The “Jerusalem Council” Begins – Acts 15

Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem's depiction of Paul...

Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem’s depiction of Paul and Barnabas at Lystra, an incident which has often been compared to the Qur’anic narrative of the “Companions of the City” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Peter had his revelation by vision, and then witnessed the Holy Spirit coming upon the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10), The “Gentile question” would have already been settled. But it wasn’t so easy. Members of the “Circumcision Party,” and other conservative Jews came to Antioch in Syria (where Paul and Barnabas were) teaching the necessity of adhering to the whole Mosaic Law. In Acts 6:7, Luke writes about a number of priests that had been converted. Many of these would be Pharisees as in verse 5. There were people being taught that all had to be circumcised and to keep the law of Moses, causing Christianity to be looked upon as a sect of Judaism (and to some, a sect that had gone very wrong). The time had come to deal with this issue once and for all.

Paul had been given his revelation on the matter, and the Lord had told Ananias in Acts 9:15 that “he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles…” He and Barnabas and others were appointed to go to Jerusalem to speak to the apostles and elders about the matter. In verse 3, we have them passing through Phoenicia and Samaria, bringing great joy as they describe the conversion of the Gentiles.

Peter spoke to the council in verses 7-11, reminding them of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then Paul and Barnabas related the signs and wonders God had done through them on their journey. James, the Lord’s brother, then affirms by quoting Amos 9:11-12 in verses 16-18.

After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

The Lord Fights for Judah – 2 Chronicles 20:18-37

7. King Jehoshaphat

7. King Jehoshaphat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the prophet who was filled with the Spirit of the Lord had told the people in the temple that they would be victorius without having to fight. Jehoshaphat fell on his face and prayed. And the Kohathites and Korahites praised God in a loud voice. The next day, the people of Judah “went out into the wilderness of Tekoa.”

Jehoshaphat told them: “believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” Meanwhile, God set an ambush for the Moabites and Ammonites at Mount Seir. In the end, they all began killing one another (verse 23. Then the people of Judah “came to the watchtower of the wilderness.” They saw scores of dead bodies, with none left alive. They spent three days taking the spoils for themselves, because there was so much.

On the fourth day, they assembled in the Valley of Beracah to bless the Lord. It was named Berach later, of course, and the name itself means “blessing.”  The surrounding countries learned of how God had fought for them, and they were afraid and kept their distance. So the rest of Jehosphat’s reign was peaceful He reined for 25 years, and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. But the scripture adds that the high places were not taken down.

The chapter closes with the alliance that the king made with the northern king, Ahaziah, who verse 30 says acted wickedly. Together they built ships in Ezion-geber. to sail to Tarshish. Then the prophet, Eliezer, Prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying that because he had joined with Ahaziah, God will destroy what he had made. After that, the ships were wrecked and never made it to Tarshish.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

Paul is Stoned at Lystra – Acts 14

Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem's depiction of Paul...

Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem’s depiction of Paul and Barnabas at Lystra, an incident which has often been compared to the Qur’anic narrative of the “Companions of the City” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having been driven out from Antioch and Iconium, Paul and Barnabas must have begun to feel pretty comfortable at Lystra. They were received so well in fact, that they had needed to spend time teaching the people that they were not Greek gods! But the trouble makers at Antioch and Iconium came to Lystra,  and they stirred the people there up against Paul and Barnabas.

The people stoned Paul and dragged him from the city, leaving him for dead. In verse 20, the disciples gathered around him and he rose up and went into the city. The Scripture does not tell us that this was a miracle, or even what Paul’s actual condition had been. Enough to say that the Spirit was with him, and he was not deterred. The next day, he and Barnabas went to Derbe. After preaching and making many new disciples there, they returned to Lystra and Iconium, and to Antioch. They encouraged and strengthened the disciples in those places and appointed elders for them in every church.

Then they went back to speak the word in Perga, and then to Attalia. From there, they sailed back to Antioch of Syria, where they had started their journey, telling all the brethren about the new “door of faith” that had been opened to the Gentiles.

 

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

 

/Bob’s boy

 

___________________

 

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

 

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turmoil at Iconium – Acts 14

 

St. Paul and St. Barnabas at Lystra.

