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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Acts 14

 

 

Verses 1-28

Acts 13:1 to Acts 14:28.] FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY OF PAUL AND BARNABAS. Henceforward the history follows Saul (or Paul, as he is now (Acts 13:9) and from this time denominated), his ministry, and the events of his life, to the exclusion (with the sole exception of the council in ch. 15) of all the other Apostles.


Verse 1

1.] κατὰ τὸ αὐτό, together (reff.): ὁμοῦ, Hesych(75): not, ‘in the same manner,’ as Wolf and others.

οὕτως ὥστε, as in E. V.; not ἐγένετο.… ὥστε …, as Vater.

ἑλλήνων] Probably here these are the σεβόμενοι τὸν θεόν [see ch. Acts 13:43; Acts 13:50; Acts 16:14; Acts 17:4; Acts 17:17; Acts 18:7 and ch. Acts 10:2 reff.], those of the uncircumcised who were more or less attached to the Jewish religion.


Verse 2

2.] The past part. indicates who believed not, viz. when Paul preached.

ἐκάκωσαν, ‘male affecerunt,’— κακούργως διέθηκαν, Chrys. So Jos. Antt. xvi. 1. 2, κακοῦν,.… καὶ τῆς εὐνοίας ἧς εἶχεν εἰς τοὺς παῖδας ἀφαιρεῖν.

Acts 14:3 gives the sequel of Acts 14:1,—Acts 14:4, of Acts 14:2. The μὲν οὖν, as usual (see ch. Acts 11:19), takes up the narrative which had been interrupted.


Verse 3

3. παῤῥ. ἐπὶ τ. κυρ.] A pregnant construction:—‘speaking with boldness, which boldness was grounded on confidence in the Lord.’

τῷ κυρίῳ is GOD: see ch. Acts 4:29-30, and ch. Acts 20:32, τῷ θεῷ κ. τῷ λόγῳ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ.

διδόντι, without καί, defines μαρτυροῦντι: viz. by giving, &c.


Verse 4

4.] So Virg. Æn. ii. 39, ‘Scinditur incertum studia in contraria vulgus.’ Such a split into two factions was a common occurrence, on far less important occasions, in these cities of Oriental Greeks. (C. and H. i. p. 223.)

τοῖς ἀποστόλοις] This is the first place where Paul and Barnabas are so called. St. Paul constantly vindicates the title in his Epistles: cf. Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1. It seems to have been borne in this higher sense also by James the Lord’s brother: see Galatians 1:19, and note, and the prolegg. to the Epistle of James: and by Barnabas, here and in 1 Corinthians 9:5-6; see also Galatians 2:9. So that there were, widening the word beyond the Twelve, fifteen Apostles, usually so called. The word was also used in a still wider sense: see Romans 16:7; 2 Corinthians 8:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:6; in which latter place Silvanus and Timotheus seem to be included in it.


Verse 5

5.] ὁρμή is not a rush (‘impetus,’ Vulg.: ‘assault,’ E. V.), but as Hesych(76) βουλή, ἐπιθυμία,—as is manifest from συνιδόντες, rightly rendered in E. V. they were ware of it; which it would be strange if they were not, if an assault had been made on them.


Verse 6

6. λύστραν] τὰ λ. also, Acts 14:8. This, as well as Derbe (of both which very little further is known), was probably a small town at the foot of the singular mountain-mass known as the Kara-dagh, or black mountain, Lystra being S., and Derbe S.E. from Iconium. The sites are very uncertain. There are the ruins of about forty Christian churches on the north side of the Kara-dagh, at a place called by the Turks Bin-bir-Kilisseh (the 1001 churches), which the most recent travellers believe may be Lystra (C. and H. i. pp. 225 ff.). In one of these places (probably at Lystra, see note, ch. Acts 16:1) Paul found and took up Timothy on his second journey; and from τέκνον, 1 Corinthians 4:17, compared with πατήρ, as defined ib. 1 Corinthians 14:15, we are justified in concluding that he had been converted by the Apostle; and, if so, during this visit.

There appear to have been few Jews in the district: we hear of no synagogue.

λυκαονίας] Strabo describes Lycaonia (xii. 6) as a hilly plain among the mountain-spurs of Taurus, very ill watered, cold and bare, but exceedingly adapted for sheep-pasture and the growth of wool.


Verse 8

8. ἐκάθητο] Not ‘dwelt,’ as Kuin., but sat, probably in the forum or some place of resort.

περιεπάτησεν is the historic past: who never walked. The pluperfect seeming more apt, it has been altered in the later MSS. accordingly. Meyer supposes the alteration to have been the other way, from “the constant preference which the Greeks gave in narration to the aorist over the plusq. perf.:” but qu.?


Verse 9

9.] The imperfect ἤκουεν is important. He was listening to Paul’s preaching, and, while listening, his countenance, read by the Apostle’s gift of spiritual discernment, gave token of faith to be healed

ἀτεν. αὐτ.] See note on ch. Acts 13:9.


Verse 10

10. μεγ. τῇ φ.] Raising his voice above the tone in which he was before speaking. The article is important.


