Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, April 21st, 2024
the Fourth Sunday after Easter
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Acts 14

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verses 8-18

Idolatry Confronted at Lystra

Paul and Barnabas next arrived at Lystra, some 18 miles to the east. There was apparently no synagogue there, but there was a man who had been crippled since birth and had never walked. The lame made paid close attention to the words of the apostle. Paul recognized that the man fully believed he could be healed through the Jesus Paul preached. When Paul commanded him to stand on his feet, he leapt up and walked ( Act_14:8-10 ).

The people of Lystra were very superstitious. When they saw the lame man walk, they concluded the gods had come to be with them. They also decided Barnabas was Zeus, the patron god of that area, and Paul was Hermes, or Jupiter, who McGarvey calls the "god of Eloquence, and the constant attendant of Jupiter in his terrestrial visits." Since they spoke in the language of the Lycaonians, Paul and Barnabas did not, at first, understand what was happening.

The priest who served in the temple of Zeus on the road leading into the city brought oxen with garlands on their heads to be sacrificed to the two "visiting gods." Once they realized what was happening, Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes and ran in among the crowd shouting. They asked the people why they would do such a thing since they were mere mortals just like them. Their plea was for the people to turn from the empty worshipping of idols to serving the true God. This God was, as related by Paul and Barnabas, the creator of the universe. He had, for years, allowed man to ignorantly pursue his own path, though he always provided good things, like rain and the harvest. That speech was used to successfully thwart the intended sacrifice ( Act_14:11-18 ).

Verses 19-28

Though Stoned, Paul Continues Preaching!

The hostile Jews from Antioch in Pisidia and Iconium soon came to Lystra and persuaded the people to stone Paul. They dragged his seemingly lifeless body outside the city, thinking he was dead. The disciples gathered around him, perhaps in mourning. The apostle rose up, walked back into the city, spent the night and left the next morning with Barnabas! They travelled some 60 miles to the east to the city of Derbe, which was on the eastern most edge of Roman Galatia.

Their preaching in Derbe met with a good response and, after an unspecified length of time, they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. Paul and Barnabas returned along the same path because they wanted to urge the brethren to remain faithful in spite of the persecution which was sure to come. Men were chosen in each city to serve as elders in the church. It should be noted that they were in every church and there was always a plurality of them. Obviously, their appointment was intended to help strengthen the church since Paul and Barnabas also prayed and fasted with them while urging them to rely on the Lord in whom they had placed their trust.

Luke told Theophilus that they retraced their steps all the way back to Antioch, where they had first been separated to the work. When they returned there, they got the whole church to assemble and related to them all God had accomplished on their journey. Two things stand out. First, they wanted the whole church to know what had been done by those sent out from them. Second, they gave credit to God for all the harvest. Then, they stayed for a good while with the brethren in Antioch ( Act_14:19-28 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Acts 14". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/acts-14.html. 2014.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile