Acts 11:23 MEANING

Acts 11:23
(23) And exhorted them all.--The tense implies continuous action; and the verb in the Greek is that from which Barnabas took his name as the "Son of Comfort" or "Counsel." (See Note on Acts 4:36.)

With purpose of heart.--The preacher had seen the grace of God, and had rejoiced at it; but he knew, as all true teachers know, that it is possible for man's will to frustrate that grace, and that its co-operation, as manifested in deliberate and firm resolve, was necessary to carry on the good work to its completion. The word for "purpose" meets us again in Acts 27:13.

They would cleave unto the Lord.--The noun is probably used in its dominant New Testament sense, as pointing to the Lord Jesus as the new object of the faith and love of those who had turned to Him.

Verse 23. - Was come for came, A.V.; he exhorted for exhorted., A.V. Had seen the grace of God; i.e. had seen the number and the truth of the conversions of Gentiles effected by God's grace. He exhorted them all (παρεκάλει πάντας); thus showing himself a true υἱὸς παρακλήσεως, son of exhortation (see Acts 4:36, note). Cleave unto the Lord; προσμένειν, to abide, continue, persevere in (comp. Acts 13:43; 1 Timothy 5:5). In 2 Timothy 3:14 it is simply μένε. The frequent exhortations to perseverance and steadfastness should warn us of the great danger of falling away from the faith, under the pressure of temptation.

11:19-24 The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution; thus what was meant to hurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of man is made to praise God. What should the ministers of Christ preach, but Christ? Christ, and him crucified? Christ, and him glorified? And their preaching was accompanied with the Divine power. The hand of the Lord was with them, to bring that home to the hearts and consciences of men, which they could but speak to the outward ear. They believed; they were convinced of the truth of the gospel. They turned from a careless, carnal way of living, to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life. They turned from worshipping God in show and ceremony, to worship him in the Spirit and in truth. They turned to the Lord Jesus, and he became all in all with them. This was the work of conversion wrought upon them, and it must be wrought upon every one of us. It was the fruit of their faith; all who sincerely believe, will turn to the Lord, When the Lord Jesus is preached in simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, he will give success; and when sinners are thus brought to the Lord, really good men, who are full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, will admire and rejoice in the grace of God bestowed on them. Barnabas was full of faith; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faith that works by love.Who when he came, and had seen the grace of God,.... The many instances of the powerful and efficacious grace of God in regeneration and conversion; the great goodness, love, and favour of God in enlightening, quickening, and converting so many souls; and the wonderful gifts of the Spirit bestowed upon many of them, fitting them for public use and service:

was glad; rejoiced at heart, and gave glory to God, as every good man will, at the success of the gospel in the conversion of sinners, let it be by what instrument or means it will, and at the gifts and grace bestowed on them:

and exhorted them all; in whom he saw the grace of God implanted, who had received the doctrine of the grace of God, and had gifts of grace qualifying them for usefulness, in some nation or another:

that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord; that is, with a fixed resolution in the grace and strength of Christ, they would hold to his person, exercising grace upon him, abide by his truths and ordinances, keep close to his people, adhere to his cause and interest, and hold on and out unto the end. The Arabic version takes "the purpose of heart" to be meant of Barnabas, and reads the words thus, "and he exhorted them according to the usual firmness of his heart, that they would continue in the faith of the Lord"; in the doctrine and grace of faith in Christ.

Courtesy of Open Bible