Acts 15:25
It seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Being assembled with one accord.—Literally, being of one mind, unanimously.

To send chosen men unto you.—Literally, to choose men and send them unto you. The men, are, of course, Barsabas and Silas.

With our beloved Barnabas and Paul.—The order in which the names stand is, perhaps, characteristic of the Church of Jerusalem, to whom Barnabas was still the more conspicuous teacher of the two. The way in which the two are named may be taken as illustrating St. Paul’s statement that the “pillars” of the Church of Jerusalem gave to him and Barnabas the “right hand of fellowship” (Galatians 2:9).

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.

25. our beloved Barnabas and Paul—Barnabas is put first here, and in Ac 15:12, on account of his former superior position in the church at Jerusalem (see Ac 9:27; 11:22)—an evidence this that we have the document precisely as written, as also of the credibility of this precious history. With one accord; with one mind, as if they had all but one soul, (they had but one Spirit, the Spirit of truth), as Acts 2:1 Acts 5:12; their unanimity adding great strength to the decree they sent. It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord,.... Or together; in one place, as the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions render it; see Acts 2:1 though certain it is, that as they were in one place, so they were in one mind; and their unanimity was proper to be mentioned, in order to engage a regard to their advice:

to send men chosen unto you; men chosen for this purpose; namely, Judas and Silas:

with our beloved Barnabas and Paul; who are commended thus, partly to express their affection to them; and partly to observe the wisdom of the church at Antioch, in sending two such agreeable persons; and chiefly to testify their approbation of the doctrine and conduct of these two men.

It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 15:25-28. Γενομένοις ὁμοθυμαδόν] after we had become unanimous. Thus it was not a mere majority of voices: “non parum ponderis addit decreto concors sententia,” Grotius. On γίνεσθαι, with an adverb in the sense of a predicate, see Bernhardy, p. 337. Comp. on John 1:15.

Βαρνάβ. κ. Παύλῳ] This order (after chap. 13, almost always inverted) is justly regarded by Bleek as a proof of fidelity to the documentary source. The placing of Barnabas first was very natural to the apostles and to the church in Jerusalem, on the ground of the older apostolic position of the man who in fact first introduced Paul himself to the apostles. Also at Acts 14:14, Acts 15:12, this precedence has its ground in the nature of the circumstances.

ἀνθρώποις κ.τ.λ.] men who have given up (exposed to the danger of death) their soul for the name (for its glorification, Acts 5:41) of our Lord Jesus Christ. παραδ. τὴν ψυχήν (comp. Plat. Prot. p. 312 C), the opposite of θέλειν σῶσαι τ. ψυχήν, Luke 9:24, is not to be identified with τιθέναι τ. ψ., and the two are not to be explained from the Hebrew שׂוּם נֶפֶשׁ (in opposition to Grotius, Kuinoel, Olshausen). See on John 10:11. The purpose of these words of commendation is the attestation of the complete confidence of the assembly in the Christian fidelity, proved by such love to Christ, of the two men who had been sent from Antioch, and who perhaps had been slandered by the Judaistic party as egotistic falsifiers of the gospel.[42] Comp. Grotius.

καὶ αὐτούς κ.τ.λ.] who also themselves, i.e. in person, along with this our written communication, make known the same thing orally (διὰ λόγου, see Raphel, Polyb.).

ἀπαγγέλλ.] stands not for the future (against Grotius, Hammond, Heinrichs, Kuinoel), but realizes as present the time when Judas and Silas deliver the letter and add their oral report.

τὰ αὐτά] namely, what we here inform you of by letter. Neander takes it otherwise: the same, that Barnabas and Paul have preached to you, namely, that faith in the Redeemer, even “without the observance of the law, suffices,” etc. Against this view διὰ λόγου is decisive, by which τὰ αὐτά necessarily retains its reference to what was communicated by letter.

τῷ ἁγίῳ πνεύματι καὶ ἡμῖν] The agreement of the personal activity of the advisers themselves with the illuminating and confirming influence of the Holy Spirit experienced by them when advising.[43] Comp. Acts 5:32. Well does Calovius remark: “Conjungitur causa principalis et ministerialis decreti.” Olshausen supposes that it is equivalent to τῷ ἁγ. πν. ἐν ἡμῖν. Just as arbitrarily and erroneously, Grotius, Piscator, and many others hold that there is here a ἓν διὰ δυοῖν, nobis per Sp. St. Neander: through the Holy Spirit we also (like Paul and Barnabas) have arrived at the perception. To this is opposed ἔδοξε, which, in accordance with Acts 15:22, must necessarily denote the determination of the council, and therefore forbids the reference of the καὶ ἡμῖν to Paul and Barnabas, which reference, at any rate (see before on τὰ αὐτά), is remote from the context.

