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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 14 - Verse 22
Verse 22. Confirming. Strengthening—episthrizontev. 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. Ac 13:43.
In the faith. In the belief of the gospel.
And that we must. kai oti—dei. 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.
(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.
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