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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Acts 14

Verses 1-20

Paul and Barnabas at Iconium and Lystra Acts 14:1-20 gives us the account of Paul and Barnabas at Iconium.

Acts 14:2 Comments - Note the danger of a man's tongue. It can bring salvation to a soul and usher him into heaven, or it can corrupt an innocent mind against the truth and send him to hell.

Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Acts 14:3 “which gave testimony unto the word of His grace” - Comments - They spoke the word of God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ, our blessed Redeemer.

Acts 14:3 “and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands” - Comments - It is God who gives the grace for these signs and wonders to be done in people's lives.

Acts 14:3 Comments - These signs and wonders were confirmation of the apostolic calling of Paul.

2 Corinthians 12:12, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”

Acts 14:4 “But the multitude of the city was divided” - Comments - Note the words of Jesus saying that He came to bring division.

Luke 12:51-52, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.”

Acts 14:9 Comments - The impotent man’s faith healed him, not Peter’s faith. Note Romans 10:17:

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

Mark 5:34, “And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole ; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”

Acts 14:7-10 Comments - The Healing of the Lame Man at Lystra - The preaching of the Gospel should always involve healing. The Gospel is a message of the healing of the total man, which consists of spirit, soul and body.

Kenneth Hagin says, “Paul did three things:

1. Paul preached the Gospel to the man (verse 7).

2. H perceived that the man had faith to be healed (verse 9).

3. He told the man to rise up and walk (verse 10).

The man also did three things (in order to receive his healing).

1. He heard Paul preach the Gospel (verse 9).

2. He had faith to be healed (verse 9).

3. He leaped up and walked (verse 10).” [208]

[208] Kenneth Hagin, Bible Faith Study Course (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1991, 1999), 1-2.

Acts 14:11-13 Comments - Paul and Barnabas Mistaken for Mythological Gods - Philip Schaff tells us that according to Greek myths described by Ovid in his work Metamorphoses, the gods Jupiter and Mercury (Zeus and Hermes) had appeared to the people of Lycaonians in the likeness of men. [209] This place was visited by devout pilgrims and adorned with offerings. [210] Therefore, it would have been natural for these people to mistake Paul and Silas for these Greek “gods” after having seen the miracles.

[209] Ovid writes, ““I have myself seen the spot; for Pittheus sent me to Phrygia, where his father once ruled. Not far from the place I speak of is a marsh, once a habitable land, but now water, the haunt of divers and coots. Hither came Jupiter in the guise of a mortal, and with his father came Atlas’ grandson, he that bears the caduseus, his wings laid aside.” ( Metamorphoses 8.622-627) See Ovid: Metamorphoses with an English Translation, vol. 1, trans. Frank J. Miller, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1951), 449.

[210] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D. 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 734-735.

Acts 14:15 “We also are men of like passions with you” Scripture Reference - Note:

James 5:17, “ Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are , and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.”

Acts 14:17 Comments - What ways did He give mankind a witness of Himself and His divine nature? Acts 14:17 implies that He testified through His creation (Romans 1:20). Every generation of mankind has received general revelation of God’s testimony about Himself from creation. In addition, every generation has been given the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. From the promise of the Messiah to Adam and Eve, and the recordings of ancient history in the Jewish writings and Holy Scriptures, God has revealed specific to mankind. A third testimony that God has given to mankind is in the form of miracles. God has allowed each generation of mankind to see some type of miracle that testifies of Him. Fourth, God has revealed Himself to particular individuals so that each generation of mankind has eye witnesses of Him. People have seen angels, and have been taken to Heaven and Hell to be witnesses to their generation. God has been careful to provide each generation of mankind with unarguable testimonies of Himself.

Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”

Acts 14:19-20 Comments Persecution Targets Leadership of Groups - The Jews targeted Paul for stoning because he was the chief spokesman. Barnabas was not such a target.

