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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
Acts 11



Verse 2

against him. St. Epiphanius makes Cerintbus, who was the next heresiarch to Simon Magus, the author of this dispute. He likewise says it was he, who excited the Jews against St. Paul, (Acts xxi.) and that the first Council of Jerusalem was convened to condemn him. (St. Epiphanius, hæres. 28. chap. ii)

Verse 3

And didst eat with them. The Jews looked upon it as a thing altogether abominable, for them to eat with uncircumcised Gentiles; but St. Peter satisfied them, or silenced them by a plain and sincere recital of his vision, and of what happened at the house of Cornelius. (Witham)

Verse 18

They held their peace, and glorified God, that the gate of salvation was also opened to the Gentiles. (Witham)

Verse 20



Ad Græcos, Greek: pros tous ellenistas, and in some manuscripts Greek: ellenas.

Verse 24

Multitude was added, as before, (chap. x.) a few were added to the visible Church. Ever since Christ's ascension, this Church has been notoriously seen. Of her ministers, their preaching has been open, their sacraments visible, their discipline visible, their persecutions visible, their wonderful increase visible, and their manifestly divine protection visible, and known to all the world. Whilst all that have separated themselves by schism from this venerable body, have fallen into discredit, and most into complete oblivion. The Catholic Church was the first, and it will be the last.

Verse 25

To seek Saul, who had retired for a while, to his native city, Tarsus. These two remained in Antioch about a year, during which time they reaped a plentiful harvest.

Verse 26

At Antioch the disciples were first named Christians, when St. Paul and St. Barnabas were preaching there. Before that, they were called the disciples of Jesus, and sometimes Nazarenes, (see Acts xxiv. 5.) or perhaps Galileans. This honourable name of Christians, distinguished them from Gentiles and Jews, and from all heretical sects, who generally had some name from the authors of such sects, as Simonites, Cerinthians, Nicolaits, &c. Of which see St. Epiphanius. The faithful had also after some time the name of Catholics, being taught in the apostles' creed to believe in the Catholic Church. And St. Augustine, in several places, takes notice, that no heretics could ever get themselves called by this name; nor can they to this present. See St. Augustine, de util. credendi. chap. viii.; de vera relig. chap. vii.; cont. epis. fundam. chap. iv. Whosoever is of the true faith of Christ, may justly say, Christian is my name, Catholic my surname: a greater honour, and a greater advantage, than to be of any royal family. (Witham) --- The faithful disciples, believers, &c. as before they were called, now received the name of Christians. It is not certain whether they took the name themselves, or it was given them out of disrespect, by the pagans. Galileans were a term of reproach likewise given to the Christians. St. Peter, in his first epistle, uses the appellation of Christians; but it does not appear that St. Paul ever did in any of his writings. (Calmet, Tirinus, &c.) --- The name of Christian should be common to all the faithful, and all other new names of sectaries abhorred. "If you hear," says St. Jerome, any where such as are said to be of Christ, "not to have their name from Christ, but from some other, as Marcionites, Valentinians, (as now also Lutherans, Calvinists, &c. &c. &c. &c.) know that they belong not to the Church of Christ, but to the synagogue of Antichrist." St. Pacianus, in his letter to Sympronian, says, when heresies had arisen, and endeavoured by diverse names to tear the dove of the Lord and Queen in pieces, that faithful required their surname: hence they who before were called Christians, are now surnamed also Catholics. Christian is my name and Catholic my surname. By this term Catholic, the apostles, in their creed, have distinguished the one true visible Church from all and every other congregation, sect, or party. This mark is so self-evident, that St. Augustine hesitates not to say: "In the lap of the Church the very name Catholic keepeth me." (Cont. ep. fund. chap. iv.) --- Again, in his book on the utility of believing, he says: "if after these troubles of mind you still are tossed and vexed, and wish for peace, follow the way of Catholic discipline, which from Christ himself, by the apostles, hath proceeded even unto us, and shall proceed from hence to the latest posterity." (1 Timothy iii. 15.)

Verse 29

Who dwell in Judea. Most of the faithful in Jerusalem, who wished to live perfect lives, had sold their possessions, and placed the price in the hands of the apostles; and many others, who had not voluntarily relinquished their property, had probably lost most of it in the persecutions. Hence arose the particular distress of the brethren in Jerusalem, to relieve which the Gentiles made collections. It was meet, that they who had been made partakers of their spiritual goods, should now in time of need administer to them of their temporal substance. (Denis the Carthusian) --- Imitate the alms of these primitive Christians, and make to yourselves provision against another life. Oh how many are now clothed in silks, and abound in pleasures, but are naked and void of every thing, that will bear examination on the day of judgment! (St. John Chrysostom, hom. xxvi. in Act.)

Verse 30



Ad seniores, Greek: pros tous presbuterous. This Greek word presbuterous, in our Latin Vulgate is sometimes translated presbyter, sometimes senior, sometimes major natu, and is commonly put to signify bishops, or priests, as shall be seen hereafter.


Verse 39


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Bibliography Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Acts 11:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 28th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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