Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.PART FOURTH
The extension of the Church of Christ in Gentile countries through the agency of Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles; his three missionary journeys, at the termination of each of which he returns to Jerusalem, and diligently promotes union between the Gentile-Christians, and the Judæo-Christian primitive congregation.
THE FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY OF PAUL, ACCOMPANIED BY BARNABAS, TO THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS, AND TO PAMPHYLIA AND PISIDIA, TWO PROVINCES OF ASIA MINOR (Ch. 13 and 14)
A.—BARNABAS AND PAUL, SENT FORTH AS MISSIONARIES BY THE CHURCH AT ANTIOCH, IN OBEDIENCE TO THE DIRECTIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
1Now [But] there were in the church [congregation] that was at Antioch certain [om. certain1 ] prophets and teachers; as [namely] Barnabas, and Simeon [Symeon] that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which [who] had been brought up with Herod2 the tetrarch, and Saul. 2As [But (δὲ) as] they ministered [offered worship] to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate [for] me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3And when they had [Then (τότε) they] fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent [and sent] them away.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
ACTS 13:1. a. We now lose sight, during a certain period, of the church in Jerusalem, as well as of the apostles, and, in place of Jerusalem, Antioch temporarily appears as a central point of ecclesiastical history. Indeed, the two chapters (Acts 13 and Acts 14) which constitute Sect. I. of Part IV., may be regarded as an independent memoir, complete in itself, and written from an Antiochian point of view. Some writers have, accordingly, maintained with a certain degree of plausibility, that Luke here availed himself of a document, and incorporated it with his book, that originated in the Antiochian congregation itself (Meyer; comp. BLEEK, Stud. u. Krit., 1836, p. 1043), or that belonged to a biography of Barnabas (Schwanbeck), or that was a missionary report presented in writing by Barnabas and Saul respecting this journey. (Olshausen).
b. Now there were in the church that was at Antioch.—This first verse resembles in its tone one that might be employed as an inroduction to a special history of the congregation in Antioch. The prophets and teachers of the latter are mentioned to us by name the προφῆται are the immediate organs of the Holy Spirit, and utter their sayings and make their addresses to the congregation in an exalted frame of mind [see above, EXEG. note on 11:27, 28, and DOCT. no. 1.—TR.]; the διδάσκαλοι, more directly guided by their own judgment, after due meditation, furnished instructions to others. [They are “those who had the χάρισμα διδασκαλίας, 1 Cor. 12:28; see also Eph. 4:11.” (Alf.).—Tr.]. It is fruitless to attempt to decide which of the five men here named, belonged to the former, and which to the latter class; at least the correlative particles: τε—καί—καί, and, τε—καί (Meyer) here afford no important aid. And no argument can be derived from the circumstance that Barnabas received this particular name, בַּר נְבוּאָה from the apostles [4:36], on account of possessing the gift of prophecy. For if he is named first in the present list, the reason must doubtless be sought in the preëminence which had hitherto been practically assigned to him, while Saul, as the one who had last of all become connected with the congregation, and who, no doubt, still modestly retired from public view, is, accordingly named the last. Of the three persons whose names occupy an intermediate position, we know nothing whatever, with the exception of the facts here stated. Symeon [Συμεὼν] was also called Niger [“a familiar name among the Romans.” (Hack.).—TR.]. There is no certainty that Lucius is identical with the individual so named in Rom. 16:21. As he is here expressly styled a Cyrenian [ὁ Κυρηναῖος], it may be conjectured that he was one of the first heralds of the Gospel in Antioch, since Luke says (11:19, 20) that ‘some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene.’ Of Manaen (מְנַחֵם), too, no knowledge can be obtained from any other source. [Μαναήν is “a Hellenistic form of the Hebrew Menahem, 2 Kings 15:14.” (Alex.).—TR.]. The Herod with whom “he had been brought up”, is undoubtedly not Agrippa II., who was only in the seventeenth year of his age when [his father] Agrippa I. died (Jos. Antiq. 19:9. 1). For one of his comrades [taking σύντροφος in the sense of contubernalis, companion.—TR.] would at this period have been still too young to serve as a teacher in the church. We are hence led to assume that Herod Antipas is meant—the Herod who caused John the Baptist to be beheaded, and to whose jurisdiction [Pilate supposed that] Jesus belonged [Lu. 3:1; 23:7.—“He was now in exile on the banks of the Rhone, but though divested of his office is called tetrarch, because he was best known under that title.” (Hack.).—TR.]. If this be the case, Menahem must have reached the age of 45 or 50 years at the present period.—Σύντροφος may signify: cum aliquo nutritus, i. e. nourished at the same breast; if this is the correct definition here, Menahem’s mother had been the nurse of Antipas (Vulgate [see note 2, appended to the text, above]; Kuin.; Olsh.); but the word usually signifies playmate, Comrade; [it is understood here by Luther; Calvin; Grot.; Baumg.; Ewald, etc. in the sense of: one brought up with another, as in the text of the Engl. version.—TR.]. Whichever signification of the word may be adopted, it is a remarkable circumstance that a man who had been reared at a royal court, and specially at that of Herod the Great, should have subsequently become a shepherd and teacher of the Christians.
ACTS 13:2. As they ministered [But as they offered worship] to the Lord.—Luke proceeds to describe the directions which the Spirit gave to the Church respecting the appointment of Barnabas and Saul as missionaries. The command of the Spirit was given at a certain time when the believers were worshipping and fasting. Αειτουργεῖν designates, in the classic writers, the discharge of civil offices and duties—in the Septuagint and in Hebr. 10:11, the performance of priestly offices in the temple of Jehovah,—and here, obviously, refers to the rites of worship [τῷ Λυρίῳ]. But that the subject, the pronoun αὐτῶν, does not exclusively refer to the five prophets and teachers mentioned in Acts 13:1, but includes the whole Christian congregation of Antioch, appears from the circumstance that the command: ἀφορίσατε, according to the tenor of the whole passage (with which compare 14:26, 27), is not addressed solely to the teachers, but rather to the whole congregation, so that αὐτῶν also necessarily refers to the latter. The Holy Ghost said (namely, through one of the prophets): Separate me [for my service] Barnabas and Saul (namely, for a holy service); ἀφορίζειν here involves the idea of sanctifying and consecrating, even as קָדַשׁ always expresses the conception that a certain object has been set apart or separated from common and daily use. The work which the Holy Ghost called these two men to perform, is not expressly stated. It was, without doubt, already known that Saul had been called to labor as a missionary among the Gentiles.
ACTS 13:3. And when they had fasted and prayed.—The immediate consecration and dismission of the two men, demonstrates that the congregation had clearly understood the revelation of the Spirit. The believers, while fasting and praying, laid their hands on both, commended them—their journey, and its great object—to the protection and the grace of God (14:26), and thus sent them forth.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The Redeemer has become Lord and King—the Exalted One—only as the Crucified One. So, too, His Church continually follows the sign of the cross—hoc signo vincet. The first assault which was made against the church, at the time when Stephen was stoned, led to the extension of the Gospel in Palestine, and it was carried even to Gentiles. And now, as a consequence of the second and more violent persecution, of which the apostle James became a victim, and from which Peter could be delivered only by a miracle, missions among pagans are regularly commenced. “By succumbing we conquer.”
2. The apostolate of Paul, strictly speaking, begins on the occasion of this mission—he is now first sent forth (ἀπόστολος). He had not voluntarily offered his services, but received a call (rite vocatur), is chosen, and is sent forth—and all is done by divine authority. Jesus himself chose the Twelve during his earthly ministry, and exercised them by a preliminary mission (Matt. Acts 10); it was, however, only after his resurrection that they received full authority from him, and were sent forth; but even then it was necessary for them to wait until they were endowed with the gifts of the Spirit [Acts 1:4, 8], before they actually commenced their labors. Saul, too, was called by Jesus Christ, but the Lord had already ascended to heaven and was glorified; at that time he was told by Jesus himself, that he should be sent to the Gentiles and to Israel. But it is only at this comparatively late period, after sufficient time had been afforded for his internal growth and his progress in the divine life, and after he had, besides, lived in retirement, that he is actually sent, and enters upon his glorious career as the apostle of the Gentiles.—It is the Holy Ghost who calls him, together with Barnabas, to his great work, but men are the agents of the Holy Ghost. It is some one of the Christian prophets in Antioch to whose soul the Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, makes a communication, and through whose mouth He says that Barnabas and Saul should be separated for the work. And it is the church that receives this command, and that, in the obedience of faith, while fasting and praying, dedicates the two men to their work by the imposition of hands, and then sends them forth. When the outward circumstances alone are considered, Barnabas and Saul were missionaries who proceeded from the Antiochian church; the latter was the society or authority that gave them their commission. But this church was, in truth, simply the agent in giving effect in public to the previous internal call proceeding from the Redeemer. It was the Lord himself who both called and sent, who, through his Spirit, made known his will to the church, and who, through the church, sent forth his messengers. The firm conviction of the latter that they had received a divine call and had been sent by the Lord, was the source whence they derived that confidence and that joy, without which they could not have successfully labored. The work of Christ gradually enters upon the ordinary course of congregational and ecclesiastical development, especially in the person of Saul. He had been directly aroused and awakened by the Redeemer, but his conversion was consummated through the agency of a disciple of Jesus, who was an ordinary member of the church in Damascus (9:10–19); so, too, he had originally received his call as the apostle of the Gentiles from the Lord himself, but that call was made effectual through the congregation at Antioch. Such a combination and interweaving of the Divine and the Human, and such an execution of the divine will through human agents, now occur, when men are called and dedicated to the regularly established sacred office, as well as to missionary labors. It is only under such circumstances that the “rite vocari” [a right or properly authorized call], within the pale of ecclesiastical order, can afford joy and confidence, and secure fidelity, in the discharge of official duties.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
ACTS 13:1. Now there were … at Antioch … prophets and teachers.—A congregation is now supposed to be in an excellent condition, when it is well provided with real estate, funds, a handsome building, etc., none of which, however, were owned by the church at Antioch; but there were prophets and teachers there, and these are now generally wanting. (Gossner).—Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod.—Two persons may be brought up together, and even be nourished at the same breast; nevertheless, ‘the one shall be taken, and the other left.’ [Mt. 24:40 f.]. (Starke).
ACTS 13:2. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said.—The Holy Ghost does not come to a full stomach and a wandering mind. The full stomach neither studies diligently, nor offers devout prayer. (Gossner).—The Holy Ghost said, Separate, etc. The choice of God, the endowment with his gifts, the training which was accomplished by means of various dispensations—all these preceded in the order of time, and created a willing mind; thus they constituted the inward call; the call of the church, the separation and authorization were now added, and constituted the outward call. (Rieger).—Separate me … Barnabas and Saul, i.e. so that they may live, labor, think and desire solely in my service, in accordance with my will and good pleasure. Teachers should be God’s peculiar people, chosen and separated solely to please Him. (Ap. Past.).—Why were precisely Barnabas and Saul separated? All the servants of God should be ready, whenever He needs them; but His call and command alone can authorize them to commence the work. Let not him who is called, despise him who is left; let not him who waits, envy him who receives an office, (ib.).—The most humble service which is required of us in accordance with God’s call, is honorable, and worthy of being performed; the highest dignities are not worthy of being the objects of our pursuit. (Rieger).
ACTS 13:3. And when they had fasted.—There was, accordingly, no farewell banquet given, but a farewell fast was observed! It is now common, even in affairs belonging to the kingdom of God, first of all to hold gay festivals; and therefore seasons of mourning follow. (Williger, who also appends the beautiful narrative of the consecration and mission of John Williams, the apostle of the South Sea).
ON ACTS 13:1–3.—The Lord sends forth laborers into his harvest: I. The harvest which he has in view; II. The laborers whom he chooses; III. The mission—the manner in which it is to be effected. (From Lisco.).—The Scriptural mode of sending forth heralds of the Gospel to the heathen: I. By the impulse and direction of the Lord; (a) those who send, must be moved, not by their own spirit, but by the Holy Spirit; (b) those who are sent, must be chosen, not solely in accordance with the dictates of human prudence, but rather on account of the influences of divine grace on them, of which they furnish good evidence; (c) their destination must not be arbitrarily determined, but be indicated by the Lord. II. With holy desires and acts; (a) those who send should fast, abstaining from all excess, so that they may hare means for providing for the wants of the heathen; (b) they should pray—the united prayer of those who send, and of those who are sent, availeth much; (c) the heralds should receive the imposition of hands—after having been consecrated to their work in the proper manner, their labors are also to be conducted according to ecclesiastical order, unto the salvation of the heathen, and the growth of the church. (Lisco).—The first Christian missionary meeting at Antioch: I. The circumstances, in consequence of which the first missionaries went forth from Antioch; (a) on account of the peculiarly flourishing condition of the congregation in that city; (b) and the special indication of the will of divine wisdom. II. The solemn appointment of the first missionaries; (a) the men who were first commissioned; (b) the manner in which they were commissioned. (id.).—That the assumption of the sacred office requires both an internal and an external call: I. The internal; II. The external call. (id.).—The missionary power of Christianity: I. When the church possesses spiritual life, missions prosper; II. When missions are actively maintained, the church prospers. (From Lisco).—The best attendants of a messenger of the faith who is sent forth: I. The call of God, addressed to him; II. The impulse of the Spirit, within him; III. The prayers of the church, which are offered for him; IV. The sighs of the pagans, who long for him.—The blessed bond of union between the church at home, and her missionaries abroad: I. The blessing which extends to missionaries, from their original but distant home—spiritual and temporal gifts, support, ordination, prayer. II. The blessing which missionaries send back to their distant home—admonitions to pray, exhortations to praise God, the strengthening of faith, the increase of love.—What gives to missions their life and power? I. The call of God, in which they originate; II. The fidelity of the laborers who are sent; III. The prayers of the church, by which they are sustained.—How can the church secure the divine blessing, when she engages in any work? I. Not by being directed by human calculations, but by yielding to the impulses of the Holy Spirit; II. Not by premature rejoicings, but by humble prayer; III. Not by confiding in the names of men, even though they should be those of Barnabas and Saul, but by confiding in the name of the living God, on whose blessing all depends.—[The manifestations of the influences of the Divine Spirit: I. In the conversion of sinners; which is effected (a) through the inspired Word (Eph. 6:17: Jam. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23); (b) set forth, in its purity, by divine aid; and (c) applied by the Spirit to the sinner’s heart. II. In the edification of believers; which is effected (a) by the Spirit through the Word (1 Thess. 2:13); (b) and the holy Sacraments, as means of grace, combined with prayer and self-examination; (c) all of which are profitable only through faith wrought by the Spirit. (Hebr. 4:2; Eph. 2:8). III. In the extension of the Church in heathen lands; which is effected (a) when the Spirit incites men to go forth as heralds of the cross; (b) opens the hearts of their hearers (Acts 16:14; Rom. 10:17); (c) and conveys light, life and power through their words (1 Cor. 2:4).—TR.]
Acts 13:1. a. The text. rec. inserts [with E. G. H.] after ἦσαν δέ, the word τινες which is wanting in A. B. D. [Cod. Sin.], in several minuscules, and in ancient versions [Syr. Vulg.]; it is, without doubt, a spurious addition, intended to imply that the persons here named, were only some, but not all of the prophets and teachers of the Antiochian congregation. [Omitted by recent editors generally, except Scholz.—TR.]
