Chapter 8: The Gospel In Action
1. The Church Scattered By Persecution V. 1-4
1. "Was consenting" = to be pleased together with; to approve together; this well describes Saul's pleasure in the death of Stephen.
2. "At that time there was" = "There arose on that day"; immediately following the death of Stephen.
3. "Persecution" = to chase; hunt; pursue; described as "great" (intense) because both the Sadducees and the Pharisees were trying to put a stop to the early church.
4. "Church" = a called out assembly; a group of called out baptized believers who meet together to worship and glorify God.
5. "Scattered abroad" = to disperse; to scatter like grain.
6. This great persecution resulted in advancing the cause which was intended to be destroyed; therefore, good came out of evil and the great commission was being fulfilled. (Acts 1:8)
1. "Devout" = religious; refers to those who reverenced God; these men could have been even unsaved Jews who did not approve of what had happened.
2. "Carried to his burial" = one word in Greek; means "to carry with others" Stephen to be buried; the word is said to be applied to the acts preparatory to burial, such as closing the eyes, washing, and anointing the body.
3. "Lamentation" = mourning with beating of the breast as a sign of grief; described as being "great"; this word with its full meaning may describe the devout men as being unsaved Jews because saved men may weep and express grief but would not likely beat their breast as the unsaved Jews' custom was.
1. "As for Saul" = he took no interest or part in the pious attention shown to Stephen but engaged with zeal in the work of persecution.
2. "Havock" = to treat shamefully or with injury; to ravage, devastate, ruin; word indicates that Saul was a cruel and violent persecutor; this word is usually applied to wild beast, to lions, and wolves and denotes the devastations which they commit.
3. "Entering into every house" = to search for those who were suspected of being Christians.
4. "Haling" = "hauling" = dragging forcibly.
5. "Men and women" = this is the first persecution mentioned that involved the women.
6. "Committed them to prison" = the Sanhedrin did not have power to put them to death but they had power to put them in prison, and they determined to exercise this power to the utmost; the tense indicates continuous action, they kept on putting them in prison.
1. "Therefore" = the persecution resulted in the spreading of the gospel message.
2. "Went every where" = one word in Greek; means to go through, from place to place; they traveled through the various regions where they were scattered.
3. "Preaching" = evangelizing, or announcing the good news of the word of God; these believers were simply announcing the good news of eternal salvation offered through Christ and there is no evidence that these men (the women were included also, verse 3) were ordained to preach; every child of God is to preach in this sense. (Rom. 10:13‑15)
2. Philip The Evangelist V. 5-25
1. "Philip" = not an apostle but one chosen in Acts 6:5 to do the work of a deacon and later in Acts 21:8 called an evangelist.
2. "Went down" = to leave Jerusalem one must go down as Jerusalem is the highest point (geographically) in that area.
3. "City of Samaria" = refers to a city in the land of Samaria; some have said that no city by the name of Samaria existed at this time even though Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom when Israel was divided.
4. "Preached" = not the same word as in verse 4; means to proclaim as a crier; to proclaim after the manner of a herald, with a suggestion of formality, gravity, and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed; the tense indicates continuous action, he began to preach and kept on preaching.
5. His subject was "Christ" = preached the Messiah had come, and made known His doctrines.
1. "One accord" = unitedly, or with one mind.
2. "Gave heed" = to hold the mind toward; to pay attention to; tense indicates continuous action, they kept on holding their mind on the things said by Philip; they were spell‑bound.
3. "Miracles" = a supernatural happening by which God authenticates the men sent by Him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God's.
4. "Which he did" = tense indicates continuous action; which he kept on doing from time to time; these miracles were done by the power of God, Philip was just a human instrument.
1. "Unclean spirits" = demons called unclean because they prompted to sin and impurity of life.
2. "Crying" = to raise a cry in a tumultuous way; identified as a loud (great) voice.
3. "Possessed" = indicates those who had these unclean spirits were controlled by them.
4. "Palsies" = weak of limbs; suffering from the relaxing of nerves; seems to apply to being paralyzed.
1. "Joy" = cheerfulness; gladness of heart; described as great.
2. This joy appears to be over the physical healing rather than over spiritual healing (salvation) because they didn't have the Holy Ghost (Spirit) until Peter and John came. (Acts 8:15‑16; Rom.8:9)
1. "Simon" = one of the common names of the Jews.
2. "Used sorcery" = to practice magical art; the practice of magic was common at that time even though it was forbidden to Jews. (Lev. 19:31; 20:6)
3. "Bewitched" = throw into wonder; to be astonished or amazed.
4. "Giving out" = saying, with the idea of boasting.
1. "Gave heed" = to pay attention to.
2. "From the least to the greatest" = a phrase that means from the servant to the king and all in between; many in the area practiced magic, and all paid attention to it.
3. "The great power of God" = a statement made by the people, which means that they believed Simon was invested with the power of God, not that they supposed he was really the Great God.
1. "Had regard" = same word as "gave heed" = in verse 10.
2. "Bewitched" = amazed.
3. "Sorceries" = magic.
1. "Believed" = to have a mental persuasion.
2. "Preaching the things" = one word in the Greek: announcing the glad tidings (good news) concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.
3. "Were baptized" = to make fully wet; tense indicates repetition, from time to time.
1. "Believed" = to have mental persuasion; he believed that Philip was a man sent from God because of the miracles that he did just as Nicodemus believed concerning Jesus in John 3:2, but he had no sense of his need of Jesus as his Lord and Saviour; he was like those in John 2:23‑25 and John 8:30‑44; this is not saving faith.
2. "Baptized" = to make fully wet; was not scriptural baptism because he was not saved.
3. "Continued" = to be earnest toward; it was customary and natural for the disciples to remain with their teachers; Simon's motive for all he did was, personal gain.
4. "Wondered" = to put out of wits; astound; amazed; same word as "bewitched" in verses 9, 11; means that he was amazed that Philip could really perform so much greater miracles than he had even pretended to.
5. "Beholding" = to be a spectator of; to look with interest and purpose.
6. "Miracles" = exhibition of divine power; mighty works.
7. "Signs" = finger post of God; miracles done to vindicate Philip's ministry, that it was from God.
1. "Received the word of God" = they welcomed the word of God, thus they did not reject it. This is necessary for one to be saved but that within itself is not salvation. Luke 8:12 states that the devil wants to take away the word from one's heart to keep them from being saved. The devil knows the value of the Word. I John 5:10‑12 states one must believe the record (Word) which points to the Son but the record does not give life, the Son does. (John 1:4; II Tim. 3:15)
2. "Sent" = to send forth as a messenger.
3. By Peter being one of the ones sent, shows that he was not a "Pope" as the Catholic church claims. He exercised no authority in sending others, but was himself sent.
1. "Prayed" = offered up prayer to God.
2. "Receive the Holy Ghost" = necessary to be saved (Rom. 8:9); these people had believed with the head and not the heart; they had been delivered from demons (verse 7) but not from their sin; they had some light but were not saved; some will try to make you believe this verse teaches a "second blessing" for one saved = that of receiving the Holy Ghost; when in reality one receives the Holy Ghost the instant he is saved; the Holy Ghost is the seal of a saint (Eph. 1:13‑14).
1. "Fallen" = to embrace; take possession of.
2. "As yet" = not yet; this verse in parentheses indicates that these people were not saved; if the Holy Ghost had not taken possession of them they were not saved. Mat. 12:43‑45 refers to people in the same condition as these were in Acts 8. They were good candidates for greater demon possession unless they were to get saved.
3. They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus which involves the Father and the Spirit because "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9), therefore no contradiction with what Jesus said in Mat. 28:19‑20. Baptism does not save, the Lord Jesus does.
1. "Laid their hands on them" = speaks of identification; Peter and John were identifying themselves with the Samaritans whom the natural Jew detested.
2. It was necessary for the Samaritans to receive the message by one of the apostles because they were the nucleus of the New Testament church (I Cor. 12:28) and had been given the authority (keys; Mat. 16:19) to carry the gospel message in fulfilling the great commission. (Acts 1:8) It is interesting to note that Peter was the one who carried the message to the Gentiles. (Acts 10:1‑6) Peter testified in Acts 15:7 that God had chosen him to do so.
3. The Samaritans had some light but it was necessary for Peter and John to preach to them if they were to receive full light and be saved.
1. "Saw" = perceived; Simon perceived that these Samaritans received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the apostle's hands, yet no hands were laid on the 120 at Pentecost in Acts 2:4, nor in Acts 10:44; therefore it cannot be concluded that the Holy Ghost was received only by the laying on of hands of the apostles or by the hands of anyone.
2. Something had to happen at the point they received the Holy Ghost that caused Simon to think what he did. No mention is made of tongues or other spectacular signs occurring. If they occurred, the Holy Spirit did not write them down. His silence on the matter depreciates the importance of those things on this occasion. The important thing is that the Samaritans got saved.
3. "He offered money" = he had had a remarkable influence over the Samaritans using sorcery and he saw that the possession of this power would increase his influence; this act shows that he was influenced by improper motives in identifying with the Lord's church.
1. "Power" = privilege; freedom of action; authority; the ability or strength with which one is endued.
2. Simon wanted the power (exousia) to pass on "this power" (dunamis). He was a "charlatan" (one who pretends to have ability that he does not have) and regarded spiritual functions as a marketable commodity.
3. Faith cannot be purchased with money, it is a gift.
1. "Perish" = be destroyed; Peter regarded his money as of no value.
2. "With thee" = expression of his belief that Simon would perish also.
3. "The gift of God" = that which He has given, or conferred as a favor.
4. "Purchased" = to obtain, acquire.
5. How can anyone pay a price to God? All that we can give, the silver, the gold, and the cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him already.
6. Salvation, like every other blessing, will be His gift, and if ever received, we must be willing to receive it on His own terms, at His own time, and in His own way. It cannot be bought with money or merit. (Eph. 2:8‑9)
1. "Neither part" = you have no portion of the grace of God; you are destitute of it altogether.
2. "Nor lot" = means the portion which falls to one when an estate, or when spoil in war is divided into portions, according to the number of those who are to be partakers, and the part of each one is divided by lot.
3. These two words used together denote emphatically that he was in no sense a partaker of the favor of God.
4. "In this matter" = thing; refers to Christianity; Simon was not a Christian.
5. "Thy heart" = your affections, or governing motives; your principle of conduct; Simon was influenced by the love of power and of the world.
6. "In the sight of God" = God sees or judges that your heart is not sincere and pure.
7. No external profession is acceptable without the heart. God knows the motives, looks on the heart, and will certainly judge accordingly. (I Sam. 16:7)
1. "Repent" = to exercise proper sorrow for his sin, and to abandon his plan or principle of action; to change one's mind and purpose with regret accompanied by a true change of heart. (II Cor. 7:10)
2. "Wickedness" = depravity; evil habit of mind.
3. "Pray God = petition God; means if you have a desire to forsake the sin, and to be pardoned, then pray to God to forgive; it would be absurd to ask forgiveness until a man felt his need of it.
4. "If perhaps" = if just maybe; the Greek construction minimized the chance of forgiveness; Peter may have thought that his sin was close to the unpardonable sin (Mat. 12:31) but he does not close the door of hope.
5. "Thought" = purpose; it is not open sin only that needs to be forgiven but also the secret purpose of one's heart.
1. "Perceive" = to see with the mind; mental perception.
2. "In the gall" = refers to anything very bitter; denotes any bad passion of the mind, as anger or malice.
3. "Bitterness" = poison; refers to excessive bitterness; Peter used two words, both being similar in meaning, to describe Simon's condition.
4. "Bond of iniquity" = means Simon was bound by sin; sin had rule over him and bound him as captive.
5. "Iniquity" = unrighteousness of heart and life.
1. "Pray" = petition; make a request; Peter had told Simon to pray in verse 22 and now he asks Peter to pray for him.
2. Peter had clearly diagnosed his case thus causing Simon to be frightened to the point of asking Peter to pray for him. He wanted to escape the punishment for his sins but was not sorry for his sin. He gives evidence of no repentance, no change of heart, therefore he was an unsaved man who only submitted to the act of baptism.
3. The reason he asked Peter along with John to pray for him was that he had seen that their prayer was effective concerning others being saved. What he had not seen was that the others had a change of heart.
1. "Testified" = to confirm the word by testimony so as to cause it to be believed.
2. "Preached" = spoken; refer simply to the fact of utterance.
3. "Returned" = Greek construction pictures the joyful journey of preaching to the Samaritan villages.
4. "Preached the gospel" = one word in the Greek; different from preached the word; means to announce the good news of the death, burial, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Philip The Personal Worker V.26-40
1. "Angel" = messenger; could possibly refers to a celestial messenger sent from God; also could have been a dream or vision; more probable it was the Spirit of God as verses 29-39 mentions.
2. "The south" = meaning that part of Judea which is called "the south country."
3. "Way" = road; road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza.
4. "Gaza" = a city of the Philistines.
5. "Which is desert" = desolate; uninhabited; this refers to the road as being deserted, very few traveled this way, but it was the main route from Jerusalem to Egypt which was necessary to go through to get to Ethiopia. (See Map 1)
1. "He arose" = indicates Philip's immediate obedience without any excuses; we need to remember Philip was in Samaria where the Lord had been moving on a great number of people; now at God's direction he leaves Samaria and goes after one; the salvation of a single sinner is an object worthy of the attention of God and when such a sinner is saved it is because God forms a plan and has a purpose to do it. His purpose and plan involves:
A. Calling His servant to labor.
B. Directing their labor.
C. Leading His servant.
D. Preparing the way for the reception of truth.
MAP 1 is currently unavailable. Please contact us for a copy.
2. "Ethiopia" = one of the great kingdoms of Africa; much larger country in Bible times than today; bordered then on the north by Egypt and on the east by the Red Sea and Indian Ocean; included a large port of what is known as Somalia today and also part of Sudan as well as present day Ethiopia.
3. "Eunuch" = an emasculated man either by nature or by man; commonly employed to take care of the king's harem; they were not allowed to be Jews in the full sense, but only proselytes of the gate. (Deut. 23:1)
4. "Of great authority" = a ruler or officer.
5. "Candace" = the common name of the queens of Ethiopia, not a proper name.
6. "Treasure" = from a word which denotes the royal treasure.
7. "Had come to worship" = denotes he was either a Jew coming to Jerusalem to keep one of the feast required for all Jews to attend, or he was a proselyte Jew.
1. "Was returning" = from Jerusalem to Ethiopia.
2. "Chariot" = carriage; his vehicle; the form is not known, could have been on wheels drawn by horses or could have been borne on poles on the shoulders of men.
3. "Esaias" = Isaiah.
4. "Prophet" = one who has insight into divine things and speaks them forth to others.
1. "Said" = to use language; to declare in words; the Spirit is a person who can speak in our own language and give specific instructions.
2. "Join" = vivid word meaning to be glued to; implies to give undivided attention to.
1. "Ran thither" = to run towards; indicates his haste and desire to obey the words of the Spirit.
2. "Heard him read" = he was reading aloud; sometimes the best way of impressing truth on the mind is our private reading of the Scriptures.
3. "Understandest" = to know; perceive; have knowledge of; the Eunuch knew he was reading from Isaiah but he did not know what the scripture meant.
1. "He said" = this was a general acknowledgment of his need of direction; this revealed a humble state of mind; he had a choice for he could had taken offence at Philip's question due to pride and his high ranking position, but he got honest.
