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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 14

Verse 3

Long [ικανον] . See on Luke 7:6.

Abode. See on ch. Acts 12:19.

In the Lord. Lit., upon [επι] the Lord : in reliance on him.

Verse 5

Assault [ορμη] . Too strong, as is also the Rev., onset. In case an actual assault had been made, it would have been absurd for Luke to tell us that "they were ware of it." It is rather the purpose and intention of assault beginning to assume the character of a movement. See on James 3:4. To stone. Paul says he was stoned once (2 Corinthians 11:25). This took place at Lystra (see ver. 19).

Verse 6

Were ware [συνιδοντες] . Rev., became aware. See on considered, ch. 12 12.

Verse 7

They preached the gospel [ησαν ευαγγελιζομενοι] . The finite verb with the participle, denoting continuance. They prolonged their preaching for some time.

Verse 8

Impotent [αδυνατος] . The almost universal meaning of the word in the New Testament is impossible (see Matthew 19:26; Hebrews 6:4, etc.). The sense of weak or impotent occurs only here and Romans 14:1.

Verse 9

Heard [ηκουε] . The force of the imperfect should be given here. He was hearing while Paul preached.

Verse 10

Upright [ορθος] . Only here and Hebrews 12:13. Compare made straight, Luke 13:13, and see note there.

Leaped [ηλατο] . Better, as Rev., leaped up. Note the aorist tense, indicating a single act, while the imperfect, walked, denotes continuous action.

Verse 11

In the speech of Lycaonia. The apostles had been conversing with them in Greek. The fact that the people now spoke in their native tongue explains why Paul and Barnabas did not interfere until they saw the preparations for sacrifice. They did not understand what was being said by the people about their divine character. It was natural that the surprise of the Lystrans should express itself in their own language rather than in a foreign tongue.

In the likeness of men [ομοιωθεντες ανθρωποις] . Lit., having become like to men. A remnant of the earlier pagan belief that the gods visited the earth in human form. Homer, for example, is full of such incidents. Thus, when Ulysses lands upon his native shore, Pallas meets him

"in the shape Of a young shepherd delicately formed, As are the sons of kings. A mantle lay Upon her shoulder in rich folds; her feet Shone in their sandals; in her hands she bore A javelin." Odyssey, 13, 485 sq.

Again, one rebukes a suitor for maltreating Ulysses :

"Madman! what if he Came down from heaven and were a God ! The gods Put on the form of strangers from afar, And walk our towns in many different shapes, To mark the good and evil deeds of men." Odyssey, 17, 485 sq.

Verse 12

Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercury. The Greek names of these deities were Zeus and Hermes. As the herald of the gods, Mercury is the God of skill in the use of speech and of eloquence in general, for the heralds are the public speakers in the assemblies and on other occasions. Hence he is sent on messages where persuasion or argument are required, as to Calypso to secure the release of Ulysses from Ogygia (" Odyssey, "1, 84); and to Priam to warn him of danger and to escort him to the Grecian fleet (" Iliad," 24, 390). Horace addresses him as the "eloquent" grandson of Atlas, who artfully formed by oratory the savage manners of a primitive race (" Odes, "1, 10). Hence the tongues of sacrificial animals were offered to him. As the God of ready and artful speech, his office naturally extended to business negotiations. He was the God of prudence and skill in all the relations of social intercourse, and the patron of business and gain. A merchant - guild at Rome was established under his protection. And as, from its nature, commerce is prone to degenerate into fraud, so he appears as the God of thievery, exhibiting cunning, fraud, and perjury. 20" He represents, so to speak, the utilitarian side of the human mind.... In the limitation of his faculties and powers, in the low standard of his moral habits, in the abundant activity of his appetites, in his indifference, his ease, his good nature, in the full - blown exhibition of what Christian theology would call conformity to the world, he is, as strictly as the nature of the case admits, a product of the invention of man. He is the God of intercourse on earth "(Gladstone," Homer and the Homeric Age "). The chief speaker [ο ηγουμενος του λογου] . Lit., the leader in discourse. Barnabas was called Jupiter, possibly because his personal appearance was more imposing than Paul 's (see 2 Corinthians 10:1, 2 Corinthians 10:10), and also because Jupiter and Mercury were commonly represented as companions in their visits to earth. 21

Verse 13

Of Jupiter [του διος] . Properly, the Jupiter, the tutelary deity of Lystra. It is unnecessary to supply temple, as Rev. The God himself was regarded as present in his temple.

The gates [πυλωνας] . What gates are intended is uncertain. Some say, the city gates; others, the temple gates; and others, the doors of the house in which Paul and Barnabas were residing. See on ch. Acts 12:13.

Verse 14

Ran in [εισεπηδησαν] . A feeble translation, even if this reading is retained. The verb means to leap or spring. The best texts read ejxephdhsan, sprang forth, probably from the gate of their house, or from the city gate, if the sacrifice was prepared in front of it.

Crying out [κραζοντες] . Inarticulate shouts to attract attention.

Verse 15

Of like passions [ομοιοπαθεις] . Only here and James 5:17, on which see note. Better, of like nature.

Turn [επιστρεφειν] . Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:9, where the same verb is used.

Verse 16

Times [γενεαις] . More correctly, generations, as Rev.

Verse 17

Rains. Jupiter was Lord of the air. He dispensed the thunder and lightning, the rain and the hail, the rivers and tempests. "All signs and portents whatever, that appear in the air, belong primarily to him, as does the genial sign of the rainbow" (Gladstone, " Homer and the Homeric Age "). The mention of rain is appropriate, as there was a scarcity of water in Lycaonia.

Food. Mercury, as the God of merchandise, was also the dispenser of food.

"No one can read the speech without once more perceiving its subtle and inimitable coincidence with his (Paul 's) thoughts and expressions. The rhythmic conclusion is not unaccordant with the style of his most elevated moods; and besides the appropriate appeal to God 's natural gifts in a town not in itself unhappily situated, but surrounded by a waterless and treeless plain, we may naturally suppose that the 'filling our hearts with food and gladness ' was suggested by the garlands and festive pomp which accompanied the bulls on which the people would afterward have made their common banquet" (Farrar, " Life and Work of Paul "). For the coincidences between this discourse and other utterances of Paul, compare ver. 15, and 1 Thessalonians 1:9; ver. 16, and Romans 3:25; Acts 17:30; ver. 17, and Romans 1:19, Romans 1:20.

Verse 19

Stoned. See on ver. 5.

Verse 20

To Derbe. A journey of only a few hours.

Verse 21

Taught [μαθητευσαντες] . More correctly, made disciples of, as Rev. See on Matthew 13:52.

Many. See on Luke 7:6.

Verse 22

Confirming. See on stablish, 1 Peter 5:10.

Verse 23

Ordained [χειροτονησαντες] . Only here and 2 Corinthians 8:19. Rev., more correctly, appointed. The meaning ordain is later. See on ch. Acts 10:41.

Elders [πρεσβυτεπους] . For the general superintendence of the church. The word is synonymous with ejpiskopoi, overseers or bishops (see on visitation, 1 Peter 2:12). Those who are called elders, in speaking of Jewish communities, are called bishops, in speaking of Gentile communities. Hence the latter term prevails in Paul 's epistles.

Commended [παρεθεντο] . See on set before, Luke 9:16; and commit, 1 Peter 4:19.

Verse 27

With them [μετ αυτων] . In connection with them; assisting them. And how [και οτι] . Better, that. The and has an incressive and particularizing force : "and in particular, above all."

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 14". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.