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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Acts 14

 

 

Introduction

Paul Is Stoned For Preaching
- Acts Fourteen
-

This missionary journey took Paul and Barnabas to Iconium where they attended a synagogue service. There they were also again given the opportunity to speak and a great multitude of Jews and Greeks believed. (Acts 14:1) As had previously been the case the unbelieving Jews stirred up trouble. (Acts 14:2)

The preaching of these brethren was marked by (1) boldness, and (2) the working of miracles. They fearlessly proclaimed the word of God"s grace. In this text Barnabas is called an apostle. In Acts 14:14 we read, "when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out."

Jesus said that the preaching of the gospel would bring division. "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." (Luke 12:51) As these men preached "the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles." (Acts 14:4) Some even tried to stone the preachers but they fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia. There they preached the gospel.

A certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet was healed by the apostles. The man was healed by simply being told to "Stand upright on thy feet." The miracle resulted in the people saying, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker." The apostles "rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein." (Acts 14:14-15) One must recognize the true God before he can find the true Savior.

The unbelieving Jews from Antioch and Iconium persuaded the people to stone Paul. "They stoned him and drew him out of the city, supposing he was dead." God raised Paul up and he went right back into the city.

The brethren revisited the churches they had established to (1) Confirm the souls of the disciples, (2) exhort them to continue in the faith, and (3) ordain elders in every church. Continuing in the faith refers to following the complete body of revealed truth. At the end of their journey the brethren gathered the church together and rehearsed all that God had done through them.


Verses 1-7

Paul and Barnabas in Iconium - Acts 14:1-7 : The missionary journey carried the brethren to Iconium. There they spoke of the grace of God and His gospel. They taught the people with power, boldness and courage. The result was that a great multitude of the Jews and Gentiles believed. The part of the Jews that continued in unbelief stirred the minds of the people in an evil way against the apostles.

The missionaries stayed a long time at Iconiun. They did not even seem discouraged at the treatment that they had received. The preaching of the gospel cause division. Some agreed with the apostles doctrine and others condemned their doctrine as false. The unbelievers attempted to stone the apostles as blasphemers. This caused these brethren to flee to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia. Even in difficult times they never lost the focus of their purpose. "And there they preached the gospel." (Acts 14:7)


Verses 8-17

Paul and Barnabas in Lystra - Acts 14:8-17 : At Lystra the apostles healed a lame man. He had never walked. This miracle was very much like the one in Acts 3:1-26. The man listened to the preaching. As Paul looked at him he observed his faith. With a loud voice Paul told the man to stand on his feet. He sprung up directly from his seat, leaped for joy, and walked as well as any man could.

Instead of giving honor to God for the miracle the people said, "the gods are come down to us in the likeness of men." Their concept of God was very wrong. They believed that there were more gods than one. They also believed that the gods sometimes descended to earth in human form. They gave Barnabas the name Jupiter. Paul was called Mercurius because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Jupiter brought oxen and garlands with the people to do sacrifice to the apostles.

This caused Paul and Barnabas to (1) rent their clothes, (2) cry "why do ye these things?" (3) remind them that they were just men, and (4) challenge them to turn from the vanities of false gods to the living God. The living God gives "us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." The other "gods" did nothing and can do nothing.


Verses 18-20

Paul is stoned for preaching Christ - Acts 14:18-20 : The things they said concerning themselves, and concerning the living God, His creation of all things, His goodness toward men barely kept the people from worshipping them. Certain Jews came down from Antioch and Iconium and stirred up the people against Paul. These unbelievers persuaded the people not to listen to the missionaries and they even convinced them that the apostles were deceivers.

The same people that had just before wanted to sacrifice to Paul as a god now stone him as a deceiver. This shows the fickleness of humanity. The Jews did the same with Jesus. One day they cried "Hosanna." The next they were crying "Crucify him, Crucify him." They stoned Paul and threw him out of the city and left him without a burial. Paul rose up and went right back to the city to preach. The next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.


Verses 21-28

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria - Acts 14:21-28 : Paul and Barnabas shared salvation through Jesus every where they went. Their preaching brought many to the faith of Christ. They return to confirm the souls of the disciples. Their goal was to encourage the brethren to continue in the faith. Christians need encouragement because they face difficulties in order to enter the kingdom.

The apostles (1) ordained elders in every church, (2) prayed, (3) fasted, and (4) commended the brethren to the Lord. (Acts 14:23) Their preaching journey brought them back to Antioch. Upon their return they gathered the church together and recounted how that God had given them an opportunity to preach the doctrine of faith to the Gentiles, and how the Gentiles had the opportunity of hearing and embracing the truth. Paul and Barnabas continued a long time at Antioch with the Christians there. Later they would go on other journeys.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Acts 14:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/acts-14.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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