newly-established churches are commended, clearly was the Lord Jesus, on whom they had believed. It was an act of worship. The praise of all the little good we do at any time, must be ascribed to God; for it is He who not only worketh in us both to will and to do, but also worketh with us to make what we do successful. All who love the Lord Jesus, will rejoice to hear that he has opened the door of faith wide, to those who were strangers to him and to his salvation. And let us, like the apostles, abide with those who know and love the Lord.Had taught many - Or, rather, had made many disciples (margin).

To Lystra - Acts 14:6.

And to Iconium - Acts 14:1. We have here a remarkable instance of the courage of the apostles. In these very places they had been persecuted and stoned, and yet in the face of danger they ventured to return. The welfare of the infant churches they deemed of more consequence than their own safety; and they threw themselves again into the midst of danger, to comfort and strengthen those just converted to God. There are times when ministers should not count their own lives. dear to them Acts 20:24, but when they should fearlessly throw themselves into the midst of danger, confiding only in the protecting care of their God and Saviour.

21. and when they had preached … to that city and had taught many—rather, "had made many disciples" (Margin); but probably without suffering any persecution, as Derbe is not mentioned along with Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra (2Ti 3:11).

Ac 14:21-28. Paul and Barnabas Retrace Their Steps, Return to Antioch in Syria, and Thus Complete Their First Missionary Journey.

21, 22. they returned … to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls, &c.—At Derbe, Paul was not far from the well-known pass which leads down from the central tableland to Cilicia and Tarsus. But his thoughts did not center in an earthly home. He revisited the places where he had been reviled and persecuted, but where he had left as sheep in the desert the disciples whom his Master had enabled him to gather. They needed building up and strengthening in the faith, comforting in the midst of their inevitable suffering, and fencing round by permanent institutions. Undaunted therefore by the dangers that awaited them, our missionaries return to them, using words of encouragement which none but the founders of a true religion would have ventured to address to their earliest converts, that "we can only enter into the kingdom of God by passing through much tribulation" [Howson].

Had taught many; had made many disciples by teaching, and also by baptizing of them, Matthew 28:19. For as by circumcision they were made Moses’s disciples, so by baptism they are made Christ’s disciples. And when they had preached the Gospel to that city,.... To the inhabitants of it, as they did in every place where they came, even the pure Gospel of Christ, the good news, and glad tidings of life and salvation by him:

and had taught many; or made them disciples, their ministry being blessed to bring many to the faith of Christ:

they returned again to Lystra; where Paul had been stoned:

and to Iconium; where both Jews and Gentiles, and the magistrates of the city, had attempted to use them ill, and to stone them:

and Antioch; that is, in Pisidia, as before; where a persecution was raised against them, and from the coasts of which place they were expelled; so fearless were they of danger, and so zealous to promote the interest of Christ, and the good of souls.

{7} And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

(7) We must go forward in our calling through a thousand deaths.

Acts 14:21. ωὐαγγελ.: continuous preaching, present participle, and the result, many disciples; not “having taught many,” A.V., but “had made many disciples,” R.V., cf. Matthew 28:19. No doubt they pursued the same course as at Lystra, and again we have direct proof that the teaching of the Gospel was not in vain: it is therefore quite unwarrantable to suppose that Paul’s speech at Lystra indicates the powerlessness of the message of the Gospel in contact with deep-rooted heathenism (Bethge); in Acts 14:22-23 we have abundant proof that Paul had not limited his first preaching in Lystra to truths of natural religion, for now on his return the disciples are bidden ἐμμένειν τῇ πίστει, and they are commended to the Lord, εἰς ὃν πεπιστεύκεισαν, “on whom they had believed”. No persecution is mentioned at Lystra, with which cf. 2 Timothy 3:11.—ὑπέστρεψαν: how they were able to do this after they had been recently expelled, cf. Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 70 ff., and McGiffert, Apostolic Age, pp. 190, 191—no permanent disability could be inflicted on them by the magistrates, and the person expelled might return after a little, especially if new magistrates had been appointed in the interim. Moreover, on their return journey the Apostles may have refrained from open and public preaching, and devoted themselves rather to the organisation of the Christian communities. (There is therefore no ground for Hilgenfeld’s and Wendt’s reference of Acts 14:19 to a different source from the verse before us.) At the same time the courage of the Apostle is also noteworthy: “neque enim securum petit, ubi instar emeriti militis otio fruatur, sed etiam repetit loca, in quibus paullo ante male tractatus fuerat,” Calvin.21. and had taught many] Better, “and had made many disciples.” Perhaps “Gaius of Derbe,” whom St Luke mentions as one of Paul’s companions in a subsequent journey (Acts 20:4), may have been one of these. This is the more probable because he is there mentioned in the same clause with Timothy, who undoubtedly was converted by St Paul during this visit to Lycaonia.

they returned again] Going back over the ground which they had travelled before, that they might provide for the spread of that seed of the word which they had imperilled themselves so greatly to sow.Acts 14:21. Ἱκανοὺς) very many.—ὑπέστρεψαν, they returned) with saving power [salutari operâ].Verse 21. - Made many disciples for taught many, A.V.; returned for returned again, A.V.; to Antioch for Antioch, A.V. Made many disciples (μαθητεύσαντες ἱκανοὺς); comp. Matthew 28:19. What admirable constancy thus to run fresh risks to life and limb in order to win souls to Christ! Taught (μαθητεύσαντες)

More correctly, made disciples of, as Rev. See on Matthew 13:52.


See on Luke 7:6.

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