Acts 13:1. b. [For the words: “which … Herod,” (Geneva), the margin of the Engl. Bible offers the version: “Herod’s foster-brother.” (Rheims.). Alford says of σύντροφος, that it is “probably collactaneus (Vulg.), ‘foster-brother’; not ‘brought up with,’ for, if he had been brought up with Antipas, he would also have been with Archelaus.”—Archelaus and Antipas were brought up with a certain private man at Rome. (Jos. Ant. xvii. 1. 3). The original is “more concisely and exactly rendered in the margin, Herod’s foster-brother.” (Alex.). See below, EXEG. note b. on Acts 13:1., and comp. with collactaneus of the Vulg. the German equivalent Milchbruder i. e., milk-brother.—TR.]
So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.B.—THEIR JOURNEY TO CYPRUS. THE RESULTS OF THEIR LABORS IN THIS ISLAND
4So they3 , being [After they had now been] sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto [they went down to] Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5And when they were [they arrived] at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also [but they also had] John to their minister [as assistant]. 6And when they had gone [But when they travelled] through the [whole]4 isle unto [as far as] Paphos, they found a certain [a man5 who was a] sorcerer, a [and] false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: 7Which [Who] was with the deputy of the country [with the proconsul], Sergius Paulus, a prudent [an intelligent] man; who called [man. He sent] for Barnabas and Saul, and desired [requested] to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation [interpreted]) withstood them, seeking to turn away [pervert] the deputy [ proconsul] from the faith. 9Then [But] Saul, (who also is called Paul,) [being] filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him [intently looked at him], 10And said, O full [O thou, who art full] of all subtilty [deceit] and all mischief, thou [om. thou] child of the devil, thou [devil, and] enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to per .vert the right [straight] ways of the Lord? 11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon [comes over] thee, and thou shalt [wilt] be blind, not seeing [and not see] the sun for a season [until a certain time]. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a [om. a] darkness; and he went about seeking some to [seeking persons who might] lead him by the hand. 12Then the deputy [proconsul], when he saw what was done [had occurred], believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Acts 13:4–8. a. Luke does not specially state the reasons which induced the two missionaries to select the island of Cyprus as their place of destination, and then proceed to two provinces of Asia Minor, Pamphylia and Pisidia, rather than to any other places. They were, doubtless, influenced by circumstances, and were governed by the principle, that that which lay nearest at hand, first of all claimed their attention. Now Cyprus was not only, in a geographical point of view, in their vicinity, but also awakened their interest, inasmuch as it was the native country of Barnabas (4:36); and it is, besides, possible, that an opportunity for proceeding to that island rather than to any other point, was the first which presented itself. [“Moreover, the Jews were numerous in Salamis. By sailing to that city, they were following the track of the synagogues.” (CON. AND HOWS., Life of St. Paul, I. 145, London. 1854.)—TR.]. Their way conducted them from Antioch, down the river Orontes to Seleucia, a sea-port about 15 miles distant from the mouth of the river. [“Strabo (16:2) makes the distance from Antioch to Seleucia 120 stadia” C. and H. loc. cit. p. 147. n. 1.—TR.]. From this point they sailed to the island, on the eastern shore of which lay Salamis, a sea-port which possessed a spacious harbor. Here the two messengers of the Gospel disembarked; a third person accompanied them, who occupied a subordinate position (ὑπηρέτης), namely, John, whose surname was Mark, and whom they had brought with them to Antioch from Jerusalem, (12:12, 25). [“He came as their assistant, affording aid to the apostles in the discharge of their official duties, by various external services, attending to commissions, etc., probably also by baptizing; (10:48; 1 Cor. 1:14.” (Meyer).—TR.]). After leaving Salamis, they travelled through the whole island, Acts 13:6, which is of considerable size [about 70 leagues in length from East to West; its greatest breadth from North to South, is 30 leagues.—TR.], and, at that period, contained a number of populous and wealthy cities. They ultimately paused in Paphos (Nea Paphos), a sea-port at the west end of the island, [“not more than 100 miles from Salamis.” (Conyb. and H. loc. cit.).—TR.], which was at that time the residence of the Roman Proconsul. It was at this point that they afterwards departed from the island, Acts 13:13. [See below, HOMIL. etc. on Acts 13:6.—TR.]
b. Luke describes merely three features which marked the labors of Barnabas and Saul on the island: (a) the preaching of the Gospel in the Jewish synagogues; (b) the collision with the sorcerer Bar-jesus; (c) the conversion of the Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus.—He states in a very summary manner, Acts 13:5, that they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. Where? We may naturally suppose that Salamis itself is meant, but we cannot restrict the application of the language to this city exclusively; even if it was of considerable extent, it can scarcely have contained more than one synagogue. Moreover, as Barnabas himself was a Cyprian Israelite by birth, it is natural to believe that he, together with Paul, preached the Gospel of the Messiah and Redeemer who had appeared, first of all, to the children of Israel, who were very numerous in the island.—The collision with the sorcerer Bar-jesus occurred in Paphos, Acts 13:6 ff. [This name is an Aramaic form, meaning the Song of Solomon of (Jesus) Joshua; comp. Barabbas, Bartholomew, Barjonas, Bartimeus, etc. (Alex.).—The different forms which this name assumes in the (manuscripts), fathers, and versions, originated in the reverence which was entertained for the name Jesus; hence, even Barjeu, Barsuma, (Bar-jehu), etc. occur. (Meyer).—TR.]. This man, as it appears from Acts 13:8, appropriated to himself the title of Elymas, an Arabic word, from the same root as the Turkish title Ulema [which signifies learned men, and is applied to “the college or corporation composed of the three classes of the Turkish hierarchy, etc.” (BRANDE’S Dict. ad verb.)]; he thus styled himself the “wise man” or sage, that is, an Oriental Magian. [“While the verbal root, in Arabic means to know, the corresponding root in Hebrew means to hide, both which ideas (occult science) are included in the term by which Luke here explains it, Magus.” (Alex.).—TR.]. The true character of this man is described by the term in Acts 13:6, false prophet. He had gained influence over the Proconsul, and was near his person, Acts 13:7. When the latter invited Barnabas and Saul, for the purpose of hearing them, this man was apprehensive of losing the confidence of the Roman officer, and denied the truth of their words, attempting at the same time to confuse (διαστρέψαι) Sergius Paulus, and withdraw him from the faith. [“From the faith, may either mean from the Christian faith, the new religion, which these strangers preached; or, from the act of faith, i.e., believing the new doctrine thus made known to him.” (Alex.).—TR.]. Then Saul was filled with the Holy Ghost, that is, the Holy Ghost enabled him at once to understand the true character of the man before him, and discover the hidden thoughts of his soul. He was thus filled with a holy zeal, which manifested itself, first, in a penetrating look (ἀτενίσας είς αν̓τόν), and then in terms of stern rebuke. His language, primarily, unveils the true spiritual state of the man (Ὦ…δικαιοσύνης); the latter was full of deceit and of frivolous or wanton sentiments of every kind, and an enemy of all righteousness, that is, of all that is right and acceptable in the eyes of God, a child of the devil. (The appellation νἱὲ διαβόλον is the antithesis to his name Bar-jesus, implying that the sentiments which predominated in his soul, had been engendered by the arch-enemy of all that is divine and good). The language of Saul, further, rebukes the sorcerer’s resistance to God, of which his present conduct made him guilty (ον̓ παύσῃ—εύθείας); the ways of God are straight, leading directly to salvation, but he attempts to cross them or change their course, so that the Proconsul might not believe the word of God, and not reach the point to which they conducted, that is, salvation. Saul, lastly, announces, Acts 13:11, that the divine punishment of temporary blindness shall be inflicted on Elymas. (Χεὶρ κυρίου is here the chastising power of God). Saul declares that he shall be blind only for a certain period, and not permanently. His words were at once fulfilled; the vision of the man was immediately obscured, and he was soon involved in total darkness.
c. The conversion of the Proconsul Sergius Paulus. Barnabas and Saul met this man in Paphos. [“From the time when Augustus united the world under his own power, the provinces were divided into two different classes,” the senatorial, governed by Proconsuls (which the Greeks translated by ἀνθύ́πατος, the word occurring in Acts 13:7), and the imperial provinces, governed by Proprætors or Legati. Subordinate districts of the former, were under the authority of Procurators. See a full statement of the whole subject in CONYB. AND H.: Life, etc. of St. Paul, I. 153–157. Lond. 1854; the appropriate passages of Dio Cassius (who lived at the beginning of the third century, was twice Roman Consul, and wrote a History of the Romans) are there given in the original, and a wood-cut is furnished representing a coin which distinctly exhibits a Proconsul of Cyprus, of the reign of Claudius, during which Paul made this visit to the island.—TR.]. Cyprus had belonged to the imperial provinces for a certain period during the reign of Augustus, and its affairs were administered by a Prætor; but Augustus subsequently restored it to the people (Strabo, XVII. 810; Dio Cass. L. 3. 12), and it was afterwards governed by Proconsuls, like all the other senatorial provinces. Hence the incidental remark of Luke that an ἀνθύπατος was the chief ruler of the island, precisely agrees with other historical accounts, and is sustained by coins still remaining, which belong to the reign of Claudius. It had long been assumed, before the authorities just mentioned were properly considered, that Luke had employed the title of Proconsul erroneously, or had not been precisely acquainted with its true meaning; see HACKETT: Comment. 209. [Second edition. 1863.].—The classic writers do not mention Sergius Paulus, who was the Proconsul at that time, but he is here described as ἀνὴρ συνετός; this term may have been strictly applicable to him, even if he listened for some time to the words of the Jewish sorcerer. [“For many years before this time, and many years after, impostors from the East, pretending to magical powers, had great influence over the Roman mind…Unbelief, when it has become conscious of its weakness, is often glad to give its hand to superstition. The faith of educated Romans was utterly gone.” (Conyb. and H. loc. cit. p. 157.—TR.]. The proconsul, indeed, evinced that he possessed an intelligent mind, by voluntarily seeking an acquaintance with Barnabas and Saul. He was ultimately conducted to the true faith, partly by having himself witnessed the direct divine punishment inflicted on Elymas, Acts 13:12, and partly by the deep impression made on him by the doctrine of Christ, which filled him with wonder. [Miraculo acuebatur attentio ad doctrinam. (Bengel)].
ACTS 13:9–12. Then Saul … Paul.—The name Paul, in addition to that of Saul, occurs for the first time in Acts 13:9, and the latter is not again introduced. While the apostle constantly receives the Hebrew name Saul [signifying asked for, or, desired], from Acts 7:58 to Acts 13:7, he, as constantly, from this point of time, receives the Roman name of Paul. We cannot, with Heinrichs, regard this circumstance as merely accidental; he supposes that when Luke mentioned Sergius Paulus, it occurred to him that Saul likewise bore the name of Paul. The change in the name, is, on the contrary, made intentionally by the historian, who was here reflecting on the relation of a cause to its effect. But interpreters differ widely in their views respecting the cause, the effect of which was this permanent change of the name. The following opinion was originally adopted at a very early period, and has, quite recently, been re-adopted:—Luke introduces the name precisely at this point because the apostle received his name of Paul in consequence of the present occurrence, as a memorial of the conversion of Sergius Paulus. This was the opinion of Jerome: “[Ut enim Scipio, subjecta Africa, Africani sibi nomen assumpsit … ita et Saulus] a primo ecclesiæ spolio, proconsule Sergio Paulo, victoriæ suæ tropœa retulit, erexitque vexillum, ut Paulus diceretur e Saulo. (De viris ill. 5). The same view is expressed by Laur. Valla; Bengel; Olsh.; Meyer; Baumg., and Ewald. They assume either that the apostle, from this period, applied the name to himself (Jerome), or that other Christians had given it to him in memory of this remarkable conversion of his “first-fruit.” (Meyer).—If such, however, had been the case, we might have reasonably expected that Luke would have given an intimation to that effect, at least, by a single word. But in place of adopting this course, he does not even mention the name in immediate connection with the conversion of the Proconsul; he rather connects it with the rebuke which was addressed to the sorcerer. And, further, Luke mentions the fact in intimate connection with a circumstance which does not usually receive due attention, viz. that a new era, as it were, begins with the precedence which the apostle henceforth takes of Barnabas. For Luke had hitherto (the last time in Acts 13:7) exhibited the latter as the chief personage; but now it is Saul, and not Barnabas, who takes the lead alike in words and in acts; see also Acts 13:16 ff. So, too, in Acts 13:13, the whole company of travellers is named after Paul as the chief personage (οἱ περὶ ΙΙαῦλον), and, afterwards, the regular order of the names is: “Paul and Barnabas” (Acts 13:46, 50. etc.), and it is merely an exceptional case [15:12] when this order is subsequently reversed. Hence it appears that the name of Paul (like the effect and its cause) is connected with the independent personal action and the prominence that are henceforth observable in the case of this apostle. Nor can it be regarded as an unmeaning and accidental circumstance that at the very moment when Luke first of all mentions the new name, he remarks that Paul was filled with the Holy Ghost. Hence, at this critical moment, an internal progress and a decisive elevation of Paul’s whole character were effected by the Holy Ghost. It was by virtue of this influence that Paul came forward and commenced an independent course of action, taking precedence of Barnabas, who had, in this case, refrained from personal interference. It is in connection with this circumstance, and not precisely with the conversion of the Proconsul that Luke henceforth employs that name which was the only one which the apostle of the Gentiles applied to himself [and by which he is designated in 2 Pet. 3:15.—TR.].—It is, at the same time, true, that these considerations do not enable us to decide at what time, and from what source, the apostle received his Roman name. It is possible that, as a Roman citizen [ch. 22:27, 28], he received it at his birth, but, during the Pharisaic period of his life, and even during the first years which followed his conversion, employed the Hebrew name Saul alone; when he afterwards commenced his career as the apostle of the Gentiles, he may have preferred the Roman name of Paul.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
The resistance of the apostle Paul to the sorcerer Bar-jesus proceeded from the fulness of the Holy Ghost.
a. His ability to glance into the deepest recesses of the soul of that man, was a gift of the the Spirit of God. As he had never, previously, seen the latter, how could he, after a brief interview, have thoroughly comprehended his character, without being divinely enlightened? The charges which he advanced, were well founded. If the man had been a pagan magian, his spiritual state and his guilt could not have been exhibited in the dark colors which the apostle employed. But the greater the amount of knowledge was, which the sorcerer, as an Israelite, could have acquired of the true God and his ways, of his counsel and his commands, the more decidedly he must have become an enemy of the kingdom of God, when he exhibited such cunning and sophistry in obstructing the ways of God.
b. Further, the Spirit of God and Christ reveals Himself in the announcement by the apostle of the divine punishment. We do not here discern the spirit of an Elijah, who calls down fire from heaven, and slays the prophets of Baal, nor that carnal zeal which so easily mingles with a righteous indignation. The course adopted by the apostle exhibits moderation, and a tendency to pity and to spare. He announces to the misguided man, that he would become blind, but that he would remain in that condition only during a certain period, and not until his death. Thus he indirectly speaks of a termination of the punishment, provided that the offender should cease to resist the will of God (comp. οὐ παύσῃ, etc. Acts 13:10). This is the spirit of Christ, who “is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Lu. 9:56).
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
ACTS 13:4. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost.—The statement that they had received a divine mission, is repeated in this form, as the fact itself explains the divine guidance, the blessed results, and the miraculous deeds which are subsequently described. (Ap. Past.).—Departed unto Seleucia … sailed to Cyprus.—All the steps of the true servants of God are not only remarkable, but are also attended by the divine blessing. The eyes of God watch over them and direct their course when they proceed from one place to another. It is not the celebrity of the spots which they visited, but their own character as faithful and obedient servants, who had obeyed the call of God, yielded to the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and finished their work in uprightness, which insures the honorable and enduring remembrance of their deeds. The divine blessing attends the labors of faithful servants of Christ, even when they are merely sojourners in any place, or, possibly, deliver only an occasional sermon on the road. So, too, Jesus always left a rich blessing behind, whenever he travelled, and, indeed, on every occasion. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 13:5. They preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.—For, was not salvation of the Jews? [John 4:22]. The public synagogues furnished the most favorable opportunities for delivering addresses. It is important that we should enter every door which may be opened to us, and work while it is day. (Rieger).
