Acts 8:4
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
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(4) They that were scattered abroad.—These. As has been said above, would in all probability be Stephen’s Hellenistic fellow-workers and followers. As in later ages, the axiom that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church,” held true from the beginning. The attempt to stamp out the new faith did but give it a wider scope of action, and urged it on to pass the limits within which it might otherwise have been confined for a much longer period.

Preaching the word.—Better, preaching the glad tidings of the word.

8:1-4 Though persecution must not drive us from our work, yet it may send us to work elsewhere. Wherever the established believer is driven, he carries the knowledge of the gospel, and makes known the preciousness of Christ in every place. Where a simple desire of doing good influences the heart, it will be found impossible to shut a man out from all opportunities of usefulness.Went everywhere - That is, they traveled through the various regions where they were scattered. In all places to which they came, they preached the Word.

Preaching the word - Greek: "evangelizing," or announcing the good news of the message of mercy, or the Word of God. This is not the usual word which is rendered "preach," but it means simply announcing the good news of salvation. There is no evidence, nor is there any probability, that all these persons were "ordained" to preach. They were manifestly common Christians who were scattered by the persecution; and the meaning is, that they communicated to their fellow-men in conversation wherever they met them, and probably in the synagogues, where all Jews had a right to speak, the glad tidings that the Messiah had come. It is not said that they set themselves up for public teachers, or that they administered baptism, or that they founded churches, but they proclaimed everywhere the news that a Saviour had come. Their hearts were full of it. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; and they made the truth known to "all" whom they met. We may learn from this:

(1) That persecution tends to promote the very thing which it would destroy.

(2) that one of the best means to make Christians active and zealous is to persecute them.

(3) that it is right for all Christians to make known the truths of the gospel. When the heart is full the lips will speak, and there is no more impropriety in their speaking of redemption than of anything else.

(4) it should be the great object of all Christians to make the Saviour known "everywhere." By their lives, their conversation, and their pious exhortations and entreaties, they should beseech dying sinners to be reconciled to God. And especially should this be done when they "are traveling." Christians when away from home seem almost to imagine that they lay aside the obligations of religion. But the example of Christ and his early disciples has taught us that this is the very time to attempt to do good.

4. they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching—Though solemnly enjoined to do this (Lu 24:47; Ac 1:8), they would probably have lingered at Jerusalem, but for this besom of persecution which swept them out. How often has the rage of Christ's enemies thus "turned out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel" (see Php 1:12, 13). Now the partition wall was about to be broken down, and the Gentiles to be taken into the pale of the church, God provides this strange means towards it. The disciples are forced to flee for their lives out of Jerusalem, and have an opportunity to preach Christ and the gospel wheresoever they came: thus God can make light to come out of darkness, and makes Japheth to dwell in the tents of Shem, Genesis 9:27. Therefore they that were scattered abroad,.... By reason of the persecution in Jerusalem: the seventy disciples, and other ministers of the word; or the hundred and twenty, excepting the apostles,

went every where; or

went through the countries of Judea and Samaria, as far as Phenice, Cyrus, and Antioch:

preaching the word; the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions add, "of God", and so some copies; the Gospel, which is the word of God, and not man; which was not of men, nor received from men, but came from God, and by the revelation of Christ; and which was good news and glad tidings, of peace, pardon, righteousness and salvation, by Jesus Christ.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
Acts 8:4-5. Διῆλθον] they went through, they dispersed themselves through the countries to which they had fled.[219]

Acts 8:5. Of the dispersed persons active as missionaries, who were before designated generally, one is now singled out and has his labours described, namely Philip, not the apostle, as is erroneously assumed by Polycrates in Eusebius, iii. 31. 2, v. 24. 1 (see, on the contrary, Acts 8:1; Acts 8:14, and generally, Zeller, p. 154 ff; Ewald, p. 235 f.), but he who is named in Acts 6:5, Acts 21:8. That the persecution should have been directed with special vehemence against the colleagues of Stephen, was very natural. Observe, however, that in the case of those dispersed, and even in that of Philip, preaching was not tied to an existing special office. With their preaching probably there was at once practically given the new ministry (that of the evangelists, Acts 21:8; Ephesians 4:11), as circumstances required, under the guidance of the Spirit.

κατελθ.] from Jerusalem.

ΕἸς ΠΌΛΙΝ Τῆς ΣΑΜΑΡ.] into a city of Samaria. What city it was (Grotius and Ewald think of the capital, Olshausen thinks that it was perhaps Sichem) is to be left entirely undetermined, and was probably unknown to Luke himself. Comp. John 4:5. Kuinoel, after Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Calovius, and others, takes τῆς Σαμαρ. as the name, not of the country, but of the capital (Sebaste, which was also called Samaria, Joseph. Antt. xviii. 6. 2). In that case, indeed, the article would not have been necessary before πόλιν, as Olshausen thinks (Poppo, ad Thuc. i. 10; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 137; comp. Luke 2:4; Luke 2:11; 2 Peter 2:6). πόλις, too, with the genitiye of the name of the city, is a Greek idiom (Ruhnk. Epp. crit. p. 186); but Acts 8:9, where τῆς Σαμαρ. is evidently the name of the country (ΤῸ ἜΘΝΟς), is decidedly opposed to such a view. See also on Acts 8:14.

ΑὐΤΟῖς] namely, the people in that city.

[219] The οἱ μὲν οὖν διασπαρέντες is resumed at Acts 11:19,—a circumstance betokening that the long intervening portion has been derived from special sources here incorporated.Acts 8:4. οἱ μὲν οὖν: marking a general statement, δὲ in following verse, introducing a particular instance (so Rendall, Appendix on μὲν οὖν, Acts, p. 162, and see also p. 64).—διῆλθον: the word is constantly used of missionary journeys in Acts, cf. Acts 5:40; Acts 11:19; Acts 9:32 (Luke 9:6), cf. Acts 13:6, note.—εὐαγγελιζόμενοι: it is a suggestive fact that this word is only used once in the other Gospels (Matthew 11:5 by our Lord), but no less than ten times in St. Luke’s Gospel, fifteen in Acts, and chiefly elsewhere by St. Paul; truly “a missionary word,” see Acts 8:12. Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 79, speaks of its introduction into the N.T. with “such a novel force as to be felt like a new word”. It is used several times in LXX, and is also found in Psalms of Solomon, Acts 11:2 (cf. Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 52:7, and Nahum 1:15). On its construction see Simcox, u. s., p. 79, and Vogel, p. 24.4. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where [went about] preaching the word] In these words we have the general effect of the persecution. One particular history of such preaching is given immediately.Acts 8:4. Οἱ μὲν οὖν διασπαρέντες διῆλθον, they therefore who were scattered abroad went in different directions) These very words are resumed, as if after a long parenthesis, in ch. Acts 11:19, and this thread of the narrative is thus continued. The verb διέρχεσθαι, to pass on throughout, in the Acts often signifies doctrine scattered everywhere.Verse 4. - They therefore for therefore they, A.V.; about for everywhere, A.V. Went about; i.e. from place to place, and wherever they went they preached the Word. Διέρχομαι here is used in the same sense as in ver. 40, and in Acts 10:38; Acts 17:23; Acts 20:25, and elsewhere.
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