Acts 15:30
So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:
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(30) When they were dismissed, they came to Antioch.—It is natural, in the absence of anything to the contrary, to infer that they returned, as they had come, through Samaria and Phœnicia, and gladdened the hearts of the disciples there by telling them of the triumph which had been won at Jerusalem for the cause of freedom.

They delivered the epistle.—We can picture to ourselves the eager excitement of that moment, the listening crowds, the letter, which as a formal missive would be sealed and tied round with thread, solemnly opened and read out aloud, mortification and murmurs on the one side, clamorous applause on the other, as each sentence repudiated the claims of the Judaisers and confirmed the principles and the work of St. Paul and Barnabas. To the Gentile converts it was, indeed—won, as it had been, after a hard battle—as the great charter of their freedom.

Acts 15:30-35. So when they — Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas; came to Antioch, they gathered the multitude — The private Christians, as well as the elders, and other official members of the church; for as they had all been concerned in sending them they had all a right to be informed of the result of their mission; and delivered the epistle — Containing the apostolic decree; which when they had read, they rejoiced — Namely, to find that so venerable an assembly as that which had been held at Jerusalem, had concurred with Paul and Barnabas, in vindicating the liberty of the Gentile converts from the yoke of the Mosaic ceremonies. It must be observed, the church at Antioch consisted chiefly of converted proselytes; and their joy would be in proportion to the anxiety and suspense with which they had waited for the apostles’ determination. And Judas and Silas — The special messengers from Jerusalem thither; being prophets also themselves — That is, preachers of the gospel, or teachers in the church; exhorted the brethren with many words — Did not only deliver the particular message with which they were charged, but, on the occasion of such a numerous and solemn auditory, each of them discoursed largely on the truths and duties of Christianity, exhorting them to adhere to the gospel they had embraced, and to adorn it by a corresponding conduct; and confirmed them — Not only in the belief of their freedom from the law of Moses, as a term of salvation, but in every branch of Christian faith and practice. And after they had continued there a space — A competent time; they were let go in peace — Were dismissed, doubtless, with earnest prayers for the divine blessing upon them and their labours, and with all possible expressions of kindness and respect unto the apostles, from whom they came. Notwithstanding, it pleased Silas — Who, it seems, had formed an intimate friendship with Paul; to abide there still — To continue a while longer than his companion Judas, who had come with him from Jerusalem. Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch — It is probable that it was during this time Peter came to Antioch; and, after having conversed for some time freely with the Gentile Christians, separated himself from them, on the arrival of some Jewish zealots from Jerusalem, according to the account given Galatians 2:11, &c., where see the notes.

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.From meats offered to idols - This explains what is meant by "pollutions of idols," Acts 15:20.

Ye shall do well - You will do what ought to be done in regard to the subjects of dispute.

28, 29. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, &c.—The One, inwardly guiding to and setting His seal on the decision come to: the other, the external ecclesiastical authority devoutly embracing, expressing, and conveying to the churches that decision:—a great principle this for the Church in all time.

to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things … from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well—The whole language of these prohibitions, and of Ac 15:20, 21, implies that they were designed as concessions to Jewish feelings on the part of the Gentile converts, and not as things which were all of unchanging obligation. The only cause for hesitation arises from "fornication" being mixed up with the other three things; which has led many to regard the whole as permanently prohibited. But the remarks on Ac 15:20 may clear this (see on [2026]Ac 15:20). The then state of heathen society in respect of all the four things seems the reason for so mixing them up.

When they were dismissed; Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas; which two last, were sent with the former.

Gathered the multitude together; from whom they were sent, Acts 15:1,2, and that this determination of the council might be more publicly known, as all things concerning our common salvation ought to be.

So when they were dismissed,.... That is, Paul and Barnabas, with Judas and Silas, by the apostles, elders, and church at Jerusalem:

they came to Antioch; or "came down to Antioch", as the Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin, and Ethiopic versions read, agreeably to Acts 15:1

and when they had gathered the multitude together; the whole church, which consisted of many members; the company, or congregation of the faithful, as the Arabic version renders it: and as Paul and Barnabas were sent by the church at Antioch; and as the letter, which they, with Judas and Silas, brought from Jerusalem, was directed and sent to the brethren at Antioch, it was highly reasonable, and necessary, that they should be called together, and an account of the business they were sent upon be given them, and the letter be delivered to them, as it accordingly was:

they delivered the epistle; sent by the apostles, elders, and brethren at Jerusalem to them; this they put into the hands of some one or other of the brethren of the church, in order to be read.

{13} So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:

(13) It is required for all people to know certainly what to hold in matters of faith and religion, and not that the Church by ignorance and knowing nothing, should depend upon the pleasure of a few.

Acts 15:30. οἱ μὲν οὖνἀναγνόντες δέ: two parties are presented as acting in concert as here (or in opposition), see Rendall, Acts, Appendix on μὲν οὖν, p. 161.—ἦλθον, but κατῆλθον, R.V., Jerusalem is still the centre from which Barnabas and Paul go down. See reading in , critical note.—τὸ πλῆθος=ἡ ἐκκλησία, cf. Acts 14:27; Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 59, especially refers to this passage: τὸ πλ.=Christengemeinde at Antioch, cf. plebs, populus in Lat. Chr. authors.—ἐπέδωκαν τὴν ἐπισ., see instances in Wetstein of same phrase in same sense.

30–35. Reception of the letter and messengers at Antioch. Departure of Judas. Silas continues in Antioch

30. came to Antioch] An early reading preferred by recent editors is came down, as in Acts 8:5, Jerusalem being regarded as the chief seat of church-government, and the centre of authority. Throughout the Bible the chosen place is always spoken of as one to which men go up.

gathered the multitude] An expression which shews of how great concern the question had become to the whole Christian body. The same word is used above (Acts 15:12) of the assembly of Christians at Jerusalem.

Acts 15:30. Ἀπολυθέντες, having been dismissed) solemnly: Acts 15:33.—[τὴν ἐπιστολὴν, the epistle) By this epistle the Scripture of the New Testament was begun.—V. g.]

Verse 30. - They, when they were dismissed, came down for when they were dismissed, they came, A.V.; having gathered for when they had gathered, A.V. The multitude does not exactly express the idea of τὸ πλῆθος, which is the fullness or the whole of the body spoken cf. Thus Luke 1:10, Πᾶν τὸ πλῆθος τοῦ λαοῦ is "The whole congregation;" Luke 2:13, Πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου is "The whole heavenly host;" Luke 19:37, Ἄπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῶν μαθητῶν, "The whole company of the disciples;" also Acts 6:2 and Acts 4:32, Τὸ πλῆθος τῶν πιστευσάντων is "The whole company of believers;" Acts 22:36, Τὸ πλῆθος τοῦ λαοῦ is "The whole body of the people;" in ver. 12 of this chapter, Πᾶν τὸ πλῆθος is "The whole Church of Jerusalem." So here, Τὸ πλῆθος means "The whole Church." Acts 15:30
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