ACTS 13:6. The isle, unto Paphos.—Paphos was noted for the wantonness and vice which attended the worship of Venus. [“Paphos was, indeed, a sanctuary of Greek religion: on this shore the fabled goddess (the Paphian Venus) first landed, when she rose from the sea (TAC. Hist. II. 2, 3).—The polluted worship was originally introduced from Assyria or Phœnicia, etc.” (Conyb. and H. I. 168.—TR.]. It was precisely into such a stronghold of Satan [Rev. 2:13] that the messengers of Christ at the very beginning effected an entrance. The prince of this world attempts, indeed, to offer resistance, and, in the person of the sorcerer, Bar-jesus, utters the language of reproach and defiance: “I was here before you!” (Rieger).
ACTS 13:7. Which [who] was with … Sergius Paulus, a prudent [an intelligent] man.—Prudence and godliness most happily accord with one another. The truth of God set forth in the Gospel, asks for the investigation of those who are wise. (Rieger).—The desire to become acquainted with God’s word, is a mark of an intelligent mind. (Starke).—Sergius was a man of understanding, and, nevertheless, allowed himself to be influenced by the sorceries of Bar-jesus: not only are the eyes of reason already weak, but the enchantments of impostors really consist in the success with which they also blind the eyes of reason. We accordingly perceive that many powerful minds are enslaved by a love of darkness. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 13:8. Seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.—Men who occupy high positions, are always attended by persons who desire to turn them aside from the path of duty and suggest evil designs; they are not always warned and protected by apostles; comp. 1 Samuel 10:1–8. (Quesnel).
ACTS 13:9. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.—He who is a Paul, that is, feeble and mean [Lat.] in his own eyes, is a Saul, that is, desired and beloved [see above EXEG. Acts 13:9–12] by others. Prov. 29:23. (Starke).—As military leaders derive honorable titles from the places in which they gained victories, so Saul obtained the name which he bore as an apostle, from the first victory which he gained for Christ. He himself took the more pleasure in this change of his name, as Paul signifies little, mean; Eph. 3:8; 2 Cor. 12:9. [See HOM, and PR. on Acts 19:21.—TR.]. His Hebrew name was the same as that of the king of his own tribe, who was taller than any of the people [1 Sam. 9:2; 10:23]: and as the latter persecuted David, the man after the Lord’s own heart [1 Sam. 13:14], so Saul, who surpassed all others in Pharisaic dignity [Gal. 1:14], persecuted Jesus, the Son of David. He now writes the epitaph of the Saul who once was: “Paul—I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Gal. 2:20. (Besser).—We hear no loud and noisy reproaches, such as a hot temper utters. Even when a teacher’s office and conscience require him to employ the language of rebuke, he should carefully consider whether he is in the right frame of mind, and can speak and act in the presence of God out of the fulness of the Holy Ghost. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 13:10. And said, O full of all subtilty … child of the devil, etc.—Paul inflicts one blow after the other, tears the mask from the deceiver’s face, and exposes to him the true state of his heart: “child of the devil,” the opposite of his name, “Bar” (son of) “Jesus;” “full of subtilty and mischief,” the opposite of “Elymas” (a sage); “enemy of all righteousness”—“perverting the ways of God”—the opposite of the title which he assumed, i.e., a prophet of God (Acts 13:6), a title belonging to him alone who teaches the true way of salvation. (Williger).
ACTS 13:11. The hand of the Lord is upon thee.—It came upon him, not as in the case of the true servants of God, in order to enlighten and strengthen, but to blind and paralyze him. Nevertheless, the punishment was intended to be only temporary, since it was, in an evangelical sense, designed to be a chastisement unto righteousness, and not unto condemnation and reprobation.—The punishment was, I. Suited to the offender—he who blinded others, is struck blind himself; II. Adapted to impress and convince the spectators; III. Designed, with all its severity, to lead to the reformation of the offender, by Paul’s indirect reference to divine mercy [“for a season”]. Paul himself had been blind for a season, when he was converted, and his own experience had taught him that this darkness was exceedingly salutary, since it enabled the sufferer to collect his thoughts and examine his spiritual state. (From Ap. Past.).
ACTS 13:12. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed.—The fall of one leads to the rising again [Lu. 2:34] of another. (Starke).—The judgment which overtook Elymas, delivered Sergius from his corrupt influence, but, strictly speaking, it was the doctrine of the Lord which supplied the seed and root of his faith. (Rieger).—The soul of the meanest slave in Paphos was not less precious, it is true, than that of the ruler of the country; still, it was an important circumstance in the eyes of the apostle, that the first fruit of those who were called by his preaching, was one of those few “noble” ones (1 Cor. 1:26), who obeyed the call of God. He had been commissioned to bear the name of Jesus Christ before kings (Acts 9:15), and Sergius Paulus was the representative of kingly power in that country. (Besser).
(On ACTS 13:4–12). The first missionary ship: I. The fearless crew—the great apostle Paul, the noble Barnabas, the youthful Mark; II. The favorable wind—the east wind filled the sails; and the Holy Ghost, the teachers; III. The blessed anchorage—the celebrated island of Cyprus, with its natural beauties, and its moral deformity; IV. The first prizes—the defeated sorcerer, and the converted ruler.—The first missionary report, the type of all that have succeeded it: it is an image of the missionary work in general; I. Of its manifold ways; (a) external—Seleucia and Cyprus, the land and the sea; (b) internal—Jews and pagans; II. Of its painful struggles (a) with pagan vices—the worship of Venus in Paphos; (b) with pagan superstition—the sorcerer Elymas; III. Of its glorious victories; (a) the powers of darkness are overthrown (Elymas;) (b) souls are won (Sergius Paulus).—Paul in Paphos, or, The preaching of the cross, revealed in its all-conquering power: I. It subdues the sensual desires of the world (in the voluptuous groves of roses and myrtles dedicated to Aphrodite, the apostle erects the cross of Christ as an emblem of repentance and the mortification of the flesh); II. It defeats the spurious wisdom of the world (the delusions of the sorcerer Elymas vanish before the light of evangelical grace and truth); III. It prevails over the weapons of the world (the Roman Proconsul surrenders as a captive to the word of God).—The heavenly light of the Gospel, dispersing the magical delusions of the world: I. The magic of worldly lust (Cyprus with its vineyards and altars of Venus): II. The magic of worldly wisdom (Elymas with his frauds); III. The magic of worldly power (Sergius Paulus, the Roman Proconsul).—Sergius Paulus, the first trophy of the great apostle of the Gentiles: I. He was taken from the midst of the enemies (a Roman, a man invested with power, a man of a cultivated mind); II. He was wrested from the hands of an artful adversary (Elymas, the representative of science falsely so called) [1 Tim. 6:20]; III. The victory conferred permanent honor on the apostle (a badge of honor attached to the name of Paul, which he ever afterwards bore, whether first assumed on this occasion, or now first deserved).—The Gospel, a savour of life unto life for some (Sergius Paulus); a savour of death unto death for others (Elymas) [2 Cor. 2:16].—In what manner does a genuine servant of Christ rebuke sin? I. Not with carnal impetuosity, but in the fulness of the Holy Ghost, (Acts 13:9); II. Not with carnal weapons, but with the sword of the word [Eph. 6:17], which pierces [Hebr. 4:12] the evil heart (Acts 13:10), and announces God’s judgment (Acts 13:11); III. Not with a view to consign to death and damnation, but in order to warn, and to save the souls of men. (Acts 13:11).—[The various forms of sin which Paul encountered in the island Cyprus: I. Worldliness (Sergius Paulus); II. Gross vice (the worship of Venus); III. Superstition (Elymas); IV. Infidelity (unbelieving Jews, Acts 13:9).—TR.].
Acts 13:4. οὗτοι [of text. rec., from E—gr., G, H,] is more fully supported than αὐτοί. [The latter is found in A. B. Cod. Sin., etc., and is adopted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—TR.]
Acts 13:6. a. ὅλην before τὴν νῆσ. is wanting in text. rec. [and G. H.]; but is very decidedly sustained [by A. B. C. D. E., Cod. Sin. Vulg. fathers,]; it may have seemed [to some copyists] to be superfluous [“ὅλην and ἅχρι Πάφ. being supposed to be inconsistent.” (Alf.). It is inserted by recent editors generally.—TR.]
Acts 13:6. b. ἄνδρα before τινα, also seemed to be superfluous, and has, therefore, been omitted in text. rec., in accordance with some manuscripts [G. H.]. It is, however, so well supported, that it must be regarded as genuine. [Found in A. B. C. D. E. Cod. Sin.; Syr. Vulg. etc., and inserted by recent editors generally, except Scholz.—TR.]
Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.C.—THE JOURNEY CONTINUED; ACTS AND SUFFERINGS IN THE PISIDIAN CITY OF ANTIOCH
The journey through Pamphylia to Antioch; and Paul’s missionary address in that city
13Now [But] when Paul and his company [and they who were about him] loosed [had sailed] from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and [but] John de parting from them returned to Jerusalem. 14But when they departed [continued their journey] from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. 15And [But] after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any [a6] word of exhortation for the people, say on [then speak!]. 16Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, [Ye] Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience [hearken]. 17The God of this people of Israel [om. of Israel]7 chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers [were sojourners] in the land of Egypt, and with a high arm brought he them out of it. 18And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners [he bore and cherished them]8 in the wilderness. 19And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan [Canaan], he divided their land to [among] them by lot [as an inheritance]9. 20And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 21And afterward [thenceforth] they desired [asked for] a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of [during] forty years. 22And when he had removed him [And after he had set him aside], he raised up unto them David to be [as] their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own [my] heart, which shall fulfil [who will do] all my will. 23Of this man’s seed hath God, according to his promise, raised [brought]10 unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: 24When John had first [previously] preached [,] before his coming [his entrance (on his office),] the baptism of [unto] repentance to all the [the whole] people of Israel. 25And as [But when] John fulfilled [finished] his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am [do ye deem me to be]? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one [he cometh] after me, whose shoes of his feet [whose sandals] I am not worthy to loose.
26[Ye] Men and brethren, children [sons] of the stock [race] of Abraham, and who soever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.11 27For they that dwell at [the inhabitants of] Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him [rulers did not recognize him, and by their sentence, fulfilled the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath]. 28And though they found no cause of death in him [And without finding in him any guilt worthy of death], yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain [desired of Pilate that he might be executed]. 29And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree [wood], and laid him in a sepulchre [grave]. 30But God [has] raised him from the dead: 31And he was seen [appeared] many days of [to] them which [who] came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are [now]12 his witnesses unto the people. 32And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the [you the tidings of the] promise which was made unto the [our] fathers, 33[That] God hath fulfilled the same unto us their13 children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again [om. again]; as it is also written in the second [first14] psalm, Thou art my Son, this day [to-day] have I begotten thee. 34And as concerning that [But thereof, that] he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise [thus], I will give you the sure mercies [the faithful holy things]15 of David. 35Wherefore he saith also in another psalm [place], Thou shalt [wilt] not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God [after he had, in his time, served the counsel of God]16, fell on sleep [fell asleep], and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37But he, whom God raised again, saw no [raised, did not see] corruption. 38Be it known unto you therefore, [ye] men and brethren, that through this man [this one] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by [that in] him all that believe are [everyone that believeth is] justified from all things, from which [wherein] ye could not be justified by [in] the law of Moses. 40Beware [See to it] therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of [said] in the prophets; 41Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work [do] a work in your days, a work which17 ye shall in no wise [ye could not] believe, though a man [if any one should] declare it unto you.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
ACTS 13:13. Paul and Barnabas continued their journey by sea; after leaving Paphos, they proceeded, in a north-westerly direction, to Pamphylia, a province of Asia Minor extending along the shores of the Mediterranean, and then visited Perga. This city lay on the river Cestus, about seven miles above its mouth. It appears that at this point John (Mark) withdrew from them, for the purpose of returning to Jerusalem. The language employed in Acts 15:37–39, indicates that this separation did not occur altogether in a pacific manner, but was occasioned by a motive which was reprehensible in a moral point of view; even afterwards, Paul continued to be dissatisfied with Mark on account of it, insomuch that Barnabas himself, who was a relative of the latter (Col. 4:10), was induced to separate from Paul. It is not now possible to explain the nature of the difficulty. Baumgarten assumes that Mark had been incapable of submitting to the self-denial which was needed in the work of establishing an independent congregation consisting of those who had originally been pagans, and had, on that account, returned to Jerusalem. But the cause of the difficulty may as easily be traced to a certain want of firmness of character, in consequence of which Mark was not willing to submit any longer to the privations and labors which were connected with that missionary journey. [“Mark was afterwards not unwilling to accompany the Apostles on a second missionary journey, and actually did accompany Barnabas again to Cyprus (15:39). Nor did St. Paul always retain his unfavorable judgment of him, but long afterwards, in his Roman imprisonment, commended him to the Colossians, as one who was ‘a fellow-worker unto the kingdom of God,’ and ‘a comfort’ to himself (Col. 4:10): and, in his latest letter, just before his death, he speaks of him again as one ‘profitable to him for the ministry’ (2 Tim. 4:11).” (CON. AND H.: Life, etc. of St. Paul, I. 174.)—TR.].—The phrase οἱ περὶ Παῦλον, distinctly exhibits Paul, according to its classic usage, as the principal person, the central point and soul of the company.
ACTS 13:14, 15. a. But when they, etc.—Paul and Barnabas proceeded alone to the interior of the country, on leaving Perga, and came to the populous city of Antioch, about one hundred and fifteen miles distant from the former, in a northerly direction. It was situated in the central region of Asia Minor, and, according as dynastic races and their respective territories underwent changes, belonged, at one time to Phrygia, at another, to Pamphylia, and, again, to Pisidia. The designation here employed, Ἀντ. τῆς Πισιδίας, assumes, in Strabo (XII. 12), the form: Ἀντ. ἡ πρὸς τῇ Πισιδίᾳ. Luke describes with great fulness the labors and experiences of the missionaries in this city.
b. Went into the synagogue on the sabbath day.—Here, too, as in the island of Cyprus, they met with many Israelites, who also possessed a synagogue in the city. Paul and Barnabas visited it on the sabbath, and listened to the customary reading of a section of the Torah or Law (Paraschah), and of one of the Prophets (Haphtarah); they were then requested by the rulers of the synagogue (the ראשׁ הַכְּנֶסֶת, together with the elders, as assessors) to speak, in case that they had a discourse or exhortation in their mind (ἐν ὑμῖν). Wetstein and Kuinoel suppose that the two men were requested to speak, in consequence of having taken their places on the seat occupied by the rabbins (ἐκάθισαν). But this latter word certainly does not involve such a sense; it simply implies that they seated themselves in order to listen. As this incident, however, scarcely occurred as early as the first day of their abode in the city, it is probable that they had previously shown themselves, in many private conversations, to be men who were well acquainted with religious truth, and learned in the Scriptures, and that the request was addressed to them in consequence of this fact.—As the words ὕψωσεν, ἐτροφοφόρησεν, κατεκληρονόμησεν, which are employed by Paul in his discourse, seldom occur in the Bible (the first in Isai. Acts 1, the second and third in Deut. Acts 1.), Bengel has, by an ingenious combination, drawn the inference, that, on the sabbath in question, precisely these two chapters, which, even now constitute the Paraschah and the Haphtarah of the same sabbath, were read in the synagogue, that is, in the Greek version [LXX.], and that Paul had taken these two sections as the foundation of his discourse. The analogy, however, between the two chapters and the discourse of Paul, is too slight to authorize any conclusion founded on those few words. [The modern Paraschioth and Haphtaroth are of a later date, so that the conjecture of Bengel, to which Kuinoel and Baumgarten assent, is not well supported. See ZUNZ: Gottesd. Vortr. d. Juden, p. 6; HUPFELD: Stud. u. Krit. 1837. p. 843. (Meyer, and de Wette).—TR.]
