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“THAT AT 
New Studiesin aeke 
Edward I, Bosworth 














Theology Library 
SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY 


Gali ornia 


AT CLAREMONT 





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Pew Studies in Acts 


Other Bible Studies by Dean Bosworth. 


STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST. 
Cloth, 75 cents. 

Based upon the Gospels by Mark and John with 
briefer surveys of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. 

THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS AND HIS 
APOSTLES. Cloth, 75 cents, 

Especially adapted for advanced class work in Church, 
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sonal Study. 

CHRIST IN EVERYDAY LIFE. Thin paper, 
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Bible text and comment for 245 days’ devotional 
reading. Many apt quotations and suggestive sentence 
prayers. An aid to the morning watch. ‘ 

THIRTY STUDIES ABOUT JESUS. Art leather 
cloth, small pocket size, 50 cents; paper 25 cents. 

These studies cover the main points in the life and 
teaching of Christ. 





NEW STUDIES 


IN ACTS 


oH ae =f 
EDWARD I. BOSWORTH ole 
Dean of Oberlin Theological Seminary 


ASSOCIATION PRESS 


New York: 347 Mapison AvENUE 
1919 


Copyright, 1908, 
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF YOUNG MEN’S 
CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATIONS 


Table of Contents 


Introductory Note on the Author of the Book of Acts....eesses ix 


PART I 


Tue Messianic CHurcH Is ESTABLISHED IN JERUSALEM THROUGH 
THE TESTIMONY OF DISCIPLES oF JESUS EMPOWERED BY THE HoLy 
Spirit, In SPITE OF THE OPPOSITION OF THE JEWISH PRIESTS. 
I:I—6:7 

Stupy I.—General Survey of the Book of Acts, and Jesus’ Pro- 
gram for the Messianic Movement. Chapter I........e00+05 393 


Srupy II—The Empowering of the Witnesses and the First 
Ebestumony, Chapter 22025) .0.5\02 <i aig tela avaisis|crotstepoieie’ se sine 


3 10 
Srupy I]I.—The Failure of the Priests in Their Effort to Stop 
the estimony,- CHApters, 32.1246 BT on. vcs <iscip ies lveisis sistee Fes 17 
Stupy IV.—The Movement Is Firmly Established in Jerusalem. 
Chapters AS32—0 7 Je csvset ol esisalp one slo'sieps acca E apiotes sie steer aA 
PART II 


Tue Witnesses Becin to Move Our From JERUSALEM TOWARD 
ForEIGNERS. 6:8—9Q: 31 
Strupy V.—The Witness, Stephen, Is Killed. 6:8—7:60....... 33 


Stupy VI.—Persecution Scatters the Witnesses Throughout Ju- 
pe datid Satitaticos 252 1-AOcic o's bejsisicic.ale a sicieslesoisie ain eis disous’e Seek) 

Stupy VII.—Jesus Selects a Great Witness for the Foreign 
WOT On -Slieccicceveaisiscsies'ssclde'sccleisicisiesiecies se scleialasiei Af, 


PART III 


Tue Testimony Is Borne py Gop’s Di1rEcTION FOR THE First TIME 
TO JEHOVAH-WoRSHIPING FOREIGNERS. 9: 32—I2: 24 


Strupy VIII.—Jehovah-Worshiping Foreigners in Cesarea Re- 
ceive the Testimony. Q: 32—I11:18......eceeeeeceeeeeeecs SF 


Srupy IX.—A New Christian Center Among Foreigners in 
Syrian Antioch and a Startling Demonstration in the Old 


Center, 1: IQ—12:24......--eerececccccccvcccsccscesenes 64 
v 


vi CONTENTS 
PART IV 


Tue Testimony Is Borne FoR THE First TIME TO FOREIGNERS 
Tuat Have No CONNECTION WITH THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE. 
12: 25—16:5 

Strupy X.—In South Galatia Paul and Barnabas Learn That 
Pagan Gentiles May Accept the Testimony. 12:25—I4:20. 73 

Stupy XI.—The Jerusalem Church Endorses the New Work 


Among Gentiles. 14: 2I—16:5.........seccecceecee Spee. te: 
PART V 


Tue Testimony Is CARRIED TO GENTILES IN THE ROMAN PROVINCES, 
MaceponiA, ACHAIA AND ASIA By PAUL AND His ASSOCIATES 
UnNbER THE GUIDANCE OF GOD AND IN SPITE OF JEWISH OPPO- 
SITION. 16: 6—19: 20. 

Stupy XII.—Paul and His Associates Carry the Testimony into 
Macedoniawa 16702-17215. ccemie enn cstes cise cmte steeteetctrenents g! 


Stupy XIII—Paul and His Associates Carry the Testimony 
into, Achalamel 7/21 O— Io LOsaecta lets eacioren telecine Repo pEAo Oe 


Stupy XIV.—Paul and His Associates Carry the Testimony 
into Asia. 18: 19—IQ: 20...... Hao ican sesictie speiswis sie cteeelOS 


PAR sev 


THe TESTIMONY FINALLY ESTABLISHED BY PAUL UNpER Gop’s D1- 
RECTION IN ROME, THE CENTER OF THE GENTILE WORLD, IN SPITE 
OF FIERCE JEWISH OPPOSITION. I9: 2I—28: 31. 

Stupy XV.—Paul Closes His Asiatic Work and Starts for Jeru- 
salem by Way of Macedonia and Achaia. 19: 2I—20:5.... 115 

Stupy XVI.—After Many Warnings on the Way, Paul Faces 


Deathyine) erusalem-e 20s O—- 2212 2 eee rear earere 122 
Stupy XVII.—After Two Years of Suspense in Prison, Paul 

Appealsito the) Himperorw 221 23=—25 cal aeehpeerererac ees 129 
Stupy XVIII—A Last Famous Testimony in Cesarea and a 

Perilous Voyage to Rome, 25: 13—287 10.5. --ssc-eceeee eee 136 


Stupy XIX.—The Testimony Finally Established in the Capital 
of the World. 28: 17-31... CHOSE SCOTCH OEE CE SCOR EO OE OT OAR 143 


PREFACE 


Tuese “New Studies in Acts” replace those published ten years 
ago in a book called “Studies in the Acts and Epistles.” The detailed 
treatment of the Epistles which constituted so large a part of the 
earlier book is omitted. A few pages of the treatment of Acts, of 
the Epistle of James, and some “Personal Thoughts,” found in the 
earlier book reappear here. But with these slight exceptions the 
book is entirely rewritten. I have used here and there considerable 
matter which I prepared during the years 1901-3 for a series of 
Studies in Acts published in the columns of “The Congregationalist 
and Christian World.” 

OxseERLIN, OHIO, August 1, 1908. 





INTRODUCTORY NOTE ON THE AUTHOR 
OF THE BOOK OF ACTS 


In his opening sentence the author speaks of an earlier work 
which he had dedicated to the friend referred to here. The occur- 
tence of the name Theophilus in our third Gospel (Luke 1: 1-4) 
identifies that Gospel as this earlier work. According to the early 
tradition of the church, as it appears in the period 160-200 A.D., 
the author’s name was Luke. A man named Luke (CLoukas) ais, 
mentioned three times in the New Testament among the compan-* 
ions of the great missionary apostle, Paul. It appears from Paul’s 
letter to the Colossians (4:14) that he was a physician. Probably 
Paul at times availed himself of his professional services. Colos- 
sians 4:11 seems to show that Luke was not a Jew. That he did 
missionary work in addition to the practice of his profession is in- 
dicated by Paul’s letter to Philemon (vy. 24). He was also with 
Paul in prison during the last months of Paul’s life (2 Timothy 
450,11). . 

The occurrence of the pronoun “we” in certain sections of the 
book of Acts probably shows that Luke was with Paul during the 
periods covered by these sections. If so, he joined him at a seaport 
in Asia Minor (16:10), went with him to Philippi in Macedonia 
(16:17), but no further (17:1). Some years later he rejoined Paul 
at Philippi (20:6), went with him to Jerusalem (21:17), probably 
stayed in Palestine for the next two years (24:27), and certainly 
accompanied Paul on the perilous voyage to Rome (27: 1; 28:7, 16). 
According to one important manuscript Acts 11:28 reads: “As we 
were gathered together one of them, Agabus by name,” etc. If this 
treading is followed, Luke was with Paul in Syrian Antioch. 

Luke’s connection with Paul and his friends gave him unusual 
opportunity for gathering information regarding incidents with which 
he was not himself personally connected. He met men who were 
familiar with the beginning of the Christian movement in Jerusalem; 
e. g. Barnabas (11:28, according to the reading cited above) ; 
Mnason, an early disciple (21:16); James, the brother of Jesus 
(21.18) ; Silas, a Jerusalem man (16:19; 15:22); John Mark, who 

p> 


x INTRODUCTORY NOTE 


was a Jerusalem boy, the son of a prominent woman in the Jeru- 
salem church and well acquainted with Peter (Col. 4: 10, 14; Acts 
12: 11-12). In addition Luke probably spent the two years of 
Paul’s imprisonment in Cesarea (24: 27), making investigations. He 
would have had opportunity in Cesarea to consult those who were 
concerned with the remarkable experience in the Roman captain’s 
parlor described in chapter 10. Philip, the evangelist, in whose 
home he lodged (21:8) could have given him first-hand informa- 
tion about the work among the Samaritans and his famous ride with 
the Abyssinian chancellor, described in chapter 8. Paul himself 
could have given him details about the trial and death of Stephen, 
for he was himself present at the trial and at the execution (7:58). 

The extent to which the author made use of written sources in 
producing the book of Acts is too technical a question to be dis- 
cussed here. 


PART I 


THE MESSIANIC CHURCH IS ESTABLISHED IN JERU- 
SALEM THROUGH THE TESTIMONY OF DISCIPLES 
OF JESUS EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, IN 
SPITE OF THE OPPOSITION OF THE JEWISH 
PRIESTS. 1:1—6:7. 


Strupy I.—General Survey of the Book of Acts, and Jesus’ Pro- 
gram for the Messianic Movement. Chapter 1. 

Stupy II.—The Empowering of the Witnesses and the First Tes- 
timony. Chapter 2. 

Stupy III.—The Failure of the Priests in Their Effort to Stop 
the Testimony. 3: I—4: 31. 

Srupy I1V.—The Movement Is Firmly Established in Jerusalem. 
4: 32—6:7. 





NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 3 





Stupy I.—General Survep of the Book of Acts, anv Jesus’ 
Program for the Messianic fMovement, 1:1-26 


First Day: THe AuTHor AND His FRIEND, I: 1-2 


Read the “Introductory Note on the Author of the Book of Acts.” 

Theophilus is addressed in Luke 1:3 as “most excellent Theo- 
philus.” Perhaps he was a gentleman of some rank, for the same 
adjective is applied to the Roman procurators, Felix and Festus 
(Acts 23:26; 26:25). At the time when Luke’s Gospel was writ- 
ten Theophilus had perhaps just finished a course of instruction 
preparing him for church membership (Luke 1:4). If so, he is 
now a full member and perhaps for that reason no longer ad- 
dressed by the formal title, “most excellent.” (ZAHN.) 


“All that Jesus began both to do and to teach” (1:1). “We start 
then from this position. The person of Christ is the explanation of 
Christianity, its first cause, its perennial inspiration, its imperishable 
ideal. In Him our religion was first realized, and by Him created.” 


FAaIRBAIRN: Studies in the Life of Christ. — 


4 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy I.—General Survep of the Book of Acts, and Jesus’ 
Program for the fHessianic Movement, 131-26 


Seconp Day: THE AutTHor’s MAIN IDEA 


The author’s principal purpose is evidently not to give an account 
of the acts of all the apostles, for he pays little attention to any ex- 
cept Peter and Paul. Neither is it his purpose to give an account 
‘of the extension of the church throughout all the world, for he does 
not follow its growth in all directions from Jerusalem, He simply 
shows how Christianity ceased to be a Jewish sect and became a 
world religion. He shows, step by step, how it became evident that 
God meant foreigners, as well as Jews, to become Christians. The 
movement begins in Jerusalem, the Jewish capital, and ends in Rome, 
the world capital. Three things are always in his mind as he traces 
the development of the Jewish sect into a universal religion: (1) 
The fact that this new faith was propagated through the testimony 
of the disciples of Jesus, (2) constantly instigated and endorsed by 
God, and (3) in spite of the bitter opposition of the Jews. Read 
Acts 1:8, which forecasts the main trend of the book. Read also 
the climax of the history as it appears in Acts 28: 23-31, noticing 
the emphasis laid on testimony, Jewish opposition, Gentile respon- 
siveness, and the plan of God. The author may have had more than 
one purpose in mind, as will be noted later. His motive is pre- 
sumably that stated in his preface to his first volume. Luke 1: 1-4. 


God is steadily present in the life of the world. He is kindling 
high aspirations in the hearts of responsive men to-day as really as 
He kindled them in the hearts of Peter and Paul. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 5 





Stupy I.—General Survep of the Book of Acts, and Jesus’ 
Program for the Messianic FMovement. 1:1-26 


Tuirp Day: Tue Book In OUTLINE 


“The picture is cut up, as it were, into six panels, each labeled 
with a general summary of progress” (TuRNER, Hastings’ Dictionary 
of the Bible, vol. I, p. 421). Note these five seams which divide the 
book into its six parts, and that in each case progress is summarized: 
On 7500: 312612224" 162,5> 19: 20. 

Read only the special references given at the end of each para- 
graph below. 

Part I. 1:1—6:7. The Messianic church is established in Jeru- 
salem through the testimony of the disciples of Jesus empowered by 
the Holy Spirit, in spite of the opposition of the Jewish priests. 
Preset me 22a As tk tT ~ O27, 

Part II. 6:8—9:31. The witnesses begin to move out from Jeru- 
salem toward foreigners. Read 8:1; 9:15; 9:31. 

Part III. 9:32—12:24. The testimony is borne by God’s direc- 
tion for the first time to Jehovah-worshiping foreigners. Read 
IO: 1-5, 44-47; II: 20-21. 

Part IV. 12:25—16:5. The testimony is borne for the first time 
to foreigners that have no connection with the Jewish synagogue. 
Read 13: 2, 46-48; 15: 19-21. 

Part V. 16:6—19:20. The testimony is carried to Gentiles in 
the Roman provinces, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia, by Paul and his 
associates, under the guidance of God and in spite of Jewish oppo- 
sition. Read 16:10; 17:15; 19: 10, 21; 17:5; 18: 12. 

Part VI. 19:21—28:31. The testimony finally established by 
Paul under God’s direction in Rome, the center of the Gentile 
world, in spite of fierce Jewish opposition. Read 21:27, 31-33; 
232113; 25:12; 28; 16, 30-31. 


Christianity is more than a scheme for saving an individual soul. 
It is a great world movement inspired by Jesus Christ, with which 
men are called upon to identify themselves unreservedly and with 
sense of exhilaration. 


6 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy I.—General Survep of the Book of Acts, anv Jesus’ 
Program for the Messianic Movement. 1:1-26 


FourtH Day: Tue REVIVAL OF A GREAT Hope. 1: 1-5 


Read 1:1-5. The dominant idea of Jesus’ teaching had been 
what the Jews commonly called “the Kingdom of God.” Jesus 
had represented it to be a world-civilization in which every man 
would be a true son of the Heavenly Father and a true brother 
to his fellow men. The priests and rabbis, the ecclesiastical 
“machine,” had found Jesus interfering with the realization of 
their ambitions and had consequently killed Him. The death of 
Jesus had been followed by a “resurrection.” His death had been 
the death of the hope of His disciples, and His resurrection had 
been its revival. During the six weeks immediately following His 
resurrection, when He occasionally had interviews with them, He 
was constantly talking about the Kingdom of God. Read v. 3. 
He had unabated confidence in the practicability of His vision. At 
the end of about six wecks He met them in Jerusalem and told 
them not to leave the city until a certain mysteriously significant 
event should occur. 

Read Acts 1:4-5 and also the author’s reference to this event 
in his first volume, Luke 24: 48-49. Some of Jesus’ disciples had 
earlier been disciples of the famous prophet in the wilderness, 
John the Baptist. John had appealed to all of his countrymen 
who regarded the New Order, “The Kingdom of God,” as immi- 
nent, to indicate their penitent aspiration for moral purity by be- 
ing baptized with water. Such a ceremony had long been cus- 
tomary in the case of foreigners who wished to become Jews, but 
John asked all of his own countrymen to engage in the ceremony. 
He spoke of it, however, as something secondary and simply pre- 
liminary to a higher experience which the Messiah would afford 
them when He should appear. Read Luke 3:16. The Messiah 
would purify not theit bodies, but their spirits. John had died with- 
out seeing his expectation realized, but Jesus now assures His dis- 
ciples that the long-expected mysterious event is not far distant. 


The undying Spirit of Jesus Christ is irrevocably committed to 
the establishment of a civilization of brotherly men on the earth. He 
keeps the idea in the minds of men. After nineteen centuries men 
are still with confident hope “speaking the things concerning the 
Kingdom of God.” 


NEW. STUDIES IN 'ACTS 7 





Stupy I.—General Survep of the Book of Acts, and Jesus’ 
Program for the Messianic Movement, 1:1-26 


FirtH Day: Jesus’ Program A CAMPAIGN OF TESTIMONY. 
1:6-11 


Read 1:6-9. The disciples of Jesus evidently share the current 
Jewish conception of the Kingdom of God. In general it was ex- 
pected that the Kingdom would be a political state, composed of 
pious Jews living according to the law of Moses, over which the 
Messiah would reign with Jerusalem as His capital, and subject to 
which in some indefinite relation would be the other nations of the 
earth. The disciples inquire whether the promised “baptism with 
the Holy Spirit,” so soon to occur (v. 5), will mark the time when 
Jesus will make His long-expected Messianic demonstration and in- 
augurate the New Kingdom. Jesus says the date of the Messianic 
demonstration is God’s secret. Read v. 7. See also Mark 13: 32. 

The disciples have long had an ambitious dream of “power,” 
wanting to be the chief officials in the new empire. See Mark 9: 34; 
10: 35-37. Jesus, who sees that their minds are still full of this vain 
dream, says with quiet humor that they will soon receive “power,” 
although not the kind of power they have anticipated, nor to be 
used for the purposes they have in mind. 

Then Jesus lays before them the program of His Messianic move- 
ment: Men empowered by the Spirit of God are to start from Jeru- 
salem and make conquest of the world by a campaign of testimony. 
The civilization of brotherly men can be established if disciples of 
Jesus in fellowship with the Spirit of their living Lord give report 
in word and deed of their experience with Jesus. To what were 
these original disciples to bear witness? To what does a modern 
disciple bear witness? 

Read vv. 9-11. What would Peter have said if some one had 
asked him how soon he expected Jesus to return and inaugurate His 
Kingdom? 


Have you ever heartily accepted the “program” laid out by Jesus 
for the movement to which you belong? If the most profound pur- 
pose of one’s life constitutes his real testimony, what message is 
unconsciously sounding out from your life? 


8 INEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy I.—@eneral Survep of the Book of Acts, and Jesus’ 
Program for the fHlessianic JHovement, 1:1-26 


SrxtH Day: THE WITNESSES. I: 12-14 


Read 1:12-14. This group of men from the northern province 
occupy a single room where they may unroll their sleeping-rugs at 
night with less expense than would have been involved in an ar- 
rangement securing greater privacy. The composition of the group 
is interesting. Among them are several business men, including a 
customs collector and four fish-packers. Read Mark 1: 16-20. Two 
men in the group hold bitterly hostile political opinions, Simon the 
Zealot and Matthew the Publican. Jesus’ four brothers, finally 
convinced of His Messiahship, are there. Read John 7:5; Mark 
6:4 and 3:21, 31. From time to time some of the women whom 
Luke has mentioned earlier (Luke 8:1-3; 23:49, 55) meet with 
them; probably also Lazarus and his two sisters, and the two sen- 
ators mentioned in John 19: 38-42; Luke 23:50. Glance at Luke 
18: 35—19: 10 for an account of the capitalist and the beggar who 
probably frequently journeyed together over the fifteen miles of road 
between their home and Jerusalem to meet with the group. Perhaps 
also the ostracised man mentioned in John 9: 34-39 found congenial 
refuge here. They all had one thing in common, namely, that each 
had in some way come into contact with Jesus. 

What was the substance of their prayers? They were full of en- 
thusiasm (Luke 24: 51-52). What was the cause of it? That is, 
what new ideas had entered their minds in the weeks since the exe- 
cution of Jesus? 


Powerful spiritual forces are arranged with reference to making 
a bit of weak human testimony produce astounding results, just as 
physical forces may be so arranged that slight pressure on an elec- 
tric button will clear a channel of its rocks and open a pathway 
for a great ship into the ocean. An honest report of the re- 
sults of believing in Jesus, the unseen but living Lord, published by 
a heterogeneous company of experimenters in the laboratory of 
personal life will establish the civilization of brotherly men in the 
earth, 


NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 9 





Stupy I.—General Survep of the Book of Acts, anv Jesus’ 
Program for the Messianic fMovement. 1:1-26 


SEVENTH Day: THE SeELecTiIon or a NEw WITtNESs. 
I: 15-26 


Read 1: 15-26. In this period of waiting for the important ex- 
perience which is to be the signal for some decisive forward move- 
ment (1: 4-5) the eleven apostles feel moved to fill the gap in their 
circle occasioned by the defection of Judas. Originally they had 
thought of themselves as the twelve chieftains who would stand, each 
at the head of a tribe, when the old tribal organization of the people 
should be restored by the Messiah. Read Matt. 19: 28 and Acts 1:6. 
Just what is now before them they do not know, but it seems to 
them important that the circle of twelve be kept complete. 

Were there more than 120 believers elsewhere? Read 1 Cor. 15:6. 
The dominant idea in their minds is the new, exhilarating thought 
that the death of the Messiah in a form so revolting to the Jewish 
mind (Gal. 3:13), and the horrible act of Judas in betraying a 
table companion (Mark 14:18), do not indicate the defeat of God, 
but are rather foreseen steps toward Messianic victory. For an ex- 
planation of their feeling see Luke 24: 27, 44-46. Vv. 18-19, and per- 
haps v. 20 also, are a parenthetical comment by the author, and not 
a part of Peter’s address to the “Brothers.” 

What were the qualifications requisite for apostleship, and what 
was the function of apostleship? Evidently there was a considera- 
ble number of eligible candidates. To whom do they pray in v. 24? 
The phrase, “who knowest the hearts of all men,” naturally seems to 
describe Jehovah. On the other hand, Jesus was the one who had 
appointed the apostles (1:2). 


God is slowly and surely carrying out a great plan for the better- 
ment of men. Any small contribution that you may be able to make 
to-day to the accomplishment of this plan will not be frittered away 
for lack of competent oversight. The Lord of the enterprise is He 
who had the fragments gathered up “that nothing be lost” (John 
6:12). 


10 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy I1.—Gbe Empowering of the Witnesses anv the First 
Cestimonp, 2:1-47 


First Day: THE Witnesses, EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT 
BEcoME TESTIFYING PROPHETS, 2: 1-21 


Seven weeks after the crucifixion of Jesus came the “fiftieth-day 
feast,” when thanks were given for the completed harvest and when, 
according to the Talmud, the giving of the law on Mt, Sinai was 
commemorated. At an early morning (v. 15) meeting of the 
“Brothers” something occurred which was ever after a memorable 
event in the history of the Church. It was an outbreak of prophecy. 
Read carefully vv. 17-18, which shows that this experience was so 
regarded. 

At certain periods in Jewish history groups of prophets had been 
a familiar phenomenon. Their distinguishing characteristic was not 
the power to foretell future events, though this power they some- 
times exercised. The best of them were great preachers of righteous- 
ness, like John the Baptist, whom Jesus regarded as unsurpassed by 
any of his predecessors (Luke 7: 26-28). Many were less gifted 
than the great prophets. The prophetic power of such seems to have 
consisted in ecstatic experiences, in which they saw visions or ut- 
tered unintelligible ejaculations, chanted to the accompaniment of 
musical instruments, or in other ways behaved strangely under the 
influence of a divine spirit. Note the reference to “visions” and 
“dreams” in v. 17, and to queer behavior in y. 13. Especially read 
in the Old Testament 1 Samuel 10: 5-13. Such spontaneous out- 
breaks had not been characteristic of the formal, didactic spirit of 
Pharisaism and the synagogue; but now, at the beginning of the 
new Messianic movement, there is a remarkable outbreak of pro- 
phetic inspiration. Such a phenomenon was expected to occur at the 
end of the age, in “the last days’ before the Messianic judgment 
and the inauguration of the Kingdom of God. It was to be confined 
not to a few select classes, as in earlier days, but was to be wide- 
spread and to include young and old, men and women, even male 
and female slaves. Read carefully vv. 16-21. 

We live in the midst of the mystery of the influence of the Spirit 
of God upon the spirits of men. The constant miracle of the pres- 
ence of God is being wrought in our lives. If we can increasingly 


discover the way to avail ourselves of it our lives gain in strength 
and steadiness, 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS II 





Stupy II.—@be Empowering of the Witnesses anv the First 
Cestimonp. 2:1-47 


SeconpD Day: Tue INcIDENTAL PHENOMENA CONNECTED 


WITH THE GREAT EXPERIENCE. 2: 1-13 


Early in the morning of the sacred day, when the Twelve and 
their associates were together, presumably for prayer, they suddenly 
became aware that their invisible Lord was making His first com- 
munication to them. An experience began which they regarded as 
proof that He was at the center of power and had remembered His 
disciples. Read 2:33. They heard a sound coming from the direc- 
tion in which they had last seen Him go. Read 2:2 and 1:10. The 
sound resembled that of a gale of wind, though the air in the room 
was undisturbed. At the same time something that appeared like 
fiery, electric tongues of flame played about the person of each mem- 
ber of the group. Exhilaration of spirit producing excited behavior 
(2:13) and ejaculations of praise (2:11) accompanied these phe- 
nomena of sight and sound. The sound seems to have been heard 
by the crowds that filled the streets on their way to the temple, and 
was traced to this house (2:2) and to this group. Then the group 
seems to have gone with the crowd to the temple colonnades, where 
was ample room for the thousands who heard the first testimony. 

What would these phenomena have naturally suggested to the 
Jewish minds of these new-born prophets? Perhaps the rushing 
wind suggested the power of an invisible agency, the fire a purify- 
ing influence, and the tongues the testimony. Another of the inci- 
dental phenomena was the so-called “gift of tongues.” These Gali- 
lean Jews, who could speak only the Aramaic dialect of Hebrew, or 
at most also some Greek and a little Latin, were understood by the 
crowds to be speaking other languages. What they were under- 
stood to be saying seems to have been comparatively simple ascrip- 
tions of praise to God. Read y. 11. Perhaps the presence of the 
Spirit of God produced unusual psychic conditions, in which thought 
was conveyed from one mind to another in unusual ways. Certainly 
the easily abused “gift of tongues,” described in 1 Cor. 14 (espe- 
cially v. 19), seems to have consisted in the utterance of incoherent 
ejaculations, and not in the use of foreign languages. 


It is the vital experience of fellowship with God, and not its in- 
cidental and varying physical effects, that is of enduring value, 


12 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 


Stupy I].—@be Empowering of the Witnesses and the First 
Cestimonp, 2:1-47 


Tuirp Day; THE PURPOSE OF THE EXPERIENCE. 2: I-14 


The purpose of this unusual experience is evidently to be sought 
in its connection with the great campaign of testimony in which 
these witnesses were to engage. Read Luke 24: 47-49. It was to 
give them power to lead out effectively in this long campaign. One 
cannot escape the impression that the author, as he sees represen- 
tatives from so many parts of the world hearing the first testimony, 
thinks of this occasion as a miniature evangelization of the world at 
the beginning of the campaign, prophetic of its ultimate success on 
the large scale outlined in 1:8. Read vv. 8-11. Notice the signifi- 
cant phrase in v. 5. Of course they are still all Jews. 

The Spirit of God is not conceived by Luke to manifest His pres- 
ence in the world now for the first time (cf. 1:16). Two things, 
however, are now new: (1) That which a few men had enjoyed in 
past generations is henceforth to be the common experience of all 
the disciples of Jesus. It is for “all flesh,” even bond-slaves (vv. 
17-18) ; (2) the Spirit of God now manifests Himself in the lives 
of men for a new purpose, namely, to empower men to make an 
effective report of their personal experience with Jesus in the great 
campaign of testimony for the establishment of the Lordship of 
Jesus. In preparation for to-morrow’s study, consider this ques- 
tion: What is there in the nature of such an experience that tends 
to make men effective witnesses? 


The purpose of this experience was not simply to make effective 
public speakers. If you are praying for such an experience do not 
imagine that it will insure your holding large audiences in breath- 
less attention to your words! In the original instance only one 
“lifted up his voice” in public speech (v. 14). Students in the class- 
room, laboratory, and athletic field, men in business and mothers in 
their homes and among their neighbors, need the empowering com- 
panionship in order to take the part assigned to “all flesh” in the 
great campaign of testimony. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 13 





Stupy II.—@be Empowering of the Witnesses anv the First 
Testimony, 2:1-47 


FourtH Day: THE NATURE AND RESULTS OF THE EXPE- 
RIENCE. 2: 1-14, 37-47 


The nature of this experience is best understood when it is seen 
to be the Spirit of God in personal association with these men. Such 
personal association must primarily produce a change in character. 
The person who has begun this life of companionship with the per- 
sonal Spirit of God will become a better witness by becoming a 
better man. The fundamental idea of John the Baptist’s water bap- 
tism had been to symbolize the moral purifying that would follow 
repentance. So the idea of a “baptism with the Holy Spirit” is 
that of purification of character through continued association with 
a holy personal force. Before reading further on this page read 
vv. 37-47, and see what evidences of improved character appear in 
the conduct of these men. 

The person in association with the Holy Spirit ought to reproduce 
more and more clearly in his own character the fundamental traits 
that appear in the character of this Person with whom he associates. 
(1) One such trait noticeable here is joy. The approach of the Spirit 
affected their excitable oriental natures like wine. Read 2:13 and 
Ephesians 5:18. This new joy soon settled into a permanent, quiet 
gladness. Read 2: 46-47. The joyful consciousness of friendly as- 
sociation with a mighty spiritual force gave birth to a triumphant, 
fearless testimony. (2) The Holy Spirit is sometimes called the 
Spirit of “Truth,” that is, of sincerity. Is there any evidence here 
that this quality begins to appear in the testimony of these wit- 
nesses? (3) The Holy Spirit is also called the “Helper” (“Com- 
forter,” John 14:16). Do these men give evidence of new and help- 
ful sympathy with other men? This quality, more than any other, 
makes testimony effective. The statement made in Acts 4: 32-33 is 
not surprising. 


What Jesus promised His disciples (1:5) seems to have been such 
association of the Spirit of God with the spirit of the disciple as 
would produce a divine sympathy, sincerity, and gladness, and would 
therefore make the disciple an effective witness by silent life and 
spoken word in the great campaign of testimony which is to secure 
a recognition of the Lordship of Jesus in all the earth. 


14 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 








Srupy Il.—The Empowering of the Witnesses anv the First 
Cestimonp. 2:1:47 


Firth Day: Tue First TESTIMONY. 2:14-40 


Before reading the testimony think for a moment of the situation. 
Some thousands of people are gathered in one of the great open 
courts of the temple enclosure. Jesus has within a few weeks been 
executed as one of the false messianic claimants that from time to 
time appear in the nation. In the barracks near by the soldiers 
charged with the execution of Jesus are still wearing the clothes 
that Jesus wore when He went out to His execution (John 19: 23-24). 
The Galilean Peter, with his northern brogue (Matt. 26:73), is 
about to address them. He is a man sensible of the presence of 
God in his soul, and has about him eleven other praying men in the 
same frame of mind (v. 14). He proceeds to say that the excite- 
ment of himself and his associates is due to the fact that the criti- 
cal “last days” of the Old Age, which just precede the judgment 
day of the Lord and the New Age, have come, and God’s Spirit has 
begun to work, according to prophecy, upon common men like them- 
selves. Read carefully vv. 15-21. 

His next proposition is stated in v. 22. What is the proposition? 
Perhaps there were some present whose condition was proof of 

, his proposition. He does not assert this as proof of the Messiah- 
_ship of Jesus. His next proposition is stated in v. 23. What is it? 
“Lawless” men means foreigners, Romans, who had not the Mosaic 
‘law. God had allowed Judas to deliver Him up. The act was not 
| the victory of. shrewd and wicked men over God that it seemed to 
ibe. And now, in vv. 24-36, he makes and proves his startling cen- 
‘tral proposition. What is it, and how does he prove it? The sub- 
\ject will be continued to-morrow. 


Information about, and personal experience with, Jesus furnish the 
material for our testimony. Have you ever made an inventory of 
this material and arranged it with reference to giving testimony? 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 15 





Stupy II.—@be Empowering of the Hitnesses anv the First 
Cestimonp. 2:1-47 


SixtH Day: Tue First Testimony (Concluded), 2214-41 


The main point in Peter’s testimony is that the man Jesus so 
wonderfully endorsed by God during His lifetime (v. 22) is now 
proved by God’s raising Him from the dead and taking Him into 
His own glory, to be the Christ. Peter rests his case partly upon 
a new interpretation of scripture. Under the guidance of Jesus the 
apostles have been able to make a new discovery in the exegesis of 
the prophets (cf. Luke 24:27, 44-47). In prophecies, which it is 
assumed all will recognize as Messianic, they point out what no 
rabbi has ever dreamed, namely, a prediction of the death and resur- 
rection of the Messiah! What the prophets predict about the Mes- 
siah they can testify has happened to Jesus. Therefore Jesus is the 
Messiah! In Ps. 16 David is now seen to have foretold that the 
Christ would go to the regions of the dead (‘Hades’), but would 
not remain there. David was not speaking about himself, but about 
the Christ (vv. 29-31). That Jesus did return from Hades the apos- 
tles can testify (v. 32). That God has taken Him into his own 
glory is made evident by the phenomena of this eventful morning, 
for He had promised them to give them some such signal that He 
was with God (v. 33). Furthermore, we ought to have expected the 
Messiah to go to God for a while and await there the subjugation 
of His enemies, instead of remaining continually on the earth, for 
such we now see was the prediction of David (vv. 34-35). There- _ 
fore, let everyone know that THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL HAS 
CRUCIFIED ITS LORD (v. 36)! 

No wonder that the crowds were thrilled with horror, fear, and 
chagrin (v. 37). Peter appeals to hope (vv. 38-39); also to fear 
(v. 40). 

Two questions, for such consideration as your time may warrant, 
are these: How may Peter’s argument be stated in the vernacular 
of modern thought? What hints regarding the way in which to 
move men to decision are afforded by Peter’s method? 


A growing sense of fellowship with the Spirit of the living God 
is represented as an inducement to begin the Christian life (v. 38). 
Perhaps in the artificial bustle and unhealthful hurry of our lives 
we do not sufficiently give ourselves to the quietness of this thought. 


