Acts 11:26

26 and when he had found him, he brought him to 1Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and 2the disciples were first called 3Christians in 4Antioch.

Acts 11:26 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 11:26

And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch
That he might be useful in directing, and assisting in settling this new and numerous church; in the establishing the members of it, and in putting them into Gospel order, and in a method to secure and maintain peace, especially as they might consist both of Jews and Gentiles; and none so proper to be concerned in such a work as the apostle of the Gentiles.

And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves
with the church;
preaching the Gospel, and administering the ordinances to them, during that time, at proper seasons. For here being a number of converts, they were embodied together in a church state, very probably by the direction and assistance of Barnabas, who was sent to them from the church at Jerusalem, and in which he might be assisted by Saul: the first bishop, or pastor of this church, was Evodius, as Ignatius observes unto them F11; Remember Evodius, your worthy and blessed pastor, who was first ordained over you by the apostles; and Ignatius himself was the next, of whom Origen speaking, says F12, that he was the second bishop of Antioch after Peter, who in persecution fought with beasts at Rome; next to him was Heron, after him Cornelius, then, Eros; to whom succeeded Theophilus, who wrote three books to Autolycus, in vindication of the Christian religion, which are now extant, in the times of the emperor Aurelius Verus, about the year of Christ 171. He was succeeded by Maximinus F13 about the year 179, under Marcus Antoninus; and after him was Serapion, about the tenth year of the emperor Commodus, and of Christ 192; and about the year 214, Asclepiades succeeded in his room; next to him was Philetus, in the year 220, and then Zebennus in the year 231; next succeeded Babylas, the famous martyr, who suffered under Decius, and then followed Demetrianus, or Demetrius, about the year 255; and after him was the famous heretic Samosatenus, who was excommunicated from this church for his blasphemy against the Son of God; and Domnus, the son of Demetriauus, was put into his room, about the year 270; after him was Timaeus, in the year 274; and then Cyrillus, about the year 283: and these were the bishops or pastors of this church in the three first centuries F14.

And taught much people;
besides the church, and with success, as to enlighten, convince, convert, comfort, and establish:

and the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch;
before they were called among themselves, the disciples, brethren, believers, the church and by others the Nazarenes, and Galilaeans: whether this name of Christians, which comes from Christ, and signifies anointed ones, was given by their enemies, or their friends, by others, or themselves, is not certain, though it is most likely the latter; and it may be they hit upon this general appellation, upon the union of the Jews and Gentiles in one Gospel church state, and so happily buried the distinction of Jews and Gentiles, or those of the circumcision that believed, and those of the uncircumcision. Luke is particular in relating the affairs of this church, he being himself a native of this place. John of Antioch F15 gives an account of this matter in these words;

``at the beginning of the reign of Claudius Caesar, ten years after Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, was ascended up into heaven, Evodus, the first after the Apostle Peter, being chosen bishop of Antioch, the great city of Syria, became a patriarch, and under him they were called Christians: for this same bishop, Evodus, conferring with them, put this name upon them, whereas before the Christians were called Nazarenes and Galilaeans.''

Epiphanius says F16, the disciples were called Jessaeans before they took the name of Christians first at Antioch: they were called Jessaeans, says he, I think, because of Jesse, seeing David was of Jesse, and Mary of David: and so the Scripture was fulfilled, in which the Lord says to David, of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne--Or else, they were called Jessaeans from the name of Jesus our Lord; and refers the reader to a book of Philo's, written by him, concerning the Jessaeans, whom Epiphanitius takes to be Christians; but those that Philo F17 treats of were not Jessaeans, but Essaeans, and seem to be the same with the Essenes, who were not Christians, but a sect of the Jews. Nor do we ever find that the Christians were called by this name.


F11 Epist ad Antiochenos, p. 86.
F12 Homil. 6. in Luc. fol. 96. 1.
F13 Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. c. 20, 24.
F14 Ib. l. 5. c 22. & 1. 6. c. 39, 44, 46. & l. 7. c. 14, 27, 32.
F15 Apud Gregory's Notes p. 155.
F16 Contra Haeres. l. 1. Haeres. 29.
F17 Quod omnis probus liber, p. 876. De vita contemplativa, p. 889.

Acts 11:26 In-Context

24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord .
25 And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul;
26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
27 Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Acts 6:5; Acts 11:20, 22, 27
  • 2. John 2:2; Acts 1:15
  • 3. Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16
  • 4. Acts 6:5; Acts 11:20, 22, 27

Footnotes 2

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