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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
Acts 15



Verse 1

certain men. Greek. tis. App-123. These men are disavowed by the Apostles (Acts 15:24). Compare Galatians 1:2, Galatians 1:12.

Judaea. As though from head-quarters. Perhaps some of the priests of Acts 6:7. Compare Galatians 1:2, Galatians 1:4.

taught = were teaching.

the brethren. See note on Acts 11:26.

Except = If not. Greek. ean (App-118) me (App-105).

after = in.

manner = custom. See note on Acts 6:14.

Moses. See notes on Acts 3:24. Matthew 8:4, and compare John 7:22.

cannot. Literally are not able to.

saved. Compare Acts 15:11, and Acts 16:30.

Verse 2

When therefore, &c. Literally Now no small dissension and disputation having taken place by Paul, &c.

dissension = disagreement. Greek. stasis, a standing up. The word for sedition. Occurs: Acts 19:40; Acts 23:7, Acts 23:10; Acts 24:5. Mark 15:7. Luke 23:19, Luke 23:25. Hebrews 9:8.

disputation. Greek. suzetesis. Only here, Acts 15:7; Acts 28:29. Texts read zetesis, questioning. Compare Acts 25:20.

with = towards. Greek. pros. App-104.

determined = appointed. Greek. tasso. Same as "ordained" (Acts 13:48).

other = others. Greek. allos. App-124.

apostles and elders. App-189.

question. Greek. zetema. Here, Acts 18:15; Acts 23:29; Acts 25:19; Acts 26:3. Compare "disputation" above.

Verse 3

And = They indeed therefore.

being brought on their way. Greek. propempo. Compare App-174. Here, Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5. Romans 15:24. 1 Corinthians 16:6, 1 Corinthians 16:6; 2 Corinthians 1:16. Titus 3:13. 3 John 1:6. Compare Genesis 18:16.

church. App-186.

passed = were passing.

Phenice: i.e. Phenicia. This shows they went by the coast road.

declaring. See note on Acts 13:41.

conversion. Greek. epistrophe. Only here. For the verb, which occurs thirty-nine times, see Acts 15:19 with Acts 3:19.

Gentiles. Greek. ethnos.

unto = to.

Verse 4

come. This was Paul"s third visit. Not by revelation. No Divine action.

received. Greek. apodechomai. See note on Acts 2:41.

of = by. Greek. hupo. App-104.

declared = - related. Greek. anangello, Same as "rehearsed" (Acts 14:27).

God. App-98.

with. Greek. meta. App-104. as His instrument (Acts 15:12).

Verse 5

rose up. Greek. exanistemi. App-178.

of = of those from (Greek. apo. App-104.) sect. Greek. hairesis. See note on Acts 5:17.

Pharisees. App-120.

believed. App-150. in Jerusalem.

was = is.

keep = observe. Greek. tereo.

Verse 6

came together = were gathered together

for. Omit.

consider = see. Greek. eidon. App-133.

of = concerning. Greek. peri. App-104.

matter. Greek. logos. App-121.

Verse 7

disputing. Same as disputation, Acts 15:2. Much feeling would be exhibited.

rose up. Greek. anistimi. App-178.

Men and brethren. See note on Acts 1:16.

know. Greek. epistamai. App-132.

a good while ago. Literally from early (Greek. archaios) days, i.e. about thirteen years before. App-181.

made choice = chose out. Greek. eklegomai, as in Acts 1:2.

by = through. Greek. dia. App-104. Acts 15:1. Compare Acts 10:44-48.

word. Greek. logos. App-121.

Verse 8

Which knoweth, &c. = the Heart-searcher. See note on Acts 1:24.

bare . . . witness. Greek. martureo. See p. 1511.

the Holy Ghost. Both articles are here, but used grammatically, referring back to Acts 2:4 (the same gift). App-101.

even as, &c. = as He did to us also.

Verse 9

put no difference = discriminated in nothing. Greek. diakrino.

purifying = having cleansed. Greek. katharizo. Compare Acts 10:15; Acts 11:9. The Heartsearcher is the Heart-cleanser.

faith = the faith. Greek. pistis. App-150.

Verse 10

tempt. Greek. peira, try, put to the test. Always transl "tempt" up to this verse, except John 6:6 (prove). Compare Acts 5:9.

put = lay.

yoke. Not circumcision only, but obligation to keep the whole law.

neither . . . nor. Greek. oute . . . oute.

were able = had strength. Greek. ischuo. Compare App-172.

bear = carry. Greek. bastazo. Compare Matthew 3:11.

Verse 11

believe. App-150.

grace. App-184.

Jesus Christ. App-98. but texts omit "Christ".

even as they = according to (Greek. kata. App-104.) the manner in which they also (will be). These are the last words of Peter recorded in the Acts. See his own argument turned against himself in Galatians 1:2, Galatians 1:14-21.

