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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Acts 13



Other Authors
Verse 1


See on Luke 7:26.

Lucius of Cyrene

Attempts have been made to identify him with Luke the evangelist; but the name Lucas is an abbreviation of Lucanus, and not of Lucius. It is worth noting, however, that, according to Herodotus (iii., 131), the physicians of Cyrene had the reputation of being the second best in Greece, those of Crotona being the best; and that Galen the physician says that Lucius was before him a distinguished physician in Tarsus of Cilicia. From this it has been conjectured that Luke was born and instructed in medicine in Cyrene, and left that place for Tarsus, where he made Paul's acquaintance, and was, perhaps, converted by him (Dr. Howard Crosby, “The New Testament, Old and New Version”). But, apart from the form of the name (see above), the mention of the evangelist's name here is not in accord with his usual practice, since he nowhere mentions his own name, either in the Gospel or in the Acts; and if the present passage were an exception, we should have expected to find his name last in the list of the worthies of Antioch. Of the five here named, four are known to be Jews; and therefore, probably, Lucius was also a Jew from Cyrene, where Jews are known to have abounded. Luke the evangelist, on the contrary, was a Gentile. Nothing certain can be inferred from Romans 16:21, where Lucius is enumerated by Paul among his kinsmen. If συγγενεῖς , kinsmen, means here, as is claimed by some, countrymen, it would prove Lucius to be a Jew; but the word is commonly used of relatives in the New Testament. In Romans 9:3, Paul applies the term to his fellow-countrymen, “my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites.

Which had been brought up with ( σύντροφος )

Some render foster-brother, as Rev.; others, comrade. The word has both meanings.

Verse 2

Ministered ( λειτουργούντων )

See on the kindred noun ministration, Luke 1:23. This noun has passed through the following meanings: 1. A civil service, especially in the technical language of Athenian law. 2. A function or office of any kind, as of the bodily organs. 3. Sacerdotal ministration, both among the Jews and the heathen (see Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:21). 4. The eucharistic services. 5.Set forms of divine worship (Lightfoot, “On Philippians,” ii., 17). Here, of the performance of Christian worship. Our word liturgy is derived from it.


The Greek adds δή , now, which is not rendered by A. V. or Rev. It gives precision and emphasis to the command, implying that it is for a special purpose, and to be obeyed at the time. Compare Luke 2:15; Acts 15:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Verse 4


On Luke's use of words for sailing, see Introduction.

Verse 5


The plural implies that the Jews were numerous in Salamis. Augustus, according to Josephus, made Herod the Great a present of half the revenue of the copper-mines of Cyprus, so that numerous Jewish families would be settled in the island. In the reign of Trajan, upon the breaking out of a Jewish insurrection, the whole island fell into the hands of the Jews, and became a rallying-point for the revolt. It is said that two hundred and forty thousand of the native population were sacrificed to the fury of the insurgents. When the rebellion was extinguished, the Jews were forbidden thenceforth, on pain of death, to set foot on the island.

Minister ( ὑπηρέτην )

Better, as Rev., attendant. See on Matthew 5:25.

Verse 6

Sorcerer ( μάγον )

That the man was an impostor is told us in the next word, but not in this term. It is the word used of the wise men who came to the Saviour's cradle. See Matthew 2:1, Matthew 2:7, Matthew 2:16. Elymas was a magian; of what kind is shown by false prophet. See on Matthew 2:1.


Son of Jesus or Joshua.

Verse 7

The deputy ( ἀνθυπάτῳ )

Better, Rev., proconsul. See Introduction to Luke, on Luke's accuracy in designating public officers.

Sergius Paulus

Di Cesnola relates the discovery at Soli, which, next to Salamis, was the most important city in the island, of a slab with a Greek inscription containing the name of Paulus, proconsul.

Prudent ( συνετῷ )

Better, as Rev., a man of understanding. See on Matthew 11:25.

Verse 8


An Arabic word, meaning the wise, and equivalent to Magus. See on Acts 13:6.


“The position of soothsayer to a Roman proconsul, even though it could only last a year, was too distinguished and too lucrative to abandon without a struggle” (Farrar, “Life and Work of Paul”).

Verse 9

Saul - Paul

The first occurrence of the name of Paul in the Acts. Hereafter he is constantly so called, except when there is a reference to the earlier period of his life. Various explanations are given of the change of name. The most satisfactory seems to be that it was customary for Hellenistic Jews to have two names, the one Hebrew and the other Greek or Latin. Thus John was also called Marcus; Symeon, Niger; Barsabas, Justus. As Paul now comes prominently forward as the apostle to the Gentiles, Luke now retains his Gentile name, as he did his Jewish name during his ministry among the Jews. The connection of the name Paul with that of the deputy seems to me purely accidental. It was most unlike Paul to assume the name of another man, converted by his instrumentality, out of respect to him or as a memorial of his conversion. Farrar justly observes that there would have been in this “an element of vulgarity impossible to St. Paul.”

