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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT
    WORD STUDIES - ACTS 15

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    CHAPTER XV

    1. Taught. Rather the imperfect, were teaching. They had not merely broached the error, but were inculcating it.

    Manner (eqei). Better, custom, as Rev. 2. Question (zhthmatov). Found only in the Acts, and alwaye of a question in dispute.

    3. Being brought on their way (proprmfqentev). Lit., having been sent forth; under escort as a mark of honor.

    Declaring. See on ch. xiii. 41. In the various towns along their route.

    4. Were received (propemfqentev). The word implies a cordial welcome, which they were not altogether sure of receiving.

    5. Arose. In the assembly.

    Sect. See on heresies, 2 Pet. ii. 1.

    7. The word of the gospel (ton logou tou euaggeliou). This phrase occurs nowhere else; and eujaggelion, gospel, is found only once more in Acts (ch. xx. 24).

    8. Which knoweth the heart (kardiognwsthv). Only here and ch. i. 24.

    10. Were able (iscusamen). See on Luke xiv. 30; xvi. 3.

    12. Hearkened. The imperfect (hkouon) denotes attention to a continued narrative.

    Declaring (exhgoumenwn). Better, as Rev., rehearsing. See on Luke xxiv. 35.

    What miracles, etc. Lit., how many (osa).

    13. James. See Introduction to Catholic Epistles.

    18. Known unto God, etc. The best texts join these words with the preceding verse, from which they omit all; rendering, The Lord, who maketh these things known from the beginning of the world.

    19. Trouble (parenoclein). Only here in New Testament. See on vexed, Luke vi. 18.

    20. Write (episteilai). Originally, to send to, as a message; hence, by letter. The kindred noun ejpistolh, whence our epistle, means, originally, anything sent by a messenger. Letter is a secondary meaning.

    Pollutions (alisghmatwn). A word not found in classical Greek, and only here in the New Testament. The kindred verb ajlisgein, to pollute, occurs in the Septuagint, Dan. i. 8; Mal. i. 7, and both times in the sense of defiling by food. Here the word is defined by things sacrificed to idols (ver. 29); the flesh of idol sacrifices, of which whatever was not eaten by the worshippers at the feasts in the temples, or given to the priests, was sold in the markets and eaten at home. See 1 Cor. x. 25-28; and Exod. xxxiv. 15.

    Fornication. In its literal sense. "The association of fornication with three things in themselves indifferent is to be explained from the then moral corruption of heathenism, by which fornication, regarded from of old with indulgence, and even with favor, nay, practiced without shame even by philosophers, and surrounded by poets with all the tinsel of lasciviousness, had become in public opinion a thing really indifferent" (Meyer). See Dollinger, "The Gentile and the Jew," ii., 237 sq.

    Strangled. The flesh of animals killed in snares, and whose blood was not poured forth, was forbidden to the Israelites.

    23. Greeting (cairein). The usual Greek form of salutation. It occurs nowhere else in the salutation of a New Testament epistle save in the Epistle of James (i. 1). See note there. It appears in the letter of Claudius Lysias (ch. xxiii. 26).

    24. Subverting (anaskeuazontev). Only here in New Testament, and not found either in the Septuagint or in the Apocrypha. Originally, it means to pack up baggage, and so to carry away; hence, to dismantle or disfurnish. So Thucydides (4, 116) relates that Brasidas captured Lecythus, and then pulled it down and dismantled it (anaskeuasav). From this comes the more general meaning to lay waste, or ravage. The idea here is that of turning the minds of the Gentile converts upside down; throwing them into confusion like a dismantled house.

    We gave no commandment (ou diesteilameqa). The word originally means to put asunder; hence, to distinguish, and so of a commandment or injunction, to distinguish and emphasize it. Therefore implying express orders, and so always in the New Testament, where it is almost uniformly rendered charge. The idea here is, then, "we gave no express injunction on the points which these Judaizers have raised."

    25. Barnabas and Paul. Here, as in ver. 12, Barnabas is named first, contrary to the practice of Luke since Acts xiii. 9. Barnabas was the elder and better known, and in the church at Jerusalem his name would naturally precede Paul's. The use of the Greek salutation, and this order of the names, are two undesigned coincidences going to attest the genuineness of this first document preserved to us from the Acts of the primitive church.

    29. Blood. Because in the blood was the animal's life, and it was the blood that was consecrated to make atonement. See Gen. ix. 6; Leviticus xvii. 10-14; Deut. xii. 23, 24. The Gentiles had no scruples about eating blood; on the contrary, it was a special delicacy. Thus Homer:

    "At the fire Already lie the paunches of two goats, Preparing for our evening meal, and both Are filled with fat and blood. Whoever shows himself the better man in this affray, And conquers, he shall take the one of these He chooses."

    Odyssey, xviii., 44 sq.

    The heathen were accustomed to drink blood mingled with wine at their sacrifices.

    Farewell (errwsqe). Lit., be strong, like the Latin valete. Compare the close of Claudius Lysias' letter to Festus (ch. xxiii. 30).

    31. Consolation. See on Acts ix. 31.

    32. Many words. Or, lit., much discourse; adding the spoken to the written consolation.

    Exhorted. Or comforted. See on ver. 31. The latter agrees better with consolation there.

    Confirmed. See on ch. xiv. 22.

    36. Let us go again and visit (epistreyantev dh episkeywmeqa). Lit., Having returned, let us now visit. The A.V. omits now. See on ch. xiii. 2.

    In every city (kata pasan polin). Kata has the force of city by city.

    38. Him (touton). Lit., that one. It marks him very strongly, and is an emphatic position at the end of the sentence.

    Departed (apostanta). Rev., withdrew. It furnishes the derivation of our word apostatize.

    39. The contention was so sharp (egeneto paroxusmov). More correctly, there arose a sharp contention. Only here and Heb. x. 24. Our word paroxysm is a transcription of paroxusmov. An angry dispute is indicated.

    Barnabas. The last mention of him in the Acts.

    40. Recommended. Which was not the case with Barnabas, leading to the inference that the church at Antioch took Paul's side in the dispute.

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