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ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

"Died and Revived"
Key Verse = Acts 14:21, 22

  1. At Iconium 3. Paul Stoned & Escapes to Derbe
  2. Idolatry at Lystra 4. Strengthening the Converts


This chapter brings to a conclusion Luke's narrative of the "first missionary journey."
From Luke's point of view this journey is a necessary preparation for the official recognition of the Gentile mission in Chapter 15.
The Holy Spirit sends forth the missionaries,  and filled with the Holy Spirit they take the message to the Gentiles,  pointing out to Jews (see Acts 13:47) that this is in itself the fulfillment of God's promise to them.

Chapter 14 may be regarded as being typical of Paul's ministry.
At first he is accepted by the Gentiles,  and then opposed by Jews who together with some Gentiles succeed in persecuting him and Barnabas.
The third section of this chapter (vv. 21-28) touches on a second important theme,  namely,  the strengthening of the believers.
Finally there is the report back to the church from which the apostles were sent.
(from the UBS New Testament Handbook Series. Copyright © 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies.)

AT  ICONIUM

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Acts 14:1 & 2
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(1)  Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.

And Paul and Barnabas entered into the Jewish synagogue and addressed the people in such manner that a great many of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.

(2)  But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.

But the Jews who would not listen stirred up the Gentiles to oppress the brethren


Iconium
Under the Roman and Greek Empires Iconium was considered the capital of Lycaonia.  It was situated in a fertile spot in the high,  waterless plain of Lycaonia.  It is known today as Konya.  The inhabitants consisted of Greeks,  a powerful Jewish colony,  Roman officials,  and a few natives.

A considerable city of Asia Minor,  generally considered as belonging to Lycaonia.  It lay in a fertile plain at the foot of Taurus,  on the great line of communication between Ephesus and the more eastern cities of Tarsus and Antioch,  and the Euphrates.  From Pliny's description it would appear to have been a populous and important city at the time of Paul's visit.  Under the Byzantine emperors it was the metropolis of Lycaonia,  was subsequently captured by the Turks,  and made the capital of an empire whose sovereigns took the title of Sultans of Iconium.  During this period of its history it acquired its greatest celebrity.
(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.)

Although Iconium was a wealthy and prosperous town,  it was hardly the size of a city like Ephesus or Smyrna.  Whereas urban culture in the empire tended to be uniformly Greco-Roman,  rural society preserved local language and customs,  and a town like Iconium would have its share of both.  Traveling teachers would undoubtedly have drawn more attention in a town like Iconium than in larger cities.  Because the native language of Iconium was Phrygian,  Paul and Barnabas may address mainly the Greek-speaking upper social strata,  or they may speak through interpreters (cf. 14:11,14);  but it is more likely that most of the crowd understands Greek,  even if it is not their first language.

Among the deities that the Gentiles of Iconium worshiped,  the most prominent was Cybele,  the Phrygian mother goddess;  Phrygian mystery cults were also common.  But inscriptions testify that the Christian faith spread and Iconium later became a major center of Christianity in Asia Minor.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

A great multitude both of the Jews and Greeks believed
The gospel was now preached to Jews and Gentiles together,  and those of each denomination that believed came together into the church.
In the close of the foregoing chapter
it was preached first to the Jews,  and some of them believed,
and then to the Gentiles,  and some of them believed;
but here they are put together,
being put upon the same level.
The Jews have not so lost their preference as to be thrown behind,
only the Gentiles are brought to stand upon even terms with them;
Both are reconciled to God in one body   (Ephesians 2:16)
Both together admitted into the church without distinction
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)
 
Ephesians 2:11-18
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise,  having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For He Himself is our peace,
who has made both one,
and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
having abolished in His flesh the enmity,  that is,  the law of commandments contained in ordinances,
so as to create in Himself one new man from the two,
thus making peace,  and
that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross,
thereby putting to death the enmity.  And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

The unbelieving Jew
Apeitheesantes -  'the disbelieving Jews.'  The word means,  to  'disbelieve,'  'refuse compliance,'  or  'be disobedient'.  It expresses positive disbelief of the Gospel.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Traveling to Iconium,  the team launched a new mission,  and the now familiar pattern was repeated.  Beginning to preach at the synagogue,  they soon gathered a crowd of converts from both Jewish and Gentile populations.   The unbelieving Jews reacted angrily and stirred up a Jewish and Gentile reaction.
(from The Teacher's Commentary. Copyright © 1987 by Chariot Victor Publishing. All rights reserved.)

Here we see the pattern that was set in motion in Pisidian Antioch and continued throughout the ministry of Paul:
The ministry begins in the Jewish synagogue
Positive reaction  - great numbers of both Jews and Gentiles believe the Gospel.
Negative reaction  - the unbelieving Jews stir up the unbelieving Gentiles against the apostles.

We should be no less constant in the preaching of the Gospel than the perversity of the wicked is obstinate in persecuting it.
(from Geneva Notes, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2005, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(1)  Now at Iconium [also Paul and Barnabas] went into the Jewish synagogue together and spoke with such power that a great number both of Jews and of Greeks believed (became Christians);
(2)  But the unbelieving Jews [who rejected their message] aroused the Gentiles and embittered their minds against the brethren.

Acts 14:3
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(3)  Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

So they remained there for a long time and spoke boldly concerning the Lord, and he gave them testimony to the word of his grace by means of signs and wonders which he performed by their hands.


They stayed there a long time
The more they perceived the spite and rancor of the town against the new converts,  the more they were animated to go on in their work,  and the more needful they saw it to continue among them,  to confirm them in the faith,  and to comfort them.  They spoke boldly,  and were not afraid of giving offence to the unbelieving Jews.  What God said to the prophet,  with reference to the unbelieving Jews in his day,  was now made good to the apostles:
I have made thy face strong against their faces.  (Ezekiel 3:7-9)
But observe what it was that animated them:
They spoke boldly in the Lord, in his strength, and trusting in him to bear them out; not depending upon any thing in themselves.
They were strong in the Lord,  and in the power of his might.

