Acts 13Antioch. This city was now, for some time, one of the chief centres of influence and communication occupied by the Christians.—Had been brought up; in childhood.
The Holy Ghost said; perhaps by some extraordinary mode of communication to the church in general; or possibly the meaning may be, that some one under the influence of the Holy Spirit made this proposal.
Laid their hands on them; as a ceremony of consecration, not to the work of the ministry in general, but to this special enterprise. This form, connected with fasting, and prayer, was used on a great variety of occasions.
Seleucia; the seaport of Antioch, on the Mediterranean, at the mouth of the Orontes, Antioch being about twenty miles inland.—Cyprus. This island was the place from which Barnabas originally came. (Acts 4:36.) It was large and populous island, about one hundred and seventy miles long from Salamis to Paphos.
To their minister; to be their minister; that is, their attendant, to aid them in their work. This was John Mark, mentioned 12:12.
Bar-jesus; that is, the son of Jesus or Joshua. The prefix Bar is often used in that sense, as In Bar-jona, Bar-tholomew, Bar-timeus.
The deputy; the Roman officer who had command of the island.
Who also is called Paul. Paul is a Latin or Roman name, Saul being of Hebrew origin. This new name is henceforth always used in the sacred history, as from this time the scene of the apostle's labors was chiefly in Greek and Roman communities. It was often the case that native Jews, associating extensively with these foreign nations, substituted for their Hebrew name one that was analogous to it, or derived from it, but of a classical form. As the Greeks and Romans were far superior to the Hebrews in cultivation, wealth, refinement, and power, it is probable that such a name was deemed a more honorable appellation. It has been supposed that there might be some connection between this change in the apostle's name, and the visit to Cyprus here described; as the proconsul of Cyprus, or the deputy, as he is here called, bore the name of Paulus, or Paul,—the name which the apostle now assumes. But this is uncertain.
And John returned; discouraged, perhaps, by the difficulties and dangers of the enterprise. An unhappy contention arose afterwards, from this circumstance, between Barnabas and Paul. (Acts 15:37-40.)
Antioch in Pisidia; thus distinguished from Antioch in Syria, where Paul and Barnabas had been commissioned for their work.
Four hundred and fifty years. This does not agree with the chronological statements of the Old Testament, as the numbers stand in modern copies. (1 Kings 6:1.) Various conjectures have been offered to account for the discrepancy.
John; John the Baptist.
Knew—not—the voices; understood not the words, &c.
The tree; the cross.
No more to return, &c.; his case being thus, distinguished from that of all other individuals who had been raised from the dead.—Sure mercies; mercies or blessings made sure to him by the divine promise.
Peter argued in a similar manner from this passage, Acts 2:22-36.
As many as were ordained; that is, in the counsels of God. The great principle which Jesus himself announced in his memorable words, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," viz., that the human heart is acted upon, in experiencing the great spiritual change, is here distinctly recognized again. Whatever philosophical difficulties may attend it, we cannot deny that it is part of the gospel. Besides the frequent occurrence of such incidental allusions as these, the truth is repeatedly laid down in the most direct and strongest manner, as in Rom. 9: Eph. 2:1-10.
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