ACTS 13:16, 17. Then Paul stood up.—He commenced to speak, after making a gesture indicating his wish to be heard in silence, and addressed partly the Israelites themselves, and, partly, the numerous proselytes who were also present. Acts 13:42, 43. In Acts 13:26, he again addresses, in addition to the descendants of Abraham, the proselytes before him, that is, Gentiles or pagans who were not yet incorporated by circumcision with the people of Israel, but who had acquired a knowledge of the true God, and learned to worship Him, in common with the Jews.—After a brief but significant review of the history of Israel, from the age of the patriarchs to that of David, the discourse refers to the history of Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins through Him. The words: ὁ θεός τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου, referring directly to the Israelites who were present, are very distinctly addressed to such hearers as were not Jews by birth. But the main theme is obviously the following:—God chose the founders of the nation (Abraham, etc.)—the nation is indebted for the position which it held, not to itself, but to God’s free election (to be his peculiar people). [“The leading thought of this introduction of the address (Acts 13:17–22), is not the free grace of God (Lechler), which, in that case, would have been prominently mentioned, but, in general, the divine Messianic guidance of the people, previously to the actual appearance of the Messiah.” MEYER: Com. who refers, not to this passage, but to one in an earlier work, viz., Lechler’s Apost. u. Nachap. Zeital. 2d. ed. p. 150. n.—TR.]. So, too, the exaltation of the people during their sojourn in Egypt (ὕψωσε), that is, their increase, until they became a numerous and powerful people, and also their deliverance from Egypt with a high arm, (that is, accomplished by an irresistible, miraculous power,) were operations solely and exclusively of God’s grace. It is not accurate to interpret ὕψωσε as also referring to the glory gained by the deliverance from Egypt (Meyer), since this ὑψοῦν is represented as having occurred during the sojourn in that country, and is distinguished, in the narrative, from the fact that the people were brought out of it. [Meyer fully adopts this view in his last edition, and now interprets ὑψοῦν as referring partly to the increase of the numbers of the people, and partly to the miraculous works wrought through Moses previously to the Exodus.—TR.]
ACTS 13:18, 19. And about the time of forty years.—The speaker now assigns a prominent position to the truth that the people of Israel were indebted to God, and to Him only, both for the faithful, cherishing, provident, and protecting care enjoyed during forty years in the wilderness (comp. Deut. 1:31, “as a man doth bear his son” [see above, note 3. b. appended to the text, TR.]), and also for the possession of the land of Canaan; for it was God who destroyed or extirpated the seven nations of Canaan (Deut. 7:1).
ACTS 13:20–22. And after that, he gave unto them judges, etc.—Paul proceeds to mention the rulers of the people until David, referring, throughout the whole statement, to the fact that it was God who alike appointed and deposed them at his will. After the seizure and division of the territory, God gave the people judges during a period of about 450 years, until Samuel. The number of years which Paul here assigns to the period of the Judges, is the result of a computation which cannot be reconciled with 1 Kings 6:1. We are there informed that there was an interval of 480 years between the Exodus, and the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, which would leave 331 years for the period of the Judges. [This latter number is obtained by deducting from 480, the sum of the following periods, or 149 years, namely “40 years in the wilderness, 25 for the administration of Joshua [Ant. v. 1. 29, not stated in the Old Test.), 40 for Saul’s reign (see Acts 13:21), 40 for David’s, and 4 under Solomon (1 Kings 6:1).” (Meyer and Hackett).—TR.]. But Paul’s statement very nearly agrees with that of Josephus (Ant. viii. 3. 1), according to whom 592 years intervened between the Exodus and the building of the temple, leaving 443 years for the period of the Judges [by again deducting the 149 years just mentioned; the difference of 7 years in the two statements of Paul and Josephus is readily explained by ὡς, “about the space of.”—TR.]. Comp. MEYER: Com. [where the different attempts already made to remove the difficulty, are examined and pronounced to be unsatisfactory, and the following view is expressed, to which Hackett assents: “Paul here conforms to a certain computation which differs entirely from the one recognized in 1 Kings 6:1, but which Josephus also has adopted.”—TR.]. We are therefore obliged to assume that Paul has, in this case, received a chronological system which was generally adopted by the learned Jews of his day.—[κἀκεῖθεν, and from that time. “This is the only passage in the N. T. in which ἐκεῖ refers to time, but even here time is viewed as an extension of space.” (Meyer).—TR.]. And from that time, i.e., from the time of Samuel the Judge, the Israelites asked for a king, and it was God who gave them Saul as their king, for 40 years. The words ἔτη τεσσαράκ. plainly state the duration of the reign of Saul, and not of that of Samuel and Saul conjoined (Beza, Bengel, and others). The length of the reign of Saul is nowhere specified in the Old Testament; Josephus (Ant. vi. 14. 9) assigns to it 18 years during Samuel’s lifetime, and 22 additional years after the death of the latter, and we have thus another evidence that Paul follows in his chronological statements an extra-biblical tradition.—When he refers to the rejection of Saul and the elevation of David to the throne, he employs expressions (Acts 13:22) which give prominence specially to the uncontrolled and free action of God: μεταστήσας, he set him aside. This term does not refer to the death of Saul (Meyer), but to his deposition by the sentence of God. The circumstance that his reign actually continued even afterwards, until 40 years were completed (Acts 13:21), is not here taken into consideration.—The pronoun ᾦ depends, without doubt, on μαρτυρήσας, and not on εἶπε.—When Paul adduces the divine declaration, he transmutes and fuses together certain words which Samuel had addressed to Saul (1 Sam. 13:14), and others which had been pronounced in reference to David (Ps. 89:20), and the whole appears as a single address of God directed to David. It is the main object of this testimony to show that the sentiments of David were acceptable to God, and that he would certainly obey the divine commands, whatever their nature might be. [Plural, θελήματά, “voluntates, multas, pro negotiorum varietate.” (Bengel).—TR.]
ACTS 13:23–25. Of this man’s seed.—After giving this comprehensive view of the history of Israel, and reaching the age of David, Paul speaks of Christ, as the descendant of David according to the promise. God brought Jesus as a Saviour to the Jews, (ἥγαγε) [in place of the reading of the text. rec.; see note 5 above, appended to the text.—TR.], like הֵבִיא, Isai. 48:15. To this ἄγειν there is a correspondence in the term (Acts 13:24): ἡ εἴςοδος αὐτοῦ, that is, his solemn entrance as the σωτήρ, as well as in the word προκηρύσσειν, which represents John as a herald who goes before, and announces aloud Him who is to come. [πρὸ προςώπου, a Hebraism (לִפְנֵי, ROB. Lex. p. 854 f., equivalent to before (in front of).—TR.]. The course (race) which John was on the point of completing (imp. ἐπλήρου), is, precisely, his course or race as a herald hastening on in advance.—Τίνα is not equivalent to the relative ὅντινα, but is an interrogative pronoun, so that εἶναι must be followed by a note of interrogation; the whole of the language of John here indicates animation or excited feeling, and is, therefore, uttered in short sentences. Οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐγώ; the predicate, according to the context is—the Messiah. [τίνα, as an interrogative, Engl. vers., de Wette, Mey., Alf. Alex., Hack.; as a relative, Vulg. Luth. Calv. Grot. Kuin. Buttm. Winer (Gram. § 25) says that the former punctuation is admissible, but that the latter (τίνα for ὅντινα) cannot be rejected as inaccurate.—TR.]
ACTS 13:26–31. Men and brethren.—Here Paul makes a still more direct appeal to his hearers, and offers to them the grace of God in Jesus Christ; he explains, at the same time, and establishes the truth that salvation is to be sought by them in and through Christ, the Crucified and Risen One. He begins again, as it were, and addresses his Israelitic hearers in terms still more affectionate (“brethren”) than those which he had at first employed, Acts 13:16; the word of this salvation—he says,—is sent specially to them by God, through the two missionaries before them. This direct “application” is subsequently repeated with increased earnestness, Acts 13:32, 38, 40 ff. Paul primarily unfolds the nature of the λόγος τῆς σωτηρίας ταύτης, by adducing the following considerations, Acts 13:27–29:—The inhabitants of Jerusalem condemned, crucified, and buried Jesus, whom they did not recognize, although, at the same time, the prophecies were thus fulfilled. He proceeds to say, Acts 13:30 ff.:—God, however, raised him from the dead, and his disciples saw him after his resurrection. Meyer refers γάρ, Acts 13:27, to a supposed distinction made between Paul’s present hearers (ὑμῖν, Acts 13:26) and the inhabitants and rulers in Jerusalem, as if the sense of the apostle’s words were the following:—The latter rejected the Saviour, and therefore the message of salvation is sent, not to them, but, in their stead, to foreign Jews—to the Jews of the dispersion (diaspora), such as ye are. Now it is certain that Paul cannot have intended to say that the message of salvation should now be withheld from the Jews dwelling in Jerusalem, and yet, such a thought would essentially constitute the distinction which Meyer represents as being here made. There is undoubtedly a distinction here assumed as existing between the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the Antiochian hearers of Paul, but it consists simply in the circumstance that the former alone, and not the latter, had personally contributed their share to the sufferings of Jesus; the apostle by no means intends to assert that salvation would be offered solely to his hearers, and no longer to the people of Jerusalem. Γάρ refers, on the contrary, principally to ὁ λόγος τῆς σωτ. τ., which is in the process of being explained; it is, hence, not causal, but explicative [not: “to you, FOR it (the word of this salvation) is no longer sent to them,” but, “it is now sent to you with reason, FOR the sufferings, death and resurrection, being a fulfilment of the prophecies, demonstrate that he is indeed the true and long-expected Messiah.—TR.]. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers—Paul continues—did not recognize Jesus, and therefore also (καί) pronounced sentence on him, by which course they fulfilled, in opposition to their own intentions, the voices of the prophets, although these are read to them on every Sabbath. [Both the Engl. and the German (Luther’s) vers. interpret φωνὰς, Acts 13:27, as being governed, like τοῦτον, by ἀγνοήσαντες, and Calv. Grot. Kuin. Alex. Hack. concur. Lechler, in his translation above, regards φωνὰς as governed by ἐπλήρωσαυ, and this is also the opinion of Beza, de Wette and Meyer. Alford, who concurs with the latter, accordingly translates: “in their ignorance of Him (not only rejected His salvation, but) by judging Him, fulfilled the voices of the prophets, etc.”—TR.].—The word εὑρόντες, Acts 13:28, implies that they had made every effort, but had failed to find a cause worthy of death in him. In Acts 13:29, the act of removing the body from the cross, and that of depositing it in the grave, are both ascribed to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their rulers. Although these acts were not, like the condemnation, etc., those of enemies, but rather those of friends of Jesus, the language is, nevertheless, appropriate, since both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus belonged to the order of the ἄρχοντες, and the latter, moreover, was an inhabitant of Jerusalem. [Mark 15:43; John 3:1].—Paul contrasts, in Acts 13:30, the acts of God with those of men; He raised Jesus from the dead, whereof the disciples who came from Galilee, Acts 13:31, and who saw the Lord after his resurrection, were eye-witnesses. By employing this language, Paul unequivocally excludes himself and Barnabas from the number of the original disciples and eye-witnesses.
ACTS 13:32–37. And we declare unto you, etc.—The apostle furnishes the proof in these verses that the promises made to David, were fulfilled when Jesus appeared on earth, and when he rose from the grave. The words ἡμεῖς εὔαγγελιζόμεθα distinguish the two missionaries from μάρτυρες αὐτοῦ, and assign them, not to the class of eye-witnesses, but to that of Evangelists. The words ἀναστήσας Ἰησοῦν are interpreted by de Wette, Meyer, Baumgarten [Schott, Stier, Hengstenberg, Tholuck, Lange, Hackett, etc.—TR.], after the example of Luther and other earlier interpreters, as referring to the resurrection. They are in error, for the context shows that these verses, (Acts 13:32 ff.), are by no means to be restricted to the resurrection of Jesus, but exhibit both the mission of Christ in general and also his resurrection in the light of a promise and its fulfillment [ἀναστήσας, according to this view, being equivalent to הֵקִים prodire jubens. exhibens, comp. 3:22; 7:37. (Meyer),—TR.]. Further, although the same word [participle, and verb] occurs both in Acts 13:33 and Acts 13:34, its meaning in the latter, as its connection with δὲ shows, is not identically the same as in the former verse. Ἀνέστησεν—ἐκ νεκρῶν, in Acts 13:34, undeniably indicates the resurrection, whereas ἀναστήσας, in Acts 13:33, without this addition, might possibly be understood of the resurrection, but can, when the context is consulted, mean only præsentem exhibere. This explanation has very justly been preferred by Calvin, Beza, Grotius, [Calovius] and also Bengel (to whom Meyer now, 3d edition, assigns his true position), and, among more recent commentators, by Kuinoel, Olshausen, Hoffmann, [Heinrichs, Alexander (“incarnation”). etc. Alford, who adopts the former, says: “The meaning ‘having raised him from the dead’ is absolutely required by the context: both because the word is repeated with ἐκ νεκρῶν, (Acts 13:34), and because the apostle’s emphasis throughout the passage is on the Resurrection (Acts 13:30) as the final fulfilment (ἐκπεπλήρωκεν) of God’s promises regarding Jesus.”—TR.]. The passage in Ps. 2:7, ff., which speaks of the theocratic Ruler, whom God has made his Son, is here explained as referring to the Sonship of Jesus, as the perfect King; and only in this way is that declaration of God fulfilled. It also seems more natural to take this view, than to suppose that the resurrection of Jesus is meant. It is now only (Acts 13:34–37) that Paul proceeds to speak of the promises of God which were fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus, by virtue of which the whole power of death and corruption ceases forever in his case. He appeals to two prophecies: (a) Isai. 55:3, where he quotes from the Alexandrian [LXX.] version; here he presents τὰ ὄσια Δ. as the translation of חַסְדֵי דָוִד. [See crit. note 10, appended to the text, above.—TR.]. The sense is the following:—God has promised sure, or trustworthy holy things of David, that is, gracious gifts of permanent value; that immortality, on which this perpetuity of grace depends, as its essential condition, is the resurrection-life of Christ.—(b) Acts 13:35; see Ps. 16:10, where David in his prayer, triumphantly expresses the hope which his experience inspired. Λέγει, Acts 13:35, may easily be referred to David, who had just been named, but cannot possibly refer to God (Meyer) for it is to Him that this supplication, which expresses so much confidence, is addressed. As an evidence that this prophecy was fulfilled solely in Jesus, Paul reminds his hearers of the fact that David had died, after having, during his own age, been obedient to the counsel of God, comp. Acts 13:22.—Τῇ ἰδίᾳ γενεᾷ [see crit. note 11, appended to the text, above.—TR.] cannot, with Meyer, be taken as Dat. comm., since a dative, θ. βουλῇ, already presents itself; neither is it by any means feeble and superfluous [terms employed by Meyer.—TR.], if the following be assumed as the sense:—David was not appointed to be an eternal servant of God; he was required to serve God only in his own day, as he also did, with uprightness of heart.—David’s death is described as a falling asleep, in consequence of which he was laid unto his fathers, and his body was subjected to decay. But He, on the contrary, whom God raised from death, Acts 13:37, was not subjected to decay. These statements, Acts 13:34–37, forcibly remind us of Peter’s course of argument in Acts 2:24–31, where the same words of the Psalm are exhibited as a prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus. The only difference which is found, is occasioned by the fact that, in the two cases, the points of view were different. Peter designs to demonstrate that, on account of the prophecy, Jesus could not have been “holden” of death, or, in other words, that Jesus must have (necessarily) risen from the grave. But Paul shows that the promises of God were really fulfilled in Jesus, and especially the promise which referred to life and to the abiding grace of God. [“That one discourse is not compiled or copied from the other, is sufficiently apparent from the difference of form, Paul quoting a single verse, and that only in part, of the four which Peter had made use of, and connecting that one with a passage in Isaiah, not alluded to by Peter, while he passes by the latter’s kindred argument derived from Ps. 110. All this goes to show the independence of the two Apostles and their two discourses, but at the same time their exact agreement in the exposition of a Messianic prophecy.” (Alexander).—TR.]
