Acts 14CHAPTER XIV Verse 1. In Iconium. Acts 13:51. In this place it appears that Timothy became acquainted with Paul and his manner of life, 2Ti 3:10,11. So spake. Spake with such power--their preaching was attended so much with the influence of the Spirit, And also of the Greeks. Probably proselytes from the Greeks, who were in the habit of attending the synagogue. Verse 2. But the unbelieving Jews, etc. Acts 13:50. And made their minds evil affected. Irritated, or exasperated them. Against the brethren. One of the common appellations by which Christians were known. (+) "affected" "ill-affected" Verse 3. Long time therefore. In this city they were not daunted by persecution. It seems probable that there were here no forcible or public measures to expel them, as there had been at Antioch, Acts 13:50, and they therefore regarded it as their duty to remain. God granted them here also great success, which was the main reason for their continuing a long time. Persecution and opposition may be attended often with signal success to the gospel. Speaking boldly in the Lord. In the cause of the Lord Jesus; or in his name and authority. Perhaps also the expression includes the idea of their trusting in the Lord. Which gave testimony. Bore witness to the truth of their message by working miracles, etc. Comp. Mk 16:20. This was evidently the Lord Jesus to whom reference is here made; and it shows that he was still, though bodily absent from them, clothed with power, and still displayed that power in the advancement of his cause. The conversion of sinners accomplished by him is always a testimony as decided as it is cheering to the labours and messages of his servants. Unto the word of his grace. His gracious word, or message. And granted signs, etc. Miracles. Acts 2:22. (+) "boldly in the Lord" "concerning" (*) "which" "who" (d) "gave testimony" Mk 16:20, Heb 2:4 Verse 4. Was divided. Into parties. Greek, There was a schism. εσχισθη. And part held with the Jews. Held to the doctrines of the Jews, in opposition to the apostles. A revival of religion may produce excitement by the bad passions of opposers. The enemies of the truth may form parties, and organize opposition. It is no uncommon thing even now for such parties to be formed; but the fault is not in Christianity. It lies with those who form a party against religion, and who confederate themselves, as was done here, to oppose it. (e) "part held with the Jews" Acts 28:24 Verse 5. An assault made. Greek, A rush--ορμη. It denotes an impetuous excitement and aggression; a rush to put them to death. It rather describes a popular tumult than a calm and deliberate purpose. There was a violent, tumultuous excitement. Both of the Gentiles, etc. Of that part of them which was opposed to the apostles. To use them despitefully. Mt 5:44. To reproach them; to bring contempt upon them; to injure them. To stone them. To put them to death by stoning; probably as blasphemers, Acts 7:57-59. Verse 6. They were ware of it. They were in some way informed of the excitement and of their danger. And fled unto Lystra. This was a city of Lycaonia, and was a few miles south of Iconlure. It is now called Latik. And Derbe. Derbe was a short distance east of Lystra. Cities of Lycaonia. Lycaonia was one of the provinces of Asia Minor. It had Galatia north, Pisidia south, Cappadocia east, and Phrygia west. It was formerly within the limits of Phrygia, but was erected into a separate province by Augustus. And unto the region, etc. The adjacent country. Though persecuted, they still preached; and though driven from one city, they fled into another. This was the direction of the Saviour, Mt 10:23. (|) "ware of it" "aware" (f) "fled unto Lystra" Mt 10:23 Verse 8. And there sat. There dwelt, Mt 9:1-6, Acts 18:11. (Margin.) The word sat, however, indicates his usual posture; his helpless condition. Such persons commonly sat at the wayside, or in some public place, to ask for alms, Mk 10:46. Impotent in his feet--αδυνατος. Without any power. Entirely deprived of the use of his feet. Being a cripple. Lame. Who never had walked. The miracle, therefore, would be more remarkable, as the man would be well known, and there could be no plea that there was an imposition. As they were persecuted from place to place, and opposed in every manner, it was desirable that a signal miracle should be performed to carry forward and establish the work of the gospel. (*) "impotent" "infirm" (g) "cripple" Acts 3:2 Verse 9. Who stedfastly beholding him. Fixing his eyes intently on him. Acts 1:10. And perceiving. How he perceived this, is not said. Perhaps it was indicated by the ardour, humility, and strong desire depicted in his countenance. He had heard Paul, and perhaps the apostle had dwelt particularly on the miracles with which the gospel had been attested. The miracles wrought also in Iconium had doubtless also been heard of in Lystra. Had faith to be healed. Compare Notes, Mt 9:21, Mt 