Set his eyes on him

See on Luke 4:20.

Verse 10

Mischief ( ῥᾳδιουργίας )

Only here in New Testament. Originally, ease orfacility in doing; hence readiness in turning the hand to anything, bad or good; and so recklessness, unscrupulousness, wickedness. A kindred word ( ῥᾳδιούργημα , lewdness, Rev., villany ) occurs at Acts 18:14.

Right ways

Or straight, possibly with an allusion to Elymas' crooked ways.

Verse 11

Mist ( ἀχλὺς )

Only here in New Testament. The word is used by medical writers as a name for a disease of the eyes. The mention of the successive stages, first dimness, then total darkness, are characteristic of the physician. “The first miracle which Paul performed was the infliction of a judgment; and that judgment the same which befell himself when arrested on his way to Damascus” (Gloag).

Verse 12

Astonished ( ἐκπλησσόμενος )

See on Matthew 7:28.

Verse 13

Loosed ( ἀναχθέντες )

See on Luke 8:22.

Paul and his company ( οἱ περὶ τὸν Παῦλον )

Lit., those aroused Paul. In later writers, used to denote the principal person alone, as John 11:19, came to Mary and Martha; where the Greek literally reads, came to the women around Mary and Martha. Paul, and not Barnabas, now appears as the principal person.

Verse 15


See on Acts 9:31.

Verse 16


See on Acts 12:17.

Men of Israel

See on Acts 3:12.

Verse 17

People ( λαοῦ )

Restricted in the Acts to the people of Israel.

Verse 18

Suffered he their manners ( ἐτροποφόρησεν )

From τρόπος fashion or manner, and φορέω , to bear or suffer. The preferable reading, however, is ἐτροφοφόρησεν ; from τροφός , a nurse; and the figure is explained by, and probably was drawn from, Deuteronomy 1:31. The American revisers properly insist on the rendering, as a nursing-father bare he them.

Verse 19

Divided by lot ( κατεκληρονόμησεν )

The A. V. gives the literal rendering. The Rev., gave them their land for an inheritance, is correct, so far as the meaning, inheritance is concerned (see on 1 Peter 1:4), but does not give the sense of distribution which is contained in the word.

Verse 24

Before his coming ( πρὸ προσώπου τῆς εἰσόδου αὐτοῦ )

Lit., before the face of his entrance. A Hebrew form of expression.

Verse 25

Think ye ( ὑπονοεῖτε )

Originally, to think secretly: hence to suspect, conjecture.

Verse 26

To you

The best texts read to us.

Verse 33

Hath fulfilled ( ἐκπεπλήρωκε )

Completely fulfilled; force of ἐκ , out and out.

Verse 34

The sure mercies ( τὰ ὅσια τὰ πιστά )

Lit., the holy things, the sure. Rev., the holy and sure blessings.

Verse 35

Suffer ( δώσεις )

Lit., give.

Verse 36

Was laid unto ( προσετέθη )

Lit., was added unto. Compare Acts 2:47; Acts 5:14.

Verse 41

Perish ( ἀφανίσθητε )

Lit., vanish.

Declare ( ἐκδιηγῆται )

Only here and Acts 15:3. See on shew, Luke 8:39. The word is a very strong expression for the fullest and clearest declaration: declare throughout.

Verse 42

Next ( μεταξὺ )

The word commonly means intermediate, and hence is explained by some as referring to the intermediate week. But the meaning is fixed by Acts 13:44; and though the word does not occur in the New Testament elsewhere in the sense of next, it has that meaning sometimes in later Greek.

Verse 43

Religious ( σεβομένων )

Lit., worshipping. Compare Acts 13:50and Acts 16:14.

Proselytes ( προσηλύτων )

Originally, one who arrives at a place; a stranger; thence of one who comes over to another faith.

Verse 45

Envy ( ζήλου )

Rev., jealousy. See on James 3:14.

Verse 46

Put ( ἀπωθεῖσθε )

Not strong enough. Better, as Rev., thrust, denoting violent rejection.

Lo ( ἰδοὺ )

Marking a crisis.

Verse 50

Honorable ( εὐσχήμονας )

See on Mark 15:43. Women of rank, or, as Rev., of honorable estate.

Coasts ( ὁρίων )

Not a good rendering, because it implies merely a sea-coast; whereas the word is a general one for boundaries.

Verse 51

Shook off

See on Matthew 10:14.


See on Luke 10:11.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 13:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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