Acts 11The Gentiles; those to whom Peter preached at the house of Cornelius. They--of the circumcision; the believing Jews.Contended with him; found fault with him for associating with, and preaching the gospel to Gentiles, called, in verse Ac 11:3, the uncircumcised. They had not yet apprehended the great truth communicated to Peter in the vision at Joppa, that the gospel of Christ knows no distinction between Jews and Gentiles. The church at Jerusalem claimed and exercised the right of private judgment in matters of religion. They had no idea of being satisfied with the conduct of Peter, unless he would give them good reasons for it; and he had no idea that they ought to be satisfied in any other way. He therefore candidly and fully stated the reasons which had satisfied his own mind, and these through the divine blessing, satisfied theirs. Hence, it is evident that he did not claim, and that they did not believe him to be pope, or to possess those prerogatives which have been assumed by his pretended successors. Six brethren; the believing Jews who went with Peter from Cesarea to Joppa. Chap Ac 10:23,45. All thy house; all his family. The Lord; the Lord Jesus, chap Ac 1:5. Withstand God; resist the clear indications of his will. They held their peace; being convinced that Peter did right.Repentance unto life; that which, through the grace of God, secures eternal life. Though it is the duty of men to repent, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, yet all are so wicked that none will repent unless led to do it by the Holy Spirit. In this sense repentance, when exercised, is the gift of God. Phenice; or Phoenicia, a province on the coast north of Palestine, the chief cities of which were Tyre and Sidon.Cyprus; an island in the north-east part of the Mediterranean sea.Antioch; a city of Syria, about three hundred miles north of Jerusalem, on the river Orontes, not far from the Mediterranean. Cyrene; a province and city in the north part of Africa.Grecians; Jews speaking the Greek language. But another reading of the original isGreeks; that is, Gentile Greeks. This latter is to be preferred. The hand of the Lord was with them; he accompanied their preaching with divine power. When the Lord accompanies the preaching of the gospel with his divine power, multitudes will believe it and turn from their sins. Hence, his presence and power should always be sought by preachers and all who desire the success of the gospel. Sent forth Barnabas; for the purpose of assisting the brethren in preaching the gospel. The grace of God; the great success God had given the preaching of the gospel in the conversion of sinners.With purpose of heart; that with a steady, heartfelt purpose they would continue to obey Christ. Though it is the power of God which makes the gospel the means of salvation, yet goodness, faith, and fidelity are no less needful in ministers, than if they were to be the sole cause of their success. Tarsus; Paul's native city. Chap Ac 9:11. Assembled themselves; for public worship.With the church; the disciples of Christ. Prophets; a class of inspired teachers in the primitive church. 1Co 12:28; 14.1-40; Eph 4:11,12. They unfolded the doctrines of the gospel under the illumination of the Holy Ghost, and sometimes foretold future events. Compare chap Ac 21:10,11. Signified by the Spirit; made known, under the influence of the Holy Spirit.Dearth; famine.Claudius Caesar; he was the fifth Roman emperor, and reigned from A.D. 41 to 54. This famine took place as predicted, and is particularly noticed by Josephus, the Jewish historian. Antiq, chap. 2 sec 5. An experimental reception of the gospel produces a benevolent disposition, a desire to do good to all, especially to the friends of Christ. The proper measure of contributions and efforts is the ability which God gives. Elders; leading men in the churches.
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