Verse 11

11. λυκαονιστί] The nature of this dialect is uncertain: its existence is further mentioned by Steph. Byzant., cf. τῇ τῶν λυκαόνων φωνῇ, in note on Acts 14:20. The notice is inserted to shew that the Apostles had no knowledge of the inference drawn by the crowd, till they saw the bulls being brought to their doors, Acts 14:13. So Chrysostom: οὐκ ἦν τοῦτο οὐδέπω δῆλον τῇ γὰρ οἰκείᾳ φωνῇ ἐφθέγγοντο, λέγοντες κ. τ. λ. διὰ τοῦτο οὐδὲν αὐτοῖς ἔλεγον (meaning, “for this reason they, the Lycaonians, spoke unintelligibly to the Apostles:” ἔλεγον taking up the λέγοντες. Wordsw. has, in his ardour to vindicate Chrysostom from heterodoxy, fallen into the mistake of rendering, “therefore the Apostles said nothing to them”)· ἐπειδὴ δὲ εἶδον τὰ στέμματα, τότε ἐξελθόντες κ. τ. λ. Hom. xxx., p. 235 f.

See, on the real nature of the gift of tongues, and the bearing of notices of this kind on its consideration, the note on ch. Acts 2:4.

These ἐπιφάνειαι of the gods are frequent subjects of heathen poetry and mythology. Hom. Od. ρ. 484, says, καί τε θεοὶ ξείνοισιν ἐοικότες ἀλλοδαποῖσι παντοῖοι τελέθοντες ἐπιστρωφῶσι πόληας. It was in the neighbouring country of Phrygia that Jupiter and Mercury were said to have wandered, and to have been entertained by Baucis and Philemon: ‘Jupiter huc, specie mortali, cumque parente Venit Atlantiades positis caducifer alis.’ (Ov. Met. viii. 626, f.) Dio Chrysostom (Orat. xxxiii. p. 408) says, φασὶ τοὺς οἰκιστὰς ἥρωας ἢ θεοὺς πολλάκις ἐπιστρέφεσθαι τὰς αὑτῶν πόλεις. (From Mr. Humphry’s note.)


Verse 12

12.] This distinction is (besides the reason given) in accordance with what Paul himself cites (as the saying of his adversaries, it is true, but not therefore without some physical foundation), ἡ παρουσία τοῦ σώματος ἀσθενής. So Chrysostom, ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ὄψεως ἀξιοπρεπὴς εἶναι ὁ βαρνάβας, Hom. xxx., p. 237.

ἡγούμενος τοῦ λόγου] So Iamblichus, of Hermes, in reff.: ‘vocis et sermonis potens,’ Macrob. Saturn, i. 8: λόγου προφήτης, Orph. H. xxvii. 4: λαλίστατος κ. λογιώτατος θεῶν ἁπάντων, Lucian, Gallus, 2.


Verse 13

13.] πρὸ τ. π. (see retf.); i.e. of ζεὺς πρόπυλος: no ellipsis of ἱεροῦ or any thing else.

ταύρους κ. στέμματα] Not for ταύρους ἐστεμμένους: the garlands may have been to hang on the doors of the house where the Apostles were: or for manifold purposes connected with the sacrifice. ‘Ipsæ denique fores, ipsæ hostiæ, ipsiæ aræ, ipsi ministri et sacerdotes eorum coronantur.’ Wetst.

τοὺς πυλῶνας are not the gates of the city, but the doors of the outer court of the house: see ch. Acts 12:13.


Verse 14

14. οἱ ἀπόστολοι] See note on Acts 14:4.

The Apostles were within: on being told, they ἐξεπήδησανrushad forth, into the crowd.


Verse 15

15. ματαίων] viz. θεῶν [contrasted with θεὸν ζῶντα]: the words of ref. 1 Thess. ἐπεστρέψατε πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων, are remarkably like these.

θεὸν ζῶντα, without the articles, is characteristic of Paul: see Romans 9:26; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Timothy 4:10 al. It also occurs Hebrews 3:12; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:31; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 7:2.


Verse 16

16.] Compare Romans 3:25-26, and ch. Acts 17:30.


Verse 17

17.] Compare Romans 1:19-20. The words οὐρανόθεν ὑετοὺς διδούς had a remarkable applicability in a country where we have seen from Strabo (on Acts 14:6) that there was great scarcity of water. He relates that in one city of Lycaonia, where water was reached by digging the wells very deep, it was sold for money. The idea of Mr. Humphry, that the conclusion of this speech is a citation from some lyric poet, seems improbable on other accounts, and is rendered more so by the above-noticed propriety.


Verse 19

19. πείσαντες τοὺς ὄχλ.] ἄπιστοι γὰρ λυκάονες, ὡς καὶ ἀριστοτέλης μαρτυρεῖ. Schol. on Homer, Il. δ. 88, 92.

They stoned him, not in the Jewish method, but tumultuously and in the streets, dragging him out of the city afterwards.

He refers to this stoning, 2 Corinthians 11:25, ἅπαξ ἐλιθάσθην.


Verse 20

20.] κυκλ., not to bury him, but, as would naturally be the case, in mournful anxiety and regret.

ἀναστάς] The prima facie, and I think the right impression is, that this recovery was supernatural. It is not indeed so strongly implied, as to leave no doubt: especially as a blow from a stone would be likely to stun and occasion the appearance of death.

δέρβην] See above, on Acts 14:6. Strabo, xii. 6, says of it, τῆς δʼ ἰσαυρικῆς ἐστιν ἐν πλευραῖς ἡ δέρβη, μάλιστα τῇ καππαδοκίᾳ ἐπιπεφυκός, τὸ τοῦ ἀντιπάτρου τυραννεῖον τοῦ δερβήτου (cf. Cicero, Epp. xiii. 73, ‘Cum Antipatro Derbete mihi non solum hospitium verum etiam summa familiaritas intercedit’) … ἐφʼ ἡμῶν δὲ καὶ τὰ ἴσαυρα κ. τὴν δέρβην ἀμύντας εἶχεν, ἐπιθέμενος τῷ δερβήτῃ, κ. ἀνελὼν αὐτόν. And Stephanus Byzantinus, δέρβη φρούριον ἰσαυρίας καὶ λιμήν (for this, evidently an error, the French translators of Strabo propose to read λίμνη. There is a large lake, now called Ak Göl, near the presumed site of Derbe, see C. and H. i. 239).… τινὲς δὲ δέλβειαν, ὅ ἐστι τῇ τῶν λυκαόνων φωνῇ ἄρκευθος. (Wetst.) From this variety of the name, δέλβεια, Mr. Hamilton thought the modern Divlé might be Derbe. Mr. Lewin (i. 167) objects, that there is no lake near Divlé: but this objection only affects the conjectural emendation mentioned above. From Derbe not being enumerated, 2 Timothy 3:11, with Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, as the scene of any of Paul’s sufferings, we may perhaps infer that none befell him there.

They may have fled to Derbe, as being in a different jurisdiction from Lystra; the latter being comprised in the Roman province of Galatia, whereas Derbe seems to have belonged at this time to Antiochus, king of Commagene. See Lewin, i. p. 168; Strabo, xiv. 5; Dio, lix. 8; lx. 8; Jos. Antt. xix. 5. 1.


Verse 21

21. ὑπέστρ.] They were not far from the famous pass, called the ‘Cilician gates,’ which leads direct into that province: but, notwithstanding all that had befallen him, Paul prefers returning by the churches which he had founded, to a short and easy journey to the coast by his own home.


Verse 22

22. ἡμᾶς] Is not this a token of the presence of the narrator again? My own conjecture would be, that he remained in Antioch during the journey to Iconium, &c., and back. The events between those two limits are much more summarily related than those before or after. In an art. in the Journal of classical and sacred philology, Camb., March, 1856, where the justice of the above conjecture is called in question, the writer says, ‘here δεῖ ἡμᾶς εἰσελθ. &c. is the language of the preachers themselves, as the word ὅτι shews:’ and proceeds to remark justly on the transition from the oblique to the direct narrative, as especially characteristic of St. Luke’s style, and corroborative of the unity of authorship between different parts of the Acts, and between the Acts and the Gospel.

But if so, should we not rather look for ὑμᾶς than ἡμᾶς? The writer, I am glad to see, joins with me in rejecting the ‘common’ explanation (see Prolegg. § i. 13) that ἡμᾶς is used by the writer ‘as a Christian, and of all Christians:’ to what then would he have it referred? I would rather, regarding the ὅτι as marking a transition to the direct narrative, take ἡμᾶς as an insensible translation into the first person on the part of the narrator, speaking of an exhortation which he heard and felt.


Verse 23

23. χειροτ.] ‘cum suffragiis creassent,’ Erasm.: not necessarily as the meaning of the word conventionally,—which had passed to any kind of appointment, see ch. Acts 10:41; but by the analogy of ch. Acts 6:2-6. See ref. 2 Cor. The word will not bear Jerome’s and Chrys.’s sense of ‘laying on of hands,’ adopted by Roman Catholic expositors. Nor is there any reason here for departing from the usual meaning of electing by show of hands. The Apostles may have admitted by ordination those presbyters whom the churches elected.

προσευξ. μ. νηστ. belongs to παρέθ., not to χειροτον.


Verse 25

25. ἀττάλειαν] A maritime town at the mouth of the river Catarrhactes, in Pamphylia, not far from the border of Lycia, built by Attalus Philadelphus, king of Pergamus, in a convenient position to command the trade of Syria or Egypt. It is still an important place, called Satalia. (Winer, Realw. C. and H. i. p. 242.) To reach it they had to cross the plain from Perga.


Verse 26

26.] ὅθεν, as being the centre whence their apostolic commission had spread.


Verse 27

27.] μετʼ αὐτῶν, with (i.e. in dealing with) them, see reff.: not to them, as usually: nor per ipsos, as Beza, &c.

θύραν πίστ.] The same metaphor is used in the reff. by Paul, and shews, perhaps, his hand in the narrative.

On χρόν. οὐκ ὀλίγ., see chronol. table in Prolegg.

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Acts 14:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/acts-14.html. 1863-1878.

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