Ἤκουσαν δὲ οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ οἱ ὄντες κατὰ τὴν Ἰουδαίαν ὅτι καὶ τὰ ἔθνη ἐδέξαντο τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ.
ὅτε δὲ ἀνέβη Πέτρος εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ, διεκρίνοντο πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς
λέγοντες ὅτι Εἰσῆλθες πρὸς ἄνδρας ἀκροβυστίαν ἔχοντας καὶ συνέφαγες αὐτοῖς.
ἀρξάμενος δὲ Πέτρος ἐξετίθετο αὐτοῖς καθεξῆς λέγων·
Ἐγὼ ἤμην ἐν πόλει Ἰόππῃ προσευχόμενος καὶ εἶδον ἐν ἐκστάσει ὅραμα, καταβαῖνον σκεῦός τι ὡς ὀθόνην μεγάλην τέσσαρσιν ἀρχαῖς καθιεμένην ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ ἦλθεν ἄχρι ἐμοῦ·
εἰς ἣν ἀτενίσας κατενόουν καὶ εἶδον τὰ τετράποδα τῆς γῆς καὶ τὰ θηρία καὶ τὰ ἑρπετὰ καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ·
Acts 11:7 ἤκουσα δὲ καὶ φωνῆς λεγούσης μοι· Ἀναστάς, Πέτρε, θῦσον καὶ φάγε.
Acts 11:8 εἶπον δέ· Μηδαμῶς, κύριε, ὅτι κοινὸν ἢ ἀκάθαρτον οὐδέποτε εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸ στόμα μου.
Acts 11:9 ἀπεκρίθη δὲ φωνὴ ἐκ δευτέρου ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ· Ἃ ὁ θεὸς ἐκαθάρισεν σὺ μὴ κοίνου.
Acts 11:10 τοῦτο δὲ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ τρίς, καὶ ἀνεσπάσθη πάλιν ἅπαντα εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν.
Acts 11:11 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐξαυτῆς τρεῖς ἄνδρες ἐπέστησαν ἐπὶ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐν ᾗ ἦμεν, ἀπεσταλμένοι ἀπὸ Καισαρείας πρός με.
Acts 11:12 εἶπεν δὲ τὸ πνεῦμά μοι συνελθεῖν αὐτοῖς μηδὲν διακρίναντα. ἦλθον δὲ σὺν ἐμοὶ καὶ οἱ ἓξ ἀδελφοὶ οὗτοι, καὶ εἰσήλθομεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ ἀνδρός.
Acts 11:13 ἀπήγγειλεν δὲ ἡμῖν πῶς εἶδεν τὸν ἄγγελον ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ σταθέντα καὶ εἰπόντα· Ἀπόστειλον εἰς Ἰόππην καὶ μετάπεμψαι Σίμωνα τὸν ἐπικαλούμενον Πέτρον,
Acts 11:14 ὃς λαλήσει ῥήματα πρὸς σὲ ἐν οἷς σωθήσῃ σὺ καὶ πᾶς ὁ οἶκός σου.
Acts 11:15 ἐν δὲ τῷ ἄρξασθαί με λαλεῖν ἐπέπεσεν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς ὥσπερ καὶ ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς ἐν ἀρχῇ.
Acts 11:16 ἐμνήσθην δὲ τοῦ ῥήματος τοῦ κυρίου ὡς ἔλεγεν· Ἰωάννης μὲν ἐβάπτισεν ὕδατι, ὑμεῖς δὲ βαπτισθήσεσθε ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ.
Acts 11:17 εἰ οὖν τὴν ἴσην δωρεὰν ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ὁ θεὸς ὡς καὶ ἡμῖν πιστεύσασιν ἐπὶ τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, ἐγὼ τίς ἤμην δυνατὸς κωλῦσαι τὸν θεόν;
Acts 11:18 ἀκούσαντες δὲ ταῦτα ἡσύχασαν καὶ ἐδόξασαν τὸν θεὸν λέγοντες· Ἄρα καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὁ θεὸς τὴν μετάνοιαν εἰς ζωὴν ἔδωκεν.
Οἱ μὲν οὖν διασπαρέντες ἀπὸ τῆς θλίψεως τῆς γενομένης ἐπὶ Στεφάνῳ διῆλθον ἕως Φοινίκης καὶ Κύπρου καὶ Ἀντιοχείας μηδενὶ λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον εἰ μὴ μόνον Ἰουδαίοις.
Therefore, those who were fleeing from the persecution, the one becoming to Stephen, passed through until Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but not speaking the word except to Jews alone.
