The Bible – New Testament
1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.
2 So they, sent forth by the holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus.
When they arrived in Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. They had John 3 also as their assistant.
When they had traveled through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met a magician named Bar-Jesus who was a Jewish false prophet. 4
He was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who had summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God.
But Elymas the magician (for that is what his name means) opposed them in an attempt to turn the proconsul away from the faith.
But Saul, also known as Paul, 5 filled with the holy Spirit, looked intently at him
and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all that is right, full of every sort of deceit and fraud. Will you not stop twisting the straight paths of (the) Lord?
Even now the hand of the Lord is upon you. You will be blind, and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately a dark mist fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.
When the proconsul saw what had happened, he came to believe, for he was astonished by the teaching about the Lord.
From Paphos, Paul and his companions set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. On the sabbath they entered (into) the synagogue and took their seats.
After the reading of the law and the prophets, the synagogue officials sent word to them, “My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
6 So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said, “Fellow Israelites and you others who are God-fearing, 7 listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt. With uplifted arm he led them out of it
and for about forty years he put up with 8 them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years. 9 After these things he provided judges up to Samuel (the) prophet.
Then they asked for a king. God gave them Saul, son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king; of him he testified, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish.’
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’
“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him, and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These are (now) his witnesses before the people. 10
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you that what God promised our ancestors
he has brought to fulfillment for us, (their) children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my son; this day I have begotten you.’
And that he raised him from the dead never to return to corruption he declared in this way, ‘I shall give you the benefits assured to David.’
That is why he also says in another psalm, ‘You will not suffer your holy one to see corruption.’
Now David, after he had served the will of God in his lifetime, fell asleep, was gathered to his ancestors, and did see corruption.
But the one whom God raised up did not see corruption.
You must know, my brothers, that through him forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, (and) in regard to everything from which you could not be justified 11 under the law of Moses,
in him every believer is justified.
Be careful, then, that what was said in the prophets not come about:
‘Look on, you scoffers, be amazed and disappear. For I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will never believe even if someone tells you.'”
As they were leaving, they invited them to speak on these subjects the following sabbath.
After the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.
On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 12
For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.'”
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 13
The disciples were filled with joy and the holy Spirit.
1 [1-3] The impulse for the first missionary effort in Asia Minor is ascribed to the prophets of the Antiochene community, under the inspiration of the holy Spirit. Just as the Jerusalem community had earlier been the center of missionary activity, so too Antioch becomes the center from which the missionaries Barnabas and Saul are sent out.
2 [⇒ 13:4-⇒ 14:27] The key event in Luke’s account of the first missionary journey is the experience of Paul and Barnabas at Pisidian Antioch (⇒ Acts 13:14-52). The Christian kerygma proclaimed by Paul in the synagogue was favorably received. Some Jews and “God-fearers” (see the note on ⇒ Acts 8:26-40) became interested and invited the missionaries to speak again on the following sabbath (⇒ Acts 13:42). By that time, however, the appearance of a large number of Gentiles from the city had so disconcerted the Jews that they became hostile toward the apostles (⇒ Acts 13:44-50). This hostility of theirs appears in all three accounts of Paul’s missionary journeys in Acts, the Jews of Iconium (⇒ Acts 14:1-2) and Beroea (⇒ Acts 17:11) being notable exceptions.
4  A magician named Bar-Jesus who was a Jewish false prophet: that is, he posed as a prophet. Again Luke takes the opportunity to dissociate Christianity from the magical acts of the time (⇒ Acts 13:7-11); see also ⇒ Acts 8:18-24.
5  Saul, also known as Paul: there is no reason to believe that his name was changed from Saul to Paul upon his conversion. The use of a double name, one Semitic (Saul), the other Greco-Roman (Paul), is well attested (cf ⇒ Acts 1:23 Joseph Justus; ⇒ Acts 12:12, ⇒ 25, John Mark).
7  Who are God-fearing: see the note on ⇒ Acts 8:26-40.
8  Put up with: some manuscripts read “sustained.”
9  At the end of about four hundred and fifty years: the manuscript tradition makes it uncertain whether the mention of four hundred and fifty years refers to the sojourn in Egypt before the Exodus, the wilderness period and the time of the conquest (see ⇒ Exodus 12:40-41), as the translation here suggests, or to the time between the conquest and the time of Samuel, the period of the judges, if the text is read, “After these things, for about four hundred and fifty years, he provided judges.”
10  The theme of the Galilean witnesses is a major one in the Gospel of Luke and in Acts and is used to signify the continuity between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the church and to guarantee the fidelity of the church’s teachings to the words of Jesus.
11 [38-39] Justified: the verb is the same as that used in Paul’s letters to speak of the experience of justification and, as in Paul, is here connected with the term “to have faith” (“every believer”). But this seems the only passage about Paul in Acts where justification is mentioned. In Lucan fashion it is paralleled with “forgiveness of sins” (a theme at ⇒ Acts 2:38; ⇒ 3:19; ⇒ 5:31; ⇒ 10:43) based on Jesus’ resurrection (⇒ Acts 13:37) rather than his cross, and is put negatively (⇒ Acts 13:38). Therefore, some would translate, “in regard to everything from which you could not be acquitted . . . every believer is acquitted.”
12  The refusal to believe frustrates God’s plan for his chosen people; however, no adverse judgment is made here concerning their ultimate destiny. Again, Luke, in the words of Paul, speaks of the priority of Israel in the plan for salvation (see ⇒ Acts 10:36).
13  See the note on ⇒ Luke 9:5.