Acts 13

13:1 In the church [first church to send out missionaries to those beyond own geographical area; a church with a large vision] at Antioch [Roman capital of Syria; multicultural city; temple of Daphne on outskirts of town, a center of prostitution and pagan worship] there were prophets [those gifted to address God’s word to specific situations; cf. Acts 15:32; 1 Cor. 14:3; forthteller more than foreteller] and teachers [those gifted to teach the Scriptures, to teach others how to live the Christian life]: [cosmopolitan leadership team reflects a great diversity of backgrounds…] Barnabas [means Son of Encouragement (cf. Acts 4:36); cf. Acts 11:22-26; a Cyprian Jew], Simeon called Niger [Latin term meaning “black-skinned”], Lucius [Greek name suggesting he was possibly a Gentile] of Cyrene [located in Libya in North Africa], Manaen [Greek name for the Hebrew “Menahem”; a member of high society] (who had been brought up with [childhood companion] Herod [Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great and murderer of John the Baptist: ruled Galilee 4 BC to AD 39; cf. Lk. 3:1; Acts 4:27] the tetrarch [term meaning ruler of a fourth]) and Saul [called Paul (Roman name) for first time in Acts 13:9].

13:2 While [Holy Spirit spoke while they were busy; opportunities for greater service often come to those faithfully performing their present duties] they [refers either to entire church or to prophets and teachers of v. 1] were worshiping [ministering] the Lord and fasting [indicates church was earnestly seeking God’s direction], the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart [to separate, to take away; to appoint; cf. Gal. 1:15-16; Rom. 1:1] for me Barnabas [mentioned first, perhaps because he was considered the leader at this time] and Saul for the work [a specific work] to which I [Holy Spirit] have called [Gr. proskaleo: pros is preposition meaning to, toward; kaleo means call; called to preach the gospel to unreached peoples] them.”

13:3 So after they [church] had fasted and prayed, they [refers either to prophets and teachers (v. 1), elders of congregation, or entire church] placed their hands [validation of Spirit’s work; recognition of the divine call; expression of support, affirmation; a formal setting apart for service] on them and sent them off [let go; released them to follow God’s call; willing to part with some of their best leaders in order to expand the kingdom].

Note: “There were more than half a million pagans in Antioch, but God wanted two of His choicest servants to go to fields abroad.” (Curtis Vaughan • “Acts” • p. 88)

13:4 The two of them, sent on their way [first missionary journey lasted approximately two years (about AD 46 to AD 47/48)] by the Holy Spirit, went [obediently] down to Seleucia [a port city located 16 miles from Antioch] and sailed from there to Cyprus [island home of Barnabas; cf. Acts 11:19-20 re: how the gospel arrived at Cyprus; population mainly Greek, but had a large Jewish community].

13:5 When they arrived at Salamis [city located on east coast of island of Cyprus], they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues [Paul would use this approach for years]. John [John Mark] was with them as their helper [assistant; reminder that we must work as a team to share gospel].

13:6 They traveled through the whole island [about one hundred miles in length] until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer [Gr. “magos” means magician] and false prophet named Bar-Jesus [name means “son of Jesus”],

13:7 who was an attendant of the proconsul [a high government official; functioned as governor of Cyprus], Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.

13:8 But Elymas [Bar-Jesus] the sorcerer (for that is what his name [the name Elymas] means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith [Satan’s agenda includes keeping people from hearing and responding to gospel].

13:9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul [his Roman name; so called from this point on in Acts], filled with the Holy Spirit [necessary in order to confront evil], looked straight at Elymas [means “sorcerer” or “magician”] and said,

13:10 “You are a child [literally “son”] of the devil [Gr. “diabolos”; the source of Elymas’ sorcery] and an enemy of everything that is right [literally “righteousness”]! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery [cf. Jn. 8:44]. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?

13:11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you [an announcement of judgment]. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.

13:12 When the proconsul [Sergius Paulus] saw what had happened, he believed [became the highest ranking converted government official in NT], for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

13:13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga [a port town] in Pamphylia, where John [John Mark] left them [we are not told why] to return to Jerusalem [many years later John Mark would again earn Paul’s respect (cf. Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11)].

13:14 From Perga they went on to [“traveled inland to” (NLT)] Pisidian Antioch [located in southern Galatia; not Antioch of Syria; a Roman colony]. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.

13:15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying [it was customary to invite visiting rabbis/itinerant teachers to speak], “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.”

13:16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said [sermon continues to 13:41]: “Men of Israel [Jews by birth] and you Gentiles [God-fearing Gentiles (cf. Acts 13:26); proselytes] who worship God, listen to me!

