Improve your sermon prep with our brand new study tools! Learn all about them here.
Sermons

Summary: The Antioch Christians saved up and assisted the Judean Christians when the famine struck. Paul and Barnabas were chosen to take the offering to Jerusalem.

  Study Tools

May 29, 2014

Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson: III.E.4: The Unity in the Church: Antioch to Help Jerusalem (11:27-30)

Note: The Revised Standard Version is used throughout, except for the text, which uses the King James Version.

Scripture (Acts 11:27-30; KJV)

27And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

28And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

29Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:

30Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Introduction

Verses 27-30 relate a special project undertaken by the Antioch church. Agabus, a Christian prophet from Jerusalem, predicted that a severe famine would occur throughout the Roman Empire. A major famine did occur at that time, during the reign of Claudius. The Antioch Christians saved up and assisted the Judean Christians when the famine struck. Paul and Barnabas were chosen to take the offering to Jerusalem.

Commentary

27And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

28And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

29Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:

30Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

“In these days” refers to the year Paul and Barnabas spent in Antioch. Luke, in his characteristic style of not giving the elapsed time between the previous incident and the visit of these prophets from Jerusalem, simply states that “in these days came prophets from Jerusalem.” Agabus was a prophet{2], and he was part of this group of prophets who came to Antioch from Jerusalem (v. 1). This is the first mention of a prophet interacting with a New Testament community. There is ample evidence for such early Christian prophets, and they seem to have largely been itinerate{3], as the present passage would indicate; but there is no evidence that they were in any way ordained to office. The instructions which Paul lays down concerning them (1 Co. 14:29-39) make it clear that their enthusiasm sometimes outran their sense of order and decency. Hence, he gives the injunction to “test the spirits to see whether they are of God (1 John 4:1; 1 Thess 5:20-21{14]). The Pharisees had contended that prophesy was a ministry of the past. The Rabbis were the successors of the prophets and considered themselves as the spokesmen for God. The Christians, however, believed in the continuance of the prophetic function. We meet prophets again in Acts 13:1; 15:32; and 21:10{11]. In Paul’s epistles, it is abundantly clear that the Christian community accepted Prophesy as a valid office in the church (1 Co. 12:28-29{9]; 14:29, 32, 37; Eph. 2:20; 3:5; 4:11).The purpose of true prophesy is not to satisfy our curiosity about the future but to stir up our hearts to do the will of God.


Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion