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Teks -- Acts 15:1-41 (NET)

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Konteks
The Jerusalem Council
15:1 Now some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot cannot be saved.” 15:2 When Paul and Barnabas had a major argument and debate with them, the church appointed Paul and Barnabas and some others from among them to go up to meet with the apostles and elders in Jerusalem about this point of disagreement. 15:3 So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they were relating at length the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy to all the brothers. 15:4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all the things God had done with them. 15:5 But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of Moses.” 15:6 Both the apostles and the elders met together to deliberate about this matter. 15:7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that some time ago God chose me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message of the gospel and believe. 15:8 And God, who knows the heart, has testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 15:9 and he made no distinction between them and us, cleansing their hearts by faith. 15:10 So now why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are.” 15:12 The whole group kept quiet and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 15:13 After they stopped speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 15:14 Simeon has explained how God first concerned himself to select from among the Gentiles a people for his name. 15:15 The words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written, 15:16 ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the fallen tent of David; I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, 15:17 so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord, namely, all the Gentiles I have called to be my own,’ says the Lord, who makes these things 15:18 known from long ago. 15:19 “Therefore I conclude that we should not cause extra difficulty for those among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 15:20 but that we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood. 15:21 For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times, because he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.” 15:22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to send men chosen from among them, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas, leaders among the brothers, to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. 15:23 They sent this letter with them: From the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greetings! 15:24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said, 15:25 we have unanimously decided decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person. 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell. 15:30 So when they were dismissed, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the entire group together, they delivered the letter. 15:31 When they read it aloud, the people rejoiced at its encouragement. 15:32 Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech. 15:33 After they had spent some time there, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 15:34 [[EMPTY]] 15:35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming (along with many others) the word of the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas Part Company
15:36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord to see how they are doing.” 15:37 Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too, 15:38 but Paul insisted that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work. 15:39 They had a sharp disagreement, so that they parted company. Barnabas took along Mark and sailed away to Cyprus, 15:40 but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters. 15:41 He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
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Nama Orang, Nama Tempat, Topik/Tema Kamus

Nama Orang dan Nama Tempat:
 · Antioch a city in Syria located 15 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea on the Orontes River,a principal city of the province of Pisidia in Asia Minor, west of Iconium.
 · Barnabas a man who was Paul's companion on several of his journeys
 · Barsabbas the surname of the Joseph who was nominated with Matthias to succeed Judas,the surname of Judas, the disciple sent with Silas to Antioch
 · Cilicia a region of SE Asia Minor
 · Cyprus an island country located off the east coast of Cilicia in the Mediterranean,the island of Cyprus
 · David a son of Jesse of Judah; king of Israel,son of Jesse of Judah; king of Israel
 · Gentile a non-Jewish person
 · James a son of Zebedee; brother of John; an apostle,a son of Alpheus; an apostle,a brother of Jesus; writer of the epistle of James,the father (or brother) of the apostle Judas
 · Jerusalem the capital city of Israel,a town; the capital of Israel near the southern border of Benjamin
 · John a son of Zebedee; younger brother of James; the beloved disciple of Christ,a relative of Annas the high priest,a son of Mary the sister of Barnabas, and surnamed Mark,the father of Simon Peter
 · Judas a son of Mary and Joseph; half-brother of Jesus)
 · Judea a region that roughly corresponded to the earlier kingdom of Judah
 · Mark a nephew of Barnabas and companion of Paul; author of the Gospel of Mark
 · Moses a son of Amram; the Levite who led Israel out of Egypt and gave them The Law of Moses,a Levite who led Israel out of Egypt and gave them the law
 · Pamphylia a south coastal province of Asia Minor in what is now southern Turkey
 · Paul a man from Tarsus who persecuted the church but became a missionary and writer of 13 Epistles
 · Peter a man who was a leader among the twelve apostles and wrote the two epistles of Peter
 · Pharisee a religious group or sect of the Jews
 · Phoenicia the region ofeast Mediterranean coastal land from Arvad (modern Lebanon) south to Gaza,the coast land from Mt. Carmel north to the Orontes River
 · Samaria residents of the district of Samaria
 · Silas a man who went with Peter and Paul on separate missionary journeys
 · Simeon a son of Jonas and brother of Andrew; an apostle of Jesus Christ,a man who was one of the apostles of Christ and also called 'the Zealot',a brother of Jesus,a man who was a well-know victim of leprosy who had been healed by Jesus (NIV note),a man from Cyrene who was forced to carry the cross of Jesus,a Pharisee man in whose house Jesus' feet were washed with tears and anointed,the father of Judas Iscariot,a man who was a sorcerer in Samaria and who wanted to buy the gifts of the Spirit,a man who was a tanner at Joppa and with whom Peter was staying when Cornelius sent for him
 · Syria the country to the north of Palestine,a country of north western Mesopotamia


Topik/Tema Kamus: Paul | Council | Silas | Barnabas | Antioch | Titus | Synagogue | PAUL, THE APOSTLE, 1 | PAUL, THE APOSTLE, 5 | PETER, SIMON | PAUL, THE APOSTLE, 4 | ANTIOCH, IN SYRIA | JESUS CHRIST, 5 | HOLY SPIRIT, 2 | GALATIANS, EPISTLE TO THE | KEYS, POWER OF THE | APOSTOLICAL COUNCIL | LAW IN THE NEW TESTAMENT | APOSTOLIC AGE | ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, 8-12 | selebihnya
Daftar Isi

Catatan Kata/Frasa
Robertson , Vincent , Wesley , JFB , Clarke , Calvin , Defender , TSK

Catatan Kata/Frasa
Poole , Haydock , Gill

Catatan Ayat / Catatan Kaki
NET Notes , Geneva Bible

Catatan Rentang Ayat
Maclaren , MHCC , Matthew Henry , Barclay , Constable , College , McGarvey

Lainnya
Evidence

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Tafsiran/Catatan -- Catatan Kata/Frasa (per frasa)

Robertson: Act 15:1 - And certain men came down from Judea And certain men came down from Judea ( kai tines katelthontes apo tēs Ioudaias ). Evidently the party of the circumcision in the church in Jerusale...

And certain men came down from Judea ( kai tines katelthontes apo tēs Ioudaias ).

Evidently the party of the circumcision in the church in Jerusalem (Act 11:2) had heard of the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles in Cyprus, Pamphylia, and South Galatia (Phrygia, Pisidia, Lycaonia). Possibly John Mark after his desertion at Perga (Act 13:13) told of this as one of his reasons for coming home. At any rate echoes of the jubilation in Antioch in Syria would be certain to reach Jerusalem. The Judaizers in Jerusalem, who insisted that all the Gentile Christians must become Jews also, had acquiesced in the case of Cornelius and his group (11:1-18) after plain proof by Peter that it was the Lord’ s doing. But they had not agreed to a formal campaign to turn the exception into the rule and to make Christianity mainly Gentile with a few Jews instead of mainly Jewish with a few Gentiles. Since Paul and Barnabas did not come up to Jerusalem, the leaders among the Judaizers decided to go down to Antioch and attack Paul and Barnabas there. They had volunteered to go without church action in Jerusalem for their activity is disclaimed by the conference (Act 15:24). In Gal 2:4 Paul with some heat describes these Judaizers as "false brethren, secretly introduced who sneaked in to spy out our liberty."It is reasonably certain that this visit to Jerusalem described in Gal 2:1-10 is the same one as the Jerusalem Conference in Acts 15:5-29 in spite of the effort of Ramsay to identify it with that in Act 11:29. Paul in Galatians is not giving a list of his visits to Jerusalem. He is showing his independence of the twelve apostles and his equality with them. He did not see them in Act 11:29., but only "the elders."In Acts 15 Luke gives the outward narrative of events, in Gal 2:1-10 Paul shows us the private interview with the apostles when they agreed on their line of conduct toward the Judaizers. In Gal 2:2 by the use of "them"(autois ) Paul seems to refer to the first public meeting in Acts before the private interview that came in between verses Act 15:5-6. If we recall the difficulty that Peter had on the subject of preaching the gospel to the heathen (10:1-11:18), we can the better understand the attitude of the Judaizers. They were men of sincere convictions without a doubt, but they were obscurantists and unable and unwilling to receive new light from the Lord on a matter that involved their racial and social prejudices. They recalled that Jesus himself had been circumcised and that he had said to the Syro-Phoenician woman that he had come only save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mat 15:24.). They argued that Christ had not repealed circumcision. So one of the great religious controversies of all time was begun, that between spiritual religion and ritualistic or ceremonial religion. It is with us yet with baptism taking the place of circumcision. These self-appointed champions of circumcision for Gentile Christians were deeply in earnest.

Robertson: Act 15:1 - Taught the brethren Taught the brethren ( edidaskon tous adelphous ). Inchoative imperfect active, began to teach and kept it up. Their attitude was one of supercilious ...

Taught the brethren ( edidaskon tous adelphous ).

Inchoative imperfect active, began to teach and kept it up. Their attitude was one of supercilious superiority. They probably resented the conduct of Barnabas, who, when sent by the Church in Jerusalem to investigate the conversion of the Greeks in Antioch (Act 11:20-26), did not return and report till a strong church had been established there with the help of Saul and only then with a big collection to confuse the issue. Paul and Barnabas were on hand, but the Judaizers persisted in their efforts to force their views on the church in Antioch. It was a crisis.

Robertson: Act 15:1 - Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved ( ean me peritmēthēte tōi ethei Mōuseōs , ou dunasthe sōthēnai ...

Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved ( ean me peritmēthēte tōi ethei Mōuseōs , ou dunasthe sōthēnai ).

There was the dictum of the Judaizers to the Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas had been circumcised. This is probably the precise language employed, for they spoke in Greek to these Greeks. It is a condition of the third class (undetermined, but with prospect of being determined, ean plus the first aorist passive subjunctive of peritemnō ). There was thus hope held out for them, but only on condition that they be circumcised. The issue was sharply drawn. The associative instrumental case (tōi ethei ) is customary. "Saved"(sōthēnai ) here is the Messianic salvation. This doctrine denied the efficacy of the work of Christ.

Robertson: Act 15:2 - When Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and questioning with them When Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and questioning with them ( Genomenēs staseōs kai zētēseōs ouk oligēs tōi Paulōi kai Ba...

When Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and questioning with them ( Genomenēs staseōs kai zētēseōs ouk oligēs tōi Paulōi kai Barnabāi pros autous ).

Genitive absolute of second aorist middle participle of ginomai , genitive singular agreeing with first substantive staseōs . Literally, "No little (litotes for much) strife and questioning coming to Paul and Barnabas (dative case) with them "(pros autous , face to face with them). Paul and Barnabas were not willing to see this Gentile church brow-beaten and treated as heretics by these self-appointed regulators of Christian orthodoxy from Jerusalem. The work had developed under the leadership of Paul and Barnabas and they accepted full responsibility for it and stoutly resisted these Judaizers to the point of sedition (riot, outbreak in Luk 23:25; Act 19:40) as in Act 23:7. There is no evidence that the Judaizers had any supporters in the Antioch church so that they failed utterly to make any impression. Probably these Judaizers compelled Paul to think through afresh his whole gospel of grace and so they did Paul and the world a real service. If the Jews like Paul had to believe, it was plain that there was no virtue in circumcision (Gal 2:15-21). It is not true that the early Christians had no disagreements. They had selfish avarice with Ananias and Sapphira, murmuring over the gifts to the widows, simony in the case of Simon Magus, violent objection to work in Caesarea, and now open strife over a great doctrine (grace vs. legalism).

Robertson: Act 15:2 - The brethren appointed The brethren appointed ( etaxan ). "The brethren"can be supplied from Act 15:1and means the church in Antioch. The church clearly saw that the way to...

The brethren appointed ( etaxan ).

"The brethren"can be supplied from Act 15:1and means the church in Antioch. The church clearly saw that the way to remove this deadlock between the Judaizers and Paul and Barnabas was to consult the church in Jerusalem to which the Judaizers belonged. Paul and Barnabas had won in Antioch. If they can win in Jerusalem, that will settle the matter. The Judaizers will be answered in their own church for which they are presuming to speak. The verb etaxan (tassō , to arrange) suggests a formal appointment by the church in regular assembly. Paul (Gal 2:2) says that he went up by revelation (kat' apokalupsin ), but surely that is not contradictory to the action of the church.

Robertson: Act 15:2 - Certain others of them Certain others of them ( tinas allous ). Certainly Titus (Gal 2:1, Gal 2:3), a Greek and probably a brother of Luke who is not mentioned in Acts. Rac...

Certain others of them ( tinas allous ).

Certainly Titus (Gal 2:1, Gal 2:3), a Greek and probably a brother of Luke who is not mentioned in Acts. Rackham thinks that Luke was in the number.

Robertson: Act 15:2 - The apostles and elders The apostles and elders ( tous apostolous kai presbuterous ). Note one article for both (cf. "the apostles and the brethren"in Act 11:1). "Elders"now...

The apostles and elders ( tous apostolous kai presbuterous ).

Note one article for both (cf. "the apostles and the brethren"in Act 11:1). "Elders"now (Act 11:30) in full force. The apostles have evidently returned now to the city after the death of Herod Agrippa I stopped the persecution.

Robertson: Act 15:3 - They therefore They therefore ( hoi men oun ). Luke’ s favourite method of resumptive narrative as we have seen (Act 11:19, etc.), demonstrative hoi with men...

They therefore ( hoi men oun ).

Luke’ s favourite method of resumptive narrative as we have seen (Act 11:19, etc.), demonstrative hoi with men (indeed) and oun (therefore).

Robertson: Act 15:3 - Being brought on their way by the church Being brought on their way by the church ( propemphthentes hupo tēs ekklēsias ). First aorist passive participle of propempō , old verb, to sen...

Being brought on their way by the church ( propemphthentes hupo tēs ekklēsias ).

First aorist passive participle of propempō , old verb, to send forward under escort as a mark of honour as in Act 20:38; Act 21:5; 3 Jo Act 1:6. They were given a grand send-off by the church in Antioch.

Robertson: Act 15:3 - Passed through Passed through ( diērchonto ). Imperfect middle describing the triumphal procession through both (te kai ) Phoenicia and Samaria.

Passed through ( diērchonto ).

Imperfect middle describing the triumphal procession through both (te kai ) Phoenicia and Samaria.

Robertson: Act 15:3 - The conversion The conversion ( tēn epistrophēn ). The turning.

The conversion ( tēn epistrophēn ).

The turning.

Robertson: Act 15:3 - They caused great joy They caused great joy ( epoioun charan megalēn ). Imperfect active. They were raising a constant paean of praise as they proceeded toward Jerusalem...

They caused great joy ( epoioun charan megalēn ).

Imperfect active. They were raising a constant paean of praise as they proceeded toward Jerusalem. Probably the Judaizers had gone on or kept still.

Robertson: Act 15:4 - Were received Were received ( paredechthēsan ). First aorist passive indicative of paradechomai , old verb, to receive, to welcome. Here it was a public receptio...

Were received ( paredechthēsan ).

First aorist passive indicative of paradechomai , old verb, to receive, to welcome. Here it was a public reception for Paul and Barnabas provided by the whole church including the apostles and elders, at which an opportunity was given to hear the story of Paul and Barnabas about God’ s dealings with them among the Gentiles. This first public meeting is referred to by Paul in Gal 2:2 "I set before them (autois ) the gospel, etc."

Robertson: Act 15:5 - But there rose up But there rose up ( exanestēsan de ). Second aorist active indicative (intransitive). Note both exō and an . These men rose up out of the crowd...

But there rose up ( exanestēsan de ).

Second aorist active indicative (intransitive). Note both exō and an . These men rose up out of the crowd at a critical moment. They were believers in Christ (pepisteukotes , having believed), but were still members of "the sect of the Pharisees"(tēs haireseōs tōn Pharisaiōn ). Evidently they still held to the Pharisaic narrowness shown in the attack on Peter (Act 11:2.). Note the dogmatism of their "must"(dei ) after the opposition of Paul and Barnabas to their "except"(ean me ) at Antioch (Act 15:1). They are unconvinced and expected to carry the elders with them. Codex Bezae says that they had appealed to the elders (Act 15:2, Act 15:5). At any rate they have made the issue in open meeting at the height of the jubilation. It is plain from Act 15:6that this meeting was adjourned, for another gathering came together then. It is here that the private conference of which Paul speaks in Gal 2:1-10 took place. It was Paul’ s chance to see the leaders in Jerusalem (Peter, James, and John) and he won them over to his view of Gentile liberty from the Mosaic law so that the next public conference (Acts 15:6-29) ratified heartily the views of Paul, Barnabas, Peter, James, and John. It was a diplomatic triumph of the first order and saved Christianity from the bondage of Jewish ceremonial sacramentalism. So far as we know this is the only time that Paul and John met face to face, the great spirits in Christian history after Jesus our Lord. It is a bit curious to see men saying today that Paul surrendered about Titus and had him circumcised for the sake of peace, the very opposite of what he says in Galatians, "to whom I yielded, no not for an hour."Titus as a Greek was a red flag to the Judaizers and to the compromisers, but Paul stood his ground.

Robertson: Act 15:6 - Were gathered together Were gathered together ( sunēchthēsan ). First aorist (effective) passive indicative. The church is not named here as in Act 15:4, but we know fr...

Were gathered together ( sunēchthēsan ).

First aorist (effective) passive indicative. The church is not named here as in Act 15:4, but we know from Act 15:12-22 that the whole church came together this time also along with the apostles and elders.

Robertson: Act 15:6 - Of this matter Of this matter ( peri tou logou toutou ). Same idiom in Act 8:21; Act 19:38. They realized the importance of the issue.

Of this matter ( peri tou logou toutou ).

Same idiom in Act 8:21; Act 19:38. They realized the importance of the issue.

Robertson: Act 15:7 - When there had been much questioning When there had been much questioning ( pollēs zētēseōs genomenēs ). Genitive absolute with second aorist middle participle of ginomai . Evi...

When there had been much questioning ( pollēs zētēseōs genomenēs ).

Genitive absolute with second aorist middle participle of ginomai . Evidently the Judaizers were given full opportunity to air all their grievances and objections. They were allowed plenty of time and there was no effort to shut off debate or to rush anything through the meeting.

Robertson: Act 15:7 - Peter rose up Peter rose up ( anastas Petros ). The wonder was that he had waited so long. Probably Paul asked him to do so. He was the usual spokesman for the apo...

Peter rose up ( anastas Petros ).

The wonder was that he had waited so long. Probably Paul asked him to do so. He was the usual spokesman for the apostles and his activities in Jerusalem were well-known. In particular his experience at Caesarea (Acts 10) had caused trouble here in Jerusalem from this very same party of the circumcism (Acts 11:1-18). It was fitting that Peter should speak. This is the last time that Peter appears in the Acts.

Robertson: Act 15:7 - A good while ago A good while ago ( aph' hēmerōn archaiōn ). From ancient days. The adjective archaios is from archē , beginning, and its actual age is a ma...

A good while ago ( aph' hēmerōn archaiōn ).

From ancient days. The adjective archaios is from archē , beginning, and its actual age is a matter of relativity. So Mnason (Act 21:16) is termed "an ancient disciple."It was probably a dozen years since God "made choice"(exelexato ) to speak by Peter’ s mouth to Cornelius and the other Gentiles in Caesarea. His point is that what Paul and Barnabas have reported is nothing new. The Judaizers made objection then as they are doing now.

Robertson: Act 15:8 - Which knoweth the heart Which knoweth the heart ( kardiognōstēs ). Late word from kardia (heart) and gnōstēs (known, ginōskō ). In the N.T. only here and Ac...

Which knoweth the heart ( kardiognōstēs ).

Late word from kardia (heart) and gnōstēs (known, ginōskō ). In the N.T. only here and Act 1:24 which see.

Robertson: Act 15:8 - Giving them the Holy Spirit Giving them the Holy Spirit ( dous to pneuma to hagion ). And before their baptism. This was the Lord’ s doing. They had accepted (Act 11:18) th...

Giving them the Holy Spirit ( dous to pneuma to hagion ).

And before their baptism. This was the Lord’ s doing. They had accepted (Act 11:18) this witness of God then and it was true now of these other Gentile converts.

Robertson: Act 15:9 - He made no distinction between us and them He made no distinction between us and them ( outhen diekrinen metaxu hēmōn te kai autōn ). He distinguished nothing (first aorist active ind.) ...

He made no distinction between us and them ( outhen diekrinen metaxu hēmōn te kai autōn ).

He distinguished nothing (first aorist active ind.) between (both dia and metaxu ) both (te kai ) us and them. In the matter of faith and conversion God treated us Jews as heathen and the heathen as Jews.

Robertson: Act 15:9 - Cleansing their hearts by faith Cleansing their hearts by faith ( tēi pistei katharisas tas kardias autōn ). Not by works nor by ceremonies. Peter here has a thoroughly Pauline ...

Cleansing their hearts by faith ( tēi pistei katharisas tas kardias autōn ).

Not by works nor by ceremonies. Peter here has a thoroughly Pauline and Johannine idea of salvation for all both Jew and Greek. Cf. Act 10:15.

Robertson: Act 15:10 - Why tempt ye God? Why tempt ye God? ( tōi peirazete ton theoṉ ). By implying that God had made a mistake this time, though right about Cornelius. It is a home-thru...

Why tempt ye God? ( tōi peirazete ton theoṉ ).

By implying that God had made a mistake this time, though right about Cornelius. It is a home-thrust. They were refusing to follow the guidance of God like the Israelites at Massah and Meribah (Exo 17:7; Deu 6:16; 1Co 10:9).

Robertson: Act 15:10 - That ye should put That ye should put ( epitheinai ). Second aorist active infinitive of epitithēmi , epexegetic, explaining the tempting.

That ye should put ( epitheinai ).

Second aorist active infinitive of epitithēmi , epexegetic, explaining the tempting.

Robertson: Act 15:10 - A yoke upon the neck A yoke upon the neck ( zugon epi ton trachēlon ). Familiar image of oxen with yokes upon the necks. Paul’ s very image for the yoke of bondage...

A yoke upon the neck ( zugon epi ton trachēlon ).

Familiar image of oxen with yokes upon the necks. Paul’ s very image for the yoke of bondage of the Mosaic law in Gal 5:1. It had probably been used in the private interview. Cf. the words of Jesus about the Pharisees (Mat 23:4) and how easy and light his own yoke is (Mat 11:30).

Robertson: Act 15:10 - Were able to bear Were able to bear ( ischusamen bastasai ). Neither our fathers nor we had strength (ischuō ) to carry this yoke which the Judaizers wish to put on...

Were able to bear ( ischusamen bastasai ).

Neither our fathers nor we had strength (ischuō ) to carry this yoke which the Judaizers wish to put on the necks of the Gentiles. Peter speaks as the spiritual emancipator. He had been slow to see the meaning of God’ s dealings with him at Joppa and Caesarea, but he has seen clearly by now. He takes his stand boldly with Paul and Barnabas for Gentile freedom.

Robertson: Act 15:11 - That we shall be saved That we shall be saved ( sōthēnai ). First aorist passive infinitive in indirect discourse after pisteuomen . More exactly, "We believe that we a...

That we shall be saved ( sōthēnai ).

First aorist passive infinitive in indirect discourse after pisteuomen . More exactly, "We believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in like manner as they also."This thoroughly Pauline note shows that whatever hopes the Judaizers had about Peter were false. His doctrine of grace is as clear as a bell. He has lifted his voice against salvation by ceremony and ritualism. It was a great deliverance.

Robertson: Act 15:12 - Kept silence Kept silence ( esigēsen ). Ingressive first aorist active of sigaō , old verb, to hold one’ s peace. All the multitude became silent after P...

Kept silence ( esigēsen ).

Ingressive first aorist active of sigaō , old verb, to hold one’ s peace. All the multitude became silent after Peter’ s speech and because of it.

Robertson: Act 15:12 - Hearkened Hearkened ( ēkouon ). Imperfect active of akouō , descriptive of the rapt attention, were listening.

Hearkened ( ēkouon ).

Imperfect active of akouō , descriptive of the rapt attention, were listening.

Robertson: Act 15:12 - Unto Barnabas and Paul Unto Barnabas and Paul ( Barnaba kai Paulou ). Note placing Barnabas before Paul as in Act 15:25, possibly because in Jerusalem Barnabas was still be...

Unto Barnabas and Paul ( Barnaba kai Paulou ).

Note placing Barnabas before Paul as in Act 15:25, possibly because in Jerusalem Barnabas was still better known than Paul.

Robertson: Act 15:12 - Rehearsing Rehearsing ( exēgoumenōn ). Present middle participle of exēgeomai , old verb, to go through or lead out a narrative of events as in Luk 24:35;...

Rehearsing ( exēgoumenōn ).

Present middle participle of exēgeomai , old verb, to go through or lead out a narrative of events as in Luk 24:35; Act 10:8 which see. Three times (Act 14:27; Act 15:4, Act 15:12) Paul is described as telling the facts about their mission work, facts more eloquent than argument (Page). One of the crying needs in the churches is fuller knowledge of the facts of mission work and progress with enough detail to give life and interest. The signs and wonders which God had wrought among the Gentiles set the seal of approval on the work done through (dia ) Barnabas and Paul. This had been Peter’ s argument about Cornelius (Act 11:17). This same verb (exēgēsato ) is used by James in Act 15:14referring to Peter’ s speech.

Robertson: Act 15:13 - After they had held their peace After they had held their peace ( meta to sigēsai autous ). Literally, "after the becoming silent (ingressive aorist active of the articular infini...

After they had held their peace ( meta to sigēsai autous ).

Literally, "after the becoming silent (ingressive aorist active of the articular infinitive) as to them (Barnabas and Paul, accusative of general reference)."

Robertson: Act 15:13 - James answered James answered ( apekrithē Iakōbos ). First aorist passive (deponent) indicative. It was expected that James, as President of the Conference, wou...

James answered ( apekrithē Iakōbos ).

First aorist passive (deponent) indicative. It was expected that James, as President of the Conference, would speak last. But he wisely waited to give every one an opportunity to speak. The challenge of the Judaizers called for an opinion from James. Furneaux thinks that he may have been elected one of the twelve to take the place of James the brother of John since Paul (Gal 1:19) calls him apostle. More likely he was asked to preside because of his great gifts and character as chief of the elders.

Robertson: Act 15:14 - Hearken unto me Hearken unto me ( akousate mou ). Usual appeal for attention. James was termed James the Just and was considered a representative of the Hebraic as o...

Hearken unto me ( akousate mou ).

Usual appeal for attention. James was termed James the Just and was considered a representative of the Hebraic as opposed to the Hellenistic wing of the Jewish Christians (Act 6:1). The Judaizers had doubtless counted on him as a champion of their view and did later wrongfully make use of his name against Peter at Antioch (Gal 2:12). There was instant attention when James began to speak.

Robertson: Act 15:14 - Symeon Symeon ( Sumeōn ). The Aramaic form of Simon as in 2Pe 2:1. This little touch would show his affinities with the Jewish Christians (not the Judaize...

Symeon ( Sumeōn ).

The Aramaic form of Simon as in 2Pe 2:1. This little touch would show his affinities with the Jewish Christians (not the Judaizers). This Aramaic form is used also in Luk 2:25, Luk 2:34 of the old prophet in the temple. Possibly both forms (Symeon, Aramaic, and Simon, Greek) were current in Jerusalem.

Robertson: Act 15:14 - How How ( kathōs ). Strictly, "according as,"here like hos in indirect discourse somewhat like the epexegetic or explanatory use in 3 Jo Luk 1:3.

How ( kathōs ).

Strictly, "according as,"here like hos in indirect discourse somewhat like the epexegetic or explanatory use in 3 Jo Luk 1:3.

Robertson: Act 15:14 - First First ( prōton ). Told by Peter in Act 15:7. James notes, as Peter did, that this experience of Barnabas and Paul is not the beginning of work amon...

First ( prōton ).

Told by Peter in Act 15:7. James notes, as Peter did, that this experience of Barnabas and Paul is not the beginning of work among the Gentiles.

Robertson: Act 15:14 - Did visit Did visit ( epeskepsato ). First aorist middle indicative of episkeptomai , old verb to look upon, to look after, provide for. This same verb occurs ...

Did visit ( epeskepsato ).

First aorist middle indicative of episkeptomai , old verb to look upon, to look after, provide for. This same verb occurs in Jam 1:27 and is one of various points of similarity between this speech of James in Acts and the Epistle of James as shown by Mayor in his Commentary on James. Somehow Luke may have obtained notes of these various addresses.

Robertson: Act 15:14 - To take from the Gentiles a people for his name To take from the Gentiles a people for his name ( labein exō ethnōn laon tōi onomati autou ). Bengel calls this egregium paradoxon , a chosen...

To take from the Gentiles a people for his name ( labein exō ethnōn laon tōi onomati autou ).

Bengel calls this egregium paradoxon , a chosen people (laon ) out of the Gentiles (ethnōn ). This is what is really involved in what took place at Caesarea at the hands of Peter and the campaign of Barnabas and Paul from Antioch. But such a claim of God’ s purpose called for proof from Scripture to convince Jews and this is precisely what James undertakes to give. This new Israel from among the Gentiles is one of Paul’ s great doctrines as set forth in Galatians 3; Romans 9-11. Note the use of God’ s "name"here for "the Israel of God"(Gal 6:16).

Robertson: Act 15:15 - To this agree To this agree ( toutōi sumphōnousin ). Associative instrumental case (toutōi ) after sumphōnousin (voice together with, symphony with, har...

To this agree ( toutōi sumphōnousin ).

Associative instrumental case (toutōi ) after sumphōnousin (voice together with, symphony with, harmonize with), from sumphōneō , old verb seen already in Mat 18:19; Luk 5:36; Act 5:9 which see. James cites only Amo 9:11, Amo 9:12 from the lxx as an example of "the words of the prophets"(hoi logoi tōn prophētōn ) to which he refers on this point. The somewhat free quotation runs here through Act 15:16-18 of Acts 15 and is exceedingly pertinent. The Jewish rabbis often failed to understand the prophets as Jesus showed. The passage in Amos refers primarily to the restoration of the Davidic empire, but also the Messiah’ s Kingdom (the throne of David his father,"Luk 1:32).

Robertson: Act 15:16 - I will build again I will build again ( anoikodomēsō ). Here lxx has anastēsō . Compound (ana , up or again) of oikodomeō , the verb used by Jesus in Mat 16:1...

I will build again ( anoikodomēsō ).

Here lxx has anastēsō . Compound (ana , up or again) of oikodomeō , the verb used by Jesus in Mat 16:18 of the general church or kingdom as here which see.

Robertson: Act 15:16 - The tabernacle of David The tabernacle of David ( tēn skēnēn Daueid ) , a poetical figure of the throne of David (2Sa 7:12) now "the fallen tent"(tēn peptōkuian )...

The tabernacle of David ( tēn skēnēn Daueid )

, a poetical figure of the throne of David (2Sa 7:12) now "the fallen tent"(tēn peptōkuian ), perfect active participle of piptō , state of completion.

Robertson: Act 15:16 - The ruins thereof The ruins thereof ( ta katestrammena autēs ). Literally, "the ruined portions of it."Perfect passive participle of katastrephō , to turn down. It...

The ruins thereof ( ta katestrammena autēs ).

Literally, "the ruined portions of it."Perfect passive participle of katastrephō , to turn down. It is a desolate picture of the fallen, torn down tent of David.

Robertson: Act 15:16 - I will let it up I will let it up ( anorthōsō ). Old verb from anorthoō (ana , orthos ), to set upright. See note on Luk 13:13 of the old woman whose crooke...

I will let it up ( anorthōsō ).

Old verb from anorthoō (ana , orthos ), to set upright. See note on Luk 13:13 of the old woman whose crooked back was set straight.

Robertson: Act 15:17 - That the residue of men may seek after the Lord That the residue of men may seek after the Lord ( hopōs an ekzētēsōsin hoi kataloipoi tōn anthrōpōn ton kurion ). The use of hopōs ...

That the residue of men may seek after the Lord ( hopōs an ekzētēsōsin hoi kataloipoi tōn anthrōpōn ton kurion ).

The use of hopōs with the subjunctive (effective aorist active) to express purpose is common enough and note an for an additional tone of uncertainty. On the rarity of an with hopōs in the Koiné[28928]š see Robertson, Grammar , p. 986. Here the Gentiles are referred to. The Hebrew text is quite different, "that they may possess the remnant of Edom."Certainly the lxx suits best the point that James is making. But the closing words of this verse point definitely to the Gentiles both in the Hebrew and the lxx, "all the Gentiles"(panta ta ethnē ). Another item of similarity between this speech and the Epistle of James is in the phrase "my name is called"(epikeklētai to onoma mou ) and Jam 2:7. The purpose of God, though future, is expressed by this perfect passive indicative epikeklētai from epi̇kaleō , to call on. It is a Jewish way of speaking of those who worship God.

Robertson: Act 15:18 - From the beginning of the world From the beginning of the world ( ap' aiōnos ). Or, "from of old."James adds these words, perhaps with a reminiscence of Isa 45:21. His point is th...

From the beginning of the world ( ap' aiōnos ).

