Paul’s Stoning and the Jerusalem Conference – Acts 14-15

Paul and Barnabas preached in Iconium, and a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles 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.

From there they went to Lystra and other places. In Lystra 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.

St. Paul and St. Barnabas at Lystra.

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

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.

In chapter 15, we learn of what is commonly called “the Jerusalem Conference.” Despite Peter’s vision, and the fact that the Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles in chapter 10, the acceptance of Gentiles in the church was still meeting resistance. In Acts 6:7, we are told of a significant number of priests that believed and were added to the church. Many of these would be of the Pharisaic party referred to 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.

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. The apostles 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).

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Acts 13, Acts 14, Acts 15, Acts 16, Acts 17

___________________

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 and Barnabas Set Sail – Acts 13

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.

St. Paul and St. Barnabas at Lystra.

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

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.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Acts 13, Acts 14, Acts 15, Acts 16, Acts 17

___________________

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 “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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Saul Goes to Caesarea – Acts 9

Caesarea_090814Saul left Damascus for Jerusalem. He wanted to join the disciples there, but they were understandably afraid of him. It was Barnabas, who we met at the end of chapter 4, who spoke in Paul’s defense to the apostles. He told them of Saul’s conversion, how it had happened., and how he had been preaching the gospel.

So now Saul went in and out among them at will, as he continued preaching about Jesus. Verse 29 speaks of how he disputed against the Hellenists. Obviously, this was a different group of Hellenists from those spoken of in Acts 6:1. These were Jews who had not been converted, and they were plotting to kill Saul, presumably for his “change of allegiance” as much as for anything else. So the brothers had to get him out of there. They took him to Caesarea and sent him on his way to Tarsus.

So according to verse 31, the church all over Judea, Galilee, and Samaria then had peace and began to grow and many were filled with the 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 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.

 

 

Doing the Lord’s work – Acts 4

English: folio 11 recto of the codex with the ...

English: folio 11 recto of the codex with the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verses 32-37 detail a time and spirit of unity and of purpose that I dare say has not been equaled. The early Christians depicted here were many, and they were all of one mind – that of the good news of Jesus Christ, and of love for each other. Luke tells us that there was not a needy person among them. Those who were of some means sold possessions, including land and houses they owned, and “laid the money at the apostles feet” so that it could be distributed for the Lord’s work.

Notice that the scripture does not say that they sold all that they had. Barnabas, for example, sold a field. nobody was expected to divest themselves of all their earthly possessions. Where would the logic be in helping the needy by becoming needy yourself? That would not help the church. The point that was being made here by Luke is that everyone was indeed of one mind and unified in service to the Lord, and to each other — just as Jesus had commanded — while the apostles preached Jesus Christ crucified to the world at large.

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

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.  

Acts 15 – The Jerusalem Council

Despite Peter’s vision, and the fact that the Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles in chapter 10, the acceptance of Gentiles in the church was still meeting resistance. In Acts 6:7, we are told of a significant number of priests that believed and were added to the church.  Many of these would be of the Pharisaic party referred to 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, as 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.  The apostles 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).

Pamphylia hill country, Turkey, a small Roman province in southern Asia Minor during Paul’s time. Paul preached here on his First Missionary Journey. Later, John Mark left Paul and Barnabas and went home.

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.

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

/Bob’s boy
___________________
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.

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
___________________
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.