Christ was working with the apostles,  according to his promise,  "Lo, I am with you always."  When they went on in his name and strength,  he failed not to give testimony to the word of his grace.  Note,
(1) The gospel is a word of grace,  the assurance of God's good will to us and the means of his good work in us.  It is the word of Christ's grace,  for it is in him alone that we find favor with God.
(2) Christ himself has attested this word of grace,  who is the Amen , the faithful witness;  he has assured us that it is the word of God, and that we may venture our souls upon it.
As it was said in general concerning the first preachers of the gospel that they had the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by signs following (Mark 16:20),  so it is said particularly concerning the apostles here that the Lord confirmed their testimony,
in granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands —
in the miracles they wrought in the kingdom of nature —
as well as the wonders done by their word,  in the greater miracles wrought on men's minds by the power of divine grace.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

God also enabled the men to perform signs and wonders as their  "credentials"  that they were indeed the servants of the true God (see Acts 15:12; Galatians 3:5; Hebrews 2:4).
Faith is not based on miracles,
but faith can be bolstered by miracles.
The important thing is "the word of His grace"
that performs the work of His grace.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Mark 16:17-18
And these signs will accompany those who believe:
In my name they will drive out demons;
they will speak in new tongues;
they will pick up snakes with their hands;
and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all;
they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.     (NIV)

Hebrews 2:4
God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.   (NKJV)

From the Amplified Bible
(3)  So [Paul and Barnabas] stayed on there for a long time, speaking freely and fearlessly and boldly in the Lord, Who continued to bear testimony to the Word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be performed by their hands.

Acts 14:4-7
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(4)  But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles.

But the people of the city were divided: part held with the Jews and part followed the apostles.

(5)  And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them,

And they were menaced by both the Gentiles and the Jews and with their leaders who wanted to disgrace them and have them stoned.

(6)  they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.

And when they became aware of it, they departed and took refuge in Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and the villages near by.

(7)  And they were preaching the gospel there.

And there they preached the gospel.


And part sided with the Jews
Held to the doctrines of the Jews, in opposition to the apostles.  A revival of religion often produces excitement by the bad passions of opposers.  The enemies of the truth form parties,  and organize opposition.  It is no uncommon thing even now for such parties to be formed;  but the fault is not in Christianity.  It lies with those who form a party against religion,  and who confederate themselves,  as was done here,  to oppose it.

Violent attempt...abuse
(NT:3730) horme a violent motion, impulse: a hostile movement, onset, assault
(NT:5195) hubrizo to speak against someone in an insolent and arrogant way

Their evil affection against them broke out at length into violent outrages.  Observe,
1. Who the plotters were:
Both the Gentiles and the Jews, with their rulers.
The Gentiles and Jews were at enmity with one another,  and yet united against Christians,
like Herod and Pilate,  Sadducees and Pharisees,  against Christ;
and like Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,  of old,  against Israel.
If the church's enemies can thus unite for its destruction,  shall not its friends,  laying aside all personal feuds,  unite for its preservation?
2. What the plot was.
Their design was to use the apostles despitefully,  to expose them to disgrace,  and then to stone them,  to put them to death;
They aimed to take away both their reputation and their life.
And this was all they had to lose which men could take from them,  for they had neither lands nor goods.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

The same thing happened in Iconium as in Pisidian Antioch (13:46);  it became a pattern.  Sha’ul and Bar-Nabba preach in the synagogue,  winning Jews and Gentiles to Yeshua.  This brings about opposition from unbelieving Jews,  who stir up the unbelieving Gentiles.  So long as the challenge is nonviolent,  Sha’ul and Bar-Nabba stay on to meet it,  and the Holy Spirit confirms the Word with signs following (Mk 16:20).  They show themselves brave (v. 3), prudent (vv. 5-6) and single minded in spreading the Good News (v. 7);  while the division among the people of the city proves good for the Gospel
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Fled
There was no shame in this.  They did not flee because of fear.  Jesus had instructed the twelve:  "When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another."  (Matthew 10:23)

Barnes says:
It is a bare and dreary region, unwatered by streams,  though in parts liable to occasional inundations.  Strabo mentions one place where water was even sold for money.  Across some portion of this plain Paul and Barnabas traveled both before and after their residence in Iconium.  After leaving the high land to the northwest,  during a journey of several hours before arriving at the city,  the eye ranges freely over a vast expanse of level ground to the south and the east.  The two most eminent objects in the view are the snowy summits of Mount Argaeus,  rising high above all the intervening hills in the direction of Armenia,  and the singular mountain mass called the 'Kara-Dagh,' or 'Black Mount,'  southeastward in the direction of Cilicia.
And still these features continue to be conspicuous after Iconium is left behind,  and the traveler moves on over the plain toward Lystra and Derbe.  Mount Argaeus still rises far to the northeast, at the distance of 150 miles.
The Black Mountain is gradually approached, and discovered to be an isolated mass, with reaches of the plain extending round it like channels of the sea. The cities of Lystra and Derbe were somewhere about the bases of the Black Mountain."  The exact position of Lystra and Derbe is still subject to some uncertainty. In 1824, Col. Leake wrote thus: "Nothing can more strongly show the little progress that has hitherto been made in knowledge of the ancient geography of Asia Minor, than that, of the cities which the journey of Paul has made so interesting to us, the site of one only (Iconium) is yet certainly known. Perga, Antioch of Pisidia, Lystra, and Derbe, remain to be discovered." The situation of the first two of these towns has been since that fully identified, and some ruins have been found which have been supposed to mark the place of Lystra and Derbe, though not with entire certainty.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Lystra
It was about 18 miles southwest of Iconium and held the rank of a Roman colony.

It was a town of Lycaonia, in Asia Minor, in a wild district and among a rude population.
(from Easton's Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Lystra owed its importance to the fact that it had been made a Roman colony by Augustus.  The population consisted of the local aristocracy of Roman soldiers who formed the garrison of the colony,  of Greeks and Jews,  and of native Lycaonians
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Derbe
A small town at the foot of Mt. Taurus, about 16 miles East of Lystra.
(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright © 1988.)

A city in the extreme Southeast corner of the Lycaonian plain.   Derbe is first mentioned as the seat of Antipater, who entertained Cicero, the Roman orator and governor of Cilicia.  It was the last city on distinctively Roman territory, on the road leading from Southern Galatia to the East; it was here that commerce entering the province had to pay the customs dues.  Strabo records this fact when he calls Derbe a limen or "customs station." 
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Here are four things noteworthy.
I. (verse 1) AN EXTENSIVE CONVERSION
The preaching that ends in enlightened practical faith is that which Christ ordained, and what the world wants. There is a preaching that produces --
1. Mere passing emotion
2. Superstition
3. Skepticism
II. (verse 2) A VIOLENT OPPOSITION
The spiritual victories they won in the synagogue roused the antagonism of the unbelieving Jew,  who used his great social influence to their injury.  They  "stirred up the Gentiles,"  i.e.,  excited and embittered their minds with hostile passions.  It is ever true that those who reject the gospel seek to deter others from accepting it.  "Ye go not in yourselves, and prevent those who would," (Matthew 23:13)  is a Divine allegation, ever true of the rejecters of Christianity.
III. (verse 3) A DIVINE DEMONSTRATION
Opposition neither drove them at once from the sphere of their labor, nor lessened the displays of Divine power.  Divinity appears --
1. In their subject.
The  "Word of His grace,"  His gracious Word,  the gospel.  Whatever doctrines men draw from the gospel that are not gracious,  are not true.
2. In their spirit.
"Speaking boldly."  They show a heroism more than human in continuing and speaking in the very scene of persecution.
3. In their miracles.
The stronger the evil one appeared in Iconium opposing the mission of the apostles,  the higher rose the manifestations of God in their behalf.  "As thy days, so shall thy strength be."
IV. (verse 4) A SOCIAL SEPARATION
"Divided" -- the Greek word from which schism is derived.  There was a rent created through the ministry of the apostles.  Such unity of sympathy as existed before in the population was divided,  and part flowed towards the Jews and part towards the apostles.  The searching ministry of the apostles made bare the hearts of the people.  Those who took part with the Jews made  "an assault"  upon the apostles.  The storm raised,  however,  was under the direction of God.  It was a Divine breeze,  to bear the precious seeds of truth to regions farther on.  The apostles fled unto Lystra and Derbe,  not from fear,  but from the instinct of duty.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(4)  But the residents of the town were divided, some siding with the Jews and some with the apostles.
(5)  When there was an attempt both on the part of the Gentiles and the Jews together with their rulers, to insult and abuse and molest [Paul and Barnabas] and to stone them,
(6)  They, aware of the situation, made their escape to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and the neighboring districts;
(7)  And there they continued to preach the glad tidings (Gospel).



IDOLATRY  AT  LYSTRA

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Acts 14:8-10
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(8)  And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked.

And there dwelt in the city of Lystra a cripple who had been lame from his mother's womb, who never had walked.

(9)  This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,

He heard Paul speak; and when Paul saw him and perceived that there was faith in him to be healed,

(10)  said with a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet!" And he leaped and walked.

He said to him with a loud voice, I say to you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, stand upright on your feet.  And he leaped and walked.


A certain man
The dire circumstances of this man are seen in the repeated idea:
crippled in his feet (adunatos - NT:102 - weak; impossible)
lame from birth
had never walked
Apparently there was no Jewish synagogue in Lystra,  so God used a different thrust,  the healing of this helpless cripple,  to bring the gospel to these people.  This is the third time in Acts a cripple was healed (3:1-10; 9:33-35).
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications
Ministries. All rights reserved.)

At Lystra, Paul was enabled to perform a great miracle by healing a notable cripple.  It is interesting to compare the ministries of Peter and Paul at this point:
both healed a lame man (Acts 3:1-814:8-12)
both dealt with Satanic pretenders (Acts 8:18-2413:4-12)
both were released from prison miraculously (Acts 12:5-1016:25-29)
both raised the dead (Acts 9:4020:12)
both performed special miracles (Acts 5:15-1628:8)
(from Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Copyright © 1992 by Chariot Victor
Publishing, an imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved.)

The man heard
Heard - adunatos (NT:191) - understood

To hear:
1. to be endowed with the faculty of hearing (not deaf): Mark 7:37
2. to attend to (use the faculty of hearing), consider what is or has been said
3. to understand,  perceive the sense of what is said:  Matthew 13:15 f
(from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Three times in Matthew, three times in Mark and twice in Luke, it is recorded that Jesus said:  "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  (Matthew 11:15; Matthew 3:9,  Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8 , Matthew 13:43 Mark 7:16 Luke 4:35)  As Paul watched him intently, he recognized through the Spirit of the Lord that this man indeed adunatos
He had physical hearing
He chose to use his hearing to listen to and consider what Paul was saying
He began to understand as he listened, and perceived the message of faith
If we choose not to listen to God's message, we will have ears, but will not hear.
When we choose to listen to God's message, He will meet us with understanding.

Had faith to be healed
In response to his "hearing" - The Word produced faith (Romans 10:17) and faith brought healing.
Matthew 9:21 Woman with the issue of blood Jesus said to her, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well."
Luke 7:50 The sinful woman Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."
Luke 17:19 The Leper Jesus said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well."
Luke 18:42 The blind man at Jericho Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well."

From the Amplified Bible
(8)    Now at Lystra a man sat who found it impossible to use his feet, for he was a cripple from birth and had never walked.
(9)    He was listening to Paul as he talked, and [Paul] gazing intently at him and observing that he had faith to be healed,
(10)  Shouted at him, saying, Stand erect on your feet! And he leaped up and walked.

Acts 14:11-13
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(11)  Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!"

And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted their voices, saying in the language of the country, The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men.

(12)  And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

So they called Barnabas the chief of the gods; and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

(13)  Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

Then the priest of Zeus, whose shrine was outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gate of the courtyard where they stayed, and he wanted to offer sacrifices to them.