ACTS 13:38–41, a. Be it known unto you therefore.—Paul now draws the inference which the foregoing statements furnish, and applies the whole subject to his hearers in a very earnest and impressive manner. He announces to them that forgiveness of sins is offered in Christ, the Crucified and Risen One (ἄφεσις ἁμ. διὰ τούτου); “every one,” he adds, “that believeth is justified (and absolved) in Him (Christ [ἐν τούτῳ]), from all that, from which ye could not be justified (and absolved) in the Mosaic law;” see below, DOCTR. etc. No. 4.—The hearers are, lastly, warned, and urged to be on their guard lest the prophetic threatening of God come upon them, namely, an amazing and annihilating humiliation; for they would see a work of God, the tidings of which, (without the personal knowledge and experience of it) would have been deemed incredible. (Ἐν τοῖς προφ. i.e., in the Book of the prophets). The quotation (Habak. 1:5) is from the LXX. [In place of בַּגּוֹיִם of the present Hebrew text, “among the heathen,” the Seventy probably read בֹּגְדִיּם, “treacherous dealers,” ROB. Lex. p. 111, as they render the word by καταφρονηταί, which Paul accordingly employs, (de Wette; Meyer).—TR.]
b. This discourse, the first of any extent which the apostle Paul delivered and Luke has preserved, has been the subject of very unfavorable critical remarks. It has, for instance, been said that its characteristic features are not those which might be expected in an original Pauline discourse, but that it is rather a mere echo of those of Stephen and Peter: and, again, that it is merely a production of the author of the book before us (SCHNECKENBURGER, Zweck d. Apgsch., p. 130; BAUR: Paulus, p. 101.). Some writers, who could not perceive the object of the historical portion of the discourse, especially Acts 13:17–22, have conjectured either that Paul merely desired to exhibit his knowledge of the Old Testatament (Roos: Abh. verm. Inh. 1804, p. 421), or that this portion was intended to attract the attention, and gain the confidence of the hearers (Neander); it has even been asserted that the whole was an unmeaning enumeration of Jewish historical records (SCHRADER: Paulus. V. 546). But it is very obviously Paul’s purpose, in that historical portion, to exhibit the free grace of God, and His unmerited election, by which Israel was made His people, and David His servant and a king, as contradistinguished from the rejection of those who resisted His will. Further, the language employed by Paul respecting Jesus, bears a peculiar impress, in so far as he connects every circumstance with David. Thus, his review of the Old Testament history is continued to the age of David; Christ is introduced as a descendant of David; king David is represented as a highly significant type, all the promises connected with him having been fulfilled when Christ appeared. The doctrinal intimation, moreover, respecting the justification in Christ of those who believe in Him, as distinguished from the insufficiency of the Law, bears the genuine Pauline impress, and nothing that is analogous to it occurs in any of the previous discourses. And, lastly, when this address is compared with the Epistles of the same apostle, it should not be forgotten that the former is a missionary address, not intended to be a profound discussion suited in form and matter to persons who were already converted. When all these circumstances are duly considered, we can discover no reason for doubting the genuineness and historical originality of this discourse.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The election of the patriarchs, the elevation of their descendants to the rank of the people of God, the deliverance of the latter from Egyptian bondage, and their establishment in Canaan, as the land of their possession, the appointment of judges and kings of the people—were all acts of God alone, depending solely on his uncontrolled purpose and election of grace [Rom. 11:5], and not on human merit or coöperation. Indeed, the original introduction or foundation of such honors and dignities, depends entirely on the course taken by the divine action. The first sketch of the doctrine of God’s free election of grace (afterwards more fully developed and established by the apostle Paul), is presented in this place, and, indeed, chiefly in reference to the Israelites who were among the apostle’s hearers. Human pride and vain conceptions of merit produce a disposition to advance claims, which, in reference to God, are altogether unfounded and false, and which unfit the soul for the acceptance of grace. The Mosaic law, with its promises and its threatenings, viewed as an economy of retribution, could easily produce such sentiments. And there is, indeed, in every human heart, a certain tendency to advance such claims on God. But the grace of God in Christ requires a different soil, if it is to thrive and bear the fruits of righteousness unto the praise of God. The soil in which the grace of redemption can take root and bear fruit, is humility. Such views now guide the apostle, whose own self-righteousness had been crushed by the Redeemer, and who was then first guided by the light of grace, and enabled to understand God’s election of grace in the old economy. In novo Testamento vetus patet. “In thy light shall we see light.” Ps. 36:9.
2. While God’s election of grace is thus recognized as unconditional, and as the foundation of all that is great and good, the freedom of the will and man’s personal accountability are by no means denied. Saul was not rejected and set aside (μεταστήσας, Acts 13:22) by any divine caprice, after having been actually placed on the throne, but simply on account of his disobedience, as it distinctly appears from 1 Sam. 13:14, (which passage Paul, by a change of form, connects with David). And David himself is described, first, as a man after God’s heart, and then, as one who fulfilled His will, Acts 13:22. These two expressions are not identical: first of all, let the tree be good, and then the fruit will be good: let the state of the heart and its sentiments be sound, and good deeds, performed in the obedience of faith, will follow. Hence the apostle appeals, in his discourse, with ardent and winning love, to the hearts of his hearers (Acts 13:16, 26, 32 ff.), in order to guide their will to an obedient reception of the word, and to sincere repentance, Acts 13:40 ff.
3. The more we accustom ourselves to consider the history of revelation in its internal connection, and as a whole, the more distinctly will Christ appear to us as the central point of all revelation; and the more fully the heart learns to know Jesus as a Saviour, the more clearly will we understand sacred history and its internal connection.
4. Justification by faith in Christ. A proposition is, first of all, introduced in Acts 13:38 ff., which is not as peculiarly and exclusively Pauline in its character, as many others, viz.: ‘The forgiveness of sins through Christ is announced to you.’ The ἄφεσις ἁμαρτιῶν had been previously promised by Peter also, to those who repented and received baptism (Acts 2:38; 3:19.). It is only the immediate and close connection of the forgiveness of sins with the Person of Jesus Christ, as the medium of forgiveness, that is prominently set forth in the Pauline discourse, in a different manner from that which Peter adopts. But as it is at present the apostle’s purpose merely to bear witness in general to the fact, without entering into a full and complete discussion of the doctrine, the mode and the means (διὰ τούτου) by which Christ became the organ and mediator of the forgiveness of sins, are not explained. The most obvious thought is, that His resurrection is the essential fact on which that mediation depends, since that fact had been specially considered in the verses which immediately precede. There is, at least, no other and more distinct reference made here to the death of Jesus on the cross, as the foundation of the atonement and the remission of sins. Still, we have no reason to assume that this discourse represents the resurrection exclusively, and not also the death of Christ on the cross, as the main ground on which forgiveness through Him depends.—But, on the other hand, all that now follows: καὶ ἀπὸ πάντων—δικαιοῦται, is, as was intimated above (EXEG. etc. Acts 13:38–41. a.), decidedly new, both in thought and in expression. The words contain a negative and a positive declaration; the negative is: the law is insufficient with respect to our justification; the positive: in Christ, every one that believeth is justified. In both declarations the main conception involved in the predicate is expressed by the one word δικαιωθῆναι. This word necessarily must (on account of its connection with the proposition that precedes, viz.: διὰ τούτου ἄφεσις ἁμαρτιῶν, as well as on account of the words ἀπὸ πάντων), refer both to a deliverance from sins, and to a release from guilt and punishment; it includes, however, also, in accordance with its root (δίκαιος), the idea of integrity, or, of acceptableness in the sight of God. All men need forgiveness, the blotting out of sins, a release from guilt and punishment; the Israelite seeks these in the law of Moses; the apostle offers these in Christ. But he says, in one part of the statement, that these were in vain sought in the Mosaic law—it is impossible (οὐκ ἠδυνήθητε) to obtain forgiveness and justification in the law.—Ἀπὸ πάντων ὦν [ὦν for ἀφʼ ὦν, WIN. Gram. § 50. 7.] οὐκ, etc.; these words do not mean (SCHWEGLER: Nachap. Zeitalt. II. 96 f.) that forgiveness in Christ could be obtained also with respect to those sins, as to which justification was not attainable in the law, that is to say, that in the law a real, although only partial, but in Christ a complete justification could be found. This interpretation is not suggested by the context, nor by the Pauline doctrine elsewhere, nor, in general, by scriptural truth, all of which set forth the opposite view. Paul implies here only in indirect, but still in unmistakable terms, that the Mosaic law and the observance of it could furnish absolutely no means for obtaining in truth and reality the forgiveness of sins and justification.—Consequently, the apostle here bears witness to the following truths:—1. Justification is not merely a negative, but also a positive benefit; 2. Jesus Christ is the only mediator of justification; 3. Christianity is universal in its design, or, specially, justifying grace in Christ is accessible to all in common (πᾶς ὁ πιστ.); 4. Faith is the sole condition of justification on the part of man (πιστεύων); 5. the conflicting opinion is distinctly rejected—the law is not able to secure man’s justification. All these are truths which became clear to the mind of the apostle Paul, in consequence of the peculiar manner in which he was guided to the Redeemer; and this is the first occasion on which they are publicly set forth.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
ACTS 13:13. And John, departing from them.—“No man having put his hand to the plough, etc.” Lu. 9:62.—The Scriptures do not pass over the errors of the saints in silence; it affords us consolation to learn that none of them finished their course, without making the confession: “My foot slippeth; (but) thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.” Ps. 94:18. (Besser).
ACTS 13:14. They departed [continued their journey]. If any one who labored with us in the service of the Lord, should forsake us, we should not be discouraged, but continue the work. (Quesnel).
ACTS 13:15. If ye have any word of exhortation, say on.—When we preach as strangers in a congregation, on suitable occasions, we act in the spirit of the apostles; we practically bear witness to our agreement in doctrine, and we encourage the hearers, who desire to hear such sermons; the manifold gifts of the Spirit are exhibited to them. But no teacher should intrude with his sermons; he should wait for an invitation to deliver them. (Starke).—The apostles could easily preach ex tempore, for they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and their hearts derived life and warmth from the Gospel. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 13:16. Then Paul stood up, etc.—This is the first discourse delivered by a man of learning, which the book of THE ACTS furnishes. It is a model, showing how true grace can sanctify all the gifts and powers of nature, as well as all knowledge and learning, and employ them in the service of Jesus Christ; it teaches us how to prepare sermons that are both profound and also edifying, or, rather, that may convince the mind, and penetrate the heart. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 13:17–24. The God of this people … chose our fathers, etc.—The apostle endeavors to exhibit the course of sacred history in such a light, that the undeserved mercy of God, the free election of grace, the long-suffering and patience of the Lord, even though the Israelites were continually disobedient, may deeply move the hearts of his hearers. Hence, before he speaks of the divine threatenings and punishments, he lays an evangelical foundation, in order that the patient love of God may melt their hard hearts. (Ap. Past.).—Paul exhibits to the Jews the divinely appointed times and seasons which prominently appear in the history of their fathers. He has a twofold object: he shows, first of all, that God acted with undivided authority, and regulated all things according to His own wisdom; he then explains that, after the lapse of the appointed years, the period of the new covenant had arrived. (Ap. Past.).—After that, he gave unto them judges.—Every form of government is of God, as well an aristocracy as a monarchy [Rom. 13:1]. (Starke).—And when he had removed [set Saul aside].—It is possible that God may choose a man for his service, and yet afterwards set him aside. It is very sad when a man who had been a chosen instrument of God, afterwards, like Judas or Demas, again loves this present world. (Ap. Past.).—I have found David … a man after mine own heart, who shall fulfil all my will.—He alone is a man after God’s heart, who does His will in all things. (Quesn.).—John … preached … the baptism of repentance.—John’s preaching in the wilderness was, in its whole character and tendency, a preaching of repentance. He placed the people again, as it were, by his peculiar mode of action, on the road to Canaan; he showed them that they, with their kings and prophets, were still in the wilderness, and not yet within the bounds of the promised land. The time had now arrived, in which they were to be conducted in the right way out of the wilderness. (Williger).
ACTS 13:25. I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, etc.—The pastor’s office requires him to bear witness of Christ, to whom alone, and not to himself, he should direct the attention of men. (Starke).—When Paul designs to magnify Jesus before the people of Israel, he calls their attention away from all the distinguished men of former ages, so that they may fix their eyes on the Saviour alone. Hence he turns away from the patriarchs, from David, and from John, and points to Jesus alone. All these holy men were only servants of God in their respective ages. Jesus is, and continues eternally to be, the Saviour, to whom alone the eyes and hearts of men should be directed. How blessed are the labors of a teacher, who rightly exercises the gift of exhibiting Jesus alone to the souls of his hearers. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 13:26. Men and brethren … and whosoever among you feareth God.—The pagans who feared God, are specially addressed. They, too, belong to the covenant which God made with Abraham. (Williger).—The word of this salvation.—Receive this word into thy heart, that Christ has sent to thee the gospel message of salvation, and therein giveth thee redemption and the victory over sin, death, the grave, corruption, hell, and the devil. When, therefore, Paul glorifies the preaching of the word concerning Christ, which he here terms the word of salvation, he exalts it more highly, than if he had described to his hearers all the power, the treasures, and the glory on earth or in heaven. For what aid could all these afford me, if I had not received this word of salvation and eternal life? For when I feel the burden of my sins, or when I am in danger of death, I am still compelled to say: Depart from me, all ye treasures and joys of this world, so that I may hear and retain nothing but this preaching and word of salvation which Christ has sent. (Luther).
ACTS 13:27–29.—For they that dwell at Jerusalem … laid him in a sepulcher.—Paul well knew that the death of Jesus on the cross, was a grievous offence to the Jews. He therefore endeavors to obviate their prejudices by reminding them, first, that the innocence of Jesus was evident, and had been publicly established, and, secondly, that all that had been written of him, had been fulfilled in his death. These two considerations are sufficient to remove the whole offence occasioned by the death of Jesus. (Ap. Past.).—There is a council of higher rank than that to which the rulers in Jerusalem belonged, namely, the council of the holy prophets; to the latter the apostle appeals, when he is obliged to tell his brethren in Antioch that Jerusalem had not recognized the Saviour of Israel. Thus he covers the shame which Jesus suffered, with the shield of the prophetic word. Let no one take offence at a Saviour to whom Jerusalem could give nothing better than the accursed tree, and a grave which the civil authorities sealed. Thus it is written, and thus it must needs be. [17:3]. (Besser).
