Acts 14 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

Acts 14
Pulpit Commentary
And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
Verse 1. - Entered for went both, A.V.; Jews for the Jews, A.V.; and for and also, A.V.; Greeks for the Greeks, A.V. Observe how in every case Greeks are found attending the synagogue. So spake, etc. This illustrates the statement in Romans 10:17, that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
Verse 2. - The Jews that were disobedient for the unbelieving Jews, A.V. and T.R.; stirred up the souls of the Gentiles, and made them, etc., for stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds, etc., A.V. The Jews that were disobedient. The R.T. (ἀπειθήσαντες) may equally and even better be rendered, the Jews that were unbelieving (comp. John 3:36, where πιστεύων and ἀπειθῶν αρε opposed to each other, and Romans 11:30-32, where the idea of belief is far more appropriate than that of obedience). Stirred up the souls, etc. St. Paul speaks with much warmth of the constant opposition of the Jews, "forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved" (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).
Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Verse 3. - They tarried there for abode they, A.V.; bare witness for gave testimony, A.V.; granting for and granted, A.V. For the phrase long time (ἱκανὸν χρόνον), comp. Acts 27:9, "much time," and "many days" (ἡμέραι ἱκαναί), Acts 9:23. So also Luke 8:27, "long time," or "for a long time" (ἐκ χρόνων ἱκανῶν). Speaking boldly (παρρησιαζόμενοι) in the Lord (ἐπὶ τῷ Κυρίῳ); i.e. having the Lord for their support. It was the special prayer of the Church that God would "grant to his servants that they might speak the Word with all boldness (μετὰπαρρησίας πάσης)," and in answer to that prayer they were enabled to speak "the Word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:29 , 31; comp. Acts 9:29; Acts 18:26; Acts 19:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:2, etc.). It was no small evidence of the power of the Holy Ghost that the apostles were able to speak with such uncompromising fidelity in the face of such bitter opposition. Signs and wonders, etc. See Mark 16:17-20; comp. too Acts 4:30, which also indicates that we ought, perhaps, to understand here τῷ Κυρρίῳ of God the Father rather than of "his holy Servant Jesus."
But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
Verse 4. - Was divided (ἐσχίσθη); hence σχίσμα a schism (see John 7:43; John 9:16; John 10:19; 1 Corinthians 1:10).
And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
Verse 5. Made an onset for an assault made, A.V.; of the Jews for also of the Jews, A.V.; to entreat them shamefully for to use them despitefully, A.V., as 1 Thessalonians 2:2. As regards ὁρμή, neither the A.V. assault nor the R.V. onset expresses it exactly. Ὁρμή means the strong bent of the mind, as in James 3:4, where it expresses the strong will of the steersman directing the ship against the force of the winds. Here it means that both Jews with their rulers, and Gentiles, under the influence of violent passion, had determined and agreed to assault Paul and Barnabas. To entreat them shamefully. Ψβρις and ὑβρίζω denote "violence," as Matthew 22:6; Luke 18:32; 2 Corinthians 12:10. It is sometimes used of corporal punish-merit, even legally inflicted, as Proverbs 19:18 (LXX.).
They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
Verses 6, 7. Became aware for were ware, A.V. (συνιδόντες), see Acts 12:12; the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra, and Derbe, for Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, A.V.; the region for unto the region, A.V.; round about for that lieth round about, A.V. They preached; were preaching - not once or twice, but continuously. Lystra and Derbe were cities of southern Lycaonia, obscure and remote from civilization, situated north of Mount Taurus, in a cold arid country somewhere between Ak Ghieul on the north, and the volcanic region of Karadagh on the south. They seem to have been included at this time in the dominions of Antiochus, king of Commagene (Lewin). Lystra is thought to be now represented by Bin-bir Kilissete (the thousand and one churches) (Lewin and Renan), though this is doubtful; and Derbe distant about twenty miles from Lystra, and the capital of that part of Lycaonia called Isaurica, is thought to be the modern Dioli (Hamilton, Renan, etc.); others, however, place it nearer the White Lake, Ak Ghieul, where the ruins of an ancient town are found.
