Acts 13

Listen to Acts 13

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

1 Now there were in the church at Antioch 1prophets and 2teachers, 3Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,[a] Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of 4Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, 5the Holy Spirit said, 6"Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul 7for the work to which I have called them."
3 Then after fasting and 8praying they laid their hands on them and 9sent them off.

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

4 So, being sent out 10by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God 11in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had 12John to 13assist them.
6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain 14magician, 15a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus.
7 He was with 16the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.
8 But Elymas the 17magician (for that is the meaning of his name) 18opposed them, seeking to turn 19the proconsul away from the faith.
9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, 20filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him
10 and said, "You 21son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and 22villainy, will you not stop 23making crooked 24the straight paths of the Lord?
11 And now, behold, 25the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time." Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking 26people to lead him by the hand.
12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at 27the teaching of the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia

13 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And 28John left them and returned 29to Jerusalem,
14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And 30on the Sabbath day 31they went into the synagogue and sat down.
15 After 32the reading from 33the Law and the Prophets, 34the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have any 35word of encouragement for the people, say it."
16 So Paul stood up, and 36motioning with his hand said: "Men of Israel and 37you who fear God, listen.
17 38The God of this people Israel 39chose our fathers and 40made the people great 41during their stay in the land of Egypt, and 42with uplifted arm he led them out of it.
18 And for about 43forty years 44he put up with[b] them in the wilderness.
19 And 45after destroying 46seven nations in the land of Canaan, 47he gave them their land as an inheritance.
20 All this took about 450 years. And after that 48he gave them judges until 49Samuel the prophet.
21 Then 50they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul 51the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
22 And 52when he had removed him, 53he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, 54'I have found in David the son of Jesse 55a man after my heart, 56who will do all my will.'
23 57Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel 58a Savior, Jesus, 59as he promised.
24 Before his coming, 60John had proclaimed 61a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
25 And as John was finishing his course, 62he said, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'
26 "Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you 63who fear God, to us has been sent 64the message of 65this salvation.
27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because 66they did not recognize him nor understand 67the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, 68fulfilled them by condemning him.
28 And 69though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, 70they asked Pilate to have him executed.
29 And when 71they had carried out all that was written of him, 72they took him down from 73the tree and laid him in a tomb.
30 But 74God raised him from the dead,
31 and for many days 75he appeared to those 76who had come up with him 77from Galilee to Jerusalem, 78who are now 79his witnesses to the people.
32 And we bring you the good news 80that what God promised to the fathers,
33 81this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, 82"'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'
34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, "'I will give you 83the holy and sure blessings of David.'
35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, 84"'You will not let your Holy One see corruption.'
36 For David, after he had 85served the purpose of God in his own generation, 86fell asleep and 87was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,
37 but he whom 88God raised up did not see corruption.
38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, 89that through this man 90forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,
39 and by him 91everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything 92from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:
41 93"'Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.'"
42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath.
43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and 94devout 95converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them 96to continue in 97the grace of God.
44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
45 98But 99when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with 100jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, 101reviling him.
46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, "It was necessary that the word of God 102be spoken first to you. 103Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves 104unworthy of eternal life, behold, we 105are turning to the Gentiles.
47 106For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, 107"'I have made you 108a light for the Gentiles, that you may 109bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and 110glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.
50 111But the Jews incited the devout 112women of high standing and the leading men of the city, 113stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and 114drove them out of their district.
51 But they 115shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.
52 And the disciples were filled 116with joy and 117with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

The mission of Paul and Barnabas. (1-3) Elymas the sorcerer. (4-13) Paul's discourse at Antioch. (14-41) He preaches to the Gentiles, and is persecuted by the Jews. (42-52)

Verses 1-3 What an assemblage was here! In these names we see that the Lord raises up instruments for his work, from various places and stations in life; and zeal for his glory induces men to give up flattering connexions and prospects to promote his cause. It is by the Spirit of Christ that his ministers are made both able and willing for his service, and taken from other cares that would hinder in it. Christ's ministers are to be employed in Christ's work, and, under the Spirit's guidance, to act for the glory of God the Father. They are separated to take pains, and not to take state. A blessing upon Barnabas and Saul in their present undertaking was sought for, and that they might be filled with the Holy Ghost in their work. Whatever means are used, or rules observed, the Holy Ghost alone can fit ministers for their important work, and call them to it.

