A Gospel for Everyone

KEY VERSE: “On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” —Acts 14:27, New International Version

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Acts 13:1-5; 14:1-7, 24-27

THE NEW CHURCH at Antioch selected elders to teach them, using guidelines described later by the Apostle Paul in Titus 1:5-9 and I Timothy 3:1-7. There were five who taught the church, all having diverse backgrounds and coming from other lands to Antioch. Barnabas and Saul were among them.

The Antioch church was composed of both Jews and Gentiles. As a church, they were eager to find more of the Lord’s people in other lands. Being moved by the Holy Spirit to this activity, they selected Saul (or Paul) and Barnabas to perform it.

Their strategy was to go to the homeland of Barnabas first, and then to continue toward the home territory of Paul. Their plan made sense, since both brethren were familiar with their respective home territories. Another part of their course of action was to go first to the synagogues (Acts 13:5), for the Jews were familiar with God’s Word, and the Gentiles were not.

The Adversary tried to hinder the work by using Elymas, a sorcerer, but Paul withstood him, and blinded him, which made a lasting impression upon Sergius Paulus—the proconsul of the area—and he believed, being astonished at the teaching of God’s Word.—Acts 13:6-12

Paul and Barnabas left Cyprus to sail toward Pamphylia, and went their way toward another city named Antioch, in the province of Pisidia, part of Galatia. As was their custom, they went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, and were asked to speak by the rulers of the synagogue.

This gave Paul the opportunity he sought, and he delivered a powerful historical oration concerning God’s dealings with the nation of Israel, and leading up to Jesus. Many Jews and proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas. When the next Sabbath arrived, almost the whole city came out to hear Paul. But, out of envy, the Jews opposed him, and eventually drove them out of the area.

They next went to Iconium, where again they first went to the synagogue, and where their message was accepted by both Jews and Greeks. But the unbelieving Jews enlisted the aid of Gentiles to oppose them, and plotted to mistreat and stone them. They fled to Lycaonia, and the cities of Lystra and Derbe. “There they preached the Gospel.”—Acts 14:7

Eventually, in Lystra, Paul was stoned and left for dead, but miraculously survived. He was taken to Derbe where he recovered from his wounds.

Being concerned about the new brethren they had found, they decided to return using the same route by which they had come, stopping in every city to organize and strengthen the brethren. We read, “When they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14:23) The word ‘ordained’ is a translation of a Greek word, which means ‘to elect by stretching forth the hand’.

When they returned home to Antioch, they “reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”—Acts 14:27, NIV

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |