Acts 15:3
And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
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(3) They passed through Phenice and Samaria.—The route lay from Seleucia, at the mouth of the Orontes, along the coast of Sidon, Tyre, and, probably, Cæsarea, and then through Samaria. They might have gone to Joppa, and so have avoided the old Canaanite cities and the region of the hated Samaritans. The very journey was, therefore, an assertion of the principles for which they were contending. We note, too, that the facts imply that they found “brethren,” i.e., established Christian societies, in both regions. “Tyre and Sidon” had repented and believed, though Chorazin and Bethsaida had hardened themselves in unbelief (Luke 11:13). The “woman of Canaan,” of Mark 7:26, may, by this time, have eaten not of the “crumbs,” but of the “Bread” of Life. Everything points to Philip as the probable Evangelist of this region as well as of Samaria. Paul and Barnabas would accordingly, as they travelled, be setting their seal to his work, claiming fellowship with Canaanites and Samaritans; and wherever they went they were received with joy. Here, at least, they were certain of support; and, on mere grounds of policy, they were strengthening their cause by appearing at Jerusalem as the representatives of such important communities, having the courage of their convictions, and determined, though they might make concessions in things indifferent, not to sacrifice a single principle.

They caused great joy.—The tense implies continued action. Wherever they went the tidings of the conversion of the Gentiles were received by the disciples at large with a gladness which presented the strongest possible contrast to the narrowness and bitterness of the Pharisee section of the Church of Jerusalem.

Acts 15:3-5. And being brought on their way by the church — That is, by several of its members; they passed through Phenice and Samaria — Which lay in their way; declaring — To their fellow-Christians, whom they met with in the several towns through which they passed; the conversion of the Gentiles — That is, of multitudes of them, by the blessing of God on their labours. And they caused great joy unto all the brethren — By the account they gave. And when they were come, &c., they were received — That is, solemnly welcomed by the church, and particularly by the apostles and elders who resided at Jerusalem, who all showed them every mark of respect. And they declared all things — That is, the principal things; which God had done by them — That by their ministry he had converted the Gentiles in many countries, and had bestowed upon many of them the Holy Ghost, in the plenitude of his gifts. But, they added, that at Antioch there rose up certain of the Pharisees who believed — Affirming that it was necessary to circumcise them; and that the brethren of Antioch had sent them to lay the matter before the apostles.

15:1-6 Some from Judea taught the Gentile converts at Antioch, that they could not be saved, unless they observed the whole ceremonial law as given by Moses; and thus they sought to destroy Christian liberty. There is a strange proneness in us to think that all do wrong who do not just as we do. Their doctrine was very discouraging. Wise and good men desire to avoid contests and disputes as far as they can; yet when false teachers oppose the main truths of the gospel, or bring in hurtful doctrines, we must not decline to oppose them.And being brought on their way by the church - Being attended and conducted by the Christian brethren. See the notes on Romans 15:24. It was customary for the Christians to attend the apostles in their travels. Compare 1 Corinthians 16:6, 1 Corinthians 16:11; 3 John 1:6.

Through Phenice - See the note at Acts 11:19.

And Samaria - These places were directly on their route to Jerusalem.

Declaring the conversion ... - Of the Gentiles in Antioch, and in the regions in Asia Minor through which they had traveled. These remarkable events they would naturally communicate with joy to the Christians with whom they would have contact in their journey.

Caused great joy - At the news of the extensive spread of the gospel. It was an indication of their deep feeling in the interests of religion that they thus rejoiced. Where Christians are themselves awake, and engaged in the service of Christ, they rejoice at the news of the conversion of sinners. Where they are cold, they hear such news with indifference, or with the utmost unconcern. One way of testing our feelings on the subject of religion is by the emotions which we have when we hear of extensive and glorious revivals of religion. Compare the notes on Acts 8:8.

3-6. being brought on their way by the church—a kind of official escort.

they passed through Phenice—(See on [2017]Ac 11:19).

and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles, and they caused great joy to the brethren—As the converts in those parts were Jewish (Ac 11:19), their spirit contrasts favorably with that of others of their nation.

Brought on their way by the church; the brethren or believers of Antioch, out of respect, went part of the way with them; as also thereby showing, that Paul and Barnabas did not go upon their own business or mind only, and that there was no dissension betwixt them and the church there.

The conversion of the Gentiles; it is a conversion or turning indeed from error to truth, from impurity to holiness; that is, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto the ever living God, Acts 26:18.