Verses 4-13 Satan is in a special manner busy with great men and men in power, to keep them from being religious, for their example will influence many. Saul is here for the first time called Paul, and never after Saul. Saul was his name as he was a Hebrew; Paul was his name as he was a citizen of Rome. Under the direct influence of the Holy Ghost, he gave Elymas his true character, but not in passion. A fulness of deceit and mischief together, make a man indeed a child of the devil. And those who are enemies to the doctrine of Jesus, are enemies to all righteousness; for in it all righteousness is fulfilled. The ways of the Lord Jesus are the only right ways to heaven and happiness. There are many who not only wander from these ways themselves, but set others against these ways. They commonly are so hardened, that they will not cease to do evil. The proconsul was astonished at the force of the doctrine upon his own heart and conscience, and at the power of God by which it was confirmed. The doctrine of Christ astonishes; and the more we know of it, the more reason we shall see to wonder at it. Those who put their hand to the plough and look back, are not fit for the kingdom of God. Those who are not prepared to face opposition, and to endure hardship, are not fitted for the work of the ministry.

Verses 14-31 When we come together to worship God, we must do it, not only by prayer and praise, but by the reading and hearing of the word of God. The bare reading of the Scriptures in public assemblies is not enough; they should be expounded, and the people exhorted out of them. This is helping people in doing that which is necessary to make the word profitable, to apply it to themselves. Every thing is touched upon in this sermon, which might best prevail with Jews to receive and embrace Christ as the promised Messiah. And every view, however short or faint, of the Lord's dealings with his church, reminds us of his mercy and long-suffering, and of man's ingratitude and perverseness. Paul passes from David to the Son of David, and shows that this Jesus is his promised Seed; a Saviour to do that for them, which the judges of old could not do, to save them from their sins, their worst enemies. When the apostles preached Christ as the Saviour, they were so far from concealing his death, that they always preached Christ crucified. Our complete separation from sin, is represented by our being buried with Christ. But he rose again from the dead, and saw no corruption: this was the great truth to be preached.

Verses 32-37 The resurrection of Christ was the great proof of his being the Son of God. It was not possible he should be held by death, because he was the Son of God, and therefore had life in himself, which he could not lay down but with a design to take it again. The sure mercies of David are that everlasting life, of which the resurrection was a sure pledge; and the blessings of redemption in Christ are a certain earnest, even in this world. David was a great blessing to the age wherein he lived. We were not born for ourselves, but there are those living around us, to whom we must study to be serviceable. Yet here is the difference; Christ was to serve all generations. May we look to Him who is declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead, that by faith in him we may walk with God, and serve our generation according to his will; and when death comes, may we fall asleep in him, with a joyful hope of a blessed resurrection.

Verses 38-41 Let all that hear the gospel of Christ, know these two things: 1. That through this Man, who died and rose again, is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins. Your sins, though many and great, may be forgiven, and they may be so without any injury to God's honour. 2. It is by Christ only that those who believe in him, and none else, are justified from all things; from all the guilt and stain of sin, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses. The great concern of convinced sinners is, to be justified, to be acquitted from all their guilt, and accepted as righteous in God's sight, for if any is left charged upon the sinner, he is undone. By Jesus Christ we obtain a complete justification; for by him a complete atonement was made for sin. We are justified, not only by him as our Judge but by him as the Lord our Righteousness. What the law could not do for us, in that it was weak, the gospel of Christ does. This is the most needful blessing, bringing in every other. The threatenings are warnings; what we are told will come upon impenitent sinners, is designed to awaken us to beware lest it come upon us. It ruins many, that they despise religion. Those that will not wonder and be saved, shall wonder and perish.