Lycaonian language
It is not known what the language of Lycaonia was,  whether Cappadocian,  or Celtic,  or Lycian;  but we learn from Stephanus Byzantinus,  that there was a Lycaonian language,  for he tells us that Delbia (as some write the name Derbe) was the Lycaonian for a juniper tree or berry.  No other Lycaonian word is known (see "Jablouskii Disquis. de Ling. Lycaon," in Stephan., 'Thesaur.').  The Lycaoniaus doubtless understood Greek as the language of intercommunication all over Roman Asia,  but among themselves would speak their native dialect.
(from The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The gods have come down
 In the words and acts of these heathen Lystrians,  there comes out the native theology of human hearts everywhere and in all conditions.  There are three great theological beliefs involved in their conduct:
I That the Divinity is always manifest in the miraculous
Though logically,  perhaps,  it could not be proved,  man everywhere believes it.  Whenever anything extraordinary in nature occurs,  the human spectators involuntarily feel that God is at work.  This doctrine,  thus held by the heart of depraved humanity,  accords with the teachings of the Bible.
II That the Divinity assumes human forms
"In the likeness of men." This was the general belief of heathendom. (Philippians 2:7)
This may be regarded --
1. As a dim memory in the soul of paradise, where God held fellowship with man.
2. As a prophetic sentiment of that grand incarnation "when the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us."  (John 1:14)
III That the Divinity is to be worshipped when appearing in the human form
These heathens,  believing that Barnabas was Jupiter, and Paul,  Mercurius,  began their worship.   Now,  the theology which comes out from the hearts of these heathens,  and which is written in the souls of all,  serves several important purposes.
1. As an eternal hindrance to the reign of atheism.
Atheism is a contradiction to the profoundest faith of the human heart.  Whatever system of doctrine is contrary to the intuitions of humanity cannot stand.
2. As indicating the responsibility of heathens.
"That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world." (John 1:9)  God has left no man without some measure of inner light.
3. As presumptive evidence in favor of the gospel.
The gospel agrees with the primitive beliefs of human hearts.
4. As a guarantee for the spread of Christianity.
The congruity of Christian theism with the theism of the soul is a pledge of its ultimate triumph.  The gospel brings God to man in miraculous works and in a human form,  and all this that he might worship.
(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.)

The belief that the gods were come down in the likeness of men, and that these gods were Jupiter and Hermes,  or Mercury,  was most natural to Lycaonians,  who were conversant with,  and doubtless believed,  the Phrygian legend of Philemon and Baucis,  who entertained hospitably Jupiter and Hermes,  when no one else would take them in,  and whose cottage was by the gods turned into a temple  (when all the neighborhood was drowned by a flood),  of which they were made priest and priestess during life,  and simultaneously metamorphosed into an oak and lime tree when their life ended (Ovid, 'Metamorph.,'8:611, etc.).  Ovid places the scene of the legend at Tyana,  the site of which has been ascertained by Hamilton to be near Erekli,  in Cappadocia,  close to the borders of Lycaonia.  The moral drawn in the legend itself seems to have been that which influenced the people of Lycaonia in their conduct towards the two strangers:  "Cura pii dis sunt, et qui coluere coluntur," which may be in English, "Them that honor me I will honor" (1 Samuel 2:30).
(from The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Zeus...Hermes
Zeus was the chief god and Hermes the messenger equivalent to the Roman gods Jupiter and Mercury, respectively. Why then would Barnabas be referred to as Zeus when Paul was the leader?  The answer is that Paul was the spokesman and would therefore be called Hermes and Barnabas,  the more retiring of the two,  would be seen as Zeus,  the dignified,  behind-the-scenes god.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

Jupiter was the most powerful of all the gods of the ancients.  He was represented as the son of Saturn and Ops,  and was educated in a cave on Mount Ida,  in the island of Crete.  The worship of Jupiter was almost universal.  He was the Aremon of Africa,  the Belus of Babylon,  and the Osiris of Egypt.  His common appellation was,  The Father of gods and men.  He was usually represented as sitting upon a golden or an ivory throne,  holding in one hand a thunderbolt,  and in the other a scepter of cypress.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Mercury,  called by the Greeks Hermes,  was a celebrated god of antiquity.  No less than five of this name are mentioned by Cicero.  The most celebrated was the son of Jupiter and Maia.  He was the messenger of the gods,  and of Jupiter in particular;  he was the patron of travelers and shepherds;  he conducted the souls of the dead into the infernal regions;  he presided over orators,  and declaimers,  and merchants;  and he was also the god of thieves,  pickpockets,  and all dishonest persons.  He was regarded as the god of eloquence;  and as light,  rapid,  and quick in his movements.  The conjecture of Chrysostom is,  that Barnabas was a large,  athletic man,  and was hence taken for Jupiter;  and that Paul was small in his person,  and was hence supposed to be Mercury.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

A new situation: how to preach to pagans,  Gentiles who are in no sense  “God-fearers”  (10:2)?  They acknowledge the miracle but attribute it neither to God,  of whom they know nothing,  nor to the Adversary,  Satan,  as did some P’rushim with Yeshua  (Mt 12:24),  but to false gods.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

In front of the city
The temple,  or image,  of Jupiter was in front of their city,  or near the gates.  Ancient cities were supposed to be under the protection of particular gods;  and their image, or a temple for their worship,  was placed commonly in a conspicuous place at the entrance of the city.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Oxen
Probably brought two one to be sacrificed to each. It was common to sacrifice bullocks to Jupiter.

Garlands
The victims of sacrifice were usually decorated with ribbons and chaplets of flowers. See Kuinoel.
Garlands of flowers were placed on the horns of animals to be sacrificed or on the idols at the place of sacrifice.

Oxen adorned with flowers,  their horns gilded,  and neck bound about with fillets,  as was the custom in sacrificial rites.  They also crowned the gods themselves,  the priests,  and gates of the temples,  with flowers.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The gates
The gates of the city,  where were the images or temple of the gods.

The lame man had probably been healed at the gate, because lame people made their living by begging, and beggars normally found their best income at such places of transit
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Intending to sacrifice
Would have offered sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul . This priest deemed a part of his office.  And here we have a remarkable and most affecting instance of the folly and stupidity of idolatry.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(11)  And the crowds, when they saw what Paul had done, lifted up their voices, shouting in the Lycaonian language, The gods have come down to us in human form!
(12)  They called Barnabas Zeus, and they called Paul, because he led in the discourse, Hermes [god of speech].
(13)  And the priest of Zeus, whose [temple] was at the entrance of the town, brought bulls and garlands to the [city's] gates and wanted to join the people in offering sacrifice.

Acts 14:14-16
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(14)  But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out

When Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and leaped to their feet and went out to the crowd, crying out

(15)  and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,

And saying, Men, what are you doing? We also are ordinary human beings like you, who preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all things that are therein,

(16)  who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.