2. "Guide" = show me the way.
3. "Desired" = to invite; to call to one's side; he was willing to receive instruction from a stranger.
1. "The place of the scripture" = Isa. 53:7‑8; need to remember that the original had no chapter and verse divisions; this quotation is from the Septuagint which is a Greek translation of the Hebrew, therefore, there are variations from the Hebrew.
2. "He" = the Messiah.
3. "Was led" = implies He was conducted by others; general idea is that of meekness and submission when He was led to be put to death.
4. "To the slaughter" = to be killed.
5. "Like a lamb dumb" = still, patient, unresisting.
6. "So he opened not his mouth" = He did not complain or murmur; He offered no resistance, but yielded patiently to what was done by others. (John 10:17‑18)
1. "Humiliation" = depression; low estate; denotes His being in a state of oppression; calamity, and destitute of protectors and friends; translated "prison" in Isa. 53:8 which denotes any kind of detention, or even oppression.
2. "Judgement" = justice; a just sentence was denied Him, and He was cruelly condemned.
3. "Declare" = to relate fully; announce.
4. "Generation" = posterity; this phrase could mean several things all of which is right with scriptural principle.
A. Who shall stand up for Him, declaring who He is? Even all His disciple forsook Him and Peter denied Him three times.
B. Who can express the number of His descendants?
C. Who will carry on His name since He has no physical posterity because (for) "his life is taken from the earth."
5. "His life is taken from the earth" = "He was cut off out of the land of the living." (Isa. 53:8); "cut off" = denotes a violent and not a peaceful death; He was violently taken away as if He was cut down in the midst of His days.
6. We need to volunteer, as Isaiah did in Isa. 6:8, to carry on His name, declare His generation.
1. "Of himself" = of Isaiah; this was a natural inquiry, for there was nothing in the text itself that would determine to whom the reference was made.
2. In this state of suspense when his mind was just fitted to receive instruction, God sent a messenger to guide him in the way of peace and salvation.
1. "Opened his mouth" = begin to speak.
2. "At the same scripture" = as a text; Philip needed no better text than this OT passage to preach Jesus.
3. "Preached" = to announce the good news of Jesus; Philip explained that Jesus of Nazareth exactly fit the description of the prophet, and that he referred to the Messiah, and that Messiah was Jesus of Nazareth.
4. How Philip detailed the circumstances of the life and death of Christ is unknown, but from the next verse we know it was enough that the Eunuch got saved and had an understanding concerning baptism.
1. "As they went on their way" = in their journey.
2. "A certain water" = some water; don't know whether this was a river, a brook, or a standing pool but it was enough water to administer scriptural baptism.
3. "Hinder" = prevent.
4. "Baptized" = to make fully wet.
1. "Believed" = to commit to; put in trust with; notice this was with the "heart" and not just the "head."
2. "I believe" = the Eunuch's profession or confession (Rom 10:9); this profession was more than a professed belief that Jesus was the Messiah, he professed that Jesus Christ (Messiah) was the Son of God. (John 20:31)
3. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to the Eunuch but the Holy Spirit did. (Mat. 16:13‑17)
4. The Holy Spirit opened the way for Philip to come to the man; He opened the scriptures to the seeking sinner; and He opened the sinners heart to the Saviour. A man cannot be saved who does not understand what he is doing and only the Spirit can teach the sinner the truths of the gospel. (Psa. 25:8)
5. The Holy Spirit brought a prepared servant together with a prepared sinner and he met the Saviour.
6. This is an unbeatable combination; Spirit, Saint, Sinner, Seed (Word), and Saviour.
1. "Commanded the chariot" = spoke to the driver of the chariot or the one in charge of the carriage.
2. The language of these two verses (38‑39) show plainly that scriptural baptism must have sufficient water to immerse because it pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This can not be done by sprinkling or pouring.
3. The eunuch proved his faith by his baptism, in obedience to the Word of God. (James 2:20)
1. "Caught away" = to carry off suddenly; this does not necessarily mean Philip was borne through the air miraculously; just as the Spirit directed Philip to go meet the eunuch, He directs him to leave without delay.
2. Philip did not stay around the eunuch because duty called him elsewhere.
3. "Rejoicing" = to be cheerful; related to the Hebrew word meaning a young sheep or lamb skipping across the field for joy; the tense indicates a continuous action.
1. "But" = contrast between Philip and the eunuch.
2. "Was found" = refers to the fact that he was not heard of until he reached Azotus.
3. "Azotus" = a city in Palestine about 20 miles north of where he had met the eunuch; this is the Greek name of the city which was called Ashdod by the Hebrews. (see Map 1)
4. "Preached" = to evangelize to announce the good news of the gospel.
5. "All the cities" = refer to those along his route to Caesarea.
6. "Caesarea" = a city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea northwest of Jerusalem about 60 miles; it became the seat of the Roman governor while Judea was a Roman providence; it was here that Peter carried the gospel to Cornelius (Acts 10:1) and where Paul was in prison for two years when he came before the governors, Felix (Acts 23:23‑24), Festus, and King Agrippa (Acts Chapters 25‑26)
Chapter 9: The Conversion Of Saul
1. Paul And The Lord V. 1-9
1. "Yet" = implies some time had elapsed between the death of Stephen and the events of this chapter. (8:3)
2. "Breathing out" = expressive of any deep, agitating emotion: thus expressive of violent anger.
3. "Threatenings" = denunciations; threatening them with every breath; reveals the action of a man violently enraged, and who was bent on vengeance.
4. "Slaughter" = murder; intensely desiring to put to death as many Christians as possible; the taste of blood in the death of Stephen was pleasing to Saul (8:1) and now he took pleasure in the slaughter of the saints both men and women.
5. "High priest" = president of the Sanhedrin; the one who signed the letters in the name and by the authority of the Sanhedrin, thus giving Saul the authority to murder the saints or put them in prison.
1. "Desired" = asked; this shows the intensity of his wish to persecute the Christian.
2. "Letters" = epistles, implying a commission to bring them to Jerusalem from Damascus for trial and punishment; the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem claimed jurisdiction over all the synagogues everywhere.
3. "Damascus" = a city some 150 miles NNE of Jerusalem; a place where the Jews were strong in number and where some of the disciples had found refuge from Saul's persecution in Judea; many scattered Jewish disciples worshipped in the synagogues.
4. "That if he found any" = it seems it was not certainly known that there were Christian there, but probably there had been a report received in Jerusalem to that effect.
5. "Of this way" = of this way or mode of life; refers to Christians, those who followed Christ.
1. "As he journeyed" = on his way; while he was traveling.
2. "Suddenly" = of a sudden; unexpectedly; like a flash of lightning.
3. "Light" = Paul calls it a "a great light" "about noon" in 22:6 and in 26:13 refers to it as being "above the brightness of the sun."
4. "From heaven" = from above; from the sky.
1. "He fell to the earth" = he fell upon the ground (22:7); the men that were with him fell also (26:14); the effect was such it overpowered his body.
2. "Heard a voice" = the others with him heard a voice as a sound (verse 7) but did not hear the specific words spoken (22:9); the voice spoke distinctly to Saul and it was in Hebrew. (26:14)
3. "Saul, Saul" = an emphatic address; the repetition of the name would capture his attention.
4. "Why" = for what reason; Jesus had not injured him.
5. "Persecutest" = to harass, trouble, or molest one; to pursue; to vex or oppress one on account of his religion.
6. "Thou me" = Jesus; Saul was persecuting Christ's disciples and in so doing he persecuted Him. (Mat. 25:40)
1. "Lord" = a respectful title; could be translated "Sir" as the woman at the well did in John 4:11, 19 (same Greek word); he may have recognized the vision as being from God but at this point he did not recognize Jesus as his Lord; when Luke refers to the "Lord" (second time used) he refers to Him as his own Lord.
2. "I am Jesus" = 22:8 states Him to be "Jesus of Nazareth" not another "Jesus"; this statement makes it clear that this was a personal appearance of the resurrected Lord as Paul so stated in I Cor. 15:8, thus qualifying him for the office of an apostle. (1:21‑22)
3. "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks" = a proverbial expression of that day.
4. "Pricks" = any sharp point which will pierce or perforate; commonly means an ox‑goad, a sharp piece of iron stuck into the end of a stick, with which the ox is urged on.
5. This proverbial expression is derived from the action of a stubborn and unyielding ox kicking against the goad. It denotes rebellion against unlawful authority. Just as an ox injures no one but itself when it kicks against the goad, so any individual who kicks against authority injures no one but himself. Saul is kicking against Holy Ghost conviction.
1. "Trembling" = alarmed at what he saw and heard, and at the consciousness of his own evil course.
2. "Astonished" = to stupefy with surprise at what he saw.
3. Saul still addresses Jesus as "Lord" = a title of respect. He is not saved at this point as his own testimony bears out in 22:16, but he steps in what light he has and desires more light (truth) by asking, "What wilt thou have me to do?"
4. The Lord then gives him instructions.
5. "Arise" = to stand up; at this point, Saul and the others were on the ground and they stood up.
1. "Journeyed with" = traveled with.
2. "Speechless" = silent from astonishment; stupefied as to be unable to speak.
3. "Voice" = sound or noise but not the distinct words.
4. The men with Saul did not hear the words of Jesus nor see Him.
1. "When his eyes were opened" = he naturally closed them at the appearance of the light, and in his fright kept them closed for sometime.
2. "Saw no man" = refers to the men that were with him; he could not see due to temporary blindness which could have been caused by excessive light.
3. "They led him by the hand" = it seems that Saul was the only one of the group who had temporary blindness; he was the one the vision was directed toward and he was the one who experienced the full effect of it.
1. "Without sight" = physical sight; it was a pathetic picture to see the masterful Saul, victorious persecutor, and conqueror of the disciples, now helpless as a child, but these three days were necessary in Saul's life.
2. For three days Saul's appetite left him as godly sorrow worked repentance unto salvation. (II Cor. 7:10) He was under conviction as the Holy Spirit dealt with his sin and his need of the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. (John 16:8‑11)
2. Paul And The Lord V. 10-19
1. "Certain disciple" = a Christian; the one the Lord hand picked for the mission at hand; he had the respect of both the Jews and the Christians in Damascus. (22:12)
2. "Vision" = something gazed at; the idea is something to pass in review before the mind; the main idea is that the Lord revealed His will to him.
1. The Lord spoke clearly and distinctly so that there could be no misunderstanding as to what Ananias was to do.
2. "He prayeth" = to pray to God; Saul was crying out to God desiring for Him to do for him what he needed, his sins forgiven.
3. God's way in salvation involves human instrumentality. (Rom. 10:13‑15; Acts 8:31)
1. "Vision" = Saul had also had something to pass in review before the mind; this was done to assure Saul when Ananias came that he was not an imposter; the Lord prepared saint and sinner alike.
2. There was more involved in this than Saul just receiving his sight, he was going to be saved.
3. "Putting" = laying; speaks of identification; Ananias understood what Saul was experiencing because he too had been saved and knew Holy Ghost conviction had to be worked to its completion.
1. Ananias objection is a natural one but probably not a deliberate unwillingness to go to him.
2. "Heard by many" = probably many who had fled from persecution and had taken refuge in Damascus.
3. "Evil" = wickedness; refers to his acts of persecution upon the Christians.
4. Ananias had heard of Saul but was personally a stranger to him. No doubt he regarded Saul as an enemy to Christians, therefore, he would have been apprehensive of the danger he would place himself in if he went to Saul.
5. "Saints" = holy; sanctified; refers to Christians because they are set apart to God.
1. "Authority" = power; right; refers to the letters Saul carried giving him the right to arrest the saints and carry them back to Jerusalem.
2. News of Saul obtaining such letters had gone before him into Damascus.
3. "All that call on thy name" = refers to those saved. (Rom. 10:13; I Cor. 12:3b)
1. "Go thy way" = this is often the only answer that we obtain to the suggestion of our doubts and hesitations about duty; God tells us still to do what He requires with an assurance that His commands are just, and that there are good reasons for them.
2. "Chosen vessel" = a vessel of choice or divine selection in this case; denotes the instrument or agent which God uses to convey His message to mankind.
3. "To bear my name" = to communicate the knowledge of Christ.
4. "Before the Gentiles" = the nations; all who are not Jews; this was the chief element in the call of Saul; he was to be an apostle to the Gentiles. (Eph. 3:6‑8)
5. "And kings" = this was fulfilled in 25:13.
6. "The children of Israel" = Jews; this was fulfilled in verses 22‑23.
1. "Shew" = to show plainly, to make known, this was told Ananias to encourage him because he had feared Saul.
2. "Great" = many.
3. "Must" = necessary.
4. "Suffer" = to be afflicted; to experience a sensation or impression, usually painful.
5. "For my name's sake" = for the cause of Christ.
6. Ananias need not worry about Saul's making the saints to suffer any longer, for from now on Saul would do the suffering. Years later Paul gave a partial list of his sufferings in II Cor. 11:23‑28. Paul said in Acts 14:22, "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (II Tim. 3:12)
1. "Putting his hands on him" = usual mode of imparting as communicating blessings; this was the fulfillment of the vision Saul had in verse 12.
2. "Brother" = used here as a fellow Jew, not as a brother in Christ because Saul was not yet saved.
3. "Be filled" = to wholly take possession of; refers to the reception of the Holy Spirit when one is saved.
4. Paul's testimony in Acts 22:13‑16 gives more detail of Ananias' visit. One has their sins washed away when they call on the name of the Lord. (Rom. 10:13; I Cor. 12:3b) Therefore Saul got saved when Ananias came with the message of grace, not when on the road to Damascus.
1. "Fell" = fell off.
2. "As it had been scales" = mean to peel away; there were not actual scales that fell from his eyes, but it felt that way to him as a film peeled from his eyes and his sight returned.
3. "Forthwith" = immediately; instantly.
4. "Was baptized" = to make fully wet; done in obedience to the command of the Lord picturing the new life he now had in Christ.
1. "Meat" = food; nourishment; not necessarily meat as we refer to it today.
2. "Strengthened" = he was weak due to being without food and water for three days. (verse 9)
3. "Certain days" = how long is not known but long enough to preach the gospel. (verse 22)
4. "With the disciples" = with the Christians in Damascus.
3. Paul And The Jews V. 20-31
1. "Straightway" = immediately; Saul did not waste any time telling what Jesus had done for him; this was evidence of the genuineness of his conversion.
2. "Preached" = to herald; to proclaim; he proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ the Messiah; the Son of God
3. "Synagogues" = the place where the Jews met for worship; Saul continued the practice of attending the synagogues because anyone had the right to speak who was invited by the officiating minister and this gave him an opportunity to speak up for his Lord.
1. "Amazed" = to put out of wits; astound; they were amazed at the sudden and remarkable change in Saul.
2. "Destroyed" = to make havock; to overthrow; to oppose and persecute; to lay waste.
3. "For that intent" = with that design, that he might destroy the church at Damascus.
1. "Increased in strength" = one word in the Greek; his conviction of the truth concerning Christianity became stronger everyday; therefore, his moral strength and boldness increased.
2. "Confounded" = to throw into disorder; to make confusion; the more Saul preached, the more the Jews were confused because the truth (light) of the message just exposed the confusion that was already present in them.
3. "Proving" = to cause a person to unite with one in a conclusion or come to the same opinion.
