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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 13 - Verse 48

Verse 48. When the Gentiles heard this. Heard that the gospel was to be preached to them. The doctrine of the Jews had been, that salvation was confined to themselves. The Gentiles rejoiced that from the mouths of Jews they now heard a different doctrine.

They glorified the word of the Lord.They honoured it as a message from God; they recognized and received it as the word of God. The expression conveys the idea of praise on account of it, and of reverence for the message as the word of God.

And as many as were ordained. osoi hsan tetagmenoi, Syriac, "Who were destined," or constituted. Vulgate, "As many as were foreordained (quotquot erant praeordinati) to eternal life believed." There has been much difference of opinion in regard to this expression. One class of commentators have supposed that it refers to the doctrine of election— to God's ordaining men to eternal life; and another class, to their being disposed themselves to embrace the gospel—to those among them who did not reject and despise the gospel, but who were disposed and inclined to embrace it. The main inquiry is, what is the meaning of the word rendered ordained? The word is used but eight times in the New Testament. Mt 28:16, "Into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them," i.e., previously appointed, or commanded them—before his death. Lu 7:8. "For I also am a man set under authority"—appointed, or designated, as a soldier, to be under the authority of another. Ac 15:2. "They determined that Paul and Barnabas, etc., should go to Jerusalem." Ac 22:10, "It shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do;" Ac 28:23, "And when they had appointed him a day," etc. Ro 13:1, "The powers that be, are ordained of God." 1 Co 16:15, "They have addicted themselves to the ministry of saints." The word tassw, or tattw, properly means to place; to place in a certain rank or order. Its meaning is derived from arranging or disposing a body of soldiers in regular order; to arrange in military order. In the places which have been mentioned above, the word is used to denote the following things:

(1.) To command, or to designate, Mt 28:16; Ac 22:10; 28:23.


(2.) To institute, constitute, or appoint, Ro 13:1. Comp. 2 Sa 7:11; 1 Sa 22:7.

(3.) To determine, to take counsel, to resolve, Ac 15:2

(4.) To subject to the authority of another, Lu 7:8.

(5.) To addict to; to devote to, 1 Co 16:15. The meaning may be thus expressed:

(1.) The word is never used to denote an internal disposition or inclination arising from one's own self. It does not mean that they disposed themselves to embrace eternal life.

(2.) It has uniformly the notion of an ordering, disposing, or arrangement from without, i.e., from some other source than the individual himself; as of a soldier, who is arranged or classified according to the will of the proper officer. In relation to these persons it means, therefore, that they were disposed or inclined to this from some other source than themselves.

(3.) It does not properly refer to an eternal decree, or directly to the doctrine of election; though that may be inferred from it; but it refers to their being THEN IN FACT disposed to embrace eternal life. They were then inclined by an influence from without themselves, or so disposed as to embrace eternal life. It refers not to an eternal decree, but that then there was such an influence as to dispose them, or incline them, to lay hold on salvation. That this was done by the influence of the Holy Spirit, is clear from all parts of the New Testament, Tit 3:5,6; Joh 1:13.

It was not a disposition or arrangement originating with themselves, but with God.

(4.) This implies the doctrine of election. It was in fact that doctrine expressed. It was nothing but God's disposing them to embrace eternal life. And that he does this according to a plan in his own mind—a plan which is unchangeable as God himself is unchangeable—is clear from the Scriptures. Comp. Ac 18:10; Ro 8:28-30; 9:15,16,21,23

Eph 1:4,5,11.

The meaning may be expressed in few words:— who were THEN disposed, and in good earnest determined, to embrace eternal life, by the operation of the grace of God on their hearts.

Eternal life. Salvation. See Barnes "Joh 3:36".


{f} "as many as were ordained" Ac 2:47; Ro 8:30

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