Or, "from of old."James adds these words, perhaps with a reminiscence of Isa 45:21. His point is that this purpose of God, as set forth in Amos, is an old one. God has an Israel outside of and beyond the Jewish race, whom he will make his true "Israel"and so there is no occasion for surprise in the story of God’ s dealings with the Gentiles as told by Barnabas and Paul. God’ s eternal purpose of grace includes all who call upon his name in every land and people (Isa 2:1; Mic 4:1). This larger and richer purpose and plan of God was one of the mysteries which Paul will unfold in the future (Rom 16:25; Eph 3:9). James sees it clearly now. God is making it known (poiōn tauta gnōsta ), if they will only be willing to see and understand. It was a great deliverance that James had made and it exerted a profound influence on the assembly.

Robertson: Act 15:19 - Wherefore Wherefore ( dio ). "Because of which,"this plain purpose of God as shown by Amos and Isaiah.

Wherefore ( dio ).

"Because of which,"this plain purpose of God as shown by Amos and Isaiah.

Robertson: Act 15:19 - My judgment is My judgment is ( egō krinō ). Note expression of egō .

My judgment is ( egō krinō ).

Note expression of egō .

Robertson: Act 15:19 - I give my judgment. I give my judgment. ( Ego censeo ). James sums up the case as President of the Conference in a masterly fashion and with that consummate wisdom for w...

I give my judgment. ( Ego censeo ).

James sums up the case as President of the Conference in a masterly fashion and with that consummate wisdom for which he is noted. It amounts to a resolution for the adoption by the assembly as happened (Act 15:33).

Robertson: Act 15:19 - That we trouble not That we trouble not ( mē parenochlein ). Present active infinitive with mē in an indirect command (Robertson, Grammar , p. 1046) of parenochle...

That we trouble not ( mē parenochlein ).

Present active infinitive with mē in an indirect command (Robertson, Grammar , p. 1046) of parenochleō , a common late verb, occurring here alone in the N.T. This double compound (para , en ) is from the old compound enochleō (en and ochlos , crowd, annoyance) seen in Luk 6:18; Heb 12:15, and means to cause trouble beside (para ) one or in a matter. This is the general point of James which he explains further concerning "those who are turning from the Gentiles unto God,"the very kind of people referred to in Amos.

Robertson: Act 15:20 - But that we write unto them But that we write unto them ( alla episteilai autois ). By way of contrast (alla ). First aorist active infinitive of epistellō , old verb to send...

But that we write unto them ( alla episteilai autois ).

By way of contrast (alla ). First aorist active infinitive of epistellō , old verb to send to one (message, letter, etc.). Our word epistle (epistolē as in Act 15:30) comes from this verb. In the N.T. only here, Heb 13:22, and possibly Act 21:25.

Robertson: Act 15:20 - That they abstain from That they abstain from ( tou apechesthai ). The genitive of the articular infinitive of purpose, present middle (direct) of apechō , old verb, to h...

That they abstain from ( tou apechesthai ).

The genitive of the articular infinitive of purpose, present middle (direct) of apechō , old verb, to hold oneself back from. The best old MSS. do not have apo , but the ablative is clear enough in what follows. James agrees with Peter in his support of Paul and Barnabas in their contention for Gentile freedom from the Mosaic ceremonial law. The restrictions named by James affect the moral code that applies to all (idolatry, fornication, murder). Idolatry, fornication and murder were the outstanding sins of paganism then and now (Rev 22:15). Harnack argues ably against the genuineness of the word pniktou (strangled) which is absent from D Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian. It is a nice point, though the best MSS. have it in accord with Lev 17:10-16. The problem is whether the words were added because "blood"was understood as not "murder,"but a reference to the Mosaic regulation or whether it was omitted to remove the ceremonial aspect and make it all moral and ethical. The Western text omits the word also in Act 15:29. But with the word retained here and in Act 15:29the solution of James is not a compromise, though there is a wise concession to Jewish feeling.

Robertson: Act 15:20 - Pollutions of idols Pollutions of idols ( alisgēmatōn ). From alisgeō only in the lxx and this substantive nowhere else. The word refers to idolatrous practices ...

Pollutions of idols ( alisgēmatōn ).

From alisgeō only in the lxx and this substantive nowhere else. The word refers to idolatrous practices (pollutions) and things sacrificed to idols (eidōluthōn ) in Act 15:29, not to sacrificial meat sold in the market (1Co 10:27), a matter not referred to here. Cf. Lev 17:1-9. All the four items in the position of James (accepting pniktou ) are mentioned in Leviticus 17, 18.

Robertson: Act 15:21 - For Moses For Moses ( Mōusēs gar ). A reason why these four necessary things (Act 15:28) are named. In every city are synagogues where rabbis proclaim (ke...

For Moses ( Mōusēs gar ).

A reason why these four necessary things (Act 15:28) are named. In every city are synagogues where rabbis proclaim (kērussontas ) these matters. Hence the Gentile Christians would be giving constant offence to neglect them. The only point where modern Christian sentiment would object would be about "things strangled"and "blood"in the sense of any blood left in the animals, though most Christians probably agree with the feeling of James in objecting to blood in the food. If "blood"is taken to be "murder,"that difficulty vanishes. Moses will suffer no loss for these Gentile Christians are not adherents of Judaism.

Robertson: Act 15:22 - Then it seemed good Then it seemed good ( Tote edoxen ). First aorist active indicative of dokeō . A regular idiom at the beginning of decrees. This Eirenicon of James...

Then it seemed good ( Tote edoxen ).

First aorist active indicative of dokeō . A regular idiom at the beginning of decrees. This Eirenicon of James commended itself to the whole assembly. Apparently a vote was taken which was unanimous, the Judaizers probably not voting. The apostles and the elders (tois apostolois kai tois presbuterois , article with each, dative case) probably all vocally expressed their position.

Robertson: Act 15:22 - With the whole church With the whole church ( sun holei tēi ekklēsiāi ). Probably by acclamation. It was a great victory. But James was a practical leader and he did...

With the whole church ( sun holei tēi ekklēsiāi ).

Probably by acclamation. It was a great victory. But James was a practical leader and he did not stop with speeches and a vote.

Robertson: Act 15:22 - To choose men out of their company To choose men out of their company ( eklezamenous andras exō autōn ). Accusative case, though dative just before (tois apostolois , etc.), of fir...

To choose men out of their company ( eklezamenous andras exō autōn ).

Accusative case, though dative just before (tois apostolois , etc.), of first aorist middle participle of eklegō , to select. This loose case agreement appears also in grapsantes in Act 15:23and in MSS. in Act 15:25. It is a common thing in all Greek writers (Paul, for instance), especially in the papyri and in the Apocalypse of John.

Robertson: Act 15:22 - Judas called Barsabbas Judas called Barsabbas ( Ioudan ton kaloumenon Barsabban ). Not otherwise known unless he is a brother of Joseph Barsabbas of Act 1:23, an early foll...

Judas called Barsabbas ( Ioudan ton kaloumenon Barsabban ).

Not otherwise known unless he is a brother of Joseph Barsabbas of Act 1:23, an early follower of Jesus. The other, Silas, is probably a shortened form of Silvanus (Silouanos , 1Pe 5:12), the companion of Paul in his second mission tour (Act 15:32, Act 15:41; Act 16:25).

Robertson: Act 15:22 - Chief men Chief men ( hēgoumenous ). Leaders, leading men (participle from hēgeomai , to lead).

Chief men ( hēgoumenous ).

Leaders, leading men (participle from hēgeomai , to lead).

Robertson: Act 15:23 - And they wrote And they wrote ( grapsantes ). First aorist active participle of graphō and the nominative as if a principal verb epempsan had been used instea...

And they wrote ( grapsantes ).

First aorist active participle of graphō and the nominative as if a principal verb epempsan had been used instead of pempsai , the first aorist active infinitive (anacoluthon). This committee of four (Judas, Silas, Barnabas, Paul) carried the letter which embodied the decision of the Conference. This letter is the writing out of the judgment of James and apparently written by him as the President.

Robertson: Act 15:23 - The apostles and the elders, brethren The apostles and the elders, brethren ( hoi apostoloi kai hoi presbuteroi , adelphoi ). So the oldest and best MSS. without kai (and) before "bret...

The apostles and the elders, brethren ( hoi apostoloi kai hoi presbuteroi , adelphoi ).

So the oldest and best MSS. without kai (and) before "brethren."This punctuation is probably correct and not "elder brethren."The inquiry had been sent to the apostles and elders (Act 15:2) though the whole church joined in the welcome (Act 15:4) and in the decision (Act 15:22). The apostles and elders send the epistle, but call themselves "brothers to brothers," Fratres Fratibus Salutem . "The brothers"(tois adelphois ) addressed (dative case) are of the Gentiles (exō ethnōn ) and those in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, because they were immediately involved. But the decision of this Conference was meant for Gentile Christians everywhere (Act 16:4).

Robertson: Act 15:23 - Greeting Greeting ( Chairein ). The customary formula in the beginning of letters, the absolute infinitive (usually chairein ) with the nominative absolute a...

Greeting ( Chairein ).

The customary formula in the beginning of letters, the absolute infinitive (usually chairein ) with the nominative absolute also as in Jam 1:1; Act 23:26 and innumerable papyri (Robertson, Grammar , pp. 1902f.).

Robertson: Act 15:24 - Certain which went from us Certain which went from us ( tines exō hēmōn , Aleph B omit exelthontes ). A direct blow at the Judaizers, put in delicate language (we heard e...

Certain which went from us ( tines exō hēmōn , Aleph B omit exelthontes ).

A direct blow at the Judaizers, put in delicate language (we heard ēkousamen ) as if only at Antioch (Act 15:1), and not also in Jerusalem in open meeting (Act 15:5).

Robertson: Act 15:24 - Have troubled you with words Have troubled you with words ( etaraxan humas logois ). What a picture of turmoil in the church in Antioch, words, words, words. Aorist tense of the ...

Have troubled you with words ( etaraxan humas logois ).

What a picture of turmoil in the church in Antioch, words, words, words. Aorist tense of the common verb tarassō , to agitate, to make the heart palpitate (Joh 14:1, Joh 14:27) and instrumental case of logois .

Robertson: Act 15:24 - Subverting your souls Subverting your souls ( anaskeuazontes tas psuchas humōn ). Present active participle of anaskeuazō , old verb (ana and skeuos , baggage) to pa...

Subverting your souls ( anaskeuazontes tas psuchas humōn ).

Present active participle of anaskeuazō , old verb (ana and skeuos , baggage) to pack up baggage, to plunder, to ravage. Powerful picture of the havoc wrought by the Judaizers among the simple-minded Greek Christians in Antioch.

Robertson: Act 15:24 - To whom we gave no commandment To whom we gave no commandment ( hois ou diesteilametha ). First aorist middle indicative of diastellō , old verb to draw asunder, to distinguish, ...

To whom we gave no commandment ( hois ou diesteilametha ).

First aorist middle indicative of diastellō , old verb to draw asunder, to distinguish, to set forth distinctly, to command. This is a flat disclaimer of the whole conduct of the Judaizers in Antioch and in Jerusalem, a complete repudiation of their effort to impose the Mosaic ceremonial law upon the Gentile Christians.

Robertson: Act 15:25 - It seemed good unto us It seemed good unto us ( edoxen hēmin ). See statement by Luke in Act 15:22, and now this definite decision is in the epistle itself. It is repeate...

It seemed good unto us ( edoxen hēmin ).

See statement by Luke in Act 15:22, and now this definite decision is in the epistle itself. It is repeated in Act 15:28.

Robertson: Act 15:25 - Having come to one accord Having come to one accord ( genomenois homothumadon ). On this adverb, common in Acts, See note on Act 1:14. But genomenois clearly means that the ...

Having come to one accord ( genomenois homothumadon ).

On this adverb, common in Acts, See note on Act 1:14. But genomenois clearly means that the final unity was the result of the Conference (private and public talks). The Judaizers are here brushed to one side as the defeated disturbers that they really were who had lacked the courage to vote against the majority.

Robertson: Act 15:25 - To choose out men and send them To choose out men and send them ( eklexamenois andras pempsai A B L, though Aleph C D read eklexamenous as in Act 15:22). Precisely the same idiom...

To choose out men and send them ( eklexamenois andras pempsai A B L, though Aleph C D read eklexamenous as in Act 15:22).

Precisely the same idiom as in Act 15:22, "having chosen out to send."

Robertson: Act 15:25 - With our beloved Barnabas and Paul With our beloved Barnabas and Paul ( sun tois agapētois hēmōn Barnabāi kai Paulōi ). The verbal adjective agapētois (common in the N.T....

With our beloved Barnabas and Paul ( sun tois agapētois hēmōn Barnabāi kai Paulōi ).

The verbal adjective agapētois (common in the N.T.) definitely sets the seal of warm approval on Barnabas and Paul. Paul (Gal 2:9) confirms this by his statement concerning the right hand of fellowship given.

Robertson: Act 15:26 - Have hazarded their lives Have hazarded their lives ( paradedōkosi tas psuchas autōn ). Perfect active participle dative plural of paradidōmi , old word, to hand over to...

Have hazarded their lives ( paradedōkosi tas psuchas autōn ).

Perfect active participle dative plural of paradidōmi , old word, to hand over to another, and with psuchas , to hand over to another their lives. The sufferings of Paul and Barnabas in Pisidia and Lycaonia were plainly well-known just as the story of Judson in Burmah is today. On the use of "name"here, see note on Act 3:6.

Robertson: Act 15:27 - Who themselves also shall tell you the same things by word of mouth Who themselves also shall tell you the same things by word of mouth ( kai autous dia logou apaggellontas ta auta ). Literally, "they themselves also ...

Who themselves also shall tell you the same things by word of mouth ( kai autous dia logou apaggellontas ta auta ).

Literally, "they themselves also by speech announcing the same things."The present participle, as here, sometimes is used like the future to express purpose as in Act 3:26 eulogounta after apesteilen and so here apaggellontas after apestalkamen (Robertson, Grammar , p. 1128). Judas and Silas are specifically endorsed (perfect active indicative of apostellō ) as bearers of the epistle who will also verbally confirm the contents of the letter.

Robertson: Act 15:28 - To the Holy Spirit and to us To the Holy Spirit and to us ( tōi pneumati tōi hagiōi kai hēmin ). Dative case after edoxen (third example, verses, 22, 25, 28). Definite ...

To the Holy Spirit and to us ( tōi pneumati tōi hagiōi kai hēmin ).

Dative case after edoxen (third example, verses, 22, 25, 28). Definite claim that the church in this action had the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That fact was plain to the church from what had taken place in Caesarea and in this campaign of Paul and Barnabas (Act 15:8). Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (Joh 16:13). Even so the church deliberated carefully before deciding. What a blessing it would be if this were always true! But even so the Judaizers are only silenced for the present, not convinced and only waiting for a better day to start over again.

Robertson: Act 15:28 - No greater burden No greater burden ( mēden pleon baros ). The restrictions named did constitute some burden (cf. Mat 20:12), for the old word baros means weight o...

No greater burden ( mēden pleon baros ).

The restrictions named did constitute some burden (cf. Mat 20:12), for the old word baros means weight or heaviness. Morality itself is a restraint upon one’ s impulses as is all law a prohibition against license.

Robertson: Act 15:28 - Than these necessary things Than these necessary things ( plēn toutōn tōn epanagkes ). This old adverb (from epi and anagkē ) means on compulsion, of necessity. Here ...

Than these necessary things ( plēn toutōn tōn epanagkes ).

This old adverb (from epi and anagkē ) means on compulsion, of necessity. Here only in the N.T. For discussion of these items see note on Act 15:20, note on Act 15:21. In comparison with the freedom won this "burden"is light and not to be regarded as a compromise in spite of the arguments of Lightfoot and Ramsay. It was such a concession as any converted Gentile would be glad to make even if "things strangled"be included. This "necessity"was not a matter of salvation but only for fellowship between Jews and Gentiles. The Judaizers made the law of Moses essential to salvation (Act 15:16).

Robertson: Act 15:29 - It shall be well with you It shall be well with you ( eu praxete ). Ye shall fare well. A classical idiom used here effectively. The peace and concord in the fellowship of Jew...

It shall be well with you ( eu praxete ).

Ye shall fare well. A classical idiom used here effectively. The peace and concord in the fellowship of Jews and Gentiles will justify any slight concession on the part of the Gentiles. This letter is not laid down as a law, but it is the judgment of the Jerusalem Christians for the guidance of the Gentiles (Act 16:4) and it had a fine effect at once (Act 15:30-35). Trouble did come later from the Judaizers who were really hostile to the agreement in Jerusalem, but that opposition in no way discredits the worth of the work of this Conference. No sane agreement will silence perpetual and professional disturbers like these Judaizers who will seek to unsettle Paul’ s work in Antioch, in Corinth, in Galatia, in Jerusalem, in Rome.

Robertson: Act 15:29 - Fare ye well Fare ye well ( Errōsthe ). Valete. Perfect passive imperative of rhōnnumi , to make strong. Common at the close of letters. Be made strong, keep...

Fare ye well ( Errōsthe ).

Valete. Perfect passive imperative of rhōnnumi , to make strong. Common at the close of letters. Be made strong, keep well, fare well. Here alone in the N.T. though some MSS. have it in Act 23:30.

Robertson: Act 15:30 - So they So they ( hoi men oun ). As in Act 15:3.

So they ( hoi men oun ).

As in Act 15:3.

Robertson: Act 15:30 - When they were dismissed When they were dismissed ( apoluthentes ). First aorist passive participle of apoluō , common verb to loosen, to dismiss. Possibly (Hackett) religi...

When they were dismissed ( apoluthentes ).

First aorist passive participle of apoluō , common verb to loosen, to dismiss. Possibly (Hackett) religious services were held as in Act 15:33(cf. Act 13:3) and perhaps an escort for part of the way as in Act 15:3.

Robertson: Act 15:30 - The multitude The multitude ( to plēthos ). Public meeting of the church as in Act 15:1-3. Deissmann ( Bible Studies , p. 232) gives illustrations from the inscr...

The multitude ( to plēthos ).

Public meeting of the church as in Act 15:1-3. Deissmann ( Bible Studies , p. 232) gives illustrations from the inscriptions of the use of plēthos for official, political, and religious gatherings. The committee formally "delivered"(epedōkan ) the epistle to the church authorities.

Robertson: Act 15:31 - When they had read it When they had read it ( anagnontes ). Second aorist active participle of anaginōskō . Public reading, of course, to the church.

When they had read it ( anagnontes ).

Second aorist active participle of anaginōskō . Public reading, of course, to the church.

Robertson: Act 15:31 - They rejoiced They rejoiced ( echarēsan ). Second aorist (ingressive) passive indicative of chairō . They burst into exultant joy showing clearly that they did...

They rejoiced ( echarēsan ).

Second aorist (ingressive) passive indicative of chairō . They burst into exultant joy showing clearly that they did not consider it a weak compromise, but a glorious victory of Gentile liberty.

Robertson: Act 15:31 - For the consolation For the consolation ( epi tēi paraklēsei ). The encouragement, the cheer in the letter. See parekalesan in Act 15:32. Consolation and exhortati...

For the consolation ( epi tēi paraklēsei ).

The encouragement, the cheer in the letter. See parekalesan in Act 15:32. Consolation and exhortation run into one another in this word.

Robertson: Act 15:32 - Being themselves also prophets Being themselves also prophets ( kai autoi prophētai ontes ). As well as Paul and Barnabas and like Agabus (Act 11:27-30), for-speakers for Christ ...

Being themselves also prophets ( kai autoi prophētai ontes ).

As well as Paul and Barnabas and like Agabus (Act 11:27-30), for-speakers for Christ who justify the commendation in the letter (Act 15:27) "with many words"(dia logou pollou ), "with much talk,"and no doubt with kindly words concerning the part played at the Conference by Paul and Barnabas.

Robertson: Act 15:32 - Confirmed Confirmed ( epestērixan ). See note on Act 14:22. It was a glorious time with no Judaizers to disturb their fellowship as in Act 15:1.

Confirmed ( epestērixan ).

See note on Act 14:22. It was a glorious time with no Judaizers to disturb their fellowship as in Act 15:1.

Robertson: Act 15:33 - Some time Some time ( chronon ). Accusative after poiēsantes , "having done time."How long we do not know.

Some time ( chronon ).

Accusative after poiēsantes , "having done time."How long we do not know.

Robertson: Act 15:34 - But it seemed good unto Silas to abide there But it seemed good unto Silas to abide there ( edoxe de Silāi epimeinai autou ). This verse is not in the Revised Version or in the text of Westcot...

But it seemed good unto Silas to abide there ( edoxe de Silāi epimeinai autou ).

This verse is not in the Revised Version or in the text of Westcott and Hort, being absent from Aleph A B Vulgate, etc. It is clearly an addition to help explain the fact that Silas is back in Antioch in Act 15:40. But the "some days"of Act 15:36afforded abundant time for him to return from Jerusalem. He and Judas went first to Jerusalem to make a report of their mission.

Robertson: Act 15:35 - Tarried Tarried ( dietribon ). Imperfect active of diatribō , old verb to pass time, seen already in Act 12:19; Act 14:3, Act 14:28.

Tarried ( dietribon ).

Imperfect active of diatribō , old verb to pass time, seen already in Act 12:19; Act 14:3, Act 14:28.

Robertson: Act 15:35 - With many others also With many others also ( meta kai heterōn pollōn ). A time of general revival and naturally so after the victory at Jerusalem. It is at this point...

With many others also ( meta kai heterōn pollōn ).

A time of general revival and naturally so after the victory at Jerusalem. It is at this point that it is probable that the sad incident took place told by Paul in Gal 2:11-21. Peter came up to see how things were going in Antioch after Paul’ s victory in Jerusalem. At first Peter mingled freely with the Greek Christians without the compunctions shown at Caesarea and for which he had to answer in Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18). Rumours of Peter’ s conduct reached Jerusalem and the Judaizers saw a chance to reopen the controversy on the line of social customs, a matter not passed on at the Jerusalem Conference. These Judaizers threaten Peter with a new trial and he surrenders and is followed by Barnabas and all the Jewish brethren in Antioch to the dismay of Paul who boldly rebuked Peter and Barnabas and won them back to his view. It was a crisis. Some would even date the Epistle to the Galatians at this time also, an unlikely hypothesis.

Robertson: Act 15:36 - Let us return now and visit the brethren Let us return now and visit the brethren ( epistrepsantes de episkepsōmetha tous adelphous ). Paul takes the initiative as the leader, all the more...

Let us return now and visit the brethren ( epistrepsantes de episkepsōmetha tous adelphous ).

Paul takes the initiative as the leader, all the more so if the rebuke to Peter and Barnabas in Gal 2:11-21 had already taken place. Paul is anxious, like a true missionary, to go back to the fields where he has planted the gospel. He uses the hortatory subjunctive (episkepsōmetha ) for the proposal (See note on Act 15:14 for this verb). Note the repeated epi (epi̇strepsantes and episkepsōmetha ). There is special point in the use of dē (shortened form of ēdē ), now at this juncture of affairs (cf. Act 13:2).

Robertson: Act 15:36 - How they fare How they fare ( pōs echousin ). Indirect question, "how they have it."The precariousness of the life of new converts in pagan lands is shown in all...

How they fare ( pōs echousin ).

Indirect question, "how they have it."The precariousness of the life of new converts in pagan lands is shown in all of Paul’ s Epistles (Furneaux). So he wanted to go city by city (kata polin pāsan ).

Robertson: Act 15:37 - Was minded to take with them Was minded to take with them ( ebouleto sunparalabein ). Imperfect middle (ebouleto ), not aorist middle ebouleusato of the Textus Receptus. Barna...

Was minded to take with them ( ebouleto sunparalabein ).

Imperfect middle (ebouleto ), not aorist middle ebouleusato of the Textus Receptus. Barnabas willed, wished and stuck to it (imperfect tense). Sunparalabein is second aorist active infinitive of the double compound sunparalambanō , old verb to take along together with, used already about John Mark in Act 12:25 and by Paul in Gal 2:1 about Titus. Nowhere else in the N.T. Barnabas used the ingressive aorist in his suggestion.

Robertson: Act 15:38 - But Paul thought not good to take with them But Paul thought not good to take with them ( Paulos de ēxiou̇̇mē sunparalambanein touton ). The Greek is far more effective than this English ...

But Paul thought not good to take with them ( Paulos de ēxiou̇̇mē sunparalambanein touton ).

The Greek is far more effective than this English rendering. It is the imperfect active of axioō , old verb to think meet or right and the present active infinitive of the same verb (sunparalambanō ) with negative used with this infinitive. Literally, "But Paul kept on deeming it wise not to be taking along with them this one."Barnabas looked on it as a simple punctiliar proposal (aorist infinitive), but Paul felt a lively realization of the problem of having a quitter on his hands (present infinitive). Each was insistent in his position (two imperfects). Paul had a definite reason for his view describing John Mark as "him who withdrew from them from Pamphylia"(ton apostanta ap' autōn apo Pamphulias ). Second aorist active articular participle of aphistēmi , intransitive use, "the one who stood off from, apostatized from"(our very word "apostasy"). And also as the one who "went not with them to the work"(kai mē sunelthonta autois eis to ergon ). At Perga Mark had faced the same task that Paul and Barnabas did, but he flinched and flickered and quit. Paul declined to repeat the experiment with Mark.

Robertson: Act 15:39 - A sharp contention A sharp contention ( paroxusmos ). Our very word paroxysm in English. Old word though only twice in the N.T. (here and Heb 10:24), from paroxunō , ...

A sharp contention ( paroxusmos ).

Our very word paroxysm in English. Old word though only twice in the N.T. (here and Heb 10:24), from paroxunō , to sharpen (para , oxus ) as of a blade and of the spirit (Act 17:16; 1Co 13:5). This "son of consolation"loses his temper in a dispute over his cousin and Paul uses sharp words towards his benefactor and friend. It is often so that the little irritations of life give occasion to violent explosions. If the incident in Gal 2:11-21 had already taken place, there was a sore place already that could be easily rubbed. And if Mark also joined with Peter and Barnabas on that occasion, Paul had fresh ground for irritation about him. But there is no way to settle differences about men and we can only agree to disagree as Paul and Barnabas did.

Robertson: Act 15:39 - So that they parted asunder from one another So that they parted asunder from one another ( hōste apochōristhēnai autous ap' allēlōn ). Actual result here stated by hōste and the f...

So that they parted asunder from one another ( hōste apochōristhēnai autous ap' allēlōn ).

Actual result here stated by hōste and the first aorist passive infinitive of apochōrizō , old verb to sever, to separate, here only and Rev 6:4 in the N.T. The accusative of general reference (autous ) is normal. For construction with hōste see Robertson, Grammar , pp. 999f.

Robertson: Act 15:39 - And Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus And Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus ( ton te Barnaban paralabonta ton Markon ekpleusai eis Kupron ). Second infinitival clause ...

And Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus ( ton te Barnaban paralabonta ton Markon ekpleusai eis Kupron ).

Second infinitival clause ekpleusai after hōste connected by te . The same participle is used here minus sun , paralabonta (second aorist active). Barnabas and Mark sailed out (ekpleusai from ekpleō ) from the harbour of Antioch. This is the last glimpse that Luke gives us of Barnabas, one of the noblest figures in the New Testament. Paul has a kindly reference to him in 1Co 9:6. No one can rightly blame Barnabas for giving his cousin John Mark a second chance nor Paul for fearing to risk him again. One’ s judgment may go with Paul, but one’ s heart goes with Barnabas. And Mark made good with Barnabas, with Peter (1Pe 5:13) and finally with Paul (Col 4:10; 2Ti 4:11). See my little book on John Mark ( Making Good in the Ministry ). Paul and Barnabas parted in anger and both in sorrow. Paul owed more to Barnabas than to any other man. Barnabas was leaving the greatest spirit of the time and of all times.

Robertson: Act 15:40 - Chose Chose ( epilexamenos ). First aorist middle (indirect) participle of epilegō , choosing for himself, as the successor of Barnabas, not of Mark who ...

Chose ( epilexamenos ).

First aorist middle (indirect) participle of epilegō , choosing for himself, as the successor of Barnabas, not of Mark who had no place in Paul’ s plans at this time.

Robertson: Act 15:40 - Commended Commended ( paradotheis ). First aorist passive of paradidōmi , the same verb employed about Paul and Barnabas (Act 14:26) on their return from the...

Commended ( paradotheis ).

First aorist passive of paradidōmi , the same verb employed about Paul and Barnabas (Act 14:26) on their return from the first tour. It is clear now that the sympathy of the church at Antioch is with Paul rather than with Barnabas in the cleavage that has come. The church probably recalled how in the pinch Barnabas flickered and went to the side of Peter and that it was Paul who for the moment stood Paulus contra mundum for Gentile liberty in Christ against the threat of the Judaizers from Jerusalem. Silas had influence in the church in Jerusalem (Act 15:22) and was apparently a Roman citizen (Act 16:37) also. He is the Silas or Silvanus of the epistles (1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:1; 2Co 1:19; 1Pe 5:12). It is remarkable that Peter mentions both Mark and Silas as with him (1Pe 5:12.) at the same time.

Robertson: Act 15:41 - -- @@Went through (diērcheto ). Imperfect middle. So Paul went forth on his second mission tour with heart-aches and high hopes mingled together. Syri...

@@Went through (diērcheto ). Imperfect middle. So Paul went forth on his second mission tour with heart-aches and high hopes mingled together. Syria and Cilicia (tēn Surian kai tēn Kilikian ). He took the opposite course from the first tour, leaving Cyprus to Barnabas and Mark. Probably Paul had established these churches while in Tarsus after leaving Jerusalem (Act 9:30; Gal 1:21). Paul would go "by the Gulf of Issus through the Syrian Gates, a narrow road between steep rocks and the sea, and then inland, probably past Tarsus and over Matthew. Taurus by the Cilician gates"(Page). This second tour will occupy Luke’ s story in Acts through Act 18:22.

Vincent: Act 15:1 - Taught Taught Rather the imperfect, were teaching. They had not merely broached the error, but were inculcating it.

Taught

Rather the imperfect, were teaching. They had not merely broached the error, but were inculcating it.

Vincent: Act 15:1 - Manner Manner ( ἔθει ) Better, custom, as Rev.

Manner ( ἔθει )

Better, custom, as Rev.

Vincent: Act 15:2 - Question Question ( ζητήματος ) Found only in the Acts, and always of a question in dispute.

Question ( ζητήματος )

Found only in the Acts, and always of a question in dispute.

Vincent: Act 15:3 - Being brought on their way Being brought on their way ( προπεμφθέντες ) Lit., having been sent forth; under escort as a mark of honor.

Being brought on their way ( προπεμφθέντες )

Lit., having been sent forth; under escort as a mark of honor.

Vincent: Act 15:3 - Declaring Declaring See on Act 13:41. In the various towns along their route.

Declaring

See on Act 13:41. In the various towns along their route.

Vincent: Act 15:4 - Were received Were received ( ἀπεδέχθησαν ) The word implies a cordial welcome, which they were not altogether sure of receiving.

Were received ( ἀπεδέχθησαν )

The word implies a cordial welcome, which they were not altogether sure of receiving.

Vincent: Act 15:5 - Arose Arose In the assembly.

Arose

In the assembly.

Vincent: Act 15:5 - Sect Sect See on heresies, 2Pe 2:1.

Sect

See on heresies, 2Pe 2:1.

Vincent: Act 15:7 - The word of the gospel The word of the gospel ( τὸν λόγον τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ) This phrase occurs nowhere else; and εὐαγγε.λιον ,...

The word of the gospel ( τὸν λόγον τοῦ εὐαγγελίου )

This phrase occurs nowhere else; and εὐαγγε.λιον , gospel, is found only once more in Acts (Act 20:24).

Vincent: Act 15:8 - Which knoweth the heart Which knoweth the heart ( καρδιογνώστης ) Only here and Act 1:24.

Which knoweth the heart ( καρδιογνώστης )

Only here and Act 1:24.

Vincent: Act 15:10 - Were able Were able ( ἰσχύσαμεν ) See on Luk 14:30; and Luk 16:3.

Were able ( ἰσχύσαμεν )

See on Luk 14:30; and Luk 16:3.

Vincent: Act 15:12 - Hearkened Hearkened The imperfect (ἤκουον ) denotes attention to a continued narrative.

Hearkened

The imperfect (ἤκουον ) denotes attention to a continued narrative.

Vincent: Act 15:12 - Declaring Declaring ( ἐξηγουμένων ) Better, as Rev., rehearsing. See on Luk 24:35.

Declaring ( ἐξηγουμένων )

Better, as Rev., rehearsing. See on Luk 24:35.

Vincent: Act 15:12 - What miracles What miracles, etc Lit., how many (ὅσα ) .

What miracles, etc

Lit., how many (ὅσα ) .

Vincent: Act 15:13 - James James See Introduction to Catholic Epistles.

James

See Introduction to Catholic Epistles.

Vincent: Act 15:18 - Known unto God Known unto God, etc The best texts join these words with the preceding verse, from which they omit all; rendering, The Lord, who maketh these...

Known unto God, etc

The best texts join these words with the preceding verse, from which they omit all; rendering, The Lord, who maketh these things known from the beginning of the world.