Who in generations past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.


Sha’ul's solution is
(1) to identify God as the source of blessings they have experienced
(2) to point out that for this reason he is to be worshipped
(3) to note the passing of the age in which the Gentiles were free to walk in their own ways (see Micah 4:5)
Implying that now they too must turn to God.  Compare Acts 17:22-31.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Tore their clothes
As an expression of their abhorrence of what the people were doing,  and of their deep grief that they should thus debase themselves by offering worship to human beings.
The Jews were accustomed to rend their clothes as a token of grief.  This was done often as a matter of form,  and consisted in tearing a particular part of the garment reserved for this purpose.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

When the two apostles discerned what was happening, they were horrified.  Their tearing of clothes was a way of showing strong aversion to blasphemy.  Usually rips were made four or five inches into the neckline of the garment.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

Luke's note that the people spoke in the "Lycaonian language" (14:11).  This reference not only explained why it took Paul and Barnabas so long to understand what was going on,  but it also implied that these people were ignorant,  uneducated,  and superstitious.  Therefore we should not be surprised at their pagan reaction to the miracles of God.
(from Holman Bible Handbook. Copyright © 1992 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)
The same nature as you
"We are mortal like you."  The expression stands opposed to the proper conception of God,  who is not subject to these affections,  who is most blessed and immortal.  Such a Being only is to be worshipped;  and the apostles remonstrated strongly with them on the folly of paying religious homage to beings like themselves.

Although using biblical language,  Barnabas and Paul preach to these Anatolian farmers in terms they would not need to know the Bible to understand,  emphasizing the God who rules nature,  who was already recognized by paganism.  Jewish people often pointed to pagan philosophical teachings on the supreme god,  which Jews felt contradicted the pagan worship of idols.   Jews called idols "vain" (futile),  in contrast to the "living" God.  Jewish people believed that God allowed a lower moral standard for Gentiles,  who had only seven laws to keep;  but idolatry,  like sexual immorality,  was not an issue on which God would permit compromise.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

To walk in their own ways
To conduct themselves without the restraints and instructions of a written law.  They were permitted to follow their own reason and passions,  and their own system of religion.  God gave them no written laws,  and sent to them no messengers.  It might have been,  among other reasons,  to show to the world conclusively:
(1) The insufficiency of reason to guide people in the matters of religion.
The experiment was made under the most favorable circumstances.  The most enlightened nations,  the Greeks and Romans,  were left to pursue the inquiry,  and failed no less than the most degraded tribes of people.  The trial was made for four thousand years,  and attended with the same results everywhere.
(2) It showed the need of revelation to guide man.
(3) It evinced,  beyond the possibility of mistake,  the depravity of man.
In all nations,  in all circumstances,  people had shown the same alienation from God.  By suffering them to walk in their own ways,  it was seen that those ways were sin,  and that some power more than human was necessary to bring people back to God.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

A new situation:  how to preach to pagans,  Gentiles who are in no sense “God-fearers?” 
They acknowledge the miracle of verses 8-10 but attribute it neither to God,  of whom they know nothing,  nor to the Adversary,  Satan,  but to false gods.  Sha’ul's solution is
(1) to identify God as the source of blessings they have experienced
(2) to point out that for this reason he is to be worshipped
(3) to note the passing of the age in which the Gentiles were free to walk in their own ways (see Micah 4:5),  implying that now they too must turn to God.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.)

Five main points of Paul's sermon:
(1) (verse 15) Be converted — turn from idols
(2) (verse 15) Turn to the living God
(3) (verse 15) God created all things
(4) (verse 16) God is longsuffering to sinners
(5) (verse 17) The providence of God
This was bold preaching in the face of a heathen mob intent on performing superstitious worship which they considered to be a divine and civil necessity.  This made the mob an easy prey to the Jews who appeared on the scene at this point and stirred up the people to stone the apostles (verses 19-20).
(from Dake Annotated Reference Bible © 2007 by Dake Publishing. All rights reserved in U.S.A. and Other Countries.)

From the Amplified Bible
(14)  But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothing and dashed out among the crowd, shouting,
(15)  Men, why are you doing this? We also are [only] human beings, of nature like your own, and we bring you the good news (Gospel) that you should turn away from these foolish and vain things to the living God, Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that they contain. [Exodus 20:11; Psalms 146:6.]
(16)  In generations past He permitted all the nations to walk in their own ways;

Acts 14:17 & 18
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(17)  Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."

Nevertheless he did not leave himself without testimony, in that he bestowed good on them from heaven and gave them rain and caused the fruits to grow in their seasons and satisfied their hearts with food and gladness.

(18)  And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.

And even though they said these things, they had difficulty in restraining the people from offering sacrifice to them.


He did not leave Himself without witness
Romans 1:19-20
Because what may be known of God is manifest in them,  for God has shown it to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen,  being understood by the things that are made,  even His eternal power and Godhead,  so that they are without excuse.

He did good
By doing good. The manner in which he did it, Paul immediately specifies. Idols did not do good; they conferred no favors, and were, therefore, unworthy of confidence.

Gave us rain from heaven
Rain is one of the evidences of the goodness of God.  Man could not cause it;  and without it,  regulated at proper intervals of time and in proper quantities,  the earth would soon be one wide scene of desolation.  There is scarcely anything which more certainly indicates unceasing care and wisdom than the needful and refreshing showers of rain. The falling of rain is regulated by laws which we cannot trace,  and it seems,  therefore,  to be poured,  as it were,  directly from God's hollow hand.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Psalms 147:7-8
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praises on the harp to our God, Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.

Zeus was regarded as the god of rain (Jupiter Pluvius) and Paul claims the rain and the fruitful seasons as coming from God.  Lycaonia was often dry and it would be an appropriate item
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.) 

Fruitful seasons
Seasons when the earth produces abundance.  It is remarkable,  and a striking proof of the divine goodness,  that so few seasons are unfruitful.  The earth yields her increase;  the labors of the farmer are crowned with success;  and the goodness of God demands the expressions of praise.  God does not forget his ancient covenant (Gen 8:22), though man forgets it, and disregards his great Benefactor.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Genesis 8:22
While the earth remains,  seedtime and harvest,  cold and heat,  winter and summer,  and day and night shall not cease.

