Acts 15:24
Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(24) Certain which went out from us.—The reference is obviously to the teachers (their names are wisely and charitably suppressed) who had appeared at Antioch, as in Acts 15:1. St. John, who was present at the Council (Galatians 2:9), and who, though he took no part in the debate, may well have had a share in drawing up the letter, uses a like mode of speech, “They went out from us, but they were not of us” (1John 2:19).

Subverting your souls.—The Greek verb, literally, turning upside down, implies throwing into a state of excitement and agitation. The Gentiles had been “unsettled” by the teaching of the Judaisers.

And keep the law.—Assuming the Epistle of St. James to have been already written, there is something almost like a touch of irony in his repeating the phrase of James 2:10. The teachers who bade the Gentiles keep the Law were reminded in that Epistle that they, in their servile respect of persons, were breaking the Law deliberately in one point, and were therefore guilty of all. Putting the two passages together, they bring St. James before us as speaking in the very accents of St. Paul, “Thou, therefore, which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?” (Romans 2:21.)

To whom we gave no such commandment.—The word “such” is a needless interpolation. What St. James declares is that the teachers had had no commission of any kind from him. The passage is important as throwing light on the nature of a later claim set up by the same party (Galatians 2:12).

Acts 15:24-27. Forasmuch as we have heard, &c. — The simplicity, weightiness, and conciseness of this letter, are highly observable; that certain which went out from us — That is, pretending to be sent out by us; have troubled you with words — By requiring you to be circumcised and to keep the law; subverting your souls — That is, unsettling your minds; to whom we gave no such commandment — No commission to make use of our names, or teach any such doctrine. It seemed good unto us — After duly considering the matter in a general assembly, called for the purpose; to send chosen men unto you — Men of our own body; with our beloved Barnabas and Paul — Whom we greatly respect, as men that have hazarded their lives — In repeated instances, and with great courage; for the name of our Lord Jesus — Such a testimony as this to the reputation of Paul and Barnabas was by no means a mere compliment, but exceedingly prudent, as it might tend to remove the prejudices conceived against them by the Jewish converts or teachers, who, as appears from many passages of the epistles, endeavoured as much as possible to lessen the character of these apostles. It would also be an evidence of the harmony subsisting between them and those of the circumcision. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas — Men that have heard our debates, and are perfectly acquainted with our judgment and decision. This precaution of sending approved witnesses along with the copy of the decree, which was delivered to Barnabas and Paul, was intended to prevent the zealous and bigoted Judaizers from affirming that the letter did not contain a just account of what was determined by the church. For these chosen men, having assisted at the council, would not only tell the brethren of Antioch the same things by mouth, but attest that it was the unanimous opinion of the whole assembly.

15:22-35 Being warranted to declare themselves directed by the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost, the apostles and disciples were assured that it seemed good unto God the Holy Spirit, as well as to them, to lay upon the converts no other burden than the things before mentioned, which were necessary, either on their own account, or from present circumstances. It was a comfort to hear that carnal ordinances were no longer imposed on them, which perplexed the conscience, but could not purify or pacify it; and that those who troubled their minds were silenced, so that the peace of the church was restored, and that which threatened division was removed. All this was consolation for which they blessed God. Many others were at Antioch. Where many labour in the word and doctrine, yet there may be opportunity for us: the zeal and usefulness of others should stir us up, not lay us asleep.Forasmuch - Since we have heard.

That certain - That some, Acts 15:1.

Have troubled you with words - With doctrines. They have disturbed your minds, and produced contentions.

Subverting your souls - The word used here occurs nowhere else in the New Testament ἀνασκευάζοντες anaskeuazontes. It properly means "to collect together the vessels used in a house the household furniture - for the purpose of removing it." It is applied to marauders, robbers, and enemies who remove and bear off property, thus producing distress, confusion, and disorder. It is thus used in the sense of disturbing or destroying, and here denotes that they "unsettled their minds" - that they produced anxiety, disturbance, and distress by these doctrines about Moses.

To whom we gave no such commandment - They went, therefore, without authority. Self-constituted and self-sent teachers not infrequently produce disturbance and distress. Had the apostles been consulted on this subject, the difficulty would have been avoided. By thus saying that they had not given them a command to teach these things, they practically assured the Gentile converts that they did not approve of the course which those who went from Judea had taken.

24-27. Forasmuch as we have heard that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words—without authority or even knowledge of the church at Jerusalem, though they belonged to it, and probably pretended to represent its views.

subverting your souls—Such strong language is evidently designed to express indignation at this attempt, by an unauthorized party, to bring the whole Christian Church under judicial and legal bondage.

Certain which went out from us; for these false apostles were such as came from Judea, Acts 15:1, that is, from the church there. It is Satan’s great policy to divide, that he may rule; he will have at least one share where there is more than one. No such sad divisions as church divisions, when that some of ourselves preach perverse things, as Acts 20:30.

Have troubled you with words; as if in the professing of Christianity there would be no salvation unless Judaism be embraced, and circumcision admitted. No greater trouble to a considerate mind, than about the concern of salvation, when they say, Where is thy God?

Saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law; these they did well put together; for by circumcision they engaged to the observance of the whole law of Moses; and by the decreeing the omission, that whole law of ceremonies is declared void, and of no effect. What truth and unity build up, discord and error pull down.

Forasmuch as we have heard,.... By the report of Paul and Barnabas, who were sent by the church at Antioch to Jerusalem, to acquaint them with the state of their case:

that certain which went out from us; Acts 15:1

have troubled you with words, or doctrines:

subverting your souls; removing them from the doctrine of grace to another Gospel, and which deserved not the name of a Gospel; and was very destructive to their souls, at least to the peace and com fort of them: this shows what an opinion the apostles, and elders, and members of the church at Jerusalem had of these "judaizing" preachers, and their tenets; they looked upon them as troublers of God's Israel, and upon their doctrines as subversive of spiritual joy and comfort.

Saying, ye must be circumcised and keep the law; the ceremonial law; the Alexandrian copy, and the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions leave out this clause; See Gill on Acts 15:1, Acts 15:5.

to whom we gave no such commandment: it looks as if these "judaizing preachers" not only pretended to be sent out by the apostles, to preach; but that they had particularly this in their instructions from them, that they should insist upon it, that the Gentiles that were received into the churches, should be circumcised, and be obliged to keep the other parts of the ceremonial law, when they had no such orders from them.

{10} Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which {k} went out from us have troubled you with words, {l} subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

(10) The council of Jerusalem concludes that the ones who trouble men's consciences are they who teach us to seek salvation in any other means than in Christ alone, apprehended by faith, no matter where they come from, and whoever they pretend to be the author of their calling.

(k) From our congregation.

(l) A borrowed type of speech taken of those who pull down that which was built up: and it is a very common metaphor in the scriptures, to say the Church is built, for the Church is planted and established.

Acts 15:24. On the similarity of this verse in phraseology to St. Luke’s preface, Luke 1:1, Schwegler, Zeller, Weiss, Friedrich, Hilgenfeld, and others have commented. But, after all, in what does the likeness consist? Simply in the fact that here as there we have ἐπειδή introducing the antecedent clause, and ἔδοξεν the subsequent clause. Friedrich (p. 46) considers this as too striking to be a matter of chance, but strangely he writes each of the two passages as if they commenced with the same word, see below on Acts 15:28ἐπειδήπερ. This word is a curious one, and is only found in Luke 1:1 (not in LXX), but there is no authority for reading it in the passage before us in Acts. Nösgen, Apostelgeschichte, p. 45, refers to instances of a similar formula and phraseology as in use in Jewish writings, cf. Jost, Jüd. Gesch., i., 284.—τινὲς ἐξ ἡμῶν, cf. for the expression Galatians 2:12.—ἐξελ., see critical notes.—ἐτάραξαν ἡμᾶς cf. Galatians 1:7; Galatians 5:10. λόγοις may mean with words only, words without true doctrine.—ἀνασκευάζοντες, “subverting,” A. and R.V.; not in LXX, and only here in N.T., in classical Greek, primarily colligere vasa, to pack up, and so to carry away: or to dismantle a place; to destroy, overthrow, and so trop. as in text—of breaking treaties (Polyb.), of destroying an opponent’s arguments (Arist.). Nösgen and Felten note it amongst the non-Lucan words in the decree, so βάρος, τὸ ἐπάναγκες, διὰ λόγον, ἀπαγγέλλειν, εὖ πράττειν, ἔῤῥωσθε, ἀγαπητός.—οἷς οὐ διεστειλὰμεθα: “to whom we gave no commandment,” R.V., omitting “such,” not in text, and weakens; in Tyndale, Cramner, and Genevan Version; cf. Galatians 2:12, and Acts 21:20; only used once in passive in N.T., Hebrews 12:20, often in LXX in middle voice, meaning to warn, cf. also its meaning in Jdt 11:12 with Mark 5:43, etc.

