Home
Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV
KJVNKJVNLTNIVESVHCSBNASB
Version Selector Up Arrow NETRSVASVYLTDBYWEBHNV
RVR60VULWLCLXXmGNTTR  
Version Selector Down Arrow

Search a pre-defined list


OR Select a range of biblical books

From:

To:


OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups:
'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Your Bible Version is the KJV
Version Selector Up Arrow
KJV King James Version
NKJV New King James Version
NLT New Living Translation
NIV New International Version
ESV English Standard Version
HCSB Holman Christian Standard Bible
NASB New American Standard Bible
NET New English Translation
RSV Revised Standard Version
ASV American Standard Version
YLT Young's Literal Translation
DBY Darby Translation
WEB Webster's Bible
HNV Hebrew Names Version
RVR60 Reina-Valera 1960
VUL Latin Vulgate
WLC Westminster Leningrad Codex
LXX Septuagint
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Version Selector Up Arrow
Version Selector Up Arrow

Cite this page

MLA format Copy link to clipboard

Note: MLA no longer requires the URL as part of their citation standard. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs.

APA format Copy link to clipboard
Chicago format Copy link to clipboard
Close
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Version Selector Up Arrow

Share this page using one of these tools:

facebooktwitter

googlepluspinterest

reddittumblrlinkedin


Or email this page to a friend:

Version Selector Up Arrow

Follow the Blue Letter Bible on:

facebooktwitter

pinterestgoogle+


Or subscribe to our Newsletter:

Printable Page
 
 
Left Contextbar EdgeLeft Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge2Prior BookPrior ChapterReturn to CommentariesReturn to Author BiographyNext ChapterNext BookRight Contextbar Edge2Right Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge1
Choose a new font size and typeface

Customize your font sizeIncrease your font sizeDecrease your font sizeReturn to default font size

Choose a Bible text color
Read the Bible in blackRead the Bible in dark blueRead the Bible in blue

Customize your text type
Arial font
Trebuchet MS font
Georgia font
Times New Roman font

Customize your Hebrew text type
SBL Hebrew font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Customize your Greek text type
Gentium font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Close font preferences
The Blue Letter Bible
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV
KJVNKJVNLTNIVESVHCSBNASB
Version Selector Up Arrow NETRSVASVYLTDBYWEBHNV
RVR60VULWLCLXXmGNTTR  
Version Selector Down Arrow
 [?]

Advanced Options

Search a pre-defined list


OR Select a range of biblical books

From:

To:


OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

LexiConc
 [?]
 

Advanced Options

Exact Match
Beginning of the Word
Any Part of the Word
Theological FAQs
 [?]
 
Multi-Verse Retrieval
x
Search KJV
KJVNKJVNLTNIVESVHCSBNASB
Version Selector Up Arrow NETRSVASVYLTDBYWEBHNV
RVR60VULWLCLXXmGNTTR  
Version Selector Down Arrow

Line-By-Line Order:
Line-By-Line Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Line-By-Line Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Line-By-Line Separate Line  Separate Line
Line-By-Line Verse Only  Verse Only
Line-By-Line Reference Only  Reference Only
Reference Delimiters:
No Reference Delimiters  None — Jhn 1:1 KJV
Square Reference Delimiters  Square — [Jhn 1:1 KJV]
Curly Reference Delimiters  Curly — {Jhn 1:1 KJV}
Parenthesis Reference Delimiters  Parens — (Jhn 1:1 KJV)
Paragraph Order:
Paragraph Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Paragraph Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Paragraph Reference-Only  Reference-Only
Number Delimiters:*
No Verse Numbers  No Number
No Verse Delimeters  No Delimiter — 15
Square Verse Delimiters  Square — [15]
Curly Verse Delimiters  Curly — {15}
Parenthesis Verse Delimiters  Parens — (15)
Other Options:
Abbreviate Books  Abbreviate Books
Quotes Around Verses  Quotes around Verses
Remove Square Brackets  Remove Square Brackets
 
Sort Canonically  Sort Canonically

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect
x

Connect on TwitterConnect on FacebookConnect on InstagramConnect on PinterestConnect on Google Plus

Receive our Blue Letter Bible Newsletter

Daily Devotionals
x

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans
x

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Acts 14

toggle collapse

The Conclusion of the First Missionary Journey

A. In the city of Iconium.

1. (Act 14:1) Paul and Barnabas have evangelistic success in Iconium.

