Now they which were scattered abroad on the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch…
Another hold upon the Gentile world. More important than Caesarea. Next to Alexandria. Intellectual culture; commercial. A sphere prepared for Saul.
I. THE MINISTRY EMPLOYED. Lay agency. Persecution compelling the Church to enlarge its borders. The circumstances opening the door to the Gentiles. Probably little success among Jews. The multitudes of Greeks at Antioch. The Greek mind prepared for inquiry. The state of the heathen world well represented there.
II. THE DIVINE TESTIMONY GIVEN. The hand of the Lord with them. The Spirit outpoured. Possibly not so much in miraculous signs, but in conversions.
III. THE MESSAGE PREACHED. "The Lord Jesus. Not speculations to catch philosophers, but facts to lay hold of hearts, Not preached in a tone of ecclesiastical authority, but by laymen full of the Holy Ghost.
IV. THE TWO CENTRES UNITED - JERUSALEM AND ANTIOCH. Apostolic ministry and lay agency. Barnabas, an intermediate representative man. The kind of man required; not lax in his views of truth, but a good man," full of kindly spirit, an inspired man, a firm believer. Thus the expansion of the Church was no rending of the body of Christ, but simple growth, spiritual life seeking its development.
V. THE SCHOOL OF THE CHURCH OPENED. Antioch a great catechetical center. Barnabas aimed at instruction and edification, that they should cleave unto the Lord. He called in Saul, as more eminently adapted than himself for work in such a sphere. The humility of both men exemplified. Both fitted to be masters, because both simpleminded. Teaching must accompany evangelization, or the work will fall to pieces. A whole year they taught much people; hence their steadfastness at Antioch.
VI. THE WORLD'S TESTIMONY TO THE NEW LIFE. "Called Christians. Antioch saw a distinct society arising; gave it a name, separated it in thought both from Judaism and heathenism. Recognized that the substance of it was Christ; that the members of it were like Christ and lived for Christ. The providential appointment of the name signalized the new start of the Church on its mission, with Saul at the head of it, to evangelize the world. An interesting line of progress from Jerusalem to Antioch. Divine guidance. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.