Note: Luke recorded Paul’s messages in…
• Acts 13:16-41 — to Jews in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia
• Acts 14:15-17 — to Gentiles on the streets of Lystra
• Acts 17:22-31 — to intellectuals on Mars Hill
• Acts 20:17-38 — to church leaders (the Ephesian elders) at Miletus

13:17 [history of Israel from patriarchs to David (13:17-22)] The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers [beginning with Abraham]; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power [“uplifted arm” (NRSV); cf. Ex. 6:1,6; Ps. 136:11-12] he led them out of that country,

13:18 he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert,

13:19 he overthrew seven nations [cf. Deut. 7:1] in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance.

13:20 All this took about 450 years. “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet [the first].

13:21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish [cf. 1 Sam. 9:1-2], of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years.

13:22 After removing [because of his disobedience (cf. 1 Sam. 13:1-14; 15:1-25)] Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him [cf. 1 Sam. 13:14]: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

13:23 [God’s messianic promise to David fulfilled in Jesus (13:23-25)] “From this man’s [David’s] descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior [only place in Acts where Paul referred to Jesus as Savior] Jesus, as he promised.

13:24 Before the coming of Jesus, John [John the Baptist; cf. Jn. 1:6-8] preached repentance [to turn from sin and to God] and baptism [a public demonstration of one’s commitment to repent] to all the people of Israel.

13:25 As John was completing his work, he said [cf. Mk. 1:7]: ‘Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’

13:26 “Brothers, children of Abraham [Jews], and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us [salvation through Jesus is for both Jews and Gentiles] that this message of salvation has been sent.

13:27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets [cf. Ps. 118:22; Isa. 53:3] that are read every Sabbath [they had heard and were familiar with the prophecies but missed their fulfillment].

13:28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate [because they (the Jewish leaders) could not execute Jesus; cf. Lk. 23:1-25] to have him executed.

13:29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb [cf. Lk. 23:44-56].

13:30 But God raised him from the dead [cf. Lk. 24],

13:31 and for many days he was seen [there were witnesses to affirm the truth of the resurrection] by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

13:32 “We [Paul and Barnabas] tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers

13:33 he has fulfilled for us [“in our own time” (NLT)], their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm [Ps. 2:7]: “‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’

13:34 The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay [cf. Ps. 16:10], is stated in these words [cf. Isa. 55:3]: “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’

13:35 So it is stated elsewhere [cf. Ps. 16:10]: “‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’

13:36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed [thus Ps. 16:10 is not a reference to David but to Jesus…].

13:37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

13:38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus [through His sacrificial death on the cross] the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.

13:39 Through him everyone who believes [this is necessary] is justified [counted righteous or acquitted; cf. Rom. 5:9] from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses [the law exposes sin (Rom. 3:20), provokes to sin (Rom. 7:7-8) but cannot justify].

13:40 [a warning not to miss what God was doing among them…] Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

13:41 [cf. Hab. 1:5; Habakkuk had warned Judah of impending judgment but the people failed to understand what God was doing among them] “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’”

13:42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people [both Jews and Gentiles] invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.

13:43 When the congregation was dismissed, many [indicates impact of Paul’s message] of the Jews and devout converts [Gentiles who had been inducted into Judaism] to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God [or to remain steadfast in their Christian faith].

13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city [Pisidian Antioch was a Gentile city] gathered to hear the word of the Lord [gospel].

13:45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy [envy] and talked abusively [blaspheme, slander, defame] against [contradict] what Paul was saying [that, in Christ Jesus, God accepts Gentiles also].

13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly [evidence of Holy Spirit; cf. Acts 4:8,13,31]: “We had to [necessary] speak the word of God to you [Jews] first [cf. Rom. 1:16]. Since you reject it [to push away from one’s self] and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.

13:47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us [cf. Isa. 49:6]: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”

13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed [emphasizes the divine role in salvation] for eternal life [salvation] believed [emphasizes personal responsibility in salvation].

13:49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.

13:50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing [Gentiles who attended the Jewish synagogue] women of high standing [prominent, perhaps rich] and the leading [foremost in importance] men of the city. They stirred [rouse, excite] up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled [to cast out] them from their region.

13:51 So they shook the dust from their feet [cf. Lk. 10:8-12] in protest against them [the Jews who stirred up persecution, not to show disdain for Gentiles] and went to Iconium [continued to do what God had called them to do].

Note: “The shaking off of dust might mean that the missionaries cleared themselves of all further responsibilities.” (Rienecker/Rogers • “Linguistic Key to the Greek NT” • p. 295)

13:52 And the disciples [new disciples at Pisidian Antioch] were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

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