Acts 16:4
And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
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(4) They delivered them the decrees.—The number of copies which the process implies is in itself a sufficient guarantee that that which St. Luke gives is a faithful transcript. The decrees were clearly still regarded by the Gentile converts as being the charter on which they might take their stand in any dispute with the Judaisers, and doubtless helped to determine many who had previously hesitated, to seek admission into the Church.

Acts 16:4-5. And — In order that peace might be secured among the brethren in these parts, and no unnecessary burden might be imposed upon the Gentile converts, through the arts of any Judaizing teachers; as Paul and his companions went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep — Committed to the custody of each church an exact and attested copy of the decrees, made by the council at Jerusalem. See Acts 15:29 : for, although these decrees were written in the form of a letter to the brethren of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, they belonged equally to all the Gentile converts everywhere. And so were the churches established, &c. — The several churches where they came, being watered by such faithful labourers, and encouraged with so favourable a decision of the grand point then in question, were much confirmed in their adherence to the Christian faith; and increased more and more in number daily — For the burdensome yoke of the law of Moses being now broken, a great obstacle to the conversion of the Gentiles was removed.

16:1-5 Well may the church look for much service from youthful ministers who set out in the same spirit as Timothy. But when men will submit in nothing, and oblige in nothing, the first elements of the Christian temper seem to be wanting; and there is great reason to believe that the doctrines and precepts of the gospel will not be successfully taught. The design of the decree being to set aside the ceremonial law, and its carnal ordinances, believers were confirmed in the Christian faith, because it set up a spiritual way of serving God, as suited to the nature both of God and man. Thus the church increased in numbers daily.And as they went through the cities - The cities of Syria, Cilicia, etc.

They delivered them - Paul and Silas delivered to the Christians in those cities.

The decrees - τὰ δόγματα ta dogmata. The decrees in regard to the four things specified in Acts 15:20, Acts 15:29. The word translated "decrees" occurs in Luke 2:1, "A decree from Caesar Augustus"; in Acts 17:7 "The decrees of Caesar"; in Ephesians 2:15; and in Colossians 2:14. It properly means a law or edict of a king or legislature. In this instance it Was the decision of the council in a case submitted to it, and implied an obligation on the Christians to submit to that decision, since they had submitted the matter to them. The same principles, also, would be applicable everywhere, and the decision, therefore, at Jerusalem became conclusive. It is probable that a correct and attested copy of the letter Acts 15:23-29 would be sent to the various churches of the Gentiles.

To keep - To obey, or to observe.

That were ordained - Greek: that were adjudged or determined.

4, 5. And as they went through the cities, they delivered … the decrees … And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily—not the churches, but the number of their members, by this visit and the written evidence laid before them of the triumph of Christian liberty at Jerusalem, and the wise measures there taken to preserve the unity of the Jewish and Gentile converts. The decrees; the determination of the council, mentioned Acts 15:20,29.

Ordained of the apostles and elders; by common consent, and not of one only, whosoever he were.

And as they went through the cities,.... Of Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium, and others in Lycaonia, and in Phrygia and Galatia; the Arabic version reads, "they both"; that is, Paul and Barnabas:

they delivered them the decrees for to keep; they gave the churches, in these cities, the sentiments, and determinations to be observed and followed by them:

that were ordained of the apostles which were at Jerusalem; concerning the abstinence of the Gentiles from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication, Acts 15:20.

{3} And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the {c} decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

(3) Charity is to be observed in things indifferent so that regard is had both of the weak, and of the peace of the Church.

(c) These decrees which he spoke of in the former chapter.

Acts 16:4-5. Παρεδίδουν] orally, perhaps also partly in writing, by delivering to them a copy of the decree, Acts 15:23 ff.

αὐτοῖς] namely, to the Gentile-Christians in the towns, which the connection requires by φυλάσσειν.

τὰ δόγματα] Luke 2:1, the ordinances.

ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστ. κ.τ.λ.] the mention of the leaders was sufficient; the co-operation of the church is, according to Acts 15:22 f., obvious of itself.

τῶν ἐν Ἱερουσ.] belongs only to τ. πρεσβυτ.

Acts 16:5. They developed themselves internally in stedfastness of faith, and externally in the daily increasing number of their members. On the former, comp. Colossians 2:5; καθʼ ἡμέρ. belongs to ἐπερισσ. τ. ἀριθμῷ, comp. Acts 2:46.

Acts 16:4. A proof of St. Paul’s loyalty to the Jerusalem compact. The decree had not been delivered in Syria and Cilicia (where the letter had been already received), but in Galatia St. Paul delivers it. Wendt regards Acts 16:4-5 as interpolated by the author, who desires to give a universal importance to the decree which had previously been read to a few specified Churches (so too Spitta, Jüngst, Hilgenfeld, Clemen, who refers the verses to his Redactor Antijudaicus). But St. Paul might well feel himself bound to deliver the decree to the Churches evangelised by him before the conference in Jerusalem. Weiss, therefore, is probably right in pointing out that as no mention is again made of any similar proceeding, the action was confined to the Pauline Churches which had been previously founded, Churches which were, as it were, daughter Churches of Antioch.—δόγματα: in the N.T. only in Luke and Paul (cannot be supported in Hebrews 11:23), and only here of the decrees of the Christian Church relative to right living, cf. Ignat., Magnes., xiii., 1; Didaché, xi., 3. In 3Ma 1:3 it is used of the rules and requirements of the Mosaic Law, cf. its use by Philo, see further Plummer on Luke 2:1, and Grimm, sub v. Dr. Hort refers the word back to Acts 15:22, ἔδοξεν, and so κεκρ. to κρίνω Acts 15:19 (cf. Acts 21:25), used by St. James. In these expressions he sees “more than advice,” but “less than a command,” and so here he regards “resolutions” as more nearly expressing the force of this passage, Ecclesia, pp. 81, 82; see however above on Acts 15:19.

4. they delivered them] i.e. they gave to the Gentile-Christians the decrees to observe, for there was nothing in them which a Jew would be likely to disregard. All that would be needed for the Jews in such cities would be to explain the terms on which Gentiles were to be admitted to the Christian communion.

Acts 16:4. Αὐτοῖς, to them) to the brethren.

Verse 4. - Went on their way for went, A.V.; which had been for that were, A.V.; that for which, A.V. Acts 16:4
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