Vincent: Act 15:19 - Trouble Trouble ( παρενοχλεῖν ) Only here in New Testament. See on vexed, Luk 6:18.

Trouble ( παρενοχλεῖν )

Only here in New Testament. See on vexed, Luk 6:18.

Vincent: Act 15:20 - Write Write ( ἐπιστεῖλαι ) Originally, to send to, as a message; hence, by letter. The kindred noun ἐπιστολή , whence ou...

Write ( ἐπιστεῖλαι )

Originally, to send to, as a message; hence, by letter. The kindred noun ἐπιστολή , whence our epistle, means, originally, anything sent by a messenger. Letter is a secondary meaning.

Vincent: Act 15:20 - Pollutions Pollutions ( ἀλισγημάτων ) A word not found in classical Greek, and only here in the New Testament. The kindred verb ἀλισγ...

Pollutions ( ἀλισγημάτων )

A word not found in classical Greek, and only here in the New Testament. The kindred verb ἀλισγεῖν , to pollute, occurs in the Septuagint, Daniel 1:8; Malachi 1:7, and both times in the sense of defiling by food. Here the word is defined by things sacrificed to idols (Act 15:29); the flesh of idol sacrifices, of which whatever was not eaten by the worshippers at the feasts in the temples, or given to the priests, was sold in the markets and eaten at home. See 1Co 10:25-28; and Exo 34:15.

Vincent: Act 15:20 - Fornication Fornication In its literal sense. " The association of fornication with three things in themselves indifferent is to be explained from the then...

Fornication

In its literal sense. " The association of fornication with three things in themselves indifferent is to be explained from the then moral corruption of heathenism, by which fornication, regarded from of old with indulgence, and even with favor, nay, practised without shame even by philosophers, and surrounded by poets with all the tinsel of lasciviousness, had become in public opinion a thing really indifferent" (Meyer). See Döllinger, " The Gentile and the Jew," ii., 237 sq.

Vincent: Act 15:20 - Strangled Strangled The flesh of animals killed in snares, and whose blood was not poured forth, was forbidden to the Israelites.

Strangled

The flesh of animals killed in snares, and whose blood was not poured forth, was forbidden to the Israelites.

Vincent: Act 15:23 - Greeting Greeting ( χαίρειν ) The usual Greek form of salutation. It occurs nowhere else in the salutation of a New Testament epistle save in the...

Greeting ( χαίρειν )

The usual Greek form of salutation. It occurs nowhere else in the salutation of a New Testament epistle save in the Epistle of James (Jam 1:1). See note there. It appears in the letter of Claudius Lysias (Act 23:26).

Vincent: Act 15:24 - Subverting Subverting ( ἀνασκευάζοντες ) Only here in New Testament, and not found either in the Septuagint or in the Apocrypha. Originall...

Subverting ( ἀνασκευάζοντες )

Only here in New Testament, and not found either in the Septuagint or in the Apocrypha. Originally, it means to pack up baggage, and so to carry away; hence, to dismantle or disfurnish. So Thucydides (iv., 116) relates that Brasidas captured Lecythus, and then pulled it down and dismantled it (ἀνασκευάσας ) . From this comes the more general meaning to lay waste, or ravage. The idea here is that of turning the minds of the Gentile converts upside down; throwing them into confusion like a dismantled house.

Vincent: Act 15:24 - We gave no commandment We gave no commandment ( οὐ διεστειλάμεθα ) The word originally means to put asunder; hence, to distinguish, and so of a c...

We gave no commandment ( οὐ διεστειλάμεθα )

The word originally means to put asunder; hence, to distinguish, and so of a commandment or injunction, to distinguish and emphasize it. Therefore implying express orders, and so always in the New Testament, where it is almost uniformly rendered charge. The idea here is, then, " we gave no express injunction on the points which these Judaizers have raised."

Vincent: Act 15:25 - Barnabas and Paul Barnabas and Paul Here, as in Act 15:12, Barnabas is named first, contrary to the practice of Luke since Act 13:9. Barnabas was the elder and bet...

Barnabas and Paul

Here, as in Act 15:12, Barnabas is named first, contrary to the practice of Luke since Act 13:9. Barnabas was the elder and better known, and in the church at Jerusalem his name would naturally precede Paul's. The use of the Greek salutation, and this order of the names, are two undesigned coincidences going to attest the genuineness of this first document preserved to us from the Acts of the primitive church.

Vincent: Act 15:29 - Blood Blood Because in the blood was the animal's life, and it was the blood that was consecrated to make atonement. See Gen 9:6; Lev 17:10-14; Deu 12:...

Blood

Because in the blood was the animal's life, and it was the blood that was consecrated to make atonement. See Gen 9:6; Lev 17:10-14; Deu 12:23, Deu 12:24. The Gentiles had no scruples about eating blood; on the contrary, it was a special delicacy. Thus Homer:

" At the fire

Already lie the paunches of two goats,

Preparing for our evening meal, and both

Are filled with fat and blood. Whoever shows

Himself the better man in this affray,

And conquers, he shall take the one of these

He chooses."

Odyssey , xviii., 44 sq.

The heathen were accustomed to drink blood mingled with wine at their sacrifices.

Vincent: Act 15:29 - Farewell Farewell ( ἔῤῥωσθε ) Lit., be strong, like the Latin valete . Compare the close of Claudius Lysias' letter to Festus (Act 23:30...

Farewell ( ἔῤῥωσθε )

Lit., be strong, like the Latin valete . Compare the close of Claudius Lysias' letter to Festus (Act 23:30).

Vincent: Act 15:31 - Consolation Consolation See on Act 9:31.

Consolation

See on Act 9:31.

Vincent: Act 15:32 - Many words Many words Or, lit., much discourse; adding the spoken to the written consolation.

Many words

Or, lit., much discourse; adding the spoken to the written consolation.

Vincent: Act 15:32 - Exhorted Exhorted Or comforted. See on Act 15:31. The latter agrees better with consolation there.

Exhorted

Or comforted. See on Act 15:31. The latter agrees better with consolation there.

Vincent: Act 15:32 - Confirmed Confirmed See on Act 14:22.

Confirmed

See on Act 14:22.

Vincent: Act 15:36 - Let us go again and visit Let us go again and visit ( ἐπιστρέψαντες δὴ ἐπισκεψῶμεθα ) Lit., Having returned, let us now visit. The A...

Let us go again and visit ( ἐπιστρέψαντες δὴ ἐπισκεψῶμεθα )

Lit., Having returned, let us now visit. The A. V. omits now. See on Act 13:2.

Vincent: Act 15:36 - In every city In every city ( κατὰ πᾶσαν πόλιν ) Κατά has the force of city by city.

In every city ( κατὰ πᾶσαν πόλιν )

Κατά has the force of city by city.

Vincent: Act 15:38 - Him Him ( τοῦτον ) Lit., that one. It marks him very strongly, and is an emphatic position at the end of the sentence.

Him ( τοῦτον )

Lit., that one. It marks him very strongly, and is an emphatic position at the end of the sentence.

Vincent: Act 15:38 - Departed Departed ( ἀποστάντα ) Rev., withdrew. It furnishes the derivation of our word apostatize.

Departed ( ἀποστάντα )

Rev., withdrew. It furnishes the derivation of our word apostatize.

Vincent: Act 15:39 - The contention was so sharp The contention was so sharp ( ἐγένετο παροξυσμὸς ) More correctly, there arose a sharp contention. Only here and Heb 10:...

The contention was so sharp ( ἐγένετο παροξυσμὸς )

More correctly, there arose a sharp contention. Only here and Heb 10:24. Our word paroxysm is a transcription of παροξυσμὸς . An angry dispute is indicated.

Vincent: Act 15:39 - Barnabas Barnabas The last mention of him in the Acts.

Barnabas

The last mention of him in the Acts.

Vincent: Act 15:40 - Recommended Recommended Which was not the case with Barnabas, leading to the inference that the church at Antioch took Paul's side in the dispute.

Recommended

Which was not the case with Barnabas, leading to the inference that the church at Antioch took Paul's side in the dispute.

Wesley: Act 15:1 - Coming down from Judea Perhaps to supply what they thought Paul and Barnabas had omitted.

Perhaps to supply what they thought Paul and Barnabas had omitted.

Wesley: Act 15:2 - They (the brethren) determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others should go up to Jerusalem about this question This is the journey to which St. Paul refers, Gal 2:1-2, when he says he went up by revelation: which is very consistent with this; for the Church in ...

This is the journey to which St. Paul refers, Gal 2:1-2, when he says he went up by revelation: which is very consistent with this; for the Church in sending them might be directed by a revelation made either immediately to St. Paul, or to some other person, relating to so important an affair. Important indeed it was, that these Jewish impositions should be solemnly opposed in time; because multitudes of converts were still zealous for the law, and ready to contend for the observance of it. Indeed many of the Christians of Antioch would have acquiesced in the determination of Paul alone. But as many others might have prejudices against him, for his having been so much concerned for the Gentiles, it was highly expedient to take the concurrent judgment of all the apostles on this occasion.

Wesley: Act 15:4 - They were received That is solemnly welcomed.

That is solemnly welcomed.

Wesley: Act 15:5 - But certain Pharisees For even believers are apt to retain their former turn of mind, and prejudices derived therefrom.

For even believers are apt to retain their former turn of mind, and prejudices derived therefrom.

Wesley: Act 15:5 - The law of Moses The whole law, both moral and ritual.

The whole law, both moral and ritual.

Wesley: Act 15:7 - After much debate It does not appear that this was among the apostles themselves. But if it had, if they themselves had debated at first, yet might their final decision...

It does not appear that this was among the apostles themselves. But if it had, if they themselves had debated at first, yet might their final decision be from an unerring direction. For how really soever they were inspired, we need not suppose their inspiration was always so instantaneous and express, as to supersede any deliberation in their own minds, or any consultation with each other.

Wesley: Act 15:7 - Peter rose up This is the last time he is mentioned in the Acts.

This is the last time he is mentioned in the Acts.

Wesley: Act 15:8 - God bare them witness That he had accepted them, by giving them the Holy Ghost.

That he had accepted them, by giving them the Holy Ghost.

Wesley: Act 15:9 - Purifying This word is repeated from Act 10:15; their hearts - The heart is the proper seat of purity; by faith - Without concerning themselves with the Mosaic ...

This word is repeated from Act 10:15; their hearts - The heart is the proper seat of purity; by faith - Without concerning themselves with the Mosaic law.

Wesley: Act 15:10 - Now therefore Seeing these things are so: why tempt ye God? - Why do ye provoke him to anger, by putting so heavy a yoke on their neck?

Seeing these things are so: why tempt ye God? - Why do ye provoke him to anger, by putting so heavy a yoke on their neck?

Wesley: Act 15:11 - The Lord Jesus He does not here say our Lord; because in this solemn place he means the Lord of all, we - Jews, shall be saved even as they - Gentiles, namely, throu...

He does not here say our Lord; because in this solemn place he means the Lord of all, we - Jews, shall be saved even as they - Gentiles, namely, through the grace of the Lord Jesus, not by our observance of the ceremonial law.

Wesley: Act 15:12 - Miracles and wonders By which also what St. Peter had said was confirmed.

By which also what St. Peter had said was confirmed.

Wesley: Act 15:14 - Simon hath declared James, the apostle of the Hebrews, calls Peter by his Hebrew name.

James, the apostle of the Hebrews, calls Peter by his Hebrew name.

Wesley: Act 15:14 - To take out of them a people for his name That is to believe in him, to be called by his name.

That is to believe in him, to be called by his name.

Wesley: Act 15:15 - To this agree St. Peter had urged the plain fact, which St. James confirms by Scripture prophecy.

St. Peter had urged the plain fact, which St. James confirms by Scripture prophecy.

Wesley: Act 15:15 - The words of the prophets One of whom is immediately cited.

One of whom is immediately cited.

Wesley: Act 15:16 - After this After the Jewish dispensation expires.

After the Jewish dispensation expires.

Wesley: Act 15:16 - I will build again the fallen tabernacle of David By raising from his seed the Christ, who shall build on the ruins of his fallen tabernacle a spiritual and eternal kingdom. Amo 9:11.

By raising from his seed the Christ, who shall build on the ruins of his fallen tabernacle a spiritual and eternal kingdom. Amo 9:11.

Wesley: Act 15:17 - The Gentiles on whom my name is called That is, who are called by my name; who are my people.

That is, who are called by my name; who are my people.

Wesley: Act 15:18 - Known unto God are all his works from eternity Which the apostle infers from the prophecy itself, and the accomplishment of it. And this conversion of the Gentiles being known to him from eternity,...

Which the apostle infers from the prophecy itself, and the accomplishment of it. And this conversion of the Gentiles being known to him from eternity, we ought not to think a new or strange thing. It is observable, he does not speak of God's works in the natural world, (which had been nothing to his present purpose,) but of his dealing with the children of men. Now he could not know these, without knowing the characters and actions of particular persons, on a correspondence with which the wisdom and goodness of his providential dispensations is founded. For instance, he could not know how he would deal with heathen idolaters (whom he was now calling into his Church) without knowing there would be heathen idolaters: and yet this was a thing purely contingent, a thing as dependent on the freedom of the human mind, as any we can imagine. This text, therefore, among a thousand more, is an unanswerable proof, that God foreknows future contingencies, though there are difficulties relating hereto which men cannot solve.

Wesley: Act 15:20 - To abstain from fornication Which even the philosophers among the heathens did not account any fault. It was particularly frequent in the worship of their idols, on which account...

Which even the philosophers among the heathens did not account any fault. It was particularly frequent in the worship of their idols, on which account they are here named together.

Wesley: Act 15:20 - And from things strangled That is, from whatever had been killed, without pouring out the blood. When God first permitted man to eat flesh, he commanded Noah, and in him all hi...

That is, from whatever had been killed, without pouring out the blood. When God first permitted man to eat flesh, he commanded Noah, and in him all his posterity, whenever they killed any creature for food, to abstain from the blood thereof. It was to be poured upon the ground as water: doubtless in honour of that blood which was in due time poured out for the sin of the world.

Wesley: Act 15:21 - -- Perhaps the connection is, To the Jews we need write nothing on these heads; for they hear the law continually.

Perhaps the connection is, To the Jews we need write nothing on these heads; for they hear the law continually.

Wesley: Act 15:22 - With the whole Church Which therefore had a part therein; to send chosen men - Who might put it beyond all dispute, that this was the judgment of the apostles and all the b...

Which therefore had a part therein; to send chosen men - Who might put it beyond all dispute, that this was the judgment of the apostles and all the brethren.

Wesley: Act 15:23 - Writing thus, and sending it by their hand The whole conduct of this affair plainly shows that the Church in those days had no conception of St. Peter's primacy, or of his being the chief judge...

The whole conduct of this affair plainly shows that the Church in those days had no conception of St. Peter's primacy, or of his being the chief judge in controversies. For the decree is drawn up, not according to his, but the Apostle James's proposal and direction: and that in the name, not of St. Peter, but of all the apostles and elders, and of the whole Church. Nay, St. Peter's name is not mentioned at all, either in the order for sending to Jerusalem on the question, Act 15:2, or in the address of the messengers concerning it, Act 15:4, or in the letter which was written in answer.

Wesley: Act 15:24 - Forasmuch as, &c. _The simplicity, weightiness, and conciseness of this letter are highly observable.

_The simplicity, weightiness, and conciseness of this letter are highly observable.

Wesley: Act 15:26 - Men that have hazarded their lives This is spoken of Paul and Barnabas.

This is spoken of Paul and Barnabas.

Wesley: Act 15:27 - Who will tell you the same things Which we have written.

Which we have written.

Wesley: Act 15:28 - These necessary things All of these were necessary for that time. But the first of them was not necessary long; and the direction concerning it was therefore repealed by the...

All of these were necessary for that time. But the first of them was not necessary long; and the direction concerning it was therefore repealed by the same Spirit, as we read in the former Epistle to the Corinthians.

Wesley: Act 15:29 - Blood The eating which was never permitted the children of God from the beginning of the world. Nothing can be clearer than this. For, 1. From Adam to Noah ...

The eating which was never permitted the children of God from the beginning of the world. Nothing can be clearer than this. For, 1. From Adam to Noah no man ate flesh at all; consequently no man then ate blood. 2. When God allowed Noah and his posterity to eat flesh, he absolutely forbade them to eat blood; and accordingly this, with the other six precepts of Noah, was delivered down from Noah to Moses. 3. God renewed this prohibition by Moses, which was not repealed from the time of Moses till Christ came. 4. Neither after his coming did any presume to repeal this decree of the Holy Ghost, till it seemed good to the bishop of Rome so to do, about the middle of the eighth century. 5. From that time those Churches which acknowledged his authority held the eating of blood to be an indifferent thing. But, 6. In all those Churches which never did acknowledge the bishop of Rome's authority, it never was allowed to eat blood; nor is it allowed at this day. This is the plain fact; let men reason as plausibly as they please on one side or the other.

Wesley: Act 15:29 - From which keeping yourselves ye will do well That is, ye will find a blessing. This gentle manner of concluding was worthy the apostolical wisdom and goodness.

That is, ye will find a blessing. This gentle manner of concluding was worthy the apostolical wisdom and goodness.

Wesley: Act 15:29 - But how soon did succeeding councils of inferior authority change it into the style of anathemas! Forms which have proved an occasion of consecrating some of the most devilish passions under the most sacred names; and like some ill adjusted weapons of war, are most likely to hurt the hand from which they are thrown.

adjusted weapons of war, are most likely to hurt the hand from which they are thrown.

Wesley: Act 15:35 - Paul and Barnabas abode in Antioch And it was during this time that Peter came down from Jerusalem, and that St. Paul withstood him to the face, for separating himself from the Gentiles...

And it was during this time that Peter came down from Jerusalem, and that St. Paul withstood him to the face, for separating himself from the Gentiles, Gal 2:11, &c.

Wesley: Act 15:36 - Let us go and visit the brethren in every city where we have preached This was all that St. Paul designed at first; but it was not all that God designed by his journey, whose providence carried him much farther than he i...

This was all that St. Paul designed at first; but it was not all that God designed by his journey, whose providence carried him much farther than he intended.

Wesley: Act 15:36 - And see how they do How their souls prosper: how they grow in faith, hope love: what else ought to be the grand and constant inquiry in every ecclesiastical visitation? R...

How their souls prosper: how they grow in faith, hope love: what else ought to be the grand and constant inquiry in every ecclesiastical visitation? Reader, how dost thou do?

Wesley: Act 15:37 - Barnabas counselled to take John His kinsman.

His kinsman.

Wesley: Act 15:38 - But Paul thought it not right To trust him again, who had deserted them before: who had shrunk from the labour and danger of converting those they were now going to confirm.

To trust him again, who had deserted them before: who had shrunk from the labour and danger of converting those they were now going to confirm.

Wesley: Act 15:39 - And there was a sharp contention Literally, a paroxysm, or fit of a fever. But nothing in the text implies that the sharpness was on both sides. It is far more probable that it was no...

Literally, a paroxysm, or fit of a fever. But nothing in the text implies that the sharpness was on both sides. It is far more probable that it was not; that St. Paul, who had the right on his side, as he undoubtedly had,) maintained it with love. And Barnabas taking Mark with him, sailed away to Cyprus - Forsaking the work in which he was engaged, he went away to his own country.

Wesley: Act 15:40 - But Paul departed Held on his intended course: being recommended by the brethren to the grace of God - We do not find that Barnabas stayed for this. O how mighty is the...

Held on his intended course: being recommended by the brethren to the grace of God - We do not find that Barnabas stayed for this. O how mighty is the grace of God! which in the midst of the world, in the midst of sin, among so many snares of Satan, and in spite of the incredible weakness and depravity of nature, yet overcomes all opposition, sanctifies, sustains, and preserves us to the end! It appears not only that Paul and Barnabas were afterward thoroughly reconciled, 1Co 9:6; Gal 2:9; but also that John was again admitted by St. Paul as a companion in his labours, Col 4:10; Phm 1:24; 2Ti 4:11.

JFB: Act 15:1-2 - certain men See the description of them in Gal 2:4.

See the description of them in Gal 2:4.

JFB: Act 15:2 - Paul and Barnabas Now the recognized heads of the Church at Antioch.

Now the recognized heads of the Church at Antioch.

JFB: Act 15:2 - had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined That is, the church did.

That is, the church did.

JFB: Act 15:2 - that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of them Titus was one (Gal 2:1); probably as an uncircumcised Gentile convert endowed with the gifts of the Spirit. He is not mentioned in the Acts, but only ...

Titus was one (Gal 2:1); probably as an uncircumcised Gentile convert endowed with the gifts of the Spirit. He is not mentioned in the Acts, but only in Second Corinthians, Galatians, Second Timothy, and the Epistle addressed to him [ALFORD].

JFB: Act 15:2 - should go up to Jerusalem . . . about this question That such a deputation should be formally despatched by the Church of Antioch was natural, as it might be called the mother church of Gentile Christia...

That such a deputation should be formally despatched by the Church of Antioch was natural, as it might be called the mother church of Gentile Christianity.

JFB: Act 15:3-6 - being brought on their way by the church A kind of official escort.

A kind of official escort.

JFB: Act 15:3-6 - they passed through Phenice (See on Act 11:19).

(See on Act 11:19).

JFB: Act 15:3-6 - and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles, and they caused great joy to the brethren As the converts in those parts were Jewish (Act 11:19), their spirit contrasts favorably with that of others of their nation.

As the converts in those parts were Jewish (Act 11:19), their spirit contrasts favorably with that of others of their nation.

JFB: Act 15:4 - And when they were come to Jerusalem This was Paul's THIRD VISIT TO JERUSALEM after his conversion, and on this occasion took place what is related in Gal 2:1-10. (See there).

This was Paul's THIRD VISIT TO JERUSALEM after his conversion, and on this occasion took place what is related in Gal 2:1-10. (See there).

JFB: Act 15:4 - were received of the church, and the apostles and elders Evidently at a meeting formally convened for this purpose: the deputation being one so influential, and from a church of such note.

Evidently at a meeting formally convened for this purpose: the deputation being one so influential, and from a church of such note.

JFB: Act 15:4 - they declared all things that God had done with them (See on Act 14:14-27).

(See on Act 14:14-27).

JFB: Act 15:6 - the apostles and elders came together to consider of this But in presence, as would seem, of the people (Act 15:12, Act 15:22-23).

But in presence, as would seem, of the people (Act 15:12, Act 15:22-23).

JFB: Act 15:7 - Peter, &c. This is the last mention of him in the Acts, and one worthy of his standing, as formally pronouncing, from the divine decision of the matter already i...

This is the last mention of him in the Acts, and one worthy of his standing, as formally pronouncing, from the divine decision of the matter already in his own case, in favor of the views which all of Paul's labors were devoted to establishing.

JFB: Act 15:7 - a good while ago Probably about fifteen years before this.

Probably about fifteen years before this.

JFB: Act 15:7 - made choice . . . that the Gentiles by my mouth (See on Act 11:21).

(See on Act 11:21).

JFB: Act 15:8 - God, which knoweth the hearts Implying that the real question for admission to full standing in the visible Church is the state of the heart. Hence, though that cannot be known by ...

Implying that the real question for admission to full standing in the visible Church is the state of the heart. Hence, though that cannot be known by men, no principle of admission to church privileges which reverses this can be sound.

JFB: Act 15:9 - put no difference between us and them: purifying their hearts by faith "Purification" here refers to "sprinkling (of the conscience by the blood of Jesus) from dead works to serve the living God." (See on 1Co 6:11). How r...

"Purification" here refers to "sprinkling (of the conscience by the blood of Jesus) from dead works to serve the living God." (See on 1Co 6:11). How rich is this brief description of the inward revolution wrought upon the genuine disciples of the Lord Jesus!

JFB: Act 15:10 - why tempt "try," "provoke"

"try," "provoke"

JFB: Act 15:10 - ye God By standing in the way of His declared purpose.

By standing in the way of His declared purpose.

JFB: Act 15:10 - to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, &c. He that was circumcised became thereby bound to keep the whole law. (See Gal 5:1-6). It was not then the mere yoke of burdensome ceremonies, but of an...

He that was circumcised became thereby bound to keep the whole law. (See Gal 5:1-6). It was not then the mere yoke of burdensome ceremonies, but of an obligation which the more earnest and spiritual men became, the more impossible they felt it to fulfil. (See Rom 3:5; Gal 2:4, &c.).

JFB: Act 15:11 - through the grace of the Lord Jesus That is, by that only.

That is, by that only.

JFB: Act 15:11 - we shall be saved, even as they Circumcision in our case being no advantage, and in their case uncircumcision no loss; but grace doing all for both, and the same for each.

Circumcision in our case being no advantage, and in their case uncircumcision no loss; but grace doing all for both, and the same for each.

JFB: Act 15:12 - Then all . . . gave audience to Barnabas and Paul On this order of the names here, see on Act 15:25.

On this order of the names here, see on Act 15:25.

JFB: Act 15:12 - declaring what miracles and signs God wrought among the Gentiles by them This detail of facts, immediately following up those which Peter had recalled to mind, would lead all who waited only for divine teaching to see that ...

This detail of facts, immediately following up those which Peter had recalled to mind, would lead all who waited only for divine teaching to see that God had Himself pronounced the Gentile converts to be disciples in as full standing as the Jews, without circumcision; and the attesting miracles to which Paul here refers would tend, in such an assembly to silence opposition.

JFB: Act 15:13 - James answered, saying, &c. Whoever this James was (see on Gal 1:19), he was the acknowledged head of the church at Jerusalem, and here, as president of the assembly, speaks last...

Whoever this James was (see on Gal 1:19), he was the acknowledged head of the church at Jerusalem, and here, as president of the assembly, speaks last, winding up the debate. His decision, though given as his own judgment only, could not be of great weight with the opposing party, from his conservative reverence for all Jewish usages within the circle of Israelitish Christianity.

JFB: Act 15:14-17 - Simeon A Hebrew variation of Simon, as in 2Pe 1:1; (Greek), the Jewish and family name of Peter.

A Hebrew variation of Simon, as in 2Pe 1:1; (Greek), the Jewish and family name of Peter.

JFB: Act 15:14-17 - hath declared how God at the first Answering to Peter's own expression "a good while ago" (Act 15:7).

Answering to Peter's own expression "a good while ago" (Act 15:7).

JFB: Act 15:14-17 - did visit the Gentiles to take out of them In the exercise of His adorable sovereignty.

In the exercise of His adorable sovereignty.

JFB: Act 15:14-17 - a people for his name The honor of his name, or for His glory.

The honor of his name, or for His glory.

JFB: Act 15:15 - to this agree the words of the prophets Generally; but those of Amos (Amo 9:11) are specified (nearly as in the Septuagint version). The point of the passage lies in the predicted purpose of...

Generally; but those of Amos (Amo 9:11) are specified (nearly as in the Septuagint version). The point of the passage lies in the predicted purpose of God, under the new economy, that "the heathen" or "Gentiles" should be "called by His name," or have "His name called upon them." By the "building again of the fallen tabernacle of David," or restoring its decayed splendor, is meant that only and glorious recovery which it was to experience under David's "son and Lord."

JFB: Act 15:18-19 - Known unto God are all his works from the beginning He who announced these things so long before, and He who had now brought them to pass, were one and the same; so that they were no novelty.

He who announced these things so long before, and He who had now brought them to pass, were one and the same; so that they were no novelty.

JFB: Act 15:19 - Wherefore, my sentence Or "judgment."

Or "judgment."

JFB: Act 15:19 - is, that we trouble not With Jewish obligations.

With Jewish obligations.

JFB: Act 15:19 - them which from among the Gentiles are turned to God Rather, "are turning." The work is regarded as in progress, and indeed was rapidly advancing.

Rather, "are turning." The work is regarded as in progress, and indeed was rapidly advancing.

JFB: Act 15:20 - But . . . that they abstain from pollutions of idols That is, things polluted by having been offered in sacrifice to idols. The heathen were accustomed to give away or sell portions of such animals. From...

That is, things polluted by having been offered in sacrifice to idols. The heathen were accustomed to give away or sell portions of such animals. From such food James would enjoin the Gentile converts to abstain, lest it should seem to the Jews that they were not entirely weaned from idolatry.

JFB: Act 15:20 - and from fornication The characteristic sin of heathendom, unblushingly practiced by all ranks and classes, and the indulgence of which on the part of the Gentile converts...

The characteristic sin of heathendom, unblushingly practiced by all ranks and classes, and the indulgence of which on the part of the Gentile converts would to Jews, whose Scriptures branded it as an abomination of the heathen, proclaim them to be yet joined to their old idols.

JFB: Act 15:20 - and from things strangled Which had the blood in them.

Which had the blood in them.

JFB: Act 15:20 - and from blood In every form, as peremptorily forbidden to the Jews, and the eating of which, therefore, on the part of the Gentile converts, would shock their preju...

In every form, as peremptorily forbidden to the Jews, and the eating of which, therefore, on the part of the Gentile converts, would shock their prejudices. See on Act 15:28.

JFB: Act 15:21 - For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him . . . every sabbath day Thus keeping alive in every Jew those feelings which such practices would shock, and which, therefore, the Gentile converts must carefully respect if ...

Thus keeping alive in every Jew those feelings which such practices would shock, and which, therefore, the Gentile converts must carefully respect if the oneness of both classes in Christ was to be practically preserved. The wisdom of these suggestions commended itself to all present.

JFB: Act 15:22-23 - Judas surnamed Barsabas Therefore not the apostle "Judas the brother of James" (Act 1:13), surnamed "Thaddeus" (Mat 10:3); nor can it be shown that he was a brother of "Josep...

Therefore not the apostle "Judas the brother of James" (Act 1:13), surnamed "Thaddeus" (Mat 10:3); nor can it be shown that he was a brother of "Joseph called Barsabas" (Act 1:23). But nothing is known of him beyond what is here said.

JFB: Act 15:22-23 - and Silas The same as "Silvanus" in the Epistles. He became Paul's companion on his second missionary journey (Act 15:40).

The same as "Silvanus" in the Epistles. He became Paul's companion on his second missionary journey (Act 15:40).

JFB: Act 15:22-23 - chief men among the brethren Selected purposely as such, to express the honor in which they held the church at Antioch, and the deputies they had sent to the council, and, as the ...

Selected purposely as such, to express the honor in which they held the church at Antioch, and the deputies they had sent to the council, and, as the matter affected all Gentile converts, to give weight to the written decision of this important assembly. They were "prophets," Act 15:32 (and see on Act 11:27), and as such doubtless their eminence in the church at Jerusalem had been obtained.

JFB: Act 15:23 - And they wrote . . . by them This is the first mention in the New Testament history of writing as an element in its development. And the combination here of written and oral trans...

This is the first mention in the New Testament history of writing as an element in its development. And the combination here of written and oral transmission of an important decision reminds us of the first occasion of writing mentioned in the Old Testament, where a similar combination occurs (Exo 17:14). But whereas there it is the deep difference between Israel and the Gentiles which is proclaimed, here it is the obliteration of that difference through faith in the Lord Jesus [BAUMGARTEN].

JFB: Act 15:23 - greeting The only other place in the New Testament where this word occurs (except in the letter of Lysias, Act 23:26) is Jam 1:1, which seems to show that both...

The only other place in the New Testament where this word occurs (except in the letter of Lysias, Act 23:26) is Jam 1:1, which seems to show that both letters were drawn up by the same hand [BENGEL].

JFB: Act 15:23 - the Gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia Showing that churches then existed in Cilicia as well as Syria, which owed their existence, in all likelihood, to Paul's labors during the interval be...

Showing that churches then existed in Cilicia as well as Syria, which owed their existence, in all likelihood, to Paul's labors during the interval between his return to Tarsus (Act 9:30) and his departure in company with Barnabas for Antioch (see on Act 11:25).

JFB: Act 15:24-27 - Forasmuch as we have heard that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words Without authority or even knowledge of the church at Jerusalem, though they belonged to it, and probably pretended to represent its views.

Without authority or even knowledge of the church at Jerusalem, though they belonged to it, and probably pretended to represent its views.

JFB: Act 15:24-27 - subverting your souls Such strong language is evidently designed to express indignation at this attempt, by an unauthorized party, to bring the whole Christian Church under...

Such strong language is evidently designed to express indignation at this attempt, by an unauthorized party, to bring the whole Christian Church under judicial and legal bondage.

JFB: Act 15:25 - our beloved Barnabas and Paul Barnabas is put first here, and in Act 15:12, on account of his former superior position in the church at Jerusalem (see Act 9:27; Act 11:22) --an evi...

Barnabas is put first here, and in Act 15:12, on account of his former superior position in the church at Jerusalem (see Act 9:27; Act 11:22) --an evidence this that we have the document precisely as written, as also of the credibility of this precious history.

JFB: Act 15:26 - Men that have hazarded Literally, "rendered up," as in will they did.

Literally, "rendered up," as in will they did.

JFB: Act 15:26 - their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ Noble testimony to those beloved men! It was doubtless prompted more immediately by the narrative they had just listened to from their own lips (Act 1...

