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Acts Chapter Fourteen


I. Content of the Chapter


The Second half and the Return of Paul’s First Journey

I. Preaching in Iconium:

  A. A great multitude believed and there were also the unbelieving (v.1-2).

  B. They spoke boldly in the Lord and bore witness to the word of His grace (v.3).

  C. They were abused and stoned (v.4-5).

II. Fleeing to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia and preaching the gospel there:

  A. They escaped from the persecution on one hand and on the other preached the gospel wherever they arrived (v.6-7).

  B. They healed a cripple from his mother's womb in Lystra (v.8-10).

  C. The multitudes took them to be gods and intended to sacrifice to them (v.11-13).

  D. The apostles said that they were men and did their best to restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them (v.14-18).

  E. Paul was stoned to death and dragged out of the city (v.19).

  F. Paul rose up and went into the city and the next day he went to Derbe to preach the gospel (v.20-21a).

III. Returning to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia:

  A. They returned to the places where they were persecuted and strengthened and exhorted the disciples (v.21b-22).

  B. They had appointed elders in every church and commended them to the Lord (v.23).

IV. Coming to Pamphylia, having preached the word in Perga and going down to Attalia (v.24-25).

V. Sailing back to Antioch in Syria:

  A. They returned to the church that had entrusted them to work (v.26).

  B. They reported all the things to the assembly (v.27).

  C. They stayed there a long time with the disciples (v.28).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Acts. 14:1 “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.

   YLT: “And it came to pass in Iconium, that they did enter together into the synagogue of the Jews, and spake, so that there believed both of Jews and Greeks a great multitude;”

   Meaning of Words: “Iconium”: image, the comer, yielding.

   Literal Meaning: Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews.” “Iconium” was the capital town of the administrative area of Lycaonia and it was about one hundred and twenty two kilometers on the southwest of Antioch in Pisidia (Act. 13:14). Lystra was about thirty kilometers in the southward of this place (See v.6).

Paul and Barnabas had declared that they would turn to the Gentiles to preach the gospel (Acts. 13:46). However, they first went to the synagogue of the Jews in Iconium. It shows that they were full of the burden of the salvation of their brothers and kinsmen (Rom. 9:2-3).

  “A great multitude believed” “A great multitude” is composed of two words in the original and it means “a much crowd”.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When preaching the gospel, we should not care about men’s welcome or opposition and we should preach according to the burden in us. At the same time, we should try our best to make use of the profitable circumstances.

2) Wherever we preach, as long as we preach by faith, there must be the effect of faith because once the word of God has been gone forth, it shall not return unto Him void (Is. 55:11).


Acts. 14:2 “But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.

   YLT: “and the unbelieving Jews did stir up and made evil the souls of the nations against the brethren;”

   Meaning of Words: “unbelieving”: disobeying, disobedient, stubborn; “stir up”: raise up, agitate; “mind”: soul; “poison against”: entreat evil, harm.

   Literal Meaning: “stirred up the Gentiles” “stir up” may mean that they fabricated malicious gossip and fomented dissension on purpose.

   Spiritual Meaning: the unbelieving Jews” They represent all those who have a name that they are of God, have the reasonable tradition, keep the regulations and live the strict and pious life. They persecute the brothers who have the revelation of God with words or deeds because they lack the revelation and do not know Christ.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If we lack the knowledge of Christ, we will probably resent the brothers who truly have the revelation of God from our hearts and harass them in all aspects.

2) Believers who only have zeal and lack the revelation will always become extreme and they even think that they render service to God when they kill men (John. 16:2).


Acts. 14:3 “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.

   YLT: “long time, indeed, therefore, did they abide speaking boldly in the Lord, who is testifying to the word of His grace, and granting signs and wonders to come to pass through their hands.”

   Literal Meaning: Therefore they stayed there a long time” “a long time” in the original means a considerable time.

  “Speaking boldly in the Lord” If believers could turn their minds to the Lord from circumstances, they will have boldness and preach freely.

“To be done by their hands” It shows that the signs and wonders that they have done are fully of the initiative of God. The signs and wonders are not done rashly according to their own willingness. Such conclusion could be confirmed by that Paul did not heal Timothy, Epaphroditus, Trophimus and other fellow-workers by wonders (1Tim. 5:23; Pill. 2:25-30; 2Tim. 4:20).

“Bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders” “The word of His grace” The word of grace of the Lord Jesus is contrast to the Law of Moses (John. 1:17). The Jews in the synagogue kept the Law of Moses and knew nothing about the word of the Lord’s grace. And therefore Paul and Barnabas did their utmost to preach the gospel in order to make them turn to grace from the Law. “The word of His grace” is that in the New Testament God gives His beloved only-begotten Son to the world and He was crucified on the cross for men, was raised up and taken up into heaven. Today He dwells in believers in the Spirit and is experienced and enjoyed by them so that the life of believers will change and the glory of God will be manifested and testified.

“Signs and wonders” themselves are not a part of His grace because believers who have received the grace may not do signs and wonders. Signs and wonders are used to prove that the word of His grace that the apostles had preached is absolutely of God instead of men. The early Christians regard signs and wonders as a mark or proof that God is with them and approves of the witness that they bore.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “They” is the basic union of serving with one accord. If we want our service to the Lord to be effective, we’d better live, walk, go (v.1), come out, pray (v.23) and have communion (v.27) together with our fellow-workers.

2) “Granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” The Holy Spirit bears witness with those who He has chosen and called and works with them together. They work outwardly and the Holy Spirit works inwardly; they sow and the Holy Spirit waters.

3) If we want to be fellow-workers of the Holy Spirit, our hands must be clean and in this way, the Holy Spirit would grant signs and wonders through our hands. Such cooperation must have astonishing effect that surpasses our expectation.


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

   YLT: “And the multitude of the city was divided, and some were with the Jews, and some with the apostles,”

   Literal Meaning: But the multitude of the city was divided”. “Divide” means break, split.

  “Part with the apostles” The plural word “the apostles” in the original refer to Paul and Barnabas (See v.1-3); here Luke did not call them by their names but “the apostles” in order to emphasize the sending of God.

    Paul and Barnabas were not listed among the twelve Apostles (Acts. 1:26), however, they were still called the apostles in the Bible. It shows that the apostles are those who have been sent by God (Acts. 13:4). And therefore the apostles are God’s workers who are sent by God to do the work that He has called them (Acts. 13:2). Generally speaking, all Christians should do the work of God and are God’s workers. However, the apostles in the Bible are the workers who have the special calling and gifts, go to various regions to preach the gospel, set up the churches, edify the Saints and build up the body of Christ (See v.22-23; Eph. 4:11-12).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When preaching the gospel, we should pay attention to whether we have tried our best instead of whether everyone has the same reaction------some of them believe (v.1) and some of them poison against them (v.2)------the Lord comes to the earth to give “division” (Luke. 12:51-53).

2) Towards the truth and the way, we either approve of it or oppose it and there isn’t the neutral attitude.


Acts. 14:5 “And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them,

   YLT: “and when there was a purpose both of the nations and of the Jews with their rulers to use [them] despitefully, and to stone them,”

   Literal Meaning: “with their rulers” Here it does not clearly refer to the rulers of the Gentiles (ruling the city) or the rulers of the Jews (mainly ruling the synagogue) and it may refer to both of them.

  “To abuse and stone them” It means that they determined to do so in the original. “Abusing” refers to maltreating, treating shabbily, insulting and ruining.

    “Stoning Paul” (See v.19) is recorded two times in this chapter, however, Paul himself mentioned that “once was I stoned” (2Cor. 11:25). And therefore here “stoning them” may indicate the malicious threat or that they were about to do so and hadn’t done it (See v.6).


Acts. 14:6 “they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.

   YLT: “they having become aware, did flee to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra, and Derbe, and to the region round about,”

   Meaning of Words: “Lycaonia”: wolf-land; “Lystra”: dissolving, ransoming, there are many people, however, they are of oone church; “Derbe”: sting, tanner, Delbeia.

