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Summary: Satan is busy with great men and men in power, in order to keep them from being religious, for their example will influence many. Saul is called Paul for the first time, and never again is he called Saul. Saul was his Hebrew name; Paul was his name....

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August 20, 2014

By: Tom Lowe

Title: Cyprus and the Proconsul (13:4-12)

Scripture (Acts 13:4-12; KJV)

4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

5 And 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.

6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:

7 Which 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.

8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

10 And 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?

11 And 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.

12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

Introduction

Arriving in Cyprus They Preach in the Synagogues of Salamis—At Paphos, Elymas Is Struck Blind, and the Governor of the Island Is Converted.

Satan is busy with great men and men in power, in order to keep them from being religious, for their example will influence many. Saul is called Paul for the first time, and never again is he called Saul. Saul was his Hebrew name; Paul was his name as a citizen of Rome. Under the direct influence of the Holy Ghost, he reveals the true character of Elymas; that he is a child of the devil. The proconsul was astonished at the force of Paul’s doctrine upon his own heart and conscience, and at the power of God by which it was confirmed.

Commentary

4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost

“So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost;”by His express direction. This seems to be inserted to connote that though they were earnestly recommended to God by the prayers of their brethren, their authority was not derived from them, but from the Holy Spirit Himself. It was the Holy Ghost that induced Paul and Barnabas at Antioch to separate themselves from the other prophets and teachers, and to leave Antioch and go to Seleucia and then to Cyprus; and directed them as to the course to steer.

This part of the verse may be only a summary of the previous facts (vs. 1-3), but looking to Acts 16:6-7,—“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, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not”—it seems more probable that they refer to a fresh revelation, following what we should call the “ordination” or “consecration” of the Apostles.

Departed unto Seleucia

“Seleucia” was a city in Syria, also called Seleucia Pieria; it got its name from Seleucus Nicanor, king of Egypt, who was the founder and builder of it: it was not far from Antioch—it is said to be twenty four miles (41 by water) from it. Seleucia was the sea-port for Antioch. It was a free city by a grant from Pompey. It was one of the most important cities in Syria, and was situated on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea at the mouth of the Orontes River. Seleucia united the two characteristics of a fortress and a seaport. Saul and Barnabas did not stay there long; and it seems that their only reason for going there was to obtain passage on a ship bound for the island of Cyprus.

Here, in the midst of sympathizing sailors, the two missionary apostles, with their younger companion, stepped on board the vessel which was to convey them to Cyprus. As they cleared the port, the whole sweep of the bay of Antioch opened on their left—the low ground by the mouth of the Orontes; the wild and woody country beyond it; and then the peak of Mount Casius, rising symmetrically from the very edge of the sea to a height of 5000 feet. On the right, in the southwest horizon, if the day was clear, they saw the island of Cyprus for the first time. The current flows northerly and northeast between the island and the Syrian coast. But with a fair wind, a few hours would enable them to make the run from Seleucia to Salamis, on Cyprus.

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