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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 14

 

 

Verse 3

Long ( ἱκανὸν )

See on Luke 7:6.

Abode

See on Acts 12:19.

In the Lord

Lit., upon ( ἐπί ) the Lord: in reliance on him.


Verse 5

Assault ( ὁρμὴ )

Too strong, as is also the Rev., onset. In case an actual assault had been made, it would have been absurd for Luke to tell us that “they were ware of it.” It is rather the purpose and intention of assault beginning to assume the character of a movement. See on James 3:4.

To stone

Paul says he was stoned once (2 Corinthians 11:25). This took place at Lystra (see Acts 14:19).


Verse 6

Were ware ( συνιδόντες )

Rev., became aware. See onconsidered, Acts 12:12.


Verse 7

They preached the gospel ( ἧσαν εὐαγγελιζόμενοι )

The finite verb with the participle, denoting continuance. They prolonged their preaching for some time.


Verse 8

Impotent ( ἀδύνατος )

The almost universal meaning of the word in the New Testament is impossible (see Matthew 19:26; Hebrews 6:4, etc.). The sense of weak or impotent occurs only here and Romans 15:1.


Verse 9

Heard ( ἤκουε )

The force of the imperfect should be given here. He was hearing while Paul preached.


Verse 10

Upright ( ὀρθός )

Only here and Hebrews 12:13. Compare made straight, Luke 13:13, and see note there.

Leaped ( ἥλατο )

Better, as Rev., leaped up. Note the aorist tense, indicating a single act, while the imperfect, walked, denotes continuous action.


Verse 11

In the speech of Lycaonia

The apostles had been conversing with them in Greek. The fact that the people now spoke in their native tongue explains why Paul and Barnabas did not interfere until they saw the preparations for sacrifice. They did not understand what was being said by the people about their divine character. It was natural that the surprise of the Lystrans should express itself in their own language rather than in a foreign tongue.

In the likeness of men ( ὁμοιωθέντες ἀνθρώποις )

Lit., having become like to men. A remnant of the earlier pagan belief that the gods visited the earth in human form. Homer, for example, is full of such incidents. Thus, when Ulysses lands upon his native shore, Pallas meets him

“in the shape

Of a young shepherd delicately formed,

As are the sons of kings. A mantle lay

Upon her shoulder in rich folds; her feet

Shone in their sandals; in her hands she bore

A javelin.”

Odyssey, xiii., 221-225.

Again, one rebukes a suitor for maltreating Ulysses:

“Madman! what if he

Came down from heaven and were a god! The gods

Put on the form of strangers from afar,

And walk our towns in many different shapes,

To mark the good and evil deeds of men.”

Odyssey, xvii., 485 sq.


Verse 12

Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercury

The Greek names of these deities were Zeus and Hermes. As the herald of the gods, Mercury is the god of skill in the use of speech and of eloquence in general, for the heralds are the public speakers in the assemblies and on other occasions. Hence he is sent on messages where persuasion or argument are required, as to Calypso to secure the release of Ulysses from Ogygia (“Odyssey,” i., 84:); and to Priam to warn him of danger and to escort him to the Grecian fleet (“Iliad,” xxiv., 390). Horace addresses him as the “eloquent” grandson of Atlas, who artfully formed by oratory the savage manners of a primitive race (“Odes,” i., 10). Hence the tongues of sacrificial animals were offered to him. As the god of ready and artful speech, his office naturally extended to business negotiations. He was the god of prudence and skill in all the relations of social intercourse, and the patron of business and gain. A merchant-guild at Rome was established under his protection. And as, from its nature, commerce is prone to degenerate into fraud, so he appears as the god of thievery, exhibiting cunning, fraud, and perjury. “He represents, so to speak, the utilitarian side of the human mind … .In the limitation of his faculties and powers, in the low standard of his moral habits, in the abundant activity of his appetites, in his indifference, his ease, his good-nature, in the full-blown exhibition of what Christian theology would call conformity to the world, he is, as strictly as the nature of the case admits, a product of the invention of man. He is the god of intercourse on earth” (Gladstone, “Homer and the Homeric Age”).