16 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy I].—GObe Empowering of the Witnesses anv the First 
Cestimanp. 2:1-47 


SEVENTH Day: THE RESULTS OF THE First TESTIMONY. 
2: 41-47 

Read 2: 42-47. It at once became evident that it was not sufficient 
merely to secure a baptismal canfession of the Lordship of Jesus. 
There was a life to be developed. In v. 42 the means of developing 
this life are mentioned. The first means was the ‘apostles’ teach- 
ing.’ When the crowds returned to the temple area the next day, 
what questions would they have been most likely to ask the apostles? 
What questions would you have asked if you had been there? Very 
likely out of such “teaching” as the needs of the people demanded, 
our first three Gospels were later developed. 

“The fellowship” means the “sharing.” They shared not only 
their property, when an emergency demanded such fellowship; but; 
as far as possible, each shared all the joys and hardships of his 
brother’s situation. Three strong bonds were binding them together, 
-——a common friend, deliverance from a common peril, and a com- 
mon hope. Did their fellowship in property involve the renuncia- 
tion of the principle of private property? Read 5:1-4. The situa- 
tion was unusual. Many doubtless were poor, for Jesus’ work had 
largely been among the poor. Read Luke 7:22. Often confession 
of Jesus’ name meant social ostracism and loss of work. John 9: 22. 

The “breaking of bread” here, and in Acts 20: 11, seems to indi- 
cate the Lord’s Supper (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16). According to 2:46 
something out of which the Lord’s Supper later developed may have 
been observed each day. ‘Till he come” was the thought that each 
of these first Christians read daily as he looked into the faces of his 
brothers at table. 

The “prayers” were probably the regular synagogue and temple 
prayers. The initial gladness of Pentecost did not wear off, and 
large numbers applied daily at the apostolic headquarters for the 
new baptism (vv. 46-47). 


We need to take definite pains to develop “the life’ by a system- 
atic use of means,—by sharing as far as may be the situation of 
others, by studying the teaching, by prayer, by the remembrance of 
Jesus at the daily meal. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 17 





Stupy III.—@be failure of the Priests in Their Effort ta 
Stop the Cestimonp. 3:1—4:31 


First Day: A CrippLe Is CurED By THE INVISIBLE JESUS. 
3: 1-10 


The first Christians had no suspicion that any religious institution 
or habit needed to be changed after their recognition of the Messiah- 
ship of Jesus. Going up to the temple for the usual afternoon prayer 
hour, Peter and John found at the temple gate a poor cripple who 
had been allowed by the temple authorities a place favorable for ap- 
peal to the stream of temple worshipers. As they drew near the gate 
Peter felt an impulse to do for the man what he had so often seen 
Jesus do for the unfortunate. Perhaps he had had some experience 
in curing the lame during Jesus’ lifetime (Matt. 10:7-8). To his 
great gratification he finds that the use of Jesus’ name is effective. 
Read 3: I-10, trying to see the picture portrayed in each phrase. 

Three things were made clear to Peter by this incident: (1) It was 
evident that Jesus’ compassion had not ceased. In His invisible, glory 
He still felt toward crippled sufferers just as He had felt a few 
months before. (2) There was still a real relationship between Jesus 
and His disciples. The disciple could appeal to his invisible Lord as 
he had appealed to Him in the flesh, and find Him a responding 
force (v. 16). (3) It was evident that the disciples were to be the 
persons through whom the power of the invisible Jesus was to be 
applied to such cases of need. 


The sorest need of men is not the need of stronger legs. There are 
many crippled spirits making, it may be, only mute signals of dis- 
tress, which those absorbed in their own concerns never see, even on 
their way to the place of prayer, but which disciples of Jesus, trained 
by their Lord to consider the finding of such their life-work, quickly 
discover. It is to these crippled spirits, discouraged, sullen, bitter, 
frightened, apathetic, as the case may be, that the Christian witness 
comes with a heart peaceful, confident, sympathetic, and with a tes- 
timony to the power and love of his Lord. He takes them by the 
hand and says: “What I have I give thee. In the name of Jesus 
Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 





Chapters 3-8, A. D, 30-34 (Zahn). 


18 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy II].—be Failure of the Priests in Their Effort to 
Stop the Cestimonp. 3:1—4:31 


Seconp Day: THE TESTIMONY IN SOLOMON’S PoRCH. 
3: 11-26 


Read 3: 11-26, and as you read, without spending too much time, 
note the points that at once impress you, as like those of Peter’s ad- 
dress in the preceding chapter. 

“Solomon’s Porch,” or colonnade, a favorite resort of Jesus (John 
10: 23) was a favorite place of assembly for the first Christians (Acts 
5:12). The crowd quickly gathered here, attracted by the excited 
antics (v. 8) of the man who had just been healed at the gate. Peter, 
exhilarated by the sense of connection with Jesus which his experi- 
ence with the lame man has just given him, proceeds to deliver an- 
other testimony. It contains certain new ideas. Notice in v. 13 
(Revised Version) the new title applied to Jesus. Evidently Isaiah’s 
“Servant of Jehovah” is in Peter’s mind. Glance at Isaiah 42: 1-4 
and 52: 13-15. In accusing them of the Messiah’s murder, Peter uses 
more incisive language, 

Read vv. 13-14. The Roman procurator himself recognized the in- 
nocence of Jesus and wished to save Him. They asked for a de- 
stroyer of life, and killed the “Prince” or “Author” of life! They 
were, therefore, engaged in an awful conflict with God who, by a 
resurrection to which the apostles can testify, undid their murderous 
work. But Jesus, in spite of the murderous hate of His enemies, 
continues His merciful work among them. The cure of this cripple 
is an instance of it. Their confident trust in the Lord Messiah has 
given the Messiah opportunity to work through their agency (v. 16). 
In v. 17 he comforts them a little. 


“All the people saw him walking and praising God” (v. 9). It was 
this man’s evident sense of having been benefited by God that made 
him so effective among the people. One reason why our lives are less 
effective than they might be is, that we do not repeatedly give defi- 
nite thought to the good things that come into our lives from God. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 19 





Stupy III.—Ghbe failure of the Priests in Their Effort to 
Stop the Testimony. 3:1—4:31 


TuHirp Day: THe Testimony 1n Sotomon’s Porcu. 
3: 11-26 (Concluded) 


Read vv. 19-21, in which Peter shows more clearly than in his 
former address what he conceives to be the immediate program of 
the Messianic movement. The Messiah has been taken to God until 
the time come for the restoration of such innocence and peace as 
existed before sin entered the world, or perhaps restoration of Jew- 
ish independence and supremacy (cf. 1:6). Peter here represents 
the view that was current among the Jews of his day. The repent- 
ance of the nation will hasten this period and the return of the 
Messiah with His reign of peace and love. The point at which Peter 
and his friends differ from the ordinary Jew is in recognizing that 
the Messiah, after His appearance among the people, is withdrawn 
into the heavens for a time. It is only recently that they have 
reached this conclusion, for in 1:6 they had quite another concep- 
tion, 

To what motive does Peter appeal in vv. 22-23? ‘To what motive 
does Peter appeal in vv. 24-26? All nations would in some way 
finally share the blessings of the Messianic reign, but Peter seems 
to feel that foreigners naturally could have no chance at these bless- 
ings until the Jews had first availed themselves of them. After the . 
Jews had turned to the Messiah, the foreigners, by becoming Jewish 
proselytes, could also have some subordinate share in the Messianic 
glory. Read v. 26. This view-point explains why the apostles did 
not at once begin the execution of the commission given them by 
Jesus, as reported in Matt. 28: 19. 


“Every soul that shall not hearken unto that prophet shall be ut- 
terly destroyed from among the people” (v. 23). He who will not 
accept Jesus’ ideal of the brotherly life must inevitably lose his 
place in the great family. God is working through certain irresistible 
sociological forces to eliminate the selfish man from human society. 


20 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy Il].—Ghbe Failure of the Priests tn Cheir Effort to 
Stop the Testimonp. 3:1—4:31 


FourtH Day: THE WITNESSES ARRESTED BY THE PRIESTS. 
4: 1-4 

While Peter was still speaking to the crowds in the colonnade 
there suddenly appeared a group of determined men, consisting of 
the chief of the temple police (next in authority to the high priest), 
a few of the leading priests, and some other prominent members of 
the Sadducean party, who pushed their way through the crowd and 
arrested Peter and John. Read 4:1-3. ‘The Sadducees in general 
were the more aristocratic, theologically liberal element in the na- 
tion. Greek civilization had penetrated even Palestine, and the Sad- 
ducees were far more open to its influence than were the conservative 
Pharisees. They were chiefly significant in the national life, because 
the high priest and all his family were Sadducees. The high priest 
was appointed by the Roman government and was ex-officio presi- 
dent of the highest Jewish court, the sanhedrin. The Sadducean 
priests had urged the execution of Jesus because they had shrewdly 
foreseen that His success would interfere with their political ambi- 
tions, which included the control of the temple revenues. It was a 
part of their theological liberalism that they did not believe in exist- 
ence after death (Mark 12:18 and Acts 23:8), though perhaps they 
would themselves have described this view as primitive Jewish doc- 
trine from which the Pharisees had unwarrantably departed. Natu- 
rally, it annoyed them to have the doctrine of the resurrection, and 
particularly the resurrection of their enemy Jesus, preached under 
their very eyes in the temple colonnades where their authority pre- 
vailed. Therefore, this afternoon, when a large crowd was present, 
seemed to them an opportune time to attack the preachers. Perhaps 
also the wild antics of the cured cripple (v. 8) and the rush of the 
people in all directions toward Solomon’s colonnade (v. 11) seemed 
to the captain of the temple police disorderly conduct that served 
as a good pretext for making an arrest. 


