Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Acts 13:34

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

No more to return to corruption - To the grave, to death, the place and state of corruption; for so we should understand the word διαφθοραν in the text.

The sure mercies of David - Τα ὁσια Δαβιδ τα πιϚα . These words are quoted literatim from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 55:3; where the Hebrew is הנאמנים דוד חסדי chasdey David ha -neemanim, of which the Greek is a faithful translation; and which sure mercies of David St. Paul considers as being fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ. From this application of the words, it is evident that the apostle considered the word David as signifying the Messiah; and then the sure or faithful mercies, being such as relate to the new covenant, and the various blessings promised in it, are evidently those which are sealed and confirmed to mankind by the resurrection of Christ; and it is in this way that the apostle applies them. Had there not been the fullest proof of the resurrection of Christ, not one of the promises of the new covenant could have been considered as sure or faithful. If he did not rise from the dead, then, as said the apostle, your faith and our preaching are vain, 1 Corinthians 15:14.

The following observations of Bp. Pearce are judicious: "For the sense of these words, we must have recourse to what God said to David in 2 Samuel 7:11, 2 Samuel 7:12, etc., explained by what is said in Psalm 89:3, Psalm 89:4, Psalm 89:28, Psalm 89:29, Psalm 89:36, where frequent mention is made of a covenant established by God with David, and sworn to by God, that David's seed should endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven, and as the sun, to all generations. This covenant and this oath are the sure and sacred things of which Isaiah, Isaiah 55:3, speaks; and Luke in this place. And Paul understood them as relating to the kingdom of Jesus, (the Son of David), which was to be an everlasting kingdom; and if an everlasting one, then it was necessary that Jesus should have been (as he was) raised from the dead; and, to support this argument, Paul, in the next verse, strengthens it with another, drawn from Psalm 16:10."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And as concerning - In further proof of this. To show that he actually did it, he proceeds to quote another passage of Scripture.

No more to return to corruption - The word “corruption” is usually employed to denote “putrefaction, or the mouldering away of a body in the grave; its returning to its native dust.” But it is certain (Acts 13:35. See the notes on Acts 2:27) that the body of Christ never in this sense saw corruption. The word is therefore used to denote “death, or the grave, the cause and place of corruption.” The word is thus used in the Septuagint. It means here simply that he should not die again.

He said on this wise - He said thus ὅυτως houtōsI will give you - This quotation is made from Isaiah 55:3. It is quoted from the Septuagint, with a change of but one word, not affecting the sense. In Isaiah the passage does not refer particularly to the resurrection of the Messiah, nor is it the design of Paul to affirm that it does. His object in this verse is not to prove that he would rise from the dead, but that, being risen, he would not again die. That the passage in Isaiah refers to the Messiah there can be no doubt, Acts 13:1, Acts 13:4. The passage here quoted is an address to the people, an assurance to them that the promise made to David would be performed, a solemn declaration that he would make an everlasting covenant with them through the Messiah, the promised descendant of David.

The sure mercies of David - The word “mercies” here refers to the promise made to David; the mercy or favor shown to him by promising to him a successor that should not fail to sit on his throne, 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:4-5; Psalm 132:11-12. These mercies and promises are called “sure,” as being true or unfailing; they would certainly be accomplished. Compare 2 Corinthians 1:20. The word “David” here does not refer, as many have supposed, to the Messiah, but to the King of Israel. God made to David a promise, a certain pledge; he bestowed on him this special mercy, in promising that he should have a successor who should sit forever on his throne. This promise was understood by the Jews, and is often referred to in the New Testament, as relating to the Messiah. Paul here says that that promise is fulfilled. The only question is how it refers to the subject on which he was discoursing. The point was not mainly to prove his resurrection, but to show particularly that he would never die again, or that he would forever live and reign. And the argument is, that as God had promised that David should have a successor who should sit forever on his throne, and as this prediction now terminated in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, it followed that, as that promise was sure and certain, he would never die again. He must live if the promise was fulfilled. And though he had been put to death, yet under that general promise there was a certainty that he would live again. It was impossible, the meaning is, that the Messiah, the promised successor of David, the perpetual occupier of his throne, should remain under the power of death. Under this assurance the church now reposes its hopes. Zion‘s King now lives, ever able to vindicate and save his people.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The resurrection of Christ was the great proof of his being the Son of God. It was not possible he should be held by death, because he was the Son of God, and therefore had life in himself, which he could not lay down but with a design to take it again. The sure mercies of David are that everlasting life, of which the resurrection was a sure pledge; and the blessings of redemption in Christ are a certain earnest, even in this world. David was a great blessing to the age wherein he lived. We were not born for ourselves, but there are those living around us, to whom we must study to be serviceable. Yet here is the difference; Christ was to serve all generations. May we look to Him who is declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead, that by faith in him we may walk with God, and serve our generation according to his will; and when death comes, may we fall asleep in him, with a joyful hope of a blessed resurrection.
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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