Acts 13

Missionaries sent out from Antioch: Barnabas, Saul and others
Text Comments
 1 ¶ Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
.2  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
 3  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
   3 - Laid their hands on them The is the Bible example for setting aside people for a special work of ministry. Notice in verse 1 that the men already had the gifts. They did not receive them by being touched. The modern movement of giving what is said to be the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands and which initiates unconsciousness or hysteria is foreign to the Bible.
.4 ¶ So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
.5  And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
 6  And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
.7  Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
 8  But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

Ruins of Salimas, 2005

 5 - Salamis Port city of Cyprus. See map.
 5 - John He would have been "John Mark" or "Mark." He was their minister, that is, "assistant." ac1225. The Greek word is also used for ministers of the gospel lu0102, ac2616. In that sense, servants of Christ.
  6 - Paphos In Western Cyprus.
Image from The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 1871
 9  Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
 10  And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
 11  And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
 12  Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
  9 - Set his eyes From atenizo. Paul is not here dealing with a vision problem as some have suggested. See how Luke uses this Greek word. ac0304, lu0420, lu2256.
  10 - Mischief This word meant something different in older English. "You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery" (NIV).
.13  Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.
.14 ¶ But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
 15  And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
 16  Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
 17  The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
 18  And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. 
  13 - John [Mark] departing Because of this, Paul held him in low esteem. ac1538. But Mark later became a beloved worker and companion. We must be slow to reject people in whom we see defects.
  13 - Pamphylia A costal area in the center of the Asia Minor map.
  14 - Antioch See the Asia Minor map, partly off east edge.
  14 - Synagogue ... Sabbath Paul and friends went to the assembly of Sabbath keepers to worship. This was their habit. Then they were invited to speak.
  15 - After the reading The sermon was often based on the texts read. Verses 17 and 18 have clues that indicate that the texts may have been is0102 and de0131.
  15 - Exhortation Or "consolation."
  16 - Beckoning Should read "signaling."
  16 - Ye that fear God These may have been pagans or those who came out of paganism.
  17 - God of this people History was important in any approach of the gospel because confidence in Jesus as the Messiah was essential.
  18 - Forty years The time of wandering in the wilderness because of rebellion when it was time to enter ex1635, nu1433, de0801.
 19  And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
 20  And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
 21  And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.
.22  And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
 23  Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:
 24  When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
 25  And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
  19 - Seven nations See de0701. The word Chanaan is without the "h" in the OT.
  20 - Judges God's original plan. Later the people demanded a king 1sa0805.
  22 - Found David Paul merges several verses as was customary for rabbis in his time. Compare ps08920 and 1sa1314.
  22 - After ... heart David was chosen because his heart was in harmony with God's 1sa1314. At the times of David's sinfulness, the term did not apply. We must never claim this statement as justification for a sinful lifestyle.
  23 - Saviour Jesus The name itself means "Yahweh is salvation."
 26  Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.
 27  For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
 28  And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
 29  And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.
   36 - Sleep David didn't go anywhere when he died. He experienced "corruption" or rotting. "Sleep" means death. Compare ac0234
 30  But God raised him from the dead:
 31  And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
 32  And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
 33  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
 34  And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
  30 - God raised him See on ac0232.
  33 - Fulfilled From ekpleroo meaning "to fulfill completely," "to make good." a promise.
  33 - Raised up Jesus again Or "raised up Jesus." This could mean several things: It could indicate the resurrection. de1815, re0105, lu0135. The quotation from Psalm 2 implies that there is more ps00207. It could point to fulfillment of OT promises v32. It could refer to Christ's incarnation (coming in flesh) he0105, v34. It could indicate His presentation to the world jn0316. Theses are all good thoughts so we don't need to choose just one.
  34 - Corruption The body of Lazarus had begun to decay. Jesus will always be human as well as divine 1ti0205, he0209 but glorified 1co1520, ph0209.
.35  Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
.36  For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
 37  But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.
 38  Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
 39  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
  35 - Thine Holy One From ps01610. See context and compare Peter's statement ac0225-31.
 40  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
 41  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
.42 ¶ And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
.43  Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
 44  And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
.45  But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
  42 - When the Jews were gone out Or probably "as they were going out." In other words, They all asked for more instruction, not just the Gentiles.
  43 - Broken up They would have started to move around and toward the exits at the end of the service.
  43 - Religious Should read "worshipping." The "proselytes" may have been Greeks who had earlier converted to the Jewish religion.
  43 - Persuaded Rather "urged." 
  45 - Jews Apparently few compared to "almost the whole city." These were perhaps the Jewish leaders.
 46  Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
.47  For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
 48  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
 49  And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
  46 - The word of God The basis of truth, jn1717. A great mountain of tradition had obscured the simple teaching of the word lu2425. The Jews had chosen to reject "everlasting life."
  47 - I have sent thee The reference is is4906. The messianic interpretation of the prophecy about Israel had developed before the advent of Jesus.
  48 - Word of the Lord Or "word about the Lord Jesus."
  48 - Were ordained The Greek text means "appointed themselves." The Jews in v46 had "judged themselves unworthy of eternal life." In contrast, the Greeks showed themselves ready to accept that gift. Nothing in the text implies that God had fixed the destiny of anyone. Any could change jn0316, ro0829.
.50  But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
 51  But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.
 52  And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.
  50 - Coasts In modern English, "boundaries" or "regions."
  51 - Shook off the dust As Jesus had commanded the twelve disciples. The gesture was more symbolic than as a curse. See on mt1014. Here the Jews had rejected Christ.
  51 - Iconium See ac1401 and the Asia Minor map.
Acts home
Commentary home