The Sadducees faced truths which they did not recognize. How 


can one guard himself against being blinded to great truths by his 
Prejudices? 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 21 





Stupy III.—@be failure of the Priests in Their Effort ta 
Stop the Cestimonp, 3:1—4:31 


FirtH Day: THE TRIAL AND DEFENSE OF THE WITNESSES. 
425-13 

The next morning a meeting of the sanhedrin was called. Read 
vv. 5-6. What charge do you suppose the priests planned to bring 
against these men? And what action do you suppose the priests had 
planned to have the court take? 

Whatever their plan, their first surprise was occasioned by the 
extreme boldness of the prisoners. Men were ordinarily abashed and 
awkward in the presence of this assemblage of distinguished priests 
and rabbis. Peter began to feel the inner stirring of the same power 
that had touched his spirit on the day of Pentecost and probably 
many times since. His courage rose and his intellectual perception 
of the strength of his case was clear. The prisoners were being 
prosecuted “for a good deed done to a sick man!” Read wv. 7-9. 
The deed was unhesitatingly ascribed to the Jesus who, only a few 
weeks before, had stood where Peter now was standing. Peter ac- 
cused them, in language that some of them had heard from Jesus 
Himself (Mark 12:10), of professional incompetence and stupidity. 
They were like builders that had not sense enough to recognize the 
stone sent up from the quarry by the architect to serve as corner- 
stone! Read vv. 10-11. Even now there was no other than this 
Jesus to whom the murderers and all the nation could look for the 
realization of their hope of national greatness and personal blessed- 
ness in the Messianic kingdom. Read v. 12. The vigor of this at- 
tack, particularly as it came from men who had never studied dialec- 
tics with the rabbis, disconcerted the court. The perplexity increased 
when some of the sheriffs recognized these men as the two who had 
been hanging about on the night of Jesus’ trial, when the conduct of 
one of them had been far from bold. Read v. 13, and compare 
Mark 14: 66-71, or perhaps John 18: 10, 25-27. 


During the hours of this night Peter and John had doubtless fol- 
lowed the advice Jesus gave them on that other night (Mark 
14:37-38) when Peter failed so miserably because he did not fol- 
low it. 


22 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy Il].—Wbe Failure of the Priests in Their Effort to 
Stop the Testimony, 3:1—4:31 


SixtH Day: THE DEFEAT OF THE SANHEDRIN. 4:14-22 


Perhaps the priests had taken it for granted that the two men 
would not dare to ascribe the cure to Jesus in the august presence 
of the sanhedrin that had so recently condemned Him, and that they 
would, therefore, be discredited in the eyes of those to whom they 
were daily preaching Jesus. Or they may have anticipated that the 
two men would ascribe the cure to Jesus and may have planned then 
to proceed against them as dangerous adherents of a blasphemous 
agitator. The unexpected boldness of the prisoners at once upset any 
plan they may have formed on the first assumption. What two cir- 
cumstances made it seem impossible to proceed against the men ac- 
cording to their second plan? Read vv. 14-22. 

A modetn prosecuting attorney would have asked the court to 
order the removal of the healed cripple from the court room. So 
long as he stood there, with his face full of joy, shifting his weight 
from one foot to the other in the glad exhilaration of his newly 
found strength, sneers and smiles died half-formed on the faces of 
these shrewd priestly politicians. Read v. 14. They sought relief 
from their embarrassment in a private session. The opposition that 
had begun so bravely, and that seemed likely utterly to overwhelm 
the testimony, ended in a weak threat which the witnesses on the 
spot flatly refused to heed. 

What was the fundamental fault of these priests? 


The ultimate test of the testimony is the result in life produced 
by its acceptance. It is worth every Christian’s while to acquaint 
himself with cases of marked transformation of life, such as the 
history of every city mission furnishes. There are few small com- 
munities also where they are not to be found. They present no more 
real, but more evident, demonstration of the spiritually wonderful 
working of God than is afforded by ordinary Christian experience. — 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 23 





Stupy III.—@be Failure of the Priests in Their Effort to 
Stop the Cestimonp. 3:1—4:31 


SEVENTH Day: THE REporT OF THE TRIAL AND Its EFFECT 
ON THE WITNESSES. 4: 23-31 


It had doubtless been an anxious night and day for Nazarenes 
all over the city, and an unusual number were in Solomon’s Porch 
or at some other place of rendezvous the day after the trial. Or 
perhaps it was some smaller group to which the two men reported 
their experience with the sanhedrin in vv. 23-31. Read these verses 
and make a list of the thoughts that are uppermost in the minds of 
the believers. Probably this prayer represents the general ideas 
that were in the minds of all, and that were expressed in various 
forms by different persons. Note their identification in the present 
situation of the various opponents mentioned in the Psalm. What 
two things do they especially pray for? They are conscious of an 
alliance with a mighty invisible ally. The Spirit of the living God 
had risen up in Peter, and looked calmly out at the proud, merciless 
combination of priestcraft, political ambition, and theological hate 
in the sanhedrin, and thrown it into confusion. Their sense of the 
nearness of God must have been greatly stimulated by the phenome- 
non mentioned in v. 31. 


It becomes evident that the testimony, both in its ancient and 
modern form, is two-fold: (1) “I have seen good reasons for sup- 
posing that Jesus Christ is a living personality and therefore the 
Christ of God entitled to control my life.” (2) “I have accepted His 
control and find myself being saved by Him from a daily life of in- 
creasing selfishness and its ultimate misery to a daily life of increas- 
ing unselfishness with its growing peace.” 


24 NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 





. Stupy I1V.—The fAovement is Firmlp Establishes in Feru: 
salem. 4:32—6:7 





First Day: Tue Lire or FELLOwsHIP AND Its PERIL. 
Ar32—s0 tl 

Jesus seemed to have risen up in the lives of the disciples! Read 
4332-35. 

Two conspicuous instances of generosity are cited, and in such 
close connection as to make one suspect some connection between 
them. A Levite, born in the island of Cyprus, sold a piece of real 
estate and put the entire proceeds of the sale into the apostolic 
treasury. He was a highly gifted and popular public speaker. The 
apostles called him a very ‘‘son of exhortation,” Read vv. 35-37. 
He was rapidly making his way to the position of leadership that 
he afterward held. Read Acts 11: 19-26; 13:2. 

Something about Joseph’s rapid advancement in popularity seemed 
to stir up a man and his wife, named Ananias and Sapphira. Per- 
haps Ananias was aspiring to a position of leadership like that of 
Joseph, and felt that his ambition was not likely to be realized un- 
less he, too, made some conspicuous contribution to the common 
fund. He and his wife brooded over the matter in daily discussion 
at home, and finally determined to sell a piece of property and bring 
part of the proceeds as though it were all. Ananias appeared at the 
apostolic headquarters with his bag of clinking coins, deposited it 
at the apostles’ feet and waited for applause. Three hours later his 
wife was on her way to the same place, eagerly anticipating the 
commendatory words and glances that would greet her. Read 
5:1-11. Burial in the East sometimes takes place almost immedi- 
ately after death. Lieutenant Conder (Tent Work in Palestine, p. 
326) reports a case of burial fifteen minutes after death. 

What were the three or four great faults of which the man and 
his wife were guilty? Why were they so severely punished? 


One needs often to put this question to himself,—Do I desire to 
appear to be better than I am willing to take the pains to become? 





Chapters 3-8, A. D. 30-34 (Zahn). 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 25 





Stupy I1V.— he {Movement is Firmly Establisher tn Jeru: 
salem. 4:32—6:7 


SeconD Day: Tue Lire or FELLowsHip AND Its PERIL 
(Concluded). 4:32—5:11 


In the composite act of this couple there were not simply the de- 
sire for prominence, the love of money, and the lie, but also what 
Peter strongly emphasized in vv. 3-4, 9. They were either oblivious 
to the presence of God or had so low a conception of the Spirit of 
God as to suppose that they could trifle with Him, 

Peter, either through previous acquaintance with the plans of the 
two, or with immediate insight into the heart of Ananias, faced him 
with a sudden statement of his guilt and the man fell dead. In what 
state of nervous excitement and trepidation Ananias may have been 
when he appeared before Peter we do not know. Even though the 
process of death be physically accounted for, it would be none the 
less an impressive and awful consequence of guilt. 