4. "That this" = "that this Jesus" is the very Christ.
5. "Very" = the.
6. "Christ" = Messiah.
7. It means that Saul showed by strong and satisfactory arguments that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah.
1. "After that many days were fulfilled" = many days passed between verse 22 and 23; Paul stated in Gal. 1:15‑18 that he did not go to Jerusalem (verse 26) until three years after his conversion; he spent certain days in Damascus (verse 19) then went to Arabia to be alone with the Lord and come back to Damascus before going to Jerusalem.
2. "Took counsel" = laid a scheme, or design to kill him.
1. "Their laying await" = their counsel; their design.
2. "Was known of Saul" = was made known to him.
3. "Watched" = guarded closely. (II Cor. 11:32‑33)
4. Saul returned to Damascus with renewed energy and grasp of truth after being alone with the Lord in Arabia and also caused great opposition among the Jews.
1. "By the wall" = through a window of an overhanging house on the wall which opened on the outside, unguarded portion of the wall.
2. "Basket" = a plaited basket in which food is carried; they may have gotten this idea from Josh. 2:15 or I Sam. 19:12.
3. Saul leaving Damascus was not a cowardly act but simply obeying the directions of the Lord Jesus in Mat. 10:23, 14. Christianity requires us to sacrifice our lives only when we cannot avoid it without denying the Saviour, or abandoning the principles of truth.
1. "Was come to Jerusalem" = this was three years after his conversion.
2. "Assayed" = attempted; endeavored.
3. "To join himself" = to become connected with them as a fellow Christian; he made no effort to get in touch with the Sanhedrin who had sent him to Damascus.
4. "They were all afraid of him" = probably due to the fact that they remembered his former violence against Christians and also due to the fact that he had been absent for three years.
5. "Believed not that he was a disciple" = a sincere Christian.
6. He had left Jerusalem a conquering hero of Phariseeisam and returns distrusted by the disciples and regarded by the Pharisees as a renegade and a turncoat.
1. "Barnabas" = son of consolation (4:36); he lives up to his name by reaching out to Saul and later took Mark to go with him when Paul refused to do so. (15:39)
2. "Declared" = to relate fully; in detail; Barnabas had listened to Saul's testimony, believed it, and related it to the apostles. (Barnabas and James who were termed apostles in the general sense of "one sent" though not belonging to the twelve; Gal. 1:18‑19)
3. Barnabas declared three things:
A. The vision that Saul had seen on the road to Damascus.
B. The voice he had heard.
C. How he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
4. "Preached boldly" = one word in the Greek; means to use freedom in speaking; to be free spoken.
1. "He was with them" = he was admitted to their friendship and recognized as a Christian and an apostle.
2. Barnabas, Peter, and James opened all the doors for Saul and the fear of the disciples vanished.
3. Note: Saul went to Jerusalem mainly "to visit" (to see) Peter but not to receive a commission from him. He had that from the Lord. (Gal. 1:1)
1. "Spake boldly" = openly defended the doctrine that Jesus was the Messiah.
2. "In the name" = by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3. "Disputed" = discussed; questioned.
4. "Grecians" = Hellenists; a Jew who spoke Greek and imitated some of the Greek customs; these were Jews of the dispersion, those scattered in Greek countries after captivity.
5. Saul probably preaches in the very synagogues that Stephen did. In fact he himself may have disputed with Stephen (6:9) in one of the synagogues.
6. "Went about" = undertake; attempt.
7. "Slay" = to put out of the way, to kill; they offered to Saul the same thing they gave to Stephen, death.
1. "Brethren" = from the same womb; fellow‑Christian.
2. "Knew" = to recognize fully.
3. "Brought him down" = conducted him down (geographically) from Jerusalem to Caesarea; in Acts 22:17‑21 Paul states that the Lord commanded him to leave Jerusalem even though he was ready to die for the Lord; the Lord did not want Saul to be put to death yet.
4. "Tarsus" = Paul's native city; those he grew up with, needed to see Saul now and hear what he had to say. (Mark 5:18‑19)
1. "Rest" = peace; the persecution ceased because the persecutor had been converted; tense indicates continuous action.
2. "Were edified" = were built up, increased, and strengthened; tense denotes continuous action.
3. "Walking" = living, the word is often used to denote Christian conduct, or manner of life.
4. "Fear of the Lord" = reverence of Him and His commandment.
5. "Comfort" = called along one's side for advice and consolation; this is fulfillment of the Lord's promise in John 14:16.
6. "Were multiplied" = were increased; the multiplication of the disciples kept pace with the peace, the edification, the walking in the fear of the Lord, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
7. Stephen had not borne his witness in vain.
4. Peter And The Saints V. 32-43
1. Since the conditions in Jerusalem were now peaceful, Peter was able to leave the city.
2. "Passed throughout all quarters" = travelling about in all directions.
3. "Saints" = set apart; the believers were called saints because they were dedicated and had separated themselves from the ways of the world and to the worship and service of the Lord Jesus.
4. "Lydda" = a town located on the road from Jerusalem to Caesarea Philippi; it is about 10 miles southeast of Joppa. (See Map 1)
1. "Aeneas" = a Greek name; probably he was a Hellenist (Grecian; a Jew who spoke Greek and imitated some of the Greek customs).
2. "Had kept his bed" = refers to the fact he had been bed‑ridden for eight years.
3. "Sick of the palsy" = paralysis; this is not the shaking palsy with its uncontrollable tremors; he was completely paralyzed.
4. No doubt his family and friends had given up all hope that he would ever get better since he had been in this condition for eight years.
1. "Maketh thee whole" = one word in the Greek; means to heal, to cure; tense indicates continuous action, healed and stayed healed.
2. "Make thy bed" = means for the man to roll up his pallet or mat which he lay on and put it away because he would not need that any longer for his paralysis.
3. "Immediately" = at once; his healing was instantaneous.
4. Note: Peter made it very clear that the Lord was the one who was doing the healing and he gave Him, the Great Physician, all the glory.
1. "Saron" = the plain of Sharon; a coastal plain west and northwest of Lydda stretching toward Mt. Carmel and extending east to the hills of Samaria; this region was famous for its flowers, thus may be where the name "Rose of Sharon" came from.
2. The fact that the people in this region saw him indicates that Aeneas was restored to such vigor and such excellent health that he walked all through that region giving his testimony and telling of the wonderful works of the Lord.
3. "Turned" = converted; saved.
1. "Joppa" = seaport from which Jonah fled as he tried to avoid the Lord's command to go to Nineveh.
2. "Disciple" = a female learner.
3. "Tabitha" = Aramaic.
4. "Dorcas" = Greek, meaning "the creature with the beautiful eyes."
5. "Full" = abundant.
6. "Good works" = benevolent acts in which a person proves their genuineness and faith. (James 2:20)
7. "Almsdeeds" = acts of charity; donation to the poor.
8. "Did" = tense refers to a practice that was habitual.
1. "In those days" = while Peter was in the area.
2. "Was sick" = became sick suddenly and died; the cause of her illness was not due to her lacking in faith; her good deeds did not prevent her death.
3. "Washed" = to bathe the body as was the custom before burial.
4. "Laid her in an upper chamber" = instead of wrapping the body in linen with spices for burial, they took her body and placed it in an upstairs room (chamber); she was probably a woman of wealth due to the fact her house had an upstairs room large enough for people to gather.
1. The news of Peter healing a man paralyzed for eight years increased the faith of these disciples.
2. "Desiring" = to beg, entreat, the men were sent with an urgent message: "Do not delay to come." The custom in those days was to bury people the same day they died.
1. "Weeping" = to sob, lament; these widows' sorrow was genuine because they loved and appreciated Dorcas for all she had done for them.
2. "Coats" = tunics or inner garments.
3. "Garments" = togas or outer garments.
4. "Made" = the tense indicates repeated action; she had made the garments from time to time.
5. The widow's actions shows they thought her work was ended and that Peter would not be able to do anything more than give them sympathy and comfort.
1. "Put them all forth" = the atmosphere of eastern mourning was not conductive to prayer or faith; the Greek implies that Peter had to force them to leave; Peter needed to be alone with God.
2. "Tabitha, arise" = reminds us of the expression Jesus used in Mark 5:41 where Peter was present; immediately she responded; not only was she alive but her health had returned to her as well.
1. "Lifted her up" = helped her to her feet.
2. "Saints" = all the believers.
3. "Widows" = some may not have been saved, therefore the separate designation; Dorcas did not limit her acts of love to believers only, but reached out to all who were in need.
4. "Presented" = to stand beside one; Peter stood beside Dorcas as he showed others what the Lord had done; Peter took no credit himself.
5. No doubt there was great rejoicing among all present.
1. "Known" = well known; Dorcas did not travel around after she was raised from the dead like Aeneas did when he was healed; God does not ask everyone to witness in the same way.
2. "Many believed in the Lord" = got saved; salvation was the primary reason for all miracles that were performed; this also should be our motive in all that we do.
1. "Tanner" = one who makes leather by processing animal hides.
2. The occupation of a tanner was considered unclean to an orthodox Jew, therefore they usually avoided those who pursued it. One of the Rabbis said, "It is impossible for the world to do without tanners; but woe to him who is a tanner." A Jewess could sue for divorce if she discovered that her husband was a tanner.
3. The conduct of Peter here shows that he did not carry his prejudices to that extent.
Chapter 10: The Conversion Of Cornelius
1. Preparation By The Spirit Of God V. 1-22
A. The Spirit Prepares Cornelius V. 1-8
1. "Caesarea" = a city built by Herod the Great about 30 miles north of Joppa; it became the Roman capital of Judea.
2. "Called" = named.
3. "Cornelius" = a Latin name; a Roman, thus a Gentile.
4. "Centurion" = captain of a hundred men.
5. "Band" = squad.
6. "Italian" = composed of soldiers from Italy.
1. "Devout" = religious; sincere; earnest; means he was right in his attitudes toward both God and man and by grace was living a godly life, but he was lost.
2. "Feared" = reverenced and worshipped God.
3. "With all his house" = with all his family; it is evident that Cornelius instructed his family, and asserted his influence to train them in the fear of God.
4. "Gave" = doing; tense indicates a continuous practice of both giving alms and praying.
5. "Much alms" = large and liberal charity.
6. "Prayed" = begging, petition.
7. "Alway" = through all time; this means daily, and in every circumstance of his life and work; in other words, he really trusted the Lord to guide him in all things, yet he was not saved.
1. "Vision" = something gazed at; the idea is something to pass in review before the mind.
2. "Evidently" = openly, clearly, plainly, manifestly.
3. "Ninth hour" = three o'clock in the afternoon, the Jewish hour of evening prayer.
4. "Angel" = created being; messenger.
5. Here is an example of a man who did what he knew to do, he stepped in what light he had and God sends across his path all that is necessary for him to rendezvous with the human instrumentality necessary for that person to hear the gospel and be saved. (Rom. 10:13‑15)
6. Note: the angel spoke clearly and distinctly as he called Cornelius by name; there was not any misunderstanding concerning this message.
1. "Looked" = to fix the eyes upon; to gaze intently.
2. "Afraid" = terrified; afrighted; alarmed; this is a natural reaction to the supernatural by a man who had never experienced anything supernatural.
3. In spite of the fear he asked, "What is it, Lord?" = thus taking the angel to be a divine manifestation and addressing him as "Lord" = a title of respect.
4. The angel directed his attention to God and delivered the Lord's message to him.
5. "Come up" = ascended like the smoke of incense in OT sacrifices.
6. "Memorial" = a reminder; a remembrance offering; means his prayers and alms giving have become known of God, proving his sincerity, and winning the ear of God so that He heeds and will help thee.
1. The angel did not tell him what God had in store for him nor did he give him any additional teaching to help him because God has not given the responsibility to spread the gospel or teach or train the believers to angels. (I Peter 1:10‑12)
2. "Call" = fetch; send after for one's self.
3. "Surname" = called.
1. Detailed instructions were given so that Peter would be found.
2. "Lodgeth" = to be entertained as a guest.
3. "House by the sea side" = outside the city wall by the Mediterranean Sea to convey away the filth produced in the operation of tanning.
4. "Oughtest" = necessary; the angel told Cornelius that Peter would tell him what was necessary for him to do to be saved; Cornelius was a sincere seeker.
1. Cornelius immediately obeyed the Lord's message and called two of his servants and a soldier (possibly for protection of the two servants) to go get Peter.
2. "Household servants" = one word in the Greek; a servant who lives in the same house and under the authority of the householder (Cornelius in this case).
3. "Waited on him continually" = one word in the Greek; means to be devoted to one.
4. Cornelius' faith and piety were like Abraham's; he taught his household to keep the way of the Lord, and to do justice and judgment. (Gen. 18:19)
1. "Declared" = to give a detailed analysis; rehearsed.
2. Cornelius had received an assurance from God that He had heard his prayers and he wanted all the Lord had for him. He was also sure that what God had for him was good, so these servants and his soldier would want what God had to offer as well.
B. The Spirit Prepares Peter V. 9-22
1. The Lord prepared Cornelius and now he prepares Peter for the ministry at hand. He is always faithful to work on "both ends of the line."
2. "Sixth hour" = noon; the men wasted no time in travelling the 30 miles from Caesarea to Joppa.
3. "Upon the housetop" = the houses were built with a flat roof usually with a stairway leading up from the outside; Peter went there to spend some time alone in prayer.
1. "Became very hungry" = undoubtedly it was the Lord who put this unusual hunger upon him to prepare him for the revelation God was about to give him.
2. "Trance" = ecstasy; a throwing of the mind out of its normal state; the conditions of a man who by some sudden emotion is transported as it were out of himself, although he is awake, his mind is so drawn off from all surrounding objects and wholly fixed on things divine that he sees nothing but the forms and images lying within, and thinks that he perceives with his bodily eyes and ears realities shown him by God; this is different from "vision" in verse 3; this simply means his mind was distracted from whatever he was thinking about as he sensed something important was about to happen.
3. God was about to do something special.
1. "Saw heaven opened" = the language is highly figurative; speaking as if the sky above was a solid, vast expanse, and as if it were opened to present an opportunity for something to descend.
2. "Certain vessel" = a kind of container like an enormous sheet or sailcloth tied at the corners (knit).
1. "All manner" = all varieties, not all individuals; both clean and unclean animals were in the sheet.
2. The law forbid a Jew to eat the unclean animals. (Lev. 11:1‑8)
1. Now the Lord says for Peter to eat all, even the unclean animals.
2. Peter did not understand, but the Lord was telling Peter that the distinction between Jew and Gentile was abolished at the cross. (Eph. 2:14-18) The Gentiles were considered unclean but the Lord was preparing Peter to carry the messages to the Gentiles thus exercising the keys presented to the church in Mat. 16:18‑19 and fulfilling the Great Commission in Acts 1:8: Jerusalem and Judea = Acts 2, Samaria = Acts 8, and now to the Gentiles (the uttermost part of the earth).
1. "Not so" = by no means; certainly not; never.
2. "Lord" = master: controller; boss; owner.
3. Anyone who says "Lord" cannot say "not so." If He is truly Lord, we must obey Him without questioning His reason.
4. "Common" = unsanctified; dirty; polluted.
5. "Unclean" = ceremonially unclean; that which is forbidden by the ceremonial law of Moses.
