Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Acts 13:15

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

After the reading of the law and the prophets - A certain portion of the law and another of the prophets, was read every Sabbath; and the law was so divided as to be read over once every year. In the notes at the conclusion of Deuteronomy, I have considered this subject at large, and given a complete table of the Parashoth, sections of the law, and Haphtaroth, sections of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath in the year in the Jewish synagogues. To have an exact view of every part of the Jewish ecclesiastical economy, the reader will do well to consult the above mentioned table, and those which follow it: they have been drawn up with great care, attention, and indescribable labor.

It has been a question, in what language were the law and prophets read in a synagogue of Pisidia, for in that district Strabo informs us that four languages were spoken, viz. the Pisidian, the Solyman, the Greek, and the Lydian. Dr. Lightfoot conjectures, with great probability, that the Scriptures were read in the original Hebrew; and that an interpreter tendered the reading to the people in their mother tongue. There is no doubt that the Jews and proselytes understood the Greek tongue well; and they certainly had the Septuagint version among them.

The rulers of the synagogue - These were the persons whose business it was to read the appointed sections, and to take care of the synagogue and its concerns; and to see that all was done decently and in order.

Sent unto them - Seeing them to be Jews, they wished them to give some suitable address to the people, i.e. to the Jews who were then engaged in Divine worship; for the whole of the following discourse, which greatly resembles that of St. Stephen, Acts 7:1-53, is directed to the Jews alone; and this was probably spoken either in Hebrew or Greek.

Ye men and brethren - Ανδρες αδελφοι, Men brethren, a Hebraism for, "Ye men who are our brethren," i.e. Jews, as we ourselves are; but ανδρες is often an expletive, as we have already seen. See the note on Acts 7:2.

If ye have any word of exhortation - Ει εϚι λογος εν ὑμιν παρακλησεως· If ye have any subject of consolation, any word of comfort to us, who are sojourners in this strange land, speak it. The Consolation of Israel was an epithet of the Messiah among the Jews; and it is probable that it was in reference to him that the rulers of the synagogue spoke. That παρακλησις is to be understood here as meaning consolation, and this in reference to the Messiah, the whole of the following discourse will prove to the attentive reader; in which Paul shows the care and protection of God towards his people Israel, and the abundant provision he had made for their salvation by Jesus Christ. They wished for consolation, and he declared unto them glad tidings, and many felt the power and comfort of the doctrine of the cross.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And after the reading of the law and the prophets - See notes on Luke 4:16.

The rulers of the synagogue - Those were persons who had the general charge of the synagogue and its service, to keep everything in order, and to direct the affairs of public worship. They designated the individuals who were to read the Law; and called on those whom they pleased to address the people, and had the power also of inflicting punishment, and of excommunicating, etc. (Schleusner), Mark 5:22, Mark 5:35-36, Mark 5:38; Luke 8:49; Luke 13:14; Acts 18:8, Acts 18:17. Seeing that Paul and Barnabas were Jews, though strangers, they sent to them, supposing it probable that they would wish to address their brethren.

Men and brethren - An affectionate manner of commencing a discourse, recognizing them as their own countrymen, and as originally of the same religion.

Say on - Greek: “speak!”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
When we come together to worship God, we must do it, not only by prayer and praise, but by the reading and hearing of the word of God. The bare reading of the Scriptures in public assemblies is not enough; they should be expounded, and the people exhorted out of them. This is helping people in doing that which is necessary to make the word profitable, to apply it to themselves. Every thing is touched upon in this sermon, which might best prevail with Jews to receive and embrace Christ as the promised Messiah. And every view, however short or faint, of the Lord's dealings with his church, reminds us of his mercy and long-suffering, and of man's ingratitude and perverseness. Paul passes from David to the Son of David, and shows that this Jesus is his promised Seed; a Saviour to do that for them, which the judges of old could not do, to save them from their sins, their worst enemies. When the apostles preached Christ as the Saviour, they were so far from concealing his death, that they always preached Christ crucified. Our complete separation from sin, is represented by our being buried with Christ. But he rose again from the dead, and saw no corruption: this was the great truth to be preached.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 170-6

This desertion caused Paul to judge Mark unfavorably, and even severely, for a time. Barnabas, on the other hand, was inclined to excuse him because of his inexperience. He felt anxious that Mark should not abandon the ministry, for he saw in him qualifications that would fit him to be a useful worker for Christ. In after years his solicitude in Mark's behalf was richly rewarded, for the young man gave himself unreservedly to the Lord and to the work of proclaiming the gospel message in difficult fields. Under the blessing of God, and the wise training of Barnabas, he developed into a valuable worker. AA 170.1

Paul was afterward reconciled to Mark and received him as a fellow laborer. He also recommended him to the Colossians as one who was a fellow worker “unto the kingdom of God,” and “a comfort unto me.” Colossians 4:11. Again, not long before his own death, he spoke of Mark as “profitable” to him “for the ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11. AA 170.2

After the departure of Mark, Paul and Barnabas visited Antioch in Pisidia and on the Sabbath day went into the Jewish synagogue and sat down. “After the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.” Being thus invited to speak, “Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.” Then followed a wonderful discourse. He proceeded to give a history of the manner in which the Lord had dealt with the Jews from the time of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and how a Saviour had been promised, of the seed of David, and he boldly declared that “of this man's seed hath God according to His promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: when John had first preached before His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not He. But, behold, there cometh One after me, whose shoes of His feet I am not worthy to loose.” Thus with power he preached Jesus as the Saviour of men, the Messiah of prophecy. AA 170.3

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