Acts Chapter Eleven
Chapter 11:19 begins the narration of the new order of things by which the ministry of Paul is distinguished. Among those who were scattered abroad on the occasion of Stephen's death, and who went as far even as Antioch preaching the Lord Jesus, there were some who, being men of Cyprus and Cyrene, were more habitually connected with Greeks. They addressed the Greeks therefore in this ancient capital of the Seleucidae, and many received their word and turned to the Lord. The assembly at Jerusalem, already prepared through the conversion of Cornelius, by which God had shewn them the entering in of the Gentiles, accept this event also and send Barnabas-himself a man of Cyprus-to Antioch. A good man and filled with the Holy Ghost, his heart is full of joy on seeing this work of the grace of God; and much people is added unto the Lord.
As yet all is linked with the work at Jerusalem, although extending now to the Gentiles. Barnabas, apparently no longer sufficient for the work and at all events led of God, departs in search of Saul, who had gone to Tarsus, when they sought to kill him at Jerusalem. And these two meet with the assembly at Antioch, teaching much people. Still everything takes place in connection with Jerusalem, whence some prophets come down and announce a famine. The links between the flock and Jerusalem as a centre are shewn and strengthened, by the sending of relief to that religious metropolis of Judaism, and of Christianity looked at as having its commencement in the Jewish remnant who believed in Jesus as the Christ.
Barnabas and Saul are themselves charged with this service, and go up to Jerusalem to accomplish it. This circumstance carries us back to Jerusalem, where the Spirit has still something to shew us of the ways of God.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Acts》
Peter's defence. (1-18) The success of the gospel at Antioch. (19-24) The disciples named Christians, Relief sent to Judea. (25-30)
Commentary on Acts 11:1-18
(Read Acts 11:1-18)
The imperfect state of human nature strongly appears, when godly persons are displeased even to hear that the word of God has been received, because their own system has not been attended to. And we are too apt to despair of doing good to those who yet, when tried, prove very teachable. It is the bane and damage of the church, to shut out those from it, and from the benefit of the means of grace, who are not in every thing as we are. Peter stated the whole affair. We should at all times bear with the infirmities of our brethren; and instead of taking offence, or answering with warmth, we should explain our motives, and show the nature of our proceedings. That preaching is certainly right, with which the Holy Ghost is given. While men are very zealous for their own regulations, they should take care that they do not withstand God; and those who love the Lord will glorify him, when made sure that he has given repentance to life to any fellow-sinners. Repentance is God's gift; not only his free grace accepts it, but his mighty grace works it in us, grace takes away the heart of stone, and gives us a heart of flesh. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.
Commentary on Acts 11:19-24
(Read Acts 11:19-24)
The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution; thus what was meant to hurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of man is made to praise God. What should the ministers of Christ preach, but Christ? Christ, and him crucified? Christ, and him glorified? And their preaching was accompanied with the Divine power. The hand of the Lord was with them, to bring that home to the hearts and consciences of men, which they could but speak to the outward ear. They believed; they were convinced of the truth of the gospel. They turned from a careless, carnal way of living, to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life. They turned from worshipping God in show and ceremony, to worship him in the Spirit and in truth. They turned to the Lord Jesus, and he became all in all with them. This was the work of conversion wrought upon them, and it must be wrought upon every one of us. It was the fruit of their faith; all who sincerely believe, will turn to the Lord, When the Lord Jesus is preached in simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, he will give success; and when sinners are thus brought to the Lord, really good men, who are full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, will admire and rejoice in the grace of God bestowed on them. Barnabas was full of faith; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faith that works by love.
Commentary on Acts 11:25-30
(Read Acts 11:25-30)
Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples, that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were called Christians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower of Christ; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief care to shape his life by Christ's precepts and example. Hence it is plain that multitudes take the name of Christian to whom it does not rightly belong. But the name without the reality will only add to our guilt. While the bare profession will bestow neither profit nor delight, the possession of it will give both the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Grant, Lord, that Christians may forget other names and distinctions, and love one another as the followers of Christ ought to do. True Christians will feel for their brethren under afflictions. Thus will fruit be brought forth to the praise and glory of God. If all mankind were true Christians, how cheerfully would they help one another! The whole earth would be like one large family, every member of which would strive to be dutiful and kind.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Acts》
 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
Being in a trance — Which suspends the use of the outward senses.
 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
Saved — With the full Christian salvation, in this world and the world to come.
 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
To us, when we believed — The sense is, because we believed, not because we were circumcised, was the Holy Ghost given to us.
What was I — A mere instrument in God's hand. They had inquired only concerning his eating with the Gentiles. He satisfies them likewise concerning his baptizing them, and shows that he had done right in going to Cornelius, not only by the command of God, but also by the event, the descent of the Holy Ghost. And who are we that we should withstand God? Particularly by laying down rules of Christian communion which exclude any whom he has admitted into the Church of the first born, from worshipping God together. O that all Church governors would consider how bold an usurpation this is on the authority of the supreme Lord of the Church! O that the sin of thus withstanding God may not be laid to the charge of those, who perhaps with a good intention, but in an over fondness for their own forms, have done it, and are continually doing it.
 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
They glorified God — Being thoroughly satisfied.
Repentance unto life — True repentance is a change from spiritual death to spiritual life, and leads to life everlasting.
 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
They who had been dispersed — St. Luke here resumes the thread of his narration, in the very words wherewith he broke it off, Acts 8:6. As far as Phenicia to the north, Cyprus to the west, and Antioch to the east.
 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
Some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene — Who were more accustomed to converse with the Gentiles.
Who coming into Antioch — Then the capital of Syria, and, next to Rome and Alexandria, the most considerable city of the empire.
Spake to the Greeks — As the Greeks were the most celebrated of the Gentile nations near Judea, the Jews called all the Gentiles by that name. Here we have the first account of the preaching the Gospel to the idolatrous Gentiles. All those to whom it had been preached before, did at least worship one God, the God of Israel.
 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
And the hand of the Lord — That is, the power of his Spirit.
 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
And the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch — Here it was that they first received this standing appellation. They were before termed Nazarenes and Galileans.
 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Agabus rising up — In the congregation.
All the world — The word frequently signifies all the Roman empire. And so it is doubtless to be taken here.
 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
Then — Understanding the distress they would otherwise be in on that account, the disciples determined to send relief to the brethren in Judea - Who herein received a manifest proof of the reality of their conversion.
 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
Sending it to the elders — Who gave it to the deacons, to be distributed by them, as every one had need.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Acts》
Chapter 11. Promote and Cultivate
Remain True to
With All Their Hearts
I. Witness Prevails Over Tradition
II. The Church in Antioch
III. Barnabas Look for Saul
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》