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14:1 They entered together [kata to auto eiselthein]. Like [epi to auto] in 3:1. The infinitive [eiselthein] is the subject of [egeneto]. So spake that [lalēsai houtōs hōste]. Infinitive again parallel to [eiselthein]. With the result that, actual result here stated with [hōste] and the aorist infinitive [pisteusai] (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 999f.) rather than [hōste] and the indicative like Joh 3:16. It was a tremendous first meeting.
14:2 That were disobedient [hoi apeithēsantes]. First aorist active articular participle, not the present [apeithountes] as the Textus Receptus has it. But the meaning is probably the Jews that disbelieved, rather than that disobeyed. Strictly [apeitheō] does mean to disobey and [apisteō] to disbelieve, but that distinction is not observed in Joh 3:36 nor in Ac 19:9; 28:24. The word [apeitheō] means to be [apeithēs], to be unwilling to be persuaded or to withhold belief and then also to withhold obedience. The two meanings run into one another. To disbelieve the word of God is to disobey God. Made them evil affected [ekakōsan]. First aorist active indicative of [kakoō], old verb from [kakos], to do evil to, to ill-treat, then in later Greek as here to embitter, to exasperate as in Ps 105:32 and in Josephus. In this sense only here in the N.T. Evidently Paul preached the same message as in Antioch for it won both Jews and Gentiles, and displeased the rabbis. Codex Bezae adds here that “the chiefs of the synagogue and the rulers” brought persecution upon Paul and Barnabas just as was argued about Antioch. Outside the synagogue the Jews would poison the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. “The story of Thecla suggests a means, and perhaps the apostles were brought before the magistrates on some charge of interference with family life. The magistrates however must have seen at once that there was no legal case against them; and by a sentence of acquittal or in some other way the Lord gave peace” (Rackham). As we have it, the story of Paul and Thecla undoubtedly has apocryphal features, though Thecla may very well be an historical character here at Iconium where the story is located. Certainly the picture of Paul herein drawn cannot be considered authentic though a true tradition may underlie it: “bald, bowlegged, strongly built, small in stature, with large eyes and meeting eyebrows and longish nose; full of grace; sometimes looking like a man, sometimes having the face of an angel.”
14:3 Long time therefore [hikanon men oun chronon]. Accusative of duration of time (possibly six months) and note [men oun]. There is an antithesis in [eschisthē de] (verse 4) and in verse 5 [egeneto de]. After the persecution and vindication there was a season of great opportunity which Paul and Barnabas used to the full, “speaking boldly” [parrēsiazomenoi] as in 13:46 at Antioch in Pisidia, “in the Lord” [epi tōi kuriōi], upon the basis of the Lord Jesus as in 4:17f. And the Lord Jesus “bore witness to the word of his grace” as he always does, “granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” [didonti sēmeia kai terata ginesthai dia tōn cheirōn autōn]. Present participle [didonti] and present infinitive [ginesthai] repetition of both signs and wonders (note both words) just as had happened with Peter and John and the other apostles (2:43; 4:29f.; 5:12; cf. Heb 2:4). The time of peace could not last forever with such a work of grace as this. A second explosion of persecution was bound to come and some of the MSS. actually have [ek deuterou] (a second time).
14:4 But the multitude of the city was divided [eschisthē de to plēthos tēs poleōs]. First aorist passive indicative of [schizō], old verb to split, to make a schism or factions as Sadducees and Pharisees (23:7). This division was within the Gentile populace. Part held [hoi men ēsan], literally “some were with the Jews” [sun tois Ioudaiois], part with the apostles [hoi de sun tois apostolois]. Common demonstrative of contrast [hoi men, hoi de], Robertson, Grammar, p. 694). The Jewish leaders made some impression on the Gentiles as at Antioch in Pisidia and later at Thessalonica (17:4f.). This is the first time in the Acts that Paul and Barnabas are termed “apostles” (see also verse 14). Elsewhere in the Acts the word is restricted to the twelve. Certainly Luke does not here employ it in that technical sense. To have followed Jesus in his ministry and to have seen the Risen Christ was essential to the technical use (1:22f.). Whether Barnabas had seen the Risen Christ we do not know, but certainly Paul had (1Co 9:1f.; 15:8). Paul claimed to be an apostle on a par with the twelve (Ga 1:1, 16-18). The word originally means simply one sent (Joh 13:16) like messengers of the churches with the collection (2Co 8:23). The Jews used it of those sent from Jerusalem to collect the temple tribute. Paul applies the word to James the Lord’s brother (Ga 1:19), to Epaphroditus (Php 2:25) as the messenger of the church in Philippi, to Silvanus and Timothy (1Th 2:6; Ac 18:5), apparently to Apollos (1Co 4:9), and to Andronicus and Junias (Ro 16:6f.). He even calls the Judaizers “false apostles” (2Co 11:13).