6. Jesus had already prepared his disciples for the abolishing of these food laws by His discussion of what really defiles a man in Mark 7:15‑23.
1. The Lord spoke the second time a very emphatic statement.
2. Peter had just called "common" what the Lord had invited him to eat, but He said, "Don't you regard as common (unclean) what I have cleansed."
1. For further emphasis the command to kill and eat was given three times (thrice).
2. A lifetime of careful obedience to the Law is not easy to set aside and neither is tradition and upbringing easy to set aside.
1. "Doubted" = to be in perplexity; he did not know how to understand what he had gazed upon (vision), but he had enough discernment to know it was symbolic.
2. Peter did not have much time to speculate concerning the vision because the men were at the gate to get Peter.
3. God is exact in all of His timing.
1. The people in the house were busy preparing a meal and Peter was upon the house top lost in his thoughts about what the vision might mean but the men were persistent and did not give up or go away.
2. "Asked" = the tense indicates they continued to ask, possibly due to the others being so occupied that they did not hear the men.
1. "The Spirit said" = the Spirit of God can speak and does speak even today, clearly and distinctly so that there be no misunderstanding as to what He says.
2. In spite of Peter's background in Judaism, he was sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to recognize His voice (inner voice) and be open to His leading.
1. "Get thee down" = off the rooftop.
2. "Doubting" = implies being at odds with oneself, wavering, and therefore hesitating to obey, in fact, hesitating to do anything at all; this is a different word from verse 17 where doubted emphasizes perplexity about meaning and here the perplexity is about whether to take action.
3. "Nothing" = not even one thing.
4. "I have sent them" = the Holy Spirit was the one responsible for Cornelius to summon and send the three men in response to the angel's message, therefore He was the one who sent the men.
1. Peter, casting aside all doubts, rose up in obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit even though he still did not understand the vision.
2. "Cause" = logical reason or motive.
3. Even though Peter knew he was to go with them he gave them opportunity to explain their mission.
1. The men gave explanation first by drawing attention to the character of Cornelius.
2. "Just" = upright, righteous, law‑abiding, not only conforming to the laws of the land, but also recognizing the sovereignty of God and keeping a right relationship to Him by trying to live a life that would be pleasing to Him.
3. "Feareth" = reverenced and worshipped the one true God, which resulted in a good testimony (report) borne to him by all the nation of the Jews.
4. "Warned" = to be divinely commanded, admonished, and instructed.
5. "To hear words of thee" = to be instructed by thee.
6. Here the angel is referred to as "holy" which shows he must have radiated some of the glory of God.
2. Obedience Of The Man Of God V. 23-33
1. The text gives no indication that he was reluctant to receive these visitors, even though eating with Gentiles would have been strictly forbidden to him according to the custom of Judaism.
2. "Brethren" = from the same womb; there were six of them. (11:12)
1. "Waited" = to anticipate; the tense reveals an eager expectation and hope, directing the mind towards his meeting with Peter.
2. He had invited his relatives (kinsmen) and close friends and they all were waiting with great expectation.
1. "Worshiped" = to prostrate oneself in homage; he went down on his hands and knees before Peter, possibly even kissing his feet.
2. Cornelius, not an idolater, probably only meant to do this as a means of giving Peter a respectful welcome, but Peter took his actions as an act of worship thus telling him he is only a man (word for human being).
3. "Took" = take hold of him and raised him up.
4. Peter knew that the scripture said not to bow to any other gods (Exo. 20:4-5) and that they were not to bow to man. (Esther 3:2‑3)
1. Peter did not belittle Cornelius for what he had done.
2. The text implies Peter was surprised to see so many people gathered together.
1. "Unlawful" = illegal; there is no OT regulation forbidding such social contact with Gentiles for even Jesus ate with sinners (Mark 2:15‑17); the rabbis had added this regulation and had made it binding by custom; there is nothing more binding on the average person than social custom (peer pressure).
2. "Keep company" = to join one's self to; cleave to; to join one's self to one as an associate.
3. "Come unto" = implies more than simply entering the house; it indicates an agreeing with or giving consent to their heathen ways and desires.
4. "Another nation" = Gentile; any other besides a Jew.
5. "Shewed" = to present to sight; to teach; this conclusion came as a result of Peter understanding the vision he had in Joppa.
6. "Man" = human being.
7. "Common" = ordinary, profane, ceremonially impure.
8. "Unclean" = defiled or defiling, and therefore cut off from coming into the presence of God.
1. "Without gainsaying" = promptly; immediately; without raising any objection; this was due to fact of what God had shewed him.
2. "Intent" = reason; Peter had heard the reason from the men sent by Cornelius but he wanted to hear it from Cornelius himself; this question gave Cornelius an opportunity to express what God had told him and in this way to express his faith (seeking faith).
1. "Four days ago" = two days before yesterday in their method of counting days; he counted the day Peter arrived as one of the days.
2. "Fasting" = to abstain from food.
3. "A man" = though the Bible called this one an angel (verse 3), Cornelius is giving his first impressions here; it is uncertain if the angel appeared to him in the form of a man, or if God opened his eyes in order that he might perceive a being which was not physical by nature. (II Kings 6:16‑17).
4. "Bright clothing" = shining clothing; bright with the glory of God and having God's message.
1. "Thy prayer is heard" = the sense of the Greek is "thy prayer has been really and truly heard."
2. Here we find the Bible, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21; II Tim. 3:16), thus without error, stating that this man's (who was a lost man) prayers have been heard. This goes against tradition which quotes John 9:31 as a basis for the fact that God does not hear a sinner's prayer. Those who do so are blinded to truth (II Cor. 4:4) and use that tradition for an assurance of their salvation. This verse plainly reveals that God does hear a sinner's prayer and Psa. 25:8 shows that God teaches sinners in the narrow way as they strive for the strait gate. (Luke 13:24) Thank the Lord for truth.
3. "Had in remembrance" = to bear in mind; this does not mean God forgets your prayers and acts of kindness, but it means God had that person or thing in mind all along, but now the time had come for God to do something specific about it.
4. "Sight" = presence; implies God is looking on and approving.
1. Cornelius repeated the command the angel gave, drawing attention again to the specific details.
2. The fact that the scripture takes valuable space to repeat these details shows that God wanted to emphasize the fact that the gospel preached by Peter and the other apostles was and is from God and is necessary for one to be saved. (I Cor. 1:21) Human instrumentalities are a must if one is to be saved. (Rom. 10:13‑15)
3. These details also show that God prepares the heart of a sinner to receive the gospel.
1. The language Cornelius uses means he was pleased that Peter had come.
2. "Commanded" = military term; means to arrange towards; he was ready for orders from the Lord; the Greek implies Peter would tell them truths established by God, therefore fixed, unchangeable, and dependable and the entire group was ready to listen with hearts that had been prepared by the Lord.
3. The Preaching Of The Word Of God V. 34-48
1. "Opened his mouth" = solemn formula for beginning his address.
2. "Perceive" = to lay hold with the mind (heart); it had been a difficult thing for Peter to grasp, but now "of a truth" the light had cleared away the fog.
3. "Respecter" = accepter of a face; exhibiting partiality; the idea is to pay regard to one's looks or circumstances rather than to his inward character; the Jews had come to feel that they were the favorites of God and actually sons of the kingdom because they were descendants of Abraham; but Peter says he now understands that to God every person, Jew or Gentile, is the same, that the barrier that had kept Gentiles away from the Lord was broken down by Christ. (Eph. 2:14‑18)
1. "Nation" = race; tribe; includes Gentiles as well as Jews.
2. "Feareth" = respect and reverence God in general; refers to man's conduct toward God.
3. "Worketh righteousness" = does what is right and just; refers to man's conduct towards God and man. (Mat. 22:36‑40)
4. "Is accepted with him" = is acceptable to Him; this means a Gentile would not have to become a Jew in order to become a Christian (many thought this in the early days of the church; this was the primary reason Galatians was written); Peter is not saying that all who "do good" are saved (Eph. 2:8‑9); even this lost Gentile was not cast out. (John 6:37)
1. "Word" = message.
2. "Preaching" = to announce good new (the gospel). (John 5:39‑40)
3. "Peace" = to bind together that which has been separated; broken in Adam.
4. The content of the gospel (the central truth of the good news) is that God has made full provision for the believer's peace through Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
5. That peace includes not only peace with God through the cleansing and forgiveness that comes through Christ's death on the cross, but also all of God's provisions and promises for the believer's entire well being (II Cor. 1:20)
6. "Lord" = master; supreme in authority; controller.
7. "Of all" = both Jews and Gentiles.
1. "Word" = message; report.
2. "Ye know" = to have absolute, positive knowledge of the facts; in the Greek it is emphatic, thus meaning that they already knew the facts about Jesus, about His life, death, and resurrection; knowing the facts about Jesus is not salvation; it is one thing to hear the facts but quite another thing to receive the message as it is given by a Spirit‑filled messenger of God.
3. "Published" = having come; signifies there was a time the message did not exist in this region.
4. "Began" = had its beginning in Galilee.
5. "After" = with; accompaniment; means the message was accompanied with the baptism that John preached.
6. There was a baptism administered only to those who repented of their sins. (Mat. 3:1‑8)
7. "Preached" = to herald, announce, tell, declare; proclaim aloud; publicly preach.
1. "Anointed" = used in the OT for the ritual anointing with oil to consecrate and appoint someone to a special office; always has the figurative meaning "to assign a person to a task, with the implication of supernatural sanctions, blessing, and endowment"; God was the one who did this and it occurred at Jesus' baptism. (Mat. 3:16‑17)
2. "Jesus of Nazareth" = Jesus the One from Nazareth.
3. "Power" = ability; all Jesus' mighty works were done by the enabling of the Holy Ghost; this was in fulfillment of the prophecy of the sevenfold Spirit in Isa. 11:2.
4. "Doing good" = doing good kind of deeds.
5. "Healing" = curing; refers to the casting out of demons who were assigned by their leader the devil; many physical infirmities were and are due to demonic influences.
6. "Oppressed" = exercise power over; dominate; signifies to treat harshly.
7. "For God was with him" = gives the reason Jesus performed the miracles that He did by the work of the Holy Ghost; this does not place Jesus on a lower plane, for He is God. (John 1:1,14)
1. "Witnesses" = refers to the apostles who had seen and experienced first hand these things of which Peter speaks.
2. "Slew" = to take in hand; lay violent hands upon; manhandle; kill; this they accomplished by hanging Him on a tree.
3. "Hanged on a tree" = refers to our Lord being crucified on the cross; Peter chose these words to emphasize the shamefulness of Christ's death.
4. "Tree" = basically means wood; therefore, this word was used to mean the cross was made of wood.
1. "Him" = this One; reveals the contrast to what men did to Jesus.
2. "Raised up" = refers to the resurrection which was accomplished by the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 8:11)
3. "Shewed him openly" = God permitted the risen Jesus to be manifested, to be visible, to be revealed. (I Cor. 15:5‑8)
4. Peter emphasized the reality of the bodily resurrection of Jesus and the reality of His appearances.
1. "Chosen before" = God chose those who would be witnesses of Christ's resurrection before He ever died on the cross.
2. All did not see Him. The skeptical Jews would not have believed even if they had seen Him.
3. He was kept from open contact with the world of sin after His resurrection, but He fellowshipped with His disciples and prepared them for the task that was before them, that of proclaiming the gospel.
4. No wonder John could write in I John 1:1 with the tense that reveals a completed action in past time with existing results; Example: "I have seen Him and still see Him."
5. "Eat and drink" = to partake of food and beverage in company with (Luke 24:41‑43); this is concrete proof of the reality of Christ's resurrection bodily; He was not a spirit, not a ghost, not a figment of their imagination, but a very real Person.
1. "Commanded" = charged; give orders; instruct; the great commission is given 5 times. (Mat. 28:19‑20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46‑47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8)
2. "Preach" = to herald forth.
3. "Testify" = to attest or protest earnestly.
4. Peter draws attention to the need for forgiveness in view of the coming judgment day.
5. "Ordained" = designated; appointed.
6. "Quick" = living; refers to all who will be living (physically) on the earth when He comes as Judge; this bears out what Jesus said in John 5:22.
1. "Witness" = to give testimony to; all the OT prophets testified that life was in Jesus. (John 5:39‑40; I Cor. 15:3‑4)
2. Peter spoke of coming judgment in verse 42 but that need not frighten them because the way is opened to all who believe through (by means of) His name.
3. "His name" = by His authority, in virtue of power derived from Him.
4. "Believeth" = refers to saving faith; believing with the heart.
5. "Remission" = complete forgiveness; pardon; release; suspension of punishment; when the root is right, the fruit will be right.
1. "Fell" = to embrace or seize; speaks of receiving the Holy Spirit, being saved; same word used in Acts 8:16.
2. Those spoken of here believed unto salvation because they understood (learned) all that was necessary to be saved. (John 6:45)
1. "The circumcision which believed" = the six Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter.
2. "Were astonished" = be amazed; to put out of wits; these men did not understand that Gentiles, who were uncircumcised (circumcision was the sign of Jewish covenant), could be saved.
3. "Poured out" = used to mean the same thing as "fell on" in verse 44.
4. "Gift" = reveals salvation is given by God; we cannot earn it. (Eph. 2:8‑9)
1. "Tongues" = language they had never learned but it was known to the six men who came with Peter; this was a language of distinct words and not some gibberish; a language barrier had to be crossed to testify of God granting the Gentiles salvation.
2. "Magnify" = praise; extol; tense reveals a continuous action of praising, exalting, and glorifying God.
3. Peter apparently observed this for a time and then he gave a response that was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
1. "Forbid" = to prevent; to restrain; the Greek construction expects a negative answer; John the Baptist forbid the Pharisees and Sadducees to be baptized because they showed no sign of repentance. (Mat. 3:7‑8)
2. These had given evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost thus they were saved and qualified as a candidate for baptism.
3. Peter along with the six disciples were representatives of the New Testament church which had the authority to baptize. (Mat. 28:18‑20)
1. "Commanded" = to order; give instruction; Peter abstained from baptizing these but directed the disciples with him to carry out the baptism.
2. "Name" = authority; this was carried out by the authority of the Lord as given in Mat. 28:19.
3. "Baptized" = to make fully wet; immersion; this act was a public declaration of their faith.
4. "Prayed" = to ask someone on an equal level, man to man.
5. "Tarry" = to stay over; remain; they wanted more instruction in the truths of the gospel, which is one evidence of being saved. (I Peter 2:2)
Chapter 11: The Church At Antioch
1. The Jerusalem Church Accepts The Gentiles V. 1-18
1. The news from Caesarea spread like wildfire among the Jewish Christians.
2. "Received" = to welcome the Word of God willingly, acknowledge its truth, and receive its full message of repentance, faith, forgiveness, and salvation.
3. "Heard" = to understand; by what had happened at Caesarea the Jewish Christians had learned (understood) that God would accept the Gentiles without circumcision and without their keeping the forms of the Law, in other words without becoming a Jew; they could come to God directly under the new covenant without coming first under the old covenant; this was not good news to some of them because they were prejudice.
1. "Of the circumcision" = Jewish believers.
2. "Contended" = to oppose; strive with; dispute; criticize severely; to take sides against.
1. "Uncircumcised" = this Greek word was not the usual word used for "uncircumcised" but a slang word that was a scornful expression and very derogatory toward the Gentiles.
