Acts 15:12 MEANING

Acts 15:12
(12) And gave audience to Barnabas and Paul.--The leaders of the Church had clearly reserved their part in the debate to the last, and the two Apostles of the Gentiles were now called on to repeat more publicly what they had already narrated to the Apostles and elders (Acts 15:4). It was, perhaps, with a special view to the character of their hearers that they laid stress on the "signs and wonders" which had attested God's acceptance of their work (Matthew 12:38; Matthew 16:1; 1 Corinthians 1:22). Miracles had been wrought among the Gentiles as freely as among the Jews, and those who wrought them, unless they were casting out devils by Beelzebub (and the Judaisers appear to have shrunk from that charge), must have been sent by God (John 3:2; John 9:31-33).

Verse 12. - And for then, A.V.; they hearkened for gave audience, A.V.; rehearsing what signs for declaring what miracles, A.V. Kept silence; marking the contrast between the noisy questionings and disputings which had preceded Peter's speech, and the quiet orderly attention with which they now listened to Paul and Barnabas, telling them of the conversion of the Gentiles. It recalls Virgil's description of the effect of the presence of a man of grave piety upon an excited crowd -

"Tum, pielate gravem ac meritis si forte virum quem
Aspexere, silent, arrectisque auribus adslant."

(AEneid,' 1:152.)

15:7-21 We see from the words purifying their hearts by faith, and the address of St. Peter, that justification by faith, and sanctification by the Holy Ghost, cannot be separated; and that both are the gift of God. We have great cause to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves, and attests by the seal of the Holy Spirit. Then our hearts and consciences will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from the burdens some try to lay upon the disciples of Christ. Paul and Barnabas showed by plain matters of fact, that God owned the preaching of the pure gospel to the Gentiles without the law of Moses; therefore to press that law upon them, was to undo what God had done. The opinion of James was, that the Gentile converts ought not to be troubled about Jewish rites, but that they should abstain from meats offered to idols, so that they might show their hatred of idolatry. Also, that they should be cautioned against fornication, which was not abhorred by the Gentiles as it should be, and even formed a part of some of their rites. They were counselled to abstain from things strangled, and from eating blood; this was forbidden by the law of Moses, and also here, from reverence to the blood of the sacrifices, which being then still offered, it would needlessly grieve the Jewish converts, and further prejudice the unconverted Jews. But as the reason has long ceased, we are left free in this, as in the like matters. Let converts be warned to avoid all appearances of the evils which they formerly practised, or are likely to be tempted to; and caution them to use Christian liberty with moderation and prudence.Then all the multitude kept silence,.... Upon this oration of Peter's, there was a profound silence in the whole assembly, among all the brethren of the church, who were come together on this occasion; they were all satisfied with, and by their silence acquiesced in, what Peter said; and waited to hear what might be further said about this matter, by other persons in the assembly; and even those who were on the other side of the question, were confounded and nonplussed, and knew not what to say, and the more so, when they perceived that the rest of the apostles and elders were of the same mind; for Beza's most ancient copy introduces this clause thus; "then the elders agreeing to the things that were said by Peter, the whole multitude was silent": and this gave Paul and Barnabas an opportunity of being heard; who, perhaps, could not so well be heard before, for the clamour of the people against them, who might not have so good an opinion of them, and of their practices:

and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul; Barnabas is mentioned first, he being most known to the Jews, and of whom they might have the better opinion; and who probably gave the account of their proceedings and success among the Gentiles:

declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them; what wonders of grace were wrought in the conversion of multitudes of them, wherever they came; and what miracles in nature were wrought for the confirmation of the Gospel, such as the striking blind Elymas the sorcerer, at Paphos in Cyprus, and curing the cripple at Lystra; and which they ascribe not to themselves but to God, whose instruments they only were.

Courtesy of Open Bible