14:5 An onset [hormē]. A rush or impulse as in Jas 3:4. Old word, but only twice in the N.T. (here and James). It probably denotes not an actual attack so much as the open start, the co-operation of both Jews and Gentiles (the disaffected portion), “with their rulers” [sun tois archousin autōn], that is the rulers of the Jewish synagogue (13:27). The city officials would hardly join in a mob like this, though Hackett and Rackham think that the city magistrates were also involved as in Antioch in Pisidia (13:50). To entreat them shamefully [hubrisai]. First aorist active infinitive of [hubrizō], old verb to insult insolently. See on Mt 22:6; Lu 18:32. To stone [lithobolēsai]. First aorist active infinitive of [lithoboleō], late verb from [lithobolos] [lithos], stone, [ballō], to throw) to pelt with stones, the verb used of the stoning of Stephen (7:58). See on Mt 21:35. The plan to stone them shows that the Jews were in the lead and followed by the Gentile rabble. “Legal proceedings having failed the only resource left for the Jews was illegal violence” (Rackham).
14:6 They became aware of it [sunidontes]. Second aorist (ingressive) active participle of [sunoraō] [suneidon], old word to see together, to become conscious of as already in 12:12. In the N.T. only by Luke and Paul. Fled [katephugon]. Second aorist (effective) active indicative of [katapheugō], old verb, but in the N.T. only here and Heb 6:18. Paul and Barnabas had no idea of remaining to be stoned (lynched) by this mob. It is a wise preacher who always knows when to stand his ground and when to leave for the glory of God. Paul and Barnabas were following the directions of the Lord Jesus given to the twelve on their special tour of Galilee (Mt 10:23). Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia (still part of the Province of Galatia, though in another Regio), not far from the base of the Black Mountain. Professor Sterrett has apparently identified Lystra by an inscription about six hours (18 miles) south-southwest from Iconium near the village Khatyn Serai and Derbe probably near the village Losta or Zosta though its location is really not known. Lystra had been made a colony in B.C. 6 and Derbe was the frontier city of the Roman empire in the southeast. These are the only cities mentioned, but they were of importance and show that Paul kept to his plan of going to centres of influence. The new imperial road from Antioch and Iconium reached these cities. The region round about [tēn perichōron] was “a high table land, ill-watered, bleak, but suited for sheep pasture” (Page).
14:7 And there they preached the gospel [kakei euaggelizomenoi ēsan]. Periphrastic imperfect middle. We are to think of extensive evangelistic work perhaps with the assistance of disciples from Antioch and Iconium since Paul and Barnabas could not speak Lycaonian. [Kakei] is crasis for [kai ekei].
14:8 At Lystra [en Lustrois]. Neuter plural as in 16:2; 2Ti 3:11 while feminine singular in 14:6, 21; 16:1. There was apparently no synagogue in Lystra and so not many Jews. Paul and Barnabas had to do open-air preaching and probably had difficulty in being understood by the natives though both Greek and Latin inscriptions were discovered here by Professor Sterrett in 1885. The incident narrated here (verses 8-18) shows how they got a real hearing among these rude heathen. There sat [ekathēto]. Imperfect middle of [kathēmai]. Was sitting. This case is very much like that in 3:1-11, healed by Peter. Possibly outside the gate (verse 13) or some public place. Impotent in his feet [adunatos tois posin]. Old verbal, but only here in the N.T. in this sense except figuratively in Ro 15:1. Elsewhere it means “impossible” (Mt 19:26). Locative case. Common in medical writers in the sense of “impotent.” So Tobit 2:10; 5:9. Had walked [periepatēsen]. So best MSS., first aorist active indicative “walked,” not [periepepatēkei], “had walked” (past perfect active).
