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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Acts 13

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

In the church that was there (κατα την ουσαν εκκλησιανkata tēn ousan ekklēsian). Possibly distributed throughout the church (note “in the church” Acts 11:26). Now a strong organization there. Luke here begins the second part of Acts with Antioch as the centre of operations, no longer Jerusalem. Paul is now the central figure instead of Peter. Jerusalem had hesitated too long to carry out the command of Jesus to take the gospel to the whole world. That glory will now belong to Antioch.

Prophets and teachers (προπηται και διδασκαλοιprophētai kai didaskaloi). All prophets were teachers, but not all teachers were prophets who were for-speakers of God, sometimes fore-speakers like Agabus in Acts 11:28. The double use of τεte here makes three prophets (Barnabas, Symeon, Lucius) and two teachers (Manaen and Saul). Barnabas heads the list (Acts 11:22) and Saul comes last. Symeon Niger may be the Simon of Cyrene who carried the Saviour‘s cross. Lucius of Cyrene was probably one of the original evangelists (Acts 11:20). The name is one of the forms of Luke, but it is certainly not Luke the Physician. Manaen shows how the gospel was reaching some of the higher classes (home of Herod Antipas).

Foster-brother (συντροποςsuntrophos). Old word for nourished with or brought up with one collactaneus (Vulgate). These are clearly the outstanding men in the great Greek church in Antioch.


Verse 2

As they ministered to the Lord (λειτουργουντων αυτων τοι κυριωιleitourgountōn autōn toi kuriōi). Genitive absolute of λειτουργεωleitourgeō old verb, used of the Attic orators who served the state at their own cost λεωςleōs or λαοςlaos people, and εργονergon work or service). Common in the lxx of the priests who served in the tabernacle (Exodus 28:31, Exodus 28:39) like λειτουργιαleitourgia (Luke 1:23) which see. So in Hebrews 10:11. In Romans 15:27 of aiding others in poverty. Here of worship (prayer, exhortation, fasting). The word liturgy grows out of this use.

And fasted (και νηστευοντωνkai nēsteuontōn). Genitive absolute also. Christian Jews were keeping up the Jewish fast (Luke 18:12). Note fasting also in the choice of elders for the Mission Churches (Acts 14:23). Fasting was not obligatory on the Christians, but they were facing a great emergency in giving the gospel to the Gentile world.

Separate me (απορισατε δη μοιaphorisate dē moi). First aorist active imperative of αποριζωaphorizō old verb to mark off boundaries or horizon, used by Paul of his call (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:15). The Greek has δηdē a shortened form of ηδηēdē and like Latin jam and German doch, now therefore. It ought to be preserved in the translation. Cf. Luke 2:15; Acts 15:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20. ΜοιMoi is the ethical dative. As in Acts 13:1 Barnabas is named before Saul. Both had been called to ministry long ago, but now this call is to the special campaign among the Gentiles. Both had been active and useful in such work.

Whereunto (οho). Here ειςeis has to be repeated from εις το εργονeis to ergon just before, “for which” as Jesus sent the twelve and the seventy in pairs, so here. Paul nearly always had one or more companions.


Verse 3

When they had fasted (νηστευσαντεςnēsteusantes). Either finishing the same fast in Acts 13:2 or another one (Hackett), but clearly a voluntary fast.

Laid their hands upon them (επιτεντες τας χειρας αυτοιςepithentes tas cheiras autois). Second aorist active participle of επιτιτημιepitithēmi Not ordination to the ministry, but a solemn consecration to the great missionary task to which the Holy Spirit had called them. Whether the whole church took part in this ceremony is not clear, though in Acts 15:40 “the brethren” did commend Paul and Silas. Perhaps some of them here acted for the whole church, all of whom approved the enterprise. But Paul makes it plain in Philemon 4:15 that the church in Antioch did not make financial contribution to the campaign, but only goodwill. But that was more than the church at Jerusalem would have done as a whole since Peter had been arraigned there for his activities in Caesarea (Acts 11:1-18). Clearly Barnabas and Saul had to finance the tour themselves. It was Philippi that first gave money to Paul‘s campaigns. There were still heathen enough in Antioch, but the church approved the going of Barnabas and Saul, their very best.


Verse 4

So they (αυτοι μεν ουνautoi men oun). They themselves indeed therefore. No contrast is necessary, though there is a slight one in Acts 13:5, Acts 13:6. Luke again refers to the Holy Spirit as the source of their authority for this campaign rather than the church at Antioch.

Sent forth (εκπεμπτεντεςekpemphthentes). Old verb from εκπεμπωekpempō and first aorist passive participle, but in the N.T. only here and Acts 17:10.

Sailed (απεπλευσανapepleusan). Effective aorist active indicative of αποπλεωapopleō old verb to sail away, depart from. In the N.T. only here and Acts 14:26; Acts 20:15; Acts 27:1. Barnabas was from Cyprus where there were many Jews.


Verse 5

Proclaimed (κατηγγελλονkatēggellon). Imperfect active of καταγγελλωkataggellō inchoative, began to proclaim. This was Paul‘s rule of procedure, “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16; Acts 13:46; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:4, Acts 18:19; Acts 19:8).

They had also (ειχον δε καιeichon de kai). Imperfect active, descriptive.

As their attendant (υπηρετηνhupēretēn). Literally, “under-rower” (υπο ηρετηςhupoχαζζανēretēs) in the trireme. Probably here minister (chazzan) or assistant in the synagogue as in Luke 4:20. Cf. Matthew 5:25. It is not clear what John Mark did, though he was evidently selected by Barnabas as his cousin. He may have helped in the baptizing. There were probably others also in the company (Acts 13:13). The “also” may mean that Mark did some preaching. Barnabas was probably the leader in the work in these Jewish synagogues.


Verse 6

Unto Paphos (αχρι Παπουachri Paphou). The new Paphos at the other end of the island, reached by a fine Roman road, some eight miles north of the old Paphos famous for the worship of Venus.

A certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew (ανδρα τινα μαγον πσευδοπροπητην Ιουδαιονandra tina magon pseudoprophētēn Ioudaion). Literally, “a certain man” (ανδρα τιναandra tina) with various descriptive epithets. The word μαγονmagon does not necessarily mean “sorcerer,” but only a μαγυςmagus (Matthew 2:1, Matthew 2:7, Matthew 2:10 which see). The bad sense occurs in Acts 8:9, Acts 8:11 (Simon Magus) and is made plain here by “false prophet.” In Acts 13:8 here Barjesus (Son of Jesus) is called “Elymas the sorcerer (or Magian),” probably his professional title, as Luke interprets the Arabic or Aramaic word Elymas. These Jewish mountebanks were numerous and had great influence with the uneducated. In Acts 19:13 the seven sons of Sceva, Jewish exorcists, tried to imitate Paul. If one is surprised that a man like Sergius Paulus should fall under the influence of this fraud, he should recall what Juvenal says of the Emperor Tiberius “sitting on the rock of Capri with his flock of Chaldaeans around him.”