Filling our hearts with food and gladness
The word  "hearts"  is used here as a Hebraism,  to denote  "persons"  themselves;  filling US with food.

Joy; comfort the comfort arising from the supply of our constantly returning needs.  This is proof of ever watchful goodness.  It is a demonstration at once that there is a God,  and that he is good.  It would be easy for God to withdraw these blessings,  and leave us to want.  A single word,  or a single deviation from the fullness of benevolence,  would blast all these comforts,  and leave us to lamentation,  woe,  and death.
Psalms 104:24-30
How many are your works, O Lord!  In wisdom you made them all;  the earth is full of your creatures.  There is the sea,  vast and spacious,  teeming with creatures beyond number — living things both large and small.  There the ships go to and fro,  and the leviathan,  which you formed to frolic there.
These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.  When you give it to them,  they gather it up;  when you open your hand,  they are satisfied with good things.  When you hide your face,  they are terrified;  when you take away their breath,  they die and return to the dust.  When you send your Spirit,  they are created,  and you renew the face of the earth.    (NIV)
Psalms 145:15-16
The eyes of all look expectantly to You,  and You give them their food in due season.  You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.     (NKJV)

Mercury,  as the God of merchandise,  was also the dispenser of food" (ROBERTSON).  Paul does not talk about laws of nature as if they governed themselves,  but he sees the living God  "behind the drama of the physical world" (Furneaux).  These simple country people could grasp his ideas as he claims everything for the one true God.
Cheerfulness should be our normal attitude when we consider God's goodness . Paul does not here mention Christ because he had the single definite purpose to dissuade them from worshipping Barnabas and himself.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

From the Amplified Bible
(17)  Yet He did not neglect to leave some witness of Himself, for He did you good and [showed you] kindness and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with nourishment and happiness.
(18)  Even in [the light of] these words they with difficulty prevented the people from offering sacrifice to them.



PAUL  STONED  AND  ESCAPES  TO  DERBE

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Acts 14:19
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(19)  Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

But there came there Jews from Iconium and Antioch and stirred up the people against them, and they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.


Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there
Not satisfied with having expelled them from Antioch and Iconium,  they still pursued them.  Persecutors often exhibit a zeal and perseverance in a bad cause which it would be well if Christians evinced in a holy cause.
Bad people will often travel further to do evil
than good people will to do good;
and wicked people often show more zeal in opposing the gospel
than professed Christians do in advancing it.

They stoned Paul
Whom they were just before ready to worship as a god!
What a striking instance of the fickleness and instability of idolaters!
And what a striking instance of the instability and uselessness of mere popularity!
Just before they were ready to adore him;  now they sought to put him to death.  Nothing is more fickle than popular favor.  The unbounded admiration of a man may soon be changed into unbounded indignation and contempt.  It was well for Paul that he was not seeking this popularity,  and that he did not depend on it for happiness.  He had a good conscience;  he was engaged in a good cause;  he was under the protection of God;  and his happiness was to be sought from a higher source than the applause of people,  "fluctuating and uncertain as the waves of the sea."  To this transaction Paul referred when he enumerated his trials in 2 Corinthians 11:25,  "Once was I stoned."

Dragged him out of the city
Probably in haste,  and in popular rage,  as if he was unfit to be in the city,  and was unworthy of a decent burial;  for it does not appear that they contemplated an interment but indignantly dragged him beyond the walls of the city to leave him there.  Such sufferings and trials it cost to establish that religion in the world which has shed so many blessings on man;  which now crowns us with comfort;  which saves us from the abominations and degradations of idolatry here,  and from the pains of hell hereafter.

Paul had been told there would be days like this:
Acts 9:15, 16
But the Lord said to him,  "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."

The visitors from Antioch had no legal authority outside their own territory,  but they are able to persuade the mob to accomplish what had failed in Iconium (14:5-6).  A mob could change its views quickly,  especially in a case like this one:
when Paul and Barnabas deny the gods,  they would be considered impious and hence would appear to fit a different category of ancient paganism: they were not gods after all,  but dangerous magicians.  (Whereas gods were popularly regarded as generally beneficent, sorcerers were viewed as secretive and usually harmful.)
Antioch was nearly a hundred miles from Lystra by road,  but it is known that the cities were in contact with each other,  considering themselves sister cities.
According to Jewish regulations,  a condemned criminal would be taken out to the edge of a city and thrown over a drop at least twice the man's height. The witnesses would be the first to hurl large stones on top of him,  aiming for the chest (though precision was impossible),  till the victim died.
Stoning was also the most common form of urban mob violence in the Gentile world.  Stones,  tiles and cobbles were readily available in ancient streets.
Normally such executions were performed outside the city, and they may have dragged him out of the city for purity reasons;  that he not only survived but could walk afterward must be understood as miraculous.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(19)  But some Jews arrived there from Antioch and Iconium; and having persuaded the people and won them over, they stoned Paul and [afterward] dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead.

Acts 14:20
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(20)  However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Howbeit, as the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and entered again into the city; and the next day he departed from there with Barnabas, and they came to the city of Derbe.


The disciples gathered around him
The Scripture does not say that Paul was dead, but rather intimates that he was not – “supposing he was dead.” Neither does it say that he was either resurrected or instantly healed,  but only that as they stood around him,  “he rose up.”

The would-be murderers left and a group of disciples gathered round to see if Paul was dead or alive and,  if dead,  to bury him.  In that group Timothy may very well have been along with Eunice and Barnabas.  Timothy,  a lad of about fifteen,  would not soon forget that solemn scene (2 Timothy 3:11).  But Paul suddenly (apparently a miraculous recovery) rose up and entered the city to the surprise and joy of the disciples who were willing to brave persecution with Paul.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)
2 Timothy 3:10-11
You have carefully followed my doctrine,  manner of life,  purpose,  faith,  longsuffering,  love,  perseverance, persecutions,  afflictions,  which happened to me at Antioch,  at Iconium,  at Lystra — what persecutions I endured.  And out of them all the Lord delivered me

