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FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCHES OF GALATIA1515Date. On our view this journey began in March 47, and ended about July or August 49.
(XIII 13) AND PAUL AND HIS COMPANY SET SAIL FROM PAPHOS AND CAME TO PERGA IN the province PAMPHILIA. AND JOHN DEPARTED FROM THEM, AND RETURNED TO JERUSALEM; (14) BUT THEY WENT ACROSS FROM PERGA AND ARRIVED AT PISIDIAN ANTIOCH.
The phrase “Perga of Pamphylia” is not intended to distinguish this Perga from others (cp. XXI 39): there was no other city of the same name. Nor is it a mere piece of geographical information: this historian has no desire to teach the reader geography. The sense is “they proceeded to Pamphylia, to the special point Perga”; and the intention is to define their next sphere of work as being Pamphylia. This sense would have naturally been understood by every one, were it not that no missionary work was actually done in Pamphylia, for the next fact mentioned is that John left the party, and the others went on to Pisidian Antioch; and the conclusion has sometimes been drawn hastily that Pamphylia had never been contemplated as a mission-field, and was merely traversed because it lay between Cyprus and Antioch. But the plain force of the words must be accepted here, for it lies in the situation that Pamphylia was the natural continuation of the work that had been going on, first in Syria and Cilicia for many years, and next in Cyprus. They went to Pamphylia to preach there, and, as they did not actually preach there, something must have occurred to make them change their plan. Further, the reason for this change of plan must have been merely a temporary one, for they preached in Pamphylia on their return journey.
We are justified in connecting with this change of plan the one fact recorded about the missionary party in Pamphylia: John left them in circumstances that made a deep and painful impression on Paul, and remained rankling in his mind for years (XV 38). The historian places together in a marked way the departure of John and the onward journey of the others without preaching in Pamphylia. Now, as we have seen, it does not lie in this historian’s manner to state reasons; he rarely says that one event was the cause of another, but merely states the facts side by side, and leaves the reader to gather for himself the causal connection between them.
Other reasons, which need not be repeated here, point to the same conclusion, that a change of plan was the reason why John abandoned the expedition. He conceived that the new “proposal was a departure from the scheme” with which they had been charged, “carrying their work into a region different in character and not contemplated by the Church”.
Further, we observe that the country between Perga and Pisidian Antioch is not mentioned; the journey is not even summed up briefly as the Cyprian journey between Salamis and Paphos was described (XIII 6): it is simply said that “they went across (the intervening mountain lands of Taurus) to Antioch,” as in XVIII 27 Apollos “conceived the intention to go across (the intervening Ægean Sea) to Achaia”. On our hypothesis that the narrative is singularly exact in expression, and that the slightest differences are significant, we gather that the journey to Antioch was a mere traversing of the country without preaching, with the view of reaching Antioch. On the other hand, it is stated that the return journey some years later from Antioch to Perga was a preaching journey, though no marked effects are recorded on it.
Again, it is a rule in this historian’s clear and practical style, that when Paul is entering (or intending, even though unsuccessfully, to enter) a new field of missionary enterprise, the field is defined (as in v. 4); and the definition usually takes the form of a Roman provincial district. This will become apparent as the narrative proceeds, and the inferences that can be drawn from the form of definition or absence of definition in each case will illustrate and give precision to the rule. It is, I believe, a fair inference from the want of any indication of a wider sphere that when the travellers went to Pisidian Antioch, they had not in mind a wider field of work than the city: they went to Pisidian Antioch and not to the province Galatia, in which it was included.
The name is rightly given as Pisidian Antioch in the great MSS.; the form “Antioch of Pisidia” is a corruption. Besides other reasons, Antioch was not considered by Luke to be in Pisidia (p. 124).
The facts, then, which can be gathered from the narrative of Acts are these. Paul and his companions came to Perga with the view of evangelising the next country on their route, a country similar in character to and closely. connected in commerce and racial type with Cyprus and Syria and Cilicia. For some reason the plan was altered, and they passed rapidly over the Pamphylian lowlands and the Pisidian mountain-lands to Antioch, postponing the evangelisation of these districts till a later stage of their journey. They went to Antioch for some reason which concerned only that city, and did not contemplate as their object the evangelisation of the province to which it belonged. John, however, refused to participate in the changed programme, presumably because he disapproved of it. His refusal seems to have been felt as a personal slight by Paul, which suggests that the change of plan was in some way caused by Paul. What then was the reason? Is any clue to it given in any other part of Acts or in the words of Paul himself?
In passing from Perga to Pisidian Antioch, the travellers passed from the Roman province Pamphylia to the Roman province Galatia, and the rest of their journey lay in Galatia until they returned to Perga. Now, we possess a letter written by Paul to the Churches of Galatia, in which he says: “Ye know that it was by reason of physical infirmity that I preached the Gospel unto you on the first of my two visits; and the facts of my bodily constitution which were trying to you were not despised nor rejected by you, but ye received me as a messenger of God”. We learn, then, from Paul himself that an illness (we may confidently say a serious illness) was the occasion of his having originally preached to the churches of Galatia. The words do not necessarily imply that the illness began in Galatia; they are quite consistent with the interpretation that the illness was the reason why he came to be in Galatia and had the opportunity of preaching there; but they imply that the physical infirmity lasted for some considerable time, and was apparent to strangers, while he was in Galatia.
Here we have a reason, stated by Paul himself, which fully explains all the curious phenomena of the text of Acts. Paul had a serious illness in Pamphylia, and on that account he left Perga and went to Antioch. It is unnecessary to repeat the argument that this is in perfect agreement with the known facts. Any constitutional weakness was liable to be brought out by “the sudden plunge into the enervating atmosphere of Pamphylia” after the fatigue and hardship of a journey on foot through Cyprus, accompanied by the constant excitement of missionary work, culminating in the intense nervous strain of the supreme effort at Paphos. The natural and common treatment for such an illness is to go to the higher ground of the interior; and the situation of Antioch (about 3600 ft. above the sea, sheltered by mountains on the north and east, and overlooking a wide plain to the south and south-west), as well as its Jewish population, and commercial connection with the Pamphylian coast-cities, made it a very suitable place for Paul’s purpose.
But why then did the historian not state this simple fact? It lies out of his purpose and method to notice such personal details. He states in the briefest possible form the essential facts of the evangelisation of the world; and everything else he passes over as of ephemeral nature. We are dealing with a first century, and not a nineteenth century historian,—one who had not the eager desire to understand causes and reasons which characterises the present day, one who wrote for a public that was quite satisfied with a statement of facts without a study of causes. There is too much tendency to demand from the first century writers an answer to all the questions we should like to put.
Moreover, Luke passes very lightly over the sufferings and the dangers that Paul encountered; many he omits entirely, others he mentions without emphasising the serious nature of the case (p. 279 f.).
It is plain that Paul at the moment felt deeply wounded. The journey which he felt to be absolutely necessary in the interests of future work was treated by Mark as an abandonment of the work; and his sensitive nature would consider Mark’s arguments, plausible as they were in some respects, as equivalent to a declaration of want of confidence. But that feeling, though it lasted for some years, was not of the permanent nature which would put it on the same plane as the facts recorded by Luke. Who can think that Paul would have desired permanent record of his illness and Mark’s desertion? And his desire on a matter personal to himself would be Luke’s law.
