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Acts 14-16

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Acts Chapter 14

Iconium, from the Greek Ikonion, was the capital city of Lycaonia, in Asia Minor (today Turkey), situated about 120 miles / 195 kilometers inland from The Mediterranean Sea. In Paul's time, it was one of the major cities of the Roman province of Galatia (see Ancient Empires - Rome). Iconium's location, on a major road that led to Ephesus and Rome to the west, was visited by Paul and his associates during all three of his missionary travels (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey).

As happened almost everywhere else, in Iconium the Gospel was welcomed by some, while rejected by others who were still awaiting The Cure For The Carnal Mind.

Paul's First Missionary Journey

"14:1 And 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. 14:2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. 14:3 Long 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. 14:4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 14:5 And 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, 14:6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 14:7 And there they preached the gospel." (Acts 14:1-7 KJV)

The miracles done, by The Spirit Of God, through the apostles, as a testimony to the Gospel that they preached, were sometimes misunderstood by pagan-god worshippers. Should they not have seen the obvious difference, that lifeless idols cannot perform miracles? Yes, they should have, but they also may have been exposed to false "miracles" done by and with idols, by the power of Satan, which is nothing new, before and since e.g "weeping statues" in Roman churches (see also What Would Mary Really Say About Idolatry?; also Revelation 13 and Satan's Throne). At any rate, when Paul told them that their idols were not only worthless, but also evil (see Thou shalt not make any graven image), they "stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead."

The Ten Commandments

"14:8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: 14:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 14:10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

14:11 And 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. 14:12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.

14:14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 14:15 And 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: 14:16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 14:17 Nevertheless 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. 14:18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.

14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul (see Stoning), drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 14:20 Howbeit, 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." (Acts 14:8-20 KJV)

The return to Antioch in Syria was made by a very different Paul than the Saul who had left (see also Saul The Benjamite, Paul The Christian Jew). He departed on the journey "green," under the wing of Barnabas, but he returned battle-hardened and ready for all that was to come. The zealous Pharisee had become an even-more zealous Christianos.

"14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 14:22 Confirming the souls [see Where Is Your Soul?] of the disciples [see Prove To Be My Disciples], and exhorting them to continue in the faith [see Faith and Works] , and that we must through much tribulation [see No Pain, No Gain] enter into The Kingdom of God. 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. 14:24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 14:25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:

14:26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church [see What Is The Church?] together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. 14:28 And there they abode long time with the disciples." (Acts 14:21-28 KJV)

Acts Chapter 15

Paul's return to Jerusalem was at a time when many non-Israelite people were turning to Christ (while, ironically, many of Christ's own people of Judah still rejected Him, exactly as prophesied i.e. see The Apostle To The Gentiles). Paul then proclaimed the same lesson that The Lord had given to Peter (see Peter's Noonday Vision) - that salvation is open to anyone who repents and truly obeys God.

The "council at Jerusalem" was one of the very few recorded times when the apostles Peter and Paul were together, or even mentioned each other - they looked to each other for neither knowledge or leadership; they both looked only to Christ (see Who Did Peter Have Authority Over?).

The Temple

"15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses [see also The Education Of Moses and Why Did Christ Put Moses To Death?], ye cannot be saved. 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees [note that Paul himself was a Pharisee, as was Nicodemus to whom Christ had given the famous "born again" teaching - see Born Again, How and When?] which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter [see Peter's Ministry] rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

15:12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 15:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15:15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

15:16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David [see Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah and Zionism], which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world [see Christ The Creator].

15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." (Acts 15:1-21 KJV)

The council then sent a letter (see also Epistles) to the Gentile believers (again to emphasize, Israel was founded by and from "gentiles" - e.g. see Israel's Iraqi Roots and Abraham Wasn't A Jew).

"15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 15:23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner;

The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:

15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 15:25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 15:28 For it seemed good to The Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood [see also Clean and Unclean], and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

15:30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: 15:31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. 15:32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. 15:33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles. 15:34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. 15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also." (Acts 15:22-35 KJV)

By necessity, the apostles were strong-willed men, who were beholding to Christ, not each other (there was a security logic to that as well - when one was killed, it never affected any command structure because Christ was in command and everyone was serving directly under Him). Being imperfect humans, they sometimes disagreed among themselves, as happened in this example between Paul and Barnabas. Note that when they parted company, Barnabas again went to preach in his native Cyprus, while Paul again went to preach in his native Turkey.

"15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark [see John Mark]. 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 15:39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches." (Acts 15:36-41 KJV)

Acts Chapter 16

Paul's Second Missionary Journey was longer, in time and distance, than his first journey (see Paul's First Missionary Journey; also Paul's Third Missionary Journey). This time, Timothy and Silas accompanied him.

Paul's Second Missionary Journey

"16:1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus [i.e. Timothy], the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 16:2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 16:3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily." (Acts 16:1-5 KJV)

Paul's vision of the man of Macedonia resulted in the Gospel crossing from Asia into Europe.

"16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 16:7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 16:8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night [see also Visions and Dreams]; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them." (Acts 16:6-10 KJV)

Paul then sailed across the northern Aegean Sea from Troas to Neapolis.

The Aegean Sea

"16:11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 16:12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of Purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us." (Acts 16:11-15 KJV)

While Paul and Silas found many believers in Macedonia, as with everywhere else, there were also those who opposed the Truth, particularly when the power of God was shown to be superior to demons. After they were arrested, tortured and thrown in prison, The Lord rescued them - with the result that even the jailer was converted.

Prison

"16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination [see also Familiar Spirits] met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

16:19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 16:20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 16:21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans [see Ancient Empires - Rome].

16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into Prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

16:35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. 16:36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.

16:37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

16:38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. 16:39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. 16:40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed." (Acts 16:16-40 KJV)

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