9:22, Mt 9:28, Mt 9:29; Lk 7:50; Lk 17:19 Lk 18:42 (a) "had faith" Mt 9:28,29 (*) "to be healed" "cured" Verse 10. Said with a loud voice. Jn 11:43. And he leaped. Acts 3:8; comp. Isa 35:6. (b) "leaped and walked" Isa 35:6 Verse 11. They lifted up their voices. They spoke with astonishment, such as might be expected when it was supposed that the gods had come down. In the speech of Lycaonia. What this language was has much puzzled commentators. It was probably a mixture of the Greek and Syriac. In that region generally the Greek was usually spoken with more or less purity; and from the fact that it was not far from the regions of Syria, it is probable that the Greek language was corrupted with this foreign admixture. The gods, etc. All the region was idolatrous. The gods which were worshipped there were those which were worshipped throughout Greece. Are come down. The miracle which Paul had wrought led them to suppose this. It was evidently beyond human ability, and they had no other way of accounting for it than by supposing that their gods had personally appeared. In the likeness of men. Many of their gods were heroes, whom they worshipped after they were dead. It was common among them to suppose that the gods appeared to men in human form. The poems of Homer, of Virgil etc., are filled with accounts of such appearances; and the only way in which they supposed the gods to take knowledge of human affairs, and to aid men, was by their personally appearing in this form. See Homer's Odyssey, xvii. 485; Catullus, 64, 384; Ovid's Metamorphosis, i. 212. (Kuin�el) Thus Homer says: For in similitude of strangers oft The gods, who can with ease all shapes assume, Repair to populous cities, where they mark Th'outrageous and the righteous deeds of men.--COWPER Among the Hindoos, the opinion has been prevalent that there have been many incarnations of their gods. (+) "lifted up" "raised" (c) "gods" Acts 18:6 Verse 12. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter. Jupiter was represented as the most powerful of all the gods of the ancients. He was represented as the son of Saturn and Ops, and was educated in a cave on Mount Ida, in the island of Crete. The worship of Jupiter was almost universal. He was the Ammon of Africa, the Belus of Babylon, the Osiris of Egypt. His common appellation was, the father of gods and men. He was usually represented as sitting upon a golden or an ivory throne, holding in one hand a thunderbolt, and in the other a sceptre of cypress. His power was supposed to extend over other gods; and everything was subservient to his will, except the fates. There is the most abundant proof that he was worshipped in the region of Lycaonia, and throughout Asia Minor. There was, besides, a fable among the inhabitants of Lycaonia that Jupiter and Mercury had once visited that place, and had been received by Philemon. The whole fable is related by Ovid, (Metam. 8, 611, etc.) And Paul, Mercarius. Mercury, called by the Greeks Hermes, was a celebrated god of antiquity. No less than five of this name are mentioned by Cicero. The most celebrated was the son of Jupiter and Msia. He was the messenger of the gods, and of Jupiter in particular; he was the patron of travellers and shepherds; he conducted the souls of the dead into the infernal regions; and he presided over orators, and declaimers, and merchants; and he was also the god of thieves, pickpockets, and all dishonest persons. He was regarded as the god of eloquence; and as light, rapid, and quick in his movements. The conjecture of Chrysostom is, that Barnabas was a large, athletic man, and was hence taken for Jupiter; and Paul was small in his person, and was hence supposed to be Mercury. Because he was the chief speaker. The office of Mercury was to deliver the messages of the gods; and as Paul only had been discoursing, he was supposed to be Mercury. Verse 13. Then the priest of Jupiter. He whose office it was to conduct the worship of Jupiter, by offering sacrifices, etc. Which was before their city. The word" which" here refers not to the priest, but to Jupiter. The temple or image of Jupiter was in front of their city, or near the gates. Ancient cities were supposed to be under the protection of particular gods; and their image, or a temple for their worship, was placed commonly in a conspicuous place at the entrance of the city. Brought oxen. Probably brought two--one to be sacrificed to each. It was common to sacrifice bullocks to Jupiter. And garlands. The victims of sacrifice were usually decorated with ribands and chaplets of flowers. See Kuin�el. Unto the gates. The gates of the city, where were the images or temple of the gods. Would have done sacrifice. Would have offered sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul. This the priest deemed a part of his office. And here we have a remarkable and most affecting instance of the folly and stupidity of idolatry. (d) "and would have