13:1-3 What an assemblage was here! In these names we see that the Lord raises up instruments for his work, from various places and stations in life; and zeal for his glory induces men to give up flattering connexions and prospects to promote his cause. It is by the Spirit of Christ that his ministers are made both able and willing for his service, and taken from other cares that would hinder in it. Christ's ministers are to be employed in Christ's work, and, under the Spirit's guidance, to act for the glory of God the Father. They are separated to take pains, and not to take state. A blessing upon Barnabas and Saul in their present undertaking was sought for, and that they might be filled with the Holy Ghost in their work. Whatever means are used, or rules observed, the Holy Ghost alone can fit ministers for their important work, and call them to it.
PAUL'S FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY: In Company with Barnabas. Ac 13:1-14:28.
Ac 13:1-3. Barnabas and Saul, Divinely Called to Labor among the Gentiles, Are Set Apart and Sent Forth by the Church at Antioch.
The first seven chapters of this book might be entitled, The Church among the Jews; the next five (chapters eight through twelve), The Church in Transition from Jews to Gentiles; and the last sixteen (chapters thirteen through twenty-eight), The Church among the Gentiles [Baumgarten]. "Though Christianity had already spread beyond the limits of Palestine, still the Church continued a stranger to formal missionary effort. Casual occurrences, particularly the persecution at Jerusalem (Ac 8:2), had hitherto brought about the diffusion of the Gospel. It was from Antioch that teachers were first sent forth with the definite purpose of spreading Christianity, and organizing churches, with regular institutions (Ac 14:23)" [Olshausen].
1. there were … certain prophets—(See on Ac 11:27).
and teachers; as Barnabas, &c.—implying that there were others there, besides; but, according to what appears the true reading, the meaning is simply that those here mentioned were in the Church at Antioch as prophets and teachers.
Simeon … Niger—of whom nothing is known.
Lucius of Cyrene—(Ac 2:20). He is mentioned, in Ro 16:21, as one of Paul's kinsmen.
Manaen—or Menahem, the name of one of the kings of Israel (2Ki 15:14).
which had been brought up with—or, the foster brother of.
Herod the tetrarch—that is, Antipas, who was himself "brought up with a certain private person at Rome" [Josephus, Antiquities, 17.1,3]. How differently did these two foster brothers turn out—the one, abandoned to a licentious life and stained with the blood of the most distinguished of God's prophets, though not without his fits of reformation and seasons of remorse; the other, a devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus and prophet of the Church at Antioch! But this is only what may be seen in every age: "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in Thy sight.' If the courtier, whose son, at the point of death, was healed by our Lord (Joh 4:46) was of Herod's establishment, while Susanna's husband was his steward (Lu 8:3), his foster brother's becoming a Christian and a prophet is something remarkable.
and Saul—last of all, but soon to become first. Henceforward this book is almost exclusively occupied with him; and his impress on the New Testament, on Christendom, and on the world is paramount.