Verses 42-52 The Jews opposed the doctrine the apostles preached; and when they could find no objection, they blasphemed Christ and his gospel. Commonly those who begin with contradicting, end with blaspheming. But when adversaries of Christ's cause are daring, its advocates should be the bolder. And while many judge themselves unworthy of eternal life, others, who appear less likely, desire to hear more of the glad tidings of salvation. This is according to what was foretold in the Old Testament. What light, what power, what a treasure does this gospel bring with it! How excellent are its truths, its precepts, its promises! Those came to Christ whom the Father drew, and to whom the Spirit made the gospel call effectual, ( Romans 8:30 ) . As many as were disposed to eternal life, as many as had concern about their eternal state, and aimed to make sure of eternal life, believed in Christ, in whom God has treasured up that life, and who is the only Way to it; and it was the grace of God that wrought it in them. It is good to see honourable women devout; the less they have to do in the world, the more they should do for their own souls, and the souls of others: but it is sad, when, under colour of devotion to God, they try to show hatred to Christ. And the more we relish the comforts and encouragements we meet with in the power of godliness, and the fuller our hearts are of them, the better prepared we are to face difficulties in the profession of godliness.

Cross References 117

  • 1. Acts 11:27; Acts 15:32; Acts 19:6; Acts 21:9, 10; Romans 12:6, 7; See 1 Corinthians 12:28, 29
  • 2. Acts 11:27; Acts 15:32; Acts 19:6; Acts 21:9, 10; Romans 12:6, 7; See 1 Corinthians 12:28, 29
  • 3. Acts 11:22-26
  • 4. See Luke 3:1
  • 5. [Acts 20:28]; See Acts 8:29
  • 6. Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:15
  • 7. See Acts 9:15
  • 8. See Acts 6:6
  • 9. Acts 14:26
  • 10. ver. 2; [Acts 16:6, 7]
  • 11. ver. 14; Acts 9:20; Acts 14:1; Acts 17:1, 2, 10, 17; Acts 18:4, 19; Acts 19:8; [ver. 46]; See Mark 6:2
  • 12. See Acts 12:12
  • 13. [Acts 19:22]
  • 14. Acts 8:9, 11
  • 15. See Matthew 7:15
  • 16. ver. 8, 12; Acts 18:12; Acts 19:38
  • 17. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 18. [Exodus 7:11; 2 Timothy 3:8]
  • 19. ver. 7, 12
  • 20. Acts 4:8
  • 21. See Matthew 13:38
  • 22. [Acts 18:14]
  • 23. Micah 3:9
  • 24. Hosea 14:9; 2 Peter 2:15; [Acts 18:25, 26]
  • 25. Acts 11:21; Exodus 9:3; 1 Sam. 5:6, 7, 11; Psalms 32:4; [Hebrews 10:31; 1 Peter 5:6]
  • 26. [Acts 9:8; Acts 22:11]
  • 27. [ver. 49; Acts 15:35]
  • 28. ver. 5
  • 29. Acts 12:12
  • 30. ver. 42, 44; Acts 16:13; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:4
  • 31. See ver. 5
  • 32. Acts 15:21
  • 33. See Luke 16:16
  • 34. See Mark 5:22
  • 35. Hebrews 13:22
  • 36. See Acts 12:17
  • 37. ver. 26; Acts 10:2, 22
  • 38. See Matthew 15:31
  • 39. Deuteronomy 7:6-8
  • 40. Numbers 24:7
  • 41. Acts 7:17; Ex. 1:1, 7, 12; Psalms 105:23, 24
  • 42. Exodus 6:6; Exodus 13:14, 16
  • 43. See Acts 7:36
  • 44. [Deuteronomy 9:5-24]
  • 45. See Acts 7:45
  • 46. Deuteronomy 7:1
  • 47. Joshua 14:1, 2; Joshua 19:51; Psalms 78:55; Psalms 136:21, 22
