VISITATION OF THE
41. he went through Syria and Cilicia--(See on
Taking probably the same route as when despatched in haste from
Jerusalem to Tarsus, he then went by land (see on
1-5. Then came he to Derbe and Lystra; and, behold, a certain disciple
was there--that is, at Lystra (not Derbe, as some conclude from
named Timotheus--(See on
As Paul styles him "his own son in the faith"
he must have been gained to Christ at the apostle's first visit; and as
Paul says he "had fully known his persecutions which came on him at
(2Ti 3:10, 11),
he may have been in that group of disciples that surrounded the
apparently lifeless body of the apostle outside the walls of Lystra,
and that at a time of life when the mind receives its deepest
impressions from the spectacle of innocent suffering and undaunted
courage [HOWSON]. His would be one of "the souls
of the disciples confirmed" at the apostle's second visit, "exhorted to
continue in the faith, and" warned "that we must through much
tribulation enter into the kingdom of God"
(Ac 14:21, 22).
the son of a certain . . . Jewess--"The unfeigned
faith which dwelt first in his grandmother Lois" descended to "his
mother Eunice," and thence it passed to this youth
who "from a child knew the Holy Scriptures"
His gifts and destination to the ministry of Christ had already been
(1Ti 1:18; 4:14);
and though some ten years after this Paul speaks of him as still young
"he was already well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra
and consequently must have been well known through all that quarter.
but his father was a Greek--Such mixed marriages, though little
practiced, and disliked by the stricter Jews in Palestine, must have
been very frequent among the Jews of the dispersion, especially in
remote districts, where but few of the scattered people were settled
3. Him would Paul have to go forth with him--This is in harmony with
all we read in the Acts and Epistles of Paul's affectionate and
confiding disposition. He had no relative ties which were of service to
him in his work; his companions were few and changing; and though Silas
would supply the place of Barnabas, it was no weakness to yearn for the
society of one who might become, what Mark once appeared to be, a
son in the Gospel
[HOWSON]. And such he indeed proved to be, the
most attached and serviceable of his associates
1Co 4:17; 16:10, 11;
His double connection, with the Jews by the mother's side and the
Gentiles by the father's, would strike the apostle as a peculiar
qualification for his own sphere of labor. "So far as appears, Timothy
is the first Gentile who after his conversion comes before us as a
regular missionary; for what is said of Titus
refers to a later period"
But before his departure, Paul
took and circumcised him--a rite which every Israelite might perform.
because of the Jews . . . for they knew all that his
father was a Greek--This seems to imply that the father was no
proselyte. Against the wishes of a Gentile father no Jewish mother was,
as the Jews themselves say, permitted to circumcise her son. We thus
see why all the religion of Timothy is traced to the female side of the
"Had Timothy not been circumcised, a storm would have gathered round
the apostle in his farther progress. His fixedline of procedure was to
act on the cities through the synagogues; and to preach the Gospel to
the Jew first and then to the Gentile. But such a course would have
been impossible had not Timothy been circumcised. He must necessarily
have been repelled by that people who endeavored once to murder Paul
because they imagined he had taken a Greek into the temple
The very intercourse of sociallife would have been almost impossible,
for it was still "an abomination" for the circumcised to eat with the
uncircumcised" [HOWSON]. In refusing to compel
Titus afterwards to be circumcised
at the bidding of Judaizing Christians, as necessary to salvation, he
only vindicated "the truth of the Gospel"
in circumcising Timothy, "to the Jews he became as a Jew that he might
gain the Jews." Probably Timothy's ordination took place now
and it was a service, apparently, of much solemnity--"before many
4, 5. And as they went through the cities, they delivered . . . the
decrees . . . And so were the churches established in the faith, and
increased in numberdaily--not the churches, but the number of their
members, by this visit and the written evidence laid before them of the
triumph of Christian liberty at Jerusalem, and the wise measures there
taken to preserve the unity of the Jewish and Gentile converts.
6-8. Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of
Galatia--proceeding in a northwesterly direction. At this time must
have been formed "the churches of Galatia"
founded, as we learn from the Epistle to the Galatians (particularly
by the apostle Paul, and which were already in existence when he was on
his third missionary journey, as we learn from
where it appears that he was no less successful in Phrygia. Why
these proceedings, so interesting as we should suppose, are not here
detailed, it is not easy to say; for the various reasons suggested are
not very satisfactory: for example, that the historian had not joined
the party [ALFORD]; that he was in haste to bring
the apostle to Europe [OLSHAUSEN]; that the main
stream of the Church's development was from Jerusalem to Rome, and the
apostle's labors in Phrygia and Galatia lay quite out of the line of
that direction [BAUMGARTEN].
and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost--speaking by some prophet,
to preach the word in Asia--not the great Asiatic continent, nor even
the rich peninsula now called Asia Minor, but only so much of its
western coast as constituted the Roman province of Asia.