done" Dan 2:46 Verse 14. Which when the apostles. Barnabas is called an apostle because he was sent forth by the church on a particular message, Acts 13:3; comp. Acts 14:26; not because he had been chosen to the peculiar work of the apostleship--to bear witness to the life and resurrection of Christ. Acts 1:22 They rent their clothes. As an expression of their abhorrence of what they were doing, and of their deep grief that they should thus debase themselves by offering worship to men. Mt 26:65. (e) "rent their clothes" Mt 26:65 Verse 15. And saying, Sirs. Greek, Men. Why do ye these things?. This is an expression of solemn remonstrance at the folly of their conduct in worshipping those who were men. The abhorrence which they evinced at this may throw strong light on the rank and character of the Lord Jesus Christ. When an offer was made to worship Paul and Barnabas, they shrank from it with strong expressions of indignation and abhorrence. Yet when similar worship was offered to the Lord Jesus, when he was addressed by Thomas in the language of worship, "My Lord and my God," (Jn 20:28,) he commended the disciple. For this act he uttered not the slightest reproof. Nay, he approved it, and expressed his approbation of others who should also do it, Jn 20:29; comp. Jn 5:23. How can this difference be accounted for, except on the supposition that the Lord Jesus was Divine? Would he, if a mere man, receive homage as God, when his disciples rejected it with horror? Of like passions with you. We are men like yourselves. We have no claim, no pretensions to anything more. The word "passions" here means simply that they had the common feelings and propensities of men; we have the nature of men; the affections of men. It does not mean that they were subject to any improper passions, to ill temper, etc.,as some have supposed; but that they did not pretend to be gods, We need food and drink; we are exposed to pain and sickness, and death." The Latin Vulgate renders it, "We are mortal like yourselves." The expression stands opposed to the proper conception of God, who is not subject to these affections, who is most blessed and immortal. Such a Being only is to be worshipped; and the apostles remonstrated strongly with them on Comp. Jas 5:17, "Elias [Elijah] was a man subject to like passions as we are," etc. That ye should turn from these vanities. That you should cease to worship idols. Idols are often called vanities, or vain things, De 32:21, 2Kgs 17:15, 1Kgs 16:13,26; Jer 2:5, 8:19, 10:8, Jonah 2:8. They are called vanities, and often a lie, or lying vanities, as opposed to the living and true God, because they are unreal, because they have no power to help, because confidence in them is vain. Unto the living God. 1Thes 1:9. He is called the living God to distinguish him from idols. Mt 16:16. Which made heaven, etc. Who thus showed that he was the only proper object of worship. This doctrine, that there was one God, who had made all things, was new to them. They worshipped multitudes of divinities; and though they regarded Jupiter as the father of gods and men, yet they had no conception that all things had been formed from nothing by the will of one Infinite Being. (f) "We also" Acts 10:26, Jas 5:17, Rev 19:10 (g) "vanities" 1Sam 12:21, 1Kgs 16:13, Jer 14:22, Jonah 2:8, 1Cor 8:4 (h) "the living God" 1Thes 1:9 (i) "which made" Gen 1:1, Ps 33:6, 146:6, Rev 14:7 Verse 16. Who in times past. Previous to the gospel; in past ages. Suffered all nations. Permitted all nations; that is, all Gentiles. Acts 17:30, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at." To walk in their own ways. To conduct themselves without the restraints and instructions of a written law. They were permitted to follow their own reason and passions, and their own system of religion. He gave them no written laws, and sent to them no messengers. Why he did this, we cannot determine. It might have been, among other reasons, to show to the world conclusively, (1.) the insufficiency of reason to guide men in the matters of religion. The experiment was made under the most favourable circumstances. The most enlightened nations, the Greeks and Romans, were left to pursue the inquiry, and failed no less than the most degraded tribes of men. The trial was made for four thousand years, and attended with the same results everywhere. (2.) It showed the need of revelation to guide man. (3.) It evinced, beyond the possibility of mistake, the depravity of man. In all nations, in all circumstances, men had shown the same alienation from God. By suffering them to walk in their own ways, it was seen that those ways were sin, and that some power more than human was necessary to bring men back to God. (a) "in times past" Ps 81:12, Acts 17:30 (*) "nations" "The Gentiles" Verse 17. Nevertheless. Though he gave them no revelation. He left not himself without witness. He gave demonstration of his existence, and of his moral character. In