   Literal Meaning: fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia” “Lycaonia” refers to an administrative area of the province of Galatia which was a great province and it was divided into two administrative areas Pisidia (Acts. 13:14) and Lycaonia. “Lystra” was thirty kilometers in the southwest of Iconium and it was the hometown of Timothy (Acts. 16:1); “Derbe” was ninety two kilometers in the east of Lystra and it was in the southeastern corner of the province of Galatia.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “They became aware of it and fled to” The workers of the Lord sometimes need to flee from the persecution. It is not a shame for preachers to flee from the calamities because the Lord once commanded us it (Matt. 10:23).

2) “Fleeing”------fall back and do not dispute-------is the principle for Christians to deal with persecution. However, our fleeing is different from that of the world: their fleeing is to hide themselves in some place and our fleeing is to preach in other place (See v.7; Acts. 8:4).

3) The apostles were able to do signs and wonders (See v.3) and now when they were facing the persecution of the enemy, why did not they show wonders to prophet it? We could see that signs and wonders are of God’s initiative arrangement instead of men’s willingness.


Acts. 14:7 “And they were preaching the gospel there.

   YLT: “and there they were proclaiming good news.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Men can only persecute Christians and hold back the gospel in one region and they cannot hold back the gospel in all regions. They can only hold back the gospel for a short while and cannot hold back it for a long time.

2) The torrent of the gospel cannot be held back by men. The more severely the persecution is, the more prosperously the gospel spreads.


Acts. 14:8 “And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked.

   YLT: “And a certain man in Lystra, impotent in the feet, was sitting, being lame from the womb of his mother -- who never had walked,”

   Spiritual Meaning: this cripple from his mother’s womb symbolizes the Gentiles who believe in heretical gods. They cannot walk in the right way of life because of their natural deficiencies of life.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Without strength in his feet” If we see men in the spiritual sight, every one has the condition that “to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:18).

2) “A cripple form his mother’s womb” Our difficulties are innate because our natural life is deficient.


Acts. 14:9 “This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,

   YLT: “this one was hearing Paul speaking, who, having stedfastly beheld him, and having seen that he hath faith to be saved,”

   Meaning of Words: “be healed”: save, to make whole.

   Literal Meaning: “and seeing that he had faith” “Faith” cannot be seen by the physical eyes, however, when one truly has the faith, the expression of admiration, yearning and joy will be manifested through his face and according to the expression others could see his intention.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The word of God is related to the preacher and those who hear the word: the word of God itself is living and operative (Heb. 4:12), however, if the preacher does not preach according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he will make the word of God be more and more depressed; if those who listen to the word of God do not listen with the right attitude, the word of God won’t have chance to grow up and bring forth fruit (Luke. 8:11-15).

2) Preachers should not invariably preach endlessly and should pay attention to the reaction of the audients so as to regulate and strengthen the word and then it will be of greater effort.

3) Workers of the Lord should learn to “observe” others intently and exercise the spiritual discernment in order to see others’ spiritual states.

4) The atmosphere how the audients receive the word always influences the spirit of the speaker and therefore we should never hold an indifferent attitude to listen to the word because this attitude may break down the whole gathering.

5) The key of one’s receiving grace lies in whether he has faith in the Lord.

6) God not only does signs and wonders through those who have faith but also shows signs and wonders by the faith of those who have received.


Acts. 14:10 “said with a loud voice, Stand up straight on your feet! And he leaped and walked.

   YLT: “said with a loud voice, `Stand up on thy feet upright;' and he was springing and walking,”

   Literal Meaning: It is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles that the two apostles Peter and Paul made the lame walk. Both events have at least the following similar pointes: 1) the two objects were lame (See v.8; Acts. 3:2); 2) the two apostles both “observed” the lame (See v.9, Acts. 3:4); 3) the two who had been healed all leaped and walked (v.10; Acts. 3:8); 4) the two apostles all pointed out that it was God’s work instead of their own abilities (See v.15-17; Acts. 3:12-16).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Said with a loud voice” It is the declaration of faith. Voice is absolutely related to faith and the declaration in faith won’t be weak.

2) “And he leaped and walked” It is the response of faith------the declaration of faith is full of power, however, the effect won’t be brought in without the response of faith------deep calls unto deep (Ps. 42:7). Faith can arouse faith and faith also can resonate with each other.

3) While preaching, the preacher might break off temporarily and insert seasonable movements according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in such way the effect of the preaching will be promoted contrarily.


Acts. 14:11 “Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’”

   YLT: “and the multitudes having seen what Paul did, did lift up their voice, in the speech of Lycaonia, saying, `The gods, having become like men, did come down unto us;'”

   The Background: according to the superstition and legend of the Lycaonians, in the past two gods Zeus and Hermes (See v.12) once became men and came down to the earth. They visited the people in Lystra, however, the multitudes did not take notice of them because they did not know them and only an old couple received them and then they were rewarded by gods and the others were punished.

   Literal Meaning: “in the Lycaonian language” “The Lycaonian language” is the local dialect and it is different from the Greek that is commonly used in the Roman Empire at that time.


Acts. 14:12 “And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

   YLT: “they were calling also Barnabas Zeus, and Paul Hermes, since he was the leader in speaking.”

   Literal Meaning: according to the Greek polytheism, “Zeus” was the king of gods and “Hermes” was the messenger of gods. Barnabas must be dignified and elegant in appearance and therefore they regarded him as Zeus the king of gods. They called Paul Hermes because Paul was the main spokesman.


Acts. 14:13 “Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

   YLT: “And the priest of the Zeus that is before their city, oxen and garlands unto the porches having brought, with the multitudes did wish to sacrifice,”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When Satan can not threat or persecute Christians with “stone” (v.5), it will use “garlands” to attract Christians. And the trickery of “garlands” that corrupts men is more terrible than that of “stone” that weakens men.

2) “Garlands” is the glory from men. Many times, when we work for the Lord, we are easy to make a mistake that we like to attribute all glory to ourselves.


Acts. 14:14 “But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out

   YLT: “and having heard, the apostles Barnabas and Paul, having rent their garments, did spring into the multitude, crying”

   Literal Meaning: “they tore their clothes” The Jews always use this way to express their extreme suffering and uneasiness. The reason why they tore their clothes must be that they thought that the behavior of worshiping men as God was the most horrible blasphemy to them.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Christians should never receive others’ excessive respect to ourselves or exalt ourselves so that others may regard us as God and worship us blindly.

2) He whoever clearly knows that others exalt himself excessively and does not stop or correct them actually has committed the sin of stealing the glory of God from his heart.


Acts. 14:15 “and saying, Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,

   YLT: “and saying, `Men, why these things do ye? and we are men like-affected with you, proclaiming good news to you, from these vanities to turn unto the living God, who made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and all the things in them;”

   Literal Meaning: that you should turn from these useless things” “Useless things” refers to false gods (1Sam. 12:21).

  “To the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them” Here Paul briefly introduced the three features of the true God: 1) He is the Creator of all; 2) He is the living God from everlasting to everlasting; 3) He is the only God.

   Controversial Clarification: at that time, the apostles had the uncommon power and can do signs and wonder (See v.3) so that the ignorant world regarded them as gods and wanted to worship them as gods. However, they dared not regard themselves as “gods” and strictly declared that they are “also men” (v.15, Acts.10:26). However, today many heretical leaders of Christianity are men and they deliberately like to call themselves “God” (“Christ”). What a contrast! Christians who have the right faith will never agree randomly the statement “calling oneself God” or go along with the fallacy of “men becoming God”.

