Acts 11The Gentiles; the Roman centurion and his friends.
They that were of the circumcision; the apostles and brethren, who were Jews.
To men uncircumcised; to Gentiles. This complaint shows that the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles and brethren at the day of Pentecost and afterwards, however powerful its influence, was not the means of removing all their erroneous conceptions, or of communicating to them at once even all the fundamental principles of Christian truth. A divine and infallible inspiration can only be claimed for the early Christians as authors,—that is, so far as they were commissioned to write the sacred books of the New Testament for posterity. In their administration of the affairs of the church in their own day, they acted according to their own judgment; and, though they were divinely enlightened and guided in a great degree, still they often erred. We ought to be greatly influenced by their example; but there cannot be claimed for it any absolute divine authority. It is only the Scriptures as writings, which have any claim to be considered as inspired.
At the beginning; at the day of Pentecost.
Phenice; Phenicia, a country north of Galilee.—Cyprus; a large island in the Mediterranean.—Antioch; a very wealth and populous city, in Syria, which became, from this time, one of the most important centres of operation occupied by the Christians.
Grecians. It is supposed that Gentile Greeks, not Grecian Jews, are meant here, and that this fact is mentioned to show the progress of the new principle in respect to preaching the gospel to the Gentiles.
Barnabas. He was originally a Levite of Cyprus. (Acts 4:36.)
To Tarsus; whither Saul had gone, as related in Acts 9:30.
Called Christians; by their enemies. The sacred writers themselves never employ the term to designate the followers of Christ, excepting that Peter uses it in one instance, in a connection which allows it to be considered a term of reproach. (1 Pet. 4:16.)
Claudius Cesar; a Roman emperor.
According a to his ability. This expression shows conclusively that there was no community of goods, at least in this branch of the church.
Elders; the leading members.
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