Noble testimony to those beloved men! It was doubtless prompted more immediately by the narrative they had just listened to from their own lips (Act 15:12), and judiciously inserted in this letter, to give them the highest weight as the bearers of it, along with their own deputies.

JFB: Act 15:26 - Judas and Silas . . . shall tell you the same . . . by mouth Mark here how considerate and tender it was to send men who would be able to say of Barnabas and Paul what could not be expected to come from themselv...

Mark here how considerate and tender it was to send men who would be able to say of Barnabas and Paul what could not be expected to come from themselves.

JFB: Act 15:28-29 - For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, &c. The One, inwardly guiding to and setting His seal on the decision come to: the other, the external ecclesiastical authority devoutly embracing, expres...

The One, inwardly guiding to and setting His seal on the decision come to: the other, the external ecclesiastical authority devoutly embracing, expressing, and conveying to the churches that decision:--a great principle this for the Church in all time.

JFB: Act 15:28-29 - to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things . . . from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well The whole language of these prohibitions, and of Act 15:20-21, implies that they were designed as concessions to Jewish feelings on the part of the Ge...

The whole language of these prohibitions, and of Act 15:20-21, implies that they were designed as concessions to Jewish feelings on the part of the Gentile converts, and not as things which were all of unchanging obligation. The only cause for hesitation arises from "fornication" being mixed up with the other three things; which has led many to regard the whole as permanently prohibited. But the remarks on Act 15:20 may clear this (see on Act 15:20). The then state of heathen society in respect of all the four things seems the reason for so mixing them up.

JFB: Act 15:31-33 - they rejoiced for the consolation As the same word is in Act 15:31 properly rendered "exhorted," the meaning probably is "rejoiced for the exhortation" (Margin), or advice; so wise in ...

As the same word is in Act 15:31 properly rendered "exhorted," the meaning probably is "rejoiced for the exhortation" (Margin), or advice; so wise in itself and so contrary to the imposition attempted to be practiced upon them by the Judaizers.

JFB: Act 15:32 - Judas and Silas, being prophets themselves That is, inspired teachers.

That is, inspired teachers.

JFB: Act 15:32 - exhorted the brethren with many words "much discourse."

"much discourse."

JFB: Act 15:32 - and confirmed them Opening up, no doubt, the great principle involved in the controversy now settled, of gratuitous salvation, or the purification of the heart by faith ...

Opening up, no doubt, the great principle involved in the controversy now settled, of gratuitous salvation, or the purification of the heart by faith alone (as expressed by Peter, Act 15:9, Act 15:11), and dwelling on the necessity of harmony in principle and affection between the Gentile disciples and their Jewish brethren.

JFB: Act 15:33 - were let go in peace With peace, as the customary parting salutation.

With peace, as the customary parting salutation.

JFB: Act 15:34-35 - it pleased Silas Silas determined.

Silas determined.

JFB: Act 15:34-35 - to abide there still (The authorities against the insertion of this verse are strong. It may have been afterwards added to explain Act 15:40). Doubtless the attraction to ...

(The authorities against the insertion of this verse are strong. It may have been afterwards added to explain Act 15:40). Doubtless the attraction to Antioch for Silas was Paul's presence there, to whom he seems to have now formed that permanent attachment which the sequel of this book and Paul's Epistles show to have existed.

JFB: Act 15:35 - Paul . . . and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching To the disciples.

To the disciples.

JFB: Act 15:35 - and preaching To those without.

To those without.

JFB: Act 15:35 - the word of the Lord, with many others Other laborers.

Other laborers.

JFB: Act 15:35 - also How rich must Antioch at this time have been in the ministrations of the Gospel! (For a painful scene on this occasion between Paul and Peter, see Gal...

How rich must Antioch at this time have been in the ministrations of the Gospel! (For a painful scene on this occasion between Paul and Peter, see Gal 2:11-14).

JFB: Act 15:36 - And some days after How long is a matter of conjecture.

How long is a matter of conjecture.

JFB: Act 15:36 - Paul said to Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren The true reading is, "the brethren."

The true reading is, "the brethren."

JFB: Act 15:36 - in every city where we have preached . . . and see how they do Whether they were advancing or declining, &c.: a pattern for churches and successful missionaries in every age. ("Reader, how stands it with thee?") [...

Whether they were advancing or declining, &c.: a pattern for churches and successful missionaries in every age. ("Reader, how stands it with thee?") [BENGEL]. "Paul felt that he was not called to spend a peaceful, though laborious life at Antioch, but that his true work was far off among the Gentiles." We notice here, for the first time, a trace of that tender solicitude for his converts, that earnest longing to see their faces, which appears in the letters which he wrote afterwards, as one of the most remarkable and attractive features of his character. He thought, doubtless, of the Pisidians and Lycaonians, as he thought afterwards at Athens and Corinth of the Thessalonians, from whom he had been lately "taken in presence, not in heart, night and day praying exceedingly that he might see their face and perfect that which was lacking in their faith" [HOWSON].

JFB: Act 15:37 - Barnabas determined to take with them John . . . Mark His nephew (Col 4:10).

His nephew (Col 4:10).

JFB: Act 15:38 - But Paul thought not good to take him with them who departed from them That is, who had departed; but the word is stronger than this--"who stood aloof" or "turned away" from them.

That is, who had departed; but the word is stronger than this--"who stood aloof" or "turned away" from them.

JFB: Act 15:38 - from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work The work yet before them. The allusion is to what is recorded in Act 13:13 (see on Act 13:13).

The work yet before them. The allusion is to what is recorded in Act 13:13 (see on Act 13:13).

JFB: Act 15:39 - And the contention was so sharp between them Such was the "irritation," or "exacerbation."

Such was the "irritation," or "exacerbation."

JFB: Act 15:39 - that they departed asunder one from the other Said they not truly to the Lystrians that they were "men of like passions with them"; (Act 14:15). But who was to blame? (1) That John Mark had either...

Said they not truly to the Lystrians that they were "men of like passions with them"; (Act 14:15). But who was to blame? (1) That John Mark had either tired of the work or shrunk from the dangers and fatigues that yet lay before them, was undeniable; and Paul concluded that what he had done he might, and probably would, do again. Was he wrong in this? (See Pro 25:19). But (2) To this Barnabas might reply that no rule was without exception; that one failure, in a young Christian, was not enough to condemn him for life; that if near relationship might be thought to warp his judgment, it also gave him opportunities of knowing the man better than others; and that as he was himself anxious to be allowed another trial (and the result makes this next to certain), in order that he might wipe out the effect of his former failure and show what "hardness he could now endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ," his petition ought not to be rejected. Now, since John Mark did retrieve his character in these respects, and a reconciliation took place between Paul and him, so cordial that the apostle expresses more than once the confidence he had in him and the value he set upon his services (Col 4:10-11; 2Ti 4:11), it may seem that events showed Barnabas to be in the right, and Paul too harsh and hasty in his judgment. But, in behalf of Paul, it may well be answered, that not being able to see into the future he had only the unfavorable past to judge by; that the gentleness of Barnabas (Act 4:36; Act 11:24) had already laid him open to imposition (see on Gal 2:13), to which near relationship would in this case make him more liable; and that in refusing to take John Mark on this missionary journey he was not judging his Christian character nor pronouncing on his fitness for future service, but merely providing in the meantime against being again put to serious inconvenience and having their hands weakened by a possible second desertion. On the whole, then, it seems clear that each of these great servants of--Christ had something to say for himself, in defense of the position which they respectively took up; that while Barnabas was quite able to appreciate the grounds on which Paul proceeded, Paul was not so competent to judge of the considerations which Barnabas probably urged; that while Paul had but one object in view, to see that the companion of their arduous work was one of thoroughly congenial spirit and sufficient nerve, Barnabas, over and above the same desire, might not unreasonably be afraid for the soul of his nephew, lest the refusal to allow him to accompany them on their journey might injure his Christian character and deprive the Church of a true servant of Jesus Christ; and that while both sought only the glory of their common Master, each looked at the question at issue, to some extent, through the medium of his own temperament, which grace sanctifies and refines, but does not destroy--Paul, through the medium of absolute devotion to the cause and kingdom of Christ, which, warm and womanly as his affections were, gave a tinge of lofty sternness to his resolves where that seemed to be affected; Barnabas, through the medium of the same singleness of heart in Christ's service, though probably not in equal strength (Gal 2:13), but also of a certain natural gentleness which, where a Christian relative was concerned, led him to attach more weight to what seemed for his spiritual good than Paul could be supposed to do. In these circumstances, it seems quite possible that they might have amicably "agreed to differ," each taking his own companion, as they actually did. But the "paroxysm" (as the word is), the "exacerbation" which is expressly given as the cause of their parting, shows but too plainly, that human infirmity amidst the great labors of the Church at Antioch at length sundered those who had sweetly and lovingly borne together the heat and burden of the day during a protracted tour in the service of Christ. "Therefore let no man glory in men" (1Co 3:21). As for John Mark, although through his uncle's warm advocacy of his cause he was put in a condition to dissipate the cloud that hung over him, how bitter to him must have ever afterwards been the reflection that it was his culpable conduct which gave occasion to whatever was sinful in the strife between Paul and Barnabas, and to a separation in action, though no doubt with a mutual Christian regard, between those who had till then wrought nobly together! How watchful does all this teach Christians, and especially Christian ministers and missionaries, to be against giving way to rash judgment and hot temper towards each other, especially where on both sides the glory of Christ is the ground of difference! How possible is it that in such cases both parties may, on the question at issue, be more or less in the right! How difficult is it even for the most faithful and devoted servants of Christ, differing as they do in their natural temperament even under the commanding influence of grace, to see even important questions precisely in the same light! And if, with every disposition to yield what is unimportant, they still feel it a duty each to stand to his own point, how careful should they be to do it lovingly, each pursuing his own course without disparagement of his Christian brother! And how affectingly does the Lord overrule such difference of judgment and such manifestations of human infirmity, by making them "turn out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel"; as in this case is eminently seen in the two missionary parties instead of one, not travelling over the same ground and carrying their dispute over all the regions of their former loving labors, but dividing the field between them!

JFB: Act 15:39 - and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas (See on Act 15:34) --going two and two, as the Twelve and the Seventy (Mar 6:7; Luk 10:1).

(See on Act 15:34) --going two and two, as the Twelve and the Seventy (Mar 6:7; Luk 10:1).

JFB: Act 15:40 - and departed, being recommended . . . to the grace of God (No doubt by some solemn service; see Act 13:3), as in Act 14:26. It does not follow from the historian's silence that Barnabas was not so recommended...

(No doubt by some solemn service; see Act 13:3), as in Act 14:26. It does not follow from the historian's silence that Barnabas was not so recommended, too; for this is the last mention of Barnabas in the history, whose sole object now is to relate the proceedings of Paul. Nor does it seem quite fair (with DE WETTE, MEYER, HOWSON, ALFORD, HACKET, WEBSTER and WILKINSON, &c.) to conclude from this that the Church at Antioch took that marked way of showing their sympathy with Paul in opposition to Barnabas.

JFB: Act 15:41 - and he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches "It is very likely that Paul and Barnabas made a deliberate and amicable arrangement to divide the region of their first mission between them; Paul ta...

"It is very likely that Paul and Barnabas made a deliberate and amicable arrangement to divide the region of their first mission between them; Paul taking the continental, and Barnabas the insular, part of the proposed visitation. If Barnabas visited Salamis and Paphos, and if Paul (travelling westward), after passing through Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium, went as far as Antioch in Pisidia, the whole circuit of the proposed visitation was actually accomplished, for it does not appear that any converts had been made at Perga and Attalia" [HOWSON]. "This second missionary tour appears to have proceeded at first solely from the desire of visiting the churches already planted. In the end, however, it took a much wider sweep, for it brought the apostle to Europe" [OLSHAUSEN].

PAUL'S SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY.

JFB: Act 15:41 - he went through Syria and Cilicia (See on Act 15:23). Taking probably the same route as when despatched in haste from Jerusalem to Tarsus, he then went by land (see on Act 9:30).

(See on Act 15:23). Taking probably the same route as when despatched in haste from Jerusalem to Tarsus, he then went by land (see on Act 9:30).

Clarke: Act 15:1 - Except ye be circumcised, etc. Except ye be circumcised, etc. - The persons who taught this doctrine appear to have been converts to Christianity; but, supposing that the Christia...

Except ye be circumcised, etc. - The persons who taught this doctrine appear to have been converts to Christianity; but, supposing that the Christian religion was intended to perfect the Mosaic, and not to supersede it, they insisted on the necessity of circumcision, because, by that, a man was made debtor to the whole law, to observe all its rites and ceremonies. This question produced great disturbance in the apostolic Church; and, notwithstanding the decree mentioned in this chapter, the apostles were frequently obliged to interpose their authority in order to settle it; and we find a whole Church, that at Galatia, drawn aside from the simplicity of the Christian faith by the subtilty of Judaizing teachers among themselves, who insisted on the necessity of the converted Gentiles being circumcised

Clarke: Act 15:1 - Ye cannot be saved Ye cannot be saved - Ye can neither enjoy God’ s blessing in time, nor his glory in eternity. Such an assertion as this, from any reputable aut...

Ye cannot be saved - Ye can neither enjoy God’ s blessing in time, nor his glory in eternity. Such an assertion as this, from any reputable authority, must necessarily shake the confidence of young converts.

Clarke: Act 15:2 - No small dissension and disputation No small dissension and disputation - Paul and Barnabas were fully satisfied that God did not design to bring the converted Gentiles under the yoke ...

No small dissension and disputation - Paul and Barnabas were fully satisfied that God did not design to bring the converted Gentiles under the yoke of circumcision: they knew that Jesus Christ was the end of the law for righteousness (justification) to every one that believed, and therefore they opposed the Judaizing teachers. This was one of the first controversies in the Christian Church; but, though the difference of sentiment was considerable, it led to no breach of Christian charity nor fellowship among themselves

Clarke: Act 15:2 - They determined that Paul, etc. They determined that Paul, etc. - This verse is read very differently in the Codex Bezae: Γενομενης δε εκτασεως και ζητη...

They determined that Paul, etc. - This verse is read very differently in the Codex Bezae: Γενομενης δε εκτασεως και ζητησεως ουκ ολιγης τῳ Παυλῳ και τῳ Βαρναβᾳ συν αυτοις. ελεγεν γαρ ὁ Παυλος μενειν οὑτως, καθως επιϚευσαν, διΐσχυριζομενος. οἱ δε εληλυθοτες απο Ἱερουσαλημ, παρηγγειλαν αυτοις, τῳ Παυλῳ και τῳ Βαρναβᾳ και τισιν αλλοις, αναβαινειν προς τους ΑποϚολους και Πρεσβυτερους εις Ἱερουσαλημ, ὁπως κριθωσιν επ αυτοις ( αυτων ) περι του ζητηματος τουτου . But when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, Paul said, with strong assurance, that they should remain so as they had believed. But those who came from Jerusalem charged Paul and Barnabas and certain others to go up to the apostles and elders to Jerusalem, that a determination might be made by them concerning this question

Clarke: Act 15:2 - And certain other of them And certain other of them - If this be the journey to which St. Paul alludes, Gal 2:1-5, then he had Titus with him; and how many elders went from t...

And certain other of them - If this be the journey to which St. Paul alludes, Gal 2:1-5, then he had Titus with him; and how many elders went from the Church of Antioch we cannot tell. This journey was 14 years after Paul’ s conversion, and was undertaken by express revelation, as he informs us, Gal 2:2, which revelation appears to have been given to certain persons in the Church of Antioch, as we learn from this verse, and not to Paul and Barnabas themselves.

Clarke: Act 15:3 - Being brought on their way by the Church Being brought on their way by the Church - That is; the members of the Church provided them with all necessaries for their journey; for it does not ...

Being brought on their way by the Church - That is; the members of the Church provided them with all necessaries for their journey; for it does not appear that they had any property of their own

Clarke: Act 15:3 - Declaring the conversion of the Gentiles Declaring the conversion of the Gentiles - Much stress is laid on this: it was a miracle of God’ s mercy that the Gentiles should be received i...

Declaring the conversion of the Gentiles - Much stress is laid on this: it was a miracle of God’ s mercy that the Gentiles should be received into the Church of God; and they had now the fullest proof that the thing was likely to become general, by the conversion of Cornelius, the conversion of the people of Antioch, of Cyprus, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Lycaonia, etc., etc.

Clarke: Act 15:4 - They were received of the Church They were received of the Church - The whole body of Christian believers

They were received of the Church - The whole body of Christian believers

Clarke: Act 15:4 - The apostles The apostles - Either the whole or part of the twelve; though we read of none but John, Peter, and James. See Gal 2:9

The apostles - Either the whole or part of the twelve; though we read of none but John, Peter, and James. See Gal 2:9

Clarke: Act 15:4 - And elders And elders - Those who were officers in the Church, under the apostles

And elders - Those who were officers in the Church, under the apostles

Clarke: Act 15:4 - They declared They declared - To this council they gave a succinct account of the great work which God had wrought by them among the Gentiles. This was St. Paul&#...

They declared - To this council they gave a succinct account of the great work which God had wrought by them among the Gentiles. This was St. Paul’ s third journey to Jerusalem after his conversion. See an account of his first journey, Act 9:26, and of his second in Act 11:30.

Clarke: Act 15:5 - But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees - This verse appears to be part of the declaration made by Paul and Barnabas to this council:...

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees - This verse appears to be part of the declaration made by Paul and Barnabas to this council: for, having stated how God blessed their ministry among the Gentiles, they proceed to declare how all the good work was likely to be destroyed by certain Pharisees, who, having received the Christian faith, came down to Antioch, and began to teach the necessity of circumcision, etc., and thus filled the minds of the young converted Gentiles with doubtful disputations.

Clarke: Act 15:6 - The apostles and elders came together The apostles and elders came together - This was the first council ever held in the Christian Church; and we find that it was composed of the apostl...

The apostles and elders came together - This was the first council ever held in the Christian Church; and we find that it was composed of the apostles and elders simply.

Clarke: Act 15:7 - When there had been much disputing When there had been much disputing - By those of the sect of the believing Pharisees; for they strongly contended for circumcision, and at the head ...

When there had been much disputing - By those of the sect of the believing Pharisees; for they strongly contended for circumcision, and at the head of these, tradition tells us, was Cerinthus, a name famous in the primitive Church, as one who labored to unite the law and the Gospel, and to make the salvation promised by the latter dependent on the performance of the rites and ceremonies prescribed by the former. Though the apostles and elders were under the inspiration of the Almighty, and could by this inspiration have immediately determined the question, yet it was highly necessary that the objecting party should be permitted to come forward and allege their reasons for the doctrines they preached, and that these reasons should be fairly met by argument, and the thing proved to be useless in itself, inexpedient in the present case, and unsupported by any express authority from God, and serving no purpose to the Gentiles, who in their uncircumcised state, by believing in Christ Jesus, had been made partakers of the Holy Ghost

Clarke: Act 15:7 - Peter rose up, and said Peter rose up, and said - This was after the matters in dispute had been fully debated; and now the apostles, like judges, after hearing counsel on ...

Peter rose up, and said - This was after the matters in dispute had been fully debated; and now the apostles, like judges, after hearing counsel on both sides, proceed to give judgment on the case

Clarke: Act 15:7 - A good while ago A good while ago - Αφ ’ ἡμερων αρχαιων, From the days of old: a phrase which simply signifies some years ago; and, if he he...

A good while ago - Αφ ἡμερων αρχαιων, From the days of old: a phrase which simply signifies some years ago; and, if he here refers to the conversion of Cornelius, (see Acts 10:1-48), he must mean about ten years before this time; but it is more likely that he refers to that time when Christ gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, that be might open the door of faith to the Gentiles

Clarke: Act 15:7 - God made choice among us God made choice among us - That is, he chose me to be the first apostle of the Gentiles.

God made choice among us - That is, he chose me to be the first apostle of the Gentiles.

Clarke: Act 15:8 - And God which knoweth the hearts And God which knoweth the hearts - Ο καρδιογνωϚης Θεος . We had this epithet of the Divine Being once before; see Act 1:24, and th...

And God which knoweth the hearts - Ο καρδιογνωϚης Θεος . We had this epithet of the Divine Being once before; see Act 1:24, and the note there: it occurs no where else in the New Testament

Clarke: Act 15:8 - Bare them witness Bare them witness - Considered them as proper or fit to receive the Gospel of Christ. It is properly remarked by learned men, that μαρτυρει...

Bare them witness - Considered them as proper or fit to receive the Gospel of Christ. It is properly remarked by learned men, that μαρτυρειν τινι, to bear witness to any person, signifies to approve, to testify in behalf of. Here it signifies that, as God evidently sent the Gospel to the Gentiles, and, by the preaching of it, conveyed the Holy Spirit to them who believed, and as he can make no improper judgment of any who knows all hearts and their secrets, therefore what he had done was right: he saw that it was time for them to receive the Gospel; and he saw that they might be safely trusted with this heavenly deposit; and the experience of eighteen hundred years has justified the conduct of God.

Clarke: Act 15:9 - Put no difference between us and them Put no difference between us and them - Giving them the Holy Spirit, though uncircumcised, just as he had given it to us who were circumcised: an ev...

Put no difference between us and them - Giving them the Holy Spirit, though uncircumcised, just as he had given it to us who were circumcised: an evident proof that, in the judgment of God, circumcision was no preparation to receive the Gospel of Christ. And as the purification of the heart by the Holy Spirit was the grand object of the religion of God, and that alone by which the soul could be prepared for a blessed immortality, and the Gentiles had received that without circumcision, consequently, the shadow could not be considered of any worth, now the substance was communicated.

Clarke: Act 15:10 - Now therefore why tempt ye God Now therefore why tempt ye God - A God, by giving the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles, evidently shows he does not design them to be circumcised, in ord...

Now therefore why tempt ye God - A God, by giving the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles, evidently shows he does not design them to be circumcised, in order to become debtors to the law, to fulfill all its precepts, etc., why will ye provoke him to displeasure by doing what he evidently designs shall not be done

Clarke: Act 15:10 - A yoke - which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? A yoke - which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? - This does not refer to the moral law - that was of eternal obligation - but to the ri...

A yoke - which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? - This does not refer to the moral law - that was of eternal obligation - but to the ritual law, which, through the multitude of its sacrifices, ordinances, etc., was exceedingly burthensome to the Jewish people. And had not God, by an especial providence, rendered both their fields and their flocks very fruitful, they could not possibly have borne so painful a ritual

There is a curious story in Midrash Shochar, told in Yalkut Simeoni, part i. fol. 229, where Korah is represented as showing the oppressive nature of the law, and avarice of its priests, in justification of his rebellion. "There was,"said he, "a widow in our neighbourbood who had two orphan children: she had one field; and, when she began to plough it, one came and said, Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together. When she went to sow it, he said, Thou shalt not sow thy field with divers seeds. When she began to reap, and to gather the sheaves together, he said, Leave a handful and the corners of the field for the poor. When she prepared to thresh it, he said, Give me the wave-offering, and the first and second tithes. She did as she was commanded, and then went and sold her field, and bought two ewes, that she might clothe herself and family with the wool, and get profit by the lambs. When they brought forth their lambs, Aaron came and said, Give me the firstlings, for the holy blessed God hath said, All the first born, whatsoever openeth the womb, shall be thine. She yielded to his demands, and gave him two lambs. When shearing time came, he said, Give me the first fruits of the wool. When the widow had done this, she said, I cannot stand before this man; I will kill my sheep and eat them. When she had killed the sheep, Aaron came and said, Give me the shoulder, and the jaws, and the ventricle. The widow said, Though I have killed my sheep, I am not delivered from this man; I therefore consecrate the whole to God. Then Aaron said, All belongs to me, for the holy blessed God hath said, Every thing that is consecrated in Israel shall be his, i.e. the priest’ s. He therefore took the whole carcasses, and marched off, leaving the widow and her orphan daughters overwhelmed with affliction."This is a terrible picture of the requisitions of the Mosaic ritual; and, though exaggerated, it contains so many true features that it may well be said, This is a yoke which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear. See Schoettgen. In the same vexatious way may the tithes of the national Church in this country be exacted, and in this very way is the exaction frequently exercised. It is high time that these abuses should be corrected.

Clarke: Act 15:11 - Through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved Through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved - This seems to be an answer to an objection, "Has not God designed to save us, the Jew...

Through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved - This seems to be an answer to an objection, "Has not God designed to save us, the Jews, by an observance of the law; and them, the Gentiles, by the faith of the Gospel?"No: for we Jews can be saved no other way than through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this is the way in which the Gentiles in question have been saved. There is but one way of salvation for Jews and Gentiles, the grace, mercy, or favor coming by and through the Lord Jesus, the Christ; this is now fully opened to the Gentiles; and we believe we shall be saved in the same way.

Clarke: Act 15:12 - All the multitude kept silence All the multitude kept silence - The strong facts stated by St. Peter could not be controverted. His speech may be thus analyzed 1.   ...

All the multitude kept silence - The strong facts stated by St. Peter could not be controverted. His speech may be thus analyzed

1.    Circumcision is a sign of the purification of the heart

2.    That purification can only be effected by the Holy Ghost

3.    This Holy Spirit was hitherto supposed to be the portion of those only who had received circumcision

4.    But the Gentiles, who were never circumcised, nor kept any part of the law of Moses, have had their hearts purified by faith in Christ Jesus

5.    As God, therefore, has given them the thing signified, he evidently does not intend that the sign should be administered

6.    Should we impose this burthensome rite, we should most evidently be provoking God, who plainly shows us that he intends no more to save in this way

7.    Therefore it is evident that both Jews and Gentiles are to be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ

Clarke: Act 15:12 - Gave audience to Barnabas and Paul Gave audience to Barnabas and Paul - These apostles came forward next, to corroborate what Peter had said, by showing the miracles and wonders which...

Gave audience to Barnabas and Paul - These apostles came forward next, to corroborate what Peter had said, by showing the miracles and wonders which God had by them wrought among the Gentiles. Peter stated facts: Paul and Barnabas confirmed the statement.

Clarke: Act 15:13 - James answered James answered - He was evidently president of the council, and is generally called bishop of Jerusalem. The rest either argued on the subject, or g...

James answered - He was evidently president of the council, and is generally called bishop of Jerusalem. The rest either argued on the subject, or gave their opinion; James alone pronounced the definitive sentence. Had Peter been prince and head of the apostles, and of the Church, he would have appeared here in the character of judge, not of mere counsellor or disputant. Thy popish writers say that "James presided because the council was held in his own church."These men forget that there was not then what they term a Church on the face of the earth. The Church, or assembly of believers, then met in private houses; for there was no building for the exclusive purpose of Christian worship then, nor till long after. These writers also forget that the pope pretends to be the head of the catholic or universal Church; and, consequently, no man can preside where he is present, but himself. Peter did not preside here; and this was the first ecclesiastical council, and now, if ever, he should have assumed his character of prince and chief; but he did not; nor did any of the other apostles invite him to it, which they would have done had they thought that Jesus Christ constituted him head of the Church. From this very circumstance there is the most demonstrative evidence that Peter was no pope, and that the right of his pretended successor is a nonentity.

Clarke: Act 15:14 - Simeon hath declared Simeon hath declared - It is remarkable that James does not give him even the title which he received from our Lord at the time in which he is suppo...

Simeon hath declared - It is remarkable that James does not give him even the title which he received from our Lord at the time in which he is supposed to have been made head of the Church, and vicar of Christ upon earth; so that, it is evident, James did not understand our Lord as giving Peter any such pre-eminence; and, therefore, he does not even call him Peter, but simply Simeon. It is truly surprising that such a vast number of important pretensions should rest on such slight foundations! If tradition, no matter how interrupted or precarious, did not lend its support, feeble as that necessarily must be, the cause tried by plain Scripture would fall to the ground

Clarke: Act 15:14 - To take out of them a people for his name To take out of them a people for his name - To form among the Gentiles, as he had among the Jews, a people called by his name and devoted to his hon...

To take out of them a people for his name - To form among the Gentiles, as he had among the Jews, a people called by his name and devoted to his honor.

Clarke: Act 15:15 - And to this agree the words of the prophets And to this agree the words of the prophets - Peter had asserted the fact of the conversion of the Gentiles; and James shows that that fact was the ...

And to this agree the words of the prophets - Peter had asserted the fact of the conversion of the Gentiles; and James shows that that fact was the fulfillment of declarations made by the prophets.

Clarke: Act 15:16 - After this I will return, and will build again, etc. After this I will return, and will build again, etc. - These two verses, 16th and 17th, are quoted from Amo 9:11, Amo 9:12, nearly as they now stand...

After this I will return, and will build again, etc. - These two verses, 16th and 17th, are quoted from Amo 9:11, Amo 9:12, nearly as they now stand in the best editions of the Septuagint, and evidently taken from that version, which differs considerably from the Hebrew text. As St. James quoted them as a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles into the Church of God, it is evident the Jews must have understood them in that sense, otherwise they would have immediately disputed his application of them to the subject in question, and have rejected his conclusion by denying the premises. But that the words were thus understood by the ancient Jews, we have their own testimony. In Sanhedr. fol. 69, we have these remarkable words: "Rabbi Nachman said to Rabbi Isaac, ‘ Whence art thou taught when Bar Naphli will come?’ He saith unto him, ‘ Who is this Bar Naphli?’ The other replied, ‘ He is the Messiah.’ ‘ Dost thou then call the Messiah Bar Naphli?’ ‘ Yes,’ said he, ‘ for it is written, In that day I will build again the tabernacle of David, הנՀ¤לת Hanopheleth , which is falling down.’ "This is evidently a quotation from Amo 9:11, and a proof that the Jews understood it to be a prophecy concerning the Messiah. See Lightfoot.

Clarke: Act 15:17 - That the residue of men might seek That the residue of men might seek - Instead of this, the Hebrew has, That they may possess the remnant of Edom. Now it is evident that, in the copy...

That the residue of men might seek - Instead of this, the Hebrew has, That they may possess the remnant of Edom. Now it is evident that, in the copy from which the Seventy translated, they found ידרשו yidreshu , they might seek, instead of יירשו yireshu , they may possess, where the whole difference between the two words is the change of the י yod for a ד daleth , which might be easily done; and they found אדם adam , man, or men, instead of אדום Edom , the Idumeans, which differs from the other only by the insertion of ו vau between the two last letters. None of the MSS. collated by Kennicott and De Rossi confirm these readings, in which the Septuagint, Arabic, and St. James agree. It shows, however, that even in Jerusalem, and in the early part of the apostolic age, the Septuagint version was quoted in preference to the Hebrew text; or, what is tantamount, was quoted in cases where we would have thought the Hebrew text should have been preferred, because better understood. But God was evidently preparing the way of the Gospel by bringing this venerable version into general credit and use; which was to be the means of conveying the truths of Christianity to the whole Gentile world. How precious should this august and most important version be to every Christian, and especially to every Christian minister! A version, without which no man ever did or ever can critically understand the New Testament. And I may add that, without the assistance afforded by this version, there never could have been a correct translation of the Hebrew text, since that language ceased to be vernacular, into any language. Without it, even St. Jerome could have done little in translating the Old Testament into Latin; and how much all the modern versions owe to St. Jerome’ s Vulgate, which owes so much to the Septuagint, most Biblical scholars know.

Clarke: Act 15:18 - Known unto God are all his works from the beginning Known unto God are all his works from the beginning - As if he had said, This is not a new counsel of God: he had purposed, from the time he called ...

Known unto God are all his works from the beginning - As if he had said, This is not a new counsel of God: he had purposed, from the time he called the Israelites, to make the Gentiles partakers of the same grace and mercy; and ultimately to destroy those rites and ceremonies which separated them from each other. He therefore has sent the Gospel of his Son, proclaiming equally peace to him that is afar off, the Gentiles, and to him that is nigh, the Jews

The whole of this verse is very dubious: the principal part of it is omitted by the most ancient MSS., and Griesbach has left γνωϚα απ αιωνος doubtful, and has thrown εϚι τῳ ̀˜̀µῳ παντα τα εργα αὑτου out of the text. Of the former clause, Professor White, in his Crisews, says, " forsitan delenda ,""probably these words should be blotted out."And of the latter clause he says, " certissime delenda ,""most assuredly these should be blotted out."Supposing the whole to be genuine, critics have labored to find out the sense. Some very learned men, and particularly Schleusner, contend that the word γνωϚα, from γινωσκειν, to know, should be understood here in the same sense in which ידא yada is in many parts of the Old Testament, which not only signifies to know, but to approve, love, etc. They therefore would translate the passage thus: All the works of God are ever dear unto him. And, if so, consequently we might naturally expect him to be merciful to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; and the evidence now afforded of the conversion of the Gentiles is an additional proof that all God’ s works are equally dear to him.

Clarke: Act 15:19 - Wherefore my sentence is Wherefore my sentence is - Διο εγω κρινω, Wherefore I judge. There is an authority here that does not appear in the speech of St. Peter;...

Wherefore my sentence is - Διο εγω κρινω, Wherefore I judge. There is an authority here that does not appear in the speech of St. Peter; and this authority was felt and bowed to by all the council; and the decree proposed by St. James adopted.

