Acts 14:22
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(22) Confirming the souls of the disciples.—Better, perhaps, strengthening, so as to avoid the more definite associations connected with the other term. In Acts 18:23, the word is so rendered. It is not the same as that used by later writers for the ecclesiastical rite of Confirmation.

Exhorting them to continue in the faith.—The question meets us whether “faith” is used in its subjective sense, the “feeling of trust,” or objectively, as including the main substance of what was believed and taught—“a belief or creed.” That the latter meaning had become established a few years after St. Luke wrote, we see in 1Timothy 5:8; Jude Acts 14:3; Acts 14:20; and on the whole it seems probable that it is so used here.

And that we must through much tribulation.—More accurately, through many tribulations. The use of the first personal pronoun is suggestive. Is St. Luke generalising what he heard from those who had listened to St. Paul, and giving it in their very words? Was he himself one of those listeners? The two had clearly met before we find them both at Troas; and on the supposition suggested in the last question, the apparently casual use of the pronoun would be analogous to what we find afterwards. (See Note on Acts 16:10.) In St. Paul’s latest Epistle to the chosen disciple of Lystra we have a touching reproduction of this teaching. He speaks of the afflictions which came on him at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra, and adds the general truth that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecutions” (2Timothy 3:12).

The kingdom of God.—We may pause to note the occurrence of the familiar phrase and thought of the Gospels in the earliest recorded teaching of St. Paul. In his Epistles it recurs frequently (Romans 14:17; 1Corinthians 4:20; 1Corinthians 6:9; Colossians 4:11; 2Thessalonians 1:5). For him, too, that which was proclaimed was not a theory or an opinion, but an actual kingdom, of which Jesus the Christ was king.

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.Confirming - "strengthening" ἐπιστηρίζοντες epistērizontes. The expression "to confirm" as in some churches a technical signification, denoting "to admit to the full privileges of a Christian by the imposition of hands" (Johnson). It is scarcely necessary to say that the word here refers to no such rite. It has no relation to an imposition of hands, or to the thing which is usually supposed to be denoted by the rite of "confirmation." It means simply that they established, strengthened, made firm, or encouraged by the presentation of truth and by the motives of the gospel. Whether the rite of confirmation, as practiced by some churches, be founded on the authority of the New Testament or not, it is certain that it can receive no support from this passage. The truth was, that these were young converts; that they were surrounded by enemies, and exposed to temptations and to dangers; that they had as yet but a slight acquaintance with the truths of the gospel, and that it was therefore important that they should be further instructed in the truth, and established in the faith of the gospel. This was what Paul and Barnabas returned to accomplish. There is not the slightest evidence that they had not been admitted to the full privileges of the church before; or that any ceremony was now performed in confirming or strengthening them.

The souls - The minds, the hearts, or the disciples themselves.

Disciples - They were as yet scholars, or learners, and the apostles returned to instruct them further in the doctrines of Christ.

And exhorting them ... - Acts 13:43.

In the faith - In the belief of the gospel.

And that we must - καὶ ὅτι δεῖ kai hoti dei. That it is fit or proper that we should. Not that it is fixed by any fatal necessity, but that we are not to expect that it will be otherwise. We are to calculate on it when we become Christians. Why it is proper, or fit, the apostle did not state. But we may remark that it is proper:

(1) Because such is the opposition of the world to pure religion that it cannot be avoided. Of this they had had striking demonstration in Lystra and Iconium.

(2) it is necessary to reclaim us from wandering, and to keep us in the path of duty, Psalm 119:67, Psalm 119:71.

(3) it is necessary to wean us from the world; to keep before our minds the great truth that we have here "no continuing city and no abiding place." Trial here makes us pant for a world of rest. The opposition of sinners makes us desire that world where "the wicked shall cease from troubling," and where there shall be eternal friendship and peace.

(4) when we are persecuted and afflicted, we may remember that it has been the lot of Christians from the beginning. We tread a path that has been watered by the tears of the saints, and rendered sacred by the shedding of the best blood on the earth. The Saviour trod that path; and it is enough that the "disciple be as his master, and the servant as his lord," Matthew 10:24-25.

Through much tribulation - Through many afflictions.

Enter into the kingdom of God - Be saved. Enter into heaven. See the notes on Matthew 3:2.

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].

It is not enough to sow the seed of the word, but it must be watered also, frequent endeavours must be used that it may be fruitful. Thus the apostles return to visit such as they had preached unto; the persecution they had endured, increasing their resolution for God, and their strength from him. Lest they should be offended at what they saw St. Paul had endured, or themselves might be called to endure, they preach unto them the doctrine of the cross, not hiding from them the miseries which in this world the profession of Christ and his truths might bring upon them. God hath indeed dealt all along thus with his people. The troubles which the Israelites met with in the wilderness, in their journey towards an earthly Canaan, did typify the calamities which God’s people will meet with in this world, as they journey towards the heavenly Canaan, or Jerusalem which is above.

