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Summary: Acts 13:1-14:28 tells of Paul’s first missionary journey, which he made in the Company of Barnabas; but, in this lesson (Acts 13:1-3), Barnabas and Saul, are Divinely called to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, are set apart and Sent Forth by the Church...

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August 11, 2014

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson: IV.A.1: The Holy Spirit Set Paul and Barnabas Apart (13:1-3)

Scripture (Acts 13:1-3; KJV)

1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Introduction

Acts 13:1-14:28 tells of Paul’s first missionary journey, which he made in the Company of Barnabas; but, in this lesson (Acts 13:1-3), Barnabas and Saul, are Divinely called to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, are set apart and Sent Forth by the Church at Antioch.

The first seven chapters of this book might be titled, The Church among the Jews; the next five (chapters eight through twelve), The Church in Transition from Jews to Gentiles; and the last sixteen (chapters thirteen through twenty-eight), The Church among the Gentiles. Though Christianity had already spread beyond the limits of Palestine, still the Church continued to be a stranger to formal missionary effort. Casual occurrences, particularly the persecution at Jerusalem (Acts 8:2), had up till then brought about the spreading of the Gospel. It was from Antioch that teachers were first sent forth with the definite purpose of spreading Christianity, and organizing churches, with regular organizations and traditions—“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” (Ac 14:23).In every church implies that there were elders in each church; that is, that in each church there was more than one. See Acts 15:21, where a similar phraseology occurs, and where it is evident that there was more than one reader of the Law of Moses in each city. Compare Titus 1:5, “I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldst ...ordain elders in every city;” Acts 20:17; “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.” It could not mean, therefore, that they appointed a single minister or pastor to each church, but they committed the whole affairs of the church to a bench of elders.

Commentary

1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch

“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch”may be restated as, “Now there were at Antioch in the church that was there.” This was Antioch in Syria, where there was an existing Gospel church, and where the disciples were first called Christians; from there Saul and Barnabas had been sent to Jerusalemduring a time of famine, with a collection taken-up for the poor saints there, and now they had returned to Antioch. Prophets were a regular part of the ministry of the Church at that time (see Acts 11:27; Acts 21:9, 10; Romans 12:6, 7; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28; 1 Corinthians 13:2; 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Corinthians 14:22, 24, 31, 32; Ephesians 4:11; Acts 4:26). Remember, Luke is writingfrom the standpoint of many years later. The mention and naming of the prophets and teachers in the clauses which follow is intended to indicate how rich Antioch was in prominent resources for sending forth messengers of the Gospel, which was now to take place. Thus the mother-church of Gentile Christianity had become the seminary of the mission to the Gentiles.


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