Paraphrase: Meanwhile, the persecution continued and was even hotter now that Stephen had been executed. The believers continued to flee in all directions some coming to the region of Phoenicia while others reached as far as Cyprus and Antioch. Recall, Theophilus, that Cyprus was where Barnabas had grown up. (Acts 4:36) Also, the deacon Nicolas had been born in Antioch. (Acts 6:5) These Christians carried the word of the gospel with them wherever they went, most of them speaking only to Jewish people about Jesus.
ἦσαν δέ τινες ἐξ αὐτῶν ἄνδρες Κύπριοι καὶ Κυρηναῖοι, οἵτινες ἐλθόντες εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν ἐλάλουν καὶ πρὸς τοὺς Ἑλληνιστάς, εὐαγγελιζόμενοι τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν.
But there were certain of them, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who coming to Antioch, they were speaking to the Greeks proclaiming the Lord Jesus.
Paraphrase: Some of these believers, however, did not limit their speaking in this way. They also came to Antioch and began telling everyone about Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles alike. These believers were mostly from the island of Cyprus while others were from the region of Cyrene. Since they understood that forgiveness of sins was available to anyone who believed in Jesus (Acts 2:48) and that one did not need to become a proselyte to the Jewish religion in order to be saved (Acts 10:28, 34-35; ), they saw no reason to withhold the gospel from the Gentiles.
καὶ ἦν χεὶρ κυρίου μετ’ αὐτῶν, πολύς τε ἀριθμὸς ὁ πιστεύσας ἐπέστρεψεν ἐπὶ τὸν κύριον.
and the hand of the Lord was with them; great number who had believed, turned to the Lord.
Paraphrase: The hand of God was upon these men and women as they fled from Jerusalem and found homes elsewhere. They had understood the gospel message and turned to Jesus and confessed, “Jesus is Lord!” Now God gave them a voice to speak and to testify to the grace of God as found in the good news about Jesus.
χεὶρ κυρίου refers to God the Father; ἐπὶ τὸν κύριον refers to Jesus showing how the early church regarded them as equals.
ἠκούσθη δὲ ὁ λόγος εἰς τὰ ὦτα τῆς ἐκκλησίας τῆς οὔσης ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ περὶ αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐξαπέστειλαν Βαρναβᾶν ἕως Ἀντιοχείας·
Now a word was heard in the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem concerning them, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
Paraphrase: Now over time, word finally reached the church in Jerusalem as to what was happening in Antioch. Some of the believers were concerned that the truth of God was being compromised by allowing these Gentiles to enter the kingdom of God. These Christians insisted that the Jewish rituals which had occupied such a large place in their religion were still binding on those who had come to Christ. At the very least, they insisted, a person must be circumcised if he or she is going to be really and truly saved. (Acts 15:1) A growing body of Christians, however, said that since forgiveness of sins was received by faith in Jesus alone, there was no need for anyone to proselyte to the Jewish religion, nor did anyone need to adopt any of the Jewish rituals in order to be saved. These Christians pointed to the recent experiences of Peter and Philip as proof that God no longer wanted them to think of the Gentiles as unclean. (Acts 11:18) Increasingly, the early church began to polarize around this issue. In terms of what was happening in Antioch, the leadership finally decided to send Barnabas to this city to investigate and to bring back a report. They urged him to assess the situation carefully and to ensure that the believers there were remaining true to the teachings of Jesus. (Acts 11:23)
ὃς παραγενόμενος καὶ ἰδὼν τὴν χάριν τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἐχάρη καὶ παρεκάλει πάντας τῇ προθέσει τῆς καρδίας προσμένειν τῷ κυρίῳ,
Who arriving and seeing the grace, that is the grace of God, he rejoiced and exhorted all, with purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord.
Paraphrase: Having received his commission, Barnabas left for Antioch. When he arrived, he was overjoyed at what he saw. Everywhere, he saw the grace of God at work. He saw Gentiles renouncing their former manner of living and laying aside their old self. He saw their minds being renewed by the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:22, 23) Stealing and unwholesome talk were rejected and replaced with diligent work and words of edification. (Ephesians 4:28, 29) Bitterness, wrath, anger, harsh words, slander, and all other kinds of malicious behavior were replaced with kindness, a tender-hearted spirit towards each other, and forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:31-32) The disciples in Antioch received Barnabas gladly and were eager to learn all they could from him. He taught them all he could at every opportunity. “Stay true to the teachings of Jesus,” he told them over and over. “Reject all the other philosophies which you hear in this day; don’t give your ear to every wandering teacher who comes into town. Maintain a stubborn resolve to remain true to the teaching of our Great God and King, Jesus Christ.”
ὅτι ἦν ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς καὶ πλήρης πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ πίστεως. καὶ προσετέθη ὄχλος ἱκανὸς τῷ κυρίῳ.
Because he was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and faith and a great crowd was added to the Lord.
