But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But Barnabas took him.—What, we ask, made Barnabas more ready than others, not only to receive the convert himself, but to vouch for his sincerity? The answer is found in the inference that the Levite of Cyprus and the tent-maker had been friends in earlier years. The culture of which Tarsus was the seat, would naturally attract a student from the neighbouring island, and the eagerness of Barnabas to secure Saul’s co-operation at a later stage of his work (Acts 11:25) may fairly be looked on as furnishing a confirmation of the view now suggested. He knew enough of his friend to believe every syllable of what he told him as to the incidents of his conversion.
Brought him to the apostles.—In the more definite account in Galatians 1:18-19, we find that his primary purpose was to exchange thoughts (ἱστορῆσαι = to inquire, the word from which we get our “history”) with Peter, and that the only other leading teacher that he saw (we need not now inquire whether he speaks of him as an Apostle or not) was “James, the Lord’s brother.” It may, perhaps, be inferred from this, either (1) that the other Apostles were absent from Jerusalem at the time, or (2) that the new convert did not attend any public meeting of the Church.Acts 4:36. Barnabas was of Cyprus, not far from Tarsus, and it is not improbable that he had been before acquainted with Saul.
To the apostles - To Peter and James, Galatians 1:18-19. Probably the other apostles were at that time absent from Jerusalem.
And declared unto them ... - It may seem remarkable that the apostles at Jerusalem had not before heard of the conversion of Saul. The following considerations may serve in some degree to explain this:
(1) It is certain that contact between different countries was then much more difficult than it is now. There were no posts; no public conveyances; no mails; no telegraphs; nothing that corresponded with our modes of contact between one part of the world and another.
(2) there was at this time a state of animosity amounting to hostility subsisting between Herod and Aretas. Herod the tetrarch had married the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia, and had put her away (Josephus, Antiq., book 18, chapter 5, section 1, 2). The result of this was a long misunderstanding between them, and a war; and the effects of that war might have been to interrupt the communication very much throughout all that country.
(3) though the Jews at Jerusalem might have heard of the conversion of Saul, yet it was for their interest to keep it a secret, and not to mention it to Christians. But,
(4) Though the Christians who were there had heard of it, yet it is probable that they were not fully informed on the subject; that they had not had all the evidence of his conversion which they desired; and that they looked with suspicion on him. It was therefore proper that they should have a full statement of the evidence of his conversion; and this was made by Barnabas.
how he had seen the Lord … and he—the Lord.
had spoken to him—that is, how he had received his commission direct from the Lord Himself.Barnabas mention is made, Acts 4:36, who is thought to have been Paul’s fellow disciple under Gamaliel.
Brought him to the apostles; these apostles, to whom Barnabas brought Paul, were Peter and James, as Galatians 1:18,19, who being the apostles of the circumcision, or having Judea under their charge, were abiding at Jerusalem, whilst the other apostles probably were absent, being founding of churches elsewhere.
He had seen the Lord, &c, :some take these things to have been related by Paul, others by Barnabas, who testified these things concerning Paul. Galatians 1:18. It is probable that Barnabas had been at Damascus, and had there related to him, the whole account of Saul's conversion and entrance on the ministry, which he gives a particular relation of, as follows:
and declared unto them, how he had seen the Lord in the way; he told the apostles, Peter and James, how that Christ had appeared to him in person, as he was on his way to Damascus:
and that he had spoken to him; and expostulated with him about his persecution of him in his members, and bid him go into the city, where it should be told him what he should do:
and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus; that he had used great freedom of speech, and had shown courage and greatness of mind in preaching Christ at Damascus, both as soon as he was converted, and now upon his return thither. Hence it is manifest, that previous to admission into a church of Christ, and in order to satisfy the members of it, and gain their assent to such an admission, there ought to be a declaration made of the work of grace upon the souls of such, who propose to be joined to it; as how the Lord has met with them, and shown them the evil of their ways, and given them repentance unto life; and how they have had a sight of him by faith, and have looked to Christ and believed in him for the salvation of their souls; and how they have embraced the doctrines of the Gospel, and have found much sweetness and comfort in them; and that from a principle of love to him, and faith in him, and with a view to his glory, they are willing to submit to his ordinances, and to walk in holy fellowship with his people; and such an account of Saul being given by Barnabas, who had had it from him; and this being, no doubt, declared and attested by Saul himself, he was received into fellowship with the disciples: hence it follows,But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 9:27. Βαρνάβας, cf. Acts 4:36. Saul and Barnabas may have been previously acquainted, see J. Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., and note on Acts 4:36. St. Chrysostom, Hom., xxi. (so Theophylact and Oecumenius), sees here a proof of the kindly nature of Barnabas, so truly called “Son of Consolation”. For an appreciative notice of the goodness and generosity of Barnabas, from a very different standpoint, see Renan, Apostles, p. 191 E.T.—ἐπιλ., cf. Acts 23:19; so as to disarm fear: on the force of this characteristic word of St. Luke see Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 245, Friedrich, p. 27, and below Acts 17:19; generally constructed with genitive, but here αὐτὸν is probably governed by ἤγαγε; cf. Acts 16:19, and Acts 18:17, where also the accusative is found in cases of a finite transitive verb following the participle, ἐπιλ. Blass, Gram., p. 100, note 2, refers αὐτόν to ἤγαγε, and understands αὐτοῦ with ἐπιλ.—πρὸς τοὺς ἀποστόλους, cf. Galatians 1:19; there is no contradiction, although St. Paul’s own narrative confines Saul’s introduction to Peter and James: “though most of the Apostles were absent, yet the two real leaders were present” (Ramsay), and this was the point which St. Luke would emphasise. Wendt (1899) rejects the narrative of Acts as indistinct when compared with Galatians 1, but see Lightfoot, Galatians, p. 91, and Drummond, Galatians, p. 67; see below on Acts 9:30 also.—διηγήσατο, exposuit, i.e., Barnabas (but Beza and Meyer make Saul the subject, although unlikely from construction and context); verb twice in Luke’s Gospel, Luke 8:39; Luke 9:10, and three times in Acts, Acts 8:33 (quotation), Acts 12:17; cf. Hebrews 11:32, and Mark 5:16; Mark 9:9; and nowhere else in N.T.; frequent in LXX to recount, narrate, declare, cf. 1Ma 5:25; 1Ma 8:2; 1Ma 10:15; 1Ma 11:5, and several times in Ecclesiasticus. Similarly used in classical Greek; Grimm compares figurative use of German durchführen.—πῶς εἶδε Κ.: while it is not said in any part of the three accounts of the Conversion that Saul saw Jesus, it is distinctly asserted here in a statement which Barnabas may well have received from Saul himself, and also in the two expressions of Ananias, cf. Acts 9:17, Acts 22:14; cf. also the Apostle’s own words, 1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 15:8.—ἐπαῤῥησιάσατο, cf. the verb with the expression μετὰ παρρησίας λαλεῖν, see above on Acts 4:13, and of the preaching of the other Apostles and of the Church, cf. Acts 28:31 (of Paul). Verb only used by Luke and Paul, and always of speaking boldly the truths of the Gospel; so seven times in Acts, and also in 1 Thessalonians 2:2, Ephesians 6:20.27. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles] i.e. to such of the Apostles as happened to be then in Jerusalem. During a short space of fifteen days it is easy to understand that all but Peter and James might be absent from Jerusalem. St Paul tells us he only saw these two during his visit (Galatians 1:19), and all that he says is perfectly consistent with St Luke’s narrative. Barnabas, who introduced Saul to the Apostles, has already been mentioned as a Levite of Cyprus (Acts 4:36), and from the proximity of Cyprus to Cilicia, and the distinction of the schools of Tarsus, a conjecture has been hazarded that Barnabas may have been known to Saul before they came to Jerusalem. This would explain how it came to pass that while the other disciples were afraid of him, Barnabas listened to his statement and repeated it to the rest of the Church.
and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, &c.] It is worthy of notice in how many forms the statement of the appearance of Jesus to Saul is repeated. This was indeed the turning-point of the Apostle’s life, Jesus of Nazareth seen as the glorified Son of God.
and how he had preached [spoken] boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus] Whether the knowledge of Barnabas was derived from Saul himself or from other sources we are not told, but in the political turmoil of the times (see Acts 9:24, note) we may easily suppose that the teachings of a preacher who appeared for a brief space, and then retired from Damascus, and who had only lately reappeared, would not be widely known among the Church at Jerusalem.Acts 9:27. Βαρνάβας, Barnabas) With him afterwards Saul had a peculiar connection.—πρὸς τοὺς ἀποστόλους, to the apostles) Peter and James, Galatians 1:18-19.—διηγήσατο, related) He who previously had been an adversary, deservedly proves himself (has to prove himself) a changed man.Verse 27. - How at Damascus he had preached boldly for how he had preached boldly at Damascus, A.V. As regards the statement that Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, which some have thought inconsistent with Galatians 1:18 19, it is obvious to remark that St. Luke's account is fully justified by the fact that St. Paul did, on Barnabas's introduction, make the acquaintance of Peter, and, as it seems, pass fifteen days as his guest (Galatians 1:18); and while there, did also see James the Lord's brother. The other apostles were probably absent from Jerusalem during that fortnight; but Barnabas did, it seems, at a Church assembly, in the presence of James and, no doubt, the elders of the Church, give the astonishing narrative of Saul's conversion. This removed their suspicious and their fears, and he was freely, during the rest of his brief stay, admitted as a brother to their assemblies, and took part in preaching the gospel in the synagogues.
Had preached boldly (ἐπαῥῤησιάσατο)
See on freely, Acts 2:29.
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