The action of these persons was a fundamental renunciation of 
the Christian life. The two fundamental features of the life advo- 
cated by Jesus were (1) unselfish good-will, or the readiness to do 
things without expectation of remuneration (read Luke 14: 12-14); 
and (2) honesty. Both of these qualities were lacking in these two 
persons. The social and religious life of the day was honeycombed 
with love of money, love of show, and with hypocrisy. Jesus’ move- 
ment had been organized as a protest against such a social system. 
It was, therefore, essential that, in the beginning, when the reputa- 
tion of the movement was not yet established, it should be abso- 
lutely free from the taint and suspicion of hypocrisy. Especially if 
there was danger that Ananias might become a prominent leader in 
the new movement, like Joseph Barnabas, strenuous measures to pre- 
vent it were necessary. 

“Fear” of what (v. 11)? 


The value of testimony depends upon the sincerity of the wit- 
nesses. Language that is either extravagant or conventional makes 
the impression that it does not report real experience, and so vitiates 
testimony. It is equally possible for a man to be insincere in his 
Christian giving. His giving purports to have as its motive, inter- 
est in the object to which the gift is made. If this be not really the 
case, its value as testimony is vitiated. 


26 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy IV.—Tbhe fMovement is Firmlp Established in Jeru- 
salem. 4:32—6:7 


Tuirp Day: PopuLaRity OF THE MOVEMENT AMONG THE 
ComMMON PEOPLE. 5: 12-16 


Read 5:12-16. Note where the public meetings were still being 
held. Does the information contained in this paragraph explain why 
the priests allowed the meetings in Solomon’s Porch to go on un- 
molested ? 

In v. 13 certain classes do not dare to identify themselves with 
the new movement, but the common people are enthusiastically fa- 
vorable to it. Who are those who do not dare to join it? In 
what sense was it “to the Lord” that new believers were being added 
(v. 14)? 

Picture the scene described in v. 15. The statement suggests ex- 
periences in the life of Jesus. (Mark 6:55-56.) The people began 
to come in from the suburban towns, and perhaps from Judean vil- 
lages far away. The text does not say that all upon whom Peter’s 
shadow fell were healed. In the cases of those that were healed is 
it to be supposed that God’s power operated in accordance with 
psychic laws? 

The report of this extreme popularity of the apostles is prefatory 
to an account of the activity of the opposition provoked by it. 


Men are ready to flock from every farm, village and city to the 
place where there is genuine sympathy. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 27 





Stupy IV.—Cbe fMovement is Firmlp Established in Jeru- 
salem. 4:32—6:7 


FourtH Day: RENEWED OPPOSITION OF THE PRIESTS. 
5: 17-28 


The priests were becoming desperate. If they could not succeed 
in enforcing their commands and threats, they would lose the confi- 
dence of the Roman government which kept them in office. They 
felt that this Messianic movement might at any moment develop into 
a popular uprising, for which the Roman authorities would hold 
them responsible. Cf. John 11: 47-48. Furthermore, everyone who 
believed in Jesus thereby proclaimed that the priests had blundered, 
to say the least, in executing Jesus. This was a serious reflection 
upon their professional competency. Also the personal popularity 
of these untrained laymen made the priests jealous. Peter, on his 
way to the temple, sometimes walked through an avenue of sick 
persons who were waiting for him. The high priest had no such 
experience! Read vv. 17-18. 

Read vv. 19-28. How did the men get out of prison? The pris- 
oners themselves must have reported the method, for no one else 
would have been in a position to know. In any case it was evident 
that God meant the testimony to go right on. When the trumpet 
called the morning relay of priests to their service, and the early 
morning worshipers began to appear, the witnesses were again in 
their usual place. Note that the high priest has been put upon the 
defensive (v. 28). 


“Speak to the people all the words of this life’ (v. 20). It is 
perfectly evident that God loves the people, the people of the 
crowded street, men and women, bootblacks and bank presidents, 
coachmen and clerks. He means to have them all know about the 
“life”? The voice of a man crying out the testimony shall never 
fail in the earth. The steady proclamation of this testimony going 
on year after year is one of the most impressive phenomena of his- 


tory. 


28 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy IV.—Whbe fMovement is Firmlp Cstablishey tn Jeru- 
salem. 4:32—6:7 


FrrtH Day: THE OPPOSITION OF THE Priests AGAIN 
DEFEATED. 5: 29-42 


Read Peter’s defense in vv. 29-32, remembering the priests’ des- 
perate frame of mind. According to Peter’s statements he and the 
other apostles, by virtue of having been the chosen associates of Jesus, 
are in God’s sight the real leaders of the nation and these dignified 
priests are usurpers. ‘The priests became bitterly angry and were 
ready at once to sentence the apostles to death (v. 33). At this junc- 
ture a note of moderation was sounded from another section of the 
sanhedrin. The Pharisees have not hitherto appeared upon the scene, 
although bitterly opposed to Jesus during most of His public career. 
The Pharisees remained inactive after the death of Jesus because 
the Sadducean priests, as custodians of the temple courts, had to 
take notice of the Nazarenes who chose the temple courts as their 
rendezvous. When once the priests had attacked the Nazarenes for 
teaching the resurrection, naturally the Pharisees did not care to join 
them, for the Pharisees were themselves stanch defenders of belief 
in a resurrection and future life. 

The Pharisee who now advised moderation was, according to the 
Talmud, a very famous rabbi and is well known in Christian history 
because of one of his disciples. Read Acts 22:3. What is the rabbi’s 
argument, as stated in vv. 34-39? Is he favorably inclined to the 
new movement or contemptuous? The apostles were whipped, but 
the whipping did not stop the testimony. It only made them realize 
how much they loved their Lord (vv. 40-42). 


We come of an heroic lineage of sufferers. The power of Jesus to 
retain century after century an affection that is ready to suffer, not 
for a principle merely, but for Him, is a striking phenomenon in the 
history of religions. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 29 





Stupy IV.—@hbe fMovement is Firmly Establishev in Fern: 
salem. 4:32—6:7 


S1xtH Day: THe New Movement BEGINS TO ORGANIZE. 
bs t-6 


The movement up to this time has been a spontaneous growth 
which has not needed any formal organization or division of labor. 
Numbers had, however, now become so great as to demand the sys- 
tematizing of the work. Read 6: 1-6, noting (1) what the occasion 
of organization was, and (2) by just what steps the organization was 
effected. 

There were in Jerusalem both natives of Palestine, called “He- 
brews,” who spoke the Aramaic vernacular (sometimes called He- 
brew, Acts 21: 40), and foreign-born Jews who did not understand 
Aramaic. Some of these foreign-born Jews had come to feel that 
their poor were not being adequately looked after in the daily dis- 
tribution of food. The Board of Relief which was organized to 
remedy this defect was mainly composed of men with Greek names. 
If this is a fair indication that they were Greek-speaking Jews, a 
generous concession was made to the party that had felt itself ag- 
grieved. Do you see why the three qualities mentioned in v. 3 would 
be especially needed in relief work? 

One member of this Board of Relief, a man named Stephen, was 
not merely a man of affairs, but was also an effective public speaker 
(v. 10). He also, like Peter, was able to perform “miracles” that 
are described as exhibitions of compassionate power (v. 8), and that 
probably consisted in curing the sick. He was probably a foreign- 
born Jew, for it was in certain synagogues of the Greek-speaking 
Jews that he seems to have presented the Nazarene argument (v. 9). 
A part of the purpose of this paragraph (vv. 1-6) seems to be to 
introduce Stephen into the narrative and to prepare the reader for 
the important part he is to play in the history immediately following. 


It requires fully as much of the Holy Spirit’s presence to do busi- 
ness fairly as it does to preach the gospel effectively from a pulpit. 


30 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy IV.—Thbe fMovement is Firmly Establishey in Fern: 
salem, ¢:32—6:7 


SeventH Day: SuMMARy OF ProGREss. 6:7 


The progress made during the period under consideration has been 
made in spite of bitter opposition on the part of the priests. The 
success of the movement in Jerusalem is now impressively described 
by stating that a large company of the priests themselves have been 
won over to the new movement. According to Josephus, the total 
number of priests was 20,000, and, as they served in “courses,” relays 
of them were constantly coming up from their country homes to do 
service in the temple. (Read Luke 1:5, 8, 23, 39, 40.) During 
their leisure hours, when they were off duty, they had exceedingly 
favorable and frequent opportunities to attend the meetings in Solo- 
mon’s Porch. Many of them were earnest, God-fearing men, to 
whom the testimony borne by the witnesses appealed with great 
force, and it is not strange that many joined the new movement. 
This must have been very exasperating to the chief priests. 

Glance over the portion of Acts that has been covered in Part I 
and determine what are the most prominent ideas that have ap- 
peared in the narrative. Which of these ideas seem to you most to 
need emphasis in the life of the modern church? 


“Oh, where are kings and empires now 
Of old that went and came? 

But, Lord, thy church is praying yet, 
A thousand years the same. 


“We mark her goodly battlements, 
And her foundations strong; 
We hear within the solemn voice 

Of her unending song. 