We should note four different responses during this visit.
1. (vv. 8-10) The crippled man's response to the Word
The word translated "speak" in Acts 14:9 means ordinary conversation,  though it can refer to formal speaking.  It is likely that Paul was simply conversing with some of the citizens in the marketplace,  telling them about Jesus,  and the lame man overheard what he said.  The Word produced faith and faith brought healing .
2. (vv. 11-13) The crowd's response to the crippled man
Miracles by themselves do not produce either conviction or faith.  They must be accompanied by the Word.  This was a superstitious crowd that interpreted events in the light of their own mythology.  They identified Barnabas as Jupiter (Zeus),  the chief of the gods;  and Paul,  the speaker,  they identified with Mercury (Hermes),  the messenger of the gods.  Jupiter was the patron deity of the city,  so this was a great opportunity for the priest of Jupiter to become very important and lead the people in honoring their god.
3. (vv. 14-19) The Apostles' response to the crowd
How easy it would have been to accept this worship and try to use the honor as a basis for teaching the people the truth,  but that is not the way God's true servants minister.  Paul and Barnabas opposed what they were doing and boldly told the people that the gods of Lystra were "vanities."   They made it clear that there is but one God who is the living God,  the giving God,  and the forgiving God.
4. (v. 20) The disciples' response to Paul
There were new believers in Lystra,  and this was a crisis situation for them.  They were a minority,  their leader had been stoned,  and their future looked very bleak.  But they stood by Paul!  It is likely that they joined hearts and prayed for him,  and this is one reason God raised him up.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Excerpts from "The Apostle: A Life of Paul"
…just then strangers came on the scene: Jews by their dress, recognizable to Paul as antagonists from Pisidian Antioch and Iconium who would have been trading in Lystra. These men harangued the crowd. The murmurs swelled. With that terrifying suddenness of mobs the mood changed from worship to fury. A youth picked up a stone, took aim and with a vicious flick caught Paul full face. In a moment, before Barnabas or his friends could protect him, he was under a shower of stones, on his jaw, the pit of his stomach, his groin, his chest, his temple.
He fell stark and stiff, blood streaming from nose and eyes. The crowd dragged the body out of the city and melted quickly away before the Roman guards at the gate could identify individual murderers. Converts who had watched appalled at the sudden assault formed a ring round the body, shocked and uncertain. Paul stirred. With every muscle and nerve seared, head throbbing, stomach retching, he forced himself to stand.
At Derbe the battered Paul found welcome, response, and recovery. Indeed, it may have been the people of Derbe…that Paul had in mind when he wrote those words in his letter to all the widely scattered churches:  "You resisted any temptation to show scorn or disgust at the poor state of my body; you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God… You would have torn out your very eyes and given them to me."
(From "The Apostle: A Life of Paul," by John Pollock; RiverOak Publishing, a division of Cook Communication Ministries)

Derbe
Derbe was the frontier city on the imperial road and thus probably profited from customs duties charged there. Yet it was a rude and poorly educated city, reflecting Greek language and perhaps some Greek culture but little contact with Roman society.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Important city in region of Lycaonia in province of Galatia in Asia minor. It is apparently near modern Kerti Huyuk. The residents of Derbe and Lystra spoke a different language from the people to the north in Iconium.
(from Holman Bible Dictionary. Copyright © 1991 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)

A small town at the foot of Mt. Taurus,  about sixteen miles East of Lystra.  Paul and Barnabas gained many converts here,  among them possibly Gaius.  Paul passed through the place on his second missionary journey (16:1). Inscriptions found at Kerti Huyuk now fix that mound as the site of ancient Derbe.
(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright © 1988.)

From the Amplified Bible
(20)  But the disciples formed a circle about him, and he got up and went back into the town; and on the morrow he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.



STRENGTHENING  THE  CONVERTS

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Acts 14:21 & 22
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(21)  And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,

And when they had preached the gospel to the people of that city and had converted many, then they returned to the city of Lystra and to Iconium and Antioch.

(22)  strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."

Strengthening the souls of the converts and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and telling them that only through much tribulation can we enter into the kingdom of God.


We have here a remarkable instance of the courage of the apostles.  In these very places they had been persecuted and stoned,  and yet in the face of danger they ventured to return.
The welfare of the infant churches they deemed of more consequence than their own safety; and they threw themselves again into the midst of danger, to comfort and strengthen those just converted to God.
There are times when ministers should not count their own lives dear to them (Acts 20:24),  but when they should fearlessly throw themselves into the midst of danger,  confiding only in the protecting care of their God and Saviour.

Strengthening
Episteerizontes (NT: 1991)   It means simply that they established,  strengthened,  made firm,  or encouraged by the presentation of truth and by the motives of the gospel.

The truth was,
that these were young converts;
that they were surrounded by enemies, and exposed to temptations and to dangers;
that they had as yet but a slight acquaintance with the truths of the gospel,
and that it was therefore important that they should be further instructed in the truth, and established in the faith of the gospel.
This was what Paul and Barnabas returned to accomplish.

Many tribulations
Must — dei  (NT: 1163).  That it is fit or proper that we should.  Not that it is fixed by any fatal necessity, but that we are not to expect that it will be otherwise. We are to calculate on it when we become Christians.

Tribulation — thlipsis (NT:2347).  a pressing, pressing together, pressure.
Greek metaphor, oppression, affliction.

We are not to be surprised at tribulations, nor are we to try to avoid them.  On the contrary, we are to rejoice in them.
John 16:33
These things I have spoken to you,  that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation;  but be of good cheer,  I have overcome the world.
Romans 8:35-37
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written:
"For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Romans 5:3-4
And not only that,  but we also glory in tribulationsknowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 12:12-15
Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

From the Amplified Bible
(21)  When they had preached the good news (Gospel) to that town and made disciples of many of the people, they went back to Lystra and Iconium and Antioch,
(22)  Establishing and strengthening the souls and the hearts of the disciples, urging and warning and encouraging them to stand firm in the faith, and [telling them] that it is through many hardships and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Acts 14:23
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(23)  So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

And when they had ordained them elders in every church and had prayed with them with fasting, they commended them to our Lord, on whom they believed.


Appointed
Cheirotoneo (NT:5500)  to be a hand-reacher or voter (by raising the hand), i.e. (generally) to select or appoint
To formally appoint or assign someone to a particular task - 'to appoint, to assign.'

May be understood in the meaning of  'to choose or elect to office by the raising of hands'
(from Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. Copyright © 1988 United Bible Societies, New York. Used by permission.)