They caused great joy unto all the brethren; nothing more rejoices a good man, than the bringing of souls unto God, and the enlarging of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

And being brought on their way by the church,.... That is, either being accompanied by some of the brethren of the church some part of the way, out of respect unto them, or being provided by them with things necessary for their journey; see Titus 3:13

they passed through Phenice and Samaria; which both lay between Syria and Judea; in the former of which places those that were scattered upon the death of Stephen had preached, and a great number were converted and believed in Christ who were Jews, Acts 11:19 and in the latter Philip the evangelist had preached with much success, Acts 8:5 as therefore their way to Jerusalem lay through these places, they called upon the brethren as they passed;

declaring the conversion of the Gentiles; in the several places where they had been, as in Syria, Pisidia, Pamphylia, and Lycaonia, how by their ministry they were turned from darkness to light, from Satan unto God, from their superstition and idolatry to the worship of the true God, and to faith in Christ Jesus:

and they caused great joy unto all the brethren; the believing Jews in those parts, who being truly believers in Christ, rejoiced at the spread of his Gospel, and the increase of his interest, even among the Gentiles; for if angels rejoice, much more should saints rejoice at the conversion of sinners, let them be who or where they will; and where there is true grace, there will be joy when this is the case. There were churches in each of these places, of which "the brethren" here mentioned were members, and which continued for many ages afterwards: the foundation of the churches in Phenice was first laid by the converts made by them, who were scattered abroad through the persecution at the death of Stephen, Acts 11:19. Quartus, mentioned in Romans 16:23 is said to be bishop of Berytus in this country. In the "second" century there were churches at Tyre and Ptolemais, two cities in Phoenicia; Cassius was bishop of the one, and Clarus of the other (k): in the "third" century several Phoenician bishops suffered martyrdom, as Tyrannio, bishop of the church of Tyre, Zenobius, presbyter of that at Sidon, and Sylvanus, bishop of Emisa (l): in the "fourth" century, at the beginning of it, there were present, at the council of Nice, the bishops of Ptolemais, Damascus, Tripolis, Paneas, and Emisa; as they were also at a synod held at Jerusalem in the same century, on account of the Arians, and at another at Antioch on the same account: in the fifth century there were churches in Phoenicia reformed by Chrysostom, by whose means also the temples of the idols were destroyed, and many were converted in these countries; and in this age lived several persons of note here, as Antiochus bishop of Ptolemais, Eustathius bishop of Berytus, Paulus bishop of Emisa, Pompeianus and Uranius of the same place, and Damianus bishop of Sidon, and other Phoenician bishops, who assisted at the council of Chalcedon; as Olympius bishop of Atrapolis, Theodorus bishop of Tripoils, Joseph bishop of Heliopolis, Valerius bishop of Laodicea, Thomas bishop of Euroma, and Theonas bishop of Enria or Enaria, all in Phoenicia: in the sixth century, mention is made of the bishops of Ptolemais, Tyre, Sidon, and Berytus, in the acts of the synod at Rome and Constantinople; and though Phoenicia was seized upon, and wasted by the Arabians and Persians, in the seventh century; yet we read, in the eighth century, of Adeodatus, a bishop of Berytus, who baptized many converted Jews (m). As for Samaria, our Lord himself preached and converted many persons there; and after his resurrection he gave his apostles a commission and directions to go there; and here Philip preached with great success. Nicolaus, the deacon, is said to be the first bishop of Samaria; and though in after ages Heathenism very much prevailed in those parts; yet there were Christians and churches, more or less, for several centuries; even in the sixth century there was a bishop of Neapolis in Samaria, killed with the sword, and some presbyters who were taken and fried in a pan, with the remains of some martyrs, by the Samaritan Jews (n).

(k) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 5. c. 25. (l) Ib. l. 8. c. 13. (m) Madgeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 2. c. 9. p. 35O, 390, 404. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 3, 12, 13. c. 10. p. 550, 551. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 7. c. 3. p. 17. c. 16. p. 365. cent 8. c. 2. p. 3.((n) Ib. cent. 6. c. 3. p. 22.

And {b} being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

(b) Courteously and lovingly brought on their way by the Church, that is, by certain ones appointed by the Church.

Acts 15:3. Προπεμφθέντες] after they were sent forth, deducti, i.e. escorted for a part of the way. Comp. 3 John 1:6; Herod. i. 111, viii. 124, 126; Plat. Menex. p. 236 D; Soph. O. C. 1663. Morus and Heinrichs: “rebus ad iter suscipiendum necessariis instructi.” That, however, must have been suggested by the context, as in Titus 3:13. The provision with necessaries for the journey is understood of itself,[24] but is not contained in the words.

τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς] They caused joy by their visit and by their narratives, not only to the Jewish-Christians (Heinrichs), but to all.

[24] Although the travellers, on account of the hospitality of the churches, which they visited by the way, certainly needed but little.