The Stoning of Stephen - Paul must have remembered Stephen’s stoning and how marvelous was the grace of God that allowed Paul to live. Hence, could Paul say:

1 Corinthians 15:9, “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

Ephesians 3:8, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;”

1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

Verses 1-28

The Church’s Organization (Perseverance): The Witness of the Church Growth to the Ends of the Earth Acts 13:1 to Acts 28:29 begins another major division of the book of Acts in that it serves as the testimony of the expansion of the early Church to the ends of the earth through the ministry of Paul the apostle, which was in fulfillment of Jesus’ command to the apostles at His ascension, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) However, to reach this goal, it required a life of perseverance in the midst of persecutions and hardship, as well as the establishment of an organized church and its offices.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Witness of Paul’s First Missionary Journey (A.D. 45-47) Acts 13:1 to Acts 14:28

2. Witness to Church at Jerusalem of Gospel to Gentiles (A.D. 50) Acts 15:1-35

3. Witness of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (A.D. 51-54) Acts 15:36 to Acts 18:22

4. Witness of Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (A.D. 54-58) Acts 18:23 to Acts 20:38

5. Witness of Paul’s Arrest and Trials (A.D. 58-60) Acts 21:1 to Acts 26:32

6. Witness of Paul’s Journey to Rome (A.D. 60) Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:29

A Description of Paul’s Ministry - Paul’s missionary journeys recorded Acts 13-28 can be chacterized in two verses from 2 Timothy 2:8-9, in which Paul describes his ministry to the Gentiles as having suffered as an evil doer, but glorying in the fact that the Word of God is not bound.

2 Timothy 2:8-9, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”

Paul followed the same principle of church growth mentioned in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” He first placed churches in key cities in Asia Minor. We later read in Acts 19:10 where he and his ministry team preaches “so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks”.

Acts 19:10, “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

In Romans 15:20-28 Paul said that he strived to preach where no other man had preached, and having no place left in Macedonia and Asia Minor, he looked towards Rome, and later towards Spain.

Romans 15:20, “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:”

Romans 15:23-24, “But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.”

Romans 15:28, “When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.”

Verses 1-28

The Church’s Organization (Perseverance): The Witness of the Church Growth to the Ends of the Earth Acts 13:1 to Acts 28:29 begins another major division of the book of Acts in that it serves as the testimony of the expansion of the early Church to the ends of the earth through the ministry of Paul the apostle, which was in fulfillment of Jesus’ command to the apostles at His ascension, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) However, to reach this goal, it required a life of perseverance in the midst of persecutions and hardship, as well as the establishment of an organized church and its offices.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Witness of Paul’s First Missionary Journey (A.D. 45-47) Acts 13:1 to Acts 14:28

2. Witness to Church at Jerusalem of Gospel to Gentiles (A.D. 50) Acts 15:1-35

3. Witness of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (A.D. 51-54) Acts 15:36 to Acts 18:22

4. Witness of Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (A.D. 54-58) Acts 18:23 to Acts 20:38

5. Witness of Paul’s Arrest and Trials (A.D. 58-60) Acts 21:1 to Acts 26:32

6. Witness of Paul’s Journey to Rome (A.D. 60) Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:29

A Description of Paul’s Ministry - Paul’s missionary journeys recorded Acts 13-28 can be chacterized in two verses from 2 Timothy 2:8-9, in which Paul describes his ministry to the Gentiles as having suffered as an evil doer, but glorying in the fact that the Word of God is not bound.

2 Timothy 2:8-9, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”

Paul followed the same principle of church growth mentioned in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” He first placed churches in key cities in Asia Minor. We later read in Acts 19:10 where he and his ministry team preaches “so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks”.

Acts 19:10, “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

In Romans 15:20-28 Paul said that he strived to preach where no other man had preached, and having no place left in Macedonia and Asia Minor, he looked towards Rome, and later towards Spain.

Romans 15:20, “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:”

Romans 15:23-24, “But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.”

Romans 15:28, “When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.”

Verses 21-28

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch Acts 14:21-28 gives us the account of Paul and Barnabas returning to strengthen the disciples as they made their way back to the church at Antioch.

Acts 14:21 “and had taught many” - Comments This was a profitable work of God.

Acts 14:23 “and had prayed and fasted” - Comments This is a part of Christian work.

Acts 14:23 Comments Note how Paul took the first step in setting up order in the church. He ordained elders before he ordained a pastor. This was perhaps because a group of elderly people would tend to make wiser decisions that one lone pastor, who might easily get puffed up with his position. But how could Paul ordain elders so quickly after their conversion? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that many of Paul’s early converts were Jews, who knew the Scriptures well from a child. One example of this would be Apollos, who was an Alexandrian Jew, and mighty in the Scriptures before his conversion.

Acts 18:24-25, “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”

Acts 14:28 Comments Many scholars will place the dates of Paul’s first missionary journey at A.D. 45-47 and the first Jerusalem Council at A.D. 50. Thus, Paul and Barnabas would have spent about two years in their home church of Antioch (A.D. 48-49)

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Acts 14". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/acts-14.html. 2013.