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Bible Commentaries
Acts 14

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


The same thing happened in Iconium. Just as it had on the island of Cyprus and at Antioch. They went first to the Jewish synagogue and preached the Good News of God’s act in Christ. Some Jews would believe, plus a number of the Gentiles who could be found in every synagogue. [Gentiles attended the synagogue to learn more about the God of Israel.]

Verses 2-3


But the Jews who would not believe. Christ brings division (Matthew 10:34-36). Those who refuse to believe, hate and fight against the Good News (Acts 8:1-3; Acts 9:1-2). [But like Paul, some change.] Note the apostles stayed there a long time and turned many people to Christ.

Verses 4-7


The crowd in the city was divided. Many believed, but many refused to believe. Decided to mistreat the apostles. The Greek text implies sudden action, such as raising a mob. They fled to Lystra and Derbe. Cities close to Iconium. Early church history often speaks of Lystra as a center of Christian influence.

Verses 8-10


There was a man. Acts 14:3 shows us how many miracles were done to prove the Good News to be true. This one shows us something of the attitude and humility of the apostles. He listened to Paul’s words. His friends might have brought him here. Paul saw that he believed. Faith comes from hearing the message (Rom. 10–17). This miracle, like those Christ did, is a parable of being “set free” from sin. (1) The message of the Good News is heard; (2) faith comes from hearing; (3) the command calls for faith to “reach out” [act]; (4) faith obeys; (5) the man is set free from his deformity by the obedience of faith. “His faith had saved him!”

Verses 11-13


When the crowds saw. The people of Lystra were heathen who believed in many gods. Their tradition said the gods often came down in the form of men, and intervened in human affairs. Zeus. The chief of the gods. Barnabas must have been more impressive than Paul (compare 2 Corinthians 10:10). Hennes. The spokesman for the gods. [Jupiter and Mercurius are the Latin names.] The priest of the god Zeus. He comes to offer worship to those whom the people think to be gods. The sacrificial bulls were decorated with flowers, and the priest wore a wreath of flowers on his head. To the apostles. “Apostle” means “one sent” [by the Holy Spirit]. We use it as a title for the Twelve, but Barnabas and others were also “apostles.” It is used to mean those who “represent the churches” (2 Corinthians 8:23).

Verses 14-18


They tore their clothes. This was a symbol of grief, anger, and horror. Compare Matthew 26:65. We are just men. This shows their complete commitment to truth! They would not permit themselves to be worshiped. To the living God. These other things are worthless. See Romans 1:25. In the past. Compare Acts 17:30. History proves that man cannot find God by their own wisdom, even though “Nature” speaks God’s glory with many voices. (Romans 1:18-21).

Verses 19-20


Some Jews came from Antioch. Some think Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” refers to these Jews. [compare Numbers 33:55 : Joshua 23:13; 2 Timothy 4:14-17.] The Lystrans, frustrated because they were not permitted to worship Paul and Barnabas, were easily turned against them. This is the first injury Paul suffered for Christ (2 Corinthians 11:25). He got up. We are not told whether this was a miracle. When persecuted in one city, they would move on to another, as Christ had commanded.

Verses 21-23


Then they went back to Lystra. The Jewish leaders may have been “chasing after” Paul in other cities, so while they were away, he can return to strengthen the believers. We would expect him to “organize” the groups of believers by appointing church-leaders [elders] and church-helpers [deacons]. Compare Titus 1:5. One of the believers was Timothy (Acts 16:1). Through many troubles. God has set this world up as an “obstacle-course,” where we must pass through the “mud and barbed-wire” to “sort ourselves out” and grow spiritually! Compare 1 Thessalonians 3:3; Romans 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Hebrews 12:5-11; James 1:2-4. In each church. (1) Elders were appointed within a few years of the church being planted in an area. (2) Each church [group of believers] had their own elders. (3) There were always more than one in each church. (4) They were identified by a simple ceremony of prayer and fasting (see note on Acts 13:3). (5) We infer from Acts 6:3-6 that each group chose their own church-leaders. See note on Titus 1:5.

Verses 24-28


They preached the message m Perga. They had not preached here when they landed from Paphos (Acts 13:13-14). Attalia. A seaport close to Perga. Back to Antioch. The Antioch in Syria. See notes on Acts 13:1. W. M. Ramsay thinks the first tour of missions began in 47 A.D., and ended in the Autumn of 49 A.D. (by the corrected calendar). And told them. They made a report to their “sponsoring church.” They stayed a long time. Until their second tour of missions.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 14". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/acts-14.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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