ACTS 13:30–37. But God raised him … he saw no corruption.—Paul preaches not only the cross, but also the resurrection of Jesus. The two belong together, if we desire to obtain full and complete righteousness in Christ. [Rom. 4:25].—The resurrection is proved by the testimony of the apostles (Acts 13:31), and the predictions of the prophets (Acts 13:32). Both are here adduced by Paul.—To the former he adds his own. What a blessing it is, when our own experience enables us joyfully to unite with the cloud of witnesses of Jesus!—The apostle selects three passages, when he designs to prove the resurrection from the writings of the prophets. The first [Ps. 2:7 ff.] establishes the truth respecting the eternal generation of the Son, and his office as the Saviour of the world; the second [Isai. 55:3] declares that the promises of grace are inviolable, and shall be fulfilled; and the third [Ps. 16:10] distinctly sets forth that the Messiah shall not be subject to corruption. Thus the truth respecting the resurrection of Jesus is demonstrated by the eternal decree of God, by the inviolability of his covenantal grace, and by an express promise. (Ap. Past.).—After David had served his own generation [after he had, in his day, served, etc.; see note 11, appended to the text, above.—TR.].—David obeyed the will of God in his own day. It was an evil time, and yet this servant of the Lord continued to obey the will of God. Our own times, too, are controlled by God, and our task is assigned to us by Him. Our times may be unfavorable, and evil-minded men may surround us: still, the great object of our life must ever be the performance of the will of God. (ib.).—When those who survive, can declare with truth, after the death of an individual, that, although the days of his pilgrimage may have been few and evil, he had always fulfilled the will of God as far as his ability extended, they could not inscribe a more honorable epitaph on his tomb-stone, or pay a nobler tribute to his memory. (Starke).
ACTS 13:38–41. Be it known unto you, therefore … though a man should declare it unto you.—Paul had thus furnished full explanations; he now proceeds to make a direct and animated application; the two belong together.—The strict law of Moses was designed to awaken and maintain a desire for a Saviour. It is, therefore, well, when a pastor, under the new covenant, frequently institutes a comparison between free grace in Jesus and that ancient yoke of bondage [Gal. 5:1]. Thus Jesus becomes still more precious to the heart.—The teacher who desires to glorify the exceeding riches of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, will very diligently show that the blood and merits of Jesus are of far greater efficacy than nature, morality, and Law, since Jesus delivers sinners from that uncleanness and that misery which no other means can remove.—To those Jews who were attracted by the preaching of Paul, and who sought further intercourse with him (Acts 13:43), he more fully unfolded the leading theme of revealed religion, namely, justification by faith. We now possess these explanations in his Epistles, which are, in truth, only full statements of the doctrine of which he gave merely a general sketch towards the close of his first discourse. (Besser).—The apostle deems it wise to append a legal pondus to his evangelical testimony, so that he might, by a stern warning, inspire those who despised the grace of Jesus, with a salutary fear. The free Gospel of Christ, in its widest extent, does not render the law useless. (Ap. Past.). (Compare the sharp rebuke with which Stephen’s discourse closes, Acts 7:51 ff.).—Thus Paul completes his task; he has demonstrated that, to receive Jesus as Christ, as David, as the King, and, to be the people of God, are one and the same thing. (Williger).
ON THE WHOLE SECTION.—(ACTS 13:13–25).—“I will make you fishers of men,” [Mt. 4:19], Acts 13:13–15. The apostles, in obedience to this saying, I. Cast the net in different places, Acts 13:13; II. Were not discouraged in their labors, even when others forsook them, Acts 13:13; III. Regarded every season as suitable for labor, Acts 13:14; IV. Found every place adapted for it, Acts 13:14; V. Neglected no opportunity which was presented for testifying to the grace of God in Christ Jesus, Acts 13:16 ff. (Lisco).—That every work which is of God, will advance, even when individual laborers withdraw from it: I. This truth set forth; II. The course of conduct which it teaches us to pursue. (Lisco). The history of Israel, an encouraging illustration of the dealings of divine Providence with the human race: I. The dealings of Providence, as manifested (a) in the history of Israel; (b) in the history of the kingdom of God in general. II. The influence which our assurance that Providence thus deals with men, should exercise upon us: (a) to convince us that the issue will always be most happy; (b) to urge us to perform our part, so that the divine plan of salvation may be the more completely carried into execution (ib.).—The hours of the clock of the world: I. Slowly advancing, as hours (a) of the eternal God, with whom a thousand years are as one day; (b) of the long-suffering God, who patiently bore with a perverse world, even as he had patience with Israel during forty years in the wilderness. But, II. They are also hours that are uninterruptedly advancing, until the divinely appointed time arrives, (a) of the redemption of the world; (b) of the judgment of the world.
(ACTS 13:26–41.) Jesus Christ, the subject of all the prophecies (Acts 13:26–37): especially, I. As the Crucified One; II. As the Risen One. (Lisco).—Eternal salvation in Christ Jesus alone: I. In Him, salvation—the forgiveness of sins; justification by faith, Acts 13:38, 39; II. Without Him, not salvation, but judgment, Acts 13:40, 41. (ib.).—Christ, the Saviour of the world: I. Promised in the Old Testament, Acts 13:16–25; II. Rejected by his people, Acts 13:26–29; III. Preached as the Saviour of believers, Acts 13:30–41. (ib.).—How the goodness of God should lead thee to repentance [Rom. 2:4]: I. Consider what the Lord has done for thee. (The gracious dealings of the Lord with his chosen people, from the days of the patriarchs to the mission of Christ, Acts 13:17:25; the application to the manifestations of God’s love to us). II. Consider the return which thou hast made to God. (Israel’s ingratitude, Acts 13:24–29, and our own). III. Accept the grace which he still offers thee. (There is yet time: the crucified Lord is risen. Sin is now no insurmountable obstacle in the way of salvation. Even the murderers of Christ were unconsciously employed as agents, when His redeeming work was performed. But delay not! Unbelief will ultimately be judged and condemned!) (ib.).—To you is the word of this salvation sent (Acts 13:26)! It urges you, I. To consider devoutly the wonderful ways of God, when he prepared this salvation, Acts 13:17–26; II. To receive with faith this salvation in Jesus Christ, the Crucified and Risen One, Acts 13:27–39; III. To guard conscientiously against that spirit of ingratitude which rejects the grace of God, Acts 13:40, 41.
(ACTS 13:27–41.) It is a triumph of the divine government of the world, that even those who resist God, are nevertheless employed in executing his decrees, Acts 13:27–29; I. Illustrated at the cross of Jesus; II. Confirmed in the history of the world; III. Applied to the heart and life.—Saul chosen, but afterwards set aside (Acts 13:21, 22)—a warning to men, not to finish in the flesh, after having begun in the Spirit [Gal. 3:3].—Christ, the Son of David, but more than David: I. In spiritual strength; David, a man after God’s own heart, fulfilling all his will, Acts 13:22—Christ, the beloved Son of God, in perfect obedience, completing the Father’s work. II. In His experience; David raised from obscurity and distress to a royal throne—Christ humbled, even unto the death of the cross, exalted to the right hand of the Father, Acts 13:27–37. III. In his work; David, as the king of Israel, the protector of his people, the terror of his foes—Christ, as the Saviour of the world, an everlasting Prince of peace unto his people, an awful Judge of those who despise him, Acts 13:38–41.—The way of salvation: I. Slowly and painfully prepared; (a) slowly—during the preparatory period of the old covenant (Acts 13:17–25); (b) painfully—by the sufferings and death of Jesus (Acts 13:27–29); nevertheless, II. Short and easy: (a) short—faith conducts at once to the cross of Jesus, (Acts 13:39); (b) easy—for, the remission of sins, life and salvation, are found in it (Acts 13:38, 39).—Paul’s introductory sermon at Antioch, a type of his whole subsequent personal history: it exhibits him, I. As a profound interpreter of the Scriptures, Acts 13:17 ff.; 33 ff. II. As the noble-minded apostle of the Gentiles, Acts 13:16, 26. III. As a truly evangelical preacher of the faith, Acts 13:38, 39. IV. As a fearless witness of the truth, Acts 13:40, 41.—[Paul’s discourse at Antioch; I. The circumstances under which it was delivered; (a) by a man properly qualified and commissioned; (b) and directed to his field of labor by Providence, Acts 13:2. II. The character of the hearers; (a) Jews by birth, educated to worship the true God; (b) Pagans by birth, originally total strangers to God, (Eph. 4:18)
Acts 13:26, 43. III. The choice of the topics, (a) determined by the great Gospel theme of Justification by faith alone, and (b) by the spiritual wants of the hearers. IV. The impressions which it made; (a) many were deeply affected, Acts 13:43; (b) others were hardened, Acts 13:45.—TR.]
Acts 13:15. [τίς before ἐστι, is omitted in the text. rec. in accordance with D (corrected). E. G. H., but is found in A. B. C. D (orig.)., Cod. Sin., Syr., Vulg. It is dropped by Alf., but adopted by Lach. Tisch. and Born.—Meyer, who receives it, remarks that it could easily have been omitted, as it occurs between two words each of which begins with E.—TR.]
Acts 13:17. τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου, without ʼΙσραήλ, is probably the original reading. [ʼΙσραήλ is introduced in the text. rec. in accordance with A. B. C. D. Vulg., and occurs also in Cod. Sin.; it is adopted by Lach. and Born., but is omitted in E. G. H. and by Tisch. and Alf. De Wette regards it as an ancient gloss.—TR.]
 Acts 13:18. [a. The margin of the Engl. Bible presents the following critical note on the words in the text: “suffered he”:—“Gr. ἐτροποφόρησεν, perhaps for ἐτροφοφόρησεν, bore, or, fed them, as a nurse beareth or feedeth her child; Deut. 1:31, according to the LXX.; and so Chrysostom.” (Wiclif, Tynd., Cranmer, and Geneva exhibit: “suffered he their manners.”—TR.]
b. The authorities are decidedly in favor of ἐτροφοφ. rather than of the reading of text. rec., which is ἐτροποφ; the former is also supported by Deut. 1:31, which passage the apostle no doubt had in view, and in which, according to the probable reading, the LXX. also had ἐτροφοφ. [In Deut. 1:31, the reading of Cod. Alex., and edit. Aldina of 1518, is ἐτροφοφ; that of the Compl. Polygl. of 1517, with Origen, is ἐτροποφ. The MSS. vary.—In Acts 13:18, A. C (orig.). E. Syr. read ἐτροφοφ. which is adopted by Lach. Scholz, and Alf., while B (e sil)., C (corrected). D. G. H. Cod. Sin. Vulg. (moves sustinuit) read ἐτροποφ., and so Tisch. and Born.—“Ἐτροφοφ. i. e., ὡς τρόφος ἐβάστασεν (2 Macc. 7:27, where the. word refers to a mother). The authorities … and also the sense, which corresponds to the Hebrew (in Deut. 1:31), decide in favor of ἐτροφοφ.” (de Wette).—Meyer remarks that, as the image in Deut. is taken front a man (“as a man”), the word is derived from ὁ (not ἡ) τροφός (comp. 1 Thes. 2:7), and that erroneous views subsequently led to the adoption of another word, by changing a single letter, as if from τρόπος.—TR.]
Acts 13:19. [The text. rec. reads κατεκληροδότησεν, on the authority of many minuscules, but κατεκληρονόμησεν is found in A. B. C. D. E G. H. Cod. Sin. and many minuscules, and has accordingly been generally adopted by recent editors. Both words are alike defined, by Wahl and Robinson: to distribute by lot. The latter word, now generally recognized as the correct reading, is used by Greek writers only in the sense: to inherit from an ancestor, but it occurs in a transitive sense (i. e., to bestow an inheritance) in the LXX. in Numb. 34:18, Deut. 3:28.—Tr.]
Acts 13:23. ἤγαγεν [adopted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.] is far better supported [by A. B. E. G. H. Cod. Sin. Vulg.] than ἤγειρε [of text. rec.], which is found in but few MSS. [C. D.], and seemed [to copyists] to be an easier and more appropriate reading.
Acts 13:26. Recent critics have, on account of the greater weight of evidence, preferred ἐξαπεστάλη to the simple and more usual form ἀπεστάλη, of the text. rec. [The former, in A. B.C. D. Cod Sin.: the latter in E. G. H.—TR.]
Acts 13:31. νῦν [after οἵτινές] is wanting, it is true, in the greater number of the uncial MSS. [B (e sil), E. G. H., and is dropped by text. rec.], but seems to have been omitted simply because the apostles had long before been witnesses, and had not now only become such. It is to be retained as genuine. [Found in A. C. and Cod. Sin., Syr. Vulg. (usque nunc), and inserted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—TR.]
Acts 13:33. a. Many copyists did not understand αὐτῶν ἡμῖν [after τέκνοις], and hence changed the second word to ἡμῶν, omitting αὐτῶν altogether. Both are genuine. [A. B. C (orig.). D. and Cod. Sin. Vulg. read simply ἡμῶν, and so Lach.; C (second correction). E. G. H. read αὐτῶν ἡμῖν; the latter is adopted by Alf.—TR.]
Acts 13:33. b. Griesbach, Lachmann and Tischendorf, have very properly preferred πρώτῳ [to δεντέρῳ of text. rec.; Scholz also reads δεντέρῳ, on the authority of A. B. C. E. G. H. Cod. Sin. Vulg. (secundo)]. Πρώτῳ is supported by Cod. D., but principally by church fathers, such as Origen, Hilary, and others (some of whom expressly speak of this singular mode of stating the number of the Psalm. [Alf. who also adopts πρώτῳ, regards, with Meyer and others, the reading of the text. rec. as an alteration to suit the ordinary arrangement of the Psalms. Bengel, Kuinoel, and others, suppose that both numeral words are later additions, and that the reading was simply ψαλμῷ, and this view is supported by the different position of δευτέρῳ in different manuscripts.—“Even admitting it (πρώτῳ) to be the true text, it is not a lapse of memory, but a relic of the old opinion that the first Psalm is a preface to the whole collection.” (Alex.). The present first and second Psalms are still found written together in some manuscripts, as if the two constituted, the first Psalm. (Meyer.)—TR.]
Acts 13:34. [The English version furnishes the following critical note in the margin:—“Mercies: Gr. τὰ ὅσια, holy, or, just things; which word the LXX. both in the place of Isaiah 55:3, and in many others, use for that which is in the Hebrew, mercies.”—“τὰ ὅσια is the LXX. rendering of חַסְדֵּ, Isai. 55:3, which in 2 Chron. 6:42 (and in Ps. 89:2, ‘mercy’, ver, 49, ‘loving-kindnesses,’ Ps. 107:43 ‘loving-kindness’,), they have translated τὰ ἐλέη. The word holy should have been preserved in the Engl. version, as answering to τὸν ὅσιόν σου below (Acts 13:35): ‘the mercies of David, holy and sure,’ or, ‘my holy promises which I made sure unto David,’ ” (Alf.).—(Geneva: holy mercies; Rheims: holy things.—TR.]
Acts 13:36. [The margin of the Engl. Bible here offers the following:—“After he … of God; or, after he had in his own age served the will of God.”—“ʼΙδίᾳ γενεᾷ … βουλῆ admits of a twofold translation; γενεᾷ may depend on ὑπηρετήσας: having served his own generation (been useful to it), according to the purpose of God (dative of norm or rule). Our English translators, Calvin, Doddridge, Robinson, and others (Alex.), adopt this construction. Olshausen, Kuinoel, de Wette, Meyer, and others, refer βουλῆ to the participle: having in his own generation (dative of time), or for it (dat. comm.) served the purpose, plan of God, i. e., as an instrument for the execution of his designs; comp. Acts 13:22. Γενεᾷ, if connected with the participle, secures to it a personal object, and in that way forms a much easier expression than βουλῇ with the participle.” (Hackett).—“ἰδίᾳ γενεᾷ, casus sextus, construendus cum ὑπηρετήσας, postquam sua generatione ministravit. Davidis partes non extendunt se ultra modulum ætatis vulgaris, 2 Sam. 7:12. Huic brevi tempori opponitur perpetuitas Messiæ, c. 8:33.” (Bengel).—(Tynd. and Cranmer: in his time.)—TR.]