2. The believers were quick to take issue with Peter for entering the house of uncircumcised men who they considered defiling and eating nonkosher (Gentile) food with them.
3. Another reason that may have upset them was they were afraid Peter's action in bringing Gentiles into the Church might turn the unconverted Jews against them.
1. "Rehearsed from the beginning" = one word in the Greek; means to commence; to begin; Peter gave the full story of God's dealing with him in Joppa and Caesarea.
2. "Expounded" = explained it; stated it as it actually occurred.
3. "By order" = in order; one event after another, as they happened.
1. "Trance" = ecstasy; a throwing of the mind out of its normal state.
2. "Vision" = something gazed at; the idea is something to pass in review before the mind.
3. "It came even to me" = vivid detail added so that the believers would understand why he had done what he did.
4. Believers would not be so critical if they could see things as others see them, especially when God has been dealing with them.
1. "Fastened mine eyes" = one word in the Greek; to look intently; to fix the eyes upon; the sheet came so close he was able to inspect the contents without any possibility of being mistaken.
2. "Considered" = to observe fully and carefully; to put the mind down on; to ponder.
3. "Saw" = the tense indicates "he saw in a flash."
1. The words were imperative commands, commands with his name attached.
2. There was no way he could avoid them or shift the responsibility to someone else. He had no alternative but to obey.
1. Peter told of his refusal to obey.
2. He wanted these Jerusalem saints to know that he had reacted, at first, as strongly as any of them would have.
1. Peter told the believers that the vision was repeated three times so they would know he had not been carried away by a vision or interpretation of his own imagination.
2. This three‑fold repetition shows that the vision was not to be ignored.
1. "Sent" = the choice of the verb is significant here; it is the same verb used of God sending Jesus and of Jesus sending out the apostles.
2. These men were there because of God's divine purpose and because of God's perfect timing.
1. "Bade" = to declare in words.
2. "Nothing doubting" = without wavering; without hesitation without being at odds with himself; the Greek may indicate that he was not to take issue or dispute with them, neither was he to pass judgment on them, or separate himself from them as if he was superior in anyway; he was to go along simply as a humble servant of the Lord, identifying with them.
3. Peter was careful to refer to the six brethren whom he took along as witnesses. (Deut. 19:15)
1. "Shewed" = to announce; to relate.
2. The call to send for Peter came from an angelic messenger from heaven, a messenger from God, who gave specific directions. Cornelius did not get the idea to send for Peter from his own reasoning or imagination.
1. "Tell the words" = refers to gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ and His atoning work of which Peter was to speak to them; his words were to be the means by which the entire household would be saved; this message is the only message whereby men must be saved (Acts 4:12), and it must never be changed or corrupted. (Gal. 1:6‑9)
2. "House" = means household and normally included the family plus the servants and slaves.
1. These believers at Jerusalem did not need to hear a summary of Peter's message for they knew the facts of the gospel very well.
2. "Fell on" = to embrace or seize; speaks of receiving the Holy Ghost.
3. "At the beginning" = refers to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first given; now the Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentile believers just as He was on Jewish believers.
1. Peter remembered by aid of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) what Jesus had said in Acts 1:5.
2. Peter applied this to these Gentiles who had experienced this after Pentecost thus giving testimony that I Cor. 12:13 refers to spiritual baptism into a forming body rather than water baptism into a local body (church).
1. "Like" = equal in quality, rank and measure; this identical gift was given to the Gentile believers as well as the Jewish believers.
2. "What was I" = "who was I."
3. "Withstand" = to hinder; prevent; forbid; for Peter to refuse to accept these Gentiles to whom God had given the gift of the Spirit would have been to forbid God to do what He had just done, and who was he or who is any man, to do that.
1. "Held their peace" = one word in the Greek; means they were silent, concerning their contention against Peter; the same thing that convinced Peter convinced the believers in Jerusalem.
2. "Glorified" = to praise; to ascribe honor to.
3. "Repentance" = a change of mind, attitude, heart, and direction; this will only come when God grants (to give) it. (John 3:27, II Cor. 7:10)
4. "Unto life" = when they repented and believed God gave them spiritual life.
5. Note: Peter proved what he did was God's will by appealing to:
A. The personal experience he had. (V. 5‑11)
B. The leading of the Spirit (V. 12)
C. The Word of God. (V. 16)
2. The Jerusalem Church Encourages The Gentiles V. 19-26
1. "Scattered abroad" = to sow throughout; refers to the various regions of the known world where they were scattered.
2. "Upon" = by; as a result of; they were scattered because of persecution.
3. "Persecution" = tribulation; pressure, grievous affliction or distress. (II Tim. 2:12; Acts 14:22b)
4. "About" = upon; in the case of.
5. "Arose" = came into existence; Stephen in Acts 7 stirred up the Jews which brought about his death and the persecution of the other believers which in turn caused the saints to scatter abroad and they preached the gospel as they traveled.
6. "Preaching" = to utter; to speak; to declare; to publish.
7. Preaching to the Jews only may not have been entirely due to prejudice but the Jews knew the OT scriptures and prophecies while the Gentiles did not. Therefore, there was a great advantage in dealing with the Jews. (Rom. 3:1‑2)
1. "Cyprus" = an island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Asia Minor over 200 miles northwest of Jerusalem.
2. Cyrene" = a city in North Africa, on the coast of the Mediterranean about 800 miles west of Jerusalem.
3. These men were probably present and got saved on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:9‑10)
4. "Antioch" = a city about 300 miles north of Jerusalem; capital of the Roman province of Syria.
5. "Grecians" = normally means a Greek speaking Jew but in context it is clear that this refers to the Greeks or Gentiles; the Greek construction seems to indicate that they spoke not to Jews only (verse 19) but also to the Gentiles; also when some of these got saved the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to check things out which would not have been necessary had these been Greek speaking Jews because there was already record of their being saved. (Acts 6:1)
6. "Preaching" = announcing the good news; to evangelize; refers to the preaching of the good news (the gospel) of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
1. "Hand of the Lord" = phrase used in the OT of the mighty manifestations of the power of God in behalf of His people; this was proof of God's approval of their course in preaching the Lord Jesus to the Gentiles.
2. "Great" = many; this is not like modern day evangelism where they place a number on their converts or "decisions."
3. "Believed" = to commit to one's trust; saving faith.
4. "Turned" = converted; changed; word used for true repentance; they turned away from their heathen customs and worldly ways to follow Jesus and joined the company of those whom the Bible calls saints.
1. "Tidings" = words about what had happened in Antioch reached the ears of the saints in Jerusalem; remember they didn't have telephones or modern day communications. The news had to travel by foot or donkey.
2. "Sent forth" = send out and away; implies that Barnabas was commissioned to go to encourage and aid these new converts in establishing a church there; he was not sent forth as a "pope" or "cardinal" to rule over these new converts so that the church in Jerusalem could maintain control over them.
1. "Grace" = unearned or unmerited favor; the grace of God was evident in the countenance of these Gentile believers.
2. "Glad" = to rejoice.
3. "Exhorted" = to encourage and strengthen by consolation; from the root word which means called along side to aid; tense indicates continuous action.
4. "Purpose" = to determine; to set before one's self.
5. "Cleave" = to glue to.
6. Barnabas encourages these new babes in Christ to keep on glowing with the enthusiasm that reveals to others the grace of God and to keep on remaining loyal to the Lord Jesus Christ in their pagan city.
1. "Good" = benevolent; uprightly; honorable; kind, just, and generous; the only reason these attributes were in Barnabas was due to the fact that he was saved. (Rom. 3:12)
2. "Full" = yielded and controlled by the Holy Ghost and also walked by faith.
3. "Much people" = large crowd.
4. "Added to the Lord" = they were added to the Lord before they were added to the church; if this were always true, what a difference it would make in our churches.
1. "Tarsus" = Saul's hometown where he had gone home to tell the home folks what the Lord had done for him. (Acts 9:30)
2. "Seek" = to search out till success comes.
3. Barnabas knew that Saul was a vessel of choice by Christ for the work among the Gentiles. (Acts 9:15,27)
1. Barnabas and Saul became the chief teachers of this Gentile church, thus fulfilling the great commission of Mat. 28:19‑20.
2. "Called" = named; assuming a name from one's business; soldiers under particular generals in the Roman army often took the name of their general and added "ian" to indicate they were soldiers and followers of that general; therefore Christ's followers were called Christians possibly a name of ridicule, but the believers were not ashamed to be called Christians or soldiers of their Lord; therefore they did not reject the name.
3. The Church At Jerusalem Accepts Aid From The Gentiles V. 27-30
1. "Prophets" = to speak for another.
2. These men spoke for God as they were used by the Holy Spirit in the ministry of the gift of prophecy for three things found in I Cor. 14:3:
A. Edification = to build up spiritually and confirm faith.
B. Exhortation = to awaken, encourage, and challenge every believer to move ahead in faithfulness and love.
C. Comfort = to cheer, revive, and encourage faith and expectation.
1. "Signified" = to make known; he did this by power of the Holy Spirit; sometimes the prophets reinforced their exhortations with a fore‑telling of the future.
2. "Dearth" = scarcity of food; famine; this one was labeled as being "great" = intense.
3. "All the world" = inhabited earth; to them this meant the Roman Empire, for they did not think anything outside their empire was worth noticing.
4. "Claudius Caesar" = Roman Emperor from AD 41‑54; at the time this was spoken Claudius had just began to reign.
5. "Came to pass" = a famine was recorded by two historians during Claudius' reign; you can count on what God says, that it will come to pass.
1. These men responded to the message by preparing to send relief to the brethren in Judea.
2. Their faith was not dead. (James 2:20)
3. "According to his ability" = each one gave what he could based on the financial ability the Lord had given him. (I Cor. 16:2)
4. "Determined" = marked off the horizon; appoint; means they made up their mind; the believers in Antioch were going to suffer from the famine too, but they knew that the Jerusalem believers had already sacrificed their property and possessions for the benefit of the poor and the widows and they needed help.
1. "Which also they did" = they didn't just talk about it or just pray about it but they acted upon what they had determined in their hearts to do and did it.
2. "Elders" = term for the pastors of the church who were responsible for the oversight of their flocks. (I Peter 5:1‑2)
3. This verse probably did not occur until a couple of years later, after Peter left Jerusalem in Acts 12:17.
Chapter 12: Peter's Deliverance
1. The Power Of Satan V. 1-4
1. "About that time" = about the time the disciples in Antioch determined to send relief to the saints in Jerusalem. (Act 11:29)
2. "Herod" = Herod Agrippa I; the grandson of Herod the Great; king of Palestine from AD 42 to 44.
3. "Stretched forth" = to cast upon or against; used of seizing one to lead him off as a prisoner.
4. "Vex" = to harm; to injure; to afflict; the first afflicted were scourged or imprisoned not put to death; this is the first time political power was used against the disciples since Pilate had against Jesus.
5. Herod did everything he could to gain and hold the favor of the Jews and even practiced the forms of the Jewish religion faithfully. The Jewish historian, Josephus, calls him a pleasant vain man scrupulously observing Jewish rites. He built theaters and held games for the Romans and Greeks and slew the Christians to please the Jews.
1. "Killed" decapitated with a sword; no details are given but it seems as if James was not even given an opportunity to witness his faith since there probably was not even a trial held.
2. "James" = the son of Zebedee; Jesus called him along with his brother John, "Sons of Thunder" (Mark 3:17) and predicted great persecution for both of them in Mat. 20:23.
1. "Pleased" = very acceptable.
2. "Proceeded further to take" = means he seized Peter in addition to James.
3. "The days of unleavened bread" = the seven day feast of unleavened bread, which was after the Passover; all eight days came to be known as the Passover; this was observed in remembrance of the passover in Egypt (Exo. 12:14‑16) and by commandment of Lev. 23:5‑8.
1. "Apprehended" = officially arrested.
2. "Delivered" = handed over; intrusted.
3. "Quaternions" = four Roman soldiers; two on the inside with the prisoner (chained to him) and two on the outside guarding the entrance, in shifts of six hour each thus four quaternions or sixteen soldiers in all; this was the usual Roman custom of guarding a prisoner.
4. "Intending" = purpose.
5. "Easter" = a name transferred in the eight century to the Christian festival designed to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and used here by the King James' translators to identify the eight day feast commonly called the "Passover"; the word "Easter" was the name of the spring festival in honor of the goddess of light and spring, Eastra; the Greek here is referring to the "Passover."
2. The Power Of Prayer V. 5-19
1. "Kept" = guarded; observed and watched over carefully by four quaternions of soldiers; tense reveals he was continuously guarded.
2. "But" = shows a contrast.
3. "Prayer" = the weapon above all carnal weapons. (II Cor. 10:4‑5); there was no way the church could free Peter; therefore, the situation seemed hopeless.
4. "Without ceasing" = earnestly; fervently; it was a crisis for the Jerusalem church because James had been slain and Peter was to be the next victim.
5. Note; they prayed unto God not some pope or priest.
1. "Would" = intended; Herod's intention was to bring Peter forth the next day.
2. Peter was sleeping even though he was about to be put to death. How could he sleep? Because he may have remembered the Lord's word (promise) that he would be put to death in his old age. (John 21:18)
3. "Keeper" = sentries; guards; the two Roman soldiers stationed outside the door.
1. At least seven days had gone by (may have been more) without an answer or any sign of deliverance. God often delays His answers in order to test and develop our faith and patience but He does not delay more than is necessary.
2. "Angel" = one of God's created beings; ministering spirit to the heirs of salvation. (Heb. 1:14; Mat. 18:10)
3. A light shined in the room where Peter was, possibly from the angel or possibly as a separate manifestation so Peter could see what to do.
4. "Raised" = awakened; Peter was so sound asleep that the angel had to strike him sharply on the side to wake him.
5. "Fell off" = to drop away without their being unlocked; this miracle was necessary if Peter was to escape without rousing the two guards.
1. The angel continued to give Peter direction as if he were half asleep and slow to respond.
2. "Gird thyself" = put on the girdle or wide belt that held his robe in place.
3. "Sandals" = a sole made of wood or leather covering the bottom of the foot and bound as with thongs.
4. "Garment" = outer garment.
5. "Follow" = command to go with him; the tense reveals that Peter was to continue following him.
1. "Wist not" = did not know.
2. "True" = real in the sense of reality or actuality.
3. "Vision" = dream; Peter thought that this was all a dream and expected all to vanish and find himself back in the cell still chained to the two soldiers when he awoke.
1. "Ward" = guards; probably refers to the guards assigned to him as the first ward, while the second ward refers to more guards station at the main gate.
2. "Opened of his own accord" = means the gate opened automatically without the angel or human hands touching it; God opened the gate.
3. "Passed" = preceded.
4. "Forthwith" = immediately; suddenly; the angel stayed with Peter till he was out of danger; no doubt the gate closed and the guards were still unaware of what had happened.
1. "Come to himself" = as if he had been on a trip away from himself; it was like a dream but now he realized that the Lord had actually sent His angel to rescue him from Herod's power.
2. "Surety" = truth.
3. "Expectation" = to look for; the Jewish people were eagerly waiting for the execution of Peter like hungry wolves.
1. "Had considered" = to see completely; realized what had happened.
