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​The Response to
Justification Offered

Acts 13:42-52

Acts 13:42
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

The word “Gentiles” is not in the text. When the Judeans were gone out of the synagogue, they besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Consider these other versions.

Acts 13:42
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 
New International Version

Acts 13:42
As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 
English Standard Version

These guys just heard very harsh accusations against their leadership in Jerusalem and they were silent. The leadership in Jerusalem did not know God’s Word, they rejected and then murdered the Messiah. This is the Council, the Sanhedrin, Paul spoke of being so devilish. In contrast, the leadership of this synagogue wanted to hear that teaching again next Sabbath. Further, they are showing excitement for what they heard.

Acts 13:43
Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

Now Acts chapter 13 is going to pick up the account on the next Sabbath but you have to conclude there were conversations going on throughout the week explaining the fulness of this justification and this gospel of God’s grace.

Acts 13:44
And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

There was excitement in the city of Antioch for the words of God. 

Acts 13:45
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

The text says the “Judeans” were “filled” with “envy.” There is no identifying aspect to the words in this verse to say which Judeans were filled with envy. But there is insight within God’s Word to help our understanding.

The Greek word translated envy is zelos and its root zeo means to boil as with an emotion. This shows us that the problems started showing up during the week because bringing something to a boil takes time. The word for filled is pimplemi which is to fill to overflowing. A word which goes well with the word for boiling, as in boiling over, which we will witness in the verses to come. 

Who was the source of the envy?

God shows us that envy exists between peers.

Exodus 20:3
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Exodus 34:14
For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

God shows us in Exodus that jealousy and envy are across the lines of peers, doctor to doctor, mason to mason, teacher to teacher, God to god.

As the excitement grew within the community for the teaching on Justification the leadership of the synagogue grew more and more envious. How can we tell excitement to hear about Justification grew? Because almost the whole city came together the next Sabbath. Almost the whole city was not at the synagogue the previous Sabbath, word of mouth grew and spread during the week. The synagogue leaders heard this chatter during the week, then, when they saw the crowd, they could not contain their envy, it boiled over!

Acts 13:45 
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

Contradicting is the Greek word antilego. Anti means opposed to or instead of, (consider antichrist). Then lego means to speak. Lego is the root word of logos. So, contradicting means the synagogue leaders had their own version of a Messiah and means of justification, and they gave it by interrupting Paul as he spoke. 

Why? What caused the change? 


Simply because Paul drew a larger crowd than they had ever drawn for a Sabbath fellowship. 

Not because they disagreed with his doctrine. 
Not because his doctrine challenged the doctrine of Moses.
Not because of his disrespect toward the Sanhedrin.
But because he had a bigger audience!

As Paul was sharing what he had taught the previous Sabbath the synagogue leaders would interrupt Paul to speak “their version of the truth.” Paul had drawn too many people to hear the words of God in the eyes of the synagogue leaders. The synagogue leaders wanted to make Paul and Barnabas look not just wrong, but evil also, that is the blaspheming.

Blaspheming is blasphemeo in the Greek. It means to speak evil of, to destroy the reputation of another. It is also in the present tense and therefore, their words were continual. 

Acts 13:46
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

They are rejecting eternal life! 

The leadership of this synagogue are rejecting eternal life in favor of arrogance born out of jealousy and envy. Likewise, any who follow their lead are rejecting eternal life with God for the approval of their religious leadership.

Acts 13:46
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 
New International Version

Acts 13:46
And Paul and Barnabas spoke boldly and said, it was necessary that the word of God should be first spoken to you; but, since ye thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the nations.
Darby Translation

Who is more foolish? The man who rejects God’s offer of justification due to his own vanity and pride, or the one who follows that jealous man?

Acts 13:47-48
For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

From this last verse some have concluded God predestines some to be believers and some to never believe. But this logic forgets to incorporate the remote context.

1 Timothy 2:4
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

God’s Word cannot contradict itself, or it is not the words of God!

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

God has seen our choices before the foundation of the world. Those who have chosen to believe the record of His son, God has predestined to eternal life. Those who have chosen to reject the accomplished work of His beloved son have, by their choice, become predestined to eternal separation from God.

God’s foreknowledge comes before His predestination. Consider Isaiah.

Isaiah 46:10
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

God does not assign anyone to be a believer or an unbeliever. God knows the end from the beginning. Consider those words carefully before rejecting what God has declared.

God does not share with us exactly how long Paul and Barnabas were in the area of Antioch of Pisidia speaking God’s Word, but we learn God’s Word is published throughout all the region.

Acts 13:49
And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

The word published is diaphero in the Greek and it means to carry throughout. The word “throughout” is dia in the Greek. So, that the text reads diaphero dia bringing great emphasis to how completely the Word of God, concerning justification spread throughout the region. Paul and Barnabas, and new believers, carried God’s Word throughout the entire area. But the Adversary did not slow down or shy away from accusations.

Acts 13:50
But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

Now let me remind you of Paul and Barnabas’ first encounter in Cyprus where they met Elymas, the child of the Devil. There does not appear to be a child of the Devil in Antioch, but the methods of physically resisting God’s Word are similar.

The physical methods of Elymas were to withstand and to seek to turn away. We saw these in Acts 13:8. These religious leaders went to the influential men and women of the city and raised persecution and expelled them from their region. The Greek word translated “coasts” is horion and means boundaries, region, or district.

Notice this comes after Paul and Barnabas had held forth God’s Word diaphero, carried throughout the region. It takes time to carry God’s Word throughout an entire area. It also takes time to raise a persecution by stirring the devout and honorable women and the chief men of the city.

The word “stirred” is from the compound Greek words para, alongside of and otryno, which means to spur. Reread verse 45 and look at the actions of the synagogue leadership, who were contradicting and blaspheming. 

Contradicting was antilegoAnti, meaning against and lego, meaning the words. They were against the words spoken by Paul and they were blaspheming,

Darby translation handled this as, contradicting and speaking injuriously.
Amplified Bible said, contradicting and slandering Paul.
Holman Christian Standard Bible said, opposed what Paul was saying by insulting him.
Young’s Literal Translation says, contradicting and speaking evil.
Smith’s Literal Translation says, contradicting and defaming.
Worsley New Testament says, opposing and reviling him.

Remember the example God gave of jealousy in Genesis chapter 37 when the brothers of Joseph conspired against him.

Genesis 37:11
And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

Genesis 37:19-20
And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

The leadership of the synagogue were jealous of Paul, they were envious like some of the brothers of Joseph. The leaders of the synagogue were looking for blood!

Acts 13:51
But they shook off the dust of their feet against them and came unto Iconium.

“Shook off the dust of their feet” is an Orientialism. An orientialism is a custom that is unique to the time or the geographic location. It is also the figure of speech Parcemia, which is a wayside saying, or Proverb, in common use.

Jesus used this custom in Matthew chapter 10 when he sent out the twelve. 

Matthew 10:5-7
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Always remember to keep what you are reading to the administration to which it applies. Principles can extend from one administration to another, but doctrine is anchored to specific administrations. These words are being spoken in the Christ Administration.

Matthew 10:8-14
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Shake the dust off your feet. No animosity, no hard feelings. Like in the record in the Gospel of Matthew, Paul said, since you decided you are unworthy, we will move on to the next city.

Matthew 10:16
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

The Greek word for harmless refers to the twelve being unmixed with evil, they should carry no animosity toward someone who deemed themselves unworthy. As for the Apostle Paul, he is a Roman citizen and Antioch is a Roman Colony. You cannot kick a Roman out of a Roman city. Paul could have caused them some trouble. But he had no animosity. 

Acts 13:52
And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

The disciples were filled, pleroo, to capacity, with joy and God’s gift of holy spirit. 

Some think the Epistle to the Galatians was written after Paul returned to Antioch in Syria. However, the issues expressed and handled in Galatians do not fit the description of the believers in Acts 13:52. They were “filled with joy” and “filled with holy spirit,” they were not filled with doubt and questions.

How long were Paul and Barnabas in the area of Antioch of Pisidia?

I cannot answer that question exactly. But it takes more than a few days to carry God’s Word throughout an area, diaphero. It also takes more than a few days for someone to hear God’s Word for the first time and then be known as a disciple. This word disciple appears for the first time, in the context of a believer in the Administration of Grace, here in Acts 13.

From Matthew chapter 5 through Acts chapter 21 we encounter the Greek word translated disciple 269 times. It can be clearly seen how the term disciple was used during the Christ Administration. A disciple was a follower not only of the teachings but also the teacher himself. But it goes beyond this simple understanding for a disciple lived with his master, as it was available. A disciple experienced life with his master as situations arose. Consider the qualifications to replace Judas.

Acts 1:21-22
Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

“Companied” is the Greek word synerchomai meaning to come and go together. The disciples came and went together with Jesus, as he went in and out among them. They lived with him day by day, situation by situation.

Why? The reason is because Jesus had a clear view of God, and his disciples only had the view Jesus shared of God. A disciple has the view of what his master shares with him. The same was true for those who learned from Abraham, and those who learned from Moses, and those who learned from Samuel in the school of the prophets, and those who became the disciples of John the Baptist.

Disciples came to pass because of man’s limited spiritual view and understanding of God after Adam sinned in the Garden. In the Paradise Administration God created His gift of holy spirit within every living person, meaning both Adam and Eve. Perfect fellowship with God, everyone had a front row seat in God’s living room and in God’s Kingdom. This was God’s original design. Every person having a front row seat to God’s heart and God’s knowledge in light of their responsibility.

Man’s primary source for learning was God by way of His gift of holy spirit in the individual. This is how it was, and this is how it will be. 

John 6:45a
It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God…

Jeremiah 31:31-34
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

God’s desire was to instruct His family personally. God wanted everyone to have a front row seat in His living room and to His heart. Disciples became necessary after the fall of mankind. It has never been God’s primary will, for one man’s view of God, to be the back of another man’s head.

Acts chapter 13 opens the transition into the Administration of Grace, which does not officially begin until Acts chapter 28 when the Apostle Paul completes the writing of the doctrine, the reproof, and the correction for the administration.

When Sergius Paulus believes in the beginning of Acts 13 he is saved according to the doctrine of the Administration of Grace. This time of transition does not negate the opening of the Administration of Grace in Acts 13 but allows the necessary time for the Revealing Administration to be held in abeyance.

Matthew 28:19a
Go ye therefore, and teach [matheteuo = disciple] all nations…

During these years of transition, the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, who were sent out to disciple the world will complete their ministries.

The term disciple is not used in any of the Pauline Epistles because God has not called any of those who believe in the Administration of Grace, to be the disciple of another man. We are built together for a habitation of God, who has adopted us as His dear children. We learn from one another, and we learn from our Lord, and we learn from our Heavenly Father.

1 Corinthians 2:10
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

© Auxano Ministry 2022

A Journey through the Book of Acts