Acts 13

First Missionary Journey

1 Now there were at 1Antioch, in the 2church that was there, 3prophets and 4teachers: 5Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of 6Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with 7Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, 8the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me 9Barnabas and Saul for 10the work to which I have called them."
3 Then, when they had fasted and 11prayed and 12laid their hands on them, 13they sent them away.
4 So, being 14sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to 15Cyprus.
5 When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in 16the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had 17John as their helper.
6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a 18magician, a Jewish 19false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus,
7 who was with the 20proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.
8 But Elymas the 21magician (for so his name is translated ) was opposing them, seeking to turn the 22proconsul away from 23the faith.
9 But Saul, who was also known as Paul, 24filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him,
10 and said, "You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you 25son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked 26the straight ways of the Lord?
11 "Now, behold, 27the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time." And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand.
12 Then the 28proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at 29the teaching of the Lord.
13 Now Paul and his companions * put out to sea from 30Paphos and came to 31Perga in 32Pamphylia; but 33John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
14 But going on from Perga, they arrived at 34Pisidian 35Antioch, and on 36the Sabbath day they went into 37the synagogue and sat down.
15 After 38the reading of the Law and 39the Prophets 40the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, "Brethren *, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it."
16 Paul stood up, and 41motioning with his hand said, "Men of Israel, and 42 you who fear God, listen:
17 "The God of this people Israel 43chose our fathers and 44made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm 45He led them out from it.
18 "For 46a period of about forty years 47He put up with them in the wilderness.
19 "48When He had destroyed 49seven nations in the land of Canaan, He 50distributed their land as an inheritance -all of which took 51about four hundred and fifty years.
20 "After these things He 52gave them judges until 53Samuel the prophet.
21 "Then they 54asked for a king, and God gave them 55Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
22 "After He had 56removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, '57I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.'
23 "58From the descendants of this man, 59according to promise, God has brought to Israel 60a Savior, Jesus,
24 after 61John had proclaimed before His coming * a 62baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
25 "And while John 63was completing his course, 64he kept saying, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'
26 "Brethren *, sons of Abraham's family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of 65this salvation has been sent.
27 "For those who live in Jerusalem, and their 66rulers, 67recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of 68the prophets which are 69read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him.
28 "And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they 70asked Pilate that He be executed.
29 "When they had 71carried out all that was written concerning Him, 72they took Him down from 73the cross and 74laid Him in a tomb.
30 "But God 75raised Him from the dead;
31 and for many days 76He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now 77His witnesses to the people.
32 "And we 78preach to you the good news of 79the promise made to the fathers,
33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He 80raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, '81YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.'
34 "As for the fact that He 82raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: '83I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.'
35 "Therefore He also says in another Psalm, '84YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.'
36 "For 85David, after he had served 86the purpose of God in his own generation, 87fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;
37 but He whom God 88raised did not undergo decay.
38 "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren *, that 89through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,
39 and through Him 90everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.
40 "Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of 91in the Prophets may not come upon you:
42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next 93Sabbath.
43 Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the 94God-fearing 95proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in 96the grace of God.

Paul Turns to the Gentiles

44 The next 97Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord.
45 But when 98the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming.
46 Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you 99first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy * of eternal life, behold, 100we are turning to the Gentiles.
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying 103the word of the Lord; and as many as 104had been appointed to eternal life believed.
49 And 105the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region.
50 But 106the Jews incited the 107devout women 108of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.
51 But 109they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to 110Iconium.
52 And the disciples were continually 111filled with joy and with 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 111

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

Footnotes 31

Acts 13 Commentaries

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