Verse 12

multitude. Greek. plethos. See note on Acts 2:6.

gave audience = were listening to.

declaring. Greek. exegeomai. See note on Acts 10:8.

what = how many, or how great. Compare Mark 3:8.

miracles = signs. Greek. semeion. App-176.

wonders. Greek. teras. App-176.

Verse 13

held their peace. Same as kept silence in Acts 15:12.

James. See note on Acts 12:17.

answered. App-122.

hearken unto = hear. Same word as "gave audience" in Acts 15:12, and "hear", verses: Acts 15:7, Acts 15:24.

Verse 14

Simeon = Simon. Greek. Sumeon. Compare 2 Peter 1:1.

at the first, &c. = first visited. Greek. episkeptomai. App-133. Compare Luke 1:68, Luke 78:7, Luke 78:16.

the Gentiles, &c. Read, to receive out from among the Gentiles.

people. Greek. laos.

for. Greek. epi, but texts omit the preposition.

Verse 15

agree. Gr sumphoneo. See note on Acts 5:9.

prophets. Only one prophet is quoted (Amos 9:11, Amos 9:12), but there are many similar predictions in Isaiah and others. See App-107.

is has been.

Verse 16

will return, &c. A Hebraism for "I will build again". Compare Genesis 26:18. Numbers 11:4 (margin)

return. Greek. anastrepho. Compare Acts 5:22. But elsewhere refers to passing one"s life, except John 2:15 (overthrow). Compare the noun anastrope. Always translated "conversation", i.e. manner of life, or behaviour.

build again = build up. Greek. anoikodomeo. Only here.

tabernacle = tent. Greek. skene, as in Acts 7:43, Acts 7:44. Not the house or throne. Significant of the lowliness of its condition when He comes to raise it up.

ruins. Literally things dug down. Greek. kataskapto. Only here and Romans 11:3. The texts read "things overturned". Greek. katastrepho.

sat it up = make upright or straight. Greek. anorthoo. Here, Luke 13:13. Hebrews 12:12.

Verse 17

the residue. Greek. kataloipos. Only here. It is the faithful remnant.

men. Greek. anthropos. App-123. The Hebrew would be adam, while the Authorized Version text of Amos 9:12 is Edom (Hebr. edom), but the consonants are the same, and the only difference is in the pointing. That adam, not Edom, is right can hardly be questioned, or James would not have used it.

seek after = earnestly seek. Greek. ekzeteo. Only here, Luke 11:50, Luke 11:51. Romans 3:11. Hebrews 11:6; Hebrews 12:17. 1 Peter 1:10. Compare Jeremiah 29:13.

all the Gentiles. The Gentiles take the second place. Zechariah 8:23.

My name. Compare James 2:7. Deuteronomy 28:10. Jeremiah 14:9

Who doeth, &c. Most of the texts read, "Who maketh these things known from the beginning of the world", and omit "unto God are all His works". See Revised Version and margin.

Verse 18

Known. Greek. gnostos. See note on Acts 1:19.

from the . . . world = from the age. Greek. ap" aionos. App-151.

Verse 19

my sentence is = I judge, or decide. Greek. krino. App-122.

that we trouble not = not (Greek. me. App-105) to trouble or harass. Greek. parenochleo. Only here. Compare kindred verbs in Acts 5:16. Hebrews 12:15.

from among. Greek. apo. App-104.

are turned = are turning. Greek. epistrepho. See Acts 15:3, and Acts 9:35.

Verse 20

write. Greek. epistello. Only here, Acts 21:25. Hebrews 13:22.

abstain. Greek. mid. of apecho. This form occurs here, Acts 15:29. 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:22. 1 Timothy 4:3. 1 Peter 2:11.

pollutions. Greek. alisgema. Only here. Pollution would be caused by eating unclean (forbidden) food. Compare Acts 15:29. 1Co 8. The verb alisgeo occurs in the Septuagint of Daniel 1:8 and Malachi 1:7, Malachi 1:12.

fornication. In many cases the rites of heathenism involved uncleanness as an act of worship. Compare Numbers 25:1-15. Probably the worship of the golden calf was of that character (Exodus 32:6, Exodus 32:25).

strangled. Greek. pniktot. Only here, Acts 15:29; Acts 21:25. The verb pnigo occurs Matthew 18:28. Mark 5:13. In this case the blood remained in the carcase, contrary to Leviticus 17:10-14.

Verse 21

old time. Literally ancient (Greek. archaios, as in Acts 15:7) generations.

in every city. Greek. kata (App-104.) polin, i.e. city by city. A similar idiom occurs below, "every Sabbath day".

preach. Greek. kerusso. App-121. The question was whether Gentile converts, entering by the door of faith (Acts 14:27), could be saved by faith alone without the seal of faith (Romans 4:11). In other words, whether they could belong to the family of believers (up to this time and later held as a strictly Jewish polity) without formal admission as "strangers" in accordance with Ex. Acts 12:43, Acts 12:44. The Epistle to the Hebrews was probably written to make the position clear to Hebrews and converts alike.

synagogues. App-120.

every, &c. See above.

Verse 22

pleased it = it seemed (good) to. Greek. dokeo.

send. Greek. pempo. App-174.

chosen men = men chosen out.

their own company = themselves.

Barsabas = Barsabbas. Perhaps a brother of Joseph of Acts 1:23. See Acts 15:32.

Silas. So called in Acts. In the Epistles Silvanus. This was a Latin name, and he was a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37).

chief = leading. Greek. hegeomai.

Verse 23

And they wrote = Having written. In Acts 15:30 it is called "a letter".

after this manner. The texts omit.

greeting. Greek. chairein. Literally to rejoice. Figure of speech Ellipsis (App-6). I bid you to rejoice. Compare Fr. adieu, (I commend you) to God. Compare Acts 23:26. James 1:1.

in = throughout. Greek. kata, as in Acts 15:21.

Verse 24

have. Omit.

subverting = unsettling. Greek. anaskeuazo. Only here, and not in Septuagint

your souls = you (emph.) Greek. psuche. App-110.

saying . . . law. The texts omit.

gave no such commandment = commanded it not.

Verse 25

It seemed good. Same word as "it pleased", Acts 15:22.

being assembled = having come to be.

with one accord. Greek. homothumadon. See note on Acts 1:14.

Verse 26

that have hazarded. Literally having given up. Greek. paradidomi. Often translated "deliver up", or "betray". In Acts 15:40 with Acts 14:26 "recommend".

lives. Greek. psuche. App-110.

for = in behalf of. Greek. huper. App-104.

Verse 27

have sent. Greek. apostello. App-174.

who shall also tell. Literally themselves also telling. See note on Acts 12:14.

mouth = word (of mouth). Gr. logos. App-121.

Verse 28

the Holy Ghost. App-101.

us: i.e. the whole church (Acts 15:22).

burden. Greek. baros. Occurs here, Matthew 20:12. 2 Corinthians 4:17. Galatians 1:6, Galatians 1:2. 1 Thessalonians 2:6. Revelation 2:24.

than = except.

necessary = compulsory. Greek. epanankes. Only here. Circumcision therefore was not compulsory.

Verse 29

meats offered to idols. Greek. eidolothutos. Occurs here, Acts 21:25. 1 Corinthians 8:1, 1 Corinthians 8:4, 1 Corinthians 8:7, 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Corinthians 10:19, 1 Corinthians 10:28. Revelation 2:14, Revelation 2:20. This explains what the pollutions (Acts 15:20) were.

if ye keep = keeping carefully. Greek. diatereo. Only here and Luke 2:51.

Fare ye well. Literally be strong. Greek. ronnumi. Only here and Acts 23:30. The usual way of ending a letter.

Verse 30

when they, &c. = having then been dismissed, i.e. let go. Greek. apoluo, as in Acts 15:33. App-174.

when they had = having.

Verse 31

Which, &c. = And having read it.

consolation. See Acts 4:36; Acts 13:15.

Verse 32

being prophets also themselves = being themselves also prophets. See App-189.

exhorted. Greek. parakaleo. App-134.

with = by means of. Greek. dia. App-104. Acts 15:1.

confirmed = strengthened. Greek. episterizo. See note on Acts 14:22.

Verse 33

after, &c. = having continued some time. Literally made time.

were let go. Same as "dismissed" in Acts 15:30.

in = with. Greek. meta. App-104.

Verse 34

This verse is omitted by all the texts. The Revised Version puts it in the margin.

Verse 35

Paul also = But Paul.

continued. Greek. diatribo. See note on Acts 12:19.

preaching. Greek. euangelizo. App-121.

others. Greek. heteros. App-124.

Verse 36

some days after = after certain (Greek. tis. App-123.) days.

where = in (Greek. en) which.

have preached. = preached. Greek. katangello. App-121.

do = fare.

Verse 37

determined = purposed. Greek. louleuo. See Acts 5:33; Acts 27:39. But the texts read boulomai. App-102.

take with them. Greek. sumparalambano. See Acts 12:25.

John. See note on Acts 12:12.

whose surname was = who was called.

Verse 38

thought . . . good. Greek. axioo, to reckon worthy, or right. Here, Acts 28:22. Luke 7:7. 2 Thessalonians 1:11. 1 Timothy 5:17. Hebrews 3:3; Hebrews 10:29.

departed = fell away. Greek. aphistemi. Compare Luke 8:13.

Verse 39

And the contention, &c. But there arose a sharp contention. Greek. paroxusmos. Only here and Hebrews 10:24. A medical word. The verb occurs in Acts 17:16.

that = so that.

departed asunder = separated. Greek. apochorizomai. Only here and Revelation 6:14.

one from the other = from one another

Barnabas. He here disappears from the history.

took and = having taken.

sailed = sailed away. Greek. ekpleo. Only here, Acts 18:18; Acts 20:6.

Verse 40

chose . . . and = having chosen. Greek. epilegomai. Only here and John 5:2 (called).

recommended. See Acts 15:26.

God. The texts read "the Lord".


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Acts 15:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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