Paul and Barnabas Carry the News to Gentiles – Acts 15

English: Ancient Roman road near Tall Aqibrin ...

English: Ancient Roman road near Tall Aqibrin in Syria. This road connected Antioch and Chalcis. Français : Ancienne voie romaine près de Tell Aqibrin en Syrie. Elle reliait Antioche à Chalcis (Qinnasrin). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verse 22, Luke writes that the apostles and the elders then chose men to go with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, and sent a letter with them, affirming with one accord that the Gentiles were not to be burdened with the requirements that the circumcision party was trying to impose. The stipulations referred to in verses 20 and 29 were to make clear that they were to abstain from behavior that would make them appear to the world as the idol-worshipers that were so common (sexual immorality was a predominant theme in idol worship).

Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch (of Syria) preaching for a while, then prepared to re-visit the cities where they had been. Verse 39 describes “a sharp disagreement” between the two. Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them. But verse 38 says that “Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.” Separating, Barnabas and Mark went to Cyprus, and Paul took Silas and went through Syria and Cilicia. The Scripture does not elaborate on this, but it has been pointed out that the disagreement had the end result of making their efforts doubly fruitful.

(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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Prediction of Famine – Acts 11

Imperial portrait of Roman emperor (41–54 AD) ...

Imperial portrait of Roman emperor (41–54 AD) Claudius (10 BC–54 AD). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of those who had been scattered from Jerusalem after the stoning of Stephen had preached the word to others, but some had not exclusively taught Jews. Many coming to Antioch had preached the word of Jesus to the Hellenists; and many had believed. When word of this reached Jerusalem, they sent Barnabas, who found them faithful. Barnabas was encouraged and full of the Spirit, went to Tarsus to find Paul; and together they taught in Antioch for a year. It was in Antioch, according to verse 26, where the disciples were first called Christians.

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, given to others by the Apostles during those days, was the gift of prophecy. One disciple with that gift foretold a great famine (verse 28). Historians believe that this is the famine that took place during the reign of Claudius (Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Roman emperor from A.D. 41-54). This was in the years 45–47 A.D.  That appears to be confirmed by Galatians 2:1, where Paul states that his second visit to Jerusalem referred to in verse 30 was 14 years after his conversion, which would be circa 47 A.D.

Verses 29-30 record the response to the prophet’s prediction”

So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

(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.

 

 

 

Peter is Criticized – Acts 11

Statue of st. Peter

Statue of st. Peter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As chapter 10 concluded, Cornelius, his family, and his friends received the Holy Spirit. Then “they asked him to remain for some days.” By the time Peter returned to Jerusalem, news that the Gentiles also had received the word of God had already spread back to the other apostles and the brothers and sisters throughout Judea. In verse 2, Peter was getting criticism from what the ESV calls the “circumcision party” But other versions say that the criticism came from “those of the circumcision.” Their indignation was at Peter having eaten with these uncircumcised Gentiles.

It should be remembered that Peter had that same attitude before his vision and before the conversion of Cornelius and his family. Indeed, that was the attitude of most of the church before the Jerusalem conference in chapter 15. Even after The conversion of Cornelius, Peter withdrew from the gentile believers for a while out of fear of the circumcision party. And Paul speaks of rebuking him for this in Galatians 2:11-12.

Then in verses 4-18, Peter relates the vision, the command from the Spirit to go to Cornelius, and the entire conversion story. Upon hearing that the Holy Spirit had fallen on these gentiles, they had no choice but to concede that “to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

(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.

 

 

 

Peter Preaches the Gospel to Cornelius – Acts 10

Stained glass window based on Acts 10.

Stained glass window based on Acts 10. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Note: Beginning 09/02/14, this blog will be published on Tuesdays and Fridays

Peter had told Cornelius of how the Spirit had pointed him toward their meeting. So then Cornelius told him of his vision, and that all present were commanded to hear what Peter has to say.  With that, Peter preaches to them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. There will be much more discussion about Gentiles in the kingdom of the Lord before the “Jerusalem Conference” of chapter 15, but Peter’s mind on the subject is made up already, it appears. In verses 34-35, he says “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

The gospel that he then preaches to Cornelius and those present at his house is the same as that preached to all of the people who are converted in Acts and all who are taught today. God sent him, he was crucified for us, and God raised Him from the dead on the third day. And he finishes with these words “all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

(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 today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s 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.

 

 

 

Peter Raises Tabitha – Acts 9

Lydda_090814Peter went to the town of Lydda, where he found a man named Aenaes, who had been paralyzed for eight years. Paul, as usual, gave all the glory to the one who really healed — Jesus, saying “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” The healing caused quite stir and many conversions were made around Lydda and the surrounding Sharon.

He then ended up about 18 miles to the northwest, in the town of Joppa. There, a much-loved disciple named Tabitha (also known as Dorcas) had become ill and died. She was loved dearly because she was always doing good works for others, and lived a charitable life. When he arrived, he was taken to an upper room where the washed body had been taken. There were widows there who showed Paul their tunics that Dorcas had made for them, demonstrating her charitable nature.

Paul raised her from the dead, and word spread quickly, resulting in many more conversions. Peter remained for several days there in the house of Simon the Tanner.

 

(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 today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s 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.

 

 

Saul Goes Hunting – Acts 9

As chapter 8 opened, we had Saul of Tarsus (in Luke’s words) “ravaging the church,” literally dragging people out of their homes, and taking them to prison – all for being Christians. And thus began the scattering of the church to other regions. Chapter 9 opens with these two verses which speak volumes:

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

The statement in that opening phrase demonstrates the venomous heart Saul had against those who followed Jesus. He believed in his heart

the Conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus...

the Conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus as painted by Michelangelo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

that the disciples were blasphemous against God and all that he had been taught his whole life; and he wanted nothing less than to crush them. Having made a very good start at doing so in Jerusalem was no longer enough. Now he wanted to go to Damascus to hunt down those who had escaped to that location, as well as any who may have already been there. Verse two marks the first time the Bible refers to Christians as belonging to “the Way.” “The Way” was a name used for Christianity during those times. Luke uses the name in Acts (Acts 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22).

On the way to Damascus, a bright light from heaven fell upon Saul — strong enough to bring him to the ground, and he was blinded. Jesus spoke to him, saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He was told to go into the city, where he would be told what to do. Verse 7 says that the men with him stood speechless, “hearing the voice but seeing no one.” This is another passage that skeptics try to use as a contradiction. Paul gives his own account of this in Acts 22:9, saying that those men “saw the light but did not understand the voice…” Ironically, such skeptics, by seeing this as a contradiction, prove that it is possible to hear (and read) without understanding.

(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 today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s 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.