The reference is not to election by the congregation. The presbyters are nominated by Paul and Barnabas and then with prayer and fasting they are instituted into their offices, which they are to exercise in the churches of Pisidia and Lycaonia.
(from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Copyright © 1972-1989 By Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved.)

Elders
Presbuteros  (NT:4245)  presbyters.  Comparative of presbus (elderly); older;  as noun, a senior

Among Christians,  those who presided over the assemblies (or churches)
(from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Literally,  this word refers to the aged.  But it may also be a word relating to office, denoting those who were more experienced than others, and who were chosen to preside over and to instruct the rest.

In every church
It is implied here that there were elders (plural) in each church;  that is,  that in each church there was more than one. 

To Titus, Paul said:
I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you — if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.   (Titus 1:5-9).

Sha’ul's “follow-up work”:
(1) strengthening the new disciples, spiritually;
(2) urging them to use that strength to hold fast to the faith;
(3) giving fair warning of what to expect—troubles but also the Kingdom of God, so that it's all worth it.
(4) Finally, he appointed elders to guide the young congregations;
in order to do this he and Bar-Nabba retraced their steps.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(23)  And when they had appointed and ordained elders for them in each church with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord in Whom they had come to believe [being full of joyful trust that He is the Christ, the Messiah].


Acts 14:24-26
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(24)  And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.

And after they had traveled through the country of Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.

(25)  Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

And when they had preached the word of the Lord in the city of Perga, they went down to Attalia;

(26)  From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.

And thence they sailed and came to Antioch, because from there they had been recommended to the grace of the Lord for the work which they fulfilled.


On their return, they also revisited Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga and Attalia.

Attalia
Attalia had something of the same relation to Perga which Cadiz has to Seville.  In each case the latter city is approached by a river voyage,  and the former is more conveniently placed on the open sea.  Attalus Philadelphus,  king of Pergamus,  whose dominions extended from the northwestern corner of Asia Miner to the Sea of Pamphylia,  had built this city in a convenient position for commanding the trade of Syria or Egypt.  When Alexander the Great passed this way,  no such city was in existence;  but since the days of the kings of Pergamus,  who inherited a fragment of his vast empire,  Attalia has always existed and flourished,  retaining the name of the monarch who built it.  Its ancient site is not now certainly known" (Life and Epistles of Paul, vol. i. pp. 200, 201).

They sailed to Antioch
And so ends the first official missionary journey of the young Christian church, as they returned to Antioch in Syria.

The work which they had completed
This shows conclusively:

(1) That they had accomplished fully the work which was originally contemplated.
It was strictly a missionary tour among the Gentiles . It was an important and hazardous enterprise,  and was the first in which the church formally engaged.  Hence,  so much importance is attached to it,  and so faithful a record of it is preserved.
(2) It shows that the act by which they were set apart to this (Acts 13:1-3) was not an ordination to the ministerial office. It was an appointment to a missionary tour.
(3) It shows that the act was not an appointment to the apostleship. Paul was an apostle before by the express appointment of the Saviour;  and Barnabas was never an apostle in the original and proper sense of the term.  It was a designation to a temporary work, which was now fulfilled.

We may remark, also, in regard to this missionary tour:
(1) That the work of missions is one which early engaged the attention of Christians.
(2) It entered into their plans, and was one in which the church was deeply interested.
(3) The work of missions is attended with danger.
People are now no less hostile to the gospel than they were in Lystra and Iconium.
(4) Missionaries should be sustained by the prayers of the church.
(5) In the conduct of Paul and Barnabas we have an example for missionaries in founding churches, and in regard to their own trials and persecutions.
If they were persecuted, missionaries may be now;  and if the grace of Christ was sufficient to sustain them,  it is not the less sufficient to sustain those of our own times amidst all the dangers attending the preaching of the cross in pagan lands.

From the Amplified Bible
(24)  Then they went through Pisidia and arrived at Pamphylia.
(25)  And when they had spoken the Word in Perga [the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God], they went down to Attalia;
(26)  And from there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had [first] been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had [now] completed.

Acts 14:27 & 28
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(27)  Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

And as the whole congregation was gathered together, they related everything that God had done to them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

(28)  So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

And there they remained a long time with the disciples.


A long time
How long is not intimated;  but we hear no more of them until the council at Jerusalem,  mentioned in the next chapter.  If the transactions recorded in this chapter occurred,  as is supposed,  about 45 AD or 46 AD,  and the council at Jerusalem assembled 51 AD or 53 AD,  as is supposed,  then here is an interval of from five to eight years in which we have no account of them.  Where they were,  or what was their employment in this interval,  the sacred historian has not informed us.  It is certain,  however,  that Paul made several journeys of which we have no particular record in the New Testament,  and it is possible that some of those journeys occurred during this interval.

Thus,  he preached the gospel as far as Illyricum, Romans 15:19. And in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, there is an account of trials and persecutions,  of many of which we have no distinct record,  and which might have occurred during this interval.  We may be certain that these holy men were not idle.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
Romans 15:19
In mighty signs and wonders,  by the power of the Spirit of God,  so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:23-27
Are they ministers of Christ? — I speak as a fool — I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Works on the first missionary journey:
1. (Acts 13:5,7,44) Preached the Word of God
2. (Acts 13:8-12) Caused blindness
3. (Acts 13:12) Converted governor of Cyprus
4. (Acts 13:46) First turning to Gentiles
5. (Acts 13:12-49; 14:1) Many converts
6. (Acts 13:52) Converts Spirit filled
7. (Acts 13:11; 14:3-20) Many miracles
8. (Acts 14:11-18) Rejected worship
9. (Acts 14:19-20) Paul resurrected
10. (Acts 14:7,21) Preached the gospel
11. (Acts 14:21-22) Taught many
12. (Acts 13:49) Published the Word of God
13. (Acts 14:23) Established churches and ordained elders for them
14. (Acts 14:27) Made a missionary report
(Dake's Annotated Reverence Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, Lawrenceville, GA)

From the Amplified Bible
(27)  Arriving there, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had accomplished with them and how He had opened to the Gentiles a door of faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom we obtain salvation in the kingdom of God].
(28)  And there they stayed no little time with the disciples.



(End of Chapter Fourteen)

 

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