Peter reports that Gentiles can come to faith in Jesus Christ. In Antioch of Syria, Jewish Christians begin evangelizing Gentiles.
VERSE 1. Now the apostles and the brothers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
VERSE 2. When Peter had come up to Jerusalem, those who were of the circumcision contended with him,
those who were of the circumcision. That is, the Jewish believers. In those days, they believed that only Jews could come to faith in Jesus Christ.
contended with him. They are legalists.
The whole history of the Christian faith is marbled with legalists.
In this case, Peter was able to convince the legalists that what he did was from God, even though it did not fit their narrow concept of godliness.
However, many legalists cannot be convinced of anything that disagrees with their own narrow conceptualizations. Even if Jesus Christ were to return in Glory, stand in front of them, and tell them it was the right thing, they would still disagree.
exhorted them all. We see Peter as a hero of reconciling disagreements and building harmony. Building harmony among people is one of six important ways to nurture the personal relationships in your own Small Group. Read more »
went in to uncircumcised men. That is, went into the house of uncircumcised men.
ate with them. Their complaint is not his preaching to Gentiles but his eating with them.
VERSE 4. But Peter began, and explained to them in order, saying,
VERSE 5. “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision: a certain container descending, like it was a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners. It came as far as me.
VERSE 6. When I had looked intently at it, I considered, and saw the four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky.
VERSE 7. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter, kill and eat!’
VERSE 8. But I said, ‘Not so, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered into my mouth.’
VERSE 9. But a voice answered me the second time out of heaven, ‘What God has cleansed, don’t you call unclean.’
VERSE 10. This was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.
VERSE 11. Behold, immediately three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent from Caesarea to me.
VERSE 12. The Spirit told me to go with them, without discriminating. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house.
VERSE 13. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying to him, ‘Send to Joppa, and get Simon, who is called Peter,
VERSE 14. who will speak to you words by which you will be saved, you and all your house.’
VERSE 15. As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning.
VERSE 16. I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.’
VERSE 17. If then God gave to them the same gift as us, when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God?”
who was I, that I could withstand God? God had made no distinction between Jew and Gentile, so how could Peter
VERSE 18. When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life!”
We see Peter as a hero of reconciling disagreements and building harmony. Building harmony among people is one of six important ways to nurture the personal relationships in your own Small Group. Read more »
VERSE 19. They therefore who were scattered abroad by the oppression that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews only.
VERSE 20. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.
Antioch. This was the third largest city in the Roman Empire.
spoke to the Hellenists. This is a crucial moment. For the first time, Christians actively evangelized Gentiles. This will soon make the community of believers very cosmopolitan.
believed and turned to the Lord. That is, in believing, they turned to the Lord.
VERSE 22. The report concerning them came to the ears of the assembly which was in Jerusalem. They sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch,
sent out Barnabas. It was more than 300 miles from Jerusalem to Antioch.
Barnabas. This is a nickname. It means “son of encouragement.” In our day, we might say “Mr. Encourager.”
VERSE 23. who, when he had come, and had seen the grace of God, was glad. He exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they should remain near to the Lord.
NIV translation. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
exhorted them all. We see Barnabas as a hero of encouraging other people. Encouraging other people is one of six important ways to nurture the personal relationships in your own Small Group. Read more »
VERSE 24. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and many people were added to the Lord.
VERSE 25. Barnabas went out to Tarsus to look for Saul.
VERSE 26. When he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they were gathered together with the assembly, and taught many people. The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
taught many people. The ministry of an apostle is to teach.
The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Here is where the term “Christian” began.
The suffix “- ian” means “belonging to the party of.” In those days, the word “Christian” meant “belonging to the party of” Christ.
prophets. That is, those with the gift of prophecy.
VERSE 28. One of them named Agabus stood up, and indicated by the Spirit that there should be a great famine all over the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius.
VERSE 29. As any of the disciples had plenty, each determined to send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea;
elders. The Greek word is presbyter. It literally means “priest.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.