And there they preached the gospel.
And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked:
Verse 8. - At Lystra there sat, etc., for there sat... at Lystra, A.V.; a cripple for being a cripple, A.V. and T.R.
The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
Verse 9. - Speaking for speak, A.V.; fastening his eyes upon for stedfastly beholding, A.V. (see above, Acts 1:10; Acts 3:4, etc.); seeing for perceiving, A.V.; made whole for healed, A.V. Heard. The force of the imperfect ἤκουε would, perhaps, be better given by "listened" to Paul speaking. There is great resemblance between this miracle of healing, and that of the lame man laid at the gate of the temple, who was healed by Peter (Acts 3:2-10), and, not unnaturally, considerable identity of expression in the narratives. Both men were lame from their birth; the apostles fastened their eyes upon both; both, when healed, leaped and walked; and in both cases the miracle 'had a great effect upon the multitudes who beheld it. Zeller (vol. it. p. 6), with characteristic recklessness, infers that "this narrative was, merely in imitation of the early miraculous story of Peter;" and so relegates both it and the subsequent narrative to the regions of fable.
Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
Verse 10. - Leaped up for leaped. A.V.
And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
Verse 11. - Multitudes for people, A.V.; voice for voices, A.V. In the speech of Lycaonia. It is not known what the language of Lycaonia was, whether Cappadocian, or Celtic, or Lycian; but we learn incidentally from Stephanus Byzantinus, that there was a Lycaonian language, for he tells us that Delbia (as some write the name Derbe) was the Lycaonian for ἄρκευθος, a juniper tree or berry. No other Lycaonian word is known (see "Jablouskii Disquis. de Ling. Lycaon," in Stephan., 'Thesaur.'). The Lycaoniaus doubtless understood Greek as the language of intercommunication all over Roman Asia, but among themselves would speak their native dialect. The belief that the gods were come down in the likeness of men, and that these gods were Jupiter and Hermes, or Mercury, was most natural to Lycaonians, who were conversant with, and doubtless believed, the Phrygian legend of Philemon and Baucis, who entertained hospitably Jupiter and Hermes, when no one else would take them in, and whose cottage was by the gods turned into a temple (when all the neighborhood was drowned by a flood), of which they were made priest and priestess during life, and simultaneously metamorphosed into an oak and lime tree when their life ended (Ovid, 'Metamorph.,'8:611, etc.). Ovid places the scene of the legend at Tyana, the site of which has been ascertained by Hamilton to be near Erekli, in Cappadocia, close to the borders of Lycaonia. The moral drawn in the legend itself seems to have been that which influenced the people of Lycaonia in their conduct towards the two strangers: "Cura pii dis sunt, et qui coluere coluntur," which may be Englished, "Them that honor me I will honor" (1 Samuel 2:30).
And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
Verse 12. - Mercury for Mercurius, A.V. For the Latin Jupiter and Mercury the Greek original has Zeus and Hermes. Jupiter is Jovis Pater, where Jovis or Diovis or Dies (in Diespiter) is the Latin form of Zeus, gen. Δίος. Mercury is Hermes in his special character as the god of markets and trade. But the Lycaonians here thought of him in his principal character of herald and messenger of the gods, and hence the god of eloquence and speech.
Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.
