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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 15

Verse 1

Taught. Rather the imperfect, were teaching. They had not merely broached the error, but were inculcating it.

Manner [εθει] . Better, custom, as Rev.

Verse 2

Question [ζητηματος] . Found only in the Acts, and alwaye of a question in dispute.

Verse 3

Being brought on their way [προπρμφθεντες] . Lit., having been sent forth; under escort as a mark of honor.

Declaring. See on ch. Acts 13:41. In the various towns along their route.

Verse 4

Were received [προπεμφθεντες] . The word implies a cordial welcome, which they were not altogether sure of receiving.

Verse 5

Arose. In the assembly.

Sect. See on heresies, 2 Peter 2:1.

Verse 7

The word of the gospel [τον λογου του ευαγγελιου] . This phrase occurs nowhere else; and eujaggelion, gospel, is found only once more in Acts (ch. 20 24).

Verse 8

Which knoweth the heart [καρδιογνωστης] . Only here and ch. 1 24.

Verse 10

Were able [ισχυσαμεν] . See on Luke 14:30; Luke 16:3.

Verse 12

Hearkened. The imperfect [ηκουον] denotes attention to a continued narrative.

Declaring [εξηγουμενων] . Better, as Rev., rehearsing. See on Luke 24:35.

What miracles, etc. Lit., how many [οσα] .

Verse 13

James. See Introduction to Catholic Epistles.

Verse 18

Known unto God, etc. The best texts join these words with the preceding verse, from which they omit all; rendering, The Lord, who maketh these things known from the beginning of the world.

Verse 19

Trouble [παρενοχλειν] . Only here in New Testament. See on vexed, Luke 6:18.

Verse 20

Write [επιστειλαι] . Originally, to send to, as a message; hence, by letter. The kindred noun ejpistolh, whence our epistle, means, originally, anything sent by a messenger. Letter is a secondary meaning.

Pollutions [αλισγηματων] . A word not found in classical Greek, and only here in the New Testament. The kindred verb ajlisgein, to pollute, occurs in the Septuagint, Daniel 1:8; Malachi 1:7, and both times in the sense of defiling by food. Here the word is defined by things sacrificed to idols (ver. 29); the flesh of idol sacrifices, of which whatever was not eaten by the worshippers at the feasts in the temples, or given to the priests, was sold in the markets and eaten at home. See 1 Corinthians 10:25-28; and Exodus 34:15.

Fornication. In its literal sense. "The association of fornication with three things in themselves indifferent is to be explained from the then moral corruption of heathenism, by which fornication, regarded from of old with indulgence, and even with favor, nay, practiced without shame even by philosophers, and surrounded by poets with all the tinsel of lasciviousness, had become in public opinion a thing really indifferent" (Meyer). See Dollinger, "The Gentile and the Jew," 2, 237 sq.

Strangled. The flesh of animals killed in snares, and whose blood was not poured forth, was forbidden to the Israelites.

Verse 23

Greeting [χαιρειν] . The usual Greek form of salutation. It occurs nowhere else in the salutation of a New Testament epistle save in the Epistle of James (i. 1). See note there. It appears in the letter of Claudius Lysias (ch. 23 26).

Verse 24

Subverting [ανασκευαζοντες] . Only here in New Testament, and not found either in the Septuagint or in the Apocrypha. Originally, it means to pack up baggage, and so to carry away; hence, to dismantle or disfurnish. So Thucydides (4, 116) relates that Brasidas captured Lecythus, and then pulled it down and dismantled it [ανασκευασας] . From this comes the more general meaning to lay waste, or ravage. The idea here is that of turning the minds of the Gentile converts upside down; throwing them into confusion like a dismantled house.

We gave no commandment [ου διεστειλαμεθα] . The word originally means to put asunder; hence, to distinguish, and so of a commandment or injunction, to distinguish and emphasize it. Therefore implying express orders, and so always in the New Testament, where it is almost uniformly rendered charge. The idea here is, then, "we gave no express injunction on the points which these Judaizers have raised."

Verse 25

Barnabas and Paul. Here, as in ver. 12, Barnabas is named first, contrary to the practice of Luke since Acts 13:9. Barnabas was the elder and better known, and in the church at Jerusalem his name would naturally precede Paul 's. The use of the Greek salutation, and this order of the names, are two undesigned coincidences going to attest the genuineness of this first document preserved to us from the Acts of the primitive church.

Verse 29

Blood. Because in the blood was the animal 's life, and it was the blood that was consecrated to make atonement. See Genesis 9:6; Leviticus 17:10-14; Deuteronomy 12:23, Deuteronomy 12:24. The Gentiles had no scruples about eating blood; on the contrary, it was a special delicacy. Thus Homer :

"At the fire Already lie the paunches of two goats, Preparing for our evening meal, and both Are filled with fat and blood. Whoever shows himself the better man in this affray, And conquers, he shall take the one of these He chooses."

Odyssey, 18, 44 sq.

The heathen were accustomed to drink blood mingled with wine at their sacrifices.

Farewell [ερρωσθε] . Lit., be strong, like the Latin valete. Compare the close of Claudius Lysias' letter to Festus (ch. 23 30).

Verse 31

Consolation. See on Acts 9:31.

Verse 32

Many words. Or, lit., much discourse; adding the spoken to the written consolation.

Exhorted. Or comforted. See on ver. 31. The latter agrees better with consolation there.

Confirmed. See on ch. Acts 14:22.

Verse 36

Let us go again and visit [επιστρεψαντες δη επισκεψωμεθα] . Lit., Having returned, let us now visit. The A. V. omits now. See on ch. Acts 13:2.

In every city [κατα πασαν πολιν] . Kata has the force of city by city.

Verse 38

Him [τουτον] . Lit., that one. It marks him very strongly, and is an emphatic position at the end of the sentence.

Departed [αποσταντα] . Rev., withdrew. It furnishes the derivation of our word apostatize.

Verse 39

The contention was so sharp [εγενετο παροξυσμος] . More correctly, there arose a sharp contention. Only here and Hebrews 10:24. Our word paroxysm is a transcription of paroxusmov. An angry dispute is indicated.

Barnabas. The last mention of him in the Acts.

Verse 40

Recommended. Which was not the case with Barnabas, leading to the inference that the church at Antioch took Paul 's side in the dispute.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 15". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/acts-15.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.