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Certain men ; Jews who had become Christians.
The brethren ; the Christians at Antioch.
The manner of Moses ; as taught by him.
The Pharisees ; though converted to Christianity, they still retained their attachment to many rites and ceremonies of the Jewish dispensation. The errors of men are not all at once removed by their conversion: they need further instruction, observation, and experience, as well as the continued teaching of the Holy Spirit. But if they are really born of God, and use proper means, he will enlighten them; and as they see their errors they will renounce them, and become more and more conformed in faith and practice to his revealed will.
By my mouth should hear the word of the gospel ; Peter was the first who preached the gospel to the Gentiles, and thus opened the way for their admission into the Christian church. Acts 10:34-48 .
Bare them witness ; testified to their acceptance.
By faith ; by believing in Christ.
Tempt ye God ; by acting against the manifestations of his will.
A yoke ; the burdensome rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion.
Even as they ; Jews as well as Gentiles must be saved, not by works, or the observance of rites and ceremonies, but through grace, by faith in Jesus Christ.
James ; see note to chap Acts 12:17 .
Simeon ; the Hebrew mode of spelling Simon, meaning Simon Peter. Verse Acts 15:7 .
The prophets ; they had foretold that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles as well as Jews. Isaiah 2:2-4 ; Isaiah 49:6 ; Amos 9:11-12 . The better Christians understand and obey the Bible, the more clearly they will see that they should receive and love one another as brethren, even as Christ receives and loves them.
I-will build again the tabernacle of David ; here representing David’s royal family, which, after the Babylonish captivity, fell into obscurity. It was rebuilt in the person of Christ, the son of David according to the flesh, and the true heir to David’s throne. Luke 1:32-33 . The apostle in this quotation follows the Greek translation of the Seventy.
Upon whom my name is called ; who are called Jehovah’s people.
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world ; as much as to say, The calling of the Gentiles into the church is in accordance with God’s purpose from the beginning. Why then throw hinderances in their way?
Sentence ; opinion, or judgment.
That we trouble not them ; by imposing upon them Jewish ceremonies. In the primitive church, Peter had no preeminence above James and the other apostles. He alone did not send out a letter to the brethren in Antioch, nor did James, or any, or all the apostles do it. They consulted with the elders and brethren, and sent out the epistle in the name of all united. This course seemed good not only to them, but also to the Holy Ghost. Verse Acts 15:28 .
Pollutions of idols ; from using meats offered in sacrifice to idols, or in any way conniving at idolatry.
Fornication ; a sin which was exceedingly common among the Gentiles, and against which they needed a special warning.
Things strangled ; animals killed by strangling without the shedding of their blood. The eating of blood was forbidden by the ancient law. Genesis 9:4-6 ; Leviticus 17:10-14 . From the reading of the law in the synagogue on the Sabbath, verse Acts 15:21 , this was known to the Jews; and should Christians use blood, it would unnecessarily prejudice the Jews against the gospel.
Troubled you with words , subverting your souls ; compare the manner in which Paul speaks of these men in Galatians 2:4 . They had subverted their souls by inculcating error, and turning them from the truth.
The law ; the ritual law of Moses.
Seemed good to the Holy Ghost ; the apostles, elders, and brethren, in their consultations on this subject, were under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and by him were led to a right result.
They rejoiced for the consolation ; which the letter contained. A right understanding of the will of God and a disposition to follow it, give great joy to his people. It is a powerful means of extending his kingdom, increasing the number of his subjects, and hastening the time when all shall know him from the least to the greatest.
Prophets ; chap Acts 11:27 .
Every city ; in which they had preached in their missionary tour. Chap Acts 13:1-52 ; Acts 14:1-28 .
John-Mark ; his mother was a sister of Barnabas. Colossians 4:10 .
Who departed ; chap Acts 13:13 .
Cyprus ; the native place of Barnabas. Chap Acts 4:36 . Contentions among ministers and Christians, while they often show their weakness and wickedness, and are exceedingly injurious to the cause of Christ, are sometimes manifestly overruled to the furtherance of the gospel, and the wider and more rapid extension of his kingdom.
Confirming the churches ; strengthening and establishing them in the faith and practice of the gospel.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Acts 15". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24