that he did good. By doing good. The manner in which he did it he immediately specifies. Idols did not do good, or confer favours, and were therefore unworthy of their confidence. And gave us rain from heaven. Rain from above, from the clouds, Mk 8:11, Lk 9:54, 17:29, 21:11, Jn 6:31,32. Rain is one of the evidences of his goodness. Man could not cause it; and without it, regulated at proper intervals of time, and in proper quantities, the earth would soon be one wide scene of desolation. There is scarcely anything that more certainly indicates unceasing care and wisdom than the needful and refreshing showers of rain. The sun and stars move by fixed laws, whose operation we can see and anticipate. The falling of rain and dew is regulated by laws which we cannot trace, and seems therefore to be poured, as it were, directly from God's hollow hand. Ps 147:8, "Who covereth the heaven with clouds; who prepareth rain for the earth." "He sends his showers of blessings down, To cheer the plains below; He makes the grass the mountains crown, And corn in valleys grow. "The cheering wind, the flying cloud, Obey his mighty word: with songs and honours sounding loud, Praise ye the sovereign Lord."--WATTS And fruitful seasons. Seasons when the earth produces abundance. It is remarkable, and a shining proof of the Divine goodness, that so few seasons are unfruitful. The earth yields her increase; and the labours of the husbandman are crowned with success; and the goodness of God demands the expressions of praise. His ancient covenant God does not forget, Gen 8:22, though man forgets it, and disregards his great Benefactor. Filling our hearts with food. The word hearts is here used as a Hebraism, to denote persons themselves; filling us with food, etc. Comp. Mt 12:40. Gladness. Joy; comfort--the comfort arising from the supply of our constantly returning wants. This is proof of ever watchful goodness. It is demonstration at once that there is a God, and that he is good. It would be easy for God to withdraw these blessings, and leave us to want. A single word, or a single deviation from the fullness of benevolence, would blast all these comforts, and leave us to lamentation, woe, and death, Ps 145:15,16. "The eyes of all wait upon thee, And thou givest them their food in due season. Thou openest thine hand, And satisfiest the desire of all the living." (b) "Nevertheless" Rom 1:20 (c) "rain" Job 5:10, Ps 147:8, Mt 5:45 Verse 18. And with these saying. With these arguments. Scarce restrained the people. They were so fully satisfied that the gods had appeared, and were so full of zeal to do them honour. (+) "sayings" "words" Verse 19. And there came thither certain Jews. Not satisfied with having expelled them from Antioch and Iconium, they still pursued them. Persecutors often exhibit a zeal and perseverance in a bad cause, which it would be well if Christians evinced in a holy cause. Men will often travel farther to do evil than they will to do good; and many men show more zeal in opposing the gospel than professed Christians do in advancing it. Antioch and Iconium. Acts 13:14,51. Who persuaded the people. That they were impostors; and who excited their rage against them. And, having stoned Paul. Whom they were just before ready to worship as a god! What a striking instance of the fickleness and instability of idolaters! and what a striking instance of the instability and uselessness of mere popularity. Just before, they were ready to adore him; now they sought to put him to death. Nothing is more fickle than mere popular favour. The unbounded admiration of a man may soon be changed into unbounded indignation and contempt! It was well for Paul that he was not seeking this popularity, and that he did not depend on it for happiness. He had a good conscience; he was engaged in a good cause; he was under the protection of God; and his happiness was to be sought from a higher source than the applause of men, fluctuating and uncertain as the waves of the sea. To this transaction Paul referred when he enumerated his trials, in 2Cor 11:26, "Once was I stoned." Drew him out of the city. Probably in haste, and in popular rage, as if he was unfit to be in the city, and was unworthy of a decent burial; for it does not appear that they contemplated an interment, but indignantly dragged him beyond the walls of the city to leave him there. Such sufferings and trials it cost to establish that religion in the world which has shed so many blessings on man, and which now crowns us with comfort, and saves us from the abominations and degradations of idolatry here, and from the pains of hell hereafter. Supposing he had been dead. The next verse shows that he was really not dead, though many commentators, as well as the Jews, have supposed that he was, and was miraculously restored to life. It is remarkable that Barnabas was not exposed to this popular fury. But it is to be remembered that Paul was the chief speaker, and it was his peculiar zeal that exposed him to this tumult. (d) "stoned Paul" 2Cor 11:25 Verse 20. Howbeit. But. Notwithstanding the supposition that he was dead. As the disciples stood round about him. It would seem that they did not suppose that he was dead; but might be expecting that he would revive. He rose up, etc. Most commentators have supposed that this was the effect of a miracle. They have maintained that he could not have risen so soon, and entered into the city, without the interposition of miraculous power.