a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Barnabas and Saul Commissioned


Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

The Apostles Preach in Cyprus

4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John also to assist them. 6When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. 7He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. 8But the magician Elymas (for that is the translation of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11And now listen—the hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind for a while, unable to see the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he went about groping for someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia

13 Then Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem; 14but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading of the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, give it.” 16So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:

“You Israelites, and others who fear God, listen. 17The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18For about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance 20for about four hundred fifty years. After that he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’ 23Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised; 24before his coming John had already proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25And as John was finishing his work, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.’

26 “My brothers, you descendants of Abraham’s family, and others who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. 27Because the residents of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize him or understand the words of the prophets that are read every sabbath, they fulfilled those words by condemning him. 28Even though they found no cause for a sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him killed. 29When they had carried out everything that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead; 31and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are now his witnesses to the people. 32And we bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors 33he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm,

‘You are my Son;

today I have begotten you.’

34 As to his raising him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,

‘I will give you the holy promises made to David.’

35 Therefore he has also said in another psalm,

‘You will not let your Holy One experience corruption.’

36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died, was laid beside his ancestors, and experienced corruption; 37but he whom God raised up experienced no corruption. 38Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; 39by this Jesus everyone who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40Beware, therefore, that what the prophets said does not happen to you:


‘Look, you scoffers!

Be amazed and perish,

for in your days I am doing a work,

a work that you will never believe, even if someone tells you.’ ”

42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people urged them to speak about these things again the next sabbath. 43When the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44 The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. 46Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. 47For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles,

so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. 49Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. 50But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. 51So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

33. To their children, namely, to us. It is certain that Paul speaketh of natural children, who had their beginning of the holy fathers, which we must therefore note, because certain brain-sick men, drawing all things unto allegories, dream that there is no respect to be had in this place of kindred, but only of faith. And with such an invention they make the holy covenant of God of none effect, where it is said,

“I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed,”
(Genesis 17:7.)

It is faith (say they) alone which maketh us the children of Abraham. But I say, on the other side, that even those who are born the children of Abraham according to the flesh, are also counted the spiritual children of God, unless they grow out of kind through unbelief 812812     “Nisi sua infidelitate degenerent.” unless they degenerate through their own infidelity. For the boughs be naturally holy, because they spring from a holy root, until they become profane through their own fault, (Romans 11:16.) And assuredly it is Paul’s drift to allure the Jews unto Christ; and that he may do this, they must be distinguished from the common sort by some privilege. And yet it followeth not thereupon (which these knaves do odiously object) that the grace of God is tied to the carnal seed; because, though the promise of life came by inheritance to the posterity of Abraham, yet many were deprived by their unbelief. Therefore faith is the cause, that of a great multitude only a few are counted children. And that is the double election whereof I spake before. The one common to the whole nation alike; because the first adoption of God containeth the whole family of Abraham. The other, which is restrained unto the secret counsel of God, and is at length established by faith, that it may be confirmed to men.

Therefore Paul doth well and truly affirm that that was performed to the Jews which God had promised to the fathers. For it was promised to them also, as Zacharias saith in his song, “The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would give himself for us,” etc. And yet the worthiness of that nation doth not hinder but that the grace of Christ may also spread itself throughout the whole world; because the first-begotten hath the first degree of honor, so that he doth, notwithstanding, leave the second place to his brethren. For in that after the old people were cast off, the possession of the church was left empty for strangers, it began to be a new occasion of gathering the Church of the Gentiles; but and if that people had stood in the faith, the Gentiles had been joined into the common society of honor.

After that he had raised Christ. The word raised, in my judgment reacheth farther than it doth where it is shortly after repeated. For he doth not only say that Christ rose from the dead, but that he was appointed of God, and, as it were, brought to light by the hand of God, that he might fulfill the office of the Messiah, as the Scripture teacheth everywhere that kings and prophets are raised up. 813813     “A Domino,” by the Lord, omitted. For the word αναστησαι is sometimes taken in this sense: And this reason moveth me thus to think, because God, by sending his Son into the world, did fulfill his promise made to his servants in times past, by the effect itself.

