Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Acts 13:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Certain prophets and teachers - Προφηται και διδασκαλοι . It is probable that these were not distinct offices; both might be vested in the same persons. By prophets we are to understand, when the word is taken simply, persons who were frequently inspired to predict future events, and by teachers, persons whose ordinary office was to instruct the people in the Christian doctrine. These also, to be properly qualified for the office, must have been endued with the influence of the Holy Spirit; for, as but a very small portion of the Scriptures of the New Testament could have as yet been given, it was necessary that the teachers should derive much of their own teaching by immediate revelation from God. On prophets and teachers, see the note on Acts 11:27.

Barnabas - Of whom see before, Acts 11:22-24.

Simeon-Niger - Or Simeon the Black, either because of his complexion, or his hair. It was on reasons of this kind that surnames, surnoms, name upon name were first imposed. Of this Simeon nothing farther is known.

Lucius of Cyrene - See Acts 11:20.

Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod - Our margin has given the proper meaning of the original word συντροφος, a foster-brother; i.e. Manaen was the son of the woman who nursed Herod Antipas; and the son, also, whose milk the young Herod shared. Of a person whose name was Manaen or Menahem, and who was in the court of Herod, we read several things in the Jewish writers. They say that this man had the gift of prophecy, and that he told Herod, when he was but a child, that he would be king. When Herod became king he sent for him to his court, and held him in great estimation. It might have been the son of this Menahem of whom St. Luke here speaks. Dr. Lightfoot has shown this to be at least possible.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The church that was at Antioch - See the notes on Acts 11:20.

Certain prophets - See the notes on Acts 11:27.

And teachers - Teachers are several times mentioned in the New Testament as an order of ministers, 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Peter 2:1. Their precise rank and duty are not known. It is probable that those mentioned here as prophets were the same persons as the teachers. They might discharge both offices, predicting future events, and instructing the people.

As Barnabas - Barnabas was a preacher Acts 4:35-36; Acts 9:27; Acts 11:22, Acts 11:26; and it is not improbable that the names “prophets and teachers” here simply designate the preachers of the gospel.

Simeon that was called Niger - “Niger” is a Latin name meaning “black.” Why the name was given is not known. Nothing more is known of him than is mentioned here.

Lucius of Cyrene - Cyrene was in Africa. See the notes on Matthew 27:32. Lucius is afterward mentioned as with the apostle Paul when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans, Revelation 16:21.

And Manaen - He is not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament.

Which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch - Herod Antipas, not Herod Agrippa. Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, Luke 3:1. The word translated here as “which had been brought up,” σύντροφος suntrophosdenotes “one who is educated or nourished at the same time with another.” It is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. He might have been connected with the royal family, and, being nearly of the same age, was educated by the father of Herod Antipas with him. He was, therefore, a man of rank and education, and his conversion shows that the gospel was not confined entirely in its influence to the poor.

And Saul - Saul was an apostle; and yet he is mentioned here among the “prophets and teachers,” showing that these words denote “ministers of the gospel” in general, without reference to any particular order or rank.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
What an assemblage was here! In these names we see that the Lord raises up instruments for his work, from various places and stations in life; and zeal for his glory induces men to give up flattering connexions and prospects to promote his cause. It is by the Spirit of Christ that his ministers are made both able and willing for his service, and taken from other cares that would hinder in it. Christ's ministers are to be employed in Christ's work, and, under the Spirit's guidance, to act for the glory of God the Father. They are separated to take pains, and not to take state. A blessing upon Barnabas and Saul in their present undertaking was sought for, and that they might be filled with the Holy Ghost in their work. Whatever means are used, or rules observed, the Holy Ghost alone can fit ministers for their important work, and call them to it.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 160-5

God had abundantly blessed the labors of Paul and Barnabas during the year they remained with the believers in Antioch. But neither of them had as yet been formally ordained to the gospel ministry. They had now reached a point in their Christian experience when God was about to entrust them with the carrying forward of a difficult missionary enterprise, in the prosecution of which they would need every advantage that could be obtained through the agency of the church. AA 160.1

