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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 11

Verse 1

In Judaea [κατα την ιουδαιαν] . More correctly, "throughout Judaea."

Verse 2

They of the circumcision. See on ch. Acts 5:45.

Verse 3

Men uncircumcised [ανδρας ακροβυστιαν εχοντας] . An indignant expression. See Ephesians 2:11.

Verse 4

Began. Graphically indicating the solemn purport of the speech (compare Luke 12:1), perhaps, in connection with expounded, his beginning with the first circumstances and going through the whole list of incidents.

Verse 6

I considered. See on Matthew 8:3; Luke 22:24, Luke 22:27.

Verse 12

Nothing doubting [μηδεν διακρινομενον] . The Rev. renders making no distinction, taking the verb in its original sense, which is to separate or distinguish. The rendering seems rather strained, doubting being a common rendering in the New Testament and giving a perfectly good sense here. See Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:23, and note on James 1:6. It was natural that Peter should hesitate.

The six brethren. The men of Joppa who had gone with Peter to Cornelius, and had accompanied him also to Jerusalem, either as witnesses for him or for their own vindication, since they had committed the same offense.

Verse 13

An angel. It has the definite article : "the angel," mentioned in ch. 10.

Verse 17

Forasmuch as [ει] . Better, as Rev., if.

The like [ισην] . Lit., equal; making them, equally with us, recipients of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 19

They which were scattered abroad [οι διασπαρεντες] . On the technical expression, the dispersion, see on 1 Peter 1:1. Not so used here.

Verse 20

The Greeks (%Ellhnav). Some, however, read 'Ellhnistav, the Grecian Jews. See on ch. Acts 6:1. The express object of the narrative has been to describe the admission of Gentiles into the church. There would have been nothing remarkable in these men preaching to Hellenists who had long before been received into the church, and formed a large part of the church at Jerusalem. It is better to follow the rendering of A. V. and Rev., though the other reading has the stronger MS. evidence. Note, also, the contrast with the statement in ver. 19, to the Jews only. There is no contrast between Jews and Hellenists, since Hellenists are included in the general term Jews.

Verse 23

Purpose [προθεσει] . Originally, placing in public; setting before. Hence of the shew - bread, the loaves set forth before the Lord (see on Mark 2:26). Something set before one as an object of attainment : a purpose.

Verse 24

Good [αγαθος] . More than strictly upright. Compare Romans 5:7, where it is distinguished from dikaiov, just or righteous. "His benevolence effectually prevented him censuring anything that might be new or strange in these preachers to the Gentiles, and caused him to rejoice in their success" (Gloag).

Verse 25

To seek [αναζητησαι] . Strictly, like our "hunt up" [ανα] .

Verse 26

Were called Christians [χρηματισαι χριστιανους] . The former of these two words, rendered were called, meant, originally, to transact business, to have dealings with; thence, in the course of business, to give audience to, to answer, from which comes its use to denote the responses of an oracle; a divine advice or warning. See Acts 10:22; and compare Matthew 2:12; Hebrews 11:7. Later, it acquires the meaning to bear a name; to be called, with the implication of a name used in the ordinary transactions and intercourse of men; the name under which one passes. 18 This process of transition appears in the practice of naming men according to their occupations, as, in English, "John the Smith," " Philip the Armorer; " a practice which is the origin of many familiar family names, such as Butler, Carpenter, Smith, Cooper. Compare in New Testament Alexander the coppersmith (2 Timothy 4:14); Matthew the publican (Matthew 10:3); Luke the physician (Colossians 4:14); Erastus the chamberlain (Romans 16:23); Rahab the harlot (Hebrews 11:31). In the same line is the use of the word calling, to denote one's business. The meaning of the word in this passage is illustrated by Romans 7:3. The disciples were called. They did not assume the name themselves. It occurs in only three passages in the New Testament : here; ch. 26 28; and 1 Peter 4:16; and only in the last - named passage is used by a Christian of a Christian. The name was evidently not given by the Jews of Antioch, to whom Christ was the interpretation of Messiah, and who would not have bestowed that name on those whom they despised as apostates. The Jews designated the Christians as Nazarenes (Acts 24:5), a term of contempt, because it was a proverb that nothing good could come out of Nazareth (John 1:47). The name was probably not assumed by the disciples themselves; for they were in the habit of styling each other believers, disciples, saints, brethren, those of the way. It, doubtless, was bestowed by the Gentiles. Some suppose that it was applied as a term of ridicule, and cite the witty and sarcastic character of the people of Antioch, and their notoriety for inventing names of derision; but this is doubtful. The name may have been given simply as a distinctive title, naturally chosen from the recognized and avowed devotion of the disciples to Christ as their leader. The Antiochenes mistook the nature of the name, not understanding its use among the disciples as an official title - the Anointed - but using it as a personal name, which they converted into a party name.

Verse 27

Prophets. See on Luke 7:26.

Verse 28

The world. See on Luke 2:1.

Verse 29

According to his ability [καθως ηυπορειτο τις] . Lit., according as any one of then was prospered. The verb is from euporov, easy to pass or travel through; and the idea of prosperity is therefore conveyed under the figure of an easy and favorable journey. The same idea appears in our farewell; fare meaning originaly to travel. Hence, to bid one farewell is to wish him a prosperous journey. Compare God - speed. So the idea here might be rendered, as each one fared well.

To send relief [εις διακονιαν πεμψαι] . Lit., to send for ministry

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 11". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/acts-11.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.