New Defender's Study Bible Notes
13:1 Niger. Simeon was evidently called “Niger” (a Latin word) because of his dark skin. There is a possibility that he was the Simon who carried Jesus’ cross.
13:1 Lucius. Certain ancient texts suggest that Lucius was actually Luke the physician, who wrote the gospel of Luke, and who first met Paul here at Antioch.
13:1 Herod the tetrarch. This Herod was Herod Antipas, who ruled Galilee during Jesus’ ministry.
13:2 the Holy Ghost. Thus the Holy Spirit is clearly a divine Person, not an influence of some kind. When occasion requires (as here), He speaks clearly.
13:5 in the synagogues. After being commissioned by the church for this first official missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas, with John Mark as their attendant, sailed to the island of Cyprus and its east-coast city, Salamis. The Greek word for “minister” here is understood by some authorities to mean that Mark was able to provide needed information to Paul and Barnabas, notably first-hand information about the death and resurrection of Christ. As became their regular practice, they went first to the city’s synagogues to preach the Word (note Romans 1:16).
13:13 Paphos. Paphos was the capital of the province of Cyprus. Perga was on the southern coast on the Asia Minor mainland. Paul’s destination of Pisidian Antioch was in the Galatian highlands in the interim.
13:13 John departing from them. At this point, John Mark left the party for unknown reasons. Paul, in any case, thought his departure was unwarranted (note Acts 15:36-40).
13:16 ye that fear God. By the term, “ye that fear God,” Paul meant the God-fearing Gentiles in the audience as distinct from the Jews. In many cases, he got more response from the former than the latter. These God-fearing Gentiles were not religious proselytes to Judaism (Acts 13:43), but did believe in the true God and respected the Old Testament Scriptures. Paul, as a visiting Pharisee, was invited to speak in the synagogue, and used this opening as a God-appointed means to preach the gospel.
13:20 four hundred and fifty years. It has been difficult to reconcile this 450 years, which ostensibly seem to cover the period of the judges, with the 480 years given in I Kings 6:1 for the period from the exodus to the beginning of the construction of the temple. A number of suggested harmonizations have been proposed. Many—perhaps most—modern authorities argue that the Greek text should be translated: “And after about the space of four hundred and fifty years, he gave unto them judges until Samuel the prophet.” This would then correspond to the 400 years in Egypt (Acts 7:6) plus 40 years in the wilderness (Acts 13:18) plus about 10 years for the conquest and division of the land (Acts 14:19). On the other hand, if the text is accepted as it stands, one can obtain the 480 years of I Kings 6:1 by subtracting the periods recorded in Judges when the Israelites were out of fellowship with God from the 450 years. These total 111 years, as follows: 8 years in captivity to Mesopotamia (Judges 3:8); 18 years to Moab (Judges 3:14); 20 years to the Canaanites (Judges 4:3); 7 years to Midian (Judges 6:1); 18 years to the Philistines and Ammonites (Judges 10:8); and 40 years to the Philistines (Judges 13:1). This leaves 339 years actually living under the judges’ leadership in fellowship with God. To this number must be added the 40 years in the wilderness, approximately 17 years under Joshua, 40 years under Saul (Acts 13:21), 40 years under David (I Kings 2:11) plus 4 years under Solomon to the beginning of the temple (I Kings 6:1). This totals 480 years, but both the 450 years of Acts 13:20 and the period of conquest under Joshua, assumed at 17 years, are not necessarily exact. This also assumes that Samuel is included in the 450 years of the judges.
13:34 on this wise. See Isaiah 55:3.
13:35 another psalm. Psalm 16:10.
13:40 in the prophets. Acts 13:41 is quoting from Habakkuk 1:5.
13:47 light of the Gentiles. See Isaiah 42:6-7. It is significant that this prophecy in Isaiah is preceded by a strong affirmation of God’s work of creating and sustaining His creation.
13:48 ordained to eternal life. A marvelous and mysterious aspect of God’s purposes in creation shines through here. Most of these Gentiles who believed were probably among those who had already come to “fear God” (Acts 13:16,26), even though they had not been willing to become Jewish proselytes. When they heard that, because of Christ, “all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39), “they were glad,” and responded in saving faith in Christ. God had already “ordained to eternal life” those who would believe, and He had led Paul and Barnabas to come and preach the gospel to these Gentiles so that they could learn how to be saved (just as He had sent Peter to Cornelius), and yet they “believed” on Christ by their own free will. There are numerous places in Scripture where these seemingly paradoxical truths are juxtaposed (i.e., divine predestination vs. human freedom; e.g., Acts 2:23; 4:27-28) without any suggestion that this creates a problem. Our finite minds may be incapable of comprehending and resolving such paradoxes, but that does not mean both cannot be resolved in the infinite mind of God. It may be something like the two sides of a coin. We can only see one side at a time, but both are real and true.
13:52 filled. There is no indication that these new Gentile believers spoke in other languages when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. This phenomenon uniquely occurred at the first coming of the Holy Spirit to the Jews and at His first coming to Gentiles (Acts 2:4; 10:44-46), but none of the many other references to the filling of the Spirit mention it. The filling of the Spirit, the baptism of the Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit (including the gift of tongues) are all different things. Under certain special conditions, they have occasionally occurred simultaneously, but this is not the norm.