  A man can never be “god”. Men are still men to the eternity and they won’t become god. It is the light that the Bible tells us and it is also the indispensable condition of Christians’ faith. Today in some groups of Christianity, some people exalt their leaders and even treat them as “gods” and some people even advocate “men becoming God”. These views violate the truth of the Bible and here we list the main proofs:

  1) The apostles in the beginning of the New Testament are the foundation to build the church (Eph. 2:20). They all opposed to regard men as gods (Acts.10:26; 14:15).

  2) The several verses in the Old Testament that “men” are called “God” (Exod. 21:5-6; 22:8-9; “judges” in the above-mentioned verses and “God” in Exod. 22:28 are the same word in the original; Ps. 82:6 and etc.) indicate that they are the representatives of God and they are not committed as God.

  3) Concerning one verse in the New Testament, the Lord Jesus quoted the words in the Old Testament that, “I said, You are gods” (John. 10:34-36; Ps. 82:6). The Lord there accommodated Himself to the understanding of the Jews and defended simply concerning whether His words “He calls Himself the Son of God” blaspheme God and He did not admit that the judges of the Jews were “God”.

  4) Satan previously was the archangel that was created by God, however, its heart was lifted up and had set its heart as the heart of God and wanted to exalt itself and be like God and consequently it fell and became the devil (Ezek. 28:1-2, 6, 11-17; Is. 14:12-15).

  5) That day the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (2Thess. 2:3-4).

  6) The example of the Lord Jesus is: who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:6-7). And therefore we Christians should let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus and be satisfied with being a “man” on the earth and do not seize the identity of “God”.

  7) We Christians are sinners who have been bestowed the Lord’s grace (1Tim. 1:16), are born of God (John. 1:13), have the authority to be “the children of God” (John. 1:12), have received “the life of God” (1John. 5:12) and are partakers of the divine nature (2Pet. 1:4). Our inner new men will be renewed gradually (2Cor. 4:16; Col. 3:10), shall be like Him in future (1John. 3:2) and manifest the Lord’s glory (2Cor. 3:18).

  8) Unto the eternity, we are still His people (Rev. 21:3) and His servants (Rev. 22:3) and we cannot become “God”.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) In the superstitious religious faith, men are regarded as “gods”. The fundamental faith of Christianity is to know the corruptive nature of “men” and turn to the only “true God”.

2) “We also are men with the same nature as you” It shows the greatest truth of faith: a man can never be God.


Acts. 14:16 “who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.

   YLT: “who in the past generations did suffer all the nations to go on in their ways,”

Acts. 14:17 “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’”

   YLT: “though, indeed, without witness He did not leave himself, doing good -- from heaven giving rains to us, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness;'”

   Literal Meaning: Paul the apostle preached according to the principle of teaching in accordance with students’ aptitude: to the Jews who had the background of the Bible, he used “the history of the Bible” to preach (Acts. 13:17-41); to the Gentiles who did not have the background of the Bible, he used the “nature” to preach------from the natural phenomena, he proved that there is God who creates and governs the nature (Rom. 1:20).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) He is the living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy (1Tim. 6:17). Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights (James. 1:17).

2) If we are abundant in means of living and pleasant in the body and mind, we should never forget God who gives us all these because these are the witness that He bestows us favor.


Acts. 14:18 “And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.

   YLT: “and these things saying, scarcely did they restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.”

   Literal Meaning: “scarcely restrain” It means that they restrained them hardly.


Acts. 14:19 “Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

   YLT: “And there came thither, from Antioch and Iconium, Jews, and they having persuaded the multitudes, and having stoned Paul, drew him outside of the city, having supposed him to be dead;”

   Literal Meaning: “they dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead” The knew the law of the Roman Empire that it was not allowed to carry out a death sentence privately and therefore they wanted to drag him out of the city to abandon the body, lest they be looked into the criminal responsibility.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) How great the changes of minds are and it is quite hard to know them: they exalted them into heaven just a moment ago and then they wanted to put them to death. The multitudes who previously cried high, saying “Hosanna” to the Lord Jesus (Mark. 11:9) and not long after they cried out, “crucify Him” (Mark. 15:13). And therefore we should not commit ourselves unto men (John. 2:24).