2. "Mary" = the mother of John Mark, writer of the book of Mark and nephew (could have been a cousin) of Barnabas. (Col. 4:10)
3. Mary must have been a widow as her husband is not mentioned and no doubt a woman of wealth because her house was large enough to hold a considerable number of believers. Her house must have been a common meeting place of the believers because Peter went straight to her house. The believers had been praying for days and on this night they were still praying even though it was between 3:00 and 6:00 AM.
1. "Damsel" = a young girl.
2. "To hearken" = to hear who was there.
3. "Rhoda" = a rose.
1. "Knew" = to know by experience; to recognize; she had heard his voice before.
2. "Gladness" = joy; delight; in her excitement she failed to open the gate, instead she ran back in the house and announced that it was Peter who stood before the gate.
3. "Gate" = the outside gate which led into the street; the time this incident occurred was in the pre‑dawn hours, a time when all gates would be shut for the safety of those in the house.
1. "Mad" = to rave as a maniac; absolute crazy; out of her mind.
2. This showed their unbelief but in spite of that God had honored their prayers and gotten glory to Himself. We do not need to underestimate the power of prayer.
3. "Constantly affirmed" = to assert emphatically; kept on insisting that it was Peter, probably jumping up and down with excitement while doing so.
4. "It is his angel" = some of the Jews had a tradition that a guardian angel could take a person's form; there is no biblical grounds for this; these were just making a traditional statement.
5. They thought Peter was dead. The shock of James' death made them wonder if perhaps the Lord might allow Peter to be killed too.
1. While they discussed what was going on, Peter continued knocking.
2. "Were astonished" = to put out of wits; amazed; these believers knew there was no natural explanation for Peter's presence.
1. "Beckoning" = to signal or shake down with the hand; the speaker indicates by a downward movement of the hand his desire for silence (hold their peace).
2. Declared" = to relate fully; give a full story; carry through a narrative.
3. "Shew" = to announce.
4. "James" = not the apostle because he had been killed (verse 2) but the half brother of Jesus who became an Elder of the church at Jerusalem; all the believers in Jerusalem could not meet in one house and they had no church buildings at that time.
5. The leadership of James is recognized by Peter and acknowledged at this time. During Jesus' earthly ministry Jesus' half brothers did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. (John 7:5)
6. Luke did not record where Peter went, probably due to the fact that he followed Paul's ministry from this point on in the book of Acts. Wherever Peter went we can be assured that he still proclaimed the gospel. We find him again in Jerusalem four years later after the death of Herod. (Acts 15:7) Peter had a work to do and the Lord moved him to a safer location to carry on that work.
1. "As soon as it was day" = dawn.
2. "Stir" = commotion; disturbance; tumult.
3. "No small" = means there was a large commotion among the soldiers when they found that Peter had disappeared. The reason being that their punishment for allowing a prisoner to escape was death.
1. "Sought" = to search for; to crave.
2. "Examined" = to question thoroughly; it seems they did not have a formal trial.
3. "Put to death" = to lead away to execution; this was the ordinary Roman routine and not a special cruelty on the part of Herod; the Roman law stated that a guard who permitted someone to escape was subject to the same punishment the prisoner would have suffered; since Peter faced death the guards were put to death.
4. Herod left Judea (Jerusalem) and went to Caesarea (the provincial capital) never to return to Judea again.
5. "Abode" = remain.
3. The Power Of God's Wrath V. 20-23
1. "Highly displeased" = a hot quarrel; bitter hostility; to be in a furious fight; probably a fight of words because war would not have been allowed between two Roman provinces.
2. "Tyre and Sidon" = two cities on the Mediterranean Sea coast north of Caesarea.
3. "One accord" = having the same mind and same spirit.
4. "Chamberlain" = an officer who is charged with the direction and management of the king's sleeping chamber.
5. "Desired peace" = wanted the bitter hostility to cease, the reason being that their country was nourished (supplied, fed) by the king's country.
6. They had a good reason. Tyre and Sidon are on a narrow strip of land between the Lebanon Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. That strip varied in width from a few yards to about five miles. Therefore, they were dependent on Palestine for their food supply because they had very little land suitable for growing crops. It was about this time that Barnabas and Saul brought an offering to the Jerusalem saints due to a famine. (Acts 11:28‑30) This famine would have affected Tyre and Sidon as well, so they must have been desperate for a share of the food Palestine produced. Peace for them was a real necessity.
1. "Set day" = an arranged day; an appointed day; Herod responded favorably to their request for peace.
2. "Arrayed in royal apparel" = put on the king's robes; Jewish history says that the outer robe was of silver (either adorned with silver or actually woven of silver threads), and the sun's rays were reflected brilliantly from Herod's silver robe.
3. "Made an oration" = to address a public assembly; he began a speech using proper oratory in the best Greek or Roman style.
1. "Gave a shout" = to call out to someone; to cry out; it is clear from the text that the people gave words of exaltation to Herod; the tense indicates that they kept on calling out to him the words in the verse.
2. His speech was intended to please the people of Tyre and Sidon, which it did. The heathen crowd repeated their flattering words to gain Herod's favor. They honored him strictly for economic reasons.
3. He did not rebuke them or try to stop them in any way. As he accepted their flattery, his pride was puffed up and instead of humbling himself, he became quite willing for others to treat him as a little god.
1. "Immediately" = instantly, while the crowd was praising him as a god.
2. "Smote" = severe stroke of affliction; the reason God smote him was because he gave not God glory.
3. "Eaten of worms" = literal worms; may have been internal because Jewish history says that Herod lingered five days with agonizing pains in his belly.
4. "Gave up the ghost" = died.
5. Jewish history does not disagree with the Bible which only says he was stuck down immediately, not that he died on the spot.
4. The Power Of God's Word V. 24-25
1. None of these events hindered the continued growth of the Church or the spread of the gospel, not James' death, Peter's arrest, Herod's attitude, or Herod's death.
2. "Grew" = enlarged; tense indicates a continuous action.
3. "Multiplied" = increased at a rapid rate; tense indicates a continuous action.
1. "Fulfilled their ministry" = that of bringing an offering from Antioch to the saints in need at Jerusalem due to the famine.
2. Now they return to Antioch taking John Mark with them.
3. There were not schools for training the Christian workers so it seems that Saul and Barnabas were following our Lord's example by taking Mark to train him as the Lord trained the twelve as they were with Him.
Chapter 13: Paul's First Missionary Journey
1. In Antioch: Called By The Spirit V. 1-3
1. As the church at Antioch grew, the Lord raised up others besides Barnabas and Saul to aid in ministering to the believers.
2. "Prophets" = to speak for another; as prophets they were used by the Holy Spirit to bring edification, exhortation, and comfort or encouragement.
3. "Teachers" = instructors; as teachers they received gifts from the Holy Spirit which would enable them to teach the Word of God effectively.
4. "Simeon" = Simon; called "Niger" = means black; some speculate he may have been Simon the Cyrenian who carried Christ's cross. (Luke 23:26)
5. "Lucius" = from Cyrene, in North Africa west of Egypt; possibly one of those who first brought the gospel to Antioch. (Acts 11:20)
6. "Manaen" = name means comforter; he grew up in the palace of Herod the tetrarch (ruler of a fourth part of a country), the Herod who killed John the Baptist; John the Baptist must have influenced Manaen and later he was saved.
1. "Ministered" = to be a public servant.
2. "Fasted" = to abstain from food and fleshly appetites.
3. Note: the Holy Ghost does talk.
4. "Separate me" = set apart for Me; set apart for My service.
5. "Whereunto I have called them" = this proves that they received their commission to this work directly from God the Holy Ghost; He is just allowing the church at Antioch to get in on His work.
6. "Have called" = the divine summons entrusting men with the preaching of the gospel; the tense is perfect which means an action completed in past time with existing results; this shows that the Holy Ghost had already dealt with both Barnabas and Saul personally.
7. The Spirit's message was directed to the whole assembly (church) so that they would be willing to let them go.
1. "Laid hands on" = not an ordination in the doctrinal sense of this term, but was practiced in setting apart for any purpose.
2. "Sent them away" = set them free, released them, from their obligations at Antioch and permitted them to depart.
3. There were still heathen enough at Antioch, but the church approved the going of Barnabas and Saul, their very best. The reason they approved,they knew it was God's will.
2. In Cyprus: Opposed By The Devil V. 4-12
1. "Sent forth" = to dispatch; this was done by the Holy Ghost while the church let them go and gave them their blessing; this is in accordance with Rom. 10:13‑15.
2. Up to this point the gospel was carried to new places by those who were scattered abroad by persecution. There had bee no one before who gave themselves specifically to the work of going to new places to start and organize new churches. This is Paul's first missionary journey.
3. "Seleucia" = a seaport city on the Syrian coast of the Mediterranean Sea about 16 miles west of Antioch. (See Map 2 below)
4. "Cyprus" = an island in the Mediterranean about 100 miles southwest of Antioch. (See Map 2); this is where Barnabas was born and grew up. (Acts 4:36)
1. "Salamis" = the principle city and seaport on the eastern end of Cyprus. (See Map 2, above)
2. "Preached" = proclaimed.
3. "Synagogues" = buildings where solemn Jewish assemblies were held; place where the Jews congregated to worship; this was always Saul's practice, to go to the Jews first because they had the scriptures and the background to understand the gospel. (Rom. 1:16, 3:1-2)
4. "John" = John Mark, Barnabas' kin.
5. "Minister" = attendant; their helper as a personal servant while he trained for the ministry; an example is Elisha. (II Kings 3:11)
1. "Gone through" = to traverse; to cross the island (170 miles) covering it thoroughly, stopping and preaching at all or most of the towns and cities until they came unto "Paphos" = a city on the western end of Cyprus. (See Map 2)
2. "Sorcerer" = a magician; one who practices magic to fool the people and gain power over them.
3. "False prophet" = pretended foreteller; one pretending to be endowed with the gift of prophecy; one pretending to be inspired.
4. "Barjesus" = a name given him by his father meaning son of Jesus; "bar" = means son; Jesus or Joshua (could be translated such; note: Heb. 4:8) was a common name among the Jews which is why the Greek has an article in front of the name Jesus, when referring to the Lord, thus "The Jesus" so as not to mistake Him from another individual named Jesus.
1. "Deputy" = the governor appointed by the Roman Senate.
2. "Prudent" = mentally put together; means he was sensible, intelligent, and well‑educated; how a man with this understanding could be deceived by this false prophet is hard to imagine; just remember II Cor. 4:3‑4; Jer. 17:9.
3. "Called" = summoned; invited.
4. "Desired" = to search for; to crave; he had a longing in his heart that a false prophet could not fill; because of this desire in his heart, God sent human instruments across his path with truth.
5. "Hear" = to understand; as governor he no doubt was kept informed about what was going on in the island and had heard with the physical ear good reports of the ministry of Saul and Barnabas and its effect; he wanted to hear more.
1. "Elymas" = means wizard; it is the interpretation of the word sorcerer not his name Barjesus; probably a professional title.
2. "Withstood" = oppose; resist; to set one's self against.
3. "Seeking" = endeavoring; desiring.
4. "To turn away" = pervert; twist away; to divert; keep him from being saved.
5. This false prophet was demon possessed and did not want the governor to be saved. He was used as an instrument of the devil to steal seed (Word). (Luke 8:12)
1. "Paul" = Roman name; this is the first time the name, Paul, is used but the word "also" indicates that Paul had always had the name Paul; as a Jew and a Roman citizen he had both names all the time; Saul the Jewish name had been used in Acts until now but from here on Paul the Roman name is used because he is carrying the gospel primarily to the Gentiles.
2. "Filled" = wholly takes possession of; represents a special enduement of power for the occasion.
3. "Set" = fastened; to look at intently.
1. "Subtilty" = deceit; guile; treachery; fraud; implies that he was an imposter, and that he knew it.
2. "Mischief" = wickedness; unscrupulousness; reckless facility for doing wrong; refers to sly, cunning acts, by which one imposes on another, and deceives him with a false intention.
3. "Child of the devil" = having the character of the devil; under his influence; practicing his arts; promoting his designs by deceit and imposture; damning phrase like Jesus used of the Jews. (John 8:44)
4. "Enemy of all righteousness" = practicing deceit and iniquity, thus opposed to righteousness and honesty.
5. Elymas was determined not to cease perverting (twisting, distorting) the right (upright, straight) ways of the Lord (including the way of salvation and God's purposes for the believer). This false prophet was making even the Lord's straight ways crooked.
1. "The hand of the Lord is upon thee" = the Lord was about to bring him the judgment and punishment he deserved; Paul is very bold due to the filling of the Holy Spirit.
2. "Season" = set time; his blindness was not permanent; in judgment God had mercy giving him a space to repent. (Rom. 2:4)
3. "Mist" = dimness of sight coupled with darkness; means he was totally blind.
4. The change was so sudden that he needed someone to guide him in the paths he had before been familiar with.
1. "Believed" = he was convinced that Elymas was an imposter, and that the doctrine of Paul was true.
2. "Astonished" = thunderstruck; to be filled with sudden wonder or surprise; not so much by the judgment on Elymas as by the doctrine (teaching) of the Lord.
3. Historical evidence has been found that this man was a true believer.
3. In Perga: Deserted By Mark V. 13
1. "Paul and his company" = those around Paul; it means a man and his followers; refers to Barnabas, John Mark, and there may have been others that accompanied them on their journey for this was a common thing to do.
2. "Loosed" = set sail.
3. "Perga" = a large city of Pamphylia, a province of Asia Minor; located on the river, Cestus, some distance from the Mediterranean Sea. (See Map 2)
4. "Departing" = to go away from; to withdraw; to desert; the reason John Mark left is unknown but Paul laid blame on Mark in Acts 15:38 and would not take him on his second missionary journey.
4. In Antioch Of Pisidia: Received By The Gentiles V. 14-52
1. "Departed" = passed through; it seems that they did not stay in Perga and preach at this time, the reason we do not know; they simply passed through and went to Antioch in Pisidia, so named to distinguish from Antioch in Syria. (See Map 2)
2. Paul and Barnabas were on a special mission to the Gentiles, yet they used every opportunity to offer the gospel to the Jews first.
3. "Sat down" = took their seats as visiting Jews; whether they expected to be called or not, they were given the opportunity as prominent visitors.
1. "Law" = the Pentateuch; the first five books of the Bible.
2. "Prophets" = in the Hebrew Bible this consisted of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Minor Prophets; it was usual in the synagogue for someone to read a selection from the Law and one from the Prophets.
3. "Rulers" = the leaders; the elders who were in charge; these were in charge of the service and kept everything in order; they designated who was to read and called on those whom they pleased to address the people; any Rabbi or distinguished stranger could be called on to speak.
4. "If ye have any word of exhortation for the people" = the Greek construction assumed that they did; this was a polite invitation.
5. "Word of exhortation" = a persuasive discourse; stirring address; words of instruction, comfort, encouragement, or admonishment.
6. "Men and brethren" = an affectionate greeting, recognizing them as their own countrymen.
7. "Say on" = speak.
1. "Beckoning" = to signal or shake down with the hand indicating his desire for silence; there must have been some mumbling among those congregated.
2. "Men of Israel" = Jews.
3. "Ye that fear God" = probably Gentile proselytes, who had not yet been circumcised, but had renounced idolatry, and were accustomed to worship with them in their synagogues; this double introduction included everyone present.
4. "Fear" = respect; reverential awe.
5. "Give audience" = hear.