St. Paul and St. Barnabas at Lystra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now in Iconium, Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel in the synagogue, and many Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jewish rulers, and other unbelievers, stirred up the Gentiles and to go against the believing brothers and sisters. Paul and Barnabas remained there preaching and performing miracles. But the Jews had created such turmoil in the city that a conspiracy came to develop, with both Jews and Gentiles involved. The intention was to persecute and to stone Paul and Barnabas. When they found out, they fled the city.

One of the places they went to from there was Lystra, where Paul healed a man who was crippled from birth. When he began walking, many people started calling Paul and Barnabas gods, referring to Paul as Hermes, and Barnabas as Zeus; and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices. When Paul and Barnabas heard this, they were tremendously distressed and, assuring the people that they were just men, preached to these polytheists about the one true God and how he is evidenced in all the things of this world.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

Jehoshaphat’s Prayer – 2 Chronicles 20:1-17

English: Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaph...

English: Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat from the Hill of Evil Counsel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Chapter 20, the Moabites and Ammonites mobilized to go up against Jehoshaphat’s kingdom. Some menm came to warn him about the throngs of warriors coming from Edom. They told him that they were in Hazazon-tamar, otherwise known as Engedi. Jehoshaphat became afraid, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. The people came from all over to “seek the Lord” in this matte.

 

Jehoshaphat came to the temple, and as king, he led them in prayer. The prayer in verses 5-12 is similar to part of Solomon’s prayer when he dedicated the temple.  In the assembly, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah, and he began to speak saying”

 

Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s…

…Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz… You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, hand the Lord will be with you.

The familiar words “do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed,” are the same words God said through Moses in Deuteronomy 31:6-8. It is good to remind ourselves that although God never promised bad things will not happen to us, we can take comfort in prayer, do all that we can in every situation, and leave the rest to God.

 

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

 

/Bob’s boy

 

___________________

 

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

 

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Preaches in Antioch in Pisidia – Acts 13

English: Ruins of the main street in Perga, ca...

English: Ruins of the main street in Perga, capital of Pamphylia, Asia Minor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verse 13 says that Paul and his companions left Pathos and sailed to Perga in Pamphylia. His companions included Barnabas and John Mark. The scripture here simply refers to him as John. He returned to Jerusalem, Luke writes; and this will be a matter for which Paul will later voice his disapproval when he and Barnabas separate in Acts 15:36-41.

After John Mark left, Paul and Barnabas went on to Antioch in Pisidia. The rulers of the synagogue there, sent a message to them, asking if they had any words of encouragement for the brethren there. Paul did have some. He came to preach in the synagogue, first giving a small historical summary of God’s plans for His people through the ages. He finished, of course, with Jesus as the promised Messiah, and detailed his rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection, citing scripture all the time.

The people were over-joyed with the gospel, and asked them to return on the next Sabbath. When they did, the entire city was practically present. BNut the rulers were not happy with the gospel Paul was preaching, and Paul let them have it, saying that they had “judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. He then further angered them by saying that he had been sent to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles:

I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

The Gentiles were filled with joy at the news, but verse 50 indicates the anger that the Jews felt at them:

But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.

Paul and Barnabas went on to Iconium filled with joy and with the “Holy Spirit.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

First Missionary Journey begins – Acts 13

 

HOLY SPIRIT - FOIX

HOLY SPIRIT – FOIX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The opening verses of this chapter speak of teachers and prophets –two of which are Saul and Barnabas. One of the others was named Manaen. Depending on which version you read, he is either a lifelong friend of Herod the Tetrach or his “foster-brother.” In any event, he was very close to him. The scripture offers no explanation of how he came to be a prophet. At the word from the Holy Spirit, Saul and Barnabas were sent on their first missionary journey, which would last about 1 1/2 years. In verse 9, the Bible speaks of Saul for the first time as being also called Paul.

They traveled down first to Seleucia, then set sail to Cyprus where Barnabas was from, taking John Mark with them. They started proclaiming the word of God in the synagogue at Salamis. Then they went 90 miles to Paphos, the seat of Roman government on Cyprus. The proconsul was the highest ranking official in a Roman province. This one summoned Saul and Barnabas, wishing to hear the word of God. But a magician named Elymas (also known as Bar-Jesus), a false prophet who was with him, was working against them, trying to turn the proconsul away. Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, rebuked the man and caused him to lose his sight. The proconsul believed after seeing this.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Jehoshaphat’s Reforms – 2 Chronicles 19

Thomas Seddon - Jerusalem and the Valley of Je...