Verse 13. - And for then, A.V.; whose temple was before the city for which was before their city, A.V. and T.R.; the multitudes for the people, A.V., as in ver. 12. The priest of Jupiter. The words, ὁ δὲ ἱερεὺς τοῦ Διὸς τοῦ ὄντες κ.τ.λ., may be construed in two ways - either as in the A.V., or the priest of the temple of Jupiter, etc., understanding, by a common ellipse, ἱεροῦ, or, ναοῦ, after Διός, as in the Latin phrase," Ubi ad Dianae veneris;" "When you come to the temple of Diana," etc. But it is not a Greek phrase to speak of Jupiter being before the city, meaning the temple of Jupiter. Therefore the proper way of translating is to take the full phrase as being ὁ ἱερεὺς τοῦ Διός ναοῦ or ἰεροῦ, the article τοῦ belonging to ναοῦ, and Διός being, as in so many instances, without the article (see Matthew, 'Gr. Gr.,' 281). The gates; viz. of the city. The temple was just outside the gates; the lame man, it is likely, sat inside near the gates through which men were passing in and out. Paul and Barnabas would address the -people in the square or open space inside the gates. Seeing a stir at the gates, and hearing that it was the priest of Jupiter coming with oxen and garlands to sacrifice to them, they immediately ran forward to prevent it. The ox was the proper sacrifice for Jupiter.
Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
Verse 14. - But... heard of it for which ... heard of, A.V.; garments for clothes, A.V.; sprang forth for ran in, A.V.; multitudes for people, A.V., as before. The conduct of Barnabas and Paul, in abhorring the honors offered to them, has been well contrasted with the profane vanity of Herod in accepting Divine honors (Acts 12:23).
And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
Verse 15. - Bring you good tidings for preach unto you, A.V.; vain things for vanities, A.V.; who for which, A.V.; the heaven and the earth for heaven and earth, A.V.; that in them is for things that are therein, A.V. For the declaration, We also are men of like passions with you, compare Peter's saying to Cornelius (Acts 10:26), "Stand up; I myself also am a man." St. Paul finely contrasts the utter vanity, i.e. the impotence, lifelessness, uselessness, and unprofitableness of the idols, with the power of the living God, who by his word created heaven and earth and sea, and filled them all with beauty, shape, and life.
Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
Verse 16. - The generations gone by for times past, A.V.; the nations for nations, A.V.
Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
Verse 17. - And yet for nevertheless, A.V.; you from heaven rains for us rain from hearer, A.V. and T.R.; your for our, A.V. and T.R. Observe how the apostle adapts his preaching to his hearers. How different this address to the heathen Lycaonians from those to Jews and proselytes! Here he leads them from nature to God; there from prophecy to Jesus.
And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
Verse 18. - The multitudes for the people, A.V.; from doing for that they had not done, A.V.
And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
Verse 19. - But there came Jews thither for and there came thither certain Jews, A.V.; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned for who persuaded the people, and having stoned, A.V.; and dragged for drew, A.V.; that he was dead for he had been dead, A.V. But there came Jews, etc. Observe the persistent enmity of the unbelieving Jews. The same fickleness of the multitude which led those who had cried, "Hosanna!" to turn round and say, "Crucify him!" here led those who would have worshipped Paul as a god, now to stone him as a blasphemer. This is, doubtless, the instance to which St. Paul alludes when he says "Once was I stoned," (2 Corinthians 11:25).
Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
Verse 20. - But for howbeit, A.V.; entered for came, A.V.; on the morrow for the next day, A.V.; went forth for departed, A.V. It is pleasing to observe the fidelity of the converts, who, in the face of violence and death, clave to the apostle, even when they thought he was dead. It does not appear how Barnabas escaped.
And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
Verse 21. - Made many disciples for taught many, A.V.; returned for returned again, A.V.; to Antioch for Antioch, A.V. Made many disciples (μαθητεύσαντες ἱκανοὺς); comp. Matthew 28:19. What admirable constancy thus to run fresh risks to life and limb in order to win souls to Christ!
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Verse 22. - Exhorting for and exhorting, A.V.; through many tribulations we must for we must through much tribulation, A.V. St. Paul spoke from his own experience: "In labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft," etc. (2 Corinthians 11:23-27; see too 2 Timothy 3:10-12). It is very touching to see the tender care of the apostles for the young converts, lest they should fall away in time of persecution (see Acts 15:36; 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 5, 8; 1 Peter 5:8-10).