Clarke: Act 15:20 - But that we write unto them But that we write unto them - Four things are prohibited in this decree 1.    Pollutions of idols 2.    fornication 3....

But that we write unto them - Four things are prohibited in this decree

1.    Pollutions of idols

2.    fornication

3.    things strangled

4.    blood

By the first, Pollutions of Idols, or, as it is in Act 15:25, meats offered to idols, not only all idolatry was forbidden, but eating things offered in sacrifice to idols, knowing that they were thus offered, and joining with idolaters in their sacred feasts, which were always an incentive either to idolatry itself, or to the impure acts generally attendant on such festivals

By the second, Fornication, all uncleanness of every kind was prohibited; for πορνεια not only means fornication, but adultery, incestuous mixtures, and especially the prostitution which was so common at the idol temples, viz. in Cyprus, at the worship of Venus; and the shocking disorders exhibited in the Bacchanalia, Lupercalia, and several others

By the third, Things Strangled, we are to understand the flesh of those animals which were strangled for the purpose of keeping the blood in the body, as such animals were esteemed a greater delicacy

By the fourth, Blood, we are to understand, not only the thing itself, for the reasons which I have assigned in the note on Gen 9:4, and for others detailed at the end of this chapter; but also all cruelty, manslaughter, murder, etc., as some of the ancient fathers have understood it

Instead of του αἱματος, blood, some have conjectured that we should read χοιρειας, swine’ s flesh; for they cannot see, first, that there can be any harm in eating of blood; and, secondly, that, as the other three things neither have nor can have any moral evil in them, it would seem strange that they should be coupled with a thing which, on all hands, is confessed to have much moral turpitude. Answers to such trifling objections will be found at the end of the chapter. It is only necessary to add that this χοιρειας, which is the critical emendation of Dr. Bentley, is not supported by one MS. or version in existence

At the close of this verse, the Codex Bezae, and several others, add a fifth thing, And not to do to others what they would not have done to themselves. Though this is a very ancient reading, it does not appear to be genuine.

Clarke: Act 15:21 - Moses of old time hath in every city Moses of old time hath in every city - The sense of this verse seems to be this: As it was necessary to write to the Gentiles what was strictly nece...

Moses of old time hath in every city - The sense of this verse seems to be this: As it was necessary to write to the Gentiles what was strictly necessary to be observed by them, relative to these points, it was not so to the converted Jews; for they had Moses, that is, the law, preached to them, κατα πολιν, in the city, that is, Antioch; and, by the reading of the law in the synagogues every Sabbath day, they were kept in remembrance of those institutions which the Gentiles, who had not the law, could not know. Therefore, James thought that a letter to the converted Gentiles would be sufficient, as the converted Jews had already ample instruction on these points.

Clarke: Act 15:22 - Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole Church Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole Church - James determined what ought to be done; and the whole assembly resolved how that sh...

Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole Church - James determined what ought to be done; and the whole assembly resolved how that should be done

Clarke: Act 15:22 - Chosen men of their own company Chosen men of their own company - Paul and Barnabas were to return: they could have witnessed to the Church at Antioch what was done at the council ...

Chosen men of their own company - Paul and Barnabas were to return: they could have witnessed to the Church at Antioch what was done at the council at Jerusalem; but as it was possible that their testimony might be suspected, from the part they had already taken in this question at Antioch, it was necessary that a deputation from the council should accompany them. Accordingly Judas and Silas are sent to corroborate by their oral testimony what was contained in the letters sent from the council.

Clarke: Act 15:23 - Send greeting unto the brethren - of the Gentiles Send greeting unto the brethren - of the Gentiles - There was no occasion to send such a letter to the brethren which were of the Jews, because that...

Send greeting unto the brethren - of the Gentiles - There was no occasion to send such a letter to the brethren which were of the Jews, because that law which had been so long read in their synagogues taught them all those things; and therefore the epistle is sent exclusively to the Gentiles. The word greeting is in the original χαιρειν, to be well, to be safe; a very usual form in Greek epistles, the word ευχομαι being understood, I wish thee to be well.

Clarke: Act 15:24 - Certain which went out from us Certain which went out from us - So the persons who produced these doubtful disputations at Antioch, etc., had gone out from the apostles at Jerusal...

Certain which went out from us - So the persons who produced these doubtful disputations at Antioch, etc., had gone out from the apostles at Jerusalem, and were of that Church: persons zealous for the law, and yet, strange to tell, so conscientiously attached to the Gospel that they risked their personal safety by professing it

Clarke: Act 15:24 - To whom we gave no such commandment To whom we gave no such commandment - As, therefore, they went out from that Church, they should have taught nothing which was not owned and taught ...

To whom we gave no such commandment - As, therefore, they went out from that Church, they should have taught nothing which was not owned and taught by it; much less should they have taught in opposition to it.

Clarke: Act 15:26 - Men that have hazarded their lives Men that have hazarded their lives - This was a high character of Paul and Barnabas: they had already suffered much in the cause of Christ, and expo...

Men that have hazarded their lives - This was a high character of Paul and Barnabas: they had already suffered much in the cause of Christ, and exposed their lives to the most imminent danger, and were intent on the same work, notwithstanding the increasing dangers in the way.

Clarke: Act 15:27 - Judas and Silas - shall - tell you the same things Judas and Silas - shall - tell you the same things - These were proofs that the testimony of Paul and Barnabas was true; and that the letter was not...

Judas and Silas - shall - tell you the same things - These were proofs that the testimony of Paul and Barnabas was true; and that the letter was not forged, as they could witness the same things which the letter contained.

Clarke: Act 15:28 - For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us - The whole council had met under his direction; had consulted under his influence; and gave forth t...

For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us - The whole council had met under his direction; had consulted under his influence; and gave forth their decree from his especial inspiration

Clarke: Act 15:28 - Necessary things Necessary things - They were necessary, howsoever burthensome they might appear; and necessary, not only for the time, place, or occasion; but for a...

Necessary things - They were necessary, howsoever burthensome they might appear; and necessary, not only for the time, place, or occasion; but for all times, all places, and all occasions. See this proved in the observations at the end of this chapter.

Clarke: Act 15:29 - Ye shall do well Ye shall do well - But, if they did not keep themselves from these things, they would do ill; that is, they would sin against God, whose Spirit had ...

Ye shall do well - But, if they did not keep themselves from these things, they would do ill; that is, they would sin against God, whose Spirit had commanded them to keep from these things. And who can do any of these forbidden things, and keep either a guiltless or a tender conscience

Clarke: Act 15:29 - Fare-well Fare-well - An old English form of expressing good wishes and good will. It is compounded of to go, and much, well, very much . Go well, go prospero...

Fare-well - An old English form of expressing good wishes and good will. It is compounded of to go, and much, well, very much . Go well, go prosperously! - tantamount with good speed! may you succeed well! may God direct you! Like to that other form of sound words, God be with you! corrupted now into good by to ye! And of the same meaning with adieu! a Dieu , to God; that is, I commend you to God. All these terms savour not only of good will, or benevolence, but also of piety. Our pious ancestors believed that nothing was safe, nothing protected, nothing prosperous, over which the shield of God was not extended; and, therefore, in their familiar good wishes, they gave each other to God. The Greek word ερῥωσθε, errhosthe , here used, from ῥωννυμι, to strengthen, make strong, has nearly the same signification: be strong, courageous, active, be in health, and be prosperous! What a pity that such benevolent and pious wishes should degenerate into cool formalities, or unmeaning compliments!

Clarke: Act 15:31 - They rejoiced for the consolation They rejoiced for the consolation - It was not a matter of small moment to have a question on which such stress was laid decided by an apostolic cou...

They rejoiced for the consolation - It was not a matter of small moment to have a question on which such stress was laid decided by an apostolic council, over which the Spirit of God presided.

Clarke: Act 15:32 - Judas and Silas, being prophets Judas and Silas, being prophets - That is, being teachers in the Church. This signification of the word prophet we have often already seen. See the ...

Judas and Silas, being prophets - That is, being teachers in the Church. This signification of the word prophet we have often already seen. See the notes on Act 11:27; Act 13:1

Clarke: Act 15:32 - Exhorted the brethren Exhorted the brethren - To abide steadily attached to God, and to each other, in peace, love, and unity

Exhorted the brethren - To abide steadily attached to God, and to each other, in peace, love, and unity

Clarke: Act 15:32 - And confirmed them And confirmed them - In the blessed truths they had already received.

And confirmed them - In the blessed truths they had already received.

Clarke: Act 15:33 - They were let go They were let go - That is, both had liberty to depart; but Silas chose to stay a little longer with the brethren.

They were let go - That is, both had liberty to depart; but Silas chose to stay a little longer with the brethren.

Clarke: Act 15:34 - Notwithstanding it pleased Silas, etc. Notwithstanding it pleased Silas, etc. - This whole verse is wanting in ABEG, a great number besides, with the Syriac, Arabic, Coptic, Slavonic, Vul...

Notwithstanding it pleased Silas, etc. - This whole verse is wanting in ABEG, a great number besides, with the Syriac, Arabic, Coptic, Slavonic, Vulgate, and some of the fathers. It does not appear to have been originally in the text.

Clarke: Act 15:36 - Let us go - and visit our brethren in every city Let us go - and visit our brethren in every city - This heavenly man projected a journey to Cyprus, Pamphylia, Pisidia, Lycaonia, Salamis, Paphos, P...

Let us go - and visit our brethren in every city - This heavenly man projected a journey to Cyprus, Pamphylia, Pisidia, Lycaonia, Salamis, Paphos, Perga, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Antioch in Pisidia, and elsewhere; for in all these places he had preached and founded Churches in the preceding year. He saw it was necessary to water the seed he had planted; for these were young converts, surrounded with impiety, opposition, and superstition, and had few advantages among themselves.

Clarke: Act 15:37 - Barnabas determined to take with them John Barnabas determined to take with them John - John Mark was his sister’ s son; and natural affection might have led him to the partiality here m...

Barnabas determined to take with them John - John Mark was his sister’ s son; and natural affection might have led him to the partiality here mentioned.

Clarke: Act 15:38 - But Paul thought not good to take him with them But Paul thought not good to take him with them - On this subject, see the note on Act 13:13.

But Paul thought not good to take him with them - On this subject, see the note on Act 13:13.

Clarke: Act 15:39 - The contention was so sharp between them The contention was so sharp between them - For all this sentence, there is only in the Greek text εγενετο ουν παροξυσμος ; ther...

The contention was so sharp between them - For all this sentence, there is only in the Greek text εγενετο ουν παροξυσμος ; there was therefore a paroxysm, an incitement, a stirring up, from παροξυνω, compounded of παρα, intensive, and οξυνω, to whet, or sharpen: there was a sharp contention. But does this imply anger or ill-will on either side? Certainly not. Here, these two apostles differed, and were strenuous, each in support of the part he had adopted. "Paul,"as an ancient Greek commentator has it, "being influenced only with the love of righteousness; Barnabas being actuated by love to his relative."John Mark had been tried in trying circumstances, and he failed; Paul, therefore, would not trust him again. The affection of Barnabas led him to hope the best, and was therefore desirous to give him another trial. Barnabas would not give up: Paul would not agree. They therefore agreed to depart from each other, and take different parts of the work: each had an attendant and companion at hand; so Barnabas took John Mark, and sailed to Cyprus: Paul took Silas, and went into Syria. John Mark proved faithful to his uncle Barnabas; and Silas proved faithful to his master Paul. To all human appearance it was best that they separated; as the Churches were more speedily visited, and the work of God more widely and more rapidly spread. And why is it that most men attach blame to this difference between Paul and Barnabas? And why is it that this is brought in as a proof of the sinful imperfection of these holy apostles? Because those who thus treat the subject can never differ with another without feeling wrong tempers; and then, as destitute of good breeding as they are of humility, they attribute to others the angry, proud, and wrathful dispositions which they feel in themselves; and, because they cannot be angry and sin not, they suppose that even apostles themselves cannot. Thus, in fact, we are always bringing our own moral or immoral qualifications to be a standard, by which we are to judge of the characters and moral feelings of men who were actuated by zeal for God’ s glory, brotherly kindness, and charity. Should any man say there was sin in this contention between Paul and Barnabas, I answer, there is no evidence of this in the text. Should he say, the word παροξυσμος, paroxysm, denotes this, I answer, it does not. And the verb παροξυνομαι is often used in a good sense. So Isocrates ad Demosth. cap. xx. μαλιϚα δ αν παροξυνθειης ορεχθηναι των καλων εργων· "But thou wilt be the more stirred up to the love of good works."And such persons forget that this is the very form used by the apostle himself, Heb 10:24 : και κατανοωμεν αλληλους εις παροξυσμον αγαπης και καλων εργων· which, these objectors would be highly displeased with me, were I to translate, Let us consider one another to an angry contention of love and good works. From these examples, it appears that the word is used to signify incitement of any kind; and, if taken in a medical sense, to express the burning fit of an ague: it is also taken to express a strong excitement to the love of God and man, and to the fruits by which such love can be best proved; and, in the case before us, there was certainly nothing contrary to this pure principle in either of those heavenly men. See also Kypke on Heb 10:24.

Clarke: Act 15:40 - Being recommended - unto the grace of God Being recommended - unto the grace of God - Much stress has been laid upon this, to show that Barnabas was in the wrong, and Paul in the right, beca...

Being recommended - unto the grace of God - Much stress has been laid upon this, to show that Barnabas was in the wrong, and Paul in the right, because "the brethren recommended Paul and Silas to the grace of God; but they did not recommend Barnabas and John Mark: this proves that the Church condemned the conduct of Barnabas, but approved that of Paul."Now, there is no proof that the Church did not recommend Barnabas to the grace of God, as well as Paul; but, as St. Luke had for the present dropped the story of Barnabas, and was now going on with that of Paul and Silas, he begins it at this point, viz. his being recommended by the brethren to the grace of God; and then goes on to tell of his progress in Syria, Derbe, Lystra, etc., etc. See the next chapter. And with this verse should the following chapter begin; and this is the division followed by the most correct copies of the Greek text.

Clarke: Act 15:41 - Confirming the Churches Confirming the Churches - This was the object of his journey: they were young converts, and had need of establishment; and there is no doubt that, b...

Confirming the Churches - This was the object of his journey: they were young converts, and had need of establishment; and there is no doubt that, by showing them the decision made at the late council of Jerusalem, their faith was greatly strengthened, their hope confirmed, and their love increased. It was this consideration, no doubt, that led some ancient MSS. and some versions to add here, They delivered them the decrees of the apostles and elders to keep; which clause certainly was not an original part of the text, but seems to have been borrowed from the fourth verse of the following chapter. Some have thought that the fourth and fifth verses of the next chapter really belong to this place; or that the first, second, and third verses of it should be read in a parenthesis; but of this there does not appear to be any particular necessity

Calvin: Act 15:1 - Which came down from Judea 1. When Paul and Barnabas had endured many combats against the professed enemies of the gospel, Luke doth now begin to declare that they were tried ...

1. When Paul and Barnabas had endured many combats against the professed enemies of the gospel, Luke doth now begin to declare that they were tried by domestic war; so that it was meet that their doctrine and ministry should be proved by all means, to the end it might the better appear that they were furnished by God, and armed against all the assaults of the world and Satan. For that was no small confirmation for their doctrine, in that being shaken and battered with so many engines, it stood nevertheless, neither could the course thereof be broken off by so many hindrances. Therefore, to this end doth Paul boast that he suffered fights without and terrors within, ( 2Co 7:5.) This history is most worthy the noting; for though we do naturally abhor the cross and all manner [of] persecution, yet civil and domestic discord is more dangerous, lest haply they discourage us. − 68 When tyrants bend their force and run violently upon men, flesh indeed is afraid; and all those who are not endued with the spirit of fortitude do tremble with all their heart; but then their consciences are not properly touched with any temptation. For this is known to be as it were the fatal estate of the Church. But when it falleth out so that the brethren go together by the ears, and that the Church is on an uproar within itself, it cannot be but that weak minds shall be troubled and also faint; and especially when the controversy is about doctrine, which alone is the holy bond of brotherly unity. Finally, there is nothing which doth more indamage the gospel than civil discord, because it doth not only pierce and wound weak conscience, but also minister occasion to the wicked to backbite. −

Wherefore, we must diligently note this history, that we may know that it is no new example, if among those who profess the same gospel there arise some wranglings and strife about doctrine, when proud men can get them a name, (whereof they are so furiously desirous,) by no other means but by bringing in their own inventions. It is certain, that as there is but one God, so there is but one truth of this God. − 69 Therefore, when Paul goeth about to exhort the faithful unto mutual consent, he useth this argument, “One God, one faith, one baptism,” etc., ( Eph 4:6.) But when we see wicked men arise, who go about to divide [rend] the Church by their factions, and also either to corrupt the gospel with their false and filthy [spurious] inventions, or else to bring the same in suspicion, we ought to know the subtlety [artifice] of Satan. Therefore, Paul saith elsewhere that heresies come abroad, that those who are tried may be made manifest, ( 1Co 11:19.) And, assuredly, the Lord doth wonderfully make void the subtlety of Satan, in that he trieth the faith of his by such trials, and doth beautify his word with worthy and excellent victory; and causeth the truth to shine more clearly which the wicked went about to darken. But it is very convenient to weigh all the circumstances of the history which Luke noteth. −

Which came down from Judea This cloak and color was very forcible to deceive even good men then. Jerusalem was honored not without cause among all churches, because they reverenced it even as their mother. For the gospel was deducted, as it were, by pipes and conduits − 70 from that fountain. These seducers come thence; they pretend the apostles; they boast that they bring nothing but that which they learned of them. They blind and blear the eyes of the unskillful with this smoke; and those who are light and wicked do greedily snatch at the color which is offered them. The perturbation of the Church doth, like a tempest, shake those who were otherwise good and moderate, so that they are enforced to stumble. Therefore, we must note this subtlety of Satan, that he abuseth the names of holy men that he may deceive the simple, who, being won with the reverence of the men, dare not inquire after the thing itself. Luke doth not express, indeed, with what affection these knaves were moved; yet it is likely that perverse zeal was the cause which moved them to set themselves against Paul and Barnabas; for there be certain churlish natures which nothing can please but that which is their own. They had seen that circumcision and other rites of the law were observed at Jerusalem; wheresoever they become, they can abide nothing which is not agreeable thereto, as if the example of one church did bind all the rest of the churches with a certain law. And though such be carried with a preposterous zeal to procure tumults, yet are they pricked inwardly with their ambition, and with a certain kind of stubbornness. Nevertheless, Satan hath that he would; for the minds of the godly have such a mist cast before them that they can scarce know black from white. −

Therefore, we must beware first of this plague, that some prescribe not a law to other some after their manner, that the example of one church be not a prejudice − 71 of a common rule. Also, we must use another caution, that the persons of men do not hinder or darken the examination of the matter or cause. For if Satan transfigure himself into an angel of light, ( 2Co 11:14,) and if, by sacrilegious boldness, he usurp the holy name of God, what marvel is it if he do like wickedly deceive men under the names of holy men? The end shall at length declare that the apostles meant nothing less than − 72 to lay the yoke of the law upon the neck of the Gentiles; and yet Satan meant under this shift to get in. So it falleth out oftentimes that those who contrary [oppose] the doctrine of Christ, creep in under the title of his servants. Therefore, there is one only remedy, to come to search out the matter − 73 with sound judgments; also it behoveth us to prevent an offense, lest we think that the faithful servants of God do therefore strive among themselves, because Satan doth falsely abuse their names, that he may set certain shadows by the ears together to terrify the simple. −

Calvin: Act 15:2 - When there was sedition arisen // Unless ye be circumcised // They determined, etc 2.When there was sedition arisen This was no small trial, in that Paul and Barnabas are haled into a troublesome tumult. There was mischief enough al...

2.When there was sedition arisen This was no small trial, in that Paul and Barnabas are haled into a troublesome tumult. There was mischief enough already in the matter [dissension] itself; but it is a more cruel mischief when the contention waxeth so hot, that they are enforced to fight with their brethren as with enemies. Add, moreover, the infamy wherewith they saw themselves burdened among the simple and unskillful, as if they would trouble the peace of the Church with their stubbornness. For it falleth out oftentimes so, that the faithful servants of Christ are envied alone, and bear all the blame, after that they have been unjustly troubled, and have faithfully employed themselves in defense of a good cause. Therefore, they must be endued with invincible courage to despise all false reports which are carried about concerning them. Therefore, Paul boasteth in another place that he went through the midst of seditions, ( 2Co 6:5.) But the servants of God must observe such moderation, that they abhor so much as they can all discord; if at any time Satan raise tumults and contentions, let them endeavor to appease them, and, finally, let them do all that they can to foster and cherish unity. But again, on the other side, when the truth of God is assailed, let them refuse no combat for defense thereof; nor let them fear to oppose themselves valiantly, though heaven and earth go together. −

And let us, being admonished by this example, learn, so often as there ariseth any tumult in the Church, wisely to weigh through whose fault it came, lest we rashly condemn the faithful ministers of Christ, whose gravity is rather to be praised, because they can abide so valiantly such violent assaults of Satan. Secondly, let us call to mind that Satan was bridled by the wonderful providence of God, that he might not put the doctrine of Paul to the foil. For if he had been suffered to do hurt at his pleasure, so soon as the faith of the Gentiles had been pulled down and overthrown, the gospel preached by Paul should have fallen to the ground, and the gate should have [been] shut against the calling of the Gentiles. Thirdly, let us learn that we must in time prevent dissension, of what sort soever it be, lest it break out into the flame of contention; because Satan seeketh nothing else by the fans of dissension but to kindle so many fires. But again, seeing we see the primitive Church on an uproar, and the best servants of Christ exercised with sedition, if the same thing befall us now, let us not fear as in some new and unwonted matter; but, craving at the Lord’s hands such an end as he now made, let us pass through tumults with the same tenor of faith. −

Unless ye be circumcised Luke setteth [defineth] down briefly in these words the state of the question, to wit, that these seducers went about to bind men’s consciences with necessity of keeping the law. Circumcision is indeed mentioned alone in this place; but it appeareth by the text that they moved the question about the keeping of the whole Law. And, because circumcision was, as it were, a solemn entrance and admission into other rites of the law, therefore, by synecdoche, the whole law is comprehended under one part. These enemies of Paul did not deny that Christ was the Messiah; but though they gave him their names, they retained therewithal the old ceremonies of the law. −

The error might have seemed tolerable at the first glimpse. Why doth not Paul then dissemble, at least, for some short time, lest he shake the Church with conflict? for the disputation was concerning external matters, concerning which Paul himself forbiddeth elsewhere to stand and strive too much. But there were three weighty causes which enforced him to gainstand. For, if the keeping of the law be necessary, man’s salvation is tied to works, which must be grounded in the grace of Christ alone, that the faith may be settled and quiet. Therefore, when Paul saw the worship of the law set against the free righteousness of faith, it was unlawful for him to hold his peace, unless he would betray Christ. For, seeing the adversaries did deny that any should be saved, save he which did observe the law of Moses, by this means they did translate unto works the glory of salvation, which they took from Christ, and having shaken assurance, they did vex miserable souls with unquietness. Again, it was no small thing, neither of any small importance, to spoil and rob faithful souls of the liberty gotten by Christ’s blood. Though the inward liberty of the Spirit were common to the fathers as well as to us, yet we know what Paul saith, that they were shut up under the childish ward and custody of the law, so that they did not much differ from servants; but we are loose from the schoolmastership of the law after that Christ was revealed, ( Gal 3:24,) and we have more liberty, the time of our nonage being, as it were, ended. The third vice of this doctrine was, because it darkened the light of the Church, − 74 or at least did put in, as it were, certain clouds, that Christ the Sun of righteousness might not give perfect light. In sum, Christianity should shortly have come to nothing if Paul should have yielded to such beginnings. Therefore, he entereth the combat, not for the external uncircumcision of the flesh, but for the free salvation of men. Secondly, that he may acquit and set free godly consciences from the curse of the law, and the guilt of eternal death. Last of all, that after all hindrances are driven away, the brightness of the grace of Christ may shine as in a pleasant and clear heaven. Moreover, these knaves did great injury to the law when they did wickedly corrupt the right use thereof. This was the natural and right office of the law, to lead men by the hand, like a schoolmaster, unto Christ; therefore, it could not be worse corrupt than when, under color of it, the power and grace of Christ were diminished. −

After this sort must we look into the fountains of all questions, lest by our silence we betray the truth of God, so often as we see Satan, by his subtlety, aim right at it; neither let our minds be changed and wax faint through any perils, or reproaches and slanders, because we must constantly defend pure religion, though heaven and earth must [should] go together. The servants of Christ must be no fighters, ( 2Ti 2:24;)therefore, if there be any contention risen, they must rather study to appease and pacify the same by their moderation, than by and by to blow to the assault. − 75 Secondly, they must take good heed of superfluous and vain conflicts; neither shall they handle controversies of any small weight; but when they see Satan wax so proud, that religion cannot any longer continue safe and sound unless he be prevented, they must needs take a good heart to them, and rise to resist; neither let them fear to enter even most hateful combats. The name of peace is indeed plausible and sweet, but cursed is that peace which is purchased with so great loss, that we suffer the doctrine of Christ to perish, by which alone we grow together into godly and holy unity. −

The Papists cause us at this day to be sore hated, as if we had been the causers of deadly tumults, wherewith the world is shaken; but we can well defend ourselves, because the blasphemies which we endeavored to reprove were more cruel − 76 than that it was lawful for us to hold our peace; there we are not to be blamed, because we have taken upon us to enter combats in defense of that cause, for which we were to fight even with the very angels. Let them cry till their throats be sore; Paul’s example is sufficient for us, that we must not be either cold or slack in defending the doctrine of godliness when the ministers of Satan seek to overthrow it with might and main; for their brainsick distemperature ought not to pass − 77 the constancy of the servants of God. When Paul did zealously set himself against the false apostles, sedition began at length − 78 by reason of the conflict; and yet the Spirit of God doth not therefore reprove him; but doth rather with due praises commend that fortitude which he had given that holy man. −

They determined, etc The Spirit of God put them in mind of this remedy to appease the tumult, which might otherwise have gone farther with doing much hurt, whereby we be also taught, that we must always seek such means as be fit − 79 for ending discord; because God doth so highly commend peace, let the faithful show − 80 that they do what they can to nourish the peace of the Church. The truth must always be first in order with them, in defense whereof they must be afraid of no tumults; yet they must so temper their heat that they refuse no means of godly agreement; yea, let them of their own accord invent what ways soever they can, and let them be witty in seeking them out. Therefore, we must observe this mean, lest being carried away through immoderate vehemency of zeal we be carried beyond the just bounds; for we must be courageous in defense of true doctrine, not stubborn, nor rash; therefore, let us learn to join together these two virtues which the Spirit of God commandeth in Paul. When he is drawn into the field by the wicked, he is not afraid boldly to offer himself; but when he doth meekly admit the remedy which was offered, he declareth plainly what small desire he had to fight, for otherwise he might have boasted that he did not pass for the apostles, − 81 and so have stood stoutly in that; but the desire of peace did not suffer him to refuse their judgment. Moreover, ignorant and weak men should have conceived a sinister opinion, if they should have seen two men only separated from all the servants of Christ; and godly teachers must in no case neglect this way to cherish faith, that they may show that they agree with the Church. −

Paul, indeed, did not depend upon the beck of the apostles, that he would change his opinion if he should have found them contrary to him, who would not have given place even to the very angels, as he boasteth in first chapter to the Galatians, ( Gal 1:8;) but lest the wicked should slanderously report that he was a man that stood too much in his own conceit, and which was too proud, and which did please himself with an unseemly contempt of all men, he offered to give an account of his doctrine, as it became him, and as it was profitable for the Church; secondly, he presented himself before the apostles with sure hope of victory, because he knew full well what would be their judgment, seeing they were guided by the same Spirit wherewith he was governed. Notwithstanding, it may be demanded for what purpose the men of Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas unto the rest of the apostles; for if they did so greatly reverence them, that they stood in doubt until they had given judgment on this side or that, their faith was hitherto vain and altogether none? But the answer is easy, seeing they knew that all the apostles were sent − 82 by Christ alone with the same commandments, and that they had the same Spirit given them, they were fully persuaded of the end and success, and, undoubtedly, this counsel proceeded from honest and stout men, who were not ignorant that the knaves did falsely pretend the names of James and Peter. Wherefore, they sought nothing else but that the apostles might further a good matter with their consent. − 83

To the same end were all holy synods assembled since the beginning, that grave men, and such as were well exercised in the word of God, might decide controversies, not after their own pleasure, but according to the authority of God. This is worth the noting, lest the Papists pierce any man with their loud outcries, − 84 who, to the end they may overthrow Christ and his gospel, and put out all the light of godliness, thrust upon us Councils, as if every definition and determination of men were to be counted an heavenly oracle; but if the holy Fathers had their sitting at this day, they would cry with one mouth, that there was nothing more unlawful for them, neither did they mean any thing less than to set down or deliver any thing without having the word of Christ for their guide, who was their only teacher, [master,] even as he is ours. I omit this, that the Papists lean only unto untimely − 85 Councils, which breathe out nothing but gross ignorance and barbarism; but even the best and most choice must be reckoned in that number, that they may be subject to the word of God. There is a grievous complaint of Gregory Nazianzene extant, that there was never any Council which had a good end. What excellency soever did flourish and was in force in the Church, it cannot be denied but that it began to decay an hundred years after; therefore, if that holy man were now living, how stoutly would he reject the toys of the Papists, who, without all shame, most impudently bring in the jugglings of visors instead of lawful Councils, and that to that end, that the Word of God may pack, − 86 so soon as a few bald and foolish men have set down whatsoever pleased them? −

Calvin: Act 15:3 - Being brought on the way by the Church 3.Being brought on the way by the Church Whereas, by the common consent of the Church, there were joined to Paul and Barnabas companions, who might, ...

3.Being brought on the way by the Church Whereas, by the common consent of the Church, there were joined to Paul and Barnabas companions, who might, for duty’s sake, conduct them, we may thereby gather, that all the godly were on their side; and that they did never otherwise think but that the cause was theirs as well as the apostles. Wherefore they determined the journey of Paul and Barnabas with like minds as they took it in hand; to wit, that they might tame and put to silence those troublesome spirits who did falsely make boast of the apostles. Whereas he saith shortly after, that they certified the brethren in their voyage of the wonderful conversion of the Gentiles, it is a testimony and token that they came not to Jerusalem fraught with fear; but that they did even without fear stoutly profess that which they had taught before. Therefore, they come not to plead their cause before their judges; but that they may, with common consent and judgment, on both sides, approve that which was commanded by God touching the abolishing of ceremonies. For though they did not despise the judgment of the apostles, yet because they knew that it was not lawful for them, neither for the apostles, to decree otherwise concerning the cause, it did not become them to stand as men whose matter is handled at the bar. − 87 Thence cometh the boldness of rejoicing; to this end − 88 tendeth the joy of the godly, whereby they subscribe both to the doctrine of Paul and also the calling of the Gentiles. −

Calvin: Act 15:4 - They were received of the Church 4.They were received of the Church By this word Church he meaneth the multitude itself and the whole body; that done, he assigneth a peculiar place...

4.They were received of the Church By this word Church he meaneth the multitude itself and the whole body; that done, he assigneth a peculiar place to the apostles and elders, by whom Paul and Barnabas were specially received. Furthermore, because the apostles had no certain place of abode at Jerusalem, but went ever now and then sometimes to one place and sometimes to another, whithersoever occasion did call them, that church had elders to whom the ordinary government of the Church was committed; and what the one function differeth from the other we have before declared, ( Act 14:23.) And hereby it appeareth what brotherly courtesy there was in the apostles and elders, because they do not only courteously receive Paul and Barnabas, but so soon as they hear what success they had with their pains they took, they magnify the grace of God. Luke repeateth again that form of speech which we had before in the chapter next going before, when he saith, that they declared whatsoever things God had done with them. Wherein we must remember that which I said before, that God is not made a fellow-laborer, but all the whole praise of the work is ascribed to him. Therefore it is said, that he did that with Paul and Barnabas which he did by them, as he is said to deal mercifully with us when he helpeth our miseries. −

Calvin: Act 15:5 - Certain of the sect of the Pharisees 5.Certain of the sect of the Pharisees It is not without cause that Luke expresseth what kind of men they were which went about to trouble or hinder ...

5.Certain of the sect of the Pharisees It is not without cause that Luke expresseth what kind of men they were which went about to trouble or hinder Paul, even at Jerusalem also. And it is to be thought that the evil flowed from that fountain; and that Luke doth now more plainly express, that there brake out now also fans [disturbers] out of that very same sect, from whence the authors of that wicked dissension came. For though they had given Christ their names, yet there remained relics of their former nature. We know how proud the Pharisees were, how haughty, how lofty their looks were; − 89 all which they would have forgotten if they had truly put on Christ. Like as there remained no Phariseeism in Paul, but a great part had gotten the habit of stubbornness by long custom, which they could not shake off so easily by and by. Forasmuch as there reigned most of all among them hypocrisy, they were too much addicted to external rites, which are coverings for vices. They were likewise puffed up with pride, so that they did tyrannously covet to make all other men subject to their decrees. It is well-known how sore sick the monks are of both diseases. Whereby it cometh to pass, that nothing is more cruel than they to oppress the Church, nothing is more wicked or forward than they to despise the Word of God. Moreover, we see many of them which came out of those dens which have cast from them their cowl, and yet can they never forget those conditions which they learned there. − 90

Calvin: Act 15:6 - The apostles and elders met together 6.The apostles and elders met together Luke saith, not that all the whole Church was gathered together, but those who did excel in doctrine and judgm...