2.THE “THORN IN THE FLESH”.
The character of the Pamphylian country, not merely in its modern half-cultivated condition, but at all times, must have been enervating and calculated to bring out any latent weakness of constitution. Now it is a probable and generally accepted view that the “physical weakness,” which was the occasion why Paul preached to the Galatians, was the same malady which tormented him at frequent intervals. I have suggested that this malady was a species of chronic malaria fever; and, in view of criticisms, it is necessary to dwell on this point; for I have incurred the blame of exaggerating an ephemeral attack. The question is put whether such an illness “could reasonably have called forth their contempt and loathing.1616Expositor, Dec., 1893, p. 4417.
A physical weakness, which recurs regularly in some situation that one is regularly required by duty to face, produces strong and peculiar effect on our human nature. An attentive student of mankind has caught this trait and described it clearly in one of the characters whom his genius has created. I quote from Charles Reade’s description of a clergyman engaged in warfare against the barbarity of prison discipline, upon whom every scene of cruelty which he had often to witness produced a distressing physical effect, sickness and trembling. “His high-tuned nature gave way. He locked the door that no one might see his weakness; and, then, succumbing to nature, he fell first into a sickness and then into a trembling, and more than once hysterical tears gushed from his eyes in the temporary prostration of his spirit and his powers. Such are the great. Men know their feats, but not their struggles. The feeling of shame at this weakness is several times described in the course of the narrative (It is Never too Late to Mend); and, when at last nature, on the verge of a more serious physical prostration, ceased to relieve itself in this painful way, “he thanked Heaven for curing him of that contemptible infirmity, so he called it”. Yet that weakness did not prevent the sufferer from facing his duty, but only came on as a consequence; and it could be hidden within the privacy of his chamber. Let the reader conceive the distress and shame of the sufferer, if the weakness had prostrated him before his duty was finished, and laid him helpless before them all when he required his whole strength. Surely he would have “besought the Lord that it might depart from” him, and regarded it as “a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him” (II Cor. XII 7, 8).
Now, in some constitutions malaria fever tends to recur in very distressing and prostrating paroxysms, whenever one’s energies are taxed for a great effort. Such an attack is for the time absolutely incapacitating: the sufferer can only lie and feel himself a shaking and helpless weakling, when he ought to be at work. He feels a contempt and loathing for self, and believes that others feel equal contempt and loathing.
Charles Reade’s hero could at least retire to his room, and lock the door, and conceal his weakness from others; but, in the publicity of Oriental life, Paul could have no privacy. In every paroxysm, and they might recur daily, he would lie exposed to the pity or the contempt of strangers. If he were first seen in a Galatian village, or house, lying in the mud on the shady side of a wall for two hours shaking like an aspen leaf, the gratitude that he expresses to the Galatians, because they “did not despise nor reject his infirmity,” was natural and deserved.
Fresh light is thrown on this subject by an observation of Mr. Hogarth, my companion in many journeys. In publishing a series of inscriptions recording examples of punishment inflicted by the God on those who had approached the sanctuary in impurity, he suggests that malarial fever was often the penalty sent by the God. The paroxysms, recurring suddenly with overpowering strength, and then passing off, seemed to be due to the direct visitation of God. This gives a striking effect to Paul’s words in Gal. IV 14, “you did not despise nor reject my physical infirmity, but received me as an angel of God”: though the Galatians might have turned him away from their door as a person accursed and afflicted by God, they received him as God’s messenger. The obvious implication of this passage has led many to the view that Paul’s malady was epilepsy, which was also attributed to the direct visitation of God.
A strong corroboration is found in the phrase: “a stake in the flesh,” which Paul uses about his malady (II Cor. XII 7)—That is the peculiar headache which accompanies the paroxysms: within my experience several persons, innocent of Pauline theorising, have described it as “like a red-hot bar thrust through the forehead”. As soon as fever connected itself with Paul in my mind, the “stake in the flesh” impressed me as a strikingly illustrative metaphor; and the oldest tradition on the subject, quoted by Tertullian and others, explains the” stake in the flesh “as headache.
The malady was a “messenger of Satan”. Satan seems to represent in Pauline language any overpowering obstacle to his work, an obstacle which it was impossible to struggle against: so Satan prevented him from returning to Thessalonica, in the form of an ingenious obstacle, which made his return impossible for the time (p. 230). The words “messenger sent to buffet me,” imply that it came frequently and unexpectedly, striking him down with the power of the Enemy.
The idea that the malady was an affection of the eyes, resulting from blinding at his conversion, seems inadequate in itself, unsuitable to his own words, and contradicted by the evidence as to the power of his eyes (p. 38).
Paul describes the malady as sent to prevent him from “being exalted overmuch by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations” which had been granted to him; and he clearly implies that it came later than the great revelation, when “he was caught up even to the third heaven” about 43 A.D. (p. 60). The malady certainly did not begin long before this journey; and the attack in Pamphylia may perhaps have been the first
3. THE SYNAGOGUE IN PISIDIAN ANTIOCH.
(XIII 13) JOHN DEPARTED FROM THEM AND RETURNED TO JERUSALEM; (14) BUT THEY WENT ACROSS FROM PERGA AND ARRIVED AT PISIDIAN ANTIOCH. AND THEY WENT INTO THE SYNAGOGUE ON THE SABBATH DAY, AND SAT DOWN; (15) AND AFTER THE READING OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS, THE ARCHISYNAGOGOI SENT TO THEM SAYING, “GENTLEMEN, BRETHREN, IF THERE IS IN YOU A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE PEOPLE, SAY ON”. (16) AND PAUL STOOD UP AND MADE A GESTURE WITH HIS HAND AND SPOKE . . . (42) AND AS THEY WENT OUT, THEY BESOUGHT THAT THESE WORDS MIGHT BE SPOKEN TO THEM THE NEXT SABBATH. (43) NOW, WHEN THE SYNAGOGUE BROKE UP, MANY OF THE JEWS AND OF THE GOD-FEARING PROSELYTES FOLLOWED PAUL AND BARNABAS: WHO, SPEAKING TO THEM, URGED THEM TO CONTINUE IN THE GRACE OF GOD. (44) AND THE NEXT SABBATH ALMOST THE WHOLE CITY WAS GATHERED TOGETHER TO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD. (45) BUT WHEN THE JEWS SAW THE MULTITUDES, THEY WERE FILLED WITH JEALOUSY, AND CONTRADICTED THE THINGS WHICH WERE SPOKEN BY PAUL, AND BLASPHEMED. (46) AND PAUL AND BARNABAS SPAKE OUT BOLDLY AND SAID, “IT WAS NECESSARY THAT THE WORD OF GOD SHOULD FIRST BE SPOKEN TO YOU. SEEING YE THRUST IT FROM YOU, AND JUDGE YOURSELVES UNWORTHY OF ETERNAL LIFE, LO, WE TURN TO THE GENTILES.” . . . (48) AND AS THE GENTILES HEARD THIS, THEY WERE GLAD AND GLORIFIED THE WORD OF GOD: AND AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED. (49) AND THE WORD OF THE LORD WAS SPREAD ABROAD THROUGHOUT ALL THE REGION. (50) BUT THE JEWS URGED ON THE DEVOUT WOMEN OF HONOURABLE ESTATE, AND THE CHIEF MEN OF THE CITY, AND STIRRED UP A PERSECUTION AGAINST PAUL AND BARNABAS, AND CAST THEM OUT OF THEIR BORDERS. (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.
The route between Perga and Pisidian Antioch, with its perils of rivers, perils of robbers, and the later legend connected with the journey across the Pisidian mountains by the city which still bears the Apostle’s name, is described elsewhere, and need not here detain us.
The usual punctuation of vv. 13, 14, seems to arise from the idea that Paul’s sermon was delivered on the first Sabbath after he reached Antioch. So, Conybeare and Howson say, “a congregation came together at Antioch on the Sabbath which immediately succeeded the arrival of Paul and Barnabas”. It seems, however, not possible that such powerful effect as is described in v. 44 should have been produced on the whole city within the first ten days after they arrived in Antioch. Moreover, when Paul’s teaching had become more definite and pronounced, he preached three successive Sabbaths to the Jews at Thessalonica (p. 228), and it seems implied that the rupture took place there unusually soon; hence, at this time, when he had been preaching for years in the Jewish synagogues of Cilicia, Syria and Cyprus, it is improbable that the quarrel with the Jews of Antioch took place on the second Sabbath.
But, when the passage is properly punctuated, there remains nothing to show that Paul’s speech was delivered on his first Sabbath in Antioch. Nothing is said as to the first days of the Apostles’ stay in the city. We are to understand, according to the rule already observed (p. 72 f.), that the usual method was pursued, and that some time passed before any critical event took place. As at Paphos, the fame of the new teachers gradually spread through the city. The historian gives an address to the synagogue with an outline of the teaching which produced this result; the address delivered on a critical Sabbath, after feeling had already been moved for some time, may well have remained in the memory or in the manuscript diary of some of the interested hearers, and thus been preserved. We make it part of our hypothesis that Luke took his task as a historian seriously, and obtained original records where he could.
Paul’s address to the assembled Jews and proselytes was doubtless suggested by the passages, one from the Law, one from the Prophets, which were read before he was called to speak. It has been conjectured that these passages were Deut. I and Isaiah I, which in the Septuagint Version contain two marked words employed by Paul: the Scriptures were probably read in Greek in this synagogue of Grecised Jews (see pp. 84, 169). Deut. I naturally suggests the historical retrospect with which Paul begins; and the promise of remission of sins rises naturally out of Isaiah I 18. Dean Farrar mentions that “in the present list of Jewish lessons, Deut. I-III 22 and Isaiah I 1-22 stand forty-fourth in order”. That list is of decidedly later origin; but probably it was often determined by older custom and traditional ideas of suitable accompaniment.
The climax of the address passed from the historical survey (with its assurance of unfailing Divine guidance for the Chosen People) to the sending of Jesus, who had been slain by the rulers of Jerusalem (“because they knew Him not, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath,” v. 27), but whom God had raised from the dead. Then follow the promise and the peroration:—
(XIII 38) BE IT KNOWN UNTO YOU THEREFORE, BRETHREN, THAT THROUGH THIS MAN IS PROCLAIMED UNTO YOU REMISSION OF SINS; (39) AND BY HIM EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH IS JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS, FROM WHICH YE COULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW OF MOSES. (40) BEWARE, THEREFORE, LEST THAT COME UPON YOU, WHICH IS SPOKEN IN THE PROPHETS; “BEHOLD, YE DESPISERS, AND WONDER, AND PERISH; FOR I WORK A WONDER IN YOUR DAYS”.
This outspoken declaration that the Judaic system was superseded by a higher message from God is not said to have hurt the feelings of the Jews who were present. Paul was invited to continue his discourse on the following Sabbath; many of the audience, both Jews and proselytes, followed the Apostles from the synagogue; and both Paul and Barnabas addressed them further, and emphasised the effect of the previous address.
There must have been something in the situation or in the supplementary explanations given by Paul and Barnabas, which made his words specially applicable to the Gentiles; and a vast crowd of the citizens gathered to hear Paul on the following week. Paul’s address on this occasion is not given. It was in all probability addressed pointedly to the Antiochians, for violent opposition and contradiction and jealousy were roused among the Jews. We may fairly infer that the open door of belief for the whole world irrespective of race was made a prominent topic; for the passion which animated the Jewish opposition is said to have been jealousy. The climax of a violent scene was the bold declaration of Paul and Barnabas that they “turned to the Gentiles, since the Jews rejected the Gospel”.
In this scene the same fact that was observed at Paphos came out prominently. The eager interest and the invitation of the general population stimulated Paul; and his ideas developed rapidly. The first thoroughly Gentile congregation separate from the synagogue was established at Pisidian Antioch. Where he saw no promise of success, he never persisted; but where “a door was opened unto him,” he used the opportunity (I Cor. XVI 9, II Cor. II 12). The influence attributed to the women at Antioch, v. 50, is in perfect accord with the manners of the country. In Athens or in an Ionian city, it would have been impossible (p. 252).
4. THE CHURCH AT PISIDIAN ANTIOCH.
The deep impression that had already been produced on the general population of Antioch was intensified when the preaching of Paul and Barnabas began to be addressed to them directly and exclusively. The effect was now extended to the whole Region. This term does not indicate the lands immediately around the fortifications of Antioch, and belonging to that city. The free population of those lands were citizens of Antioch; and the term “city,” according to the ancient idea, included the entire lands that belonged to it, and not the mere space covered by continuous houses and a fortified wail. “A city was not walls, but men;” and the saying had a wider and more practical meaning to the ancients than is generally taken from it in modern times. The phrase that is here used, “the whole Region,” indicates some distinct and recognised circle of territories.
Here we have a fact of administration and government assumed in quiet undesigned fashion: Antioch was the centre of a Region. This is the kind of allusion which affords to students of ancient literature a test of accuracy, and often a presumption of date. I think that, if we put this assumption to the test, we shall find (1) that it is right, (2) that it adds a new fact, probable in itself but not elsewhere formally stated, about the Roman administration of Galatia, (3) that it explains and throws new light on several passages in ancient authors and inscriptions. Without discussing the subject too elaborately, we may point out the essentials.
My friend Prof. Sterrett, of Amherst, Massachusetts, has discovered and published an inscription of Antioch, which speaks of a “regionary centurion” (ἑκατοντάρχην ῥεγεωνάριον), evidently a military official charged with certain duties (probably in the maintenance of peace and order) within a certain Regio of which Antioch was the centre.1717Partly to guard against a possible objection, partly to show how much may depend on accuracy in a single letter, it may be added that Prof. Sterrett in publishing this inscription makes a conjectural alteration, which would deprive us of the help that the inscription gives. He prints εγεωνάριον but this is an arbitrary change in violation of his own copy.
Thus we have epigraphic authority to prove that Antioch under the Roman administration was the centre of a Region. Further, we can determine the extent and the name of that Region, remembering always that in a province like Galatia, where evidence is lamentably scanty, we must often be content with reasonable probability, and rarely find such an inscription as Prof. Sterrett’s to put us on a plane of demonstrated certainty.
It is natural in the administration of so large a province as Galatia, and there are some recorded proofs, that a certain number of distinct Regiones (or χωραι) existed in Southern Galatia. To quote the exact names recorded, we have Phrygia or Φρυγία χώρα, Isauria or Ἰσαυρικὴ (χώρα), Pisidia, Lycaonia or Γαλατικὴ χώρα (with τῆς Λυκανοίας understood, denoting the Roman part of Lycaonia in contrast with Lycaonia Antiochiana or Ἀγτιοχαανὴ χώρα the part of Lycaonia ruled by King Antiochus). There can be no doubt that Pisidian Antioch (strictly “a Phrygian city towards Pisidia”) was the centre of the Region called Phrygia in inscriptions enumerating the parts of the province, and “the Phrygian Region of (the province) Galatia” in Acts XVI 6, or “the Phrygian Region” XVIII 23. This central importance of Antioch was due to its position as a Roman Colony, which made it the military and administrative centre of the country.
Thus, without any formal statement, and without any technical term, but in the course of a bare, simple and brief account of the effects of Paul’s preaching, we find ourselves unexpectedly (just as Paul and Barnabas found themselves unintentionally) amid a Roman provincial district, which is moved from the centre to the extremities by the new preaching. It is remarkable how the expression of Luke embodies the very soul of history (p. 200).
A certain lapse of time, then, is implied in the brief words of v. 49. The process whereby the whole region was influenced by the Word must have been a gradual one. The similar expression used in XIX 10 may serve as a standard of comparison: there, during a period of two years in Ephesus, “all they which dwelt in Asia heard the Word”. The sphere of influence is immensely wider in that case; but the process is the same. Persons from the other cities came to Antioch as administrative centre, the great garrison city, which was often visited by the Roman governor and was the residence of some subordinate officials: they came for law-suits, for trade, for great festivals of the Roman unity (such as that described in the Acta of Paul and Thekla).1818Church in R. E., p. 396; Cities and Bishoprics, p. 56. In Antioch they heard of the new doctrine; some came under its influence; the knowledge of it was thus borne abroad over the whole territory; probably small knots of Christians were formed in other towns.
How long a period of time is covered by v. 49 we cannot tell with certainty; but it must be plain to every one that the estimate of the whole residence at Antioch as two to six months, is, as is elsewhere said, a minimum. It may be observed that in the Antiochian narrative a period of some weeks is passed over in total silence, then thirty-three verses are devoted to the epoch-making events of two successive Sabbaths, and then another considerable period is summed up in v. 49.
The action by which Paul and Barnabas were expelled from Antioch has been fully described elsewhere. The expulsion was inflicted by the magistrates of the city, and was justified to their minds in the interests of peace and order. It was not inflicted by officials of the province, and hence the effect is expressly restricted by the historian to Antiochian territory. Slight as the details are, they suit the circumstances of the time perfectly.1919A slight addition made in Codex Bezæ at this point presents some features of interest. In the Approved Text the Jews “roused persecution” against the Apostles; but in the Codex they roused “great affliction and persecution” The additional words are not characterised by that delicate precision in the choice of terms which belongs to Luke. “Affliction” (θλίψις)refers more to the recipient, “persecution” (διωγμός) to the agent; hence the “to rouse persecution” is a well-chosen phrase, but “to rouse affliction “is not. The words of Codex Bezæ have been added under the influence of the enumeration of his sufferings given by Paul in II Cor. XI 23 (cp. II Tim. III 11). The disproportion between that list and the references to physical sufferings in Acts led to a series of additions, designed to bring about a harmony between the two authorities.
In the additions of this kind made to Codex Bezæ we have the beginnings of a Pauline myth. There is nothing in which popular fancy among the early Christians showed itself so creative as the tortures of its heroes. The earliest Acta of martyrs contain only a moderate amount of torture, such in kind as was inseparable from Roman courts of justice; as time passed, these tortures seemed insufficient, and the old Acta were touched up to suit what the age believed must have taken place. Where we possess accounts of a martyrdom of different dates, the older are less filled with sufferings than the later. A similar process of accretion to Acts was actually beginning, but was checked by the veneration that began to regard its text as sacred.
Luke passes very lightly over Paul’s sufferings: from II Tim. III 11, we see that he must have endured much. He was three times beaten with the rods of lictors before A.D. 56 (II Cor. XI 25). Now, since the Roman governors whom he met were favourable to him, these beatings must have taken place in “colonies,” whose magistrates were attended by lictors. It is probable that the persecution which is mentioned in Antioch, and hinted. at in Lystra, included beating by lictors. It is noteworthy that the magistrates of these two cities are not expressly mentioned, and therefore there was no opportunity for describing their action. The third beating by lictors was in Philippi, also a colony. Similarly it can hardly be doubted that some of the five occasions on which Paul received stripes from the Jews were in the Galatian cities, where some Jews were so active against him.
(XIV 1) AND IT CAME TO PASS IN ICONIUM AFTER THE SAME FASHION as in Antioch THAT THEY ENTERED INTO THE SYNAGOGUE OF THE JEWS AND SO SPAKE THAT A GREAT MULTITUDE, BOTH OF JEWS AND OF GREEKS, BELIEVED. (2) BUT THE DISAFFECTED AMONG THE JEWS STIRRED UP AND EXASPERATED THE MINDS OF THE GENTILES AGAINST THE BRETHREN. (4) AND THE POPULACE WAS DIVIDED; AND PART HELD WITH THE JEWS AND PART WITH THE APOSTLES. (5) AND WHEN THERE WAS MADE AN ONSET BOTH OF THE GENTILES AND OF THE JEWS WITH THEIR RULERS, TO ENTREAT THEM SHAMEFULLY, AND TO STONE THEM, (6) THEY BECAME AWARE OF IT, AND FLED INTO LYCAONIA.
According to the reading of the MSS., the narrative of these incidents is obscure; and it is hard to believe that the text is correct. In v. 1 the great success of the preaching is related, while in v. 2 the disaffected Jews rouse bitter feeling against the Apostles (the aorists implying that the efforts were successful). Then in v. 3 we are astonished to read, as the sequel of the Jewish action, that the Apostles remained a long time preaching boldly and with marked success: and finally, in v. 4, the consequences of the Jewish action are set forth. It is therefore not surprising that the critics who look on Acts as a patchwork have cut up this passage. It must be conceded that appearances in this case are in their favour, and that the correctness and originality of the narrative can hardly be defended without the supposition that some corruption has crept into it; but the great diversity of text in the various MSS. and Versions is, on ordinary critical principles, a sign that some corruption did take place at a very early date.
The close relation of vv. 2 and 4 is patent; and Spitta’s hypothesis of a primitive document containing vv. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, gives a clear and excellent narrative. Only, in place of his improbable theory that v. 3 is a scrap from an independent and complete narrative, I should regard it as an early gloss, similar to the many which have crept into the Bezan Text. The emphasis laid on the marvel at Lystra, which perhaps implies that it was the first sign of special Divine favour in the Galatian work (p. 115), may corroborate this view to some extent. Marvels and tortures are the two elements which, as time goes on, are added to the story of every saint and martyr; the Bezan Text of this passage shows a further addition of the same type (p. 113), and is distinguished by numerous additions telling of the Divine intervention in Paul’s work. All such additions, probably, grew in the popular belief, and then became attached as true facts to the original text.
The Bezan Text of 2, 3, is a good example of its character as a modernised and explanatory edition of an already archaic and obscure text. The discrepancy between v. 2 and v. 3 called for some remedy, which was found in the supposition that there were two tumults in Iconium: on this supposition v. 2 was interpreted of the first tumult, and a conclusion, “and the Lord soon gave peace,” was tacked on to it. The narrative then proceeds, after the renewed preaching of v. 3, to the second tumult of vv. 4, 5 (p. 113). The double tumult lent itself well to the growing Pauline myth, which sought to find occasion for the sufferings and persecutions of II Cor. XI.
But, if there were two stages in the Iconian narrative in its original uncorrupted form, we might reasonably argue from the words “in the same way (as at Antioch),” that the two stages were (1) successful preaching in the synagogue, brought to a conclusion by the jealousy and machinations of the Jews; (2) Paul and Barnabas turned to the Gentile population exclusively and were remarkably successful among them. But conjectural alteration of the text would be required to elicit that meaning; and we cannot spend more time here on this passage.
It is to be noted that no effect on the Region around Iconiurm is mentioned. According to our hypothesis we must recognise the difference from the narrative at Antioch, where the wide-spread effect is emphasised so strongly. The difference is natural, and the reason is clear, when we consider the difference between the two cities: Antioch was the governing centre of a wide Region which looked to it for administration, whereas Iconium was a comparatively insignificant town in the Region round Antioch.
Again, when Paul and Barnabas went from Antioch to Iconium, they were not going to a new district, but to an outlying city of the same district; hence there is no definition of their proposed sphere of duty. They were expelled from Antioch, and they came to Iconium. The case was very different when they found it expedient to leave Iconium. They then had to cross the frontier to a new Region of the same province, which began a few miles south and east from Iconium. The passage to a new Region and a new sphere of work is clearly marked in the text.
6. THE CITIES OF LYCAONIA.
The expression used in XIV 6 is remarkable (p. 90): “they fled into Lycaonia, especially to the part of it which is summed up as the cities, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding Region”. To understand this we must bear in mind that the growth of cities in Central and Eastern Asia Minor was connected with the spread of Greek civilisation; and in the primitive pre-Greek condition of the country there were no cities organised according to the Greek system, and hardly any large settlements, except the governing centres, which were, however, Oriental towns, not Greek cities. Now, in v. 6 a Region comprising part of Lycaonia is distinguished from the rest as consisting of two cities and a stretch of cityless territory (i.e., territory organised on the native pre-Greek village system).
Here, as in XIII 14, we have one of those definite statements, involving both historical and geographical facts, which the student of ancient literature pounces upon as evidence to test accuracy and date. Is the description accurate? If so, was it accurate at all periods of history, or was it accurate only at a particular period? To these questions we must answer that it was accurate at the period when Paul visited Lycaonia; that it was accurate at no other time except between 37 and 72 A.D.; and that its only meaning is to distinguish between the Roman part of Lycaonia and the non-Roman part ruled by Antiochus. It is instructive as to Luke’s conception of Paul’s method, and about Luke’s own ideas on the development of the Christian Church, that he should here so pointedly define the Roman part of Lycaonia as the region to which Paul went and where he continued preaching.
In modern expression we might call this district Roman Lycaonia; but that would not be true to ancient usage. Territory subject to Rome was not termed ager Romanus (p. 347), but was designated after the province to which it was attached; and this district was Galatica Lycaona, because it was in the province Galatia. It was distinguished from “Lycaonia Antiochiana,” which was ruled by King Antiochus.
Such was official usage; but we know the capriciousness of popular nomenclature, which often prefers some other name to the official designation. The inhabitants of the Roman part spoke of the other as “the Antiochian Region” (Ἀντιοχιζὴ χώρα, and the people of the latter spoke of the Roman part as the Galatic Region (Γαλατικὴ χώρα) It was unnecessary for persons who were living in the country to be more precise. Now this Region of Roman or Galatic Lycaonia is three times mentioned in Acts. (1) In XIV 7 it is defined by enumerating its parts; and as Paul goes to it out of Phyrgia, it is necessary to express that he went into Lycaonia: the advice which the Iconians gave him would be to go into Lycaonia. (2) In XVI 1-3 the writer does not sum up the district as a whole, for his narrative requires a distinction between the brief visit to Derbe and the long visit to Lystra. (3) In XVIII 23, as he enters the Roman Region from the “Antiochian Part,” the writer uses the name which Paul would use as he was entering it, and calls it “the Galatic Region”. This is characteristic of Acts: it moves amid the people, and the author has caught his term in many a case from the mouth of the people. But this is done with no subservience to vulgar usage; the writer is on a higher level of thought, and he knows how to select those popular terms which are vital and powerful, and to reject those which are vulgar and inaccurate: he moves among the people, and yet stands apart from them.
The subsequent narrative makes it clear that Paul visited only Lystra and Derbe. Why, then, should the author mention that Paul proceeded “to Lystra and Derbe and the Region in which they lie”? The reason lies in his habit of defining each new sphere of work according to the existing political divisions of the Roman Empire. It is characteristic of Luke’s method never formally to enunciate Paul’s principle of procedure, but simply to state the facts and leave the principle to shine through them; and here it shines clearly through them, for he made the limit of Roman territory the limit of his work, and turned back when he came to Lystra. He did not go on to Laranda, which was probably a greater city than Derbe at the time, owing to its situation and the policy followed by King Antiochus. Nor did he go to the uncivilised, uneducated native villages or towns of Roman Galatia, such as Barata.
Accordingly, the historian in the few words (XIV 6, 7) assumes and embodies the principle which can be recognised as guiding Paul’s action, viz., to go to the Roman world, and especially to its great cities. There is no more emphatic proof of the marvellous delicacy in expression that characterises the selection of words in Acts,—a delicacy that can spring only from perfect knowledge of the characters and actions described.
But the passage, not unnaturally, caused great difficulties to readers of the second century, when the bounds of Galatia had changed, and the remarkable definition of XIV 6 had become unintelligible. It was then gathered from these words that some preaching took place in “the region round about,” and the explanation was found in the later historical fact (which we may assume unhesitatingly as true), that converts of Paul carried the new religion over the whole region. This fact, got from independent knowledge, was added to the text, and thus arose the “Western” Text, which appears with slight variations in different authorities. In Codex Bezæ the result is as follows (alterations being in italics):—
“(4) AND THE POPULACE remained divided, SOME TAKING PART WITH THE JEWS, AND SOME WITH THE APOSTLES, cleaving to them through the ward of God. (5) And again the Jews, along with the Gentiles, roused perucution for the second time, and having stoned them they cast them out of the city; (6) and fleeing tiny came into Lycaonia, to a certain city called LYSTRA, AND DERBE, AND THE whole SURROUNDING REGION; (7) AND THEY WERE THERE ENGAGED IN PREACHING, and the entire population was moved at the teaching; but Paul and Barnabas continued in Lystra.”
In this text the Pauline myth has been considerably developed. The disciples cling to the Apostles, are persecuted with them, accompany their flight, and preach in the surrounding Region, while Paul and Barnabas spent their time at Lystra. But the enlarged text moves in the atmosphere of the second century. It gives us an idea of the difficulties besetting the study of Acts even then, owing to the changes that had occurred in the surroundings of the events narrated; and it shows that these difficulties were not ignored and the text accepted as inspired and above comprehension, but facts of history were applied to explain the difficulties.
7. LYSTRA.2020 The variation in the declension
of the word Lystra (Accusative Λύστραν XIV 6, XVI 1, dative Λύστροις
XIV 8, XVI 2.) is sometimes taken as a sign that the author employed two different
written authorities (in one of which the word was declined as feminine singular
and in the other as neuter plural), and followed them implicitly, using in each
case the form employed in the authority whom he was following at the moment. This
suggestion has convinced neither Spitta nor Clemen, who both assign XVI 1-3 to one
author. Only the most insensate and incapable of compilers would unawares use the
double declension twice in consecutive sentences. The author, whoever he was and
whenever he lived, certainly considered that the proper declension of the name was
Λύστροις, Λύστραν; and the only question is this: was that variation customary
in the Lystran Greek usage? If it was customary, then its employment in Acts is
a marked proof of first-hand local knowledge, and if it was not customary, the opposite.
We have unfortunately no authorities for the Lystran usage: the city name occurs
in the inscriptions only in the nominative case, Lustra. It is certain that many
names in Asia Minor, such as Myra, etc., occur both in feminine singular and in
neuter plural; but there is no evidence as to any local usage appropriating certain
cases to each form. Excavations on the site may yield the needed evidence to test
the accuracy of this detail.
One indirect piece of evidence may be added. Myra is an analogous name. Now the local form of accus. was Μύραν for the Turkish Dembre comes from τὴν Μβρα(ν) i.e. (εἰς) τὴν Μύραν. [It is most probable that in XXVII 5 Μύραν (or Μύρραν) should be read, not Μύρα.] I know no evidence as to the local form of the dative; but the genitive appears as Μύρων in the signatures of bishops.
Incidentally we notice that the name of the city is spelt Lustra, not Lystra (like Prymnessos), on coins and inscriptions. That is an indication of Latin tone, and of the desire to make the city name a Latin word. People who called their city Lustra would have distinguished themselves pointedly from the Lycaonians, the subjects of King Antiochus and mentioned in that way on his coins.
In v. 8 we observe the marked emphasis laid on the real physical incapacity of the lame man. Though Luke, as a rule, carries brevity even to the verge of obscurity, here he reiterates in three successive phrases, with growing emphasis, that the man was really lame. The three phrases are like beats of a hammer: there is no fine literary style in this device, but there is real force, which arrests and compels the readers attention. Luke uses the triple beat in other places for the same purpose, e.g. XIII 6, ”Magian, false prophet, Jew,” and XVI 6, 7 (according to the true text, p. 196).
The author therefore attached the utmost importance to this point. The man was no mendicant pretender, but one whose history from infancy was well known. The case could not be explained away: it was an incontestable proof of the direct Divine power working through Paul and guaranteeing his message to the Galatic province as of Divine origin. The sign has extreme importance in the author’s eyes as a proof that Paul carried the Divine approval in his new departure in Galatia, and we can better understand its importance he had to record in his eyes if it were the first which on distinct evidence (p. 108); but he attributes to it no influence in turning the people to Christianity. The result was only to persuade the populace that the deifies whom they worshipped had vouchsafed to visit their people; and at Malta the same result followed from the wonders which Paul wrought. The marvels recorded in Acts are not, as a rule, said to have been efficacious in spreading the new religion; the marvel at Philippi caused suffering and imprisonment; to the raising of Eutychus no effect is ascribed. The importance of these events lies rather in their effect on the mind of the Apostles themselves, who accepted them as an encouragement and a confirmation of their work. But the teaching spread by convincing the minds of the hearers (XIII 12).
The Bezan Text adds several details which have the appearance of truth. The most important is that the lame man was “in the fear of God,” i.e., he was a pagan of Lystra who had been attracted to Judaism before he came under Paul’s influence: after some time Paul recognised him as a careful hearer (ἤκουεν, corrupted ἤκουσεν in the Bezan Text) and a person inclined towards the truth. Several other authorities give the same statement at different points and in varying words; and it therefore has the appearance of a gloss that has crept into the text in varying forms. It has however all the appearance of a true tradition preserved in the Church; for the idea that he was a proselyte is not likely to have grown up falsely in a Gentile congregation, nor is it likely to have lasted long in such a congregation, even though true. It is therefore a very early gloss.
8. THE APOSTLES AS GODS.
(11) AND THE MULTITUDE, SEEING WHAT PAUL DID, LIFTED UP THEIR LIFTED IP THEIR VOICE IN THE LYCAONIAN TONGUE, SAYING, “THE GODS HAVE TAKEN THE FORM OF MEN AND HAVE COME DOWN TO US”; (12) AND THEY CALLED BARNABAS ZEUS, AND PAUL HERMES.2121In v. 12 the Accepted Text contains a gloss, which is rightly omitted in one old Latin Version (Fl.).
|Accepted Text||Bezan Text.|
|(13) AND THE PRIEST OF ZEUS, THE GOD BEFORE THE CITY BROUGHT OXEN AND GARLANDS TO THE GATES, AND INTENDED TO OFFER SACRIFICE ALONG WITH THE MULTITUDES. (14) AND HEARING, THE APOSTLES BARNABAS AND PAUL RENT THEIR GARMENTS AND RAN HASTILY OUT AMONG THE CROWD, (15) SHOUTING AND SAYING, “SIRS, WHAT IS THIS YE DO? WE ALSO ARE MEN OF LIKE NATURE TO YOU, BRINGING YOU THE GLAD NEWS TO TURN FROM THESE VAIN ONES TO GOD THE LIVING, WHICH MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND EVERYTHING IN THEM.||(13) AND THE PRIESTS OF THE GOD, “ZEUS BEFORE THE CITY” BROUGHT OXEN AND GARLANDS TO THE GATES, AND INTENDED TO MAKE SACRIFICE BEYOND the usual ritual ALONG WITH THE MULTITUDES. (14) AND HEARING, THE APOSTLES BARNABAS AND PAUL RENT THEIR GARMENTS AND RAN HASTILY OUT AMONG THE CROWD, (15) SHOUTING AND SAYING, “SIRS, WHAT IS THIS YE DO? WE ARE MEN OF LIKE NATURE TO YOU, BRINGING YOU THE GLAD NEWS OF THE GOD, THAT YOU MAY TURN FROM THESE VAIN ONES TO THE GOD, THE LIVING, WHICH MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND EVERYTHING IN THEM.|
(16) WHO IN THE BYGONE GENERATIONS LEFT ALL NATIONS TO GO IN THEIR OWN WAYS. (17) AND YET HE LEFT NOT HIMSELF WITHOUT WITNESS, IN THAT HE DID GOOD, GIVING YOU FROM HEAVEN RAINS AND FRUITFUL SEASONS, FILLING YOUR HEARTS WITH FOOD AND GLADNESS.” (18) AND, SAYING THIS, THEY SCARCE RESTRAINED THE MULTITUDES FROM DOING SACRIFICE UNTO THEM.
Paul is here the Messenger of the Supreme God (p. 84): he says in Gal. IV 14, “ye received me as a Messenger of God”. The coincidence, as Prof. Rendel Harris points out, is interesting.
The Bezan Text has in several details the advantage of local accuracy—the plural “priests,” the title “Zeus before the city,” the phrase “the God,” the “extra sacrifice”. Dr. Blass rejects the Bezan reading “priests” on the ground that there was only one priest of a single god; but there was regularly a college of priests at each of the great temples of Asia Minor. The “God before the city” had in almost every case been seated in his temple when there was no city; and he remained in his own sacred place after civilisation progressed and a Greek or Roman city was rounded in the neighbourhood. According to the Bezan Text the proposed sacrifice was an extra beyond the ordinary ritual which the priests performed to the God. This sense of ἐπιθύενι does not occur elsewhere, but seems to lie fairly within the meaning of the compound. Dr. Blass, who is usually so enthusiastic a supporter of the Western Text, rejects these three variations; but they add so much to the vividness of the scene, that one cannot, with him, regard them as mere corruptions.
In Asia Minor the great God was regularly termed by his worshippers “the God”; and Paul, who introduces the Christian God to his Athenian audience as “the Unknown God,” whom they have been worshipping, might be expected to use the familiar term “the God” to the Lystran crowd. Here, probability favours the originality of the Bezan Text.
There remain some serious difficulties in this episode: Dr. Blass rejects the idea of some commentators that the sacrifice was prepared at the gates of the temple; and explains that the priests came from the temple before the city to the gates of the city. But in that case Lukan usage would lead us to expect πύλη. (cp. IX 24, XVI 13), rather than πυλών (cp. X 17, XII 13, 14). Another difficulty occurs in v. 14. Dr. Blass’s explanation is that the Apostles had gone home after healing the lame man, and there heard what was going on and hurried forth from their house. This explanation is not convincing.
Probably a better knowledge of the localities might make the narrative clearer: it has been for years a dream of mine to make some excavations at Lystra, in the hope of illustrating this interesting episode. One suggestion, however, may be made. The college of priests probably prepared their sacrifice at the outer gateway of the temple-grounds, because, being no part of the ordinary ritual, it could not be performed on one of the usual places, and because they wished the multitudes to take part; whereas sacrifice at the city-gates seems improbable for many reasons. Then as the day advanced, the Apostles, who were continuing their missionary work, heard that the priests and people were getting ready to celebrate the Epiphany of the Gods; and they hurried forth from the city to the temple.
The use of the Lycaonian language shows that the worshippers were not the Roman coloni, the aristocracy of the colony, but the natives, the less educated and more superstitious part of the population (incolæ, p. 218).
(XIV 19) AND THERE CAME JEWS FROM ANTIOCH AND ICONIUM; AND THEY PERSUADED THE MULTITUDES AND STONED PAUL AND DRAGGED his body OUT OF THE CITY, CONSIDERING THAT HE WAS DEAD. (20) BUT, WHEN THE DISCIPLES ENCIRCLED HIM, HE STOOD UP AND WENT INTO THE CITY; AND ON THE MORROW HE WENT FORTH WITH BARNABAS TO DERBE. (21) AND THEY PREACHED THE GLAD NEWS TO THAT CITY AND MADE MANY DISCIPLES.
It is interesting to observe the contrast between the emphasis of XIV 8 and the cautiousness of statement in XIV 19. The writer considered that there was full evidence as to the real condition of the lame man; but all that he can guarantee in XIV 19 is that his persecutors considered Paul to be dead; and beyond that he does not go. As usual, he simply states the facts, and leaves the reader to judge for himself. A writer who tried to find marvels would have found one here, and said so.
In Derbe nothing special is recorded: the same process went on as in previous cases. Here on the limits of the Roman province the Apostles turned. New magistrates had now come into office in all the cities whence they had been driven; and it was therefore possible to go back.
10. ORGANISATION OF THE NEW CHURCHES.
(XIV 21) THEY RETURNED TO LYSTRA AND TO ICONIUM AND TO ANTIOCH, (22) CONFIRMING THE SOULS OF THE DISCIPLES, EXHORTING THEM TO CONTINUE IN THE FAITH, AND THAT THROUGH MANY TRIBULATIONS WE MUST ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (23) AND WHEN THEY HAD APPOINTED FOR THEM ELDERS IN EVERY CHURCH, AND HAD PRAYED WITH FASTING, THEY COMMENDED THEM TO THE LORD, ON WHOM THEY HAD BELIEVED.
On the return journey the organisation of the newly rounded churches occupied Paul’s attention. It is probable that, in his estimation, some definite organisation was implied in the idea of a church; and until the brotherhood in a city was organised, it was not in the strictest sense a church. In this passage we see that the fundamental part of the Church organisation lay in the appointment of Elders (πρεσβύτεροι). In XIII 1 we found that there were prophets and teachers in the Antiochian church; here nothing is said about appointing them, but the reason indubitably is that prophets and teachers required Divine grace, and could not be appointed by men: they were accepted when the grace was found to have been given them.
Paul used the word Bishops (ἐπίσκοποι) as equivalent to Elders. This is specially clear in XX, where he summoned the Ephesian Elders, v. 17, and said to them: “the Holy Spirit hath made you Bishops,” verse 28. It is therefore certain that the “Bishops and Deacons” at Philippi (Phil. I 1) are the Elders and Deacons, who were the constituted officials of the Church. The Elders are also to be understood as “the rulers” (προιστάμενοι) at Rome and Thessalonica (Rom XII 8, I Thess. V 12). Both terms, Elders and Bishops, occur in the Epistles to Titus and Timothy; but it is plain from Tit. I 5-7 that they are synonymous.
It is clear, therefore, that Paul everywhere instituted Elders in his new Churches; and on our hypothesis as to the accurate and methodical expression of the historian, we are bound to infer that this first case is intended to be typical of the way of appointment followed in all later cases. When Paul directed Titus (I 5) to appoint Elders in each Cretan city, he was doubtless thinking of the same method which he followed here. Unfortunately, the term used (χειροτονήσαντες) is by no means certain in meaning; for, though originally it meant to elect by popular vote, yet it came to be used in the sense to appoint or designate (e.g., Acts X 41). But it is not in keeping with our conception of the precise and often pragmatically accurate expression of Luke, that he should in this passage have used the term χειροτονήσαντες, unless he intended its strict sense. If he did not mean it strictly, the term is fatally ambiguous, where definiteness is specially called for. It must, I think, be allowed that the votes and voice of each congregation were considered; and the term is obviously used in that way by Paul, II Cor. VIII 19.
It is also apparent that a certain influence to be exercised by himself is implied in the instructions given to Titus (I 5); but those instructions seem only to mean that Titus, as a sort of presiding officer, is to instruct the people what conditions the person chosen must satisfy, and perhaps to reject unsuitable candidates. Candidature, perhaps of a merely informal character, is implied in I Tim. III 1; but, of course, if election has any scope at all, candidature goes along with it. The procedure, then, seems to be not dissimilar to Roman elections of magistrates, in which the presiding magistrate subjected all candidates to a scrutiny as to their qualifications, and had large discretion in rejecting those whom he considered unsuitable.
Finally, it is stated in XX 28 that the Holy Spirit made men Bishops; but this expression is fully satisfied by what may safely be assumed as the final stage of the appointment, viz. the Bishops elect were submitted to the Divine approval at the solemn prayer and fast which accompanied their appointment. This meeting and rite of fasting, which Paul celebrated in each city on his return journey, is to be taken as the form that was to be permanently observed (cp. XIII 3).
The use of the first person plural in v. 22 is not personal, but general; Paul impressed on them the universal truth that “we Christians” can enter the kingdom of God by no other path than that of suffering. At the same time the author, by using the first person, associates himself with the principle, not as one of the audience at the time, but as one who strongly realised its truth. This is one of the few personal touches in Acts; and we must gather from it that, at the time when he was writing, the principle was strongly impressed on him by circumstances. I can understand this personal touch, in comparison with the studious suppression of personal feelings and views throughout Acts, in no other way than by supposing that Luke was composing this history during a time of special persecution. On that supposition the expression is luminous; but otherwise it stands in marked contrast to the style of Acts. Now evidence from a different line of reasoning points to the conclusion that Luke was writing this second book of his history under Domitian, the second great persecutor (Ch. VII).
11. PISIDIA AND PAMPHYLIA.
(XIV 24) AND HAVING MADE A MISSIONARY JOURNEY THROUGH PISIDIA, THEY CAME INTO PAMPHYLIA; (25) AND AFTER HAVING SPOKEN THE WORD IN PERGA, THEY CAME DOWN TO the harbour ATTALEIA; (26) AND FROM THENCE THEY SAILED AWAY TO ANTIOCH, WHENCE THEY HAD BEEN COMMITTED TO THE GRACE OF GOD FOR THE WORK WHICH THEY FULFILLED. (27) AND REACHING ANTIOCH, AND HOLDING A MEETING OF THE CHURCH, THEY PROCEEDED TO ANNOUNCE ALL THAT GOD DID WITH THEM, AND THAT HE OPENED TO THE NATIONS THE GATE OF BELIEF (See p. 85).
Next, the journey goes on from Antioch (v. 21), leading first into Pisidia, a Region of the province Galatia, and then into the province Pamphylia. It is clearly implied that Pisidian Antioch was not in Pisidia; and, strange as that seems, it is correct (p. 104). Any Church founded in Pisidia would rank along with those founded in Galatic Phrygia and Galatic Lycaonia as one of “the Churches of Galatia”; but neither Pisidia nor Pamphylia plays any further part in early Christian History. There was, however, a Pauline tradition at Adada.
Attaleia seems to be mentioned here solely as the port of departure (though they had formerly sailed direct up the Cestrus to Perga). Not catching Luke’s fondness for details connected with the sea and harbours (p. 20), the Bezan Reviser reads: “they came down to Attaleia, giving them the good news”.
12. THE CHURCHES.
In Lukan and Pauline language two meanings are found of the term Ecclesia. It means originally simply “an assembly”; and, as employed by Paul in his earliest. Epistles, it may be rendered “the congregation of the Thessalonians”. It is then properly construed with the genitive, denoting the assembly of this organised society, to which any man of Thessalonica may belong if he qualifies for it. The term Ecclesia originally implied that the assembled members constituted a self-governing body like a free Greek city (πόλις). Ancient religious societies were commonly organised on the model of city organisation. The term was adopted in the Septuagint, and came into ordinary use among Grecian Jews.
Gradually Paul’s idea of “the Unified Church” became definite; and, with the true philosophic instinct, he felt the need of a technical term to indicate the idea. Ecclesia was the word that forced itself on him. But in the new sense it demanded a new construction; it was no longer “the church of the Thessalonians,” but “the Church in Corinth”; and it was necessarily singular, for there was only one Church.
The new usage grew naturally in the mind of a statesman, animated with the instinct of administration, and gradually coming to realise the combination of imperial centralisation and local home rule, which is involved in the conception of a self-governing unity, the Universal Church, consisting of many parts, widely separated in space. Each of these parts must govern itself in its internal relations, because it is distant from other parts, and yet each is merely a piece carved out of the homogeneous whole, and each finds its justification and perfect ideal in the whole. That was a conception analogous to the Roman view, that every group of Roman citizens meeting together in a body (conventus Civium Romanorum) in any part of the vast Empire formed a part of the great conception “Rome,” and. that such a group was not an intelligible idea, except as a piece of the great unity. Any Roman citizen who came to any provincial town where such a group existed was forthwith a member of the group; and the group was simply a fragment of “Rome,” cut off in space from the whole body, but preserving its vitality and self-identity as fully as when it was joined to the whole, and capable of reuniting with the whole as soon as the estranging space was annihilated. Such was the Roman constitutional theory, and such was the Pauline theory. The actual working of the Roman theory was complicated by the numberless imperfect forms of citizenship, such as the provincial status (for the provincials were neither Romans nor foreigners; they were in the State yet not of the State), and other points in which mundane facts were too stubborn; and it was impeded by failure to attain full consciousness of its character. The Pauline theory was carried out with a logical thoroughness and consistency which the Roman theory, could never attain in practice; but it is hardly doubtful that, whether or not Paul himself was conscious that the full realisation of his idea could only be the end of a long process of growth and not the beginning, his successors carried out his theory with a disregard of the mundane facts of national and local diversity that produced serious consequences. They waged relentless war within the bounds of the Empire against all provincial distinctions of language and character, they disregarded the force of associations and early ties, and aimed at an absolute uniformity that was neither healthy nor attainable in human nature. The diversities which they ejected returned in other ways, and crystallised in Christian forms, as the local saints who gradually became more real and powerful in the religious thought and practice of each district than the true Christian ideas; and, as degeneration proceeded, the heads of the Church acquiesced more and more contentedly in a nominal and ceremonial unity that had lost reality.
As is natural, Paul did not abandon the old and familiar usage of the term Ecclesia, when the new and more technical usage developed in his mind and language. The process is apparent in Gal. I 13, where the new sense occurs, though hardly as yet, perhaps, with full consciousness and intention. Elsewhere in that letter the term is used in the old sense, “the Churches of Galatia “. In I Cor. I 2 the new sense of Ecclesia is deliberately and formally employed.
The term Ecclesia is used in Acts in both these ways, and an examination of the distinction throws some light on the delicacy of expression in the book. It occurs in the plural. sense of “congregations” or “every congregation” in XIV 23, XV 41, XVI 5. In each of these eases it is used about Paul’s work in the period when he was employing the term in its earlier sense; and there is a fine sense of language in saying at that period that Paul went over the congregations which he had rounded in Syria and Cilicia and in Galatia. In all other cases (in the Eastern Text at least), Luke uses Ecclesia in the singular, in some cases markedly in the sense of the Unified Church (e.g., IX 31), in some cases as “the Church in Jerusalem” (VIII 1), and in some cases very pointedly,. “the Church in so far as it was in Jerusalem” or “in Antioch” (XI 22, XIII 1); and in some cases where the sense “congregation” might be permitted by the context, the sense of “the Church” gives a more satisfactory meaning.
The author, therefore, when he speaks in his own person, stands on the platform of the developed Pauline usage, and uses Ecclesia in the sense of “the single Unified Church,” but where there is a special dramatic appropriateness in employing the earlier Pauline term to describe Paul’s work, he employs the early term.2222An exception occurs to this rule, in an addition of the Bezan Text, according to which Apollos went to Achaia and contributed much to strengthening the congregations (ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις). We have here not the original words of Luke, but an addition (as I believe, trustworthy in point of fact) made by a second century Reviser, imitating passages like XV 41, XVI 5, Gal. I 2, 22. This case stands in close analogy to IX 31, where many authorities have (Codex Bezæ is defective) “the Ecclesiai throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria,” but the singular is used in the Accepted Text founded on the great MSS.
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