Vincent's Word Studies
And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
In Judaea (κατὰ τὴν Ἰουδαίαν)
More correctly, "throughout Judaea."
And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
They of the circumcision
See on Acts 10:45.
Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
Men uncircumcised (ἄνδρας ἀκροβυστίαν ἔχοντας)
An indignant expression. See Ephesians 2:11.
But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
Graphically indicating the solemn purport of the speech (compare Luke 12:1), or perhaps, in connection with expounded, his beginning with the first circumstances and going through the whole list of incidents.
I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.
And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.
And the spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:
Nothing doubting (μηδὲν διακρινόμενον)
The Rev. renders making no distinction, taking the verb in its original sense, which is to separate or distinguish. The rendering seems rather strained, doubting being a common rendering in the New Testament and giving a perfectly good sense here. See Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:23, and note on James 1:6. It was natural that Peter should hesitate.
The six brethren
The men of Joppa who had gone with Peter to Cornelius, and had accompanied him also to Jerusalem, either as witnesses for him or for their own vindication, since they had committed the same offence.
And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
It has the definite article: "the angel," mentioned in ch. 10.
Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
Forasmuch as (εἰ)
Better, as Rev., if.
The like (ἴσην)
Lit., equal; making them, equally with us, recipients of the Holy Spirit.
When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
They which were scattered abroad (οἱ διασπαρέντες)
On the technical expression, the dispersion, see on 1 Peter 1:1. Not so used here.
And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
The Greeks (Ἕλληνας)
Some, however, read Ἑλληνιστὰς, the Grecian Jews. See on Acts 6:1. The express object of the narrative has been to describe the admission of Gentiles into the church. There would have been nothing remarkable in these men preaching to Hellenists who had long before been received into the church, and formed a large part of the church at Jerusalem. It is better to follow the rendering of A. V. and Rev., though the other reading has the stronger MS. evidence. Note, also, the contrast with the statement in Acts 11:19, to the Jews only. There is no contrast between Jews and Hellenists, since Hellenists are included in the general term Jews.
And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
Originally, placing in public; setting before. Hence of the shew-bread, the loaves set forth before the Lord (see on Mark 2:26). Something set before one as an object of attainment: a purpose.
For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
More than strictly upright. Compare Romans 5:7, where it is distinguished from δίκαιος, just or righteous. "His benevolence effectually prevented him censuring anything that might be new or strange in these preachers to the Gentiles, and caused him to rejoice in their success" (Gloag).
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
To seek (ἀναζητῆσαι)
Strictly, like our "hunt up" (ἀνά).
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Were called Christians (χρηματίσαι Χριστιανούς)
The former of these two words, rendered were called, meant, originally, to transact business, to have dealings with; thence, in the course of business, to give audience to, to answer, from which comes its use to denote the responses of an oracle; a divine advice or warning. See Acts 10:22; and compare Matthew 2:12; Hebrews 11:7. Later, it acquires the meaning to bear a name; to be called, with the implication of a name used in the ordinary transactions and intercourse of men; the name under which one passes. This process of transition appears in the practice of naming men according to their occupations, as, in English, "John the Smith," "Philip the Armorer;" a practice which is the origin of many familiar family names, such as Butler, Carpenter, Smith, Cooper. Compare in New Testament Alexander the coppersmith (2 Timothy 4:14); Matthew the publican (Matthew 10:3); Luke the physician (Colossians 4:14); Erastus the chamberlain (Romans 16:23); Rahab the harlot (Hebrews 11:31). In the same line is the use of the word calling, to denote one's business. The meaning of the word in this passage is illustrated by Romans 7:3.
The disciples were called. They did not assume the name themselves. It occurs in only three passages in the New Testament: here; Acts 26:28; and 1 Peter 4:16; and only in the last-named passage is used by a Christian of a Christian. The name was evidently not given by the Jews of Antioch, to whom Christ was the interpretation of Messiah, and who wouldn't have bestowed that name on those whom they despised as apostates. The Jews designated the Christians as Nazarenes (Acts 24:5), a term of contempt, because it was a proverb that nothing good could come out of Nazareth (John 1:47), The name was probably not assumed by the disciples themselves; for they were in the habit of styling each other believers, disciples, saints, brethren, those of the way. It, doubtless, was bestowed by the Gentiles. Some suppose that it was applied as a term of ridicule, and cite the witty and sarcastic character of the people of Antioch, and their notoriety for inventing names of derision; but this is doubtful. The name may have been given simply as a distinctive title, naturally chosen from the recognized and avowed devotion of the disciples to Christ as their leader. The Antiochenes mistook the nature of the name, not understanding its use among the disciples as an official title - the Anointed - but using it as a personal name, which they converted into a party name.
And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
See on Luke 7:26.
And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
See on Luke 2:1.
Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
According to his ability (καθὼς ηὐπορεῖτό τις)
Lit., according as any one of them was prospered. The verb is from εὔπορος, easy to pass or travel through ; and the idea of prosperity is therefore conveyed under the figure of an easy and favorable journey. The same idea appears in our farewell; fare meaning originally to travel. Hence, to bid one farewell is to wish him a prosperous journey. Compare God-speed. So the idea here might be rendered, as each one fared well.
To send relief (εἰς διακονίαν πέμψαι)
Lit., to send for ministry.
Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.