6.The apostles and elders met together Luke saith, not that all the whole Church was gathered together, but those who did excel in doctrine and judgment, and those who, according to their office, were competent − 91 judges in this matter. It may be, indeed, that the disputation was had in presence of the people. But lest any man should think that the common people were suffered hand over head to handle the matter, Luke doth plainly make mention of the apostles and elders, as it was more meet that they should hear the matter and to decide it. − 92 But let us know, that here is prescribed by God a form and an order in assembling synods, when there ariseth any controversy which cannot otherwise be decided. For seeing that many did daily gainstand Paul, this disputation alone, by reason whereof there was great ruin like to ensue, and which was already come to hot combats, did enforce him to go to Jerusalem. −

Calvin: Act 15:7 - And when there had been great disputation // You know // God did choose in us // And believe // The knower of the hearts 7.And when there had been great disputation Though there were choice made of grave men, and such as were public teachers of the Church, yet could not...

7.And when there had been great disputation Though there were choice made of grave men, and such as were public teachers of the Church, yet could not they agree by and by. − 93 Whereby appeareth how the Lord did exercise his Church, even then, by the infirmity of men, that it might learn to be wise with humility. Moreover, he suffered (even in that company and assembly wherein he was chief) the principal point of Christian doctrine to be diversely tossed and handled, lest we should wonder, if at any time it so fall out, that men, who are otherwise learned and godly, do, through unskillfulness, fall into an error. For some were not so quick witted [acute] that they could thoroughly see into the greatness of the matter. So that when they judge that the law ought to be kept, being unadvisedly carried away with the zeal of the law, they see not into how deep a labyrinth they throw the consciences of other men, and their own also. They thought that circumcision was an eternal and inviolable token of God’s covenant; the same opinion had they of all the whole law. Wherefore Peter standeth chiefly upon this, to show the state of the question, which the most of them knew not. And his oration hath two members. For, first, he proveth by the authority of God that the Gentiles must not be enforced to keep the law; secondly, he teacheth that all man’s salvation is overthrown, if the conscience be once caught in this snare. Therefore, the former part (wherein he declareth that he was sent of God to teach the Gentiles, and that the Holy Spirit came down upon them) tendeth to this end, that men did not unadvisedly disannul the ceremonies of the law, but that God is the author of that disannulling. And so soon as the authority of God is brought forth, all doubting is taken away, because this is all our wisdom, to stay ourselves upon the authority, government, and commandment of God, − 94 and to make more account of his beck and pleasure than of all reasons. Now, it is meet that we ponder the words of Peter, whereby he proveth that this was granted to the Gentiles by God, to be free from the yoke of the law. −

You know He calleth them to bear witness, (and unto them he appealeth,) lest any man should think that he is about to speak of some dark and doubtful thing. The history was well known to them all. That which remained, he showeth that they were blind even in most clear light, yea, because they had not long ago learned that which was openly showed. He calleth the beginning of the preaching of the gospel old days, or the old time, as if he should say, ago, as it were since the first beginning of the Church, after that Christ began to gather to himself any people. −

God did choose in us The word choose doth signify to appoint or decree. Though Peter doth comprehend as well the free election of God as the choice whereby God did adopt the Gentiles to be his people; therefore, he chose, that is, as it were, making choice, that he might show a token of his free election in the Gentiles, he would that by my mouth they should hear the doctrine of the gospel. These words, in us, do import as much as in our sight, or we being witnesses, or among us. − 95 For his meaning is, that he declareth nothing but that which they knew full well; to wit, which was done before their eyes. The phrase is common enough both among the Grecians, and also among the Hebretians, [Hebrews,] unless we had liefer resolve it as some other do, He hath chosen me out of this company. −

And believe This was a seal to confirm the calling of the Gentiles. The office of teaching was enjoined Peter by an oracle; but the fruit which came of his doctrine doth make his ministry noble and authentical, as they call it. For, seeing that the elect are illuminate into the faith by a peculiar grace of the Spirit, doctrine shall bring forth no fruit, unless the Lord show forth his power in his ministers, in teaching the minds of those inwardly which hear, and in drawing their hearts inwardly. Therefore, seeing the Lord commanded that the doctrine of the gospel should be brought unto the Gentiles, he did sanctify them to himself, that they might be no longer profane. But the solemn consecration was then perfect in all points, when he imprinted in their hearts, by faith, the mark of their adoption. The sentence which followeth immediately is to be understood as set down by way of exposition; − 96 for Peter annexeth the visible graces of the Spirit unto faith, as, assuredly, they were nothing else but an addition thereof. Therefore, seeing that the Gentiles are ingrafted into the people of God without circumcision and ceremonies, Peter gathereth that it was not well done to lay upon them any necessity to keep the law. Yet it seemeth to be but a weak argument to prove their election withal, because the Holy Ghost came down upon them. For they were such gifts that they could not reason from the same, that they were reckoned in the number of the godly. But it is the Spirit of regeneration alone which distinguisheth the children of God from strangers. I answer, Though men, who were otherwise vain, were endued with the gift of tongues and such like, yet doth Peter take for a thing which all men grant, that which was known, that God had sealed in Cornelius and his cousins [relatives] his free adoption by the visible grace of the Spirit, as if he should point out his children with his finger. −

The knower of the hearts He applieth this adjunct to God, according to the circumstance of the present matter; and it hath under it a secret contrariety, − 97 that men are more addicted to external purity, because they judge according to their gross and earthly sense and understanding; but God doth look into the heart. Therefore, Peter teacheth that they judge preposterously in this matter according to man’s understanding, seeing that the inward pureness of the heart alone is here to be esteemed, which we know not. − 98 And by this means doth he bridle our rashness, lest, taking to ourselves more than we ought, we murmur against the judgment of God. As if he should say, if thou see no reason of that testimony which God gave them, think with thyself what great difference there is between him and thee. For thou art holden with external pomp according to thy gross nature, which must be abandoned when we come to the throne of God, − 99 where the hearts of men are known spiritually. But, in the mean season, we must note a general doctrine, that the eyes of God do not look upon the vain pomp of men, − 100 but upon the integrity of men’s hearts, as it is written, ( Jer 5:3.) Whereas the old interpreter and Erasmus translate it, that God knoweth the hearts, it doth not sufficiently express that which Luke saith in Greek; for when he calleth God καρδιαγνωστην, he setteth him against − 101 men, who judge rather for the most part by the outward appearance; and therefore they may be προσωπογνωσται, or knowers of the face, if they be compared with God. −

Calvin: Act 15:9 - And he put no difference // Seeing that by faith he hath purified 9.And he put no difference There was indeed some difference, because the Gentiles who were uncircumcised were suddenly admitted unto the covenant of ...

9.And he put no difference There was indeed some difference, because the Gentiles who were uncircumcised were suddenly admitted unto the covenant of eternal life; whereas the Jews were prepared by circumcision unto faith. But Peter’s meaning is, that they were both chosen − 102 together by God unto the hope of the same inheritance, and that they were extolled into the like degree of honor, that they might be the children of God and members of Christ, and, finally, the holy seed of Abraham, a priestly and princely generation. Whereupon it followeth, that they cannot without sacrilege be counted unclean, sithence God hath chosen them to be a peculiar people, and hath consecrated them to be holy vessels of his temple. For the wall of separation being pulled down, whereby the Gentiles and Jews were divided among themselves, he hath joined the Gentiles to the Jews, that they might grow together into one body, ( Eph 2:14;) and that I may so say, he hath mixed circumcision and uncircumcision together, that as well those of the household as strangers may be one in Christ, and may make one Church; and that there may not be any longer either Jew or Grecian. −

Seeing that by faith he hath purified This member is answerable to that former adjunct which he applieth to God; as if he should say, that God, who knoweth the hearts, did inwardly purge the Gentiles, when he vouchsafed to make them partakers of his adoption, that they might be endued with spiritual cleanness. But he addeth farther, that this purity did consist in faith. Therefore he teacheth, first, that the Gentiles have true holiness without ceremonies, which may suffice before God’s judgment-seat. Secondly, he teacheth that this is attained unto by faith, and from it doth it flow. In like sort, Paul gathereth, that uncircumcision doth not hinder a man but that he may be counted holy and just before God, ( Rom 4:10;) because circumcision did follow after righteousness in the person of Abraham, and by order of time it was latter, [posterior.] −

But here ariseth a question, whether that purity which the fathers had in times past were unlike to that which God gave now to the Gentiles? For it seemeth that Peter distinguisheth the Gentiles from the Jews by this mark, because, being content with the cleanness of the heart alone, they need no help of the law. I answer, that the one of them differ from the other, not in substance, but in form, [only.] For God had respect always unto the inward cleanness of the heart; and the ceremonies were given to the old [ancient] people only for this cause, that they might help their faith. So that cleanness, as touching figures and exercises, was only for a time, until the coming of Christ, which hath no place among us at this day; like as there remaineth from the very beginning of the world unto the end the same true worship of God, to wit, the spiritual worship; yet is there great difference in the visible form. Now, we see that the fathers did not obtain righteousness by ceremonies, neither were they therefore pure before God, but by the cleanness of the heart. For the ceremonies of themselves were of no importance to justify them; but they were only helps, which did accidentally (that I may so term it) purge them; yet so that the fathers and we had the same truth. Now, when Christ came, all that which was accidental did vanish away; and, therefore, seeing the shadows be driven away, there remaineth the bare and plain pureness of the heart. −

Thus is that objection easily answered which the Jews think cannot possibly be answered. Circumcision is called the eternal covenant, or of the world, ( Gen 17:13;) therefore, say they, it was not to be abolished. If any man shall say that this is not referred unto the visible sign, but rather unto the thing figured, it shall be well answered; but there is another answer besides this. Seeing that the kingdom of Christ was a certain renewing of the world, there shall no inconvenience follow if he made an end of − 103 all the shadows of the law, forasmuch as the perpetuity of the law is grounded in Christ. I come now unto the second member, where Peter placeth the cleanness [purity] of the Gentiles in faith. Why doth not he say, In perfection of virtues, or holiness of life, save only because men have righteousness from another, and not from themselves? For, if men, by living well and justly, should purchase righteousness, or if they should be clean before God by nature, this sentence of Peter should fall to the ground. Therefore, the Spirit doth in these words plainly pronounce that all mankind is polluted, and with filthiness defiled; secondly, that their blots can by no other means be wiped away than by the grace of Christ. For, seeing that faith is the remedy whereby the Lord doth freely help us, it is set as well against the common nature of all men, as against every man’s own merits. When I say that all mankind is polluted, my meaning is, that we bring nothing from our mother’s womb but mere filthiness, and that there is no righteousness in our nature which can reconcile us to God. Man’s soul was indeed endued with singular gifts at the first; but all parts thereof are so corrupt with sin, that there remaineth in it no drop of pureness any longer; therefore we must seek for cleanness without ourselves. −

For if any man allege that it may be recovered by merits of works, there is nothing more absurd than to imagine that wicked and coward nature can deserve anything. Therefore, it resteth that men seek elsewhere for that which they shall never be able to find within themselves. And surely it is the office of faith to translate that unto us which is proper to Christ, and to make it ours by free participation. So that there is a mutual relation between faith and the grace of Christ. For faith doth not make us clean, as a virtue or quality poured into our souls; but because it receiveth that cleanness which is offered in Christ. We must also note the phrase, that God purifieth the hearts; whereby Luke doth both make God the author of faith, and he teacheth also that cleanness is his benefit. To make short, he signifieth unto us, that that is given to men by the grace of God which they cannot give to themselves. But forasmuch as we said that faith taketh that of Christ which it transpoureth [transferreth] into us; we must now see how the grace of Christ doth make us clean, that we may please God. And there is a double manner of purging, because Christ doth offer and present us clean and just in the sight of his Father, by putting away our sins daily, which he hath once purged by his blood; secondly, because, by mortifying the lusts of the flesh by his Spirit, he reformeth us unto holiness of life. I do willingly comprehend both kinds of purging under these words; because Luke doth not touch one kind of purging only, but he teacheth that the whole perfection thereof consisteth without the ceremonies of the law. −

Calvin: Act 15:10 - Now, therefore, why tempt ye? // That the yoke should be laid upon their necks // Neither we nor our fathers 10.Now, therefore, why tempt ye? This is the other part of the sermon wherein Peter showeth how deadly that doctrine is which Paul’s enemies sought...

10.Now, therefore, why tempt ye? This is the other part of the sermon wherein Peter showeth how deadly that doctrine is which Paul’s enemies sought to bring in; to wit, which might drown godly souls in despair. He inferreth and gathereth out of the former member, that God is tempted if the Gentiles be enforced to keep the law of necessity; − 104 he riseth higher, and pierceth even unto the very fountain. For he reasoneth hitherto, that the Gentiles should have injury done them if there be more required at their hands than God will; and seeing that he made them equal with the holy people, and did vouchsafe them the honor of adoption, it was. an unmeet and inconvenient [absurd] matter that they should be rejected, and so his liberality should be restrained. For he saith last of all, that this faith is sufficient for them, though they want ceremonies. And now he taketh an higher principle, that those who tie men’s salvation to the works of the law leave them no good hope; but rather throw the whole world headlong into horrible destruction, if it can obtain salvation by no other means but by keeping the law. With what arguments he proveth this we shall see in their place. As touching the words, seeing the Scripture saith, that God is tempted diverse ways, Peter’s meaning is, in this place, that God is provoked as it were of set purpose, when there is an heavier burden laid upon men than they be able to bear; and that his power is brought within bounds − 105 when that yoke is bound which he doth loose, which is nothing else but by striving against nature to match ourselves with giants, as they say. −

That the yoke should be laid upon their necks The meaning of the words is plain, that God is tempted when there is laid upon men’s consciences a sorer burden than they are able to bear, and by this means the salvation of men’s souls is sore shaken; seeing that they must needs by this means be drowned in despair, which cannot be without their destruction. But that injury which is done to God is no whit more tolerable, when as he is robbed of his right that he may not have liberty to deliver us. But we may easily gather out of the thing itself that he doth not speak of the ceremonies only. The servitude of the old training up under the law was hard and laborious; but yet it were too absurd to call it a yoke that cannot be borne; and we know that not only holy men, but also even most hypocrites, did well and exactly accomplish the outward observation of the rites. −

Moreover, it were not any hard matter to satisfy the moral law, if it were content with corporeal obedience only, and did not require spiritual righteousness; for it is granted to many to bridle their hands and feet; but to moderate all the affections so that there may reign perfect abstinence and purity, as well in the soul as in the body, this is too hard a matter. −

Therefore, those be too foolish who restrain unto ceremonies Peter’s words, whereby the weakness of men to perform the righteousness of the heart is expressed; which doth not only far pass their strength, but is altogether contrary to nature. These men were, I warrant you, deceived by one reason, because the question was moved concerning ceremonies only; but they do remember that Peter did more attentively and more wisely consider as became him, what a labyrinth this error (to look to, but light) did bring with it. The false apostles did avouch, that no man could attain unto salvation unless he did keep the ceremonies. If man’s salvation be tied to works, it shall be no longer grounded in the grace of Christ, and so, by this means, free reconciliation shall fall flat to the ground. Now, seeing that man’s strength is unable to keep the law, all men are subject to the curse which the Lord there denounceth against the transgressors; and so, by this means, all men shall come in danger of despair, seeing that they see themselves guilty of eternal death by the law. Peradventure the false apostles understood these things craftily. But Peter pierceth the very fountain, that he may bring to light the deadly poison of that doctrine; and thus must we do, so often as Satan doth craftily thrust in wicked errors. −

At this day we seem to some to be too contentious, when as we do so stoutly stand in this, that men must not pray for the dead; for it is both a most ancient custom, neither is it a thing to look to very dangerous, though men pour out superfluous prayer; yet [nay] it is a plausible opinion, because it carrieth some color of human godliness. −

Furthermore, unskillful men judge thus, because they seek. not out the head spring. For, if we grant that men may pray for the dead, we must also admit this, that they are now punished by the judgment of God, because they made not satisfaction in this life for their sins. And so, by this means the force of Christ’s satisfaction is translated unto the works of men. Secondly, the rule of praying aright is overthrown, if men may pray at all adventure, without the word of God. This is also a greater absurdity than that we ought lightly to pass over it. In sum, we can never give true judgment of any question, unless, having thoroughly ripped up the fountain of that doctrine which is called in question, we deduct all consequences which it bringeth with it. Therefore, it is no marvel if Peter, to the end he may pull the false apostles out (by the ears,) as it were out of their lurking dens, do generally dispute touching the whole law; because he doth nothing else but open the matter itself, whereof the simple were ignorant; that they may all see what a deadly doctrine it is, which doth both extinguish the grace of Christ, and drown souls in the horrible dungeon of despair. − 106

Neither we nor our fathers Peter doth not only dispute what men have done indeed, but what they were able to do; neither doth he speak only of the common riff-raff, − 107 but of the holy fathers. Seeing that he denieth that they were able to bear the yoke of the law, it is manifest that the law cannot possibly be kept. I know that Jerome’s saying is so generally received, that it is, as it were, an undoubted and most certain maxim, If any man say that it is a thing impossible to keep the law, let him be accursed; but we must not hearken to any voice of man which is contrary to the judgment of the Spirit of God. We hear what the Spirit pronounceth in this place by the mouth of Peter, not concerning the will and works of men, but touching their ability and power. And hereunto agreeth Paul, affirming that it was an impossible thing that the law should give us life, forasmuch as it was weak through the flesh. Indeed, if any man were able to fulfill the law, he should find the life which is there promised; but forasmuch as Paul denieth that life can be gotten by the law, it followeth that there is farther and higher righteousness required there than man is able to perform. I confess, indeed, that Jerome doth not wholly grant to the strength of nature power to fulfill the law, but partly also to the grace of God, as he doth afterward expound himself, that a faithful man, holpen by the grace of the Spirit, may be said to be able to fulfill the law. But even that mitigation is not true. For, if we do weigh the strength of nature only, men shall not only be unable to bear the yoke of the law, but they shall not be able to move so much as a finger to perform the least jot of the law. And surely if that be true, that all the cogitations of man’s mind are wicked from his childhood, ( Gen 8:21;) that all the understandings of flesh − 108 are enemies to God, ( Rom 8:7;) that there is none which seeketh after God, ( Psa 14:3;) and other such places, which are common in the Scripture, tending to the same end, but especially which are cited by Paul in the third to the Romans, ( Rom 3:11,) man’s power and ability to fulfill the law shall not only be weak and lame, but altogether none to begin. − 109

Therefore, we must thus think, that even the very faithful, after they being regenerate by the Spirit of God, do study to attain unto the righteousness of the law, do perform, notwithstanding, but the half, and far less than half, not the whole. For doubtless Peter speaketh not in this place of the epicure − 110 or profane men; but of Abraham, of Moses, and of other holy fathers which were the most perfect in the world; and yet he saith that these fainted under the burden of the law, because it did pass their strength. It is hatefully objected that the Spirit of God is blasphemed when as ability to fulfill the law is taken away from his grace and help; but we may readily answer, because the question is not what the grace of the Spirit is able to do, but what that measure of grace is able to do which God doth divide to every one in this life. For we must always consider what God doth promise to do; neither let us unadvisedly ask this question, whether that can be done which he himself doth testify shall never be, and which he will not have done? He promiseth the grace and aid of the Spirit to the faithful, whereby they may be able to resist the lusts of the flesh, and to subdue them; yet shall they not quite abolish and drive them away. He promiseth them grace, whereby they may walk in newness of life; yet shall they not be able to run so swiftly as the law requireth. For he will have them kept under during their whole life, that they may fly to beg pardon. If it be unlawful to separate from the power of God’s counsel, and the order by him set down, it is a foolish and vain cavil, whereby the adversaries go about to burden us, when as they say that we diminish the power of God; nay rather, they transform God, when they hold that his counsel and purpose can be altered. −

The Pelagians did in times past, in like sort, burden − 111 Augustine. He answereth, that though it be a thing possible that the law should be fulfilled, yet is that sufficient for him, that no man did ever fulfill it, and that the Scripture doth not testify that it shall be fulfilled until the end of the world. By which words he delivereth himself from their importunate subtlety. But there was no cause why he should doubt, but freely and flatly grant that it might be fulfilled, the Holy Ghost being the author. For we must limit the grace of the Spirit, that it may agree with the promises. Furthermore, we have already declared how far the promises reach. There is no man which moveth any question concerning this, whether God be not able if he will to make men perfect; but they dote foolish which separate his power from his counsel, whereof they have an evident and plain testimony in the Scripture. God doth plainly declare a hundred times what he will, and what he hath determined to do: to go any farther is sacrilege. −

Jerome was enforced by reason of philosophy to hurl out the thunderbolt of his curse against Peter and Paul; − 112 because the laws must be applied unto their hability for whom they be appointed; which, as I confess to take place in man’s laws, so I utterly deny that it is good as touching the law of God, which, in exacting righteousness, doth not respect what man is able to do, but what he ought to do. −

Though here ariseth a harder question, “Whether the law were not given to this end, that it might enforce men to obey God? And this should be in vain, unless the Spirit of God should direct the faithful to keep it; and that the solemn protestation of Moses seemeth to put the matter out of doubt, when he saith that he giveth precepts to the Jews, not such as they may read, but indeed fulfill, ( Deu 30:12;) whence we gather that the yoke was laid upon the neck of the Jews when the law was given, that it might make them subject to God, that they might not live as them lusted.” I answer, that the law is counted a yoke two ways. For, inasmuch as it bridleth the lusts of the flesh and delivereth a rule of godly and holy life, it is meet that the children of God take this yoke upon them; but, inasmuch as it doth exactly prescribe what we owe to God, and doth not promise life without adding the condition of perfect obedience, and doth again denounce a curse if we shall in any point offend, it is a yoke which no man is able to bear. I will show this more plainly. −

The plain doctrine of good life, wherein God doth invite us unto himself, is a yoke which we must all of us willingly take up; for there is nothing more absurd than that God should not govern man’s life, but that he should wander at pleasure without any bridle. Therefore, we must not refuse the yoke of the law, if the simple doctrine thereof be considered. But these sayings do otherwise qualify (that I may so term it) the law. −

“He which shall do these things shall live in theme” etc.
( Lev 18:5.)

Again, −

“Cursed is he which continueth not in all things which are written,”
( Deu 27:26,) −

that it may begin to be a yoke which no man can bear. −

For, so long as salvation is promised to the perfect keeping of the law alone, and every transgression is called into judgment, mankind is utterly undone. In this respect doth Peter affirm that God is tempted, when man’s arrogance doth burden the consciences of men with the law; for it is not his purpose to deny but that men must be governed by the doctrine of the law, and so he granteth that they be under the law − 113 not simply − 114 to teach, but also to humble men with the guilt of eternal death. Considering that that quality was annexed unto doctrine, he affirmeth that the souls of the godly must not be tied with the yoke of the law, because by this means it should of necessity come to pass that they should be drowned in eternal destruction. But, when as not only the grace of the Holy Spirit is present to govern us, but also free forgiveness of sins to deliver and acquit us from the curse of the law; then is that of Moses fulfilled, that the commandment is not above us, ( Deu 30:11;) and then do we also perceive how sweet the yoke of Christ is, and how light his burden is, ( Mat 11:30.) For, because we know that through the mercy of God that is forgiven us, which is wanting through the infirmity of the flesh, we do cheerfully, and without any grief, − 115 take upon us that which he enjoineth us. Wherefore, so that the rigor of the law be taken away, the doctrine of the law shall not only be tolerable, but also joyful and pleasant; neither must we refuse the bridle which doth govern us mildly, and cloth not urge us sorer than is expedient. −

Calvin: Act 15:11 - By the grace of Jesus Christ // Even as they 11.By the grace of Jesus Christ Peter compareth these two together as contrary the one to the other; to have hope − 116 in the grace of Christ, and...

11.By the grace of Jesus Christ Peter compareth these two together as contrary the one to the other; to have hope − 116 in the grace of Christ, and to be under the yoke of the law; which comparison doth greatly set out the justification of Christ, inasmuch as we gather thereby, that those are justified by faith who, being free and quit from the yoke of the law, seek for salvation in the grace of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I said before that the yoke of the law is made of two cords. The former is, “He which doth these things shall live in them;” the other is, “Cursed is every one which doth not continue in all the commandments.” Let us return unto the contrary member. If we cannot otherwise attain unto salvation by the grace of Christ, unless the yoke of the law be taken away, it followeth that salvation is not placed in keeping the law, neither are those which believe in Christ subject to the curse of the law; for if he could be saved through grace, who is as yet enwrapped in the yoke of the law, then should Peter’s reasoning be but foolish, which is drawn from contraries: thus, We hope for salvation by the grace of Christ; therefore we are not under the yoke of the law. Unless there were a disagreement between the grace of Christ and the yoke of the law, Peter should deceive us. − 117

Wherefore, those must needs depart from the righteousness of the law, whosoever desire to find life in Christ; for this contrariety appertaineth not unto doctrine, but unto the cause of justification. −

Whereby is also refuted their surmise, − 118 who say that we are justified by the grace of Christ, because he regenerateth us by his Spirit, and giveth us strength to fulfill the law. Those who imagine this, though they seem to ease the yoke of the law a little, yet they keep souls bound with the cords thereof. For this promise shall always stand in force, He which shall do these things shall live in them; on the other side, The curse shall come upon all which shall not absolutely fulfill the law. Wherefore, we must define the grace of Christ far otherwise (whereunto the hope of salvation leaneth) than they dream; to wit, that it be free reconciliation gotten by the sacrifice of his death; or, which is all one, free forgiveness of sins, which, by pacifying and appeasing God, doth make him of an enemy or severe judge, − 119 and which cannot be pleased nor entreated, a merciful Father. I confess, indeed, that we be regenerate into newness of life by the grace of Christ; but when we are about assurance of salvation, then must we call to mind the free adoption alone, which is joined with the purging [expiation] and forgiveness of sins. For, if works be admitted, that they may make us righteous in part only, the yoke of the law shall not be broken, and so Peter’s contrariety [antithesis] shall fall to the ground, or else be dissolved. −

Even as they Peter doth testify in this place, that though the servitude of the law were laid upon the fathers as touching the external shoe, yet were their consciences free and quit; whereby is put away that absurdity, which might otherwise have troubled godly minds not a little. For, seeing that the covenant of life is eternal, and the same which God made with his servants from the beginning until the end of the world, it were an absurd thing, and intolerable, that any other way to obtain salvation should be taught at this day than that which the fathers had in times past. Therefore, Peter affirmeth that we agree very well with the fathers, because they no less than we reposed hope of salvation in the grace of Christ; and so, reconciling the law and the gospel together, as touching the end of the doctrine, he taketh from the Jews the stumbling-block which they reigned to themselves by reason of the discord. −

Whereby it appeareth that the law was not given to the fathers that they might thereby purchase salvation, neither were the ceremonies added, that, by the observing thereof, they might attain unto righteousness; but this was the only end of all the whole law, that, casting from them all confidence which they might repose in works, they might repose all their hope in the grace of Christ. Whereby is also refuted the doting of those who think that the old people, inasmuch as they were content with earthly goods, did think no whit of the heavenly life. But Peter maketh the fathers partners with us of the same faith; and doth make salvation common to both; and yet there be some which delight in that brain-sick fellow, Servetus, with his so filthy sacrileges. Furthermore, we must note that Peter teacheth that the faith of the fathers [ancients] was always grounded in Christ, seeing that they could neither find life anywhere else, neither was there any other way for men to come unto God. Therefore, this place agreeth with that saying of the apostle, −

“Christ yesterday, and today, and for ever,” −
( Heb 13:8.)

Calvin: Act 15:12 - All the multitude held their peace // They heard Barnabas and Paul. We 12.All the multitude held their peace By these words, Luke giveth us to understand that the Spirit of God did so reign in that assembly, that they yi...

12.All the multitude held their peace By these words, Luke giveth us to understand that the Spirit of God did so reign in that assembly, that they yielded forthwith to reason. The disputation was hot before; but now, after that Peter hath laid open the counsel of God, and hath handled the question according to the doctrine of the Scripture, by and by all noise being stayed, they are quiet and whist who did of late unadvisedly defend the error. This is a lively image of a lawful Council, when the truth of God alone, so soon as it is once come to light, maketh an end of all controversies; and assuredly it is effectual enough to appease all discord when the Spirit beareth the chief sway; because he is again a fit governor, as well to moderate their tongues who must speak before others as to keep the rest under obedience, that they be not too much addicted to themselves and wedded to their own wills, but that, laying away stubbornness, they may show themselves obedient to God. Neither is it to be doubted but that there was some few which would not yield, as it falleth out in a great assembly; yet the truth of God had the upper hand, so that the silence whereof Luke speaketh was a manifest testimony of common obedience. And this was no small moderation in Peter, in that having suffered every one to say for himself what he could, he deferred his judgment (lest it should be prejudicial to others) so long, until the question had been thoroughly discussed to and fro. −

They heard Barnabas and Paul. We may gather by these words that they were not heard with silence before.: For seeing that the more part was persuaded that they did wickedly admit the profane Gentiles into the Church, there should nothing which they should have said have been patiently received until this false opinion were corrected and reformed; but all should have been taken at the worst. We see what a poison displeasure conceived for no cause is, which doth so possess men’s minds, that it stoppeth the way, so that the truth can never have en, trance. Hereby we learn how true that saying is, All things are sound to the sound, ( Tit 1:15,) for there is nothing so wholesome but corrupt affection do turn the same into that which is hurtful. And to this end tendeth the narration made by Paul and Barnabas, that they may show and prove that God doth allow their apostleship among the Gentiles; forasmuch as it was ratified and confirmed by miracles, which are, as it were, certain seals thereof. −

Calvin: Act 15:13 - James answered, saying // Men and brethren, hear me // In his name 13.James answered, saying Some old writers of the Church think that this James was one of the disciples, whose surname was Justus and Oblia, whose cr...

13.James answered, saying Some old writers of the Church think that this James was one of the disciples, whose surname was Justus and Oblia, whose cruel death is recorded by Josephus in the Twentieth Book of his Antiquities. But would to God the old writers had travailed rather to know the man, than to set forth, with reigned praises, the holiness of a man whom they knew not. It is a childish toy and surmise, in that they say that it was lawful for him alone to enter into the most holy place. For if in that entering in there had been any religion, he had done it contrary to the law of God, forasmuch as he was not the highest priest. Secondly, it was a superstitious thing thus to foster the shadowish worship of the Temple. I omit other trifles. And they are greatly deceived in that they deny that he was one of the twelve apostles. For they are enforced to confess that it is he whom Paul commandeth so honorably, that he maketh him the chief among the three pillars of the Church, ( Gal 2:9.) Assuredly, a man inferior in order and degree could never have excelled the apostles so far; for Paul giveth him the title of an apostle. Neither is that worth the hearing which Jerome bringeth, [viz.] that the word is general there, seeing that the dignity of the order is there handled; forasmuch as Christ did prefer the apostles before other teachers of the Church. −

Moreover, we may gather out of this place, that they made no small account of James, ( Act 21:18;) forasmuch as he doth with his voice and consent so confirm the words of Peter, that they are all of his mind. And we shall see afterwards how great his authority was at Jerusalem. The old writers think that this was because he was bishop of the place; but it is not to be thought that the faithful did at their pleasure change the order which Christ had appointed. Wherefore, I do not doubt but that he was son to Alpheus, and Christ’s cousin, in which sense he is also called his brother. Whether he were bishop of Jerusalem or no, I leave it indifferent; neither doth it greatly make for the matter, save only because the impudency of the Pope is hereby refuted, because the decree of the Council is set down rather at the appointment, and according to the authority of James than of Peter. And assuredly Eusebius, in the beginning of his Second Book, is not afraid to call James, whosoever he were, the Bishop of the Apostles. Let the men of Rome go now and boast that their Pope is head of the Universal Church, because he is Peter’s successor, who suffered another to rule him, − 120 if we believe Eusebius. −

Men and brethren, hear me James’ oration consisteth upon [of] two principal members; for, first, he confirmeth and proveth the calling of the Gentiles by the testimony of the prophet Amos; secondly, he showeth what is best to be done to nourish peace and concord among the faithful; yet so that the liberty of the Gentiles may continue safe and sound, and that the grace of Christ may not be darkened. Whereas Peter is in this place called Simeon, it may be that this name was diversely pronounced then. Whereas he saith that God did visit to take a people of the Gentiles, it is referred unto the mercy of God, whereby he vouchsafed to receive strangers into his family. It is, indeed, a harsh phrase, yet such as containeth a profitable doctrine; because he maketh God the author of the calling of the Gentiles, and pronounceth that it is through his goodness that they began to be reckoned among his people, when he saith that they were taken by him; but he proceedeth further, when he saith that he did visit that he might take. For this is his meaning, That at such time as the Gentiles were turned away from God he did mercifully look upon them; because we can do nothing but depart farther and farther from him, until such time as his fatherly look prevent us of his own accord. −

In his name The old interpreter hath, To his name, which is almost all one, though the preposition, it may be otherwise translated, to wit, For his name, or Upon his name. − 121 Neither shall the sense disagree, that the salvation of the Gentiles is grounded in the power or name of God, and that God did respect no other thing in calling them but his own glory; yet did I retain that which is more usual; to wit, that, in numbering them among his people, he would have them counted in his name, like as it shall be said shortly after, that his name is called upon by all those whom he gathereth together into his Church. The adverb of time, πρωτον, may be expounded two ways; if you read it, first, as the old interpreter and Erasmus have it, the sense shall be, that Cornelius and others were, as it were, the first fruits at whom God began the calling of the Gentiles; but it may be taken also comparatively, because there was already some token of the adoption of the Gentiles showed in Cornelius and his cousins, before that Barnabas and Paul preached the gospel to the Gentiles. And I do better like this latter sense. −

Calvin: Act 15:15 - Hereto agree the words of the prophets 15.Hereto agree the words of the prophets We see now how the apostles took nothing to themselves imperiously, but did reverently follow that which wa...

