Acts 14

Acts chapter 14

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Acts 14

Acts 14:1-4

Acts 14:5-11 Lystra and Derbe
Acts 14:12-18 Zeus?
Acts 14:19-22 Paul Stoned
Acts 14:23-28 Elders
ACTS 14:1  1 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.

Where is "Iconium" (Acts 14:1) and who are the "they" (Acts 14:1)?
They are Paul and Barnabas, and they came to Iconium in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) after having preached the Gospel in Antioch, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) to the west.

Why did they go to the "synagogue of the Jews" (Acts 14:1)?
Since the Jews knew the Old Testament prophecies about and had been awaiting the promised Messiah, they in theory should have received the news of His arrival most easily and readily.

Didn't Paul declare to the Jews in Antioch that he and Barnabas will turn to the gentiles?
Yes: "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the gentiles." (Acts 13:46)

Then why did Paul and Barnabas again go to the synagogue of the Jews?
There are at least three reasons. Firstly, the immediate object of Paul's declaration above are the people of Antioch. Since the Jews of Antioch had "rejected" the Gospel, they were turning to the gentiles of Antioch, which is what they did. Secondly, the gentiles who knew the Old Testament and were also awaiting the promised Messiah were in the synagogue of the Jews, both as 'proselytes' (who had been circumcised) and 'God-fearers' (who believed in the God of the Old Testament but hadn't (yet) been circumcised). Thirdly, while the thrust of Paul's ministry was to the gentiles as appointed by God ("On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the gentiles." (Galatians 2:7-8)), Paul of course wasn't prohibited from preaching the Gospel to the Jews. After all, Jesus had commanded evangelizing all nations: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:19)

What was one of the results of Paul and Barnabas' preaching in the Jewish synagogue of Iconium?
"A great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed." (Acts 14:1)

Why does the Bible say "Greeks" instead of "gentiles"?
The language and the culture of the Roman Empire was Greek. As used above, "Greeks" is synonymous with "gentiles."

ACTS 14:2-3  2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. 3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

What was the other result of Paul and Barnabas preaching in the Jewish synagogue of Iconium?
"... the unbelieving Jews stirred up the gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren." (Acts 14:2)

Why did Paul and Barnabas stay there "a long time" (Acts 14:3)?
A spiritual war of words broke out between the apostles and the unbelieving Jews, plus the gentiles they stirred up, with the Lord confirming the apostles' words with miracles: "the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands." (Acts 14:3)

ACTS 14:4  4 But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles.

What happened to the people of Antioch in the end?
The Gospel polarized them - "The multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles." (Acts 14:4) - as it tends to do today between those being saved and those not (yet).

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