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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Acts 22

Verses 1-30

God Shaping Man's Course

Acts 22:14

There is one word in this passage which is of supreme importance. It is the keyword of the passage, and all the meaning of the passage depends on it. It is an unusual word in the New Testament in the original, though we are familiar with the word by which it is translated. It looks a simple word, but it is very broad, and deep and full.

'Chosen 'is the word. If it meant only what we are accustomed to read in it, it would mean a great deal. Here was a man who had been miraculously intercepted on his wilful way, had seen visions and heard voices which others had not seen and heard. After three days of absolute darkness one comes to him, inspired of God to come and this is the authoritative explanation which he brings of all that has happened: 'The God of our fathers hath chosen thee. The God who called Abraham, and blessed Isaac, and multiplied Jacob, and trained and raised up Moses, hath chosen thee.' There is not a person here whose heart would not be unspeakably thrilled if a voice should come from the unseen, a voice authoritative and absolute, saying 'The eternal God, in whose hands all things are, in whose existence thou hast dimly, faintly believed, hath chosen thee for this or that particular task. He calls thee now, to undertake it'

I. God calls thee; requires thee; and this or that event in life the breaking down of health, the disturbance of friendship, the failure of thy plans, the hedging up of thy path is God's way of arresting thy attention, directing thy mind to the fact of His reality and His thought of thee, and His purpose for thee. It is a wonderful fact, a fact to which we are often blind which, if we were alive to it, would greatly solemnize and dignify and sanctify life that God is always choosing and calling people, this man for that position, and that for the other: one to know the perils of outward success, another those of outward failure; one to know the bliss and pain that belong to family relationships of wife, husband, and parent, of union and separation the health and sickness, the coming and going of those dearer than life another to know the different pain of solitude and its compensating freedom for the service of others; one for the high and public place, with its excitements and burdens, another for the lowly position, with its peculiar trials and delights; one to go abroad, another to stay at home.

II. The Word means more than calling and choosing at the moment. It refers to the past as well as the present It does not mean that Paul grew mischievous to the Church, and had to be stopped. It does not mean that the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro in the earth, saw this man the product of circumstances this man of extraordinary power and enthusiasm; saw how useful he would be in the service of the kingdom, and because of what he was chose him then and there, as a Church chooses and calls one minister out of a number whom it has never seen before. It means that Saul had never been out of the sight of God. That the Divine Disposer of events had been looking for ward to that hour on the way to Damascus from before the birth of the babe into the Jewish family at Tarsus. A literal translation of the word would be, 'The God of our fathers hath had thee in hand' for this very thing. While the Holy Child was growing up in the home of Nazareth, this child was born in the home at Tarsus, and as truly as the Most High God had His purpose for the One, He had His purpose for the other also.

II. The great lesson coming from this example the lesson that puts so many of us to shame is that of being ready to embrace the Divine Will when it is made known to us.

Charles Brown, Light and Life, p. 9.

References. XXII. 14. H. Drummond, The Ideal Life, p. 257. XXII. 14, 15. J. J. Blunt, Plain Sermons (3rd Series), p. 103. XXII. 15, 21. Expositor (6th Series), vol. viii. p. 236. XXII. 16. F. J. A. Hort, Village Sermons in Outline, p. 83. XXII. 17. Expositor (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 359. XXII. 17, 21. Ibid. vol. viii. p. 231. XXII. 21. T. Arnold, The Interpretation of Scripture, p. 284. XXII. 23. Expositor (5th Series), vol. iii. p. 222. XXII. 25. H. S. Holland, Old and New, p. 101. XXII. 27. Expositor (5th Series), vol. vi. p. 426. XXII. 28. E. M. Geldart, Echoes of Truth, p. 66. J. H. Jellett, The Elder Son, p. 189. XXIII. 1. G. Body, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlix. p. 174. W. H. Hutchings, Sermon Sketches, p. 210. XXIII. 2. Expositor (6th Series), vol. ii. p. 99. XXIII. 3. Ibid. p. 301. XXIII. 6. Ibid. (5th Series), vol. ii. p. 415; ibid. (6th Series), vol. xi. p. 40. XXIII. 8. T. F. Crosse, Sermons, p. 146. Expositor (5th Series), vol. v. p. 384; ibid. (6th Series), vol. xi. p. 444. XXIII. 11. H. S. Holland, God's City, p. 251. H. Bailey, The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 131.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 22". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/acts-22.html. 1910.