--(Calvin, Doddridge, Clark, etc.) But the commentators have asserted that which is not intimated by the sacred penman. Nor is there propriety in supposing the intervention of miraculous agency where it is not necessary. The probability is, that he was stunned by a blow-- perhaps a single blow--and after a short time recovered from it. Nothing is more common than thus by a violent blow on the head to be rendered apparently lifeless, the effect of which soon is over, and the person restored to strength. Pricaeus and Wetstein suppose that Paul feigned himself to be dead, and when out of danger rose and And came into the city. It is remarkable that he should have returned again to the same city. But probably it was only among the new converts that he showed himself. The Jews supposed that he was dead; and it does not appear that he again exposed himself to their rage. And the next day, etc. The opposition here was such that it was vain to attempt to preach there any longer. Having been seen by the disciples after his supposed death, their faith was confirmed, and he departed to preach in another place. To Derbe. Acts 14:6 (+) "Howbeit" "But" Acts 14:6 Verse 21. Had taught many. Or rather, had made many disciples, (margin.) To Lystra. Acts 14:6. And to Iconium, Acts 14:1. We have here a remarkable instance of the courage of the apostles. In these very places they had been persecuted and stoned, and yet in the face of danger they ventured to return, The welfare of the infant churches they deemed of more consequence than their own safety; and they threw themselves again into the midst of danger, to comfort and strengthen those just converted to God. There are times when ministers should not count their own lives dear to them, Acts 20:24, but when they should fearlessly throw themselves into the midst of danger, confiding only in the protecting care of their God and Saviour. (1) "had taught many" "Had made many disciples" Verse 22. Confirming. Strengthening--επιστηριζοντες. The expression, "to confirm," has in some churches a technical signification, denoting "to admit to the full privileges of a Christian, by the imposition of hands."--Johnson. It is scarcely necessary to say that the word here refers to no such rite. It has no reference to any imposition of hands, nor to the thing which is usually supposed to be denoted by the rite of "confirmation." It means simply, that they established, strengthened, made firm, or encouraged by the presentation of truth, and by the motives of the gospel. Whether the rite of confirmation, as practised by some churches, be founded on the authority of the New Testament or not, it is certain that it can receive no support from this passage. The truth was, that these were young converts; that they were surrounded by enemies, exposed to temptations and to dangers; that they had as yet but a slight acquaintance with the truths of the gospel, and that it was therefore important that they should be further instructed in the truth, and established in the faith of the gospel. This was what Paul and Barnabas returned to accomplish. There is not the slightest evidence that they had not been admitted to the full privileges of the church before, or that any ceremony was now performed in confirming or strengthening them. The souls. The minds, the hearts; or the disciples themselves. Disciples. They were as yet scholars, or learners, and the apostles returned to instruct them further in the doctrines of Christ. And exhorting them, etc. Acts 13:43. In the faith. In the belief of the gospel. And that we must. καιοτιδει. That it is fit or proper that we should, etc. Not that it is in itself fixed by any fatal necessity; but that such is the nature of religion, and such the wickedness and opposition of the world, that it will happen. We are not to expect that it will be otherwise. We are to calculate on it when we become Christians. Why it is proper, or fit, the apostle did not state. But we may remark that it is proper, (1.) because such is the opposition of the world to pure religion, that it cannot be avoided. Of this they had had striking demonstration in Lystra and Iconium. (2.) It is necessary to reclaim us from wandering, and to keep us in the path of duty, Ps 119:67,71. (3.) It is necessary to wean us from the world; to keep before one's mind the great truth, that we have here "no continuing city, and no abiding place." Trial