15.Hereto agree the words of the prophets We see now how the apostles took nothing to themselves imperiously, but did reverently follow that which was prescribed in the word of God. Neither did it grieve them, neither did they count it any disgrace to them to profess themselves to be the scholars of the Scripture. Also we must here note, that the use of the doctrine of the prophets is yet in force, which some brain-sick men would banish out of the Church. By citing the prophets, in the plural number, to be witnesses, whereas he doth allege one place only, he signifieth that there is such an agreement among them, that that which is spoken by one is the common testimony of them all, because they speak all with one mouth, and every one speaketh as in the person of all, or rather the Spirit of God speaketh in them all. Moreover, the oracles of all the prophets were gathered together, that they might make one body. Wherefore that might worthily and fitly be ascribed to all the prophets in general, which was taken out of some one part of the general book. −

Calvin: Act 15:16 - After these things I will return // The tabernacle of David, which was decayed 16.After these things I will return Because the place is not cited word for word as it is in the prophet, we must see what difference there is, thoug...

16.After these things I will return Because the place is not cited word for word as it is in the prophet, we must see what difference there is, though it be not necessary to examine straitly what diversity there is in the words, so it appear that the prophecy doth fitly agree with the matter which is in hand. After that God hath promised the restoring of the tabernacle of David, he saith also, that he will bring to pass that the Jews shall possess the remnants of Edom. In all that text, there appeareth nothing as yet whence the calling of the Gentiles can be fet − 122 or gathered; but that which followeth immediately after in the prophet, concerning the remnant of the Gentiles which shall call upon the name of the Lord, doth plainly show that the Jews and Gentiles shall make one Church, because that which was then proper to the Jews alone is given to both in general. For God placeth the Gentiles in like degree of honor with the Jews, when he will have them to call upon his name. Those of Idumea, and the people thereabout, were in times past under David subject to the Jews; but though they were tributaries to the people of God, yet were they nevertheless strangers from the Church. Therefore, this was news and a strange thing, in that God reckoneth them up with the holy people, that he may be called − 123 the God of them all; seeing that it is certain that they are all made equal in honor among themselves by this means. Whereby it doth plainly appear how well the testimony of the prophet agreeth with the present purpose. For God promiseth to restore the decayed tabernacle, wherein the Gentiles shall obey the kingdom of David, not only that they may pay tribute, or take [to arms] weapon at the king’s commandment, but that they may have one God, and that they may be one family to him. −

Yet there may a question be moved, why he had rather cite this prophecy, than many other which contain more plentiful proof of the matter which he hath in hand, of which sort Paul citeth many? ( Rom 15:9.) I answer, first, that the apostles were not ambitious in heaping up places of Scripture; but they did simply aim at this, which was sufficient for them, to wit, that they might prove that their doctrine was taken out of the word of God; secondly, I say that this prophecy of Amos is more plain than it is commonly taken to be. The prophet intreateth of the restoring of an house which was decayed; − 124 he describeth the miserable ruin thereof. Therefore, the promise, which is added immediately, that the seat and throne shall be set up again, from of which kings of the posterity of David shall rule over the Gentiles, doth properly appertain unto Christ. Therefore, so soon as the kingdom of Christ is set up, that must needs follow which the prophet saith also, that the Gentiles shall call upon the name of God. Now, we see that James did not unadvisedly make choice of this place; for if the kingdom of Christ cannot be otherwise established, unless God be called upon everywhere throughout the whole world, and the Gentiles grow together to be one with his holy people, it is an absurd thing that they should be driven from hope of salvation, and the middle wall must fall to the ground, wherewith the one was separate from the other under the law, − 125 ( Eph 2:14.) The first word, I will return, is not in the prophet, but the change of the state which he denounceth is very well expressed by this means. −

The tabernacle of David, which was decayed It is not without cause that that evil-favored wasteness and ruin of the king’s house is set before our eyes by the prophet; for unless the godly should have been persuaded that Christ should notwithstanding come, though the kingdom of David were brought to nought, who should not only restore to their old order things which were decayed, but should exalt even unto the heavens the glory of his kingdom with incomparable success, they should have despaired a hundred times in a day. After they were returned from the exile wherein they lived at Babylon, they were brought by continual destructions almost unto utter destruction. Afterward that which remained was consumed by little and little with civil − 126 discord, yea, when God did relieve their miseries, that kind of help which they had was a certain matter of despair; − 127 for that rule which the Maccabees took upon them was then taken away from the tribe of Juda. For these causes the Spirit of God doth diligently beat in [inculcate] this by the prophet, that Christ shall not come until the kingdom of David shall perish, that they may not despair of salvation even amidst greatest miseries. So Isaiah saith, that there shall a branch arise out of the contemptible and base stock, − 128 ( Isa 11:1;) and let us also remember, that God doth observe this wonderful way in restoring the Church, that he doth build it up, − 129 when it is decayed. −

Furthermore, this place teachers when the Church is best ordered, and what is the true and right constitution thereof, to wit, when the throne of David is set up, and Christ alone hath the preeminence, that all may meet together in his obedience. − 130

Though the Pope have oppressed the Church with his sacrilegious tyranny, yet doth he make boast of the title of the Church; yea, he deceiveth men under the vain title of the Church, that he may put out the clear light of sound doctrine. But if we shall come thoroughly to examine the matter, we may easily refute such a gross mock, because he alone beareth rule, having deposed Christ. He doth in word confess that he is Christ’s vicar; but in very deed after that he hath by a beautiful banishment − 131 sent Christ into the heavens, he taketh to himself all his power; for Christ reigneth by the doctrine of his gospel alone, which is wickedly trodden under foot by this abominable idol. But let us remember that this shall be the lawful estate of the Church among us, if we do all in general − 132 obey Christ, the King of kings, that there may be one sheepfold and one Shepherd, ( Joh 10:16.) −

Calvin: Act 15:17 - That those which remain may seek 17.That those which remain may seek James added this word seek by way of exposition, which is not found nor read in the prophet; and yet it is not ...

17.That those which remain may seek James added this word seek by way of exposition, which is not found nor read in the prophet; and yet it is not superfluous, because, to the end we may be numbered among the people of God, and that he may take us for his own, we must, on the other side, [in our turn,] be encouraged to seek him. And it is to be thought that Luke did summarily comprehend those things whereof James did dispute in his own language among the Jews; whereby it came to pass that the exposition of the matter was mixed with the words of the prophet. Instead of the relics of the Gentiles which Amos useth, Luke, out of the Greek translation, (which was more familiar,) putteth the rest of the men in the same sense, to wit, that there must go before the purging of the filthiness of the world a cutting, or paring, as it came to pass. And this doctrine must be also applied unto our time. For, because the corruption of the world is worse than that it can be wholly brought to obey Christ, he bloweth away, with diverse fans of tribulations, the chaff and weeds, that he may at length gather unto himself that which shall remain. −

Calvin: Act 15:18 - Known from the beginning 18.Known from the beginning This is a prevention, − 133 to put away the hatred which might have risen upon the novelty; for the sudden change might...

18.Known from the beginning This is a prevention, − 133 to put away the hatred which might have risen upon the novelty; for the sudden change might have been suspected, and therefore did it trouble weak minds. Therefore James preventeth, showing that this was no new thing with God, though it fell out suddenly otherwise than men thought; because God saw, before the world was created, what he would do, and the calling of the Gentiles was hidden in his secret counsel. Whereupon it followeth, that it must not be esteemed according to the sense of man. Furthermore, James hath respect unto the words of the prophet, when he affirmeth that God, who should do all these things, was also the author of the prophecy. Therefore, his meaning is, that, seeing God speaketh by his prophet, he saw then, yea, from the very beginning, − 134 that neither uncircumcision nor anything else should let him, but that he would choose the Gentiles into his family. Nevertheless, there is comprehended under this a general exhortation, that men do not take upon them to measure, with the small measure of their wit, the works of God, the reason whereof is oftentimes known to none but to himself; but rather let them cry, being astonished, − 135 that his ways are past finding out, and that his judgments are too deep a depth, ( Rom 11:33.)

Calvin: Act 15:19 - That we must not trouble 19.That we must not trouble He denieth that the Gentiles must be driven from the Church through the disagreement about ceremonies, seeing they were a...

19.That we must not trouble He denieth that the Gentiles must be driven from the Church through the disagreement about ceremonies, seeing they were admitted by God; yet it [he] seemeth contrary to himself, when he denieth that they ought to be troubled, and yet prescribeth certain rites. The answer is easy, which I will hereafter more at large prosecute. First, he requireth nothing at their hands but that which they were bound to do by brotherly concord; secondly, these precepts could no whir trouble or disquiet their consciences, after that they knew that they were free before God, and that false and perverse religion was taken away, which the false apostles sought to bring in. The question is now, why James doth enjoin the Gentiles these four things alone? Some say that this was let [derived] from the ancient custom of the fathers, who did not make any covenant − 136 with any people which they could enforce to obey them but upon this condition; but because there is no fit author of that thing brought to light, I leave it in doubt and undecided. −

Calvin: Act 15:20 - NO PHRASE But here appeareth a manifest reason why they gave particular commandment concerning things offered to idols, blood, and that which was strangled. Th...

But here appeareth a manifest reason why they gave particular commandment concerning things offered to idols, blood, and that which was strangled. They were, indeed, of themselves things indifferent; yet such as had some special thing in them more than other rites of the law. We know how straitly the Lord commandeth to eschew those things which are contrary to the external profession of faith, and wherein there is any appearance or suspicion of idolatry. Therefore, lest there should any blot of superstition remain in the Gentiles, and lest the Jews should see anything in them which did not agree with the pure worship of God, no marvel if, to avoid offense, they be commanded to abstain from things offered to idols. −

The word αλισγημα, which Luke useth, doth signify all manner of profanation; therefore I have not changed the common translation, which hath pollution or filthiness. Yet it is sometimes taken for sacrifices; which sense should not disagree with James’ purpose; and, peradventure, it shall be more plain and natural so to expound it in this place; because, where Luke doth shortly after repeat the same decree, he will put ειδωλοθητα , or things sacrificed to idols. −

As concerning blood and that which was strangled, not only the Jews were forbidden by the law of Moses to eat them, ( Deu 12:23;) but this law was given to all the world after the flood, ( Gen 9:4,) whereby it came to pass, that those which were not quite grown out of kind − 137 did loathe blood. I do not speak of the Jews, but of many of the Gentiles. I confess, indeed, that even that commandment was but temporal; yet, notwithstanding, it was extended farther than unto one people. No marvel, therefore, if there might arise greater offense thereupon, which to cure seemed good to the apostles. But there ariseth a harder question concerning fornication; because James seemeth to reckon the same among things indifferent, whereof they must beware only in respect of offense; but there was another cause for which he placed fornication among those things which were not of themselves unlawful. It is well known what unbridled liberty to run awhoring did reign and rage everywhere; and this disease had got the upper hand principally among the men of the east country, as they be more given to lust. Assuredly the faith and chastity of wedlock was never less observed and kept any where than among them. Moreover, he doth not intreat indifferently, in my judgment, in this place of all manner [of] fornication or whoredom, as of adultery, and wandering, and unbridled lusts, whereby all chastity is violate and corrupt; but I think he speaketh of concubineship, as they call it; which was so common among the Gentiles, that it was almost like to a law. −

Therefore, whereas James reckoneth up a common corruption among things which are of themselves not corrupt, there is therein no inconvenience; − 138 so that we know that it was not his meaning to place those things in one order which are very far unlike among themselves. For, whereas unclean men do thereby color and cloak their filthiness, they may easily be refuted. James, say they, coupled eating of blood with whoredom; but doth he compare them together as things that are like, at least which disagree not in any point. Yea, he doth only respect − 139 the wicked and corrupt custom of men, which was fallen away from the first law and order of nature appointed by God. As concerning the judgment of God, the knowledge thereof must be let [sought] out of the continual doctrine of the Scripture; and it is nothing doubtful what the Scripture saith; to wit, that whoredom is accursed before God, and that the soul and body are thereby defiled, that the holy temple of God is polluted, and Christ is rent in pieces; that God doth daily punish whoremongers, and that he will once pay them home. − 140 The filthiness of whoredom, which the heavenly Judge doth so sore condemn, can be covered with no cloaks by the patrons of whoredom how witty and eloquent soever they be. −

Calvin: Act 15:21 - For Moses hath 21.For Moses hath This place, in my judgment, hath been badly expounded, and drawn into a contrary sense. For interpreters think that James addeth th...

21.For Moses hath This place, in my judgment, hath been badly expounded, and drawn into a contrary sense. For interpreters think that James addeth this, because it were superfluous to prescribe anything to the Jews, who were well acquainted with the doctrine of the law, and to whom it was read every Sabbath-day; and they pick out this meaning, Let us be content to require these few things at the hands of the Gentiles, which are not accustomed to bear the yoke of the law; as touching the Jews they have Moses, out of whom they may learn more. Some do also gather out of this place, that circumcision, with its appurtenances, ought to be observed even at this day among the Jews. But they reason unfitly and unskillfully, though that exposition which I have set down − 141 were true. But James had a far other meaning; to wit, he teachers that it cannot be that ceremonies can be abolished so quickly, as it were, at the first dash; because the Jews had now a long time been acquainted with the doctrine of the law, and Moses had his preachers; therefore, it stood them upon to redeem concord for a short thee, until such time as the liberty gotten by Christ might, by little and little, appear more plainly. This is that which is said in the common proverb, That it was meet that the old ceremonies should be buried with some honor. Those who are skillful in the Greek tongue shall know that that last member, When he is read every Sabbath-day in the synagogues, was by me changed not without cause, for avoiding of doubtfulness. − 142

Calvin: Act 15:22 - It pleased the apostles 22.It pleased the apostles That tempest was made calm not without the singular grace of God, so that after the matter was thoroughly discussed, they ...

22.It pleased the apostles That tempest was made calm not without the singular grace of God, so that after the matter was thoroughly discussed, they did all agree together in sound doctrine. Also the modesty of the common people is gathered by this, because, after that they had referred the matter to the judgment of the apostles and the rest of teachers, they do now also subscribe to their decree; and, on the other side, the apostles did show some token of their equity, in that they set down nothing concerning the common cause of all the godly without admitting the people. For assuredly, this tyranny did spring from the pride of the pastors, that those things which appertain unto the common state of the whole Church are subject (the people being excluded) to the will, will not say lust, of a few. − 143 We know what a hard matter it is to suppress the slanders of the wicked, to satisfy most men who are churlish and forward, to keep under the light and unskillful, to wipe away errors conceived, to heal up hatred, to appease contentions, [and] to abolish false reports. Peradventure, the enemies of Paul and Barnabas might have said that they had gotten letters by fair and flattering speeches; they might have invented some new cavil; the rude and weak might, by and by, have been troubled; but when chief men come with the letters, that they may gravely dispute the whole matter in presence, all sinister suspicion is taken away. −

Calvin: Act 15:24 - Certain which went out from us 24.Certain which went out from us We see that there was no respect of persons among these holy men, which doth always corrupt sound and right judgmen...

24.Certain which went out from us We see that there was no respect of persons among these holy men, which doth always corrupt sound and right judgments. They confess that there were knaves of their own company; and yet they do no whit flatter them, or, through corrupt favor, incline to cover their error; yea, rather in condemning them freely, they spare not even themselves. And, first, they pluck from their faces that visure [mask] which they had abused, to deceive withal. They boasted that they were privy to the meaning of the apostles. − 144 The apostles reprove them, and condemn them of and for lying in that false pretense, when they utterly deny that they did command any such thing. Again, they accuse them far more sharply, that they troubled the Church and subverted souls. For by this means they bring them in contempt and detestation with the godly, because they cannot be admitted but to their destruction. But false teachers are said to subvert souls, because the truth of God doth edify or build them up, and so this speech containeth a [this] general doctrine, Unless we will willingly have our souls drawn headlong from being any longer temples of the Holy Ghost, and unless we desire their ruin, we must beware of those which go about to lead us away from the pure gospel. That which they say touching the keeping of the law doth only appertain unto ceremonies, though we must always remember, that they did so intreat of ceremonies; that [as if] both the salvation and also the righteousness of men did therein consist. For the false apostles did command that they should be kept, as if righteousness came by the law and salvation did depend upon works. −

Calvin: Act 15:25 - With our beloved Barnabas and Paul 25.With our beloved Barnabas and Paul They set these praises against the slanders wherewith the false apostles had essayed to bring Paul and Barnabas...

25.With our beloved Barnabas and Paul They set these praises against the slanders wherewith the false apostles had essayed to bring Paul and Barnabas out of credit. − 145 And, first, to the end they may remove the opinion of disagreement which had possessed the minds of many, they testify their consent; secondly, they commend Paul and Barnabas for their ferventness in zeal and most manlike courage, that they were not afraid to venture or lay down their souls for Christ’s sake. And this is an excellent virtue in a minister of the gospel, and which deserveth no small praise, if he shall not only be stout and courageous to execute the office of teaching, but also be ready to enter danger which is offered in defense of his doctrine. As the Lord doth thus try the faith and constancy of those which be his, so he doth, as it were, make them noble with the ensigns of virtue, that they may excel in his Church. Therefore, Paul holdeth forth the marks of Christ which he did bear in his body, ( Gal 6:17) as a buckler to drive back those knaves which did trouble his doctrine. And though it do not so fall out with most stout and courageous teachers and preachers of the gospel, that they strive for the gospel until they come in danger of life, because the matter doth not so require, yet is this no let but that Christ may purchase authority for his martyrs, so often as he bringeth them into worthy and renowned conflicts. −

Nevertheless, let even those who are not enforced to enter combat by any necessity be ready to shed their blood, if God see it good at any time that it should be so. But the apostles commend the fortitude of Paul and Barnabas only in a good cause; because, if it were sufficient to enter dangers manfully, the martyrs of Christ should nothing differ from troublesome and frenzied men, from cutters and roysters. − 146 Therefore, Paul and Barnabas are commended, not because they laid open themselves simply to dangers, but because they refuse not to die for Christ’s sake. Peradventure, also, the apostles meant to nip − 147 those knaves by the way, who, having never suffered any thing for Christ’s sake, came out of their roust and dainties − 148 to trouble the churches, which cost the courageous soldiers of Christ dearly. −

Calvin: Act 15:28 - It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us // Besides these necessary things 28.It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us Whereas the apostles and elders match and join themselves with the Holy Ghost, they attribute nothing t...

28.It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us Whereas the apostles and elders match and join themselves with the Holy Ghost, they attribute nothing to themselves apart therein; but this speech importeth as much as if they should say, that the Holy Ghost was the captain, guide, and governor, and that they did set down, and decreed that which they write as he did indite it to them. − 149 For this manner of speech is used commonly in the Scripture, to give the ministers the second place after that the name of God is once expressed. When it is said that the people believed God and his servant Moses, ( Exo 14:31,) faith is not rent in pieces, as if it did addict itself partly to God, and partly to mortal man. What then? to wit, whereas the people had God for the sole author of their faith, they believed or gave credence to his minister, from whom he could not be separate. Neither could they otherwise believe God than by believing the doctrine set before them by Moses, as they did shake off the yoke of God after that they had once rejected and despised Moses. Whereby the wickedness of those men is also refuted, who, making boast of faith with full mouth, do no less wickedly than proudly contemn the ministry. For, as it were a sacrilegious partition, if faith should depend even but a very little upon man, so those men do openly mock God who feign that they have him to be their teacher, when they set nought by the ministers by whom he speaketh. Therefore, the apostles deny that they invented that decree of their own brain which they deliver to the Gentiles, but that they were only ministers of the Spirit, that they may, with the authority of God, make them commendable, which (proceeding from him) they do faithfully deliver. So, when Paul maketh mention of his gospel, he doth not enforce upon them a new gospel, which is of his own inventing, but he preacheth that which was committed to him by Christ. −

And the Papists are doltish who go about, out of these words, to prove that the Church hath some authority of her own; yea, they are contrary to themselves. For, under what color do they avouch that the Church cannot err, save only because it is grounded immediately by the Holy Spirit? Therefore, they cry out with open mouth, that those things be the oracles of the Spirit which we prove to be their own inventions. Therefore, they do foolishly urge this cause, it seemed good to us; because, if the apostles decreed any thing apart from the Spirit, that principal maxim shall fall to ground, that Councils decree nothing but which is indited by the Spirit. −

Besides these necessary things The Papists do forwardly triumph under color of this word, as if it were lawful for men to make laws which may lay necessity upon the conscience. That (say they) which the Church commandeth must be kept under pain of mortal sin, because the apostles say that that must necessarily be observed which they decree. But such a vain cavil is quickly answered. For this necessity reached no farther than there was any danger lest the unity should be cut asunder. So that, to speak properly, this necessity was accidental or external; which was placed not in the thing itself, but only in avoiding of the offense, which appeareth more plainly by abolishing of the decree. For laws made concerning things which are of themselves necessary must be continual. But we know that this law was foredone − 150 by Paul so soon as the tumult and contention was once ended, when he teacheth that nothing is unclean, ( Rom 14:14;) and when he granteth liberty to eat all manner [of] meats, yea, even such as were sacrificed to idols, ( 1Co 10:25.) Wherefore, in vain do they gather any cloak or color out of this word to bind men’s consciences, seeing that the necessity spoken of in this place did only respect men in the external use lest there should any offense arise thereupon, and that their liberty before God might stand whole and sound. Also, in vain do they gather out of all the whole place, and in vain do they go about out of the same to prove that the Church had power given to decree anything contrary to the word of God. The Pope hath made such laws as seemed best to him, contrary to the word of God, whereby he meant to govern the Church; and that not ten or twenty, but an infinite number, so that they do not only tyrannously oppress souls, but are also cruel torments to vex and torment them. −

To the end the hired brabblers [wranglers] of the Pope may excuse such cruelty, they do object that even the apostles did forbid the Gentiles that which was not forbidden in the word of God. But I say flatly, that the apostles added nothing unto the word of God; which shall plainly appear if we list to mark their drift. I said of late that they meant nothing less − 151 than to set down a perpetual law, whereby they might bind the faithful. What then? They use that remedy which was fit for the nourishing of brotherly peace and concord among the Churches, that the Gentiles may for a time apply themselves − 152 to the Jews. But if we will grant anything, we must assuredly confess that this is according to the word of God, that love bear the sway in things indifferent; that is, that the external use of those things which are of themselves free be bent unto the rule of charity. −

In sum, if love be the bond of perfection and end of the law; if God command that we study to preserve mutual unity among ourselves, and that every man serve his neighbor to edify, no man is so ignorant which doth not see that that is contained in the word of God which the apostles command in this place, only they apply a general rule to their time. Furthermore, let us remember that which I said before, that it was a politic law which could not ensnare the conscience, neither bring in any reigned worship of God; which two vices the Scripture condemneth everywhere in men’s traditions. But admit we should grant (which is most false) that that did not accord with the word of God which was decreed in that council, yet that maketh nothing for the Papists. Let the councils decree anything contrary to [beyond, in addition to] the express word of God, according to the revelation of the Spirit; yet none but lawful councils may have this authority given them. Then let them prove that their councils were godly and holy, to the decrees whereof they will have us subject. But I will not any farther prosecute this point, because it was handled in the beginning of the chapter. Let the readers know (which is sufficient for this present place) that the apostles pass not the bounds of the word of God when they set down an external law, as time requireth, whereby they may reconcile the Churches among themselves.

Calvin: Act 15:30 - When the multitude was gathered 30.When the multitude was gathered This was the most lawful kind of dealing to admit the whole multitude unto the reading of the epistle. For if ther...

30.When the multitude was gathered This was the most lawful kind of dealing to admit the whole multitude unto the reading of the epistle. For if there fall out any controversy in the doctrine of faith, it is meet that the judgment be referred over unto the learned and godly, and to such as are exercised in the Scripture; and, chiefly, to the pastors rightly ordained. Notwithstanding, because it belongeth to all alike to know for a surety what they must hold, the godly and learned teachers must make known − 153 to the whole Church what they have set down out of the word of God. For there is nothing more unfitting for holy and Christian order than to drive away the body of the people from common doctrine, as if it were a herd of swine, as they use to do under the tyranny of Popery. For because the Pope and the horned bishops did think that the people would never be obedient enough until they were brought into gross ignorance, they imagined that this was the best summary of faith, to know nothing, but to depend wholly upon their decrees. But, on the contrary, there must be a mean observed, that lawful governments may continue; − 154 and that, on the other side, the people may have that liberty which unto them belongeth, lest they be oppressed like slaves. −

Calvin: Act 15:31 - They rejoiced over the consolation 31.They rejoiced over the consolation Seeing that the epistle is so short, and containeth nothing but a bare narration, what consolation could they h...

31.They rejoiced over the consolation Seeing that the epistle is so short, and containeth nothing but a bare narration, what consolation could they have by it? But we must note, that there was no small matter of consolation therein, because, when they knew the consent of the apostles, they were all pacified, and also whereas before there was variance among them, they are now reconciled one to another. Seeing there went a false report about, that all the apostles were against Paul and Barnabas, this same had shaken some who were too light of belief, many did stand in doubt; the wicked abused this occasion to speak evil; others some were pricked forward − 155 with love of novelty and with curiosity, and one was set against another. But now, after that they see that the judgment of the first Church doth agree with the doctrine of Paul and Barnabas, they obtain that for which the children of God ought most to wish, that being established in the right faith, and being of one mind among themselves, they may with quiet minds have peace one with another. −

Calvin: Act 15:32 - Judas and Silas // They were prophets 32.Judas and Silas These two brethren were sent for this cause, that they might also testify the same thing by word which was contained in the letter...

32.Judas and Silas These two brethren were sent for this cause, that they might also testify the same thing by word which was contained in the letters, and more also; otherwise the apostles would not have sent such short letters concerning so great and weighty a matter; and they would have also spoken somewhat touching the mysteries of faith, and would have made some long exhortation, wherein they would have persuaded them unto the study of godliness. Now, Luke showeth some farther things by them done; to wit, that being furnished with the gift of prophecy, they edify the Church in general, as if he should say, they did not only do their duty faithfully in the cause which was now in hand, but they did also take good and profitable pains in teaching and exhorting the Church And we must note that he saith that they exhorted the Church, because they were prophets; for it is not a thing common to all men to enter such an excellent function. Therefore, we must beware, lest any man pass − 156 his bounds; as Paul teacheth, 1Co 7:20; and Eph 4:1, that every one keep himself within the measure of grace received. Wherefore, it is not in vain that Luke saith that the office of teaching is peculiar; lest any man, through ambition, being void of ability, or through rash zeal, or through any other foolish desire, coveting to put out his head, trouble the order of the Church. −

They were prophets Whereas the word hath diverse significations, it is not taken in this place for those prophets to whom it was granted to foretell things to come; because this title should come in out of season − 157 when he intreateth of another matter; but Luke’s meaning is, that Judas and Silas were endued with excellent knowledge and understanding of the mysteries of God, that they might be good interpreters of God; as Paul, in the fourteenth of the First to the Corinthians, ( 1Co 14:3,) when he intreateth of the prophecy, and preferreth it before all other gifts, speaketh not of foretelling of things to come; but he commandeth it for this fruit, because it doth edify the Church by doctrine, exhortation, and consolation. After this manner doth Luke assign exhortation to the prophets, as being the principal point of their office. −

Calvin: Act 15:33 - They were let go in peace 33.They were let go in peace That is, when they departed, the brethren, in taking their leave of them, did wish them well, as friends use to do. And ...

33.They were let go in peace That is, when they departed, the brethren, in taking their leave of them, did wish them well, as friends use to do. And there is synecdoche in this member; because the one of the two did only return to Jerusalem. And in the text there is a correction added immediately, that it seemed good to Silas to tarry there; but when Luke joineth them both together, his meaning is only to declare that the Church was quiet before they thought upon any returning. At length he addeth that Paul and Barnabas, so long as they were at Antioch, gave themselves to teaching, and did continue in this work, − 158 and yet did they give place to many more. − 159 Whereby it appeareth, that they had all one and the same desire without grudging, − 160 so that they joined hand in hand to do good; though it seemeth that he maketh mention of many more of set purpose, lest we should think that, after that Paul and Barnabas were departed, that Church was destitute, which did flourish in abundance of teachers. Moreover, the blessing of God, which began straightway to appear again in that Church, is now again commended and extolled, which Church Satan went about − 161 by his ministers miserably to scatter and lay waste.

Calvin: Act 15:36 - Let us visit our brethren // How they do 36.Let us visit our brethren In this history we must first note how careful Paul was for the churches which he had ordained. He laboreth, indeed, at ...

36.Let us visit our brethren In this history we must first note how careful Paul was for the churches which he had ordained. He laboreth, indeed, at Antioch profitably, but because he remembered that he was an apostle ordained of God, and not the pastor of one particular place, he keepeth the course of his calling. Secondly, as it did not become him to be tied to one place, so he thinketh with himself, that he was bound to all whom he begat in the Lord; therefore, he will not suffer them to want his help. Moreover, the work that was begun in those places could not be neglected; but it would shortly after decay. Yet it is to be thought that Paul stayed still in the church of Antioch, until he saw the estate thereof well ordered, and concord established. For we know and try − 162 what great force principal churches − 163 have to keep other lesser churches in order. If there arise any tumult in an obscure street, or if there fall out any offense, the rumor goeth not so far, neither are the neighbors so much moved; but if any place be excellent, it cannot quail without great ruin, or, at least, but that the lesser buildings shall be therewith sore shaken, both far and wide. Therefore, Paul, in staying a time at Antioch, did provide for other churches; and so we must no less look unto his wisdom than his diligence in this example, because oftentimes the immoderate heat of the pastors in going about matters doth no less hurt than their sluggishness. −

How they do Paul knew that amidst so great lightness and inconstancy of men, and as their nature is inclined to vice, if there be any thing well ordered among them, it doth seldom continue stable, and for any long time; and especially that churches do easily decay or grow out of kind, unless they be looked to continually. There ought nothing under heaven to be more firm than the spiritual building of faith, whose stability is grounded in the very heaven; yet there be but few in whose minds the word of the Lord doth thoroughly take lively root; therefore, firmness is rare in men. Again, even those who have their anchor firmly fixed in the truth of God, do not cease notwithstanding to be subject to diverse tossings, whereby, though their faith be not overturned, yet hath it need of strengthening, that it may be underpropped and stayed. Moreover, we see how Satan doth assault, and with what subtle shifts he goeth about privily to pull down sometimes whole churches, sometimes every one of the faithful particularly. Therefore, it is not without cause that Paul is so careful for his scholars, lest they behave themselves otherwise than is to be wished; and therefore is he desirous in time to prevent, if there be any inconvenience risen, which cannot be until he have taken view. − 164

Calvin: Act 15:37 - And Barnabas gave counsel 37.And Barnabas gave counsel Luke doth here set down that doleful disagreement which ought to make all the godly afraid for just causes. The society ...