2) “They stoned Paul.” The way that Satan deals with believers is to use “stone” (v.5), “garlands” (v.13) and “stone” (v.19) in turn and it uses both hard and soft tactics.


Acts. 14:20 “However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

   YLT: “and the disciples having surrounded him, having risen he entered into the city, and on the morrow he went forth with Barnabas to Derbe.”

   Literal Meaning: “he rose up” According to the condition of Paul at that time, if he was still alive, he must be dying, however, he rose up suddenly. It is really a wonder.

  “And went into the city” In the previous verse, he “was dragged out of the city” and here he “went into the city”. There is a striking contrast between the two actions. It shows us that: 1) those who feared were those who harmed others; 2) believers need to “flee” sometimes and need to face the enemy boldly sometimes.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Sometimes God allows believers to suffer tribulations and encounter hopeless situations in order to let us learn not to trust in ourselves but in God which raises the dead (2Cor. 1:8-9).

2) We are persecuted, but not forsaken; we are cast down, but not destroyed (2Cor. 4:9).


Acts. 14:21 “And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,

   YLT: “Having proclaimed good news also to that city, and having discipled many, they turned back to Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch,”

   Literal Meaning: please note that Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch are the places where they were persecuted, opposed and had risked their lives (See v.5, 19; Acts. 13:50).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When serving the Lord, we should not choose the safe places and sometimes we have to go to some places for the need of work even if we risk our lives.

2) Those who truly dedicate themselves to the gospel lay down their own necks (Rom. 16:3-4).


Acts. 14:22 “strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’”

   YLT: “confirming the souls of the disciples, exhorting to remain in the faith, and that through many tribulations it behoveth us to enter into the reign of God,”

   Literal Meaning: strengthening the souls of the disciples” “Strengthening” is made up of two words “above” and “strength” and it means to “strengthen from above” and “give more strength”. “Souls” includes men’s thoughts, feelings and wills. And therefore strengthening the souls of the disciples means that: 1) confirming their thoughts so that they could know and understand the faith more; 2) confirming their feelings so that they could love the Lord and the church more; 3) confirming their wills so that they could become stronger and stand for the Lord.

  “Exhorting them to continue in the faith” “Exhorting” means “calling near” in the original. It is a word of intimacy. It is just like “farewells” and meaningful advice. “Faith” refers to the “faith” that they know objectively. It implies that the faith of Christians may be distorted (Jude 3) and become bad and even be rejected by men.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) We not only need to lead men to turn to and believe in Christ but also need to lead those who have already had faith and confirm and strengthen their faith (Col. 2:6-7).

2) Preachers not only sows------preaching the gospel, but also cultivates------teaching and feeding. They not only move forward boldly but also “turn back and strengthen”. Many preachers neglect the work of turning back and strengthening so that many spiritual babies die young. What a pity!

3) “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” The aim of the gospel is not to make men have ease on the earth but to make men look unto the heaven in their tribulations. It is not to make men live easily but to change men’s lives.

4) The most beautiful things of men are gained from tribulations. Only when the wheat has been ground will it be made into bread. Only when the sacred incense is burnt will it send out the sweet smell. Only when the earth is tilled will it be suitable to be sowed. In like manner, only a broken heart will be acceptable to God. The sweetest joy of life is always the fruit of sadness.

5) We must experience many tribulations by ourselves and then we are able to comfort others. If you want to be a messenger of consolation, be willing to partake in the gift of mercy, show fresh consolation from ourselves, support the brothers and sisters who are trialed and live a smooth life and do not let others see your bitterness, you have to pay the price willingly------suffer tribulations for the sake of the Lord.

6) The main reason that God lets us experience “many tribulations” is that He will remove our natural constitutes, i.e. tearing down our old men, so that the new man will be renewed and become mature day by day (2Cor. 4:16). Only those whose spiritual states could pass through the judgment of God are “counted worthy of the kingdom of God”, for the sake of which they suffer (2Thess. 1:5).