The chief speaker ( ὁ ἡγούμενος τοῦ λόγου )

Lit., the leader in discourse. Barnabas was called Jupiter, possibly because his personal appearance was more imposing than Paul's (see 2 Corinthians 10:1, 2 Corinthians 10:10), and also because Jupiter and Mercury were commonly represented as companions in their visits to earth.


Verse 13

Of Jupiter ( τοῦ Διὸς )

Properly, the Jupiter, the tutelary deity of Lystra. It is unnecessary to supply temple, as Rev. The god himself was regarded as present in his temple.

The gates ( πυλῶνας )

What gates are intended is uncertain. Some say, the city gates; others, the temple gates; and others, the doors of the house in which Paul and Barnabas were residing. See on Acts 12:13.


Verse 14

Ran in ( εἰσεπήδησαν )

A feeble translation, even if this reading is retained. The verb means to leap or spring. The best texts read ἐξεπήδησαν , sprang forth, probably from the gate of their house, or from the city gate, if the sacrifice was prepared in front of it.

Crying out ( κράζοντες )

Inarticulate shouts to attract attention.


Verse 15

Of like passions ( ὁμοιοπαθεῖς )

Only here and James 5:17, on which see note. Better, of like nature.

Turn ( ἐπιστρέφειν )

Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:9, where the same verb is used.


Verse 16

Times ( γενεαῖς )

More correctly, generations, as Rev.


Verse 17

Rains

Jupiter was lord of the air. He dispensed the thunder and lightning, the rain and the hail, the rivers and tempests. “All signs and portents whatever, that appear in the air, belong primarily to him, as does the genial sign of the rainbow” (Gladstone, “Homer and the Homeric Age”). The mention of rain is appropriate, as there was a scarcity of water in Lycaonia.

Food

Mercury, as the god of merchandise, was also the dispenser of food.

“No one can read the speech without once more perceiving its subtle and inimitable coincidence with his (Paul's) thoughts and expressions. The rhythmic conclusion is not unaccordant with the style of his most elevated moods; and besides the appropriate appeal to God's natural gifts in a town not in itself unhappily situated, but surrounded by a waterless and treeless plain, we may naturally suppose that the 'filling our hearts with food and gladness' was suggested by the garlands and festive pomp which accompanied the bulls on which the people would afterward have made their common banquet” (Farrar, “Life and Work of Paul”). For the coincidences between this discourse and other utterances of Paul, compare Acts 14:15, and 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Acts 14:16, and Romans 3:25; Acts 17:30; Acts 14:17, and Romans 1:19, Romans 1:20.


Verse 19

Stoned

See on Acts 14:5.


Verse 20

To Derbe

A journey of only a few hours.


Verse 21

Taught ( μαθητεύσαντες )

More correctly, made disciples of, as Rev. See on Matthew 13:52.

Many

See on Luke 7:6.


Verse 22

Confirming

See on stablish, 1 Peter 5:10.


Verse 23

Ordained ( χειροτονήσαντες )

Only here and 2 Corinthians 8:19. Rev., more correctly, appointed. The meaning ordain is later. See on Acts 10:41.

Elders ( πρεσβυτέρους )

For the general superintendence of the church. The word is synonymous with ἐπίσκοποι , over seers or bishops (see on visitation, 1 Peter 2:12). Those who are called elders, in speaking of Jewish communities, are called bishops, in speaking of Gentile communities. Hence the latter term prevails in Paul's epistles.

Commended ( παρέθεντο )

See on set before, Luke 9:16; and commit, 1 Peter 4:19.


Verse 27

With them ( μετ ' αὐτῶν )

In connection with them; assisting them.

And how ( καὶ ὅτι )

Better, that. The and has an incressive and particularizing force: “andin particular, above all.

 


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 14:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/acts-14.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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