And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Verse 23. - Appointed for them for ordained them, A.V. (χειροτονήσαντες) ; had believed for believed, A.V. The original meaning of χειροτονέω is "to stretch out the hand," and the substantive χειροτονία is used in the LXX. of Isaiah 58:9 for "the putting forth of the finger" of the A.V. But the common meaning of the verb is "to vote by stretching out the hand" and hence "to elect" by a show of hands (2 Corinthians 8:19), or simply "to appoint," without any reference to voting. In the choice of an apostle the election was by lot (Acts 1:26), in the appointment of deacons the choice was by the people, how indicated we are not told (Acts 6:5); the question here, on which commentators disagree, is whether the use of the word χειροτονέω indicates voting by the people, selection by the apostles, or simple creation or appointment. As χειροτονήσαντες is predicated of Paul and Barnabas, it cannot possibly refer to voting by the people, who are included in the able, as those on whose behalf the χειροτονία was made. It seems simplest and most in accordance with the classical use of the word and its use in Acts 10:41 (προκεχειροτονημένοις), to take it in the sense of creation or appointment (see Steph., 'Thesaur.'). There is no reference to the laying on of hands. Elders (see Acts 11:30, note; Acts 20:17; and especially Titus 1:5, 7, where we see that πρεσβύτερος was synony- mous with ἐπίσκοπος). From πρεσβύτερος is formed prestos, priest, in French prestre, pretre. Comp. Acts 13:3, for fasting and prayer as accompaniments of ordination. Hence in the Church ordinations are preceded by the Ember days. They commended them to the Lord (comp. Acts 20:32). In ver. 26 the word used is παραδεδομένοι.
And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
Verses 24, 25. - They passed through for after they had passed throughout, A.V.; and for they, A.V.; spoken for preached, A.V.; to for into, A.V. Paul and Barnabas had come from Cyprus to Perga (see Acts 13:13, note). Thence to Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. They now returned from Derbe by Lystra, Iconium, Antioch, Perga. But, instead of taking ship at Perga, after preaching the Word there they went down to Attalia, now Adalia or Satalia, the chief seaport of Pamphylia, some miles west of the month of the Cestrus, probably hearing that a ship was about to sail thence to Antioch. It does not appear that they made any converts or even preached at Attalia.
And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:
And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
Verse 26. - They sailed for sailed, A.V.; committed for recommended, A.V.; had fulfilled for fulfilled, A.V.
And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
Verse 27. - All things for all, A.V.; how that for how, A.V.; a door for the door, A.V. A door. The door is preferable, because "the faith" limits the door to one kind of opening. In Colossians 4:3 the case is a little different both in the A.V. and the R.V., though in the latter "the door of the Word" would be a truer rendering. Observe how the leading idea of the narrative is the conversion of the Gentiles. (See Introduction to the Acts.)
And there they abode long time with the disciples.
Verse 28. - They tarried for there they abode, A.V.; no little for long, A.V. Bishop Pearson reckons it a little more than a year; Lewin, "about a year;" Renan, "several months." No accurate statement can be gathered from St. Luke;s indefinite expression. With this chapter closes the account of St. Paul's first missionary tour. Cony-beare and Howson (pp. 177, 213) assign to it a duration of about nine months, from early spring, March, to November, when the sea would be closed; bringing him to Perga in May, and thence for the next five or six months into the mountains of Pisidia, where it was the custom for the inhabitants of the lowlands to congregate during the hot months. Others, however, as Lewin (pp. 156, 157), think the circuit must have occupied "about two years;" Wieseler (p. 224), "more than one year;" but Renan assigns to it "five years" (" Saint Paul," p. 55). "Conjectural estimates vary between two and eight years" ('Speaker's Commentary'). Lewin's estimate is, perhaps, the most probable. Whatever the exact period may have been, it was a time fruitful in consequences to the immortal interests of mankind.

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