7) “Through many tribulations”, we must enter into the kingdom of God. There are many tribulations and therefore we have to learn endurance. We have to firmly believe that only those who partake in the tribulation and endurance of Jesus could partake in His kingdom (Rev. 1:9).

8) The way to enter into the kingdom of God is narrow and hard (Matt. 7:14) and therefore we must strive with earnestness and then we will enter in (Luke. 13:24).

9) The common religious believers seek the physical and mental peace and benefits as their main purpose. However, Christians enjoy the true peace and grace in tribulations or by experiencing tribulations.

10) The common people always depart from faith because they encounter hardships. Only few people are able to understand the reality of faith through tribulations and they are the true overcomers.


Acts. 14:23 “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

   YLT: “and having appointed to them by vote elders in every assembly, having prayed with fastings, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

   Literal Meaning: they had appointed elders in every church” “Appointing” means “stretching out hands” in the original and it implies handing over and commission of rights. “Elders” refer to the elder and spiritually sophisticated ones who take the responsibility of overseeing the gathering of the church, administration, teaching and exhorting and maintaining the discipline.

Here it is the first time in the New Testament to mention the appointing of elders. After the apostles have preached the gospel in one place and there are people who have been saved, the church is set up. When there is a church, those who cultivate, shepherd, lead, manage and oversee the brothers and sisters in the church are needed. The apostles appoint the elders in order to handle the need of the church which they have set up. In the Bible, it is the responsibility of the elders to manage and cultivate the church.

From this verse we could see the conditions to appoint the elders briefly: 1) the elders are appointed by the apostles who set up the church and they are not elected by all believers; 2) “appointing” shows that the elders are not appointed randomly but selected carefully by the apostles before the Lord; 3) as implied in the name, the elders must be senior and spiritually sophisticated than others; 4) the elders must be appointed from believers in the local church and they are not dispatched from other churches; 5) the plural word elders shows that there are more than two elders in one local church and it is much better than the way that one elder manages the church.

“They commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed” “Commend” means “laying up”, “depositing”, just like depositing money in the bank, fully entrust to the other side.

  It also implies that after the apostles have appointed the elders, they won’t control them from far away. The elders are not responsible to the apostles but to the Lord. In this way, the administration of churches in various places could be ensured to be independent and the church won’t be the Lord’s workers’.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The aim of preaching the gospel is not only to deliver souls from the hell but also to build the church and manifest the witness of God on the earth. The former is merely the negative aim of preaching the gospel and the latter is the positive aim.

2) The church is “the golden candlestick” of God (Rev. 1:20) and the church shines as lights in the dark world, holding forth the word of life (Pill. 2:15-16) and bearing the glorious witness of God.

3) The church is “the house of God” (1Tim. 3:15) and gives care, feeding, protection and warm to the children of God. Believers must live in the church and then they are able to abundantly experience and enjoy God’s rich preparation. 

4) One god-father in the early stage said that if men do not have the church as their mother, God cannot be their Father (it is translated from the Chinese version).

5) Concerning men of “the Non-church Movement”, no matter how they are of spiritual and pursue, they will decline gradually. The normal church must be of great help to the children of God and the kingdom of God.

6) If the administration of the church is carried out in order, the appointing of the elders is quite important. Once the elders are wrongly appointed, many unnecessary conditions will be brought in and the church will suffer great loss.

7) If believers hope to be the elder of the church, the intention is unblamable because he may aspire to exercise oversight (1Tim. 3:1). However, not every is suitable to be the elder (1Tim. 3:2-7).

8) If one works for the Lord, he has to learn to commit men or things to the Lord by praying. We should try our best to do what we should do and commit the others to the Lord to take the responsibility and trust that it is better to let the Lord take the responsibility (2Tim. 1:12).


Acts. 14:24 “And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.

   YLT: “And having passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia,”

   Literal Meaning: Pamphylia” was on the south of Pisidia and it was a small province along the southern coast of Asia Minor. It was adjacent to Lycia in the west and adjacent to Cilicia in the east.