“There were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, ... and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Before being sent forth as missionaries to the heathen world, these apostles were solemnly dedicated to God by fasting and prayer and the laying on of hands. Thus they were authorized by the church, not only to teach the truth, but to perform the rite of baptism and to organize churches, being invested with full ecclesiastical authority. AA 160.2

The Christian church was at this time entering upon an important era. The work of proclaiming the gospel message among the Gentiles was now to be prosecuted with vigor; and as a result the church was to be strengthened by a great ingathering of souls. The apostles who had been appointed to lead out in this work would be exposed to suspicion, prejudice, and jealousy. Their teachings concerning the breaking down of “the middle wall of partition” (Ephesians 2:14) that had so long separated the Jewish and the Gentile world, would naturally subject them to the charge of heresy, and their authority as ministers of the gospel would be questioned by many zealous, believing Jews. God foresaw the difficulties that His servants would be called to meet, and, in order that their work should be above challenge, He instructed the church by revelation to set them apart publicly to the work of the ministry. Their ordination was a public recognition of their divine appointment to bear to the Gentiles the glad tidings of the gospel. AA 161.1

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Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 101

I saw that we are no more secure from false teachers now than they were in the apostles’ days; and, if we do no more, we should take as special measures as they did to secure the peace, harmony, and union of the flock. We have their example, and should follow it. Brethren of experience and of sound minds should assemble, and following the Word of God and the sanction of the Holy Spirit, should, with fervent prayer, lay hands upon those who have given full proof that they have received their commission of God, and set them apart to devote themselves entirely to His work. This act would show the sanction of the church to their going forth as messengers to carry the most solemn message ever given to men. EW 101.1

God will not entrust the care of His precious flock to men whose mind and judgment have been weakened by former errors that they have cherished, such as so-called perfectionism [see Appendix.] and Spiritualism, and who, by their course while in these errors, have disgraced themselves and brought reproach upon the cause of truth. Although they may now feel free from error and competent to go forth and to teach this last message, God will not accept them. He will not entrust precious souls to their care; for their judgment was perverted while in error, and is now weakened. The great and holy One is a jealous God, and He will have holy men to carry His truth. The holy law spoken by God from Sinai is a part of Himself, and holy men who are its strict observers will alone honor Him by teaching it to others. EW 101.2

The servants of God who teach the truth should be men of judgment. They should be men who can bear opposition and not get excited; for those who oppose the truth will pick at those who teach it, and every objection that can be produced, will be brought in its worst form to bear against the truth. The servants of God who bear the message must be prepared to remove these objections, with calmness and meekness, by the light of truth. Frequently opposers talk to ministers of God in a provoking manner, to call out something from them of the same nature, that they can make as much of it as possible and declare to others that the teachers of the commandments have a bitter spirit and are harsh, as has been reported. I saw that we must be prepared for objections, and with patience, judgment, and meekness, let them have the weight they deserve, not throw them away or dispose of them by positive assertions, and then bear down upon the objector, and manifest a hard spirit toward him; but give the objections their weight, then bring forth the light and the power of the truth, and let it outweigh and remove the errors. Thus a good impression will be made, and honest opposers will acknowledge that they have been deceived and that the commandment keepers are not what they have been represented to be. EW 102.1

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Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 303-4

God communicated with the devout prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch. “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Acts 13:2. These apostles were therefore dedicated to God in a most solemn manner by fasting and prayer and the laying on of hands; and they were sent forth to their field of labor among the Gentiles. SR 303.1

Both Paul and Barnabas had been laboring as ministers of Christ, and God had abundantly blessed their efforts, but neither of them had previously been formally ordained to the gospel ministry by prayer and the laying on of hands. They were now authorized by the church not only to teach the truth but to baptize and to organize churches, being invested with full ecclesiastical authority. This was an important era for the church. Though the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile had been broken down by the death of Christ, letting the Gentiles into the full privileges of the gospel, the veil had not yet been torn away from the eyes of many of the believing Jews, and they could not clearly discern to the end of that which was abolished by the Son of God. The work was now to be prosecuted with vigor among the Gentiles, and was to result in strengthening the church by a great ingathering of souls. SR 303.2

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