Likeas, in the second Psalm. Though the Greek books, 814814     “Codices,” manuscripts. agree in the number, yet we must not pass over that which Erasmus saith, that many of the old writers read the first Psalm. And it may be that Luke wrote so; for that which at this day is counted the second Psalm, might have been called the first not without reason, seeing that it is likely that the first Psalm was added instead of a proem by the scribes and priests, by whose industry the Psalms were gathered into one body. For the name of the author is not set to it, and it doth only exhort to meditate upon the law of God. But there is no great weight in that matter. 815815     “Sed in ea re non est multum momenti,” but the point is not of much importance. For this is the chiefest thing, that we know how properly and how well Paul applieth the testimony taken out of the Psalm unto the matter which he hath in hand. We do not deny that David, when he saw that he was on every side assailed by his enemies, and that they were of greater power and might than that he was able to resist them, doth set against them God’s aid, who he knew was the author of his kingdom and reign. But forasmuch as he was a figure of the true Messiah, we know that those things were shadowed in his person, which do appertain, wholly and perfectly to the Messiah alone. And the text itself doth prove sufficiently that there is not only a simple and bare thanksgiving contained there, agreeable to David’s kingdom, but it is a higher prophecy. For it is well known that David did in his life scarce taste of the hundredth part of the glory which is spoken of in this place, concerning which we have spoken more at large, chapter 4.

Now let us look higher into the words: Kings are indeed called sons of God, (Psalm 82:6.) But seeing that God doth intend to prefer David before all other kings, and to exempt him out of the number of them, this title of honor is given to him principally above all other; not because so great honor resteth in his person, because by this means he should pass 816816     “Praestantior esset,” be more excellent than. the angels, as it is in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 1st chapter. Therefore he is thus gorgeously set out in respect of Christ, whose image he was, that God doth not take him for one of the common sort, or for some one of a great multitude, but he doth, as it were, acknowledge him to be his only begotten Son. The proof followeth, because God did beget him when he established the kingdom in his hand. For that was not done by man’s industry, but God showed from heaven the invincible power of his hand, whereby it might plainly appear that he reigned according to God’s counsel. Therefore this begetting, by him mentioned, must be referred unto the understanding of knowledge of men; to wit, because it was then openly known that he was begotten of God, when as he was set upon the throne of the kingdom wonderfully, contrary to the hope of all men, and did, by the heavenly power of the Spirit, break infinite conspiracies; because he could not reign until he had brought all nations round about him in subjection, as if a certain world were subdued.

Now, let us come unto Christ. He came not into the world without testimony, whereby he did prove that he was the Son of God. For his glory did appear as became the only begotten Son of God, as it is written, John 1:14, and he saith everywhere that he hath God for the witness and maintainer of this honor. Therefore God begat Christ, when he gave him certain marks, whereby he might be known to be his true and lively image and Son. And yet this doth not let but that Christ is the Wisdom begotten of the Eternal Father before time. But that is the secret generation; and now David declareth that it was revealed to men; so that the relation is, as we have said, unto men and not unto God; because that which was hidden in the heart of God was make known to men. And it is a very fine figure, because Christ’s divinity was no less declared and established, than if he had been begotten of God before the eyes of men. I know that Augustine’s deep sight 817817     “Augustini argutiam,” the subtlety of Augustine. doth please some, that by today is meant perpetuity. But when as the Spirit of God himself is his own interpreter, and whereas he doth expound that by the mouth of Paul which he had said by David, we must not invent any other sense. And forasmuch (as the same Paul doth witness) that Christ was declared to be the Son of God in power when he rose from the dead, (Romans 1:4,) we gather that this was the principal token of celestial excellency, and that the Father did then bring him truly to light, that the world might know that he was begotten of him. Therefore, though God began to raise Christ when he came into the world, yet his raising was then, as it were, perfect and full; because whereas he was humbled before, having taken, as it were, the form of a servant, (Philippians 2:7,) he did then appear to be the conqueror of death and the Lord of life; so that he wanted nothing of that majesty which was meet for the Son of God, and that for the only begotten Son.

VIEWNAME is study