14:9 The same [houtos]. Just “this one.” Heard [ēkouen]. Imperfect active, was listening to Paul speaking [lalountos]. Either at the gate or in the market place (17:17) Paul was preaching to such as would listen or could understand his Greek (Koinē). Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveller, pp. 114, 116) thinks that the cripple was a proselyte. At any rate he may have heard of the miracles wrought at Iconium (verse 3) and Paul may have spoken of the work of healing wrought by Jesus. This man was “no mendicant pretender,” for his history was known from his birth. Fastening his eyes upon him [atenisas autōi]. Just as in 13:9 of Paul and 1:10 which see. Paul saw a new hope in the man’s eyes and face. He had faith [echei pistin]. Present active indicative retained in indirect discourse. To be made whole [tou sōthēnai]. Genitive of articular first aorist passive infinitive (purpose and result combined) of [sōzō], to make sound and also to save. Here clearly to make whole or well as in Lu 7:50 (cf. Ac 3:16; 4:10).
14:10 Upright [orthos]. Predicate adjective. In this sense Galen and Hippocrates frequently use [orthos] (erect, straight). Paul spoke in a loud [megalēi] voice so that all could hear and know. He leaped up and walked [hēlato kai periepatei]. Rather, He leaped up with a single bound and began to walk. The second aorist middle indicative (with first aorist vowel [a] of [hallomai] (late verb, in papyri) and inchoative imperfect active of [peripateō], common verb to walk around. This graphic picture is concealed by the usual English rendering. It is possible that Luke obtained the vivid report of this incident from Timothy who may have witnessed it and who was probably converted during Paul’s stay here (16:3). His father was a prominent Greek and his mother Eunice, possibly a widow, may have lived here with her mother Lois (2Ti 1:5).
14:11 Lifted up their voice [epēran tēn phōnēn autōn]. First aorist active of [epairō]. In their excitement they elevated their voices. In the speech of Lycaonia [Lukaonisti]. Adverb from verb [lukaonizō], to use the language of Lycaonia found here alone, but formed regularly like [Ebraisti] (Joh 5:2), [Hellēnisti] (Ac 21:37), [Rōmaisti] (Joh 19:20). Paul was speaking in Greek, of course, but the excitement of the crowd over the miracle made them cry out in their native tongue which Paul and Barnabas did not understand. Hence it was not till preparations for offering sacrifice to them had begun that Paul understood the new role in which he and Barnabas were held. In the likeness of men [homoiōthentes anthrōpois]. First aorist passive participle of [homoiō], to liken, with the associative instrumental case. In this primitive state the people hold to the old Graeco-Roman mythology. The story of Baucis and Philemon tells how Jupiter (Zeus) and Mercury (Hermes) visited in human form the neighbouring region of Phrygia (Ovid, Meta. VIII. 626). Jupiter (Zeus) had a temple in Lystra.
14:12 They called [ekaloun]. Inchoative imperfect began to call. Barnabas, Jupiter [ton Barnaban Dia]. Because Barnabas was the older and the more imposing in appearance. Paul admits that he was not impressive in looks (2Co 10:10). And Paul, Mercury [ton de Paulon Hermēn]. Mercury [Hermēs] was the messenger of the gods, and the spokesman of Zeus. [Hermēs] was of beautiful appearance and eloquent in speech, the inventor of speech in legend. Our word hermeneutics or science of interpretation comes from this word (Heb 7:2; Joh 1:38). Because he was the chief speaker [epeidē autos ēn ho hēgoumenos tou logou]. Paul was clearly “the leader of the talk.” So it seemed a clear case to the natives. If preachers always knew what people really think of them! Whether Paul was alluding to his experience in Lystra or not in Ga 4:14, certainly they did receive him as an angel of God, as if “Mercury” in reality.
14:13 Whose temple was before the city [tou ontos pro tēs pōleōs]. The god (Zeus) is identified with his temple. He had a statue and temple there. Oxen and garlands [taurous kai stemmata]. Probably garlands to put on the oxen before they were slain. It was common to sacrifice bullocks to Jupiter and Mercury. Would have done sacrifice [ēthelen thuein]. Imperfect indicative, wanted to offer sacrifice. He was planning to do it, and his purpose now became plain to Paul and Barnabas.