Acts 13:41. ἔργον ὄ [before οὐ μὴ] is to be preferred, on account of numerous authorities, to the reading ῷ̔ [of text. rec.] which is found in no uncial MS. [but in many minuscules], and this second ἔργον [inserted in the text. rec.] should be retained. [The second ἔργον is omitted m D. E. G. Syr., some fathers and versions, but is inserted in A. B. C. The reading ὁ is sustained by A. B. C. D. E. G.: Cod. Sin. reads ἔργον ὅ, and this lection is adopted by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—In Hab. 1:5, the reading of the Sept. is ὅ without ἔργον, which is another reason, as Meyer thinks, on account of which the latter word was omitted by some copyists.—TR.]
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.D.—PAUL AND BARNABAS ARE EXPELLED FROM THE CITY BY THE JEWS, WHEN THE LATTER SEE THAT THE GENTILES GLADLY RECEIVE THE GOSPEL
42And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue18, the Gentiles19 [But when they went out, they] besought that these words might be preached [spoken] to them the next sabbath20. 43Now when the congregation [synagogue] was broken up [dismissed], many of the Jews and religious [devout] proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas; who, speaking to them, persuaded [exhorted] them to continue21 in the grace of God. 44And [But on] the next [following]22 sabbath day [om. day] came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy [jealousy], and spake against [contradicted] those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and23 blaspheming. 46Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold [spake boldly], and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been [first be] spoken to you, but seeing [as] ye put [thrust] it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy [not to be worthy] of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be [for] a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest [mayest] be for [serve unto] salvation unto the ends [end] of the earth. 48And [But] when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad [rejoiced], and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained [and all that were arranged (Germ. ‘geordnet’, ordered, arrayed)] to eternal life believed. 49And the word of the Lord was published [carried abroad] throughout all [the whole] region. 50But the Jews stirred up [excited] the devout and24 honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised [a] persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts25 [drove them beyond their borders.]. 51But they shook off the dust of their26 feet against them, and came unto Iconium. 52And [But] the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
ACTS 13:42, 43. And when … were gone out, etc.—The persons who went out [αὐτῶν, see note 1, appended to the text, above.—TR.], were not Jews (as the textus receptus, which Bengel also adopts, states) who could not patiently listen to Paul any longer, but simply Paul and Barnabas. As these were guests, they withdrew after the conclusion of the discourse of the former, while the members of the synagogue remained until they were formally dismissed (λυθείσης τ. συναγ.). Before Paul and Barnabas, however, had actually left the building, they were requested to deliver another discourse on the succeeding sabbath. (Μεταξὺ, that is, the sabbath lying between other days; σάββατον does not here mean week, that is, the intervening week, for τῷ ἐχομένω σαββ., Acts 13:44, implies, that the request was made in the former sense. [“But” says Alexander, (Com. ad. loc.), the marginal version, the sabbath between “appears to be unmeaning, as no points can be assigned, between which this sabbath is described as intermediate.” He, like Hackett, Alford, etc. adopts the view advocated by de Wette, Meyer, and others, according to which μεταξὺ here alone in the N. T. is equivalent to ἑξῆς. which is, indeed, the reading in Cod. D. It is found in this sense in the later Greek, e. g. Jos. B. J. v. 4. 2; KREBS, Obss. p. 220; KYPKE, II. 67 f.; WYTTEMB, ad. Plut. Mor. p. 177. c. In this sense of next in order, following (ROB. Lex. N. T. ad verb.), the text of the Engl. vers. takes the word.—TR.].—Who were the persons that besought that these words, etc.? They were, without doubt, those assembled in the synagogue, possibly, the rulers, comp. Acts 13:15. But after this religious assembly had been dismissed in the customary manner, a considerable number of Jews and proselytes followed the two strangers to the abode of the latter, and were again addressed, in a still more unconstrained and familiar manner. They were urged to adhere with constancy and fidelity to the grace of God, by which they had already been influenced.
ACTS 13:44, 45. And the next sabbath.—On this day the crisis came. In the first place, the extraordinary readiness with which the pagan inhabitants of the city received religious impressions, was distinctly manifested, as well as the depth of the impressions which Paul had made on them, partly by the above discourse, and partly by the instructions which he, conjointly with Barnabas, continued to furnish in private. On this occasion almost the entire population of the city assembled, partly, in the interior of the synagogue and, partly, before it, in order to listen to the preaching of the Gospel.—But, in the second place, when the Jews saw these masses of hearers, the envy and jealousy which had already been enkindled in them, increased in intensity. They envied Paul on account of the extraordinary eagerness with which he was sought, and, possibly, their Israelitic national feeling was deeply wounded, when the thought spontaneously presented itself that the pagans would be authorized to share as fully as Israel in the great salvation that was offered. They were irritated by such considerations, and began to interrupt and contradict the apostle. (There is here a Hebraistic repetition: ἀντέλεγον—αντιλέγοντες καὶ βλ. [De Wette and Meyer (with whom WINER, Gram. N. T. § 45. 8 appears to agree,) deny that this is a Hebraism, and regard ἀντιλέγ. as intended to give an additional emphasis to βλαζφ. See note 6 above, appended to the text.—TR.]). The opposition of the Jews assumed more and more a violent and passionate character, so that they were ultimately impelled to utter blasphemies (the objects of which were, probably, Jesus himself, his messengers, and those who believed in him.) [Βλαζφημέω, 1. to speak evil of, to rail at; 2. Spec. of God and his Spirit, or of divine things, to blaspheme, ROB. Lex.—TR.]
ACTS 13:46, 47. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold [spake boldly].—They did not permit their own passions to become inflamed, neither did they revile their assailants; but they very plainly told the latter that they would thenceforth turn away from them, and offer the saving word of God to the Gentiles. It had, unquestionably, been necessary (ἀναγκαῖον)—they said—that the word of God should be proclaimed to them (the Jews), first of all. The necessity proceeded from the command of Christ (1:8; 3:26; Rom. 1:16), and from the whole plan of the divine economy. But these fanatical Jews had now rejected the Gospel, as the apostle emphatically declares, and had thus virtually pronounced the sentence themselves, that they were not worthy of receiving that everlasting life which had been offered to them in Jesus Christ. In view of this fact, Paul and Barnabas do not attempt to refute the objections and blasphemies of the Jews, nor do they cast their pearls before swine [Mt. 7:6], but simply pronounce the words: ‘Lo, we now turn to the Gentiles.’ They do not act in a capricious spirit, when they adopt this course, but strictly obey the will of God (ἐντέταλται). The passage from which Paul quotes, Isai. 49:6 [comp. 42:6], sets forth that the Messiah was appointed not only to render services to Israel, but also to be the light and salvation of the whole heathen world. These messengers and organs of Christ apply the words to themselves, and thus justify by the Scriptures the purpose which they avow, of henceforth devoting their labors exclusively to the Gentiles. They both departed from the synagogue, doubtless, immediately after having made this declaration. [“They view the Messianic fulfilment which was to follow this declaration of God (referring to his “servant,” Acts 13:1), as being virtually an ἐντολὴ for exercising the apostolic office, since it was through this office that the Messiah who is addressed (σε), would become the “light to the Gentiles, etc.”, which he was appointed to be.” (Meyer).—TR.]
ACTS 13:48, 49. And when the Gentiles heard this, they received the Gospel with still greater joy and reverence; as many of them became believers, as were appointed by God unto the possession of salvation (τεταγμένοι; Chrysostom: ἀφωρισμένοι τῷ θεῷ). Luke does not here mean to say that the entire mass of the pagan inhabitants who presented themselves, (Acts 13:44 ff.), had now been converted, but only a part of them, and, indeed, that part which had been chosen and ordered by God for that purpose; see DOCTRINAL etc. No. 3, below.—The brief remark in Acts 13:49, shows that this Pisidian Antioch became the central point of a system of evangelization, the influence of which was widely extended in the surrounding region.
ACTS 13:50–52. But the Jews stirred up.—There were certain females in Antioch who were originally Gentiles, but who had become proselytes of the Jews. They occupied a high position in society [“εὐσχήμονας refers to their rank, (17:12; Mark 15:43) as the wives of the first men of the city.” (Hack.).—TR.], but had not been influenced by the Gospel, and were hence the more easily excited and induced to sustain the Judaism which they had embraced. Through their influence and that of the “chief men of the city,” the Jews succeeded in raising a persecution against Paul and Barnabas. This διωγμός however, probably consisted not so much in any personal injuries inflicted on the two men, as, rather, simply in their banishment by the civil authorities from the city and its territory, as ἐξέβαλον implies. [“This seems to have been no legal expulsion; for we find them revisiting Antioch on their return, Acts 14:21, but only a compulsory retirement for peace, and their own safety’s sake.” (Alf.).—TR.]. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, in accordance with the command of Jesus (Mt. 10:14), not as an expression of contempt (Meyer), but as a declaration that they henceforth renounced all intercourse with such persons, and desired to escape the consequences which the conduct of the latter would deservedly bring upon them. They then proceeded to Iconium, a populous city at the foot of Taurus, [about ninety miles from Antioch], in a south-easterly direction; it belonged, at successive periods, to Pisidia, to Lyconia, and to Phrygia [but was, at the time of the visit of Paul, the chief city of Lycaonia (Meyer, who gives the authorities).—TR.]. It still bears the name of Konia [Konieh.]. The disciples, that is, the Christians at Antioch, were not, however, depressed and discouraged by the departure of their teachers, but were, on the contrary, filled with joy and the Holy Ghost. [Their joy arose from a consciousness of the happiness which had become their portion as Christians. (Meyer).—TR.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The exhortations addressed to the Antiochians (Acts 13:43), i.e., that they should persevere with fidelity and constancy in the grace of God, is worthy of special notice, since the specific idea expressed by χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ, is here presented for the first time in THE ACTS, and, indeed, precisely by Paul and Barnabas. In Acts 4:33, mention had been made of the kindness and grace of God which all the members of the church enjoyed; but the language which was there employed, was intended to describe the communion of love that continued to exist between God and the souls of the believers. Here, however, χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ obviously designates the grace of reconciliation and redemption, which is imparted in Christ to sinners—the grace of God, as contradistinguished from sin. Χάρις occurs, in this sense, for the first time in THE ACTS, in this passage, but is afterwards repeatedly introduced in the same sense, e. g., Acts 14:3, λόγος τῆς χάριτος; Acts 15:11, χάρις κυρίου Ἰ. Χ. This circumstance can with the less reason be regarded as accidental, since the missionary discourse of Paul, which immediately precedes, already exhibits traces of that more profound knowledge of the truth in Christ which was granted to the apostle Paul [see DOCTR. etc. No. 4, on Acts 13:13–41, above.—TR.], and which the Church has received through him.
2. The indwelling divine power of the Gospel manifests itself not only by leading to the conversion of those who believe, and by filling them with holy joy and happiness (Acts 13:48, 52), but also by not permitting those who reject it to remain as they are, since it incites them to exhibit an unholy zeal and violent passions, as well as to utter blasphemous words, Acts 13:45. To some, the Gospel is a savour of life; to others, a savour of death, 2 Cor. 2:15, 16.
3. Acts 13:48, ἐπίστευσαν, ὅσοι ἠσαν τεταγμένοι εἱς ζωὴν ἀιώνιον. What do these words, when closely surveyed, imply? [See EXEG. etc. on Acts 13:48, 49, above.—TR.]. They mean, according to Calvin, that those became believers, whom God had, by virtue of his unconditional decree, ordained unto salvation,—whom he had determined to convert, and not to harden. [“Ordinatio ista nonnisi ad æternum Dei consilium potest referri,” see his COM. ad loc., and INSTIT. III. 24. 2 and 13, τεταγ. “ordinati.”—Τεταγ. is “ordained, ordered or appointed—not disposed, arrayed, etc.” (Alex.).—“appointed” (Hack.).—TR.]. But the free self-determination of the human will is as little denied as it is asserted, in this passage; a decretum absolutum is by no means involved in τεταγμένοι. But, on the other hand, the assertion rests on equally unsubstantial grounds, that ῆ̓σαν τεταγμένοι must be taken in a middle sense: quotquot se ordinaverant ad vitam æternam (Grotius) [which does not essentially differ from the explanation in HOFM. Schriftbew. I. p. 238, ed. 2. (Meyer, note)]. This assertion is philologically inaccurate, or assumes, as the definition of the word: apti facti (oratione Pauli) ad vitam æternam adipiscendam (Bretschneider), or explains it in an analogous manner: qui juxta ordinem a Deo institutum dispositi erant (Bengel), so that τάσσειν is taken as a designation of the order of salvation. [“Ordo salutis, or œconomia salutis is the title of that part of Dogmatic (Systematic) Divinity, in which the topics referring to the subjective realization of salvation, are discussed, usually: Calling (vocation), illumination, regeneration and conversion, repentance, sanctification, mystical union, and, often, also, justification and faith, as well as, finally, glorification.” (HERZOG: Real-Encyk. V. 684.—Bengel says ad loc, “Homo ordinare se (si modo sic loqui fas est) ad vitam æternam non potest, nisi credendo;—ergo ordinatio divina. Non tamen de æterna prædestinatione agit Lucas … eam ordinationem describit Lucas, quæ ipso auditus tempore facta est .… Ipsum verbum τάττω, ordino, nusquam dicitur de æterna prædestinatiòne, etc.”—Τεταγ. has often been taken in its military sense, and been thus explained: qui de agmine et classe erant sperantium vel contendentium ad vitam æternam; Meyer here observes: “the context affords no grounds for adopting the sensus militaris.” For this frequent sense of the word, see Passow (Herod. 9. 69, etc. Xen. Mem. 3. 1. 8 and 11) and 2 Macc. 15:20.—Dr. Wordsworth, (quoted by Hackett, ad loc.) explains the word thus: “Those who had set or marshalled themselves to go forward in the way to eternal life, professed their faith boldly in the face of every danger.”—TR.]. The words bear no other sense than that all those, and those alone, were really converted, who were ordered, appointed, by God to eternal life. It is not the result of accident, nor of the unconditional caprice or whim of men, when any one, or, any particular individual, attains to saving faith; this result depends, on the contrary, on the providence of God, which orders all things even before the decisive moment arrives. For, in matters pertaining to salvation and eternal life, not even the most inconsiderable circumstance can occur, without being ordered, guided and arranged by the will and power of God. This is a truth which humbles as well as strengthens and comforts us. And, on the other hand, nothing occurs in matters pertaining to salvation, unless man exercises the power of self-determination, and resolves, with freedom of the will. This truth is, indeed, recognized in the context, Acts 13:46, in the case of unbelievers; and, in a thousand other cases, the Scriptures bear witness to the freedom and independent action of man. This is not here, Acts 13:48, expressly stated, only because it is Luke’s chief purpose at present to teach us to regard the work of conversion as dependent on the divine direction of the course of events. [“If the reason why these men believed were only this,—that they were men ordained to eternal life, the reason why the rest believed not, can be this only,—that they were not by God ordained to eternal life; and if so, what necessity would there be, “that the word should be first preached to them”? as we read,
Acts 13:46, etc.—The apostle gives this reason why he turned from the Jews to the Gentiles,—because ‘the Jews had thrust away the word, etc,’ Acts 13:46, whereas, according to this supposition, that could be no sufficient reason of his going from them to the Gentiles. For it was only they among the Jews whom God had not ordained to eternal life, who thus refused, &c. … As many as were disposed for eternal life, believed; for the word τεταγμένος, which we here render ‘ordained,’ is used in this very book (Acts 20:13) to signify a man, not outwardly ordained, but inwardly disposed, or one determined, not by God, but by his own inclinations, to do such a thing; as when it is said, St. Paul “went on foot from Assos, οὕτω γὰρ ἦν διατεταγμένος, for so he was disposed;” the son of Sirach says (Σοφ. Σει. or Ecclus. 10:1) that the conduct or government of a wise man is τεταγμένος (ἡγεμονία συνετοῦτεταγμένη ἔσται), not, ordained by God, but ‘well ordered or disposed by himself,’ etc.” (WHITBY, Disc. on Elect. etc. ch. III. § 6.).—TR.]
4. The joy with which the Antiochian Christians were filled, even after Paul and Barnabas had been constrained to depart from them, is a bright evidence of the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit. Nothing but the communion of that Spirit could have fully compensated them for the loss which they sustained, when their intercourse with the two missionaries and teachers entirely ceased. They were converted, not to these men, but to the Lord, and He continued to dwell with them, even as he dwells with all His people, unto the end of the world. Indeed, even sufferings and persecution cannot diminish this holy joy, for they are among the signs of the Crucified One, and were foretold by Him to his disciples, before they came to pass [John 16:2–4].
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
ACTS 13:42. And when … gone out … besought.—The Gospel is never proclaimed in vain; although many may despise it, there are always some, whose hearts are touched by it. (Starke).
ACTS 13:43. Followed Paul and Barnabas.—They followed, as sheep follow the shepherd [John 10:4], for they had received many spiritual blessings through them. (Starke).—Persuaded [exhorted] them to continue in the grace of God.—Beginners most of all need such exhortations, for they are still tender grafts, and may be easily broken off from Christ amid the storms of temptation, (ib.).—‘Continue in the grace of God!’ This is a text well suited to all awakened persons. (Williger).
ACTS 13:44. And on the next sabbath day etc.—Blessed is the sabbath which is thus devoted to the word of God, and not to worldly joy; blessed is the city, the people of which thus proceed to the house of God, and not to places of amusement; blessed is the pastor, who can thus address a congregation that is earnestly seeking salvation, and not see empty benches before him.—And yet, how many Christian cities there are, which have reason to be ashamed of their Sundays, in view of this observance of the sabbath in pagan Antioch!
ACTS 13:46. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy.—The envy of the arrogant Jews, who pride themselves on the privileges which divine grace had bestowed on them, and who had already, on former occasions, taken offence when Jesus held intercourse with publicans and sinners, does not now allow them to survey, without displeasure, either the attention which the people give to the apostles, or the privilege which is granted to the pagans, of entering the kingdom of God. That envy will not consent that favor should be shown to the prodigal son, if their religious ceremonies, and their observance of the law should thereby become less prominent. All opposition to the word of truth flows from this impure source—an envious pride, which refuses to bow in submission before the mysteries of the Gospel. (Leonh. and Sp.).—Contradicting and blaspheming.—They might exercise the right of contradiction with a certain degree of plausibility, but when their opposition assumed the form of blasphemy, it was plain that their tongue was really ‘set on fire of hell.’ [Jam. 3:6]. (Rieger).
ACTS 13:46. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold.—How often we are lacking in such bold speech! (Williger).—It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you—not on account of your worthiness, but for the sake of the promises of God, who cannot deny himself, and who abideth faithful [2 Tim. 2:13], even when we are unfaithful. (Leonh. and Sp.).—But seeing ye put it from you, etc.—It is very profitable when we can convince men who despise divine grace, that they do wrong and are unmerciful, not to God, not to Jesus, not to their teachers, but to themselves; (Ap. Past.).—Despisers of the divine word judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, not that they actually entertain this opinion, but their conduct implies it. (Starke).—Lo, we turn to the Gentiles!—Buy, while ye are in the market; gather in, while the sky is clear; accept the grace and word of God, while they may be found. For, be it known unto you, that the grace and word of God are like a sudden shower, which does not return, when it has once fallen. It fell on the Jews, but it is now over, and they retain nothing. Paul brought it to Greece, but it is over, and now they have the Turks. It fell on Rome and the Latin lands, but it is over, and now they have the Pope. And ye Germans have no reason to think that ye will perpetually have the Gospel. Therefore, let him that can, seize it, and hold it fast—the idle hand will soon be an empty hand. (Luther).
ACTS 13:48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad.—God be praised! The grace revealed in the Gospel, has, then, been proclaimed to all. And we will imitate these Gentiles; we will rejoice, yea, heartily rejoice, to the praise of God, and to our own eternal honor. (Würt. Summarien, 1786).—And as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.—While the Israelites (like the elder son, Lu. 15:26), in their self-righteous envy, exclude themselves from the festival so graciously prepared by the Father, the heathen world rejoices in the revelation of that divine, pitying love, which had given very precious promises respecting Gentiles, and now grants them the adoption of children, with all its rights and wealth. The gloom of night is falling upon Israel, while the Gentiles are cheered by the morning star which is rising over them. When the peaceful dove of the Gospel is driven away from one spot, she speedily finds another home, where she may provide for her young. Not all, however, become believers, but as many only as were appointed to eternal life, and who therefore suffered themselves to be arranged in the divine order of salvation, i.e., of faith and repentance. The grace of God which elects and calls, is, indeed, the sole ground of conversion and salvation in every instance; but it is precisely the text before us, that shows, in the case of the Israelites, who robbed themselves of salvation by their own iniquity, that the damnation of men does not rest, like the appointment to salvation, on an absolute decree of God. (Leonh. and Sp.).—[The thought expressed in the last sentence, accords with the principles set forth in the Formula Concordiæ, according to which there is an “election (predestination) of grace” (Rom. 11:5), but not one of “wrath,” that is, a reprobation. E. g. “Prædestinatio vero seu æterna Dei electio TANTUM AD BONOS et dilectos filios Dei pertinet, et hæc est causa ipsorum salutis, etc.” Art. 11. p. 618, ed. Rech.—TR.]
ACTS 13:49. And the word of the Lord was published.—The word of the Lord carries a passport with it, which gives it access to every part of the world, and no human impediments can retard its progress. (Ap. Past.).
ACTS 13:50. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women.—“These were sanctimonious women, who prided themselves on their devotions, and imagined that they were pious already, before the two strangers arrived. And thus, that which is honorable and devout, is employed as a bar against Christianity. Such persons can very easily be stirred up, and then they exclaim: ‘Can you expect to find better people than we are? We had long ago been respectable and pious.’ ” (Gossner).—“Scoffers have often blasphemed, and said that our holy religion had been extended principally by the aid of women. A fact of an opposite character is here presented.” (Ap. Past.).—Per mulieres multa saepe impedimenta vel adjumenta adferuntur regno Dei. (Bengel).
ACTS 13:51. But they shook off the dust of their feet.—The people of the world need convincing evidence that the truth is communicated to them, not for the sake of private advantage, but solely for the purpose of enabling them to obtain salvation. If they will not accept of heaven, let them retain the earth and its dust. (Starke).
ACTS 13:52. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.—If these words were applied to awakened persons, would all of the latter successfully endure the test? There are many awakened little flocks, which are dispersed, as soon as the agents by whom they were awakened, are taken from them. Or, if such be not actually the result, they nevertheless grow lukewarm. Believers say: ‘The religious state of the flock is not now what it once was;’ unbelievers say: ‘The tumult has ceased.’ (Williger).
ON THE WHOLE SECTION.
Acts 13:42–52. How shall we obtain eternal life? I. By regarding it as the sovereign good, and earnestly seeking it; II. By judging ourselves, (as indeed we are by nature), to be unworthy of such a gift; III. By believing that the grace of God will, nevertheless, bestow it; IV. By submitting willingly to the gracious plans which the Lord has chosen. (Langbein).
The calling of the Gentiles, (id.).
The pilgrimage of the Gospel: I. Illustrated (a) in the text; (b) in the history of the kingdom of God in general; II. The solemn lessons which it teaches. (Leonh. and Sp.).
The various sentiments with which men listen to the preaching of the Gospel: I. Open hostility; II. Calm indifference; III. Willingness to believe and obey. (id.).
Wrath and grace, ruling in the kingdom of God: I. Man’s choice excludes from it, Acts 13:46; II. God’s choice introduces into it, Acts 13:48. (C. BECK, Hom. Rep.).
The word of God, the means by which the thoughts of many hearts are revealed [Lu. 2:35]: I. Of Gentiles, that is, of such as had hitherto been unacquainted with it, Acts 13:48, 49; (a) they rejoice on hearing the message; (b) they glorify the grace of God; (c) they receive the word in faith; (d) they experience the blessedness of believers. II. Of Jews, that is, of the self-righteous, who are not willing to be saved by grace, Acts 13:50; (a) they are filled with anger on hearing the Gospel message; (b) they prejudice others against it; (c) they persecute the messengers of salvation. III. Of believers, who have personally experienced the power of the word; (a) their faith is not shaken by afflictions, Acts 13:51; (b) they are filled with holy joy, Acts 13:52; (c) they grow in grace, through the Holy Ghost, Acts 13:52. (Lisco).
The first shall be last, and the last shall be first [Mt. 19:30]: I. The first, as the last, (a) Who are the first? Those who had at the earliest period experienced the love of God, and been most richly endowed with its gifts. (b) Why are they afterwards the last? Because they did not faithfully apply the divine love that had been bestowed, and earnestly seek salvation, but indulged in pride on account of their gifts. (c) How do they become the last? Either by receiving a lower position in the kingdom of God, corresponding to the limited measure of their fidelity (Mt. 20:10), or by being entirely excluded from the blessings of the kingdom of God, as a recompense for their absolute unfaithfulness, Acts 13:46, 47. II. The last as the first. (a) Who are the last? Those who had been called at a later period, and were endowed with less precious gifts, (b) Why are they afterwards the first? Because their knowledge of their wants urges them to seek salvation, Acts 13:44, 48. (c) How do they become the first? By faithfully endeavoring, after they have themselves been admitted into the kingdom of God, to extend its blessings to others, Acts 13:49, 52. (Lisco).
The enemies of the Gospel, injure themselves alone: I. They betray the secrets of their evil hearts, Acts 13:45; II. They judge—and make—themselves unworthy of everlasting life, Acts 13:46; III. They dishonor themselves by the vile weapons with which they contend, Acts 13:50; IV. They cannot check the triumphant progress of divine truth, Acts 13:48, 49, 51, 52.
The envy which the success of the Gospel awakens: it bears witness, I. Against the envious—exposing their secret arrogance, their bad conscience, the wretchedness of their internal life; II. In favor of the cause to which they are unfriendly—that cause must be well sustained, the excellence of which cannot be actually disproved—which is a goad that cannot be successfully resisted—and which confers blessings that no scoffs can prove to be unsubstantial.
The solemnity of the words pronounced by faithful witnesses of the truth: ‘We turn away:’ I. They are prompted, not by timidity or the fear of man, but by a firm determination to obey the divine will. II. They express, not pride and contempt, but sorrow and compassion for those who reject the salvation of God. III. They are dictated, not by indolence, but by a zeal which seeks a new field of labor.
When is it time for a servant of Christ to shake off the dust of his feet? (Acts 13:51): I. When he has not only knocked at the door with friendly purposes, but also waited with patience and fortitude; II. When he has been directed, not only by men, but also by the Lord, to proceed further; III. When he not only finds the door closed to him here, but also sees another great and effectual door [1 Cor. 16:9] opened to him.
Israel’s temporal rejection: I. Richly merited by pride, ingratitude, and wickedness; II. Righteously determined by the holiness and truth of the Lord; III. Converted into a blessing for the whole world, to which the Gospel is now sent [Rom. Acts 11.]; IV. Designed to be a warning to Christendom, as well as an urgent appeal to believers, to go and search out, with tender love, the lost sheep of the house of Israel [Mt. 10:6].
[Acts 13:47. Christ, revealed as the light of the Gentiles: I. The sense of the prophecy; II. The manner of its fulfilment; III. The present duties of the Christian church, with respect to it.—TR.]
Acts 13:42. a. Instead of αὐτῶν, the text. rec. [following G.], reads: ἐκ τἠς συναγωγῆς τῶν ʼΙουδαίων; these words were probably inserted in order that the church lesson, which began at this place, might be more clearly understood [and a subject be supplied to παρεκάλουν, (Alf.)—TR.]; the single word αὐτῶν, however, is sufficiently attested by MSS. [A. B. C. D. E.] and versions [Vulg. etc.], and also by [Cod. Sin. and] the text of Chrysostom. [Lach., Tisch., and Alf. read simply αὐτῶν, and the last translates thus: “As they (the congregation) were going out, they (the same) besought, etc.”—TR.]
Acts 13:42. b. The reading τὰ ἔθνη, after παρεκάλουν [of text. rec. from G.], is undoubtedly spurious, [omitted in A. B. C. D. E. Cod. Sin.], and, besides, in point of fact, involves an error [the Jews having united with the others in making the request, according to EXEG. note on Acts 13:42, 43. Lach. Tisch. and Alf. omit τὰ ἔθνη, and Meyer concurs.—TR.]
Acts 13:42. c. [In place of: the next sabbath (Cranmer, Geneva), the margin of the Engl. vers. offers: “in the week between, or, in the sabbath between.” See EXEG. note, below.—TR.]
Acts 13:43. [The text. rec. reads ἐπιμένειν, in accordance with G.; in place of it recent editors introduce πρόςμενειν, which is found in A. B. C. D. E. Cod. Sin.—TR.]
Acts 13:44. ἐρχομένῳ [of text rec. from B (e sil). C (original). D. E (corrected). G. and Cod. Sin.], instead of ἐχομένῳ, is a correction, and is spurious, [“the sense of ἐχομ. not being perceived”, says Alf., who, with Lach. and Tisch., reads, in accordance with A. C (corrected). E (orig.)., ἐχομ., as in Lu. 13:33; Acts 20:15; 21:26.—TR.]
Acts 13:45. ἀντιλέγοντες καὶ [in text. rec.] has been cancelled by Lachmann, in accordance with A. B. C. G. [Cod. Sin. Syr. Vulg.]; it is, nevertheless, genuine [found in D., most of the cursive mss., fathers, etc.], as it was dropped only because it seemed to be tautological. [Defended by de Wette as emphatic (“not only contradicting, but also blaspheming,” as ἐξηρεύν. and ἐρευν. in 1 Pet. 1:10, 11), and inserted by Alf.—E. reads, in place of it, ἐναντιούμενοι; Mey. and Alf. regard both this word, and the omission of ἀντιλ., as unsuccessful attempts to improve the style.—TR.]
Acts 13:50. a. [καὶ after γυναῖκας, of text. rec. is dropped in Stier’s N. T., as well as by Lach. Tisch. and Alf., in accordance with A. B. C. D. Syr. (“the eminent devout women”); but it is found in E. G. Vulg. Chryst.; it was originally written in Cod. Sin., but was cancelled by a later hand. Meyer regards the words as inappropriately inserted.—TR.]
Acts 13:50. b. [“coasts.” This word is the version in the Engl. Bible, of μέρος, Mt. 15:21; ὅρια (frequently, as here); χώρα (Acts 26:20); τόπος Acts 27:2. It is applied to the; side, border, or boundary of a country, as in Deut. 19:8; Judg. 11:20. It was then employed to designate the region itself which was confined within certain limits or borders. It was, subsequently, applied specially to a boundary line running along the sea-shore. It refers here, in the former sense, to the country immediately surrounding Antioch.—TR.]
Acts 13:51. [αὑτῶν after ποδῶν, is found in D. E. G. Vulg. etc., but is omitted in A. B. C. Cod. Sin., and by Lach. Tisch. and Alf.—TR.]