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Ac 14:1-7. MEETING WITH SIMILAR SUCCESS AND SIMILAR OPPOSITION AT ICONIUM, PAUL AND BARNABAS FLEE FOR THEIR LIVES TO LYSTRA AND DERBE, AND PREACH THERE.
"After this detailed account of Paul's labors at Pisidian Antioch, Luke subjoins only brief notices of his further labors, partly because from the nature of the case his discourses must have embraced nearly the same topics, and partly because the consequences that resulted assumed quite a similar shape" [OLSHAUSEN].
1. they went both together into the synagogue--Though Paul was now
the prominent speaker and actor, yet in everything Barnabas went along
3. Long time therefore abode they--because in spite of opposition they
were meeting with so much success.
5. an assault made . . . to stone them--rather here,
"an impetuous movement" with a view to stoning them: for in
Paul says, "Once I was stoned," and that was at Lystra, as
expressly related in
Paulinæ--on this singular coincidence between the Epistle and
the history are very striking).
6. unto Lystra and Derbe--the one some twenty miles to the south, the other some sixty miles to the east of Iconium, somewhere near the bases of what are called the Black Mountains and the roots of Mount Taurus; but their exact position has not yet been discovered.
Ac 14:8-21. AT LYSTRA PAUL HEALING A CRIPPLE, THE PEOPLE ARE SCARCE RESTRAINED FROM SACRIFICING TO THEM AS GODS, BUT AFTERWARDS, THEIR MINDS BEING POISONED, THEY STONE PAUL, LEAVING HIM FOR DEAD--WITHDRAWING TO DERBE, THEY PREACH AND TEACH THERE.
There being no mention of the synagogue at Lystra, it is probable there were too few Jews there to form one.
9. who steadfastly beholding him--as he did Elymas the sorcerer when
about to work a miracle on him.
11-13. in the speech of Lycaonia--whether a corruption of the
Greek tongue, which was well enough understood in this region,
or the remains of some older tongue, is not known.
12. they called Barnabas, Jupiter--the father of the gods, from his
commanding mien (CHRYSOSTOM thinks).
13. the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city--that is, whose
14-18. when . . . Barnabas and Paul heard--Barnabas is put first here,
apparently as having been styled the "Jupiter" of the company.
15. We . . . are men of like passions, &c.--How unlike either
imposture or enthusiasm is this, and how high above all self-seeking do
these men of Christ show themselves to be!
16. Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways--that is, without extending to them the revelation vouchsafed to the seed of Abraham, and the grace attending it; compare Ac 17:30; 1Co 1:21. Yet not without guilt on their part was this privation (Ro 1:20, &c.).
17. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness--Though the
heinousness of idolatry is represented as so much less in the heathen,
by how much they were outside the pale of revealed religion, he takes
care to add that the heathen have divine "witness" enough to leave them
18. with these sayings scarce restrained they the people that they had not done sacrifice to them--In spite of this,and Peter's repudiation of all such honor (Ac 10:26), how soon idolatrous tendencies began to show themselves in the Christian Church, at length to be systematized and enjoined in the Church of Rome!
19. came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium--Furious
zeal that would travel so far to counteract the missionaries of the
20. as the disciples stood round about him--sorrowing. So his
labors here had not been in vain: "Disciples" had been gathered, who
now rallied around the bleeding body. And one appears to have been
gained on this occasion, of far more importance than all the
rest--TIMOTHEUS. See on
(It could scarcely have been at the subsequent visit,
for the reason given in
2Ti 3:10, 11;
while at the third visit,
he was already a Christian).
21. and when they had preached . . . to that city and had taught many--rather, "had made many disciples" (Margin); but probably without suffering any persecution, as Derbe is not mentioned along with Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra (2Ti 3:11).
Ac 14:21-28. PAUL AND BARNABAS RETRACE THEIR STEPS, RETURN TO ANTIOCH IN SYRIA, AND THUS COMPLETE THEIR FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY.
21, 22. they returned . . . to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls, &c.--At Derbe, Paul was not far from the well-known pass which leads down from the central tableland to Cilicia and Tarsus. But his thoughts did not center in an earthly home. He revisited the places where he had been reviled and persecuted, but where he had left as sheep in the desert the disciples whom his Master had enabled him to gather. They needed building up and strengthening in the faith, comforting in the midst of their inevitable suffering, and fencing round by permanent institutions. Undaunted therefore by the dangers that awaited them, our missionaries return to them, using words of encouragement which none but the founders of a true religion would have ventured to address to their earliest converts, that "we can only enter into the kingdom of God by passing through much tribulation" [HOWSON].
23, 24. when they had ordained them elders--literally, "chosen by show
of hands." But as that would imply that this was done by the apostles'
own hands, many render the word, as in our version, "ordained." Still,
as there is no evidence in the New Testament that the word had then lost
its proper meaning, as this is beyond doubt its meaning in
and as there is indisputable evidence that the concurrence of the people
was required in all elections to sacred office in the earliest ages of
the Church, it is perhaps better to understand the words to mean, "when
they had made a choice of elders," that is, superintended such choice on
the part of the disciples.
25. when they had preached the word in Perga--now doing what, for some
reason, they had not done on their former visit, but probably with no
26. sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended--(See on Ac 13:3).
27. when they had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that
God had done with them, &c.--As their call and mission had been solemn
and formal, in the presence of and by the Church as well as the Holy
Ghost, they dutifully, and no doubt with eager joy, convened the church
and gave their report of "all that God had done with them," that is, by
and for them.
28. there they abode long time--"no little time." From the commencement of the mission till they left Antioch to go up to attend the council at Jerusalem, some four or five years elapsed; and as the missionary journey would probably occupy less than two years, the rest of the time would be the period of their stay at Antioch. (But see Chronological Table.)