14:14 Having heard [akousantes]. Such elaborate preparation “with the multitudes” [sun tois ochlois] spread rumours and some who spoke Greek told Paul and Barnabas. It is possible that the priest of Jupiter may have sent a formal request that the visiting “gods” might come out to the statue by the temple gates to make it a grand occasion. They rent their garments [diarrēxantes]. First aorist active participle from [diarrēgnumi], old verb to rend in two. Like the high priest in Mt 26:65 as if an act of sacrilege was about to be committed. It was strange conduct for the supposed gods! Sprang forth [exepēdēsan]. First aorist (ingressive) active indicative of [ekpēdaō] (note [ek], old verb, here only in the N.T. It was all a sign of grief and horror with loud outcries [krazontes].
14:15 Sirs [andres]. Literally, Men. Abrupt, but courteous. We also are men of like passions with you [kai hēmeis homoiopatheis esmen humin anthrōpoi]. Old adjective from [homoios] (like) and [paschō], to experience. In the N.T. only here and Jas 5:17. It means “of like nature” more exactly and affected by like sensations, not “gods” at all. Their conduct was more serious than the obeisance of Cornelius to Peter (10:25f.). [Humin] is associative instrumental case. And bring you good tidings [euaggelizomenoi]. No “and” in the Greek, just the present middle participle, “gospelizing you.” They are not gods, but evangelists. Here we have Paul’s message to a pagan audience without the Jewish environment and he makes the same line of argument seen in Ac 17:21-32; Ro 1:18-23. At Antioch in Pisidia we saw Paul’s line of approach to Jews and proselytes (Ac 13:16-41). That ye should turn from these vain things [apo toutōn tōn mataiōn epistrephein]. He boldly calls the worship of Jupiter and Mercury and all idols “vain” or empty things, pointing to the statues and the temple. Unto the living God [epi theon zōnta]. They must go the whole way. Our God is a live God, not a dead statue. Paul is fond of this phrase (2Co 6:16; Ro 9:26). Who made [hos epoiēsen]. The one God is alive and is the Creator of the Universe just as Paul will argue in Athens (Ac 17:24). Paul here quotes Ps 146:6 and has Ge 1:1 in mind. See also 1Th 1:9 where a new allegiance is also claimed as here.
14:16 In the generations gone by [en tais parōichēmenais geneais]. Perfect middle participle from [paroichomai], to go by, old verb, here alone in the N.T. Suffered [eiasen]. Constative aorist active indicative of [eaō] (note syllabic augment). Paul here touches God in history as he did just before in creation. God’s hand is on the history of all the nations (Gentile and Jew), only with the Gentiles he withdrew the restraints of his grace in large measure (Ac 17:30; Ro 1:24,26,28), judgment enough for their sins. To walk in their ways [poreuesthai tais hodois autōn]. Present middle infinitive, to go on walking, with locative case without [en]. This philosophy of history does not mean that God was ignorant or unconcerned. He was biding his time in patience.
14:17 And yet [kaitoi]. Old Greek compound particle [kai toi]. In the N.T. twice only, once with finite verb as here, once with the participle (Heb 4:3). Without witness [amarturon]. Old adjective [a] privative and [martus], witness), only here in the N.T. Left [aphēken]. First aorist active [k] aorist indicative of [aphiēmi]. In that he did good [agathourgōn]. Present active causal participle of [agathourgeō], late and rare verb (also [agathoergeō] 1Ti 6:18), reading of the oldest MSS. here for [agathopoieō], to do good. Note two other causal participles here parallel with [agathourgōn], viz., [didous] (“giving you”) present active of [didōmi, empiplōn] (“filling”) present active of [empimplaō] (late form of [empimplēmi]. This witness to God (his doing good, giving rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness) they could receive without the help of the Old Testament revelation (Ro 1:20). Zeus was regarded as the god of rain (Jupiter Pluvius) and Paul claims the rain and the fruitful [karpophorous, karpos], and [pherō], fruit bearing, old word, here alone in N.T.) seasons as coming from God. Lycaonia was often dry and it would be an appropriate item. “Mercury, as the God of merchandise, was also the dispenser of food” (Vincent). Paul does not talk about laws of nature as if they governed themselves, but he sees the living God “behind the drama of the physical world” (Furneaux). These simple country people could grasp his ideas as he claims everything for the one true God. Gladness [euphrosunēs]. Old word from [euphrōn] [eu] and [phrēn], good cheer. In the N.T. only Ac 2:28 and here. Cheerfulness should be our normal attitude when we consider God’s goodness. Paul does not here mention Christ because he had the single definite purpose to dissuade them from worshipping Barnabas and himself.