Confirming the souls of the disciples,.... Not wicked men in their wickedness, nor self-righteous persons in an opinion of their own righteousness, as sufficient for justification, both being contrary to the nature and tendency of the ministry of the word; the Gospel being a doctrine according to godliness, and a revelation of the righteousness of Christ; but the disciples and followers of Jesus, whom they had already made in those places, these they confirmed in the doctrines of the Gospel, and fortified them against the contradictions and blasphemies of the Jews, and the reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions they met with, by which they might be staggered: they did not confirm the bodies of these disciples, and the health of them, which is the business of the physician to confirm; nor their estates and civil property, to secure and defend which belongs to the civil magistrate; but their souls, their more noble and valuable part, their hearts, which are apt to be unstable; the frames of their hearts, which are precarious, and so as not to be too much depressed when disagreeable, or be too much elated when agreeable, placing too much trust and confidence in them; and also the graces of the Spirit in their hearts, as to act and exercise, as faith, hope, and love; and likewise their judgments and understandings in the truths of the Gospel, in what relates to the love of God; the covenant of grace, the person of Christ, and their interest in them:

and exhorting them to continue in the faith: in the exercise of the grace of faith, and in the doctrine of faith, and in the profession of both, whatever they might meet with on the account thereof, and which they were to expect:

and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God either into a Gospel church state, which is sometimes so called, there being much trouble often attending an entrance into it, both from within, from the corruption and unbelief of the heart, and from without, from the temptations of Satan, and from the revilings and insults of men, and even from friends and relations; or into the heavenly glory, the way to that lying through many tribulations; and which, though a rough, is a right way: so it "must" be, there is a necessity of it, partly on account of the decrees of God, who has appointed afflictions for his people, and them to afflictions; and partly on account of the predictions of Christ, who foretold his disciples, that in the world they should have tribulation; as also, that there might be a conformity to him, that as he the head must, and did suffer many things, and enter into his glory, so must they his members: as well as likewise for the trial and exercise of the several graces of the Spirit, and to make the saints meet for heaven, and to make that the sweeter to them.

{8} Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

(8) It is the office of the ministers, not only to teach, but also to confirm those that are taught, and prepare them for the cross.

Acts 14:22. ἐπιστηρίζοντες: only in Acts, cf. Acts 15:32; Acts 15:41; for the simple verb see Acts 18:23 (W.H[272], R.V.), and Luke 22:32, and six times in St. Paul’s Epistles, frequent in LXX, but not in any similar sense, although for the simple verb cf. Psalm 51:12 (Psalm 50:12ἐμμένειν, Galatians 3:10, Hebrews 8:9, two quotations: in the former, with the simple dative; in the latter, with ἐν; several times in LXX, and with both constructions, cf. Xen., Mem., iv., 4.—τῇ πίστει: subjective or objective, as a feeling of trust, or a belief, a creed? That it was used in the latter sense by St. Paul we cannot doubt, in such passages as Colossians 1:23, 1 Timothy 5:8 (cf. 1 Peter 5:9, Judges 1:3; Judges 1:20), and St. Luke may have used the word in this latter sense in recording the incident. But cf. also Acts 6:7, Acts 13:8, where the word may be used, as perhaps here, in a kind of intermediate stage.—ὅτι, cf. Acts 11:3, Acts 15:1, we have the language of the preachers themselves, but it is precarious to conclude that ἡμᾶς includes the presence of the author of the book, St. Luke himself. The ἡμᾶς may simply mean that the speakers thus associated themselves with their hearers, and drew a general lesson similar to that drawn by St. Paul in 2 Timothy 3:12, as he looked back upon these same sufferings at the close of his life. The teaching thus expressed may have struck deep root in the heart of one of St. Paul’s hearers—why not Timothy?—and have been repeated by him to St. Luke as the Apostle had uttered it; see further in its bearing on the date, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 123. Alford’s note strongly maintains that Luke himself was present, see in loco and also Proleg., pp. 6, 7. On the possibility that the words contain an Agraphon of the Lord see Resch, Agrapha, pp. 148, 278, and cf. Epist. Barn., vii., 11.—θλίψεων, cf. Acts 20:23, quite a Pauline word, not used by Luke at all in his Gospel (five times in Acts), cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:12, and Epist. Barn., u. s. On St. Paul’s reference to “the kingdom of God,” sometimes as future, sometimes as actually present, see Witness of the Epistles, p. 311, note (1892).

[272] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

22. confirming the souls of the disciples] The strengthening indicated by this word is that which Peter was charged to afford to his fellow-disciples. “When thou art converted strengthen thy brethren,” i.e. by warnings and exhortations drawn from thy own trials and thy deliverance from them. We see that this was the purport of St Paul’s charge to the Churches.

and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God] From the use of the pronoun “we” in this sentence some have thought that, although unmentioned, the writer of the Acts was present with Paul and Barnabas in this first missionary journey as well as in the others. St Luke only indicates his presence at Troas and elsewhere in the same manner (Acts 16:10-12, &c.), though in those passages the mention is more conclusive than in the verse before us.

Acts 14:22. Καὶ ὅτι) The same particle occurs in Acts 14:27.—ὃτι, that) This has the effect of both consoling and exhorting.—διὰ, through) This is a sale road.

Verse 22. - Exhorting for and exhorting, A.V.; through many tribulations we must for we must through much tribulation, A.V. St. Paul spoke from his own experience: "In labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft," etc. (2 Corinthians 11:23-27; see too 2 Timothy 3:10-12). It is very touching to see the tender care of the apostles for the young converts, lest they should fall away in time of persecution (see Acts 15:36; 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 5, 8; 1 Peter 5:8-10). Acts 14:22Confirming

See on stablish, 1 Peter 5:10.

Acts 14:22 Interlinear
Acts 14:22 Parallel Texts

Acts 14:22 NIV
Acts 14:22 NLT
Acts 14:22 ESV
Acts 14:22 NASB
Acts 14:22 KJV

Acts 14:22 Bible Apps
Acts 14:22 Parallel
Acts 14:22 Biblia Paralela
Acts 14:22 Chinese Bible
Acts 14:22 French Bible
Acts 14:22 German Bible

Bible Hub

Acts 14:21
Top of Page
Top of Page