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.

a. They went together to the synagogue of the Jews: Again, notice that they follow the familiar pattern for evangelism, beginning in the Jewish synagogue.

b. So spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed: Paul and Barnabas have success among the Jews and the Greeks, presenting the same gospel to both. The fact that Jews and... Greeks believed shows that Paul preached the same thing to both groups: That salvation is in Jesus, and we appropriate it by our belief (trust in, reliance on) in Him.

i. The success is refreshing, because they had just been kicked out of Pisidian Antioch, after much success there (Acts 13:50).

ii. Because Paul was inclined to stay in a region for an extended period of time, strengthening the churches and working where evangelistic efforts had already borne fruit, perhaps we should see the kind of persecution Paul had in Pisidian Antioch as God's way of moving him on to other fields.

2. (Act 14:2-6) Successful ministry in Iconium creates opposition, forcing Paul and Barnabas out of town.

But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. 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. But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.

a. Speaking boldly in the Lord: Paul and Barnabas did what they always did, they preached boldly despite the opposition, bearing witness to the word of His grace and touching others with the power of Jesus.

i. Granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands: "For no apostle could work a miracle by himself; nor was any sign or wonder wrought even by the greatest apostle, but by a special grant or dispensation of God. This power was not resident in them at all times." (Clarke)

b. Therefore they stayed a long time: They stayed as long as they could, despite the opposition, leaving only when it was absolutely necessary.

i. Why did Paul and Barnabas decide to stay a long time if there was opposition arising? Because they knew that these Christians would need all the grounding they could get to stand strong in a city with much opposition.

c. Paul and Barnabas preached the word of His grace, because that is the only word by which both Jews and Gentiles can be saved on an equal basis.

i. "The gospel is here called the message of his grace because divine grace is its subject matter." (Bruce)

d. A violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, they became aware of it and fled: When forced to, Paul and Barnabas leave Iconium for Lystra (some twenty miles away) and Derbe. This shows that Paul and Barnabas did not rush headlong towards martyrdom. They did what they could to preserve their lives.

B. In the cities of Lystra and Derbe.

1. (Act 14:7-10) In Lystra, a lame man is healed.

And they were preaching the gospel there. And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet!" And he leaped and walked.

a. And they were preaching the gospel there: Paul and Barnabas did many miraculous works, one of which is recorded in the following passage. But they were not traveling as miracle workers. Their focus was always preaching the gospel.

b. This man heard Paul speaking: The crippled man heard Paul preach about Jesus. When he heard about Jesus, he knew that Jesus could touch his life. A person can hear God's word, but never come to the place where they receive God's touch personally.

c. Paul saw that this man had faith to be healed; God is not obligated to heal because of our faith, but many people do not receive from God simply because they do not have faith.

d. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed: How could Paul "see" this man's faith? Obviously, God gave him the gift of discernment at that moment to minister to this man. From Paul's boldness, we can also surmise that God gave him the gift of faith, to believe God would heal the man right then and there.

i. "That this lame man had faith was made plain by his ready obedience to Paul's command to stand up." (Bruce)

2. (Act 14:11-13) The excited crowd in Lystra declares Paul and Barnabas are Greek gods, visiting the earth.

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 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 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.

a. The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men! These people saw a stupendous miracle happen before their eyes, yet their idea of who God is has not changed. Therefore it seemed logical to them to consider Paul and Barnabas gods.

i. Notice that the miracle merely attracted attention, and in a way, it was unwanted attention. The miracle itself saved no one.

b. Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. In Greek mythology, it was common for the "gods" to come to earth in human form, though they did not always do so for the good of man.

i. The people in Lystra had a legend that once Zeus and Hermes had visited their land disguised as mortals, and no one gave them any hospitality except for one older couple. In their anger at the people, Zeus and Hermes wiped out the whole population, except for the old couple. No wonder the people of Lystra were so quick to honor Paul and Barnabas!

c. Hermes was known as the messenger of the gods, so it made sense to the Lystrians that Paul (the more talkative one) would be Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

d. Saying in the Lycaonian language: "The crowd's use of Lycaonian explains why Paul and Barnabas did not grasp what was afoot until the preparations to pay them divine homage were well advanced." (Bruce)

i. But when Paul and Barnabas saw the priest of Zeus, with oxen and garlands … intending to sacrifice, they knew things had gotten out of hand!