14:18 Scarce [molis]. Adverb in same sense as old [mogis], from [molos], toil. Restrained [katepausan]. Effective first aorist active indicative of [katapauō], old verb in causative sense to make abstain from. From doing sacrifice unto them [tou mē thuein autois]. Ablative case of the articular infinitive with redundant negative after [katepausan], regular Greek idiom (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1094, 1171). It had been a harrowing and well-nigh a horrible ordeal, but finally Paul had won. If only nobody else had interposed!
14:19 But there came thither Jews from Antioch and Iconium [Epēlthan de apo Antiocheias kai Ikoniou Ioudaioi]. Came to or upon them, [epēlthan], second aorist (ingressive) indicative of [eperchomai]. Whether news of the miracle had reached those cities we do not know. These may have been travelling grain merchants. At any rate there was an interval in which Paul and Barnabas won some disciples (verse 22). There would be a natural reaction, even revulsion, in the minds of many who had come so near to worshipping Paul and Barnabas. The pendulum swings easily from one extreme to the other. The hostile Jews from Antioch and Iconium may even have followed Paul and Barnabas along the fine Roman road on purpose to keep them on the run. They had driven them out of Antioch and out of Iconium and now appear at Lystra at an opportune moment for their work. Having persuaded the multitudes [peisantes tous ochlous]. First aorist (effective) active participle of [peithō]. They had complete success with many and struck at the psychological moment. They stoned Paul [lithasantes ton Paulon]. First aorist active participle of [lithazō], late verb from [lithos] for throwing stones (used by Paul referring to this one incident when alone he was stoned, 2Co 11:25). The wounds inflicted may have left some of the scars [stigmata] mentioned in Ga 6:17. They stoned Paul as the chief speaker (Mercury) and passed by Barnabas (Jupiter). It was a Jewish mode of punishment as against Stephen and these Jews knew that Paul was the man that they had to deal with. Hackett notes that the Jews with two exceptions incited the persecutions which Paul endured. The exceptions were in Philippi (16:16-40) and Ephesus (19:23-41). Dragged him out of the city [esuron exō tēs poleōs]. They hurled Stephen outside of the city before stoning him [7:58]. It was a hurried and irregular proceeding, but they were dragging (imperfect active of [surō], old verb) Paul out now. Supposing that he were dead [nomizontes auton tethnēkenai]. Present active participle with infinitive (second perfect active of [thnēskō] in indirect discourse with accusative of general reference. The Jews are jubilant this time with memories of Paul’s escape at Antioch and Iconium. The pagan mob feel that they have settled accounts for their narrow escape from worshipping two Jewish renegade preachers. It was a good day’s work for them all. Luke does not say that Paul was actually dead.
14:20 Stood round about him [kuklōsantōn auton]. Genitive absolute with first aorist active participle of [kukloō], old verb from [kuklos] (circle, cycle) to make a circle round, to encircle. The would-be murderers left and a group of disciples gathered round to see if Paul was dead or alive and, if dead, to bury him. In that group Timothy may very well have been along with Eunice and Barnabas. Timothy, a lad of about fifteen, would not soon forget that solemn scene (2Ti 3:11). But Paul suddenly (apparently a miraculous recovery) rose up [anastas] and entered the city to the surprise and joy of the disciples who were willing to brave persecution with Paul. With Barnabas [sun tōi Barnabāi]. With the assistance of Barnabas. It was plainly unwise to continue in Lystra so that they set out on the next day [tēi epaurion], ten times in Acts), shaken and bruised as Paul was. Derbe was some forty miles distant, near the pass to the Cilician Gates.
