Acts 13:16

16 Paul stood up, paused and took a deep breath, then said, "Fellow Israelites and friends of God, listen.

Acts 13:16 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 13:16

Then Paul stood up
Not so much that he might be heard; or merely out of reverence and respect to the rulers, and the people; but to show that he accepted the invitation; as also in order to take his proper place in the synagogue, and sit down and teach, as was their custom:

and beckoning with his hand;
to the people to be silent, and attend to what he had to say:

said, men of Israel;
by whom are meant the proper Jews, the natural descendants of Jacob, whose name was Israel; this was accounted a very honourable character, and was a common form of address; see ( Acts 2:22 )

and ye that fear God;
not as distinguishing some among the Israelites from the rest, as if there were some of them that did not fear God; for by these are meant, not Jews by birth, but proselytes, devout and religious men from among the Gentiles; who were proselyted to the Jewish religion, and attended with them in their synagogues on religious worship; and that there were such in this synagogue, is certain from ( Acts 13:43 ) and we find that sometimes the Jews distinguish the proselytes from the Israelites by this very character F19: it is said, ( Psalms 128:1 )

``blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways; he does not say blessed are the Israelites, blessed are the priests, blessed are the Levites, but blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord; (Myrgh wla) "these are the proselytes, for they fear the Lord"--of what proselyte is it "said blessed?" of the proselyte who is a proselyte of righteousness, and not of the Cuthites, of whom it is written, ( 2 Kings 17:33 ) but of a proselyte who fears the Lord, and walks in his ways;''

so ( Psalms 22:23 ) ( 115:11 ) are interpreted by many Jewish writers F20. Now to both these sort of persons, both to the proper Jews, and to the proselytes of righteousness, the apostle addresses himself, and desires they would give audience to what he had to say; which is as follows.


F19 Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 8. fol. 190. 4.
F20 Midrash Tillim, Jarchi, & Aben Ezra, in loc.

Acts 13:16 In-Context

14 From Perga the rest of them traveled on to Antioch in Pisidia.
15 After the reading of the Scriptures - God's Law and the Prophets - the president of the meeting asked them, "Friends, do you have anything you want to say? A word of encouragement, perhaps?"
16 Paul stood up, paused and took a deep breath, then said, "Fellow Israelites and friends of God, listen.
17 God took a special interest in our ancestors, pulled our people who were beaten down in Egyptian exile to their feet, and led them out of there in grand style.
18 He took good care of them for nearly forty years in that godforsaken wilderness
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.