Paraphrase: I don’t know if you ever had the privilege of meeting Barnabas, Theophilus, but he was such a wonderful man. He did so much good for the believers in Antioch. He really was a man full of the Holy Spirit and with an unshakeable faith in God. So many people in Antioch were saved as a result of what God was able to do through his ministry.
ἐξῆλθεν δὲ εἰς Ταρσὸν ἀναζητῆσαι Σαῦλον,
But he departed to Tarsus to look for Saul.
Paraphrase: Unfortunately, the work was just too much for one man to handle, and Barnabas was a man with enough humility to know his own limits. When he saw his need for help and the great need of the Antiochene church for further teaching and instruction, he knew immediately what to do. Some time previous, Barnabas had met Saul when Saul had come to Jerusalem after fleeing persecution in Damascus. (Acts 9:27) Barnabas had taken Saul under his wing and introduced him to the disciples. Unfortunately, the Jews got wind of Saul’s presence in Jerusalem and began to hunt him down. At this point, Barnabas and the others decided that it would be best for Saul to return to Tarsus. This fact now flashed into Barnabas’s mind; Saul would be perfect for this situation! Not only was he thoroughly conversant with the vast body of Jewish learning which occupied the Jewish schools, but he also believed firmly that God had called him to bring the gospel to Gentiles. Without any further delay, Barnabas set off to find Saul in Tarsus.
καὶ εὑρὼν ἤγαγεν εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν. ἐγένετο δὲ αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐνιαυτὸν ὅλον συναχθῆναι ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ καὶ διδάξαι ὄχλον ἱκανόν, χρηματίσαι τε πρώτως ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ τοὺς μαθητὰς Χριστιανούς.
and finding, he led to Antioch. Now it came to be for them even a full year to gather with the church and to teach a great crowd. (disciples to be called “Christians” first in Antioch)
Paraphrase: Finally, Barnabas found Paul and brought him to Antioch. There, they set right to work gathering the Christians together and teaching them the truths of the Christian faith. Crowds of people gathered together anxious to hear these truths explained and applied. By the way, Theophilus, you might also be interested to know that it was here in Antioch that believers were first called “Christians.”
Ἐν ταύταις δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις κατῆλθον ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων προφῆται εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν·
Now in these days, prophets departed from Jerusalem to Antioch.
Paraphrase: Another interesting fact which happened during this time was the arrival of several prophets who had come from the church in Jerusalem. These prophets were men with a special gift from God. (1 Corinthians 14:39) They had been given special insight into the meaning of Holy Scripture; and on occasion, God even spoke directly to them. Paul and Barnabas welcomed this additional help.
ἀναστὰς δὲ εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν ὀνόματι Ἅγαβος ἐσήμανεν διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος λιμὸν μεγάλην μέλλειν ἔσεσθαι ἐφ’ ὅλην τὴν οἰκουμένην· ἥτις ἐγένετο ἐπὶ Κλαυδίου.
Now one of these named Agabus, standing, indicated through the Spirit a great famine was about to be on all the country which happened in Claudius.
Paraphrase: One of these prophets was a young (Acts 21:10) man named Agabus. At one of their meetings, this man stood up and told those gathered that God had shown him that a terrible famine was about to come on that country. Looking back on this prophecy, Theophilus, we can see the truth of what Agabus was saying. I am sure that you yourself can remember the terrible famines which came during the reign of Claudius.
Note Gloag’s comment on the age of Agabus. See as well his comments on the terrible famines that ravaged the Roman world during the reign of Claudius.
τῶν δὲ μαθητῶν καθὼς εὐπορεῖτό τις ὥρισαν ἕκαστος αὐτῶν εἰς διακονίαν πέμψαι τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἀδελφοῖς·
Now the disciples as they were well off, each of them marked out something for the ministry to send to the brothers dwelling in Judea.
Paraphrase: Now as soon as the believers heard of this dreadful famine actually taking place as Agabus had prophesied, they came together and resolved to provide some relief to their brothers and sisters in Judea. Each, as they were able, set aside some money and gave it to the deacons who collected the funds and prepared to send it to those suffering from the effects of this famine.
ὃ καὶ ἐποίησαν ἀποστείλαντες πρὸς τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους διὰ χειρὸς Βαρναβᾶ καὶ Σαύλου.
which even they did sending to the elders through the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
Paraphrase: Once the gift was ready, the elders decided to ask Barnabas and Saul to take the money to Jerusalem and to see to it that it was distributed to those who needed it.
Although Jerusalem is not explicitly mentioned here, this is typically counted as Paul’s second trip to Jerusalem and is known as the “relief visit.” In keeping with the South Galatian theory, this would also be when the events recorded in Galatians 2 took place.