14:21 When they had preached the gospel to that city [euaggelisamenoi tēn polin ekeinēn]. Having evangelized (first aorist middle participle) that city, a smaller city and apparently with no trouble from the Jews. Had made many disciples [mathēteusantes hikanous]. First aorist active participle of [mathēteuō] from [mathētēs], a learner or disciple. Late verb in Plutarch, to be a disciple (Mt 27:57 like Joh 19:38) and then to disciple (old English, Spenser), to make a disciple as in Mt 28:19 and here. Paul and Barnabas were literally here obeying the command of Jesus in discipling people in this heathen city. They returned to Lystra and to Iconium, and to Antioch [hupestrepsan eis tēn Lustran kai eis Ikonion kai eis Antiocheian]. Derbe was the frontier city of the Roman empire. The quickest way to return to Antioch in Syria would have been by the Cilician Gates or by the pass over Mt. Taurus by which Paul and Silas will come to Derbe in the second tour (Ac 15:41-16:1), but difficult to travel in winter. But it was necessary to revisit the churches in Lystra, Iconium, Antioch in Pisidia and to see that they were able to withstand persecution. Paul was a Roman citizen though he had not made use of this privilege as yet for his own protection. Against mob violence it would count for little, but he did not hesitate. Paul had been stoned in Lystra, threatened in Iconium, expelled in Antioch. He shows his wisdom in conserving his work.
14:22 Confirming [epistērizontes]. Late verb (in LXX), in N.T. only in Ac 14:22; 15:32, 41, to make more firm, to give additional [epi] strength. Each time in Acts the word is used concerning these churches. To continue in the faith [emmenein tēi pistei]. To remain in with locative, old verb. It is possible that [pistis] here has the notion of creed as Paul uses it later (Col 1:23 with [epimenō]; 1Ti 5:8). It seems to be here more than trust or belief. These recent converts from heathenism were ill-informed, were persecuted, had broken family and social ties, greatly needed encouragement if they were to hold out. We must [dei hēmās]. It does not follow from this use of “we” that Luke was present, since it is a general proposition applying to all Christians at all times (2Ti 3:12). Luke, of course, approved this principle. Knowling asks why Timothy may not have told Luke about Paul’s work. It all sounds like quotation of Paul’s very language. Note the change of construction here after [parakalountes] (infinitive of indirect command, [emmenein], but [hoti dei], indirect assertion). They needed the right understanding of persecution as we all do. Paul frankly warned these new converts in this heathen environment of the many tribulations through which they must enter the Kingdom of God (the culmination at last) as he did at Ephesus (Ac 20:20) and as Jesus had done (Joh 16:33). These saints were already converted.
14:23 And when they had appointed for them elders in every church [cheirotonēsantes de autois kat’ ekklēsian presbuterous]. They needed also some form of organization, though already churches. Note distributive use of [kata] with [ekklēsian] (2:46; 5:42; Tit 1:5). [Cheirotoneō] (from [cheirotonos], extending the hand, [cheir], hand, and [teinō], to stretch) is an old verb that originally meant to vote by show of the hands, finally to appoint with the approval of an assembly that chooses as in 2Co 8:19, and then to appoint without regard to choice as in Josephus (Ant. XIII. 2, 2) of the appointment of Jonathan as high priest by Alexander. So in Ac 10:41 the compound [procheiratoneō] is used of witnesses appointed by God. But the seven (deacons) were first selected by the Jerusalem church and then appointed [katastēsomen] by the apostles. That is probably the plan contemplated by Paul in his directions to Titus (Tit 1:5) about the choice of elders. It is most likely that this plan was the one pursued by Paul and Barnabas with these churches. They selected the elders in each instance and Paul and Barnabas “ordained” them as we say, though the word [cheirotoneō] does not mean that. “Elders” were mentioned first in 11:30. Later Paul will give the requirements expected in these “elders” or “bishops” (Php 1:1) as in 1Ti 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9. It is fairly certain that these elders were chosen to correspond in a general way with the elders in the Jewish synagogue after which the local church was largely copied as to organization and worship. Paul, like Jesus, constantly worshipped and spoke in the synagogues. Already it is plain, as at Antioch in Syria (11:26), that the Christians can no longer count on the use of the Jewish synagogue. They must have an organization of their own. The use of the plural here implies what was true at Philippi (Php 1:1) and Ephesus (Ac 20:17, 28) that each church (one in each city) “had its college of elders” (Hackett) as in Jerusalem (21:18). Elder [presbuteros] was the Jewish name and bishop [episkopos] the Greek name for the same office. “Those who are called elders in speaking of Jewish communities are called bishops in speaking of Gentile communities” (Hackett). Hovey rightly holds against Hackett that teaching was a normal function of these elders, pastors or bishops as they were variously called (1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:9; 1Co 12:28, 30; Eph 4:11). Had prayed with fasting [proseuxamenoi meta nēsteiōn]. It was a serious matter, this formal setting apart of these “elders” in the churches. So it was done in a public meeting with prayer and fasting as when Paul and Barnabas were sent forth from Antioch in Syria (13:3) on this mission tour. They commended them to the Lord [parethento autous tōi kuriōi]. Second aorist middle indicative of [paratithēmi]. Old and solemn word, to entrust, to deposit as in a bank (1Ti 1:18; 2Ti 2:2). Cf. [parathēkē] in 1Ti 6:20; 2Ti 1:12, 14. It was all that they could now do, to commit them to the Lord Jesus. Jesus used this word on the cross (Lu 22:32). On whom they had believed [eis hon pepisteukeisan]. Past perfect indicative (without augment) of [pisteuō]. They had “trusted” in Jesus (2Ti 1:12) and Paul now “entrusts” them to him with confidence. It was a solemn and serious occasion in each instance as it always is to set apart men for the ministry. These men may not have been ideal men for this service, but they were the only ones available and they were chosen from the actual membership in each instance, men who knew local conditions and problems.