Verse 7

With the proconsul Sergius Paulus (συν τωι αντυπατωι Σεργιωι Παυλωιsun tōi anthupatōi Sergiōi Paulōi). Luke used to be sharply criticized for applying this term to Sergius Paulus on the ground that Cyprus was a province under the appointment of the emperor with the title of propraetor and not under the control of the senate with the title of proconsul. That was true b.c. 30, but five years later it was changed to proconsul by Augustus and put under the control of the Senate. Two inscriptions have been found with the date a.d. 51 and 52 with the names of proconsuls of Cyprus and one is in the Cesnola Collection, an inscription found at Soli with the name of Paulus as Proconsul, undoubtedly this very man, though no date occurs.

A man of understanding (ανδρι συνετωιandri sunetōi). All the more amazing that he should be a victim of Barjesus. He had given up idolatry at any rate and was eager to hear Barnabas and Saul.


Verse 8

Withstood them (αντιστατο αυτοιςanthistato autois). Imperfect middle of αντιστημιanthistēmi to stand against (face to face). Dative case (αυτοιςautois). He persisted in his opposition and was unwilling to lose his great prize. There may have been a public discussion between Elymas and Saul.

To turn aside (διαστρεπσαιdiastrepsai). First aorist active infinitive of διαστρεπωdiastrephō old verb to turn or twist in two, to distort, to pervert (cf. Matthew 17:17; Luke 23:2).


Verse 9

But Saul, who is also called Paul (Σαυλος δε ο και ΠαυλοςSaulos deκαιho kai Paulos). By this remarkably brief phrase Luke presents this epoch in the life of Saul Paul. The “also” (πληστεις πνευματος αγιουkai) does not mean that the name Paul was given now for the first time, rather than he had always had it. As a Jew and a Roman citizen, he undoubtedly had both names all the time (cf. John Mark, Symeon Niger, Barsabbas Justus). Jerome held that the name of Sergius Paulus was adopted by Saul because of his conversion at this time, but this is a wholly unlikely explanation, “an element of vulgarity impossible to St. Paul “ (Farrar). Augustine thought that the meaning of the Latin paulus (little) would incline Saul to adopt, “but as a proper name the word rather suggested the glories of the Aemilian family, and even to us recalls the name of another Paulus, who was ‹lavish of his noble life‘” (Page). Among the Jews the name Saul was naturally used up to this point, but from now on Luke employs Paul save when there is a reference to his previous life (Acts 22:7; Acts 26:14). His real career is work among the Gentiles and Paul is the name used by them. There is a striking similarity in sound between the Hebrew Saul and the Roman Paul. Paul was proud of his tribe of Benjamin and so of King Saul (Philemon 3:5).

Filled with the Holy Spirit (πιμπλημιplēstheis pneumatos hagiou). First aorist (ingressive) passive participle of ατενισαςpimplēmi with the genitive case. A special influx of power to meet this emergency. Here was a cultured heathen, typical of the best in Roman life, who called forth all the powers of Paul plus the special help of the Holy Spirit to expose the wickedness of Elymas Barjesus. If one wonders why the Holy Spirit filled Paul for this emergency rather than Barnabas, when Barnabas was named first in Acts 13:2, he can recall the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in his choice of agents (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) and also the special call of Paul by Christ (Acts 9:15; Acts 26:17.).

Fastened his eyes (atenisas). As already in Luke 4:20; Luke 22:56; Acts 3:4, Acts 3:12; Acts 6:15; Acts 10:4.


Verse 10

Of all guile (παντος δολουpantos dolou). From δελωdelō to catch with bait, old word, already seen in Matthew 26:4; Mark 7:22; Mark 14:1. Paul denounces Elymas as a trickster.

All villainy (πασης ραιδιουργιαςpāsēs rhāidiourgias). Late compound from ραιδιουργοςrhāidiourgos (ραιδιοςrhāidios easy, facile, εργονergon deed, one who does a thing adroitly and with ease). So levity in Xenophon and unscrupulousness in Polybius, Plutarch, and the papyri. Only here in the N.T., though the kindred word ραιδιουργημαrhāidiourgēma occurs in Acts 18:14. With deadly accuracy Paul pictured this slick rascal.

Thou son of the devil (υιε διαβολουhuie diabolou). Damning phrase like that used by Jesus of the Pharisees in John 8:44, a slanderer like the διαβολοςdiabolos This use of son (υιοςhuios) for characteristic occurs in Acts 3:25; Acts 4:36, a common Hebrew idiom, and may be used purposely by Paul in contrast with the name Barjesus (son of Jesus) that Elymas bore (Acts 13:6).

Enemy of all righteousness (εχτρε πασης δικαιοσυνηςechthre pāsēs dikaiosunēs). Personal enemy to all justice, sums up all the rest. Note triple use of “all” (παντοσ πασησ πασηςpantosου παυσηιpāsēsουpāsēs), total depravity in every sense.

Wilt thou not cease? (μηou pausēi). An impatient rhetorical question, almost volitive in force (Robertson, Grammar, p. 874). Note διαστρεπωνou not τας οδους του κυριου τας ευτειαςmē

To pervert (diastrephōn). Present active participle describing the actual work of Elymas as a perverter or distorter (see Acts 13:8). More exactly, Wilt thou not cease perverting?

The right ways of the Lord (tas hodous tou kuriou tas eutheias). The ways of the Lord the straight ones as opposed to the crooked ways of men (Isaiah 40:4; Isaiah 42:16; Luke 3:5). The task of John the Baptist as of all prophets and preachers is to make crooked paths straight and to get men to walk in them. This false prophet was making even the Lord‘s straight ways crooked. Elymas has many successors.


Verse 11

Upon thee (επι σεepi se). The use of επιepi with the accusative is rich and varied, the precise shade of meaning depending on the content. The “hand of the Lord” might be kindly (Acts 11:21) or hostile (Hebrews 10:31), but when God‘s hand touches one‘s life (Job 19:21) it may be in judgment as here with Elymas. He has not humbled himself under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6).

Not seeing (μη βλεπωνmē blepōn). Repeating with negative participle the negative idea in “blind” (τυπλοςtuphlos). “It was a judicial infliction; blindness for blindness, darkness without for wilful darkness within” (Furneaux). He was an example of the blind leading the blind that was to cease and Sergius Paulus was to be led into the light. The blindness was to be “for a season” (αχρι καιρουachri kairou Luke 4:13), if it should please God to restore his sight. Paul apparently recalls his own blindness as he entered Damascus.

A mist (αχλυςachlus). Especially a dimness of the eyes, old poetic word and late prose, in lxx, only here in N.T. Galen uses it of the opacity of the eye caused by a wound.

He went about seeking some one to lead him by the hand (περιαγων εζητει χειραγωγουςperiagōn ezētei cheiragōgous). A rather free rendering. Literally, “going about (περιαγωνperiagōn present active participle of περιαγωperiagō) he was seeking (εζητειezētei imperfect active of ζητεωzēteō) guides (χειραγωγουςcheiragōgous from χειρcheir hand, and αγωγοςagōgos guide, from αγωagō one who leads by the hand).” The very verb χειραγωγεωcheiragōgeō to lead by the hand, Luke uses of Paul in Acts 9:8, as he entered Damascus.


