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.
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. But 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.
Bible Reading Schedule for this month
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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.