3. (Act 14:14-18) Paul appeals to the crowd, asking them to recognize the true God instead of worshipping Paul and Barnabas.

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 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, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 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." And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.

a. They tore their clothes: They did this for two reasons. First to show that they were completely human, just as the Lycaonians. Second, out of an instinctively Jewish reaction to terrible blasphemy. For Paul and Barnabas, it wasn't just inconvenient that they were called gods; it was blasphemy.

b. That you should turn from these useless things: These were strong words from Paul to people who took their pagan worship seriously, but Paul wasn't afraid to confront this mob with the truth. And the truth was that their idolatry was wrong.

c. Paul is preaching to a pagan audience, and before he can tell them about Jesus and what He has done, he must turn the hearts of the people from these useless things to the living God. Jesus just can't be "added" to their pagan ways.

d. To the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them: Paul calls the Lystrian crowd to consider the real God, the One who stands behind all creation, not one of the lesser (and imaginary) Greek gods.

i. The things Paul mentions in Acts 14:17 (He did good … gave us rain from heaven … and fruitful seasons … filling our hearts with food and gladness) were just the kind of things these people would think that Zeus would give them. Paul is letting them know these blessings come from the true God who lives in heaven, not from Zeus.

e. God's kindness to all men (in giving rain and fruitful crops) should be seen as a witness of His love and power, something theologians call common grace.

i. Paul did not preach to these pagan worshippers the same way he preached to Jews or those acquainted with Judaism. He does not quote the Old Testament to them, but instead appeals to natural revelation, the things which even a pagan can understand by looking at the world around them.

f. And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them: even with all this, Paul and Barnabas had an extremely difficult time challenging the wrong conceptions of God held by these Lystrians.

4. (19-20a) Persecution follows Paul.

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. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city.

a. Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came: These Jews were not content to kick Paul out of their own region (Acts 14:5-6); they followed him and brought their persecution with them.

i. Some of these persecuting Jews from Antioch and Iconium would have traveled more than one hundred miles just to make Paul miserable!

b. Having persuaded the multitudes: They incited the people of Lystra against Paul and Barnabas, and instigated the stoning of Paul. This was obviously an attempt to execute Paul and Barnabas - with the rocks being thrown by the same people who wanted to worship them a short time before!

i. We are amazed at how fickle the crowd is; apparently, their admiration of the miracle and desire to honor Paul and Barnabas as gods was extremely short-lived.

ii. It is such a dangerous thing for any spiritual leader to cultivate or allow a kind of "hero-worship." The same people who honor you one day will feel terribly betrayed when you show yourself human.

c. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city: Paul was miraculously preserved here. Some think that he was even actually killed and raised to life again, because stoning was a pretty reliable form of execution.

i. When Paul later says I bear in my body the marks of Jesus (Galatians 6:17), he may have had in mind the scars from this incident. He certainly later refers to this stoning in 2 Corinthians 11:25.

ii. It has been suggested that the heavenly vision described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 took place at this attack. This is possible, but only conjecture.

d. Paul must have thought of Stephen when he was being stoned, and how he had been a part of Stephen's stoning (Acts 7:58-8:1).

e. He rose up and went into the city: When Paul was revived, he did not flee the city that stoned him. Instead he immediately went back into it. He had been driven out of Antioch and Iconium by this traveling mob, and he was going to leave Lystra on his own terms!

i. In Acts 16:1, we learn of a young Christian in Lystra and his mother - Timothy. Perhaps Timothy saw all this and was inspired to the high call of the gospel by noticing Paul's courage and power in ministry.

5. (20b-21a) Paul leaves Lystra for the city of Derbe, where they find more evangelistic success.

And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples.

a. When they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples: despite the persecution they found in Lystra, the work of God continues. It just continued in a different place, Derbe. But Paul and Barnabas continue their work: preaching the gospel and making disciples.

C. The return trip home to Syrian Antioch.

1. (21b-22) The message of Paul and Barnabas on the return trip.

They returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 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."

a. Strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith: As Paul and Barnabas decided to head back home to Antioch, they passed through the cities they had visited before, to strengthen and encourage the Christians in those cities. Paul and Barnabas wanted to do far more than get conversions; they had a passion to make disciples.

i. How many Christians need strengthening in their souls! How many need exhorting … to continue in the faith! It is no small thing to walk with the Lord, year after year, trial after trial. It takes a strong soul and an encouraged faith.

b. How did Paul and Barnabas strengthen and exhort these disciples? By bringing a simple message, born of Paul's personal experience: We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God. Paul could preach that message because he had lived that message!

i. Sadly, for many people, this is a forgotten message. They consider any kind of tribulation completely counter-productive to Christian living, failing to note the significant place suffering has in God's plan for us.

