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Bible Commentaries
Acts 11

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1 Act 11:1. Much of this chapter is a rehearsal of the preceding one, and I shall try to avoid unnecessary repetition of the comments. The brethren around Jerusalem heard the news of the conversion of the Gentiles before Peter returned.

Verse 2

2 Act 11:2. When Peter got back to Jerusalem, they of the circumcism, meaning the Jews, had a contention with him.

Verse 3

3 Act 11:3. It was objectionable to them for Peter to have associated with the Gentiles, but it was made worse for him to eat with them. In those days it was regarded as one of the strongest signs of social intimacy, to sit down together with others at a meal. (See 1Co 5:11.) See the notes at Mat 9:11 about eating with others.

Verse 4

1 Act 11:4-11. See the notes on chapter 10:9-18.

Verse 12

2 Act 11:12. These six brethren are the "certain brethren" of chapter 10:23. They were taken along to be witnesses of the events in the household of Cornelius. Peter referred to them as a verification of what he was reporting.

Verse 13

4 Act 11:13-14. See the comments on chapter 10:30-33.

Verse 15

5 Act 11:15. See notes on chapter 10:44, 45. Also note that Peter says the Holy Ghost fell on them as it did on the apostles at the beginning. As to what "measure" it was that was given them, see the comments at chapter 4:31.

Verse 16

6 Act 11:16. Then is an adverb of time and refers to the moment when the Holy Ghost fell. That event reminded Peter of what John said in Mat 3:11. See the comments on that verse as to why Peter does not mention the baptism of fire.

Verse 17

7 Act 11:17. Peter again calls the gift received by them and the Gentiles a like gift. Had he even hesitated about baptizing these Gentiles he would have been resisting God, for the bestowal of the Holy Ghost on them was to show that they were acceptable to God upon obedience to the Gospel ordinance.

Verse 18

8 Act 11:18. The brethren showed the right spirit when Peter presented the facts to them. They did not merely give a reluctant agreement, but gave God the glory for what he had bestowed on the Gentiles. Granted repentance unto life means God gave the Gentiles the chance to repent (reform their lives), with the promise of forgiveness of sins.

Verse 19

9 Act 11:19. This subject is mentioned in chapter 8:1, 4, but the places are not named in that passage. To the Jews only. That was because they had left Jerusalem before the Gentiles had been accepted into the Gospel work.

Verse 20

0 Act 11:20. The Grecians were Jews who spoke the Greek language.

Verse 21

1 Act 11:21. The Lord blessed the labors of these men by causing their work to be received. The result was that a great number became disciples.

Verse 22

2 Act 11:22. The church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch (in Syria), because the scattered disciples had carried the Gospel message as far as to that city.

Verse 23

3 Act 11:23. The mission of Barnabas was to encourage the new converts, also to exhort them regarding their responsibility. Purpose of heart denotes a service into which one puts his whole heart.

Verse 24

4 Act 11:24. Full of the Holy Ghost. (See the notes at chapter 4:31.) The work and influence of Barnabas resulted in many more conversions.

Verse 25

5 Act 11:25. The last account we had of Saul was when the brethren helped him get started towards this town of Tarsus (chapter 9:30). The work at Antioch was growing in numbers and influence, and Barnabas believed that the help of Saul would be beneficial, hence he went to Tarsus to find him.

Verse 26

6 Act 11:26. These two men spent a year with the church, teaching them their duties that follow induction into the Lord's service. Called Christians. The second word is defined in the lexicon, "a follower of Christ," hence it is not likely that enemies would attach that title to them as in disrespect, for the disciples themselves claimed to be that, and rejoiced in the thought of being known by that name. The first word is from CHREMATIZO, and Thayer defines it at this place, "to assume or take to one's self a name from one's public business." That is exactly what was done in this case, for the (religious) business of the disciples was to work for Christ which made the name Christian an appro-prite one for them.

Verse 27

7 Act 11:27. Among the miraculous gifts bestowed upon the disciples in the early period of the church was that of prophesying. Peter cited the prediction of it in his reference to Joel's writings, in chapter 2:17.

Verse 28

8 Act 11:28. This famine is verified by Josephus; Antiquities, Book 20, Chapter 2, Section 5. I shall quote only one sentence from his lengthy paragraph: "Whereas a famine did oppress them at that time, and many people died for want of what was necessary to procure food withal." The context shows Josephus was writing of the days of Claudius Caesar. All the world was a common phrase to refer to the Roman Empire.

Verse 29

9 Act 11:29. The disciples at Antioch were in better circumstances than those in Judea, and concluded to send them some relief. This was done on the basis of voluntary contributions, and the giving was according to each man's ability. That is the principle on which all giving is to be done by Christians (1Co 16:2).

Verse 30

0 Act 11:30. Sent it to the elders. We learned at chapter 6:2 that the deacons are the ones whose work is to distribute the funds for the necessities of life. That was always true, but the work of those officials, like everything else pertaining to the affairs of the church, is under the supervision of the elders.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Acts 11". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/acts-11.html. 1952.
 
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