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Bible Commentaries
Acts 11

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-18

Peter Reports to the Church at Jerusalem In Acts 11:1-18 we have the account of Peter returning to Jerusalem and reporting his experience to the Church. Peter visiting the Gentiles would be today like going to speak to the mafia or working with drug addicts and prostitutes. Religious people would disagree with those types of involvements with sinners. In fact, we read in Acts 11:1-18 how the Church spoke against this act and Peter had to explain how he was led to this Gentile by a divine vision. Thus, n this testimony, Peter attaches the story of his vision with his visit with Cornelius.

Acts 11:14 Comments - Men are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. They must hear the words of the Gospel in order to become saved. Note:

Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 11:16 “Then remembered I the word of the Lord” - Comments - The Holy Spirit quickened this to Peter. The Holy Spirit has often done this for me.

John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Acts 11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

Acts 11:17 Comments - The gift, or baptism, of the Holy Ghost is for all who believe in Jesus.

Acts 11:19-30 The Witness of the Birth of Church in Antioch In Acts 11:19-30 we have the testimony of the birth of the church in Antioch.

Acts 11:19 “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen” - Comments - Note an earlier reference to this dispersion of the Church in Acts 8:1.

Acts 8:1, “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

Acts 11:26 “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” - Comments - The Greek word “Christian” ( Χριστιανός ) (G5546) was derived from the Messianic title “Christ” ( Χριστός ) (G5547) that was given to Jesus Christ by the early Church after His resurrection. Strong says the Greek word “Christ” ( Χριστός ) means “anointed,” for Jesus Christ was the Anointed One, and His followers, whose preaching was accompanied with signs and wonders, were “anointed ones.” Therefore, the early Christians were literally called, “the little anointed ones” in Antioch.

The Greek word “Christ” ( Χριστός ) comes from the Hebrew word “mâshı ̂yach” ( מָשִׁיחַ ) (H4899), which Strong says mean “anointed.” We get the English word “Messiah” from a transliteration of this Hebrew word. We can see the translation of Messiah as the Anointed One in Acts 4:27.

Acts 4:27, “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed , both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,”

Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

Acts 11:28 “And there stood up one of them named Agabus” Comments - We are told by Hippolytus that Agabus was one of the seventy disciples mentioned in Luke 10:1. [167]

[167] Hippolytus, On the Twelve Apostles: Where Each of Them Preached and Where He Met His End, On the Seventy Apostles, trans. S. D. F. Salmond, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Buffalo, New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1886), 254-256.

Luke 10:1, “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.”

Acts 11:28 “and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar” Comments - Claudius Caesar was Emperor of Rome from A.D. 41 to 54. Around the fourth year of his reign, Josephus records a drought taking place, which would date the fulfillment of Agabus’ prophecy about A.D. 44.

“Then came Tiberius Alexander as successor to Fadus; he was the son of Alexander the alabarch of Alexandria, which Alexander was a principal person among all his contemporaries, both for his family and wealth: he was also more eminent for his piety than this his son Alexander, for he did not continue in the religion of his country. Under these procurators that great famine happened in Judea , in which queen Helena bought corn in Egypt at a great expense, and distributed it to those that were in want, as I have related already. And besides this, the sons of Judas of Galilee were now slain; I mean of that Judas who caused the people to revolt, when Cyrenius came to take an account of the estates of the Jews, as we have showed in a foregoing book. The names of those sons were James and Simon, whom Alexander commanded to be crucified. But now Herod, king of Chalcis, removed Joseph, the son of Camydus, from the high priesthood, and made Ananias, the son of Nebedeu, his successor. And now it was that Cumanus came as successor to Tiberius Alexander; as also that Herod, brother of Agrippa the great king, departed this life, in the eighth year of the reign of Claudius Caesar . He left behind him three sons; Aristobulus, whom he had by his first wife, with Bernicianus, and Hyrcanus, both whom he had by Bernice his brother's daughter. But Claudius Caesar bestowed his dominions on Agrippa, junior.” ( Antiquities 20.5.2)

Acts 11:30 Comments - According to Frank Goodwin and other scholars, Saul was converted around 36 A.D., and spent his first three years as a Christian in Damascus and Arabia. His first visit to Jerusalem is recorded took place in A.D. 39, three years after his conversion (Acts 9:26-29; Acts 22:15-21, Galatians 1:17-20). After leaving Jerusalem he moved to Tarsus, and evangelized the regions of Syria and Cilicia for four or five years (Acts 9:29-30, Galatians 1:21-24). About A.D. 43-44 Barnabas went to Tarsus seeking Paul (Acts 11:19-25), found him and brought him back to the church in Antioch, where they ministers together for the next year (Acts 11:26). Acts 11:30 records Saul’s second visit to Jerusalem, which takes place in A.D. 44 during the Passover festival. [168] Barnabas and Saul will return to Antioch after this festival, taking with them John Mark (Acts 12:25).

[168] Frank J. Goodwin, A Harmony and Commentary on the Life of St. Paul according to the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistles (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1951), 27.

Verses 1-30

The Witness of Church Growth In Acts 11:1 to Acts 12:25 Luke records particular events that were significant to the growth of the early Church.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Witness to Church at Jerusalem of the Gospel to Judea Acts 11:1-18

2. Witness of birth of Church in Antioch Acts 11:19-30

3. Witness of Persecution of Church Acts 12:1-25

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Acts 11". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/acts-11.html. 2013.
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