Notes and References

ACTS 13 and 14

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Acts of the Apostles

A Bible Study

Acts Chapter 13 and 14


Here we are approximately 45 A.D. The first missionary journey of Paul. There will be two Antioch cities mentioned here. One, the city from which they depart in Syria and the other in northern Pisidia (Turkey). Just to keep it straight. Antioch, Syria is the center of Paul's ministry. The first missionary journey was approximately 1,235 miles and took two years.

Acts 13
13:1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

These men were all Jews:

  • Barnabas - a Levite from Cyprus Acts 4:36
  • Simeon - a Jewish name - Niger is Latin for Black
  • Lucius - Cyrene had a large Jewish population in North Africa
  • Manaen - a Jewish name, Josephus referenced a man with the same name as an Essene.
  • Saul - a Benjamite from Taursus, the Apostle Paul.

Acts 13
2As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

Saul is the only Apostle by express revelation of Jesus Christ. Barnabas was "sent" G630 apoluw (omega) and sent by the Holy Ghost, the Greek word is G1599 εκπεμπω but did not hold the divine office of Apostle as apostolos.

Acts 13
3And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
5And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

Where did they go first? To the market? To the town square? To the rulers? No! The Jew first! The synagogue!

Acts 13
6And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus:
7Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
8But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

Paul and Barnabas traveled 170 miles through the isle to this point. Bar-Jesus means son of Jesus. Jesus (Joshua) was a common Jewish name. Elymas is an Arabic name meaning sorcerer or wizard.

Acts 13
9Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
10And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
12Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

Saul is now called Paul from this point forward. None knows the reason for the change although it was common to change names to a localized form. Paulus means small or little in Latin.

Paul is now using his power of discernment as an apostle to know the heart of the man Elymas. He also uses his kingdom power to pronounce, by the Holy Spirit, blindness to this wicked Jew. Remember my study in Acts chapter 5, the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, where we went into depth regarding the kingdom rule of Christ and that he would rule with a rod of iron. It was important that Paul as an apostle were not deceived and speak the word of the Lord in power. This is one of the first of many miracles and signs by the Apostle Paul which mirrors those of Peter, thus affirming his rank among the other apostles.

Acts 13
13Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

John Mark returns to Jerusalem. We will learn later that this causes some contention between barnabas and Paul. We are not told the reason and obviously later John Mark is restored in Paul's eyes. John Mark is the writer of Peter's gospel, Mark.

Paphos to Perga is approximately 150 miles. Perga to Antioch in Pisidia (Turkey) is another 100 miles. This journey may have been what Paul was referring to in 2Cor 11:26 "In perils of robbers". Pisidia is a mountainous district  and some references spoke of "brigand-like" life there. I imagine Khyber Pass in Pakistan, where it is ruled by raiders and thieves.

Acts 13
14But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
15And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
16Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.

Where did they go first? Ok easy answer. The synagogue! Here we have a clue that the people Paul is addressing is mixed company of Jew and Gentile, unlike the sermons of Peter addressing Jew only, "Men of Israel, and ye that fear God". Notice the language, which would more than likely be overlooked by a passive reader.

Acts 13
17The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
18And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.
19And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
20And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
21And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.
22And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
23Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:
24When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
25And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
26Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.

The offer of salvation is to everyone.

Acts 13
27For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
28And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
29And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

Paul is accusing the Jews of Jerusalem, and their rulers of killing Jesus.

Paul also refers to the cross as a tree, as did Peter in Acts 5:30, "Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."

Deuteronomy 21:22-23
22And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;)

Acts 13
30But God raised him from the dead:
31And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

Remember in the Acts study on covenants, how important the resurrection is! The mashiac cannot die or he is NOT the Christ!

Acts 13
32And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
33God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

Peter quoted this in Acts 4:25-28

Acts 13
34And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
35Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
36For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
37But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

Peter quoted this in Acts 2:27-31

Acts 13
38Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
40Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
41Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

Peter and Paul's messages are so similar it can only be attributed to the mind of God and the breath of the Holy Spirit. Paul was never tutored by the apostles and only met Peter briefly in Jerusalem, from Paul's own account in Galatians chapter one.

Acts 13
42And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
45But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

Remember the quote from Romans as to why the Gentiles?

Romans 11:11
11I say then, Have they (Israel) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them (Israel) to jealousy.

We see the envy here in operation.

Acts 13
46Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
47For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
48And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
49And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
50But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
51But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

(60 miles - Konya, Turkey)

Acts 13
52And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

We know the believers were baptized in the Holy Ghost, as noted in this last verse. There are few details regarding their conversion.

Acts 14
1And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
2But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
3Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
4But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
5And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
6They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
7And there they preached the gospel.

Couple points here - of course the Jews again stirred up the people against them. "Their hands", is attributed the sign and wonders to both Paul and Barnabas. I also noticed here the word "grace" is used regarding the gospel message and is for the first time mentioned to both Jew and Gentile, through Paul.

Acts 14
8And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked:
9The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
11And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.

Acts 3:4 "Peter, fastening his eyes upon him" This is a miracle which mirrors that of Peter, this time a Gentile.

Acts 14
12And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
13Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.
14Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
15And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
16Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
17Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
18And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
19And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
20Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

This is one of the times I believe Paul was referring to in 2Cor 11:23 "deaths oft". It was a miracle none-the-less. Those of us who are hunters know when our prey is dead. Paul was not the first man ever stoned by these people and I am sure not the last. He was dead. For Paul to raise up and walk back to the people that stoned him was a message, "Fear the Lord! For he raised this man from the dead before your eyes!"

Acts 14
21And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch (in Pisidia),
22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
23And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

These elders were probably originally devout Jews who believed in Jesus Christ and knew the Old Testament scriptures and would be able to teach the people and expound the scriptures to preach the gospel to gain new converts.

"that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." Tribulation, what did he mean?

  • Sickness? - No
  • War? - No
  • Famine? - No
  • Natural Disasters? - No

"Tribulation" at the hands of religious zealots, filled with wrath and envy, to thwart the grace of God. The spirit of anti-christ is already at work here in this first missionary journey in what is now known as Turkey.



Acts 14
24And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
25And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:
26And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
27And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
28And there they abode long time with the disciples.

We know from Paul's own account, in Galatians chapters 1 and 2, there are 17 years between Acts chapter 9, the conversion of Paul, and Acts chapter 15, the counsel at Jerusalem with Paul and the 11 apostles. This would make Acts chapters 13 and 14 a ten year period in total, because James was martyred in 44 A.D.

At this juncture, the main threat to Christianity is the very people Christ came to save, Israel! Judaism and Mosaic Law is the very antithesis to the gospel message. Am I against Jews? NO! Was Paul against Jews? NO! As a matter of fact he was wholly for them, and reminded us they are God's chosen people even still, in the book of Romans.

Romans 11:20-21
20Well; because of unbelief they (Israel) were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21For if God spared not the natural branches (Israel), take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Why do I keep harping on the point that from Acts 1 to Acts 12 was the gospel preached to Jew only (and they continued in the temple under Mosaic Law), with one solitary exception? Because the Apostle Paul was shown the "Mystery" that salvation would come to the Gentiles by faith alone, not by circumcision nor by keeping Mosaic Law. Paul harped on it continually. Paul was wholly against the "corruption of the simplicity that is in Christ" (2Cor 11:3).

Salvation is obtained not of any works of the law or religious ceremony, but only through faith, in the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, being sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, forever, so that we might have everlasting life!