2. (Act 14:23) The work of Paul and Barnabas on the way home.

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

a. Paul and Barnabas were committed to not just making new Christians, but in establishing new churches, places where these new Christians could grow and be established in the Lord.

b. When they had appointed elders in every church: Paul and Barnabas knew that these churches must have proper administration, so they appointed elders in every city where there were Christians.

i. "It has more than once been pointed out that more recent missionary policy would have thought it dangerously idealistic to recognize converts of only a few weeks' standing as leaders in their churches; perhaps Paul and Barnabas were more conscious of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the believing communities." (Bruce)

c. And prayed with fasting: Paul and Barnabas demonstrated their great concern for the health of these churches by their prayer and fasting.

d. But in the end, they can only trust in God's ability to keep these churches healthy, having commended them to the Lord, because it is in the Lord they had believed, not in Paul or Barnabas or the elders. The church belongs to Jesus.

3. (Act 14:24-26) The itinerary of Paul and Barnabas on the way home.

And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.

a. The words the work which they had completed are beautiful, yet only partially true. Although the immediate mission was accomplished, the work of planting new churches and strengthening existing ones has never ended.

4. (Act 14:27-28) Paul and Barnabas arrive back in Antioch.

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. So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

a. They reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles: Their success with evangelism among the Gentiles, and the blessing of God that it demonstrated, showed that the work which was being done in Antioch was not unique. God wanted to replicate this work all over the world.

b. So they stayed there a long time with the disciples: Back at their home church in Syrian Antioch, we can assume that Paul and Barnabas took a long break and found plenty of ministry to do back there.

c. The trip was a great success, though not without great obstacles: The difficulty of travel itself, the confrontation with Elymas on Cyprus, the quitting of John Mark, being driven out of the cities of Antioch and Iconium, the temptation to receive adoration, and being stoned in Lystra. Yet Paul and Barnabas would not be deterred from the work God had them to do.

i. What will it take for you to back down from doing God's will? What kind of temptation or obstacle or opposition will do it? Can we have the heart of Paul and Barnabas and allow nothing to stop us? Nothing stopped Jesus from doing God's will on our behalf; as we look to Him, we won't be stopped either.

ii. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

© 2001 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

Search

Bible Search

Multiverse Retrieval

LexiConc Search

FAQ Search

Browse Dictionary Topics

Bible Reference

Encyclopedias / Dictionaries

Introductions to the Bible

Topical Indexes

Charts and Outlines

Timelines

Maps / Images

Bible Commentaries

Text Commentaries

Audio & Video Commentaries

Theological Resources

Articles / Books

Women's Resources

Don Stewart

BLB Theological

Creeds, Catechisms, and Confessions

Multimedia

Video

Music

Products

Digital Books

Mobile Apps for iPhone / iPad

Mobile blb.org

BLB Offline CDs

Free Web Tools

Devotionals

Email Devotional Sign-Up

BLB Daily Promises

Day by Day by Grace

Morning and Evening

Daily Bible Reading Plan

Help

Video Tutorials

Support

Theological Questions

Website Support

iApp Support

General Questions

Ministries

Sowing Circle

Co-Laboring Ministries

About

About the BLB

Statement of Faith

History

Newsletter

Partnerships

Ministry FAQs

Donate

Donation Information

Contact the BLB

Hotjar - Unlimited insights from your web and mobile sites


BLB Institute

BLB Blog

Email Newsletters

Facebook

Twitter


Blue Letter Bible study tools make reading, searching and studying the Bible easy and rewarding.

Blue Letter Bible is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

©2017 Blue Letter Bible

Loading...

Interlinear
Bibles
Cross-Refs
Commentaries
Dictionaries
Miscellaneous
Verse Tools Arrow
Login

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval

Enter Your
Email or Username

Password

 [?]

 

Why won't my login from the old site work?

Did you forget your password?

Register a new BLB account

Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

Enter Your EmailUsername

First Name

PasswordRe-enter

[ Cancel ]

 

Passwords should have at least 6 characters.
Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Error: That Email / Username is not registered

Enter Your Email or Username

 

Return to Login

Close Login