Acts 14 - Outline of Acts (MENU page)
1. And it came to pass in Iconium,
that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews,
and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
... in Iconium... -
This city, in Galatia, is about 75 miles southeast of Antioch of Pisidia (13:14), from where they had been expelled (13:50,51).
...into the synagogue of the Jews...-
Paul and Baranbas continued their pattern of preaching the Gospel to the Jew first and also to the Gentiles.
...a great multitude... believed...-
As the Word was proclaimed, the Lord continued His work of building His church, of people called out of the world to Himself. Mat 16:18; Acts 2:47; 13:48
2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles,
and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord,
which gave testimony unto the word of his grace,
and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
4 But the multitude of the city was divided:
and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
Again we see that the Gospel of Christ divides between believers and unbelievers.
This division, more than a mere difference of opinion, is in the contrasting content of human hearts...
  • ...minds evil affected {ie., filled with malicious intent} -
    The enemies of God's Word incited hateful emotions, with intent to harm the brethren (ie., those who had been 'born again' into the family of God).
  • ...the word of God's grace -
    The believers were moved by God's grace (His mercy and unmerited favor) toward His enemies, to boldy proclaim the Gospel which all men desperately need, though many may not want to hear it. (2Cor 5:14,15)
Therefore... the apostles 'abode' {lit., 'continued against the friction' (of opposition)} to speak boldly in the Lord...
As they proclaimed His Word, the Lord Himself bore witness to its truth, by providing miraculous signs.
5 And when there was an assault made
both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers,
to use [them] despitefully, and to stone them,
6 They were ware of [it], and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia,
and unto the region that lieth round about:
7 And there they preached the gospel.
When the evil intent, stirred up in v.2, became deadly, the apostles moved on,
with the constant purpose of taking the the Gospel of Christ to those who had yet not heard (cp. Mat 10:23).
Lystra and Derbe, like Iconium, were cities in the region of Galatia known as Lycaonia.
Lystra was about 20 miles south, and Derbe 65 miles southeast, of Iconium.
8. And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet,
being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked:
9 The same heard Paul speak:
who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet.
And he leaped and walked.
Here again, the Lord granted a miraculous sign to confirm the message.
This miracle is similar to the healing of the lame man in Acts 3:1-13. In both events, the people who saw it, rushed to elevate a human 'healer,' rather than responding to the God whose power made the lame to walk. In Acts 3, the people were Jews, to whom Peter explained the meaning of Old Testament scriptures which were fulfilled by Christ. Here, the people, being ignorant of the scriptures, understood the event in the context of their heathen superstition.
11 And when the people saw what Paul had done,
they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia,
The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter;
and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city,
brought oxen and garlands unto the gates,
and would have done sacrifice with the people.
If you were in the shoes of Paul and Barnabas, What would you do?
The whole city and its religious leaders are welcoming you, as though you are their god(s). Should your sudden popularity be used as a spring board for the Gospel message? Or, should you risk offending the people by correcting their error? (compare Acts 10:25,26 and 12:21-23)
14 [Which] when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard [of],
they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things?
We also are men of like passions with you,
and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God,
which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good,
and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people,
that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
...the apostles, Barnabas and Paul... rent their clothes... ran in... crying out...-
The apostles immediately demonstrated, in action and words, that they were not gods, but rather representatives of the one true and living God. Barnabas, being mentioned first here, probably initiated their strong response, because the people identified him as 'Jupiter' {GK=Zeus, the national god of the Greeks, who was regarded as the supreme ruler of the heathen world}. Paul, being the chief speaker was thought to be Mercurius {GK=Hermes, who, according to Greek mythology, was the herald of the gods, and the son of Zeus, who accompanied his elder in his earthly travels}.
     The apostles' speech, far from politically correct, must have offended many, for they identified the gods of the people as 'vanities' {ie., empty, profitless things}.
...the apostles {ie., messengers of God} preached {ie., proclaimed 'good news'} from and about...
the true and living God, who is... (v.15-17)
  • the Creator of all things in heaven, earth, and sea.
  • the One with dominion over 'all nations.'
  • the Provider and Sustainer of life for all mankind.
    Thus, the living God has all power and dominion, in spite of the myths which attributed these things to false gods.
...with these sayings 'scarce restrained' {ie., only with difficulty stopped} they...- the religious proceedings in their honor.
The apostles spoke boldly in behalf of the one true God. They were mere men. Worship directed toward them would be as vain as the worship of idols of wood and stone. The gods which men make, whether with their hands or in their foolish imaginations, are equally empty (Rom 1:18-23). The sacrifice was halted, but the apostles' interference with false religion did not win many friends among the people.