Verse 12

Believed (επιστευσενepisteusen). Ingressive aorist active indicative. Renan considers it impossible that a Roman proconsul could be converted by a miracle. But it was the teaching about the Lord (του κυριουtou kuriou objective genitive) by which he was astonished (εκπλησσομενοςekplēssomenos present passive participle of εκπλησσωekplēssō See note on Matthew 7:28) or struck out as well as by the miracle. The blindness came “immediately” (παραερημαparaehrēma) upon the judgment pronounced by Paul. It is possible that Sergius Paulus was converted to Christ without openly identifying himself with the Christians as his baptism is not mentioned as in the case of Cornelius. But, even if he was baptized, he need not have been deposed from his proconsulship as Furneaux and Rackham argue because his office called for “official patronage of idolatrous worship.” But that could have been merely perfunctory as it probably was already. He had been a disciple of the Jewish magician, Elymas Barjesus, without losing his position. Imperial persecution against Christianity had not yet begun. Furneaux even suggests that the conversion of a proconsul to Christianity at this stage would have called for mention by the Roman and Greek historians. There is the name Sergia Paullina in a Christian cemetery in Rome which shows that one of his family was a Christian later. One will believe what he wills about Sergius Paulus, but I do not see that Luke leaves him in the category of Simon Magus who “believed” (Acts 8:13) for revenue only.


Verse 13

Paul and his company (οι περι Παυλονhoi peri Paulon). Neat Greek idiom as in Plato, Cratylus 440 C οι περι ερακλειτονhoi peri Herakleiton On this idiom see Gildersleeve, Syntax, p. 264. It means a man and his followers, “those around Paul.” Now Paul ranks first always in Acts save in Acts 14:2; Acts 15:12, Acts 15:25 for special reasons. Heretofore Saul (Paul) held a secondary position (Acts 9:27; Acts 11:30; Acts 13:1.). “In nothing is the greatness of Barnabas more manifest than in his recognition of the superiority of Paul and acceptance of a secondary position for himself” (Furneaux).

Set sail (αναχτεντεςanachthentes). First aorist passive participle of αναγωanagō Thirteen times in the Acts and Luke 8:22 which see. They sailed up to sea and came down (καταγω καταβαινωkatagōαποχωρησας απ αυτωνkatabainō) to land. So it looks.

Departed from them (αποχωρεωapochōrēsas ap' autōn). First aorist active participle of apochōreō old verb to withdraw, go away from. In the N.T. only here and Matthew 7:23; Luke 9:39. He is called John here as in Acts 13:5 and Mark in Acts 15:39, though John Mark in Acts 12:12, Acts 12:25. This may be accidental or on purpose (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 317). Luke is silent on John‘s reasons for leaving Paul and Barnabas. He was the cousin of Barnabas and may not have relished the change in leadership. There may have been change in plans also now that Paul is in command. Barnabas had chosen Cyprus and Paul has led them to Perga in Pamphylia and means to go on into the highlands to Antioch in Pisidia. There were perils of many sorts around them and ahead (2 Corinthians 11:26), perils to which John Mark was unwilling to be exposed. Paul will specifically charge him at Antioch with desertion of his post (Acts 15:39). It is possible, as Ramsay suggests, that the mosquitoes at Perga gave John malaria. If so, they bit Paul and Barnabas also. He may not have liked Paul‘s aggressive attitude towards the heathen. At any rate he went home to Jerusalem instead of to Antioch, zu seiner Mutter (Holtzmann). It was a serious breach in the work, but Paul and Barnabas stuck to the work.


Verse 14

Passing through (διελτοντεςdielthontes). It is not clear why Paul and Barnabas left Perga so soon nor why they went to Antioch in Pisidia. Ramsay suggests malaria that spurred them on to the hills after the desertion of John Mark. They preached at Perga on the return (Acts 14:25) and apparently hurried away now. Farrar thinks that the hot weather had driven the population to the hills. At any rate it is not difficult to imagine the perils of this climb over the rough mountain way from Perga to Pisidian Antioch to which Paul apparently refers in 2 Corinthians 11:26.

Sat down (εκατισανekathisan). Ingressive aorist active indicative, took their seats as visiting Jews, possibly in the seats of the rabbis (J. Lightfoot). Whether they expected to be called on or not, they were given the opportunity as prominent visitors. The Pisidian Antioch was really in Phrygia, but towards Pisidia to distinguish it from Antioch on the Maeander (Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 25). It was a colony like Philippi and so a free city. If Paul is referring to South Galatia and not North Galatia in Galatians 4:13 when he says that his preaching in Galatia at first was due to illness, then it was probably here at Pisidian Antioch. What it was we have no means of knowing, though it was a temptation in his flesh to them so severe that they were willing to pluck out their eyes for him (Galatians 4:14.). Opthalmia, malaria, epilepsy have all been suggested as this stake in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7). But Paul was able to preach with power whatever his actual physical condition was.


Verse 15

After the reading of the law and the prophets (μετα την αναγνωσιν του νομου και των προπητωνmeta tēn anagnōsin tou nomou kai tōn prophētōn). The law was first read in the synagogues till b.c. 163 when Antiochus Epiphones prohibited it. Then the reading of the prophets was substituted for it. The Maccabees restored both. There was a reading from the law and one from the prophets in Hebrew which was interpreted into the Aramaic or the Greek Koiné{[28928]}š for the people. The reading was followed by the sermon as when Jesus was invited to read and to preach in Nazareth (Luke 4:16.). For the service in the synagogue see Schuerer, History of the Jewish People, Div. II, Vol. II, pp. 79ff. It was the duty of the rulers of the synagogue (αρχισυναγωγοιarchisunagōgoi) to select the readers and the speakers for the service (Mark 5:22, Mark 5:35-38; Luke 8:49; Luke 13:14; Acts 13:15; Acts 18:8, Acts 18:17). Any rabbi or distinguished stranger could be called on to speak.

If ye have any word of exhortation for the people (ει τις εστιν εν υμιν λογος παρακλησεως προς τον λαονei tis estin en humin logos paraklēseōs pros ton laon). Literally, if there is among you any word of exhortation for the people. It is a condition of the first class and assumed to be true, a polite invitation. On “exhortation” (παρακλησιςparaklēsis) See note on Acts 9:31. It may be a technical phrase used in the synagogue (Hebrews 13:22; 1 Timothy 4:13).


Verse 16

Paul stood up (αναστας Παυλοςanastas Paulos). The Jewish custom was to sit while speaking (Luke 4:20), but the Greek and Roman was to stand (Acts 17:22). It is possible as Lewin (Life of St. Paul, Vol. 1, p. 141) suggests that here Paul stepped upon the platform and then took his seat as he began to speak or he may have followed the Greek and Roman custom. Paul is the leader now and the more gifted speaker (Acts 14:12), so that he responds to the courteous invitation of the rulers.

Beckoning (κατασεισαςkataseisas). First aorist active participle of κατασειωkataseiō old verb to shake down, a dramatic gesture for quiet and order like Peter in Acts 12:17 and Paul on the steps of the tower of Antonia (Acts 21:40).