37.And Barnabas gave counsel Luke doth here set down that doleful disagreement which ought to make all the godly afraid for just causes. The society of Paul and Barnabas was consecrated by the heavenly oracle. They had long time labored, being of one mind, under this yoke whereunto the Lord had tied them; they had, by many experiences, tried [felt] the excellent favor of God, yea, that wonderful success mentioned heretofore by Luke was a manifest blessing of God. Though they had been almost drowned so often in so many tempests of persecution, and were set upon so sore − 165 by infinite enemies, though domestical sedition were everywhere kindled against them, yet they were so far from being pulled in sunder, that their agreement was then most of all tried, [proved.] But now, for a light matter, and which might easily have been ended, they break that holy bond of God’s calling. −

This could not fall out without great perturbance to all the godly. Seeing that the heat of the contention was so great and vehement in these holy men, who had long time accustomed themselves to suffer all things, what shall befall us, whose affections being not as yet so brought to obey God, do oftentimes rage − 166 without modesty? Seeing that a light occasion did separate them, who had long time, amidst so great trials, retained unity holily, how easily may Satan cause those to be divided who have either none, or, at least, a cold desire to foster peace? What great pride was it for Barnabas, who had no more honorable thing than to be Paul’s companion, that he might behave himself like a son towards his father, so stubbornly to refuse his counsel? Peradventure, also, some might think that Paul was not very courteous in that he did not forgive a faithful helper this fault. Therefore, we be admonished by this example, that unless the servants of Christ take great heed, there be many chinks through which Satan will creep in, to disturb that concord which is among them. −

But now we must examine the cause itself, for some there be who lay the blame of the disagreement upon Paul; − 167 and, at the first hearing, the reasons which they bring seem probable. John Mark is rejected, because he withdrew himself from Paul’s company; but he fell not away from Christ. A young man, being as yet unacquainted with bearing the cross, returned home from his journey. He was somewhat to be borne with for his age, being a fresh-water soldier [a tyro] he fainted in troubles even at the first dash; he was not, therefore, about to be a slothful soldier during his whole life. Now, forasmuch as his returning to Paul is an excellent testimony of repentance, it seemeth to be a point of discourtesy − 168 to reject him; for those must be handled more courteously, who punish themselves for their own offenses of their own accord. There were also other causes which ought to have made Paul more courteous. The house of John Mark was a famous inn, − 169 ( Act 12:12;) his mother had entertained the faithful in most grievous persecution; when Herod and all the people were in a rage, they were wont to have their secret meetings there, as Luke reported before. Surely he ought to have borne with such a holy and courageous woman, lest immoderate rigor should alienate her. She was desirous to have her son addicted to preach the gospel; now, what a great grief might it have been to her that his pains and industry should be refused − 170 for one light fault? And now whereas John Mark doth not only bewail his fault, but in very deed amend the same, Barnabas hath a fair color why he should pardon him. − 171

Yet we may gather out of the text, that the Church did allow Paul’s counsel. For Barnabas departeth, and with his companion he saileth into Cyprus. There is no mention made of the brethren, (as if he had departed privily without taking his leave;) but the brethren commend Paul in their prayers to the grace of God; whereby appeareth that the Church stood on his side. Secondly, whereas God showeth forth the power of his Spirit in blessing Paul, and doth bless his labors with happy success of his grace, and leaveth Barnabas, as it were, buried, there may a probable reason be drawn thence, that it pleased him that such an example of severity should be showed. And surely the offense of John Mark was greater than it is commonly taken for. He slid not back, indeed, from the faith of Christ, yet did he forsake his calling, and was a revolt [apostate] from the same; therefore, it was a matter which might have given evil example, if he had been straightway received again into the calling from which he was slid back. He had given himself over to serve Christ upon this condition, that he should be free no longer. It was no more lawful for him to break his promise made in this behalf, than it is for a husband to leave his wife, or for a son to forsake his father. Neither doth infirmity excuse his unfaithfulness, whereby the holiness of the calling was violated. −

And we must note, that he was not altogether rejected of Paul; he counted him as a brother, so he would be content with the common order; he refused to admit him unto the common [public] function of teaching, from whence he fell filthily through his own fault. And there is no great difference between these two, whether he which hath offended be quite excluded from pardon, or he have only public honor denied him; though it may be that they did both exceed measure, as accidents do oftentimes mar a matter which is otherwise good. It was well done of Paul, and according to the right of discipline profitably, not to admit him to be his companion, whose inconstancy he had once tried, [experienced;] but when he saw Barnabas so importunate, he might have yielded to his desire. We ought to make more account of the truth than of the favor of all the whole world; but it is convenient that we ponder wisely what great weight there is in the matter which is in hand. For if, in a matter of no weight or edification, a man vaunt of his constancy, prepare himself for the conflict, and cease not to defend that until the end, wherein he did once take delight it shall be but foolish and perverse obstinacy. There was also some middle way and means whereby Paul might have granted somewhat to the importunateness of his fellow [colleague] in office, and yet have not revolted from the truth. It was not for him to flatter Mark, or to cloak his offense, yet was he not letted by religion, but that after he had freely professed what he thought, he might suffer himself to be overcome in that matter, which did neither indamage true doctrine, nor endanger man’s salvation; which I say for this cause, that we may learn to moderate our desire, even in the best causes, lest it pass measure, and be too fervent.

Defender: Act 15:1 - certain men Possibly these men were some of the priests who had become obedient to the faith or at least they were of the Pharisees' sect (Act 15:5). At any rate,...

Possibly these men were some of the priests who had become obedient to the faith or at least they were of the Pharisees' sect (Act 15:5). At any rate, although these men believed in Jesus as the Messiah and in His substitutionary death and resurrection, they still felt that a convert must be either a Jew or Jewish proselyte to be eligible for salvation in Christ. They were called "Judaizers" and came to be a real problem in the early church. This particular form of legalism is not much of an issue today, but the problem of those who would add works to faith in Christ as a requirement for salvation is still very common. While genuine faith will surely produce obedience and good works (Eph 2:8-10), they follow saving faith as a result, not as a condition."

Defender: Act 15:13 - James James had, by this time, become a recognized leader (possibly a senior pastor) of the Jerusalem church, perhaps because the apostles themselves were o...

James had, by this time, become a recognized leader (possibly a senior pastor) of the Jerusalem church, perhaps because the apostles themselves were often away preaching. He was the brother (or half-brother) of Jesus, but had not been among the disciples until after Jesus' death and resurrection. He later wrote the epistle of James (Jam 1:1; 1Co 15:7). He was presiding at this significant "Jerusalem conference.""

Defender: Act 15:14 - at the first "At the first" means "for the first time," probably referring to Peter's (Simeon's) experience at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10).

"At the first" means "for the first time," probably referring to Peter's (Simeon's) experience at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10).

Defender: Act 15:14 - a people for his name Compare Rom 11:25; Luk 21:24."

Compare Rom 11:25; Luk 21:24."

Defender: Act 15:15 - words of the prophets James specifically quotes Amo 9:11 here, but then paraphrases and extends Amo 9:12 beyond the original meaning of the prophet himself (although, James...

James specifically quotes Amo 9:11 here, but then paraphrases and extends Amo 9:12 beyond the original meaning of the prophet himself (although, James' use of it follows the Septuagint translation to some degree). In any case, no doubt by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who inspired the prophecy of Amos in the first place, and who therefore can apply and extend it however He deems appropriate, James uses it to appropriate and summarize the words of other "prophets" (note the plural here in James' statement) to show that God had long ago planned that Gentiles as well as Jews should come under Messiah's reign (Psa 2:8; Isa 42:6; Isa 49:6; Isa 60:3; Dan 7:14; Zec 14:9)."

Defender: Act 15:16 - tabernacle The tabernacle of David - that is, the literal kingdom of Israel on earth - will indeed be restored under Messiah when He comes again, after the churc...

The tabernacle of David - that is, the literal kingdom of Israel on earth - will indeed be restored under Messiah when He comes again, after the church, composed of both Jews and Gentiles, has been completed."

Defender: Act 15:18 - Known unto God No event on earth takes God by surprise. He is the God of all creation and, although He elected for a time to work through one chosen nation, His purp...

No event on earth takes God by surprise. He is the God of all creation and, although He elected for a time to work through one chosen nation, His purpose had always been that of "reconciling the world unto himself" (2Co 5:19)."

Defender: Act 15:20 - abstain It was not that these restrictions (any more than circumcision) were required for salvation, but rather for fellowship with the Jerusalem church and w...

It was not that these restrictions (any more than circumcision) were required for salvation, but rather for fellowship with the Jerusalem church and with Jewish Christians in general. These practices were all prevalent and characteristic in the pagan world and were particularly offensive to Jews, whether Christian or not, and therefore a stumbling block. They would also be a temptation through peer pressure to new Gentile believers and could easily lead them to backslide into paganism if not carefully avoided.

Defender: Act 15:20 - from blood Refraining from eating "flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof" long antedated the laws of Moses (Gen 9:4; Lev 17:14). It was part of...

Refraining from eating "flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof" long antedated the laws of Moses (Gen 9:4; Lev 17:14). It was part of the ancient Noahic mandate; its restatement here indicates the latter is still in effect (Rom 13:1, Rom 13:4). Furthermore, the primeval dominion mandate given to Adam, which the Noahic mandate merely reconfirmed and extended, is likewise still in effect. Therefore, today's Christians are responsible to obey Christ's primeval command to exercise stewardship over the earth (see notes on Gen 1:26-28), as well as His great commission to preach the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth (Act 1:8)."

Defender: Act 15:34 - Silas Silas is short for Silvanus (2Co 1:19); he was a God-called "prophet" (Act 15:32), a leader in the Jerusalem church (Act 15:22), and would soon become...

Silas is short for Silvanus (2Co 1:19); he was a God-called "prophet" (Act 15:32), a leader in the Jerusalem church (Act 15:22), and would soon become Paul's missionary companion (Act 15:40)."

Defender: Act 15:39 - the contention Even though this contention seemed unfortunate, God used it for good. Now there were two missionary teams instead of one. Similar happenings still occ...

Even though this contention seemed unfortunate, God used it for good. Now there were two missionary teams instead of one. Similar happenings still occur today. The ministry of Paul and Silas was extraordinarily fruitful, and Mark was reclaimed spiritually and was even used to write one of the four gospels (2Ti 4:11)."

TSK: Act 15:1 - certain // the brethren // Except // after // ye Cir, am 4057, ad 53 certain : Act 21:20; Gal 2:4, Gal 2:12, Gal 2:13 the brethren : Act 15:23 Except : Act 15:5; Rom 4:8-12; Gal 5:1-4; Phi 3:2, Phi 3...

Cir, am 4057, ad 53

certain : Act 21:20; Gal 2:4, Gal 2:12, Gal 2:13

the brethren : Act 15:23

Except : Act 15:5; Rom 4:8-12; Gal 5:1-4; Phi 3:2, Phi 3:3; Col 2:8, Col 2:11, Col 2:12, Col 2:16

after : Gen. 17:10-27; Lev 12:3; Joh 7:22

ye : Act 15:24; 1Co 7:18, 1Co 7:19; Gal 2:1, Gal 2:3, Gal 5:6, Gal 6:13-16

TSK: Act 15:2 - Paul // they determined // certain // should // the apostles Paul : Act 15:7; Gal 1:6-10, Gal 2:5; Jud 1:3 they determined : Act 15:25; Exo 18:23; Gal 2:1, Gal 2:2 certain : Act 15:22, Act 15:27, Act 10:23, Act ...

TSK: Act 15:3 - brought // passed // declaring // they caused brought : Act 21:5, Act 28:15; Rom 15:24; 1Co 16:6, 1Co 16:11; Tit 3:13; 3Jo 1:6-8 passed : Act 8:14, Act 11:19 declaring : Act 15:12, Act 14:27, Act ...

TSK: Act 15:4 - received // all received : Act 18:27, Act 21:17; Mat 10:40; Rom 15:7; Col 4:10; 2Jo 1:10; 3Jo 1:8-10 all : Act 15:3, Act 15:12, Act 14:27, Act 21:19; Rom 15:18; 1Co 1...

TSK: Act 15:5 - rose up certain // certain // That it rose up certain : or, rose up, said they certain : the sect, Act 21:20, Act 26:5, Act 26:6; Phi 3:5-8 That it : Act 15:1, Act 15:24; Gal 5:1-3

rose up certain : or, rose up, said they

certain : the sect, Act 21:20, Act 26:5, Act 26:6; Phi 3:5-8

That it : Act 15:1, Act 15:24; Gal 5:1-3

TSK: Act 15:6 - -- Act 15:25, Act 6:2, Act 21:18; Pro 15:22; Mat 18:20; Heb 13:7, Heb 13:17

TSK: Act 15:7 - much // ye know // God // by my much : Act 15:2, Act 15:39; Phi 2:14 ye know : Act 10:5, Act 10:6, Act 10:20,32-48, Act 11:12-18; Mat 16:18, Mat 16:19 God : Act 1:24, Act 9:15, Act 1...

TSK: Act 15:8 - which // bare // giving which : Act 1:24; 1Sa 16:7; 1Ki 8:39; 1Ch 28:9, 1Ch 29:17; Psa 44:21, Psa 139:1, Psa 139:2; Jer 11:20, Jer 17:10, Jer 20:12; Joh 2:24, Joh 2:25, Joh 2...

TSK: Act 15:9 - put // purifying put : Act 14:1, Act 14:27; Rom 3:9, Rom 3:22, Rom 3:29, Rom 3:30, Rom 4:11, Rom 4:12, Rom 9:24, Rom 10:11-13; 1Co 7:18; Gal 3:28; Gal 5:6; Eph 2:14-22...

TSK: Act 15:10 - Why // put // which Why : Exo 17:2; Isa 7:12; Mat 4:7; Heb 3:9 put : Mat 11:28-30, Mat 23:4; Gal 5:1 which : Gal 4:1-5, Gal 4:9; Heb 9:9

TSK: Act 15:11 - that that : Rom 3:24, Rom 5:20,Rom 5:21, Rom 6:23; 1Co 16:23; 2Co 8:9, 2Co 13:14; Gal 1:6, Gal 2:16; Eph 1:6, Eph 1:7, Eph 2:7-9; Tit 2:11, Tit 3:4-7; Rev ...

TSK: Act 15:12 - declaring declaring : Act 15:4, Act 14:27, Act 21:19

declaring : Act 15:4, Act 14:27, Act 21:19

TSK: Act 15:13 - after // James // Men after : 1Co 14:30-33; Jam 1:19 James : Act 12:17, Act 21:18; Mar 15:40; Gal 1:19, Gal 2:9, Gal 2:12; Jam 1:1 Men : Act 2:14, Act 2:22, Act 2:29, Act 7...

TSK: Act 15:14 - Simeon // declared // to take Simeon : 2Pe 1:1 *Gr. declared : Act 15:7-9; Luk 1:68, Luk 1:78, Luk 2:31, Luk 2:32 to take : Isa 43:21, Isa 55:11-13; Rom 1:5, Rom 11:36; 1Pe 2:9, 1P...

TSK: Act 15:15 - -- Act 13:47; Rom 15:8-12

TSK: Act 15:16 - this // build again the tabernacle this : Amo 9:11, Amo 9:12 build again the tabernacle : 2Sa 7:11-16; 1Ki 12:16; Psa 89:35-49; Isa 9:6, Isa 9:7; Jer 33:24-26; Eze 17:22-24; Zec 13:8; M...

TSK: Act 15:17 - the residue // the Gentiles // who the residue : Gen 22:18, Gen 49:10; Psa 22:26, Psa 22:27, Psa 67:1-3, Psa 72:17-19; Isa 2:2, Isa 2:3, Isa 11:10; Isa 19:23-25, Isa 24:15, Isa 24:16, I...

TSK: Act 15:18 - -- Act 17:26; Num 23:19; Isa 41:22, Isa 41:23, Isa 44:7, Isa 46:9, Isa 46:10; Mat 13:35, Mat 25:34; Eph 1:4, Eph 1:11, Eph 3:9; 2Th 2:13; 1Pe 1:20; Rev 1...

TSK: Act 15:19 - that // turned that : Act 15:10,Act 15:24, Act 15:28; Gal 1:7-10, Gal 2:4, Gal 5:11, Gal 5:12 turned : Act 26:20; Isa 55:7; Hos 14:2; 1Th 1:9

TSK: Act 15:20 - from pollutions // fornication // things from pollutions : Act 15:29; Gen 35:2; Exo 20:3-5, Exo 20:23, Exo 34:15, Exo 34:16; Num 25:2; Psa 106:37-39; Eze 20:30,Eze 20:31; 1Co 8:1, 1Co 8:4-13,...

TSK: Act 15:21 - sabbath sabbath : Act 13:15, Act 13:27; Neh 8:1-12; Luk 4:16

TSK: Act 15:22 - pleased // to send // Barsabas // Silas pleased : Act 15:23, Act 15:25, Act 6:4, Act 6:5; 2Sa 3:36; 2Ch 30:4, 2Ch 30:12 to send : Act 15:27, Act 8:14, Act 11:22 Barsabas : Act 1:23 Silas : A...

TSK: Act 15:23 - The apostles // greeting // brethren // Syria The apostles : Act 15:4, Act 15:22 greeting : Act 23:26; Rom 16:3-16; Jam 1:1; 2Jo 1:3, 2Jo 1:13; 3Jo 1:14 brethren : Act 11:18, Act 14:27, Act 21:25 ...

TSK: Act 15:24 - that certain // Ye must that certain : Jer 23:16; Gal 2:4, Gal 5:4, Gal 5:12; 2Ti 2:14; Tit 1:10,Tit 1:11; 1Jo 2:19 Ye must : Act 15:1, Act 15:9, Act 15:10; Gal 2:3, Gal 2:4,...

TSK: Act 15:25 - seemed // being // to send // our // Barnabas seemed : Act 15:28; Mat 11:26; Luk 1:3 being : Act 15:6, Act 1:14, Act 2:1, Act 2:46; 1Co 1:10 to send : Act 15:22, Act 15:27 our : Rom 16:12; Eph 6:2...

TSK: Act 15:26 - hazarded hazarded : Act 13:50, Act 14:19; Jdg 5:18; 1Co 15:30; 2Co 11:23-27; Phi 2:29, Phi 2:30

TSK: Act 15:27 - Judas // who // mouth Judas : Act 15:22 who : 2Jo 1:12; 3Jo 1:13 mouth : Gr. word

Judas : Act 15:22

who : 2Jo 1:12; 3Jo 1:13

mouth : Gr. word

TSK: Act 15:28 - it // greater it : Joh 16:13; 1Co 7:25, 1Co 7:40, 1Co 14:37; 1Th 4:8; 1Pe 1:12 greater : Mat 11:30, Mat 23:4; Rev 2:24

TSK: Act 15:29 - ye abstain // if ye // Fare ye abstain : Act 15:20, Act 21:25; Lev 17:14; Rom 14:14, Rom 14:15, Rom 14:20,Rom 14:21; 1Co 10:18-20; Rev 2:14, Rev 2:20 if ye : 2Co 11:9; 1Ti 5:22; ...

TSK: Act 15:30 - and // delivered and : Act 6:2, Act 21:22 delivered : Act 16:4, Act 23:33

and : Act 6:2, Act 21:22

delivered : Act 16:4, Act 23:33

TSK: Act 15:31 - they rejoiced // consolation they rejoiced : Act 15:1, Act 15:10, Act 16:5; Gal 2:4, Gal 2:5, Gal 5:1; Phi 3:3 consolation : or, exhortation

they rejoiced : Act 15:1, Act 15:10, Act 16:5; Gal 2:4, Gal 2:5, Gal 5:1; Phi 3:3

consolation : or, exhortation

TSK: Act 15:32 - being // exhorted // confirmed being : Act 2:17, Act 2:18, Act 11:23, Act 11:27, Act 13:1; Mat 23:34; Luk 11:49; Rom 12:6; 1Co 12:28, 1Co 12:29; 1Co 14:3, 1Co 14:29, 1Co 14:32; Eph ...

TSK: Act 15:33 - they were they were : Act 16:36; Gen 26:29; Exo 4:18; 1Co 16:11; Heb 11:31; 2Jo 1:10

TSK: Act 15:34 - it pleased it pleased : Act 11:25, Act 11:26, Act 18:27; 1Co 16:12

TSK: Act 15:35 - continued // teaching continued : Act 13:1, Act 14:28 teaching : Act 28:31; Mat 28:19, Mat 28:20; Col 1:28; 1Ti 2:7; 2Ti 4:2

TSK: Act 15:36 - Let // in every // and see Cir, am 4058, ad 54 Let : Act 7:23; Exo 4:18; Jer 23:2; Mat 25:36, Mat 25:43 in every : Act 13:4, Act 13:13, Act 13:14, Act 13:51, Act 14:1, Act 14:6,...

TSK: Act 15:37 - John John : Act 12:12, Act 12:25, Act 13:5, Act 13:13; Col 4:10; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24

TSK: Act 15:38 - who who : Act 13:13; Psa 78:9; Pro 25:19; Luk 9:61, Luk 14:27-34; Jam 1:8

TSK: Act 15:39 - the contention // and sailed the contention : Act 15:2, Act 6:1; Psa 106:33, Psa 119:96; Ecc 7:20; Rom 7:18-21; Jam 3:2 and sailed : Act 4:36, Act 11:20, Act 13:4-12, Act 27:4

TSK: Act 15:40 - chose // being chose : Act 15:22, Act 15:32, Act 16:1-3 being : Act 13:3, Act 14:26, Act 20:32; 1Co 15:10; 2Co 13:14; 2Ti 4:22; Tit 3:15; 2Jo 1:10,2Jo 1:11

TSK: Act 15:41 - through // confirming through : Act 15:23, Act 18:18, Act 21:3; Gal 1:21 confirming : Act 15:32, Act 16:4, Act 16:5

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Poole: Act 15:1 - Certain men // The brethren // After the manner of Moses Act 15:1-4 Great dissensions arise about circumcising the Gentiles: Paul and Barnabas are sent to consult the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Act...

Act 15:1-4 Great dissensions arise about circumcising the

Gentiles: Paul and Barnabas are sent to consult the

apostles and elders at Jerusalem.

Act 15:5,6 The matter is debated in a council there,

Act 15:7-11 Peter declareth his opinion.

Act 15:12 Paul and Barnabas report the miracles they had

wrought among the Gentiles.

Act 15:13-21 James pronounceth sentence in favour of the Gentiles,

requiring of them abstinence only in a few

particulars.

Act 15:22-35 Letters are sent with the determination by messengers

to the churches, which are received with joy.

Act 15:36-41 Paul and Barnabas propose to visit together the

churches they had planted, but disagree, and travel

different ways.

Certain men these were such as did pretend to believe, but were false brethren; some think Cerinthus to have been of them.

The brethren the Gentiles who were converted unto the faith of Christ, or Proselytes of the gate (as they were called) who were not circumcised, and now professing the true faith. These the pharisaical professors would have excluded from any hopes of salvation, although circumcision was not commanded but unto the posterity of Abraham, Gen 17:10-13 , and Abraham himself was justified before he was circumcised, Rom 4:10 .

After the manner of Moses according unto the law of Moses: for God by him did renew and establish that ordinance unto that people, although it was long before his time both commanded and practised, Joh 7:22 .

Poole: Act 15:2 - Paul // They determined // Unto the apostles Paul that meek apostle, who was willing to become all things unto all men, yet he enters into a holy war with them that would introduce circumcision ...

Paul that meek apostle, who was willing to become all things unto all men, yet he enters into a holy war with them that would introduce circumcision into the Christian church; because,

1. He would have no works of the law to be an ingredient into our salvation; but the free grace of God in Christ to be all in all.

2. That our freedom from all the ceremonial law, acquired by the death of Christ, might not be diminished.

3. That the spreading of the gospel might not be hindered, but that Christ might be accepted and honoured amongst all. Now if circumcision had been retained, it would have kept possession for all the other ceremonies to have continued, or re-entered, there being the same reason for the one as for the other, and the circumcised person was obliged by his circumcision to observe them all, Gal 5:3,4 .

They determined the church at Antioch, where this controversy was moved.

Unto the apostles James, Peter, and John who are thought to have been then at Jerusalem, the rest being probably gone to preach Christ in other parts.

Poole: Act 15:3 - Brought on their way by the church // The conversion of the Gentiles // They caused great joy unto all the brethren Brought on their way by the church the brethren or believers of Antioch, out of respect, went part of the way with them; as also thereby showing, tha...

Brought on their way by the church the brethren or believers of Antioch, out of respect, went part of the way with them; as also thereby showing, that Paul and Barnabas did not go upon their own business or mind only, and that there was no dissension betwixt them and the church there.

The conversion of the Gentiles it is a conversion or turning indeed from error to truth, from impurity to holiness; that is, from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto the ever living God, Act 26:18 .

They caused great joy unto all the brethren nothing more rejoices a good man, than the bringing of souls unto God, and the enlarging of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Poole: Act 15:4 - They were received of the church // All things that God had done with them They were received of the church they were owned with respect and thankfulness, for their great work and labour in the Lord’ s vineyard. All th...

They were received of the church they were owned with respect and thankfulness, for their great work and labour in the Lord’ s vineyard.

All things that God had done with them: see Act 14:27 .

Poole: Act 15:5 - The sect of the Pharisees If these words be taken for St. Luke’ s, the penman of this book, then they declare, that in the church of Jerusalem there were some that did a...

If these words be taken for St. Luke’ s, the penman of this book, then they declare, that in the church of Jerusalem there were some that did abet the opinion of the necessity of circumcision; but if, (as most probably we may), we take them for the words of St. Paul, they then are part of his narrative to the church there, of what had happened at Antioch.

The sect of the Pharisees these Pharisees were a sect amongst the Jews, (so called from vrp separavit, and may be Englished, separatists), separating from converse with others, by reason of an opinion they had of their own holiness, Luk 18:11 .

Poole: Act 15:6 - The apostles and elders // came together for to consider of this matter The apostles and elders unto whom Paul and Barnabas were sent about the decision of this question, Act 15:2 , came together for to consider of this ...

The apostles and elders unto whom Paul and Barnabas were sent about the decision of this question, Act 15:2 ,

came together for to consider of this matter they had been informed of it, and now they met to deliberate about it.

Poole: Act 15:7 - Much disputing // A good while ago Much disputing they argued on both sides, and considered what might be said for either opinion: some of them that met here seem at first to have been...

Much disputing they argued on both sides, and considered what might be said for either opinion: some of them that met here seem at first to have been for the retaining of circumcision; for we know but in part, and from the collision of adverse parties such sparks fly out, that many a man hath lighted his candle at them.

A good while ago from the beginning of our having received our commission to preach, as Mat 28:19 ; or more particularly, from the time of Cornelius’ s conversion, Act 10:22 11:12 , which is thought to have been about fourteen or fifteen years before, that Peter preached Christ, by the command of God, unto the Gentiles.

Poole: Act 15:8 - Which knoweth the hearts Which knoweth the hearts God knew the desires of the Gentiles, that they did sincerely desire to please God, and to see this salvation. This great at...

Which knoweth the hearts God knew the desires of the Gentiles, that they did sincerely desire to please God, and to see this salvation. This great attribute David improved, 1Ch 29:17 , and highly recommended his son Solomon to consider of, 1Ch 28:9 ; which, if believed, would make us also to serve God with a perfect heart and a willing mind. Giving them the Holy Ghost; God himself was a witness for these Gentiles beyond all exception, when he gave them the ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost; by which he testified, that they belonged to Christ, whose Spirit this was. Thus the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, Rev 19:10 ; and the Spirit, according to our Saviour’ s promise, Joh 15:26 , doth testify of him.

Poole: Act 15:9 - Purifying their hearts, from idolatry, and other impieties in which they had lived // By faith God had now broken down the middle wall of partition betwixt Jew and Gentile, Eph 2:14 , and distributed his graces to these also, which was signifi...

God had now broken down the middle wall of partition betwixt Jew and Gentile, Eph 2:14 , and distributed his graces to these also, which was signified by the rending of the veil from the top to the bottom, Mat 27:51 , whereby such as were formerly without, might see and enjoy the benefit of those great things which had been hidden under those shadows and types.

Purifying their hearts, from idolatry, and other impieties in which they had lived which is the inward circumcision of the heart; and, whosoever is thus cleansed, ought not to be reputed amongst the unclean.

By faith faith is the instrument, God is the efficient cause, of our justification and renovation.

Poole: Act 15:10 - Why tempt ye God? // A yoke Why tempt ye God? Why would you make a doubt of, and put it to a trial, whether God did in good earnest admit the Gentiles to his favour, and whether...

Why tempt ye God? Why would you make a doubt of, and put it to a trial, whether God did in good earnest admit the Gentiles to his favour, and whether he remains firm and constant in such his kindness towards them? They did tempt God also, by disliking the calling of the Gentiles, and would have brought God’ s will, were it possible, unto theirs; not submitting their wills, as they ought, unto God’ s: for he that sins in any kind, does tempt God; that is, he tries God’ s patience, power, and righteousness.

A yoke so the law of ceremonies is called. Gal 5:1 , and was a yoke indeed, if we consider:

1. Their variety;

2. Their difficulty;

3. Their chargeableness;

4. Their inefficacy, being only shadows

of good things to come, Col 2:17 .

Poole: Act 15:11 - The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ // Even as they The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ all saving grace may be well so called, it being purchased only by Christ, and bestowed upon us from the Father th...

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ all saving grace may be well so called, it being purchased only by Christ, and bestowed upon us from the Father through Christ.

Even as they the Jews their fathers; these were saved through the grace of the Messiah which was to come; and the apostle urges this (against the imposing of the law) to the Jews, because neither their ancestors nor themselves could be justified by the law, but only by grace.

Poole: Act 15:12 - All the multitude // Miracles and wonders All the multitude the apostles and elders themselves gave attention to what Barnabas and Paul declared, and by their silence did tacitly approve of w...

All the multitude the apostles and elders themselves gave attention to what Barnabas and Paul declared, and by their silence did tacitly approve of what they had said.

Miracles and wonders the conversion of the Gentiles in itself, and not only the signs which did attend it, is truly wonderful: the saving of any one soul is a miraculous work.

Poole: Act 15:13 - After they had held their peace // James // Answered After they had held their peace Barnabas and Paul had finished their narrative. James who was surnamed the Just, and was the son of Alpheus, and a ...

After they had held their peace Barnabas and Paul had finished their narrative.

James who was surnamed the Just, and was the son of Alpheus, and a kinsman to our Saviour, now being president of this council.

Answered that is, began to speak.

Poole: Act 15:14 - Simeon // A people // For his name Simeon or Simon, the name of Peter; but St. Luke, being himself a Hebrew, writes it according as they pronounced it, and not so contracted as the Gre...

Simeon or Simon, the name of Peter; but St. Luke, being himself a Hebrew, writes it according as they pronounced it, and not so contracted as the Greeks wrote it.

A people there were some at all times probably amongst the Gentiles who did fear God, as Job and his three friends; but they did not make a people, or such a number as is here spoken of.

For his name: God takes out of the world a people for his name, that is,

1. For himself; as, Pro 18:10 , the name of the Lord is put for the Lord himself.

2. For to call upon his name, as also for to be called by his name.

3. For his glory and honour, and to magnify his name.

Poole: Act 15:15 - The prophets The prophets in the plural number, though only one cited: it is an ordinary enallage; but it also shows the harmony amongst the prophets, they all sp...

The prophets in the plural number, though only one cited: it is an ordinary enallage; but it also shows the harmony amongst the prophets, they all speaking by one Spirit; what one said is as if all had said it.

Poole: Act 15:16 - After this // I will return // The tabernacle After this in the days of the Messiah. I will return: the word may be taken in both voices. If actively, it signifies God’ s returning uuto th...

After this in the days of the Messiah.

I will return: the word may be taken in both voices. If actively, it signifies God’ s returning uuto the Gentiles, from whom he had departed. If passively, it foreshows their returning unto God, whom they had forsaken.

The tabernacle the house, expressed by a tabernacle, (as frequently in Scripture), because that anciently they dwelt only in tabernacles; and here for the throne of David, who was a type of Christ, whose kingdom is over all. God does promise less than he does perform, for he did not only restore the tabernacle of David, in Christ, but raised it to a far greater splendour and glory in its spiritual state. And though St. James here does not exactly keep unto the words of the prophet, he speaks their sense and meaning.

Poole: Act 15:17 - all the Gentiles. Upon whom my name is called // Saith the Lord, who doeth all these things In the prophet it is the remnant of Edom, Amo 9:12 , which is here called the residue of men; for as Jacob, or Israel, shadowed out the church, ...

In the prophet it is the remnant of Edom, Amo 9:12 , which is here called the residue of men; for as Jacob, or Israel, shadowed out the church, so Edom, or Esau, (the other son of Isaac), represented those who were rejected, Rom 9:13 . The prophet also adds, by way of explication, all the heathen; as the apostle does here,

all the Gentiles. Upon whom my name is called who shall be mine, or appropriated unto me; also called by his name, they being called Christians from Christ, whom they believed in.

Saith the Lord, who doeth all these things the calling of the Gentiles was God’ s work, and therefore so far from being excepted against, that it ought to be marvellous in our eyes.

Poole: Act 15:18 - -- This the apostle adds, that they might not be offended with the seeming novelty and surprise of the calling of the Gentiles, and abrogation of the c...

This the apostle adds, that they might not be offended with the seeming novelty and surprise of the calling of the Gentiles, and abrogation of the ceremonies; for it was no other than what God had before determined to do, and therefore they ought to rest satisfied in the wise and holy appointments of God.

Poole: Act 15:19 - -- St. James here gives his opinion, confirming and approving what Peter had done in conversing with and baptizing of the Gentiles; whom he would not h...

St. James here gives his opinion, confirming and approving what Peter had done in conversing with and baptizing of the Gentiles; whom he would not have afflicted or disturbed with such things as were not necessary, lest that it should hinder the conversion of the Gentiles, and the church should lose the substance for a shadow.

Poole: Act 15:20 - That they abstain from pollutions of idols; eating of meat that was offered to idols // Fornication // From things strangled // And from blood That they abstain from pollutions of idols; eating of meat that was offered to idols as Act 15:29 i