24. which went out] These words are not represented in the Greek of some MSS., but they seem to give force to the history. The disturbing teachers had come from Jerusalem, but their want of any authority is contrasted strongly with the commission of Judas and Silas (Acts 15:27). The first men went of themselves, the new messengers were the choice of the church.

subverting your souls] In N. T. the verb occurs only here and is not found in the LXX. In classical Greek, it is applied mostly to an entire removal of goods and chattels either by the owners or by a plundering enemy. The devastation wrought in the minds of the Gentile converts through the new teaching is compared to an utter overthrow.

saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law] The oldest authorities omit the Greek of these words, which look somewhat like a marginal explanation that has crept into the text, especially as “to keep the law” is an expansion, though of course a correct one, of the statement made in Acts 15:1, about the teaching that was given. There circumcision alone is mentioned as the point on which disturbance was created.

to whom we gave no such commandment] The insertion of the italic such was made necessary by the presence of the clause “saying, &c.” but if that be omitted, the sentence becomes a more complete disavowal of any connexion with the Judaizing disturbers. ‘To whom we gave no commandment at all.’ So the R. V.

Acts 15:24. Ἐτάραξαν, have troubled) They do not spare those who had introduced the doubts. The same verb occurs, Galatians 5:10, “He that troubleth you,” and concerning the same subject. We ought to observe the simplicity, gravity, and brevity of the epistle.—ἀνασκευάζοντες) A verb never occurring in the LXX., and in the New Testament employed in this passage alone. The Glossary in Pricæus explains it, destroys, καταλύει, ἀνασκευάζει. Hesychius explains ἀνασκευάζειν, as μετατιθέναι. Comp. therefore μετατίθεσθε, ye are removed, Galatians 1:6. [This is a thing which causes immense mischiefs.—V. g.]

Verse 24. - The words in the A.V. and the T.R., saying, Ye must be circumcised and keep the Law, are omitted in the R.T. and the R.V.; commandment for such commandment, A.V. The certain which went out from us are the same as the "certain men" which "came down from Judaea," of ver. 1. The word rendered subverting (ἀνασκευάζοντες) occurs nowhere else in Scripture or in the LXX. It is spoken properly of a person who moves and carries off all the goods and furniture from the house which he is quitting. Hence to "disturb," "throw into confusion, turn upside down," and the like. To whom we gave no commandment. Observe the distinct disavowal by James of having authorized those who went forth from him and the Jerusalem Church to require the circumcision of the Gentiles. The A.V. expresses the meaning most clearly. Acts 15:24Subverting (ἀνασκευάζοντες)

Only here in New Testament, and not found either in the Septuagint or in the Apocrypha. Originally, it means to pack up baggage, and so to carry away; hence, to dismantle or disfurnish. So Thucydides (iv., 116) relates that Brasidas captured Lecythus, and then pulled it down and dismantled it (ἀνασκευάσας). From this comes the more general meaning to lay waste, or ravage. The idea here is that of turning the minds of the Gentile converts upside down; throwing them into confusion like a dismantled house.

We gave no commandment (οὐ διεστειλάμεθα)

The word originally means to put asunder; hence, to distinguish, and so of a commandment or injunction, to distinguish and emphasize it. Therefore implying express orders, and so always in the New Testament, where it is almost uniformly rendered charge. The idea here is, then, "we gave no express injunction on the points which these Judaizers have raised."

Acts 15:24 Interlinear
Acts 15:24 Parallel Texts

Acts 15:24 NIV
Acts 15:24 NLT
Acts 15:24 ESV
Acts 15:24 NASB
Acts 15:24 KJV

Acts 15:24 Bible Apps
Acts 15:24 Parallel
Acts 15:24 Biblia Paralela
Acts 15:24 Chinese Bible
Acts 15:24 French Bible
Acts 15:24 German Bible

Bible Hub

Acts 15:23
Top of Page
Top of Page