7. After they were come to Mysia--where, as being part of Roman Asia,
they were forbidden to labor
they assayed--or attempted
to go into--or, towards.
Bithynia--to the northeast.
but the Spirit--speaking as before.
suffered them not--probably because, (1) Europe was ripe for the
labors of this missionary party; and (2) other instruments were to be
honored to establish the Gospel in the eastern regions of Asia Minor,
especially the apostle Peter (see
By the end of the first century, as testified by
the governor, Bithynia was filled with Christians. "This is the first
time that the Holy Ghost is expressly spoken of as determining the
course they were to follow in their efforts to evangelize the nations,
and it was evidently designed to show that whereas hitherto the
diffusion of the Gospel had been carried on in unbroken course,
connected by natural points of junction, it was now to take a leap to
which it could not be impelled but by an immediate and independent
operation of the Spirit; and though primarily, this intimation of the
Spirit was only negative, and referred but to the immediate
neighborhood, we may certainly conclude that Paul took it for a sign
that a new epoch was now to commence in his apostolic labors" [BAUMGARTEN].
8. came down to Troas--a city on the northeast coast of the Ægean Sea,
the boundary of Asia Minor on the west; the region of which was the
scene of the great Trojan war.
9, 10. a vision appeared to Paul in the night--while awake, for it
is not called a dream.
There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over
into Macedonia, and help us--Stretching his eye across the
Ægean Sea, from Troas on the northeast, to the Macedonian hills,
visible on the northwest, the apostle could hardly fail to think this
the destined scene of his future labors; and, if he retired to rest
with this thought, he would be thoroughly prepared for the remarkable
intimation of the divine will now to be given him. This visional
Macedonian discovered himself by what he said. But it was a cry not of
conscious desire for the Gospel, but of deepneed of it
and unconscious preparedness to receive it, not only in that
region, but, we may well say, throughout all that western empire which
Macedonia might be said to represent. It was a virtual confession "that
the highest splendor of heathendom, which we must recognize in the arts
of Greece and in the polity and imperial power of Rome, had arrived at
the end of all its resources. God had left the Gentile peoples to walk
in their own ways
They had sought to gain salvation for themselves; but those who had
carried it farthest along the paths of natural development were now
pervaded by the feeling that all had indeed been vanity. This feeling
is the simple, pure result of all the history of heathendom. And
Israel, going along the way which God had marked out for him, had
likewise arrived at his end. At last he is in a condition to realize
his original vocation, by becoming the guide who is to lead the
Gentiles unto God, the only Author and Creator of man's redemption; and
Paul is in truth the very person in whom this vocation of Israel is now
a present divine reality, and to whom, by this nocturnal apparition of
the Macedonian, the preparedness of the heathen world to receive the
ministry of Israel towards the Gentiles is confirmed" [BAUMGARTEN]. This voice cries from heathendom still
to the Christian Church, and never does the Church undertake the work
of missions, nor any missionary go forth from it, in the right spirit,
save in obedience to this cry.
10. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go
into Macedonia--The "we," here first introduced, is a modest intimation
that the historian himself had now joined the missionary party. (The
modern objections to this are quite frivolous). Whether Paul's broken
health had anything to do with this arrangement for having "the beloved
physician" with him [WIES], can never be known with certainty; but that
he would deem himself honored in taking care of so precious a life,
there can be no doubt.
11, 12. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came--literally, "ran."
with a straight course--that is, "ran before the wind."
to Samothracia--a lofty island on the Thracian coast, north from
Troas, with an inclination westward. The wind must have set in strong
from the south or south-southeast to bring them there so soon, as the
current is strong in the opposite direction, and they afterwards took
five days to what they now did in two
next day to Neapolis--on the Macedonian, or rather Thracian, coast,
about sixty-five miles from Samothracia, and ten from Philippi, of which
it is the harbor.
12. Philippi . . . the chief--rather, perhaps, "the first"
city of that part of Macedonia--The meaning appears to be--the first
city one comes to, proceeding from Neapolis. The sense given in our
version hardly consists with fact.
a colony--that is, possessing all the privileges of Roman citizenship,
and, as such, both exempted from scourging and (in ordinary cases) from
arrest, and entitled to appeal from the local magistrate to the emperor.
Though the Pisidian Antioch and Troas were also "colonies," the
fact is mentioned in this history of Philippi only on account of the
frequent references to Roman privileges and duties in the sequel of the
GAINED AND WITH
FREE, AND THE