And ye that fear God (και οι ποβουμενοι τον τεονkai hoi phoboumenoi ton theon). Evidently large numbers of these Gentiles like Cornelius in Caesarea were present. They offered Paul a great opportunity for reaching the purely pagan Gentiles. This (verses 16-41) is the first full report of a sermon of Paul‘s that Luke has preserved for us. He is now a practised preacher of the gospel that he began proclaiming at Damascus, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of promise and the Saviour of the whole world both Jew and Gentile if they will only believe on him and be saved. It is possible that Paul here based his sermon on the passages of the law and the prophets that had just been read. He uses two words from the lxx, one in Acts 13:19 from Deuteronomy 1:31 ετροποπορησενetrophophorēsen (as a nursing-father bare he them), the reading of many old MSS. and the one preferred by the American Committee, the other in Acts 13:17 from Isaiah 1:2 υπσωσενhupsōsen (exalted). At any rate it is clear that Paul spoke in Greek so that all could understand his sermon. He may have written out notes of this sermon afterwards for Luke. The keynotes of Paul‘s theology as found in his Epistles appear in this sermon. It is interesting to observe the steady growth of Paul‘s Christology as he faced the great problems of his day. Here we see Paul‘s gospel for the Jews and the God-fearers (Gentiles friendly to the Jews).


Verse 17

Chose (εχελεχατοexelexato). First aorist middle (indirect), selected for himself. Israel was the chosen people.

Exalted (υπσωσενhupsōsen). From υπσοωhupsoō late verb from υπσοςhupsos so often used of Christ.

When they sojourned (εν τηι παροικιαιen tēi paroikiāi). In the sojourn. Late word from παροικοςparoikos (sojourner, dweller, Acts 7:6) common in lxx. In N.T. only here and 1 Peter 1:17.

With a high arm (μετα βραχιονος υπσηλουmeta brachionos hupsēlou). Vivid picture from the lxx (Exodus 6:1, 6; Deuteronomy 5:15; Ps 136:12).


Verse 18

Suffered he their manners (ετροποπορησενetropophorēsen). First aorist active indicative of τροποπορεωtropophoreō late word from τροποςtropos manner, and περωpherō reading of Aleph B D and accepted by Westcott and Hort. But A C Sahidic Bohairic read ετροποπορησενetrophophorēsen from τροποπορεωtrophophoreō (τροποςtrophos a nurse, and περωpherō late word (II Macc. Acts 7:27), probably correct word here and Deuteronomy 1:31.


Verse 19

When he had destroyed (κατελωνkathelōn). Second aorist active participle of καταιρεωkathaireō to tear down, old verb.

He gave them for an inheritance (κατεκληρονομησενkateklēronomēsen). First aorist active indicative of the double compound verb κατακληρονομεωkatȧklērȯnomeō late verb in lxx (Numbers 34:18; Deuteronomy 3:28; Joshua 14:1) and only here in the N.T., to distribute by lot, to distribute as an inheritance. This is the correct reading and not κατεκληροδοτησενkateklērodotēsen from κατακληροδοτεωkataklērodoteō of the Textus Receptus. These two verbs were confused in the MSS. of the lxx as well as here.

For about four hundred and fifty years (ως ετεσιν τετρακοσιοις και πεντηκονταhōs etesin tetrakosiois kai pentēkonta). Associative instrumental case with an expression of time as in Acts 8:11; Luke 8:29 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 527). The oldest MSS. (Aleph A B C Vg Sah Boh) place these figures before “after these things” and so in Acts 13:19. This is the true reading and is in agreement with the notation in 1 Kings 6:1. The difficulty found in the Textus Receptus (King James Version) thus disappears with the true text. The four hundred and fifty years runs therefore from the birth of Isaac to the actual conquest of Canaan and does not cover the period of the Judges. See note on Acts 7:6.


Verse 20

And after these things (και μετα ταυταkai meta tauta). That is, the time of the Judges then began. Cf. Jud Judges 2:16.

Until Samuel the prophet (εως Σαμουηλ προπητουheōs Samouēl prophētou). The terminus ad quem. He was the last of the judges and the first of the prophets who selected the first king (Saul) under God‘s guidance. Note the absence of the Greek article with προπητουprophētou f0).


Verse 21

They asked (ηιτησαντοēitēsanto). First aorist indirect middle indicative, they asked for themselves. They were tired of a theocracy. Cf. 1 Samuel 8:5; 1 Samuel 10:1. Paul mentions with pride that Benjamin was the tribe of Saul (his name also), but he does not allude to Saul‘s sin (Furneaux).

For the space of forty years (ετη τεσσερακονταetē tesserakonta). Accusative of extent of time. Not in the O.T., but in Josephus, Ant. VI. 14, 9.


Verse 22

When he had removed him (μεταστησας αυτονmetastēsas auton). First aorist active participle of μετιστημιmethistēmi old verb to transfer, to transpose (note force of μεταmeta). This verb occurs in Luke 16:4 by the unjust steward about his removal from office. Cf. 1 Samuel 15:16.

To be (ειςeis). As or for, Greek idiom like the Hebrew ανδρα κατα την καρδιαν μουle common in the lxx.

A man after my heart (τεληματαandra kata tēn kardian mou). The words quoted by Paul as a direct saying of God are a combination of Psalm 89:20, Psalm 89:21; 1 Samuel 13:14 (the word of the Lord to Samuel about David). Knowling thinks that this free and rather loose quotation of the substance argues for the genuineness of the report of Paul‘s sermon. Hackett observes that the commendation of David is not absolute, but, as compared with the disobedient Saul, he was a man who did God‘s will in spite of the gross sin of which he repented (Ps 51). Note “wills” (thelēmata), plural, of God.


Verse 23

Of this man‘s seed (τουτου απο του σπερματοςtoutou apo tou spermatos). Emphatic position of τουτουtoutou Of this one from the (his) seed.

According to promise (κατ επαγγελιανkat' epaggelian). This phrase in Galatians 3:29; 2 Timothy 1:1. See the promise in 2 Samuel 7:2; Psalm 132:11; Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 11:10; Jeremiah 23:5.; Zechariah 3:8. In Zechariah 3:8 the verb αγωagō is used of the sending of the Messiah as here.

A Saviour Jesus (Σωτηρα ΙησουνSōtēra Iēsoun). Jesus is in apposition with Saviour (accusative case) and comes at the end of the sentence in contrast with “this man” (David) at the beginning. Paul goes no further than David because he suggests to him Jesus, descendant in the flesh from David. By “Israel” here Paul means the Jewish people, though he will later enlarge this promise to include the spiritual Israel both Gentile and Jew (Romans 9:6.).


Verse 24

When John had first preached (προκηρυχαντος Ιωανουprokēruxantos Iōanou). Literally, John heralding beforehand, as a herald before the king (Luke 3:3). Genitive absolute of first aorist active participle of προκηρυσσωprokērussō old verb to herald beforehand, here alone in the N.T., though Textus Receptus has it also in Acts 3:20.

Before his coming (προ προσωπου της εισοδου αυτουpro prosōpou tēs eisodou autou). Literally, before the face of his entering in (here act of entrance as 1 Thessalonians 1:9, not the gate as in Hebrews 10:19). See Malachi 3:1 quoted in Matthew 11:10 (Luke 7:27) for this Hebrew phrase and also Luke 1:76.

The baptism of repentance (βαπτισμα μετανοιαςbaptisma metanoias). Baptism marked by, characterized by (genitive case, case of kind or species) repentance (change of mind and life). The very phrase used of John‘s preaching in Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3. It is clear therefore that Paul understood John‘s ministry and message as did Peter (Acts 2:38; Acts 10:37).


Verse 25

As John was fulfilling his course (ως επληρου Ιωανης τον δρομονhōs eplērou Ianēs ton dromon). Imperfect active of πληροωplēroō describing his vivid ministry without defining the precise period when John asked the question. Paul uses this word δρομοςdromos (course) of his own race (Acts 20:24; 2 Timothy 4:7).

What suppose ye that I am? (Τι εμε υπονοειτε ειναιTi eme huponoeite einai̇) Note τιtōi (neuter), not τιναtina (masculine), what not who, character, not identity. It is indirect discourse (the infinitive ειναιeinai and the accusative of general reference). υπο νοεωHuponoeō(ουκ ειμι εγωhupoλσαιnoeō) is to think secretly, to suspect, to conjecture.

I am not he (λυωouk eimi egō). These precise words are not given in the Gospels, but the idea is the same as the disclaimers by the Baptist in John 1:19-27 (cf. also Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:7; Luke 3:16). Paul had a true grasp of the message of the Baptist. He uses the very form υποδημαlūsai (first aorist active infinitive of luō) found in Mark 1:7; Luke 3:16 and the word for shoes (hupodēma singular) in all three. His quotation is remarkably true to the words in the Synoptic Gospels. How did Paul get hold of the words of the Baptist so clearly?


Verse 26

To us (ημινhēmin). Both Jews and Gentiles, both classes in Paul‘s audience, dative of advantage.

Is sent forth (εχαπεσταληexapestalē). Second aorist passive indicative of the double compound verb εχαποστελλωexapostellō common verb to send out (εχexō) and forth (αποapo). It is a climacteric or culminative aorist tense. It has come to us in one day, this glorious promise.

The word of this salvation (ο λογος της σωτηριας ταυτηςho logos tēs sōtērias tautēs). The message of Jesus as Saviour (Acts 13:23), long ago promised and now come to us as Saviour.


Verse 27

Because they knew him not (τουτον αγνοησαντεςtouton agnoēsantes). First aorist active participle (causal) of αγνοεωagnoeō old verb, not to know. Peter gives “ignorance” (αγνοιαagnoia) as the excuse of the Jews in the death of Christ (Acts 3:17) and Paul does the same about his conduct before his conversion (1 Timothy 1:13). This ignorance mitigated the degree of their guilt, but it did not remove it, for it was willing ignorance and prejudice.

The voices of the prophets which are read (τας πωνας των προπητων τας αναγινωσκομεναςtas phōnas tōn prophētōn tas anaginōskomenas). Object also of αγνοησαντεςagnoēsantes though it could be the object of επληρωσανeplērōsan (fulfilled) if καιkai is taken as “also”. The “voices” were heard as they were read aloud each Sabbath in the synagogue. In their ignorant condemnation they fulfilled the prophecies about the suffering Messiah.


Verse 28

Though they found no cause of death (μηδεμιαν αιτιαν τανατου ευροντεςmēdemian aitian thanatou heurontes). Second aorist active with usual negative of the participle. As a matter of fact the Sanhedrin did charge Jesus with blasphemy, but could not prove it (Matthew 26:65; Matthew 27:24; Luke 23:22). At this time no Gospel had probably been written, but Paul knew that Jesus was innocent. He uses this same idiom about his own innocence (Acts 28:18).

That he should be slain (αναιρετηναι αυτονanairethēnai auton). First aorist passive infinitive, the accusative case, the direct object of ηιτησαντοēitēsanto (first aorist middle indicative, asked as a favour to themselves).


Verse 29

From the tree (απο του χυλουapo tou xulou). Not here strictly a tree, but wood as already in Acts 5:30; Acts 10:29 and later in Galatians 3:13. Strictly speaking, it was Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who took the body of Jesus down from the cross, though the Jews had asked Pilate to have the bones of Jesus broken that his body should not remain on the cross during the Sabbath (John 19:31). Paul does not distinguish the details here.

Laid (ετηκανethēkan). First (kappa) aorist active indicative third plural of τιτημιtithēmi in place of ετεσανethesan the usual second aorist active plural form.

Tomb (μνημειονmnēmeion). Memorial, common in the Gospels.


Verse 30

But God raised him from the dead (ο δε τεος ηγειρεν εκ νεκρωνho de theos ēgeiren ek nekrōn). This crucial fact Paul puts sharply as he always did.


Verse 31

Was seen for many days (ωπτη επι ημερας πλειουςōphthē epi hēmeras pleious). The common verb (first aorist passive indicative of οραωhoraō to see) for the appearance of the Risen Christ, the one used by Paul of his own vision of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:8), which is not reported by Luke here. For more days (than a few), the language means, forty in all (Acts 1:3).

Of them that came up with him (τοις συναναβασιν αυτωιtois sunanabāsin autōi). Dative (after ωπτηōphthē) articular participle (second aorist active of συναναβαινωsunanabainō) with associative instrumental case (αυτωιautōi), the very men who knew him best and who could not be easily deceived about the reality of his resurrection. But this fact rules Paul out on this point, for he had not fellowshipped with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem.

Who are now his witnesses (οιτινες νυν εισιν μαρτυρες αυτουhoitines nun eisin martureōs autou). The very point that Peter used to clinch his argument with such powerful effect (Acts 2:32; Acts 3:15).


Verse 32

We bring you good tidings of the promise (ημεις υμας ευαγγελιζομετα την επαγγελιανhēmeis humās euaggelizometha tēn epaggelian). Two accusatives here (person and thing), old Greek did not use accusative of the person with this verb as in Acts 16:10; Luke 3:18. Note “we you” together. Here the heart of Paul‘s message on this occasion.


Verse 33

Hath fulfilled (εκπεπληρωκενekpeplērōken). Hath filled out (εκek).

Unto our children (τοις τεκνοις ημωνtois teknois hēmōn). The MSS. vary greatly here about ημωνhēmōn (our), some have αυτωνautōn some αυτων ημινautōn hēmin Westcott and Hort consider these readings “a primitive error” for ημινhēmin (to us) taken with αναστησας Ιησουνanastēsas Iēsoun (having for us raised up Jesus). This raising up (from ανιστημιanistēmi set up) as in Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37 refers not to resurrection (Acts 13:34), but to the sending of Jesus (two raisings up).

In the second psalm (εν τωι πσαλμωι τωι δευτερωιen tōi psalmōi tōi deuterōi). Psalm 2:7. D has πρωτωιprōtōi because the first psalm was often counted as merely introductory.


Verse 34

Now no more to return to corruption (μηκετι μελλοντα υποστρεπειν εις διαπτορανmēketi mellonta hupostrephein eis diaphthoran). No longer about to return as Lazarus did. Jesus did not die again and so is the first fruits of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23; Romans 6:9).

He hath spoken (ειρηκενeirēken). Present perfect active indicative, common way of referring to the permanent utterances of God which are on record in the Scriptures.

The holy and sure blessings of David (τα οσια Δαυειδ τα πισταta hosia Daueid ta pista). See 2 Samuel 7:13. Literally, “the holy things of David the trustworthy things.” He explains “the holy things” at once.


Verse 35

Because (διοτιdioti). Compound conjunction (δια οτιdiaου δωσεις τον οσιον σου ιδειν διαπτορανhoti) like our “because that.” The reason for the previous statement about “the holy things.”

Thou wilt not give thy holy one to see corruption (ou dōseis ton hosion sou idein diaphthoran). Quotation from Psalm 16:10 to show that Jesus did not see corruption in his body, a flat contradiction for those who deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus.


Verse 36

His own generation (ιδιαι γενεαιidiāi geneāi). Either locative case, “in his own generation” or dative object of υπηρετησαςhupēretēsas (served).

The counsel of God (τηι του τεου βουληιtēi tou theou boulēi). So here, either the dative, the object of υπηρετησαςhupēretēsas if γενεαιgeneāi is locative, or the instrumental case “by the counsel of God” which again may be construed either with υπηρετησαςhupēretēsas (having served) or after εκοιμητηekoimēthē (fell on sleep). Either of the three ways is grammatical and makes good sense. ΚοιμαομαιKoimaomai for death we have already had (Acts 7:60). So Jesus (John 11:11) and Paul (1 Corinthians 15:6, 1 Corinthians 15:51).

Was laid (προσετετηprosetethē). Was added unto (first aorist passive indicative of προστιτημιprostithēmi). See the verb in Acts 2:47; Acts 5:14. This figure for death probably arose from the custom of burying families together (Genesis 15:15; Jud Genesis 2:10).

Saw corruption (ειδεν διαπτορανeiden diaphthoran). As Jesus did not (Acts 2:31) as he shows in Acts 13:37.


Verse 38

Through this man (δια τουτουdia toutou). This very man whom the Jews had crucified and whom God had raised from the dead. Remission of sins (απεσις αμαρτιωνaphesis hamartiōn) is proclaimed (καταγγελλεταιkataggelletai) to you. This is the keynote of Paul‘s message as it had been that of Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:38; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43). Cf. Acts 26:18. This glorious message Paul now presses home in his exhortation.


Verse 39

And by him every one that believeth is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses (και απο παντων ων ουκ ηδυνητητε εν νομωι Μωυσεως δικαιοτηναι εν τουτωι πας ο πιστευων δικαιουταιkai apo pantōn hōn ouk ēdunēthēte en nomōi Mōuseōs dikaiothēnai en toutōi pās ho pisteuōn dikaioutai). This is a characteristic Greek sentence with the principal clause at the end and Pauline to the core. A literal rendering as to the order would be: “And from all the things from (αποapo not repeated in the Greek, but understood, the ablative case being repeated) which ye were not able to be justified in this one every one who believes is justified.” The climax is at the close and gives us the heart of Paul‘s teaching about Christ. “We have here the germ of all that is most characteristic in Paul‘s later teaching. It is the argument of the Epistle to Galatians and Romans in a sentence” (Furneaux). The failure of the Mosaic law to bring the kind of righteousness that God demands is stated. This is made possible in and by (ενen) Christ alone. Paul‘s favourite words occur here, πιστευωpisteuō believe, with which πιστιςpistis faith, is allied, δικαιοωdikaioō to set right with God on the basis of faith. In Romans 6:7 Paul uses αποapo also after δικαιοωdikaioō These are key words (πιστευωpisteuō and δικαιοωdikaioō) in Paul‘s theology and call for prolonged and careful study if one is to grasp the Pauline teaching. ΔικαιοωDikaioō primarily means to make righteous, to declare righteous like αχιοωaxioō to deem worthy (αχιοςaxios). But in the end Paul holds that real righteousness will come (Romans 6-8) to those whom God treats as righteous (Romans 3-5) though both Gentile and Jew fall short without Christ (Romans 1-3). This is the doctrine of grace that will prove a stumbling block to the Jews with their ceremonial works and foolishness to the Greeks with their abstract philosophical ethics (1 Corinthians 1:23-25). It is a new and strange doctrine to the people of Antioch.


Verse 40

Beware therefore (βλεπετε ουνblepete oun). The warning is pertinent. Perhaps Paul noticed anger on the faces of some of the rabbis.

Lest there come upon you (μη επελτηιmē epelthēi). Second aorist active subjunctive with the negative final conjunction μηmē

In the prophets (εν τοις προπηταιςen tois prophētais). The quotation is from the lxx text of Habakkuk 1:5. The plural here refers to the prophetic collection (Luke 24:44; Acts 24:14). “The Jews of Habakkuk‘s day had refused to believe in the impending invasion by the Chaldeans, and yet it had come” (Furneaux).


Verse 41

Ye despisers (οι καταπρονηταιhoi kataphronētai). Not in the Hebrew, but in the lxx. It is pertinent for Paul‘s purpose.

Perish (απανιστητεaphanisthēte). Or vanish away. First aorist passive imperative. Added by the lxx to the Hebrew.

If one declare it unto you (εαν τις εκδιηγηται υμινean tis ekdiēgētai humin). Condition of third class with present middle subjunctive, if one keep on outlining (double compound, εκδιηγεομαιek̇di̇ēgeomai) it unto you. Paul has hurled a thunderbolt at the close.


Verse 42

And as they went out (Εχιοντων δε αυτωνExiontōn de autōn). Genitive absolute with present active participle of εχειμιexeimi to go out, old verb, in the N.T. only in Acts 13:42; Acts 17:15; Acts 20:7; Acts 27:43. As they (Paul and Barnabas) were going out with all the excitement and hubbub created by the sermon.

They besought (παρεκαλουνparekaloun). Imperfect active, inchoative, began to beseech. The Textus Receptus inserts wrongly τα ετνηta ethnē (the Gentiles) as if the Jews were opposed to Paul from the first as some doubtless were. But both Jews and Gentiles asked for the repetition of the sermon (λαλητηναιlalēthēnai first aorist passive infinitive object of παρεκαλουνparekaloun with accusative of general reference).

The next Sabbath (εις το μεταχυ σαββατονeis to metaxu sabbaton). Late use (Josephus, Plutarch, etc.) of μεταχυmetaxu (μεταmeta and χυνxun =συνsun) in sense of after or next instead of between (sense of μεταmeta prevailing). Note use of ειςeis for “on” or “by.”


Verse 43

When the synagogue broke up (λυτεισης της συναγωγηςlutheisēs tēs sunagōgēs). Genitive absolute of first aorist passive participle of λυωluō Apparently Paul and Barnabas had gone out before the synagogue was formally dismissed.

Of the devout proselytes (των σεβομενων προσηλυτωνtōn sebomenōn prosēlutōn). Of the worshipping proselytes described in Acts 13:16, Acts 13:25 as “those who fear God” (cf. Acts 16:14) employed usually of the uncircumcised Gentiles who yet attended the synagogue worship, but the word προσηλυτοιprosēlutoi (προσ ηλυτοςprosερχομαιēlutos verbal from ηκολουτησανerchomai a new-comer) means usually those who had become circumcised (proselytes of righteousness). Yet the rabbis used it also of proselytes of the gate who had not yet become circumcised, probably the idea here. In the N.T. the word occurs only in Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:10; Acts 6:5; Acts 13:43. Many (both Jews and proselytes) followed (ακολουτεωēkolouthēsan ingressive aorist active indicative of προσλαλουντεςakoloutheō) Paul and Barnabas to hear more without waiting till the next Sabbath. So we are to picture Paul and Barnabas speaking (επειτονproslalountes late compound, in N.T. only here and Acts 28:20) to eager groups.

Urged (πειτωepeithon). Imperfect active of peithō either descriptive (were persuading) or conative (were trying to persuade). Paul had great powers of persuasion (Acts 18:4; Acts 19:8, Acts 19:26; Acts 26:28; Acts 28:23; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Galatians 1:10). These Jews “were beginning to understand for the first time the true meaning of their national history” (Furneaux), “the grace of God” to them.


Verse 44

The next Sabbath (τωι ερχομενωι σαββατωιtōi erchomenōi sabbatōi). Locative case, on the coming (ερχομενωιerchomenōi present middle participle of ερχομαιerchomai) Sabbath. So the best MSS., though some have εχομενωιechomeni (present middle participle of εχωechō in sense of near, bordering, following as in Luke 13:33).

Almost (σχεδονschedon). Old word, but in N.T. only here, Acts 19:26; Hebrews 9:22.

Was gathered together (συνηχτηsunēchthē). First aorist (effective) passive indicative of συναγωsunagō old and common verb. The “whole city” could hardly all gather in the synagogue. Perhaps Paul spoke in the synagogue and Barnabas to the overflow outside (see Acts 13:46). It was an eager and earnest gathering “to hear (ακουσαιakousai first aorist active infinitive of purpose) the word of God” and a great opportunity for Paul and Barnabas. The Codex Bezae has it “to hear Paul.” It was the new preacher (Paul) that drew the big crowd. It was a crowd such as will later hang on the words of John Wesley and George Whitfield when they preach Jesus Christ.


Verse 45

The Jews (οι Ιουδαιοιhoi Ioudaioi). Certainly not the proselytes of Acts 13:43. Probably many of the Jews that were then favourably disposed to Paul‘s message had reacted against him under the influence of the rabbis during the week and evidently on this Sabbath very many Gentiles (“almost the whole city,” “the multitudes” τους οχλουςtous ochlous) had gathered, to the disgust of the stricter Jews. Nothing is specifically stated here about the rabbis, but they were beyond doubt the instigators of, and the ringleaders in, the opposition as in Thessalonica (Acts 17:5). No such crowds (οχλουςochlous) came to the synagogue when they were the speakers.

With jealousy (ζηλουzēlou). Genitive case of ζηλοςzēlos (from ζεωzeō to boil) after επληστησανeplēsthēsan (effective first aorist passive indicative of πιμπλημιpimplēmi). Envy and jealousy arise between people of the same calling (doctors towards doctors, lawyers towards lawyers, preachers towards preachers). So these rabbis boiled with jealousy when they saw the crowds gathered to hear Paul and Barnabas.

Contradicted (αντελεγονantelegon). Imperfect active of αντιλεγωantilegō old verb to speak against, to say a word in opposition to (αντιanti face to face). It was interruption of the service and open opposition in the public meeting. Paul and Barnabas were guests by courtesy and, of course, could not proceed further, when denied that privilege.

Blasphemed (βλασπημουντεςblasphēmountes). Blaspheming. So the correct text without the addition αντιλεγοντεςantilegontes (repeated from αντελεγονantelegon above). Common verb in the Gospels for saying injurious and harmful things. Doubtless these rabbis indulged in unkind personalities and made it plain that Paul and Barnabas were going beyond the limitations of pure Judaism in their contacts with Gentiles.


Verse 46

Spake out boldly (παρρησιασαμενοιparrēsiasamenoi). First aorist middle participle of παρρησιαζομαιparrēsiazomai to use freedom in speaking, to assume boldness. Both Paul and Barnabas accepted the challenge of the rabbis. They would leave their synagogue, but not without a word of explanation.

It was necessary to you first (υμιν ην αναγκαιον πρωτονHumin ēn anagkaion prōton). They had done their duty and had followed the command of Jesus (Acts 1:8). They use the very language of Peter in Acts 3:26 (υμιν πρωτονhumin prōton) “to you first.” This position Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles will always hold, the Jew first in privilege and penalty (Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9, Romans 2:10).

Ye thrust it from you (απωτειστε αυτονapōtheisthe auton). Present middle (indirect, from yourselves) indicative of απωτεωapōtheō to push from. Vigorous verb seen already in Acts 7:27, Acts 7:39 which see.

Judge yourselves unworthy (ουκ αχιους κρινετε εαυτουςouk axious krinete heautous). Present active indicative of the common verb κρινωkrinō to judge or decide with the reflexive pronoun expressed. Literally, Do not judge yourselves worthy. By their action and their words they had taken a violent and definite stand.

Lo, we turn to the Gentiles (ιδου στρεπομετα εις τα ετνηidou strephometha eis ta ethnē). It is a crisis (ιδουidou lo): “Lo, we turn ourselves to the Gentiles.” Probably also aoristic present, we now turn (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 864-70). ΣτρεπομεταStrephometha is probably the direct middle (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 806-08) though the aorist passive εστραπηνestraphēn is so used also (Acts 7:39). It is a dramatic moment as Paul and Barnabas turn from the Jews to the Gentiles, a prophecy of the future history of Christianity. In Romans 9-11 Paul will discuss at length the rejection of Christ by the Jews and the calling of the Gentiles to be the real (the spiritual) Israel.


Verse 47

For so hath the Lord commanded us (ουτως γαρ εντεταλται ημιν ο κυριοςhoutōs gar entetaltai hēmin ho kurios). Perfect middle indicative of εντελλωentellō poetic (Pindar) and late verb to enjoin (Acts 1:2). The command of the Lord Paul finds in Isaiah 49:6 quoted by Simeon also (Luke 2:32). The conviction of Paul‘s mind was now made clear by the fact of the rejection by the Jews. He could now see more clearly the words of the prophet about the Gentiles: The Messiah is declared by God in Isaiah to be “a light to the Gentiles” (ετνωνethnōn objective genitive), “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (πως εις αποκαλυπσιν ετνωνphōs eis apokalupsin ethnōn Luke 2:32). So Paul is carrying out the will of God in turning to the Gentiles. He will still appeal to the Jews elsewhere as they allow him to do so, but not here.

That thou shouldest be (του ειναι σεtou einai se). Genitive articular infinitive of purpose with the accusative of general reference. This is all according to God‘s fixed purpose (τετεικαtetheika perfect active indicative of τιτημιtithēmi).

Unto the uttermost part of the earth (εως εσχατου της γηςheōs eschatou tēs gēs). Unto the last portion (genitive neuter, not feminine) of the earth. It is a long time from Paul to now, not to say from Isaiah to now, and not yet has the gospel been carried to half of the people of earth. God‘s people are slow in carrying out God‘s plans for salvation.


Verse 48

As the Gentiles heard this they were glad (ακουοντα τα ετνη εχαιρονakouonta ta ethnē echairon). Present active participle of ακουωakouō and imperfect active of χαιρωchairō linear action descriptive of the joy of the Gentiles.

Glorified the word of God (εδοχαζον τον λογον του τεουedoxazon ton logon tou theou). Imperfect active again. The joy of the Gentiles increased the fury of the Jews. “The synagogue became a scene of excitement which must have been something like the original speaking with tongues” (Rackham). The joy of the Gentiles was to see how they could receive the higher blessing of Judaism without circumcision and other repellent features of Jewish ceremonialism. It was the gospel of grace and liberty from legalism that Paul had proclaimed. Whether Galatians 4:13 describes this incident or not (the South Galatian theory), it illustrates it when Gentiles received Paul as if he were Christ Jesus himself. It was triumph with the Gentiles, but defeat with the Jews.

As many as were ordained to eternal life (οσοι ησαν τεταγμενοι εις ζωην αιωνιονhosoi ēsan tetagmenoi eis zōēn aiōnion). Periphrastic past perfect passive indicative of τασσωtassō a military term to place in orderly arrangement. The word “ordain” is not the best translation here. “Appointed,” as Hackett shows, is better. The Jews here had voluntarily rejected the word of God. On the other side were those Gentiles who gladly accepted what the Jews had rejected, not all the Gentiles. Why these Gentiles here ranged themselves on God‘s side as opposed to the Jews Luke does not tell us. This verse does not solve the vexed problem of divine sovereignty and human free agency. There is no evidence that Luke had in mind an absolutum decretum of personal salvation. Paul had shown that God‘s plan extended to and included Gentiles. Certainly the Spirit of God does move upon the human heart to which some respond, as here, while others push him away.

Believed (επιστευσανepisteusan). Summary or constative first aorist active indicative of πιστευωpisteuō The subject of this verb is the relative clause. By no manner of legerdemain can it be made to mean “those who believe were appointed.” It was saving faith that was exercised only by those who were appointed unto eternal life, who were ranged on the side of eternal life, who were thus revealed as the subjects of God‘s grace by the stand that they took on this day for the Lord. It was a great day for the kingdom of God.


Verse 49

Was spread abroad (διεπερετοdiephereto). Imperfect passive of διαπερωdiapherō to carry in different directions (διαdia). By the recent converts as well as by Paul and Barnabas. This would seem to indicate a stay of some months with active work among the Gentiles that bore rich fruit.

Throughout all the region (δι ολης της χωραςdi' holēs tēs chōras). Antioch in Pisidia as a Roman colony would be the natural centre of a Roman Regio, an important element in Roman imperial administration. There were probably other Regiones in South Galatia (Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen, pp. 102-12).


Verse 50

Urged on (παρωτρυνανparōtrunan). First aorist (effective) active of παροτρυνωpaṙotrunō old verb, but here alone in the N.T., to incite, to stir up. The Jews were apparently not numerous in this city as they had only one synagogue, but they had influence with people of prominence, like “the devout women of honourable estate” (τας σεβομενας γυναικας τας ευσχημοναςtas sebomenas gunaikas tas euschēmonas), the female proselytes of high station, a late use of an old word used about Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43). The rabbis went after these Gentile women who had embraced Judaism (cf. Acts 17:4 in Thessalonica) as Paul had made an appeal to them. The prominence of women in public life here at Antioch is quite in accord with what we know of conditions in the cities of Asia Minor. “Thus women were appointed under the empire as magistrates, as presidents of the games, and even the Jews elected a woman as Archisynagogos, at least in one instance at Smyrna” (Knowling). In Damascus Josephus (War II. 20, 21) says that a majority of the married women were proselytes. Strabo (VIII. 2) and Juvenal (VI. 542) speak of the addiction of women to the Jewish religion.

The chief men of the city (τους πρωτους της πολεωςtous prōtous tēs poleōs). Probably city officials (the Duumviri, the Praetors, the First Ten in the Greek Cities of the east) or other “foremost” men, not officials. The rabbis were shrewd enough to reach these men (not proselytes) through the women who were proselytes of distinction.

Stirred up a persecution (επηγειραν διωγμονepēgeiran diōgmon). First aorist active indicative of επεγειρωepegeirō old verb, but in the N.T. only here and Acts 14:2. Paul seems to allude to this persecution in 2 Timothy 3:11 “persecutions, sufferings, what things befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra, what persecutions I endured.” Here Paul had perils from his own countrymen and perils from the Gentiles after the perils of rivers and perils of robbers on the way from Perga (2 Corinthians 11:26). He was thrice beaten with rods (τρις εραβδιστηνtris erhabdisthēn 2 Corinthians 11:25) by Roman lictors in some Roman colony. If that was here, then Paul and Barnabas were publicly scourged by the lictors before they left. Probably the Jews succeeded in making the Roman officials look on Paul and Barnabas as disturbers of the public peace. So “they cast them out of their borders” (εχεβαλον αυτους απο των οριων αυτωνexebalon autous apo tōn horiōn autōn). Second aorist active indicative of εκβαλλωekballō forcible expulsion plainly as public nuisances. Just a few days before they were the heroes of the city and now!


Verse 51

But they shook off the dust of their feet against them (οι δε εκτιναχαμενοι τον κονιορτον των ποδων επ αυτουςHoi de ektinaxamenoi ton koniorton tōn podōn ep' autous). First aorist middle (indirect) participle of εκτινασσωektinassō to shake out or off. Homer uses it for knocking out teeth. In the papyri. The middle aorist participle occurs again in Acts 18:6 and the active imperative with the dust of the feet in Mark 6:11 (Luke 10:11 has απομασσομεταapomassometha). and Matthew 10:14 (command of Jesus). It is a dramatic gesture that forbids further intercourse. “As a protest against the injustice which cast them out. The sandal was taken off and the dust shaken out as a symbolic token that the very soil of the country was defiling” (Furneaux).

Unto Iconium (εις Ικονιονeis Ikonion). About 45 miles southeast from Antioch in Pisidia, at the foot of the Taurus mountains. At various times it was reckoned also in Pisidia or Phrygia as well as Lycaonia, Phrygian in population and distinguished by Luke (Acts 14:6) from Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia. As compared with Antioch (a Roman colony) it was a native Phrygian town. When the province of Galatia was divided, Iconium became the capital of Lycaonia and eclipsed Antioch in Pisidia. Strictly speaking at this time Lystra and Derbe were cities of Lycaonia-Galatica while Iconium was in Phrygia-Galatica (all three in the Roman Province of Galatia). It was at the meeting place of several Roman roads and on the highway from east to west. It is still a large town Konieh with 30,000 population.


Verse 52

And the disciples (οι τεhoi te or οι δε ματηταιhoi de mathētai). The Gentile Christians in Antioch in Pisidia. Persecution had precisely the opposite effect to the intention of the Jews for they “were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit” (επληρουντο χαρας και πνευματος αγιουeplērounto charas kai pneumatos hagiou). Imperfect passive, they kept on being filled. It had been so before (Acts 4:31; Acts 8:4; Acts 9:31; Acts 12:24). The blood of the martyrs is still the seed of the church.

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Acts 13:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/acts-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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