Acts. 14:25 “Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

   YLT: “and having spoken in Perga the word, they went down to Attalia,”

   Literal Meaning: “Perga” was the capital town of the province of Pamphylia; “Attalia” was a port which was about several miles away in the southwest of Perga.


Acts. 14:26 “From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.

   YLT: “and thence did sail to Antioch, whence they had been given by the grace of God for the work that they fulfilled;”

   Literal Meaning: “they sailed to Antioch” The Antioch here was the Antioch in Syria, i.e. the starting point where they went out to preach in this journey (Acts. 13:1-3).

  “They had been commended to the grace of God” Those who commanded them were all the fellow-workers and the church. “To the grace of God” indicates that they commanded them to the grace of God (Acts. 15:40) so that they were able to complete the work.

  “Where” means to separate the Antioch here and Antioch in Pisidia (Acts. 13:14).


Acts. 14:27 “Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

   YLT: “and having come and gathered together the assembly, they declared as many things as God did with them, and that He did open to the nations a door of faith;”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord’s workers should be responsible to the Lord, however, they could not disregard the fellow-workers and the church because of it. It is a good thing that they have communion with them and report to them their work.

2) All the works that we have done are done by the Lord through us and they are God’s work. We are only the vessels in the hand of God.


Acts. 14:28 “So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

   YLT: “and they abode there not a little time with the disciples.”

   Enlightenment in the Word: workers should try their best to do the work of the Lord when they go out and when they return, they should have communion with believers and pursue with them together. Workers should never be disconnected with the body because of work. 


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Paul Healed A Cripple from His Mother's Womb

I.  The one who healed men:

  A. He spoke boldly in the Lord (v.3a).

  B. Through his hand the Lord was willing to do signs and wonders (v.3b).

  C. He suffered humiliation and persecution and did not change his mind and still preached the gospel everywhere (v.5-7).

  D. He was able to observe one intently and see his inner state (v.9).

  E. He spoke with faith (v.10).

II. The one who was healed:

  A. He was without strength in his feet (v.8a)------he knew how to walk and he did not have strength to walk.

  B. He was a cripple “from his mother’s womb” (v.8b)------the sickness is inborn.

  C. He had never walked (v.8c).

  D. He heard Paul “speaking” carefully (v.9a).

  E. He “had faith” (v.9b).

  F. He heard the word and kept it (v.10)------he trusts and obeys immediately.

III. The effect of healing:

  A. By this the word of the Lord’s grace is proved (v.3b).

  B. By this the works of God are manifested (v.11).

IV. The problem that comes out because of the healing:

  A. Rejecting men’s “garlands” (v.11-18)------rejecting men’s glory and high praise.

  B. Contrarily receiving men’s stones (v.19)------being humiliated and persecuted by men.


The Example of Modesty of the Lord’s Workers

I. They tore their clothes (v.14a)------removing all the glory in appearance.

II. They ran in among the multitude (v.14b)------standing in the same position with the multitudes.

III. Men, why are you doing these things? (v.15a)------preventing others from worshiping them.

IV. We also are men (v.15b)------keeping their role of men.

V. With the same nature as you (v.15b)------not covering up their own corruptive nature.

VI. Turn to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them (v.15c)------leading men to turn to God.


Concerning God

I. He made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them (v.15b)------God is almighty.

II. The living God (v.15c)------God is everlasting.

III. God (v.15c)------God is sole.

IV. He in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways (v.16)------God’s patience.

V. He did not leave Himself without witness (v.17a)------God’s works.

VI. He did good (v.17b)------God’s mercy.


How the Lord’s Workers Take Care of the Church and Believers

I. Strengthening the souls of the disciples (v.22a).

II. Exhorting them to continue in the faith (v.22b).

III. Predicting that they will suffer many tribulations (v.22c).

IV. Appointing elders in every church (v.23a)------entrusting men to look after and oversee the church.

V. Commending them to the Lord in whom they had believed (v.23b)------commanding to the hand of the Lord by praying.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren