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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 8 - Verse 1

 

CHAPTER VIII

Verse 1. And Saul was consenting, etc. Was pleased with his being put to death, and approved it. Comp. Ac 22:20. This part of the verse should have been connected with the previous chapter.

At that time. That is, immediately following the death of Stephen. The persecution arose on account of Stephen, Ac 11:19. The tumult did not subside when Stephen was killed. Their anger continued to be excited against all Christians. They had become so embittered by the zeal and success of the apostles, and by their frequent charges of murder in putting the Son of God to death, that they resolved at once to put a period to their progress and success. This was the first persecution against Christians; the first in a series that terminated only when the religion which they wished to destroy was fully established on the ruins of both Judaism and Paganism.

The Church. The collection of Christians which were now organized into a church. The church at Jerusalem was the first that was collected.

All scattered. That is, the great mass of Christians.

The regions of Judea, etc. See Barnes "Mt 2:22".

 

Except the apostles. Probably, the other Christians fled from fear. Why the apostles, who were particularly in danger, did not flee also, is not stated by the historian. Having been, however, more fully instructed than the others, and having been taught their duty by the example and teaching of the Saviour, they resolved, it seems, to remain and brave the fury of the persecutors. For them to have fled then would have exposed them, as leaders and founders of the new religion, to the charge of timidity and weakness. They therefore resolved to remain in the midst of their persecutors; and a merciful Providence watched over them, and defended them from harm. The dispersion extended not only to Judea and Samaria, but those who fled carried the gospel also to Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, Ac 11:19. There was a reason why this was permitted. The early converts were Jews. They had strong feelings of attachment to the city of Jerusalem, to the temple, and to the land of their fathers. Yet it was the design of the Lord Jesus that the gospel should be preached everywhere. To accomplish this, he suffered a persecution to rage; and they were scattered abroad, and bore his gospel to other cities and lands. Good thus came out of evil; and the first persecution resulted, as all others have done, in advancing the cause which was intended to be destroyed.

{c} "Saul was consenting" Ac 7:58 {d} "scattered abroad" Ac 11:19

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