here, makes us pant for a world of rest. The opposition of sinners makes us desire that world where the wicked shall cease from troubling, and where there shall be eternal friendship and peace. (4.) When we are persecuted and afflicted, we may remember that it has been the lot of Christians from the beginning. We tread a path that has been watered by the tears of the saints, and rendered sacred by the shedding of the best blood on the earth. The Saviour trod that path; and it is enough that the "disciple be as his master, and the servant as his lord," Mt 10:24,25. Through much tribulation. Through many afflictions. Enter into the kingdom of God. Be saved. Enter into heaven. Mt 3:2. (*) "souls" "minds" (a) "continue in the faith" Acts 13:43 (b) "that we must through" Rom 8:17 Verse 23. And when they had ordained. χειροτονησαντες. The word ordain we now use in an ecclesiastical sense, to denote a setting apart to an office by the imposition of hands. But it is evident that the word here is not employed in that sense. That imposition of hands might have occurred in setting apart afterwards to this office is certainly possible, but it is not implied in the word employed here, and did not take place in the transaction to which this word refers. The word occurs but in one other place in the New Testament, (2Cor 8:19,) where it is applied to Luke, and translated, "who was also chosen of the church, (i.e. appointed or elected by suffrage by the churches,) to travel with us," etc. The verb properly denotes to stretch out the hand; and as it was customary to elect to office, or to vote, by stretching out or elevating the hand, so the word,simply means to elect, appoint, or designate to any office. The word here refers simply to an election or appointment of the elders. It is said, indeed, that Paul and Barnabas did this. But probably all that is meant by it is, that they presided in the assembly when the choice was made. It does not mean that they appointed them without consulting the church; but it evidently means that they appointed them in the usual way of appointing officers, by the suffrages of the people. See Schleusner, and the notes of Doddridge and Calvin. Ordained them. Appointed for the disciples, or for the church. It is not meant that the elders were ordained for the apostles. Elders. Greek, Presbyters. Literally, this word refers to the aged. Acts 11:30. But it may also be a word relating to office, denoting those who were more experienced than others, to preside over and to instruct the rest. What was the nature of this office, and what was the design of the appointment, is not intimated in this word. All that seems to be implied is, that they were to take the charge of the churches during the absence of the apostles. The apostles were about to leave them. They were just organized into churches; were inexperienced; needed counsel and direction; were exposed to dangers; and it was necessary, therefore, that persons should be designated to watch over the spiritual interests of the brethren. The probability is, that they performed all the functions that were required in the infant and feeble churches; in exhorting, instructing, governing, etc. The more experienced and able would be most likely to be active in exhorting and instructing the brethren; and all would be useful in counselling and guiding the flock. The same thing occurred in the church at Ephesus. Acts 20:17-28. It is not improbable that the business of instructing, or teaching, would be gradually confined to the more talented and able of the elders, and that the others would be concerned mainly in governing and directing the general affairs of the church. In every church. It is implied here that there were elders in each church; that is, that in each church there was more than one. See Acts 15:21, where a similar phraseology occurs, and where it is evident that there was more than one reader of the law of Moses in each city. Tit 1:5, "I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ordain elders in every city." Acts 20:17, "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church." It could not mean, therefore, that they appointed a single minister or pastor to each church, but they committed the whole affairs of the church to a bench of elders. And had prayed with fasting. With the church. They were about to leave them. They had entrusted the interests of the church to a body of men chosen for this purpose; and they now commended the church and its elders together to God. Probably they had no prospect of seeing them again; and they parted as ministers and people should part, and as Christian friends should part, with humble prayer, commending themselves to the protecting care of God. They commended them, etc. They committed the infant church to the guardianship of the Lord. They were feeble, inexperienced, and exposed to dangers; but in his hands they were safe. To the Lord, etc. The Lord Jesus. The connexion shows that he is particularly referred to. In his hands, the redeemed are secure. When we part with Christian friends, we may, with confidence, leave them in his holy care and keeping. (+) "ordained" "Appointed" Verse 24. Throughout Pisidia. Acts 13:14. They came to Pamphylia. Acts 13:13. These places they had visited before. Verse 25. In Perga. Acts 13:13. They went down into Attalia. This was a city of Pamphylia, situated on the sea shore. It was built by Attalus Philadelphus, king of Pergamus, who gave it his own name. It is now called Antali.--Rob. Cal. Verse 26. And thence sailed to Antioch. Acts 11:19. From whence they had been recommended, etc. Where they had been ap- pointed to this missionary tour by the church, Acts 13:1-4. To the grace of God. His favour and protection had been implored for them in their perilous undertaking. For the work which they fulfilled. This shows conclusively, (1.) that they had accomplished fully the work which was originally contemplated. It was strictly a missionary tour among the Gentiles. It was an important and hazardous enterprise; and was the first in which the church formally engaged. Hence so much importance is attached to it, and so faithful a record of it is preserved. (2.) It shows that the act by which they were set apart to this, (Acts 13:1-3,) was not an ordination to the ministerial office. It was an appointment to a missionary tour. (3.) It shows that the act was not an appointment to the apostleship. Paul was an apostle before, by the express appointment of the Saviour; and Barnabas was never an apostle in the original and proper sense of the term. It was a designation to a temporary work, which was now fulfilled. We may remark, also, in regard to this missionary tour, (1,) that the work of missions is one which early engaged the attention of Christians. (2.) It entered into their plans, and was one in which the church was deeply interested. (3.) The work of missions is attended with danger. Men are now no less hostile to the gospel than they were in Lystra and Iconium. (4.) Missionaries should be sustained by the prayers of the church. And, (5.) in the conduct of Paul and Barnabas, missionaries have an example in founding churches, and in regard to their own trials and persecutions. If Paul and Barnabas were persecuted, missionaries may be now. And if the grace of Christ was sufficient to sustain them, it is not the less sufficient to sustain those of our own times amidst all the dangers attending the preaching of the cross in pagan lands. (a) "Antioch" Acts 13:1,3 (b) "the grace of god" Acts 15:40 Verse 27. They rehearsed, etc. Acts 11:4. They related what had happened; their dangers and their success. This they did because they had been sent out by the church, and it was proper that they should give an account of their work; and because it furnished a suitable occasion of gratitude to God for his mercy. All that God had done, etc. In protecting, guarding them, etc. All was traced to God. Had opened the door of faith. Had furnished an opportunity of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, 1Cor 16:9, 2Cor 2:12. (c) "rehearsed all that God" Acts 15:4 (d) "opened the door of faith" 1Cor 16:9 Verse 28. And there they abode. At Antioch. Long time. How long is not intimated; but we hear no more of them until the council at Jerusalem, mentioned in the next chapter. If the transactions recorded in this chapter occurred, as is supposed, about A.D. 45 or 46, and the council at Jerusalem assembled A.D. 51 or 53, as is supposed, then here is an interval of from five to eight years in which we have no account of them. Where they were, or what was their employment in this interval, the sacred historian has not informed as. It is certain, however, that Paul made several journeys, of which we have no particular record in the New Testament; and it is possible that some of those journeys occurred during this interval. Thus he preached the gospel as far as Illyricum, Rom 15:19. And in 2Cor 11:23-27, there is an account of trials and persecutions, of many of which we have no distinct record, and which might have occurred during this interval. We may be certain that these holy men were not idle. And we may learn from their example to fill up our time with usefulness; to bear all persecutions and trials without a murmur; and to acknowledge the good hand of God in our preservation in our travels; in our defence when we are persecuted; in all the opportunities which may be open before us to do good; and in all the success which may attend our efforts. Christians should remember that it is God who opens doors of usefulness; and they should regard it as a matter of much rejoicing and thanksgiving that such doors are opened, and that they are permitted to spread the gospel, whatever toil it may cost, whatever persecution they may endure, whatever perils they may encounter.
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