19. And there came thither [certain] Jews from Antioch and Iconium,
who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul,
drew [him] out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city:
and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
...Jews from Antioch and Iconium...-
Paul and Barnabas had been expelled from Antioch (13:50,51), and had fled from Iconium under threat of death (14:5-7). Their enemies, having followed them, now took advantage of the apostles' fall from favor before the citizens of Derbe, to 'persuade' them that the world would be a better place without these trouble makers. Sadly, the unbelieving Jews, who prided themselves in the scriptures, and in their separation from the gentiles, joined forces with them against the messengers of God. cp. Psa 2:1; Mat 27:20-25
...having stoned Paul, drew {ie., dragged} him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.-
The word 'supposing' {the GK word is 'nomizo', based on the root word 'nomos' meaning 'law'} refers to that which is established by law or custom. Those who had stoned Paul were confident that he was 'legally dead.'
  • This was, no doubt, the occasion of Paul's out of body experience, recorded in 2Cor 12:2-7.
  • It is also a demonstration of the principle that 'you reap what you sow' (Gal 6:7 with Acts 7:58,59; 9:13-16).
Howbeit {ie., but}... he rose up {GK=anistemi, stood up}, and came into {GK=eiserchomai, went into} the city...-
The Lord raised His servant up, if not from death, from the very point of death, and miraculously healed the brutal injuries caused by stoning... sufficiently that Paul was enabled, not only to walk back into the city, but also to have the strength for travel on the following day. Note that the word 'departed' {GK=exerchomai} indicates that he exited the city, as he had entered it, on his own feet.
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many,
they returned again to Lystra, and [to] Iconium, and Antioch,
22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith,
and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting,
they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Beginning at Derbe, where Paul had been stoned to death,
Paul and Barnabas now retraced their steps, to again visit the places where they knew enemies were waiting. Having been called to the work by the Holy Spirit, they entrusted themselves to His keeping (Rom 8:31-39).
They were faithful to the commission received from the Lord...
  • when they had preached the Gospel {ie., evangelism} and taught many {GK=matheteuo, made disciples}...-
    Even in Derbe, they did not cut short the work which Christ had given them to do. Mat 28:18-20
  • confirming {ie., strengthening} the souls of the disciples...- Acts 18:23; Eph 3:14-19; Col 1:9-11
    The new disciples needed to be established in the faith, through a growing understanding of God's Word and a maturing walk with the Lord.
  • exhorting them to continue {ie, to remain} in the faith...- cp. Acts 11:23
    The Lord, who had forewarned His followers to expect trouble (Joh 15:18-21; 16:1-3,33), will come again, when the time is right, to bring us into His kingdom (1Pet 4:12-16; 2Pet 1:10,11).
         The apostles' experience demonstrated both the reality of persecution, and the power of persevering faith. 2Tim 1:8; 2:11-12
         During Paul's second missionary journey to Lystra and Derbe (about six years after the first), Timothy would be called to accompany him (Acts 16:1-3). Through Paul's early ministry there, Timothy (then a teenager) had become a disciple. His faith was established, as he observed both Paul's steadfast faith in his sufferings, and also the Lord's faithfulness to His servant. 2Tim 3:10-12
  • ordaining {GK=cheirotoneo} elders in every church...-
    The word for 'ordained' suggests that the apostles 'hand picked' and appointed these elders. These churches were so young in the faith, that the choice of leadership was not left to the fledgling congregations. Later, Paul would provide guidance for selecting church leaders. 1Tim 3:1-13; 2Tim 2:2; Titus 1:5
  • commended them to the Lord... with prayer and fasting...-
    The apostles, who had brought these new believers to new birth through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, could not remain with them to nurture them to maturity, because they had to reach others who had not yet heard the Gospel. Therefore, they entrusted these spiritual babes to the Lord, in whom they believed. He would watch over, nurture and keep them. Acts 20:32; 1The 3:12,13; 2The 2:16,17; compare Joh 17:11-17
24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:
26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended
to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together,
they rehearsed all that God had done with them,
and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
28 And there they abode long time with the disciples.
Paul and Barnabas, who had begun their ministry to Asia Minor in the port city of Perga (Acts 13:13,14),
concluded their first missionary journey there and in the neighboring town of Attalia.
From there, they returned to the church in Antioch (of Syria), which had commissioned them with this missionary venture (Acts 13:1-3), and gave them a complete report concerning...
  • all that God had done... (It was not their work, but His.)
  • how He had opened the way for Gentiles to come to faith in Christ.

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