6. Paul's message here is given in considerable detail and probably used the same approach the first time he spoke in a synagogue in a new town. Luke does not go into such detail when he recorded Paul's messages later on in Acts.
7. His message is recorded in verses 17‑41 with the outline as follows:
A. Paul showed how the OT was a preparation for Christ. V. 17‑22
1. Paul reviewed the history of Israel, beginning with God's choice of Israel and their deliverance from Egypt, and leading up to God's choice of David. This showed the people that Paul knew the scriptures since they were familiar with what he said because they were for the most part Jews. It is interesting to note that Paul did not emphasize the negative side but just reminded them of what God had done.
2. "Chose" = select; choose for oneself, not necessarily implying the rejection of what is not chosen but giving favor to the chosen subject, keeping in view a relation to be established between Him and the object.
3. "Exalted" = to raise to dignity, honor, and happiness.
4. "Dwelt as strangers" = one work in Greek; means foreign residence.
5. "With an high arm" = refers to the mighty manifestations of His supernatural power (refers to the 10 plagues and the parting of the Red Sea).
1. "Forty years" = the time going from Egypt to the land of Canaan.
2. "Suffered their manners" = endured their habits; endured their character; put up with their ways; Paul was reminding his listeners of the patience of God with the Israelites during all those times of murmuring, criticizing, and complaining throughout the 40 years.
3. "Wilderness" = uninhabited region; desert.
1. "Destroyed" = with violence demolish; refers to Joshua's conquest. (Deut. 7:1)
2. "Chanaan" = Canaan.
3. "Divided by lot" = one word in the Greek; to distribute as an inheritance to the 12 tribes.
1. "Judges" = individuals whom God raised up to deliver Israel from servitude; there were 14 men and one woman.
2. "Four hundred and fifty years" = this period of time must have been an approximation accepted by the Jews due to the Jewish Historian, Josephus, who had written that there were 592 years between the Exodus and the time Solomon began building the temple; I Kings 6:1 states this time to be 480 years; therefore, the time from the conquest of Canaan (verses 18‑19) to the time Samuel anointed Saul as king (verse 21) would be about 356 years; this figure is arrived using I King 6:1 as a basis: 480 years ‑ 40 years (time in wilderness) ‑ 4 years (Solomon's reign until Temple began to be built) ‑ 40 years (David's reign ) ‑ 40 years (Saul's reign) = 356 years.
3. "Prophet" = one who speaks for another; Samuel was the last of the judges and the first of the prophets.
1. "They desired" = they asked for themselves; Israel wanted a king to be like all the other nations (I Sam. 8:4‑7); they were tired of a theocracy (God reigning), therefore desiring a human king, they were rejecting God.
2. "King" = a sovereign; a ruler.
3. "Saul" = name means "asked for."
4. Paul was also from the tribe of Benjamin.
5. "Forty years" = the OT does not give this information but it comes from the Jewish Historian, Josephus.
1. "Removed" = God rejected him thus ending his reign; this was done because he was self‑willed; he did what he wanted instead of what God said concerning the Amalekites. (I Sam. 15)
2. "Gave testimony" = bore witness; to commend; the reason God commended David is given in the last part of this verse.
3. "A man after mine own heart" = this was due to the fact that David, deep in his heart, really wanted to do all of God's will and God knew that because He knows the heart. (I Sam. 16:7)
B. Paul outlines the life and death of Christ, proving His resurrection, and pointing out that Israel rejected their Messiah. V. 23‑37
1. "Seed" = offspring; denotes David's descendants.
2. "Promise" = an announcement; primarily a legal term denoting a summons or a promise undertaking to do something; refers to the promise God made David that his throne would be eternal (II Sam. 7:16); individual kings of David's line would still be punished for sin, but God would not let David's line be replaced as Saul's had been.
3. "Israel" = refers to the Jewish people in Paul's day, although he will later show that Jesus is not only Saviour of the Jews but also the Gentiles (Rom. 1:16, 4:13); thus this is also referring to spiritual Israel.
4. "Saviour" = deliverer (from the bondage of sin); this is none other than Jesus of Nazareth.
1. "John" = John the Baptist; a chosen forerunner of Christ.
2. "Preached before" = to herald in advance as a herald before a king.
3. "His coming" = refers to the beginning of Jesus' ministry.
4. "Baptism of repentance" = baptism as an expression of repentance; a baptism that symbolized a repentance which had already taken place; John refused to baptize those who had not repented. (Mat. 3:8)
5. "Baptism" = the act of immersion in water; from base word which means to make fully wet.
6. "Repentance" = a change of mind, heart, attitude, and direction; involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God.
7. Note: John preached the same message that we are to preach today. There is no such thing as "dispensational salvation," which means people were saved differently in every dispensation. This is not so! Men have always been saved by grace through faith. Some look forward to the cross while others look back at the cross, but all are saved by grace through faith.
1. "Fulfilled" = to complete; tense indicates John was in the process of completing his course.
2. "Course" = race; work; ministry; described his ministry without defining the precise time when John was asked this question.
3. John was questioned by the Jews in John 1:19‑27 as to his being the Christ.
4. "Loose" = unloose, take off.
5. "Shoes" = sandals; something bound under the feet.
6. John gained many disciples who became very loyal to him, yet he kept pointing them ahead to the coming One. (John 1:29;36) He felt he was not worthy to do the most menial task, a task usually done by a slave, that of taking off Jesus shoes. (John 3:30)
1. "Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham" = refers to the Jews in his audience; by this address he drew attention to their common heritage of the promises and blessings given to Abraham, a heritage that was intended to bring blessing to all the families (nations) of the earth. (Gen. 12:3)
2. "Stock" = family; offspring; kindred.
3. "Whosoever among you feareth God' = Gentile proselytes.
4. "Feareth" = respect; reverential awe of the one true God.
5. To you (both Jew and Gentile) is the word (message) of this salvation (deliverance from bondage of sin). The message of salvation through faith in Christ was sent to them personally through those commissioned by the Lord Jesus.
1. "Dwell" = to house permanently.
2. "Rulers" = ones invested with power and authority; refers to the Sanhedrin.
3. "Knew him not" = not to know through lack of information or ignorance, in this case willful ignorance because they had the scripture and they saw His miracles. (John 5:39-40)
4. "Voices of the prophets" = OT scripture read aloud every sabbath day; implies a deliberate ignoring of the truth.
5. "Fulfilled" = did as the OT prophets had prophesied with 100 percent accuracy.
6. "Condemning" = to pass judgment upon Him; the Sanhedrin did this with an unlawful predawn trial (Mat. 26:65‑66), thus fulfilling the prophecies of the OT scripture.
1. "Found no cause of death" = even though the Sanhedrin had accused Jesus of blasphemy, after a thorough examination the Roman courts could find no cause (no logical reason or motive) for Jesus to be put to death. (Luke 23:4)
2. "Desired" = asked that He be slain (crucified, a violent death). (Mark 15:12‑14; Luke 23:20‑23)
1. "Fulfilled" = completed; they had fulfilled all the OT prophecies written of Him concerning the crucifixion without knowing it.
2. "Tree" = timber; refers to the cross.
3. "Sepulchre" = a tomb hewed out of rock.
1. "But" = shows contrast; the Jews put Him to death (were responsible for His death) but God raised Him from the dead.
2. "From" = out from among those who had died; the tomb could not hold Him.
1. "Many" = more than a few; forty to be exact.
2. "Was seen" = to gaze, with wide open eyes, as at something remarkable; I Cor. 15:5‑8 gives a list of many including Paul, which he does not mention here. (Acts 20:20)
3. "Witnesses" = one who can give a first hand detailed account of what he has seen or experienced.
1. "We" = Paul and Barnabas, with Paul doing the speaking.
2. "Declare glad tidings" = announce the good news; preach the gospel.
3. "Hath fulfilled" = different word than used in verse 29 but basically means the same; means to accomplish entirely; what God had promised the fathers (verse 23) He has accomplished entirely unto the children (those present with Paul; also includes us today) by raising up Jesus again.
4. "Again" = to stand up; simply means to rise from the dead; Christ was alive but died and God raised Him up again.
5. "Begotten thee" = means I have become your Father (and still am); "I have brought you out"; phrase used of a woman who brings a child out into the world at birth; when this phrase was used by a king, it was a technical formula declared by a king to one who was already his son and was now brought out to the people and declared to be king, to share the throne with his father as his associate and as his equal.
6. Psa. 2:7 is quoted here and refers to Jesus being declared by God publicly to be His Son. He had done this twice before, at Jesus' baptism and transfiguration, but He did it even more unmistakably when He raised Jesus from the dead. (Rom. 1:3‑4)
7. No doubt Paul explained these things in greater detail to his audience than Luke recorded. Remember Acts is history and history just hits the high points.
1. "And as concerning" = in further proof of this.
2. "Corruption" = decay; Jesus will never again return to the grave and His body decay like Lazarus' body did.
3. "On this wise" = in this manner; Paul quotes Isa. 55:3 not to prove the resurrection but that He would never die again.
4. "Mercies" = by using this word he meant the divine decrees which are sure (trustworthy; dependable; sure to accomplish); refers to the promise made to David that a successor would not fail to sit on his throne.
5. God made David a promise (II Sam. 7:16) and this was understood by the Jews to mean the Messiah who Paul is declaring to be Jesus, who God raised from the dead. He would never see death and corruption again. He ever lives!
1. "Wherefore" = to the same intent or end; to prove that He must rise and live forever.
2. "He saith" = God says by David. (Psa. 16:10)
3. "Suffer" = allow; permit.
4. "Holy One" = same word as "mercies" in verse 34; this word is used here to draw attention to the fact that the sure decrees relating to David points to the Messiah, David's greater Son or descendant.
5. "Corruption" = decay or destruction or dissolution of the body.
1. "For" = truly then; introduces a reason for the thing previously said.
2. Psa. 16:10 cannot apply to David for two reasons:
A. David did not serve the future generation to whom Isaiah promised the sure decrees pertaining to David. (verse 34)
B. After he had finished the work God gave him to do, David fell asleep (died) and his body did see corruption.
3. "Laid unto" = to place additionally; lay beside; speaks of being buried with his fathers.
1. "But" = contrasting David with Christ (Messiah).
2. Christ did not see corruption (His body did not decay) because He was resurrected.
C. Paul gives the personal conclusion of the message showing that salvation was not through the law, but through faith in Christ. V. 38‑39
1. "Known" = well known.
2. "Therefore" = because of Christ's death and resurrection.
3. "Preached" = proclaimed; declared openly.
4. "Forgiveness" = freedom; pardon; deliverance; a benefit derived from His death.
5. "Through this man" = Jesus Christ; this very man whom the Jews had crucified and whom God had raised from the dead.
6. This is the good news, not only that Jesus died and rose again, but that He did so on the sinner's behalf so that through Him there can be pardon that includes forgiveness of sins and the cancellation of guilt. (Heb. 10:17)
1. "Justified" = to render just or innocent; made righteous in God's eyes, acquitted, and treated as if they had never sinned; "just‑if‑I'd" never sinned.
2. "Believe" = to put in trust with; believe with the heart with saving faith.
3. The law of Moses could not (was not able) to bring the kind of righteousness that God demands.
4. "Law of Moses" = the commands and institutions which Moses, under the direction of God, established.
5. The law could never take away sin but Christ could. (John 1:29)
D. Paul gives a warning. V. 40‑41
1. "Beware" = to look at earnestly; see to it that you avoid that which is threatened.
2. "Lest that come" = that calamity; that threatened punishment; the prophets gave many severe warnings and the people failed to take heed; therefore, they suffered the consequences.
1. Paul quotes Hab. 1:5 from the Septuagint.
2. "Despisers" = one who scorns or looks down on.
3. They would "behold" = pay attention, and "wonder" = to be overwhelmed and confounded, and "perish" = to remove from sight; to disappear into destruction or ruin.
4. "I will work a work" = I will do a thing; in Habakkuk's day he was referring to His working through the Babylonians who took the Jews captive and destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon's temple; Paul implies that God might bring upon the nation similar calamities again, of which He did in AD 70, when Titus destroyed the temple.
5. "Which ye shall in no wise believe" = which you will not believe; in Habakkuk's day the Jews did not believe such a thing could happen, but it did; this was the same feeling the Jews had respecting the temple and city in the time of Paul.
6. "Declare" = to narrate through wholly.
1. "Gone out" = leaving.
2. "Gentile" = proselytes.
3. "Besought" = invited.
4. "Words" = message.
5. "Preached" = spoken; refers simply to the fact of utterance.
6. "Sabbath" = Saturday, when the Jews met in the synagogues.
1. "Broken up" = dismissed.
2. "Followed" = to go with; normally they would have went home to enjoy a Sabbath feast but they were concerned about spiritual food because the message had stirred a deep hunger in their hearts.
3. "Persuaded" = convinced; Paul and Barnabas convinced them to continue (remain) in the grace (undeserved favor) of God (this is equivalent to stepping in what light you have and God will give you more light).
1. "Almost" = the larger portion.
2. The God‑fearing Gentiles must have been especially excited about the message of forgiveness and salvation through Christ that they spread the word throughout the town of Antioch, a center of Greek culture and a prosperous commercial center.
1. "Multitudes" = crowd; word also means a class of people, thus could refer to common Gentiles.
2. "Filled" = wholly take possession of.
3. "Envy" = jealousy; denotes wrath and indignation; the word also means zeal; therefore, undoubtedly interpreted their jealousy as a zeal for God and the law of Moses.
4. "Contradicting" = to say a word in opposition to Paul's message; this was done publicly and caused great tumult and disorder.
5. "Blaspheming" = to say injurious and harmful things about; they spoke reproachfully against the gospel of Christ.
6. All of the Jew's actions were due to their being afraid of losing their influence and religious leadership over these Gentiles who had been looking to them for teaching.
1. "Waxed bold" = spoke out boldly; to assume boldness; fearless freedom of speech.
2. "It was necessary" = it was so designed; so commanded. (Rom. 1:16)
3. "Seeing" = since now.
4. "Put it from you" = to push off; you reject it.
5. "Judge" = condemn; denotes by their conduct they condemned themselves.
6. "Unworthy" = undeserving; unsuitable; they did not possess eternal life; they were unfit to be saved because they deliberately rejected the gospel.
7. "Lo" = behold; indicates this turning to the Gentiles was something unexpected and surprising to the Jews.
8. "Turn" = tense indicates an habitual, continuous devoting of themselves to seeking the salvation of the Gentiles.
1. "So" = in this way; in this manner; Paul turns to the OT to justify his action. (Isa. 49:6)
2. "Set" = constituted; appointed.
3. "Light" = that by which we see objects distinctly; represents truth by which we get understanding (seeing things clearly); Paul was a light in the sense that he was the instrument God used to carry the message to the Gentiles that they might see Jesus clearly. (Mat. 5:16)
4. "Salvation" = deliverance; Paul does not do the saving but he was to be the human instrument God would use to carry the message so that the Gentiles would hear, believe, and be saved. (Rom. 10:13‑15)
5. "Unto the ends of the earth" = to all lands; in all nations. (Acts 1:8)
1. "Heard this" = heard that the gospel was to be preached to them; the doctrine of the Jews had been that salvation was confined to the Jews only.
2. "Glad" = to be cheerful; rejoiced; tense indicates continuous action.