Thomas Seddon – Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat from the Hill of Evil Counsel – Google Art Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem, he was visited by Jehu, the son of Hanani the seer. Jehu rebuked him for the alliance he had made with Ahab, but said that he had found favor with the Lord because he had “destroyed the Asheroth out of the land,” and also because he had set his heart “to seek God.”

So Jehoshaphat took his responsibility as king and with the service of God personally. He went out among the people “from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim,” bringing the people back to the Lord.  He appointed judges throughout Judah, and sternly admonished them to show no partiality or take bribes, but to take care to deal justly with the people.

he then appointed Levites and priests to “give judgment before the Lord, and decide disputed cases, and to do it “in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart.” He set Amariah the chief priest and Zebadiah, the governor of the house of Judah over them to ensure that the law of the Lord was respected, and that justice was done.

 

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

Herod Agrippa Loses Peter and His Life – Acts 12

Coin minted by Herod Agrippa I.

Coin minted by Herod Agrippa I. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Peter was rescued from prison by the angel, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark (verse 12). Many scholars believe that Peter had a deep friendship with John Mark, and that Peter was instrumental in his writing the Gospel of Mark. A great many of the church members were gathered there. At first, none of them believed the servant girl when she said that it was Peter at the gate. When they opened it, he cautioned them to be silent, then told them how he had been freed from prison. As he left, he told them to tell James (this James would be the Lord’s brother) and the brothers what had happened.

When it was discovered that Peter was gone, Herod had the sentries executed. The he went to Caesarea, where verses 20-23 describe the events of his death, relating that an angel of the Lord struck him down and in the end “he was eaten by worms.” Some suggest that both he and his grandfather died of Fournier’s gangrene, but the Scripture gives no other information that would verify this. His vanity and acceptance of the praise proclaiming him to be a god led to his death. Another purpose was served though, as he had already proved to be a dangerous enemy to the apostles.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

First Apostle Martyred – Acts 12

This chapter begins with the statement Herod the king laid violent hands on members of the church during this time frame. This is Herod Agrippa I, who was the grandson of Herod the Great.  We know from history that he died in 44 A.D. so, considering the events of the latter part of the chapter, it is likely that all of this took place in that year. Verse 2 says that “he killed James the brother of John with the sword…”

The sriking thing about Luke’s account here is that this is all that he says about the murder of James. He was the brother of John (sons of Zebedee), and along with Peter, these three were obviously closer to Jesus than any of the other apostles. If the Bible were being written simply by men as a fictionally embellished account of Jesus Christ and His apostles, there is no way the death of James would get just 10 words. But James is not the focus of the gospel.

Agrippa I also called the Great (10 BC - 44 AD...

Agrippa I also called the Great (10 BC – 44 AD), King of the Jews, was the grandson of Herod the Great, and son of Aristobulus IV and Berenice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The text goes on to say that it pleased the Jews when Herod had this done. That would of course be the Jewish leaders, who already had deep animosity for the apostles. Seeing how the death of James pleased them, he had Peter arrested. This was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread; and Herod intended to bring Peter out after Passover and undoubtedly do the same with him as he had done with James.

eed. If one was simply writing a story rather than the word of God, one would certainly have more to say about the death of one of Jesus’ “inner circle,” James the son of Zebedee, than these few words. The rest of the verse states that “…when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.” The Jewish religious leaders – certainly much of the Sanhedrin – would have been pleased to have gotten rid of one the twelve men who were so instrumental in proclaiming that Jesus was the risen Lord. This was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread; and Herod intended to bring Peter out after Passover and undoubtedly do the same with him as he had done with John’s brother.

But on evening before he was to be brought to Herod, an angel of the Lord came to Peter as he slept between two soldiers, made the chains fall off of him, led him past two guards and compelled the iron gate to open on its own, as they walked through. And then the angel left. Peter had been thinking that he was having another vision. But in verse 11, he realizes that the Lord had sent his angel to rescue him “from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.