ἡμῖν] includes, according to Acts 15:22-23, also the church, to which, of course, Bellarmin and other Catholics concede only the consensus tacitus. See, on the contrary, Calovius.

τὰ ἐπάναγκες] the things necessary. Bernhardy, p. 328; Kypke, II. p. 75 f. The conjectural emendations, ἐπʼ ἀνάγκης (Salmasius) and ἐν ἀγάπαις (Bentley), are wholly unnecessary. That ἐπάναγκες (Herod. i. 82; Plat. Pol. vii. p. 536 D, Conv. p. 176 E, Dem. 706. 21) is an adverb, see in Schaefer, ad Dem. App. IV. p. 540 f. The necessity here meant is not a necessity for salvation (Zeller), but a necessity conditioned by the circumstances of the time. See on Acts 15:20 f.

[42] According to Zeller, p. 246, these commendatory words are calculated by the author for his readers, as indeed the whole book is held to be only a letter of commendation for Paul.

[43] Ewald, p. 476, appropriately remarks: “The mention of the Holy Spirit, ver. 28, is the most primitive Christian thing imaginable.”Acts 15:25. γενομ. ὁμοθυμαδόν: “having come to one accord,” “einmutig geworden,” Weiss: ὁμοθ., though frequent in Acts, see Acts 1:14, only here with γεν. For the form of the phrase as indicating mutual deliberation on the part of the Church collectively see “Council,” Dict. of Chr. Ant., i., 474.—ἐκλεξ. ἄνδρας: “to choose out men and send them unto you,” R.V., whether we read accusative or dative see critical note, and cf. Acts 15:22.—ἀγαπητοῖς: very frequent in St. Paul’s Epistles; used three times by St. James in his Epistle, twice by St. Peter in his First Epistle, four times in the Second, cf. Acts 3:15, where the word is used by St. Peter of St. Paul, ten times by St. John: it was therefore a very natural word to occur in the letter, and we may compare it with the right hand of fellowship given by the three Apostles just named to Barnabas and Paul, Galatians 2:9.—Β. καὶ Π.: this order because in Jerusalem Church; see above on Acts 15:12. Meyer, Bleek, Nösgen, Wendt, all note its truthful significance.25. being assembled with one accord] The words may be so rendered and passage be compared with Acts 2:1; Acts 4:24; Acts 5:12. But in those passages there is only the substantive verb εἰμὶ, while here γίγνεσθαι has its proper sense of “becoming.” It seems therefore better and more accordant with the sense of the passage to translate ‘having become of one accord’ or ‘having come to one accord.’

to send chosen men unto you] The participle here is not passive and so should not be referred to Judas and Silas, but to those who sent them. Render literally “that having chosen out men we should send them, &c.” i.e. “to choose out men and send them.” So R. V.

with our beloved] The intention of the whole letter is to shew the honour which the church in Jerusalem felt was due to these missionary labourers. Hence the adjective “beloved” which in N. T. is specially applied to those who are closely united in faith and love. St Peter applies it to St Paul (2 Peter 3:15).

Barnabas and Paul] The name of Barnabas is put first here perhaps because he had been formerly (Acts 11:22) sent as a special messenger from the church in Jerusalem to Antioch.Acts 15:25. Ἡμῖν, unto us) In Acts 15:28 the expression used is a more forcible one, to the Holy Ghost and to us.—γενομένοις ὁμοθυμαδὸν, having come to one unanimous decision [being assembled with one accord]) As to the verb γίνομαι with the adverb, see on John 1:15 [The adverb assumes the signification of a noun], ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγοιεν.—ἄιδρας, men) teachers, who are men of weight; not merely one, but two at the least.Verse 25. - Having come to for being assembled with, A.V.; to choose out men and send them for to send chosen men, A.V. (see note on ver. 22). Having come, etc. The Greek is capable of either meaning. Alford prefers that of the A.V. Others think that stress is laid upon the decree being unanimous. Our beloved Barnabas and Paul. James and the council thus gave their full and open support to Barnabas and Paul. Observe that Barnabas is named first, as in ver. 12. Barnabas and Paul

Here, as in Acts 15:12, Barnabas is named first, contrary to the practice of Luke since Acts 13:9. Barnabas was the elder and better known, and in the church at Jerusalem his name would naturally precede Paul's. The use of the Greek salutation, and this order of the names, are two undesigned coincidences going to attest the genuineness of this first document preserved to us from the Acts of the primitive church.

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