3. "Glorified" = praised; ascribing glory to; tense indicates continuous action; no wonder the Gentiles were glad and rejoiced because Paul's message was one of grace and liberty from legalism (no longer did the Gentiles have to be circumcised to become a child of God).
4. "Ordained" = to arrange in an orderly manner; appointed; determined; committed; translated "appointed" in Acts 22:10 and "determined" in Acts 15:2 and "addicted" (committed; devoted) in I Cor. 16:15.
A. The word is never used to denote an internal disposition or inclination arising from one's own self; therefore, they did not stir themselves up to take hold of God. (Rom. 3:11; 5:6; Isa. 64:7)
B. The word carries the idea of an ordering or arranging from without, that is, from some other source than the individual himself. Salvation is of the Lord and the source of ordering came from the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost. (I Peter 1:2; John 16:8‑11)
C. This word implies the doctrine of election expressed in an act. This doctrine cannot ignore the foreknowledge of God. (Rom. 8:29) He and He alone initiates salvation and thus He and He alone consummates it.
5. "Believed" = to commit to one's trust; saving faith (a gift of God; Eph. 2:8; John 3:27) exercised or acted upon; referred to as "obedience" in I Peter 1:2.
6. Note for the record: God never consigns one to hell without their rejecting light. (II Peter 3:9; I John 2:2; John 1:9; I Tim. 2:4; Acts 13:39; Rom. 3:22)
1. "Was published" = was being carried; was being spread abroad.
2. "Region" = territory; country.
1. "Stirred up" = excited opposition.
2. "Devout" = worshipping; refers to the Gentile women who had embraced Judaism. (proselytes)
3. "Honourable" = influential; respectable; refers to women of influence and connected with families of rank.
4. "Chief" = foremost; refers to city officials and politicians of the city who were not proselytes; Jewish history says that the majority of the married women were proselytes and through them the shrewd rabbis were able to influence these men.
5. "Raised" = to stir up against.
6. "Persecution" = to afflict constantly so as to injure or cause distress; in II Cor. 11:26 Paul mentions perils (dangers) of which some may have occurred here; also II Cor. 11:25 states he was beaten three times with rods (Roman scourging) one of which could have been here due to the Jew's success of causing the Roman officials to look on Paul and Barnabas as disturbers of the public peace.
7. "Expelled" = to cast out; to eject.
8. "Coasts" = boundaries; borders; they were cast out of this Roman Providence.
1. "Shook off" = to shake violently; this was a dramatic gesture that forbade further dealings with them; this act involved taking off the sandals and the dust shaken out as a symbolic token that the very soil of the country was defiling; they simply obeyed the Lord's command. (Mat. 10:14)
2. "Iconium" = a city of the Roman providence of Galatia about 60 miles east of Antioch (See Map 2); this was a rather large city and a meeting place of several Roman roads.
1. "Disciples" = learners; refers to the believers in Antioch.
2. "Joy" = gladness of heart; cheerfulness; rejoicing; they were filled and overflowing.
3. They were wholly possessed (filled) with the Holy Ghost. He was in control of their lives.
4. The Jews intended for the persecution to destroy the church but instead it had an opposite effect.
Chapter 14: Paul's First Missionary Journey Cont.
1. The Missionaries Suffer For Christ V.1-20
1. Paul followed the same pattern in Iconium that he had in Antioch in Acts 13. He went into the Jewish synagogue, was given an opportunity to speak, preached the same message concerning Christ and the forgiveness of sins (even though Luke did not record it), and the results were similar, many believed.
2. "Greeks" = Greek speaking Gentiles.
1. "Unbelieving" = not to allow one's self to be persuaded; word includes the idea of disobedience and rebellion; belief brings obedience and unbelief brings rebellion.
2. "Stirred up" = to excite against.
3. "Minds" = souls.
4. "Made evil affected" = one word in the Greek; means to harm or injure.
5. "Brethren" = refers to Paul, Barnabas, and those who just believed (got saved).
6. Wherever the gospel is preached and some believe, you will find division and disturbance.
1. "Long time therefore" = indicates that there were here no forcible or public measures to expel them as there had been in Antioch; history indicates they may have stayed six months.
2. "Abode" = remain.
3. "Speaking boldly" = to be frank in utterance.
4. "In the Lord" = in the cause of the Lord or in His name and by His authority; includes the idea of their trusting in the Lord.
5. "Which" = who; refers to the Lord.
6. "Gave testimony" = bore witness unto the word (message) of His grace (unmerited favor in sending Jesus to save sinners); He did this by granting (giving) signs and wonders to be done (performed) by their hands (Paul and Barnabas).
7. "Signs" = finger post of God; miracles done to vindicate Paul and Barnabas' ministry, that it was from God.
8. "Wonders" = miracles regarded as startling and amazing.
1. "Divided" = split; to make a schism or faction; word indicates they were sharply divided; refers to the Gentiles.
2. "Jews" = the unbelieving Jews.
3. "Apostles" = ones sent; Barnabas was not an apostle in the technical sense but he was sent.
1. "Assault" = a hostile movement; hostile intent; denotes an impetuous excitement and aggression: not an actual attack, but the open start of one by both the unbelieving Gentiles and the unbelieving Jews.
2. "Rulers" = leaders.
3. "Use despitefully" = to exercise violence; to treat shamefully.
4. "Stone" = to throw stones; to put to death by stoning, probably accusing them of blasphemy as they did Stephen in Acts 6:11,13.
1. "Were ware" = were made aware; to see completely; in some way they were informed of the unbelievers intentions of verse 5 and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia. (See Map 2)
2. "Region that lieth round about" = one word in the Greek; the country adjacent to these cities.
1. "Preached the gospel" = one word in the Greek; to announce the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. "There" = the country of Lycaonia; Paul and Barnabas did not seek to be martyrs at Iconium but fled because there were other places that needed the gospel.
1. "Certain" = someone; this word is used to verify that this event actually happened, it was not made up.
2. "Impotent" = impossible; unable; without any power; entirely deprived of the use of his feet.
3. To draw attention to the utter hopelessness of his case, Luke uses a threefold repetition.
1. We are not told what Paul spoke but from the outcome we know he had to start at the beginning since this Gentile had not come in contact with the Jews and had no knowledge of the OT Scriptures. He must have told about the one true God, His promises, His plan of salvation, the coming of Jesus, His death, resurrection, and the promise of the Spirit because his heart was stirred and the word produced faith. (Rom. 10:17)
2. "Stedfastly beholding" = fixing the eyes intently on; refers to Paul looking at the cripple.
3. "Perceiving" = to know; to have absolute knowledge of a fact; how Paul perceived he had faith we are not told but it was no doubt due to the Holy Spirit revealing it to him.
4. "Be healed" = to be made whole; able to walk.
1. Paul encouraged the man's faith to action by commanding him in a very loud voice to stand up straight (erect) on his feet.
2. "Walked" = tense reveals a continuous habitual action; he was healed completely and for the rest of his life he continued to walk.
1. As Paul preached in the Greek language the crowd had gathered around to listen and when the cripple leaped and walked, they being excited, spoke in their native Lycaonian language which Paul and Barnabas did not understand.
2. Because they had never seen such a miracle (beyond human ability), they jumped to the conclusion that Paul and Barnabas were manifestations of their gods. It was a common belief among them that gods appeared to men in human form.
1. "Called" = tense indicates they begin to call.
2. "Jupiter" = Roman name for "Zeus" the chief Greek sky god; used by the translators instead of "Zeus" due to the influence of the Roman Catholic Latin text used widely in 1611.
3. "Mercurius" = Roman name for "Hermes", the messenger of the gods, and the spokesman of Zeus; since Paul was the chief (lead) speaker they named them accordingly; used by the translators instead of "Hermes" due to the influence of the Roman Catholic Latin text used widely in 1611.
1. "Priest of Jupiter" = one who served at the temple of Jupiter which was before (in front, at the main entrance) their city.
2. "Oxen" = bullocks, the most costly victims they could offer in sacrifice.
3. "Garlands" = wreaths used to decorate the bullocks as part of the sacrifice.
4. "Gates" = gates of the house where Paul and Barnabas were staying.
1. When the first news of understanding reached them, they rent (to tear asunder) their clothes, a sign of grief and dismay due to the people of this city calling them gods.
2. "Ran" = rushed out.
3. "Crying out" = shouting, almost screaming; refers to their being loud.
4. This town had no Jewish synagogue which would have prepared the way for the message Paul preached because the Jews taught one true God and high moral standards but the people at Lystra had no such background and all they knew to do was interpret the miracle in terms of their own pagan ideas.
1. "Like passions" = similarly affected; human beings with feeling like theirs, implying a nature like theirs (certainly not gods).
2. "Turn" = involves repentance.
3. "Vanities" = empty; unreal; useless; unfruitful; profitless; refers to any and all dealing with gods.
4. "Living God" = not dead a god like yours.
5. Paul took them back to the time of the Creation where one must start when dealing with people who have no knowledge of the Bible.
1. "In times past" = generations gone by.
2. "Suffered" = let; allowed; permitted.
3. "Nations" = Gentiles.
4. "Walk in their own ways" = various way of life of their own choosing, and God let them do it. (Acts 17:30)
1. "Without witness" = unattested; God has always had a witness, look at creation (Rom. 1:20); this witness, rain and fruitful seasons, they could receive without the help of OT revelations.
2. Zeus was regarded as the god of rain and Paul claims the rain and fruitful seasons come from the one living God.
3. Hermes was the god of merchandise, the dispenser of food and Paul claims all food comes from the one living God.
4. These simple country people could grasp his ideas as he claims everything comes from the one true God.
5. "Gladness" = good cheer; joyfulness; cheerfulness which should be our attitude when we consider God's goodness which leads us to repentance. (Rom. 2:4)
6. Paul has not mentioned Christ to them because his single definite purpose was to stop them from worshipping Barnabas and himself.
1. "Sayings" = arguments.
2. "Scarce" = with difficulty.
3. "Restrained" = to settle down.
4. Even with the arguments Paul gave, they had a hard time stopping the crowds from offering sacrifices unto them.
1. Although not mentioned here, it seems that there were some saved. (verses 21‑22) This news, upon reaching the ears of those in Antioch where the Jews had Paul and Barnabas thrown out of the city and in Iconium where the Jews wanted to stone Paul to death, angered and caused them to travel to Lystra.
2. "Persuaded" = convinced.
3. "Stoned" = to throw stones with the intent to kill; they stoned only Paul who was the chief speaker.
4. "Drew" = to drag by force; a hurried and irregular proceeding; they did so because they thought he was unfit to be in the city and unworthy of a decent burial.
5. "Supposing" = thought he was dead.
6. Whether Paul was dead and revived or just unconscious we do not know but one thing we do know from his own account in II Cor. 12:2‑4, that he saw some things in the third heaven and was not allowed to tell it. If Paul was not allowed to tell what he saw I doubt the Lord would allow anyone else to do so today as some try to claim.
1. "Howbeit" = notwithstanding the fact the stoning party thought he was dead.
2. "Stood round about" = encircled Paul, praying to God and expecting him to revive.
3. "Rose up" = to stand up; a miraculous recovery; the tense indicates quick action on his own power, without help of the others.
4. "Came" = entered; he had been carried outside the walls of the city.
5. Paul never blamed the Lord for the rough treatment he received for his faithful service, but spoke of it as "light affliction;" (II Cor. 4:17) and "not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed." (Rom. 8:18)
6. "Derbe" = a city 40 miles SE of Lystra; this has already been mentioned in verse 6 and now the explanation of what happened in this city follows. (See Map 2)
2. The Missionaries Confirm The Churches V. 21-24
1. "Preached the gospel" = announce the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
2. "Taught" = to train in discipleship; instruct those who had been saved to observe the "all things" the Lord Jesus had commanded; this is a fulfillment of the great commission given in Mat. 28:19‑20.
3. After spending time enough to establish a growing church in Derbe, they courageously returned to these three cities where they were persecuted.
1. "Confirming" = to strengthen and establish by further teaching; this is not some ritual as some "so called" churches perform today.
2. "Souls" the minds; the hearts.
3. "Exhorting" = encouraging.
4. "Continue" = persevere; tense refers to a habitual lifestyle.
5. "The faith" = the whole body of God's revealed truth; to continue in the faith means to stand by the truth (Word) and to live by its principles.
6. "Must" = necessary.
7. "Tribulation" = grievous affliction; persecution; distress.
8. "We" = general pronoun applying to all Christians at all times, not just in these three cities. (II Tim. 3:12)
9. "Enter into the kingdom of God' = refers to the culmination at last; these disciples were already saved thus spiritually in the kingdom of God.
10. Paul encouraged the saints to accept the fact that tribulation will come and that they might as well expect it. The same holds true for us today.
1. "Ordained" = word means to vote by show of the hands; to appoint with the approval of an assembly; this word does not mean an ordination in the modern sense.
2. "Elders" = overseers; pastors; men called of God who meet the qualifications listed in I Tim. 3:1‑7; there were more than one in each church.
3. "Prayed with fasting" = it was a solemn and serious occasion in each of the three churches as they set apart men for the ministry.
4. "Commended" = entrusted; these young churches were feeble, inexperienced, and exposed to dangers but in the Lord's hands they were safe.
5. "Believed" = tense indicates they had believed and continued to believe which is the case with all who have saving faith.
1. "Passed throughout" = the Greek construction refers to their going from place to place preaching the gospel.
2. "Pisidia" = region where the city of Antioch was located. (See Map 2)
3. "Pamphylia" = a province of Asia Minor where the cities, Perga and Attalia were located. (See Map 2)
3. The Missionaries Report To Their Home Church V. 25-28
1. "Preached" = refers to the fact of utterance; spoke the word apparently without opposition or mistreatment; it seems they had not done this when they came through this city in Acts 13:13‑14.
2. We have no Bible proof but it is said that Paul and Barnabas stayed in Perga long enough to establish a church and appoint elders.
3. "Attalia" = chief harbor of the south coast of Asia Minor sixteen miles SW of Perga. (See Map 2)
4. There is no record of their preaching and establishing a church in this city. Their primary reason of being there was to find a ship going to Antioch.
1. "Thence" = from there.
2. "Sailed to Antioch" = they actually took the ship to Seleucia, a seaport, and then traveled over land to Antioch. (See Map 2)
3. "Whence" = which place.
4. "Had been recommended" = had be appointed. (Acts 13:2)
5. "Grace of God" = His favor and protection had been with them in this perilous undertaking.
6. "The work" = the missionary journey which lasted about 18 months.
7. "Fulfilled" = completed; they had finished the work for which they had been set apart by the Holy Ghost.
1. "Gathered together" = it was not hard to get the church together when the news spread that Paul and Barnabas had returned.
2. "Rehearsed" = to announce in detail.
3. Antioch was their home church, and since the people had fasted and prayed with them before sending them out and while they were gone, it was only right for them to report back to the church. This is what missionaries should practice today.
4. "Door of faith" = "a" door and not "the" door; a metaphor revealing that it was plain that the Gentiles, now, could enter the kingdom of God through faith (a door), not by law or by circumcision.
1. "Abode" = remained; stayed.
2. "Long time" = not a little time.
3. They resumed a ministry of teaching and help in the assembly of believers for several months possibly as much as three to five years. There seems to be a time interval of about five years between Acts 14 and Acts 15, whether Paul and Barnabas stayed at Antioch this long or of what they did, we know nothing about.