14:24 When they had spoken the word in Perga [lalēsantes en Pergēi ton logon]. Now they stopped and preached in Perga which they had apparently not done before (see 13:13f.). After leaving Antioch they passed on through Pisidia, as if Antioch was not strictly in Pisidia (see on 13:14) and into Pamphylia. They crossed from Perga to Attaleia, the port of Perga, sixteen miles down the Cestus, and capital of Pamphylia, to find a ship for Antioch in Syria. It is now called Adala and for long was the chief harbour of the south coast of Asia Minor. We do not know why they did not revisit Cyprus, perhaps because no permanent Gentile churches were founded there.
14:26 They sailed away to Antioch [apepleusan eis Antiocheian]. Effective aorist active indicative of [apopleō], to sail off. They had been gone some eighteen months. They had been committed [ēsan paradedomenoi]. Periphrastic past perfect passive of [paradidōmi], old and common verb. High and serious thoughts filled the hearts of these first returned missionaries as they neared home. The grace of God had been with them. They had fulfilled [eplērōsan] the work to which they had been set apart by the Holy Spirit with the prayers of the Antioch church. They now had a wondrous story to tell.
14:27 Gathered the church together [sunagagontes tēn ekklēsian]. Second aorist active participle of [sunagō]. It “was the first missionary meeting in history” (Furneaux). It was not hard to get the church together when the news spread that Paul and Barnabas had returned. “The suitability of the Gospel to become the religion of the world had not before been put to the test” (Furneaux). Doubtless many “wise-acres” had predicted failure as they did for William Carey and for Adoniram Judson and Luther Rice. Rehearsed [anēggellon]. Imperfect active. It was a long story for they had many things to tell of God’s dealings “with them” [met’ autōn] for God had been “with them” all the while as Jesus had said he would be (Mt 28:20, [meth’ h–mōn]. Paul could recount some of the details given later in 2Co 11. And how [kai hoti]. Or “and that” in particular, as the upshot of it all. He had opened a door of faith unto the Gentiles [ēnoixen tois ethnesin thuran pisteōs]. Three times in Paul’s Epistles (1Co 16:9; 2Co 2:12; Col 4:3) he employed the metaphor of “door,” perhaps a reminiscence of the very language of Paul here. This work in Galatia gained a large place in Paul’s heart (Ga 4:14f.). The Gentiles now, it was plain, could enter the kingdom of God (verse 22) through the door of faith, not by law or by circumcision or by heathen philosophy or mythology.
14:28 And they tarried no little time [dietribon de chronon ouk oligon]. Imperfect active of [diatribō], old verb to rub hard, to consume, with accusative of extent of time. It was a happy time of fellowship. The experiment entered upon by the church of Antioch was now a pronounced success. It was at the direct command of the Holy Spirit, but they had prayed for the absent missionaries and rejoiced at their signal success. There is no sign of jealousy on the part of Barnabas when Paul returns as the chief hero of the expedition. A new corner has been turned in the history of Christianity. There is a new centre of Christian activity. What will Jerusalem think of the new developments at Antioch? Paul and Barnabas made no report to Jerusalem.
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