Acts 14 – Paul and Barnabas at Iconium and Lystra

At the Jewish synagogue in Iconium, Paul and Barnabas preached in such a way that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.  But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and “poisoned their minds” against the believing brothers and sisters.  They stayed for a long time, performing many signs and wonders.  But the divided city resulted in a conspiracy of both Jews and Gentiles to persecute and to stone Paul and Barnabas.  When they learned of this, they fled the city.

Paul and Barnabas, thrown out of Antioch in Pisidia, descended the mountains, going east into Lycaonia. They went first to Iconium, a commercial center on the road between Asia and Syria. After preaching there, they had to flee to Lystra, 25 miles south. Paul was stoned in Lystra, but he and Barnabas traveled the 50 miles to Derbe, a border town. The pair then boldly retraced their steps.

One of the places they went to from there was Lystra.  There 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 they saw 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.

But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and they turned the minds of the crowds.  They 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.

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.

Side note: This article from Ferrell’s Travel Blog contains interesting information about the connection that the people in Lystra made to Hermes and Zeus.  This second article there is interesting in light of the sacrificial element.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

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2 comments on “Acts 14 – Paul and Barnabas at Iconium and Lystra

  1. Pingback: What did Paul do to Timothy? « A Robin Hood's Musing

  2. Pingback: Acts 14. Paul and Barnabas are persecuted | Bummyla

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