  • 48. Judges 2:16; Judges 3:9
  • 49. See Acts 3:24
  • 50. 1 Samuel 8:5; 1 Samuel 10:1
  • 51. 1 Samuel 9:1, 2
  • 52. 1 Sam. 15:23, 26, 28; 1 Samuel 16:1; [Hosea 13:11]
  • 53. 1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Samuel 2:4; 2 Samuel 5:3
  • 54. Cited from Psalms 89:20
  • 55. Acts 7:46; Cited from 1 Samuel 13:14
  • 56. ver. 36
  • 57. See Matthew 1:1
  • 58. See Luke 2:11
  • 59. Psalms 132:11; [ver. 32, 33]
  • 60. Acts 1:22; Matthew 3:1
  • 61. Acts 19:4; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; [Acts 2:38; Matthew 3:11]
  • 62. John 1:20, 27; [Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:7; Luke 3:16]
  • 63. ver. 16
  • 64. Acts 10:36; [Ephesians 1:13]
  • 65. [Acts 5:20]; See Acts 4:12
  • 66. [2 Corinthians 3:14, 15]; See Acts 3:17
  • 67. ver. 15; [Acts 15:21]
  • 68. See Luke 24:20, 26, 27, 44
  • 69. [Mark 14:55; Luke 23:22]
  • 70. Acts 2:23; Acts 3:14, 15; Luke 23:23
  • 71. Luke 18:31; Luke 24:44; John 19:28, 30, 36, 37
  • 72. Matthew 27:59, 60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53; John 19:38, 41, 42
  • 73. See Acts 5:30
  • 74. See Acts 2:24
  • 75. See Acts 1:3
  • 76. Mark 15:41
  • 77. Acts 1:11; Acts 2:7
  • 78. See Luke 24:48
  • 79. See Acts 1:8
  • 80. Acts 26:6; Romans 4:13; Romans 15:8; Galatians 3:16; [Romans 9:4]
  • 81. [ver. 23; Luke 1:69-73]
  • 82. Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 5:5; Cited from Psalms 2:7
  • 83. Cited from Isaiah 55:3
  • 84. Acts 2:27; Cited from Psalms 16:10
  • 85. ver. 22; Acts 20:27
  • 86. 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 2:10; [Acts 2:29]
  • 87. Judges 2:10
  • 88. ver. 30
  • 89. Luke 24:47; 1 John 2:12
  • 90. Acts 5:31
  • 91. Romans 3:28; See Acts 10:43
  • 92. Romans 2:13; Romans 3:20; Romans 8:3; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:11; Ephesians 2:9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; [Hebrews 7:19]
  • 93. Cited from Habakkuk 1:5; [Isaiah 29:14]
  • 94. ver. 50; Acts 17:4, 17; [Acts 16:14]
  • 95. Acts 2:11; Acts 6:5; Matthew 23:15
  • 96. [Jude 21]
  • 97. Jude 4; See Acts 11:23
  • 98. [Acts 19:9]
  • 99. [1 Thessalonians 2:16]
  • 100. See Acts 5:17
  • 101. Acts 18:6; Acts 26:11; 1 Timothy 1:20
  • 102. ver. 5, 14; See Acts 3:26
  • 103. See Matthew 21:43
  • 104. See Matthew 22:8
  • 105. Acts 18:6; Acts 22:21; Acts 26:17, 18, 20; Acts 28:28; See Acts 9:15
  • 106. [Acts 11:18]
  • 107. Cited from Isaiah 49:6; [Isaiah 45:22]
  • 108. Isaiah 42:6; Luke 2:32
  • 109. [ver. 26; Acts 1:8]
  • 110. [2 Thessalonians 1:12]
  • 111. [Acts 14:2, 19; Acts 17:5, 13; Acts 18:12; Acts 20:3, 19; Acts 21:27]
  • 112. Acts 17:12
  • 113. 2 Timothy 3:11
  • 114. 1 Thessalonians 2:15
  • 115. Matthew 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; [Acts 18:6]
  • 116. [1 Thessalonians 1:6]; See Matthew 5:12; John 16:22
  • 117. See Acts 2:4

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Niger is a Latin word meaning black, or dark
  • [b]. Some manuscripts he carried (compare Deuteronomy 1:31)
  • [c]. Greek justified; twice in this verse

Acts 13 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.