Acts 15:3. οἱ μὲν οὖν: Phœnicia and Samaria on the one hand welcome them with joy, but on the other hand the Church in Jerusalem is divided, Acts 15:5, see Rendall, Appendix on μὲν οὖν, p. 161. Blass however thinks that the words are used “without opposition” as often.—διήρχοντο τὴν Φ. καὶ Σ., see note on Acts 13:6. In both cases the presence of brethren is presupposed, cf. Acts 8:25, Acts 11:19, imperfect, “peragrabant donec pervenerunt,” Acts 15:4 (Blass).—προπεμφ.: escorted on their way, not as Titus 3:13, of being provided with necessaries for the journey (Wis 19:2); cf. Acts 20:38, Acts 21:5, and so in classical Greek, only in Luke and Paul in N.T. (except once, 3 John 1:6), cf. Romans 15:24; but in 1 Corinthians 16:6; 1 Corinthians 16:11, 2 Corinthians 1:16, R.V. renders as in Titus, l. c., and John, l. c.; cf. 1Es 4:47, Jdt 10:15, 1Ma 12:4, see Grimm-Thayer, sub v.; Polycarp, Phil., i., 1, of the conduct of St. Ignatius through Macedonia, amongst the early Christians, as amongst the Jews (Genesis 18:16), a mark of affection and respect. The meaning of the word, as Wendt points out, depends on the context.—ἐκδιηγ.: only here and in quotation, Acts 13:41 in N.T., “telling the tale of the conversion of the Gentiles”; so διηγεῖσθαι and ἐξηγεῖσθαι more frequently in Luke than in other N.T. writers. Hobart describes all three as medical terms but all three also occur frequently in LXX. ἐκδ.: cf. Habakkuk 1:5; several times in Ecclus., also in Josephus and Arist. (Grimm-Thayer, sub v.).—χ. μεγάλην: on Luke’s fondness for the predicate μέγας, Friedrich, p. 41, with χαρά as here, cf. Luke 2:10; Luke 24:52, Acts 8:8 (Matthew 2:10; Matthew 28:8), cf. LXX, Jonah 4:6, Isaiah 39:2, A. S.—ἐποίουν, imperfect, continuous joy, as they went from place to place, perhaps visiting Cornelius or Philip the Evangelist, Acts 8:40, in their progress.—ἐπιστροφὴν: only here in N.T. (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:9), Sir 18:21 (20), Sir 49:2.

3. brought on their way] It was not an uncommon mark of affection or respect that a part of the church at any place should attend its chief teachers for a short way on their journeys. (Cp. infra Acts 20:38, Acts 21:16.) And for the antiquity of the custom among the Jews, see Genesis 18:16, where Abraham brings his heavenly visitors on their way.

Among the companions of Paul and Barnabas on this journey must have been Titus, for we read of him, and the question raised about his circumcision, in St Paul’s own notice of this visit (Galatians 2:3).

through Phenice (Phœnicia) and Samaria] The road would take them along the coast through Berytus, Tyre and Sidon, which at this time were places of great importance, and most likely to have bodies of Christians among their inhabitants.

declaring the conversion of the Gentiles] This would naturally be St Paul’s great theme. Among those who were going up to Jerusalem with him would be members of the Judaizing party, but their presence was no check on the Apostle’s zeal that all men should hear of the bringing in of Gentiles to the faith of Christ. The verb used implies that he gave his story with all details, and we may be sure that he dwelt on the way in which the Spirit of God had set a seal upon the work, though the converts of whom he spake were all uncircumcised.

unto all the brethren] We see therefore that it was only some of the Jews who demanded from the Gentiles complete conformity to the Law. At Jerusalem (Acts 15:5) the Judaizing party is described as ‘certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed,’ and the Gospel history represents the Pharisees on all occasions as determined supporters of the ceremonial law. Probably their party was most numerous at Jerusalem, where all the ritual observances could be most completely carried out. In the more remote congregations the joy over the Gentile conversions would be unalloyed.

Acts 15:3. Προπεμφθέντες, being brought on their way) A frequent and sacred office of kindness.—διήρχοντο, they passed through) propagating the kingdom of GOD on their way.—ἀδελφοῖς, unto the brethren) who were in Phenice and Samaria.

Verse 3. - They therefore... passed for and... they passed, A.V.; both Phoenicia for Phonice, A.V. Being brought on their way (προπεμφθέντες). The word προπέμπειν has two distinct though allied meanings: one is "to conduct a person on his way," as in Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; the other is "to help a person on his way, by supplying him with all necessaries for his journey," as in Romans 15:24; 1 Corinthians 16:6; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Titus 3:13 3John 6. This last is the meaning here. Being the messengers of the Church, they traveled at the Church's expense. Both Phoenicia and Samaria. Their course would be through Berytus, Type, Sidon, and Samaria. Declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. There was an especial reason for doing so, as it had a strong bearing upon the great controversy about to be decided at Jerusalem. Acts 15:3Being brought on their way (προπεμφθέντες)

Lit., having been sent forth; under escort as a mark of honor.


See on Acts 13:41. In the various towns along their route.

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