“For not like kingdoms of the world 
Thy holy church, O God! 

Though earthquake shocks are threatening her, 
And tempests are abroad; 


“Unshaken as eternal hills, 
Immovable she stands, 
A mountain that shall fill the earth, 
A house not made by hands.” 
—ARTHUR CLEVELAND Coxe. 


PART Il 


THE WITNESSES BEGIN TO MOVE OUT FROM JERU- 
SALEM TOWARD FOREIGNERS. 6:8—9: 31 


Stupz V.—The Witness, Stephen, Is Killed. 6:8—7: 60. 

Stupy VI.—Persecution Scatters the Witnesses Throughout Ju- 
dza and Samaria. 8: 1-40. 

Stupy VII.—Jesus Selects a Great Witness for the Foreign World. 


9 : I-3I. 





NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 33 





Stuvy V.—Ohbe Witness, Stephen, Js Killed. 6:8—7:60 
First Day: OPpposITION FRoM A New QuarTER. 6:8-15 


In accordance with Gamaliel’s advice (5: 33-40) the new move- 
ment was allowed to go on unhindered for a time, in the expectation 
that it would run itself out. This did not, however, turn out to be 
the case, and the opposition again asserted itself. This time it was 
no longer the chief priests that took the lead. The synagogues and 
not the temple colonnades were the scene of action. The synagogue 
was the Jewish meeting-house where families met on the Sabbath 
for instruction in the law of Moses. On week-days the same build- 
ing, or some part of it, was used as a schoolhouse for the children. 
It was also a kind of police court, where offenders against the law 
were punished. (Read Matt. 10:17.) The great men of the syna- 
gogue were rabbis. 

In a large city, where more than one synagogue would be needed, 
certain classes would unite in a synagogue organization. It was es- 
pecially true in Jerusalem that foreign-born Jews from the same part 
of the world would combine in the establishment of a synagogue. 
See the indication of this in v. 9, where possibly one, two, three, or 
even five synagogues are mentioned. 

The Freedmen’s (“Libertines”) synagogue was probably composed 
of Jews who had been slaves, but were now manumitted, or of the 
descendants of such. 

Among these foreign-born Jews, and presumably in the synagogue 
service, bitter opposition to the new movement began. All the Naza- 
renes had doubtless continued to be regular attendants upon the 
synagogue service, and about this time began to present their argu- 
ment for the Messiahship of Jesus from the synagogue platforms. 

Read 6: 8-15, and state the new charge made against the Naza- 
renes. 


“Grace and power” (v. 8). Kindness of heart and power to make 
the kindness effective in the lives of others are both needful. 





Chapters 3-8, A. D. 30-34 (Zahn). 


34 NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 





Stupy V.—Tbe Witness, Stephen, Js Killey. 6:8—7:60 
Seconp Day: THE CHARGE AGAINST STEPHEN. 6: 8-15 


Among the men who had opportunity to present the Nazarene 
argument from synagogue platforms, Stephen of the Board of Re- 
lief was, for some reason, the most conspicuous. Perhaps the apos- 
tles were confining their efforts to the meetings in the temple colon- 
nade. Angry voices began to ring out against him. Perhaps among 
the “Cilicians” was the prominent young rabbi, Saul, for he was a 
Cilician-born Jew. (Read Acts 22:3.) Stephen seemed to get the 
better of the argument and converts were probably being rapidly 
made in the synagogue audiences. The rabbis, therefore, began to 
circulate industriously a rumor that was certain to arouse bitter 
prejudice against him. The general character of this rumor is stated 
in vy. 11. Its more specific form appears in vv. 13-14. The charge 
was calculated to arouse all classes against him. The rabbis who 
were the stanch champions of the law, and many of the people over 
whom the rabbis had very great influence, would naturally feel out- 
raged. Moreover, the beautiful temple was the pride not only of the 
priests, but of all the people. What had been the previous attitude 
of the common people toward the new movement? Read again 
2:47; 4:21; 5:13. It becomes evident that the supreme court of 
the nation, the sanhedrin, will take the man’s case up. The peril is 
the most serious that has yet confronted the Nazarenes. 

Was there any truth in the charge brought against Stephen? How 
generally do you suppose what is reported in Mark 13:2 was 
known? 


Stephen was able to endure unfair criticism without being embit- 
tered or irritated (v. 15). It is the sense of inner fellowship with 
God which enables a man to meet this severe test of character (v. 5). 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 35 





Stupy V.—Tbe Witness, Stephen, Js Killer. 6:8—7:60 
Tuirp Day: Tue TrutH Asout STEPHEN. 6: 8-15 


It is noticeable that Stephen is not charged with any present laxity 
in his observance of temple worship, or the laws of Moses relating 
to daily conduct. The charge against him concerns his expectation 
of future change. It seems probable that there must have been 
something in Stephen’s attitude toward the law and the temple that 
prejudiced minds could distort into the charges preferred against 
him before the sanhedrin. One of these charges is the one upon 
which the sanhedrin had at first tried to convict Jesus Himself. Read 
Mark 14:57-59. Stephen probably knew that Jesus had predicted 
the destruction of the beautiful temple. Perhaps many of the Naza- 
renes knew it, but if so they would naturally have said little about 
it in public. If the temple should be destroyed, all that large sec- 
tion of the Mosaic law which regulated temple ritual would of ne- 
cessity be abrogated. So that “to destroy this place” might be con- 
strued to mean also “to change the customs.” Still most, if not all, 
of the Nazarenes who anticipated the destruction of the temple as a 
part of Jesus’ Messianic judgment, probably supposed that it would 
be replaced by another and better one. The charge that had been 
preferred against Jesus represented that He proposed to build a 
better one in place of the present structure (Mark 14: 58). 

Did Stephen differ from the great majority of the Nazarenes at 
this point? Did he foresee a religion without a temple? Read his 
long defense in 7: 1-53, and see whether it throws any light on this 
point; also see whether it is a “defense,” whether it denies the 
charge made against him. 


To be at peace in the midst of confusion, to keep cool when other 
men are angry, to maintain an invincible good will when attacked by 
hate, to keep in the narrow path of absolute sincerity when associ- 
ating with hypocrites,—these are achievements to be learned under 
the daily discipline of Jesus Christ. 


36 NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 


Stupy V.—Thbe Witness, Stephen, Js Kiley. 6:8—7:60 
FourtH Day: STEPHEN’s DEFENSE. 6: 12—7:53 


Probably Paul, who was present, gave Luke much of his infor- 
mation regarding the trial of Stephen. In the solemn moment after 
the charge had been read, and before the high priest, as president, 
asked the prisoner for his defense, the face of the prisoner seemed 
to Paul to glow like the peacefully majestic face of an angel (6:15). 

One count in the charges against Stephen was clearly disproved by 
his appearance and his defense. He evidently was not a blatant 
blasphemer who was continually ranting against holy things 
(6: 11, 13). Read vv. 2, 22, 30-38, 44. 

The defense gives evidence here and there that Stephen really 
did not regard the temple as essential to worship. God’s wonderful 
revelations to their great ancestor Abraham had not been made in 
a temple (vv. 2-8). God had been with Joseph in Egypt, and with 
Moses in Midian, the wilderness, and Mt. Sinai, where wonderful 
things happened without a temple (vv. 29, ff.). Great David had no 
temple (vv. 45-46), and when Solomon, his son, proposed to build 
one God protested that it was hardly necessary (vv. 48-50). The 
great fact of God in the soul had been vitally experienced by 
Stephen, and he could say, emphatically: “The Most High dwelleth 
not in houses made by hands” (v. 48). It was then true that Stephen 
expected Jesus to destroy the temple, abrogate its ritual, and not 
build another temple in its place. He had seen the vision of the 
Revelator, with “no temple therein.”| Read Rev. 21:22. He was 
beginning to branch off on a path that led to the position finally 
to be taken by a man who that day sat among his accusers. 


Are you open to new truth coming from any quarter? Can you 
recognize truth, even when advocated by those whom you dislike, ox 
against whom you are prejudiced? 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 37 





Stupy V.—Tbe Witness, Stephen, Js Rillev. 6:8—7:60 
FirtH Day: THE DEFENSE oF STEPHEN (Concluded). 
6: 12—7:57 

Stephen’s defense made it clear that those who had accused him 
of “blasphemy” were “false accusers,’ but seemed to concede that 
he did not regard the temple as essential to worship in its ultimate 
and ideal form. A third idea ran through the defense,—which 
more and more angered the sanhedrin as they began to feel its 
sting: The nation had always abused its God-sent deliverers. Find 
three flagrant illustrations of this in vv. 9-43. The allusion to a 
Messianic prophecy in connection with one of these cases (vv. 37-41) 
forewarned the sanhedrin that he was preparing to charge them, as 
Peter had previously done, with murdering the Messiah. He soon 
did so with a fiercely indignant invective (7: 51-52) that justified 
his reputation (6:10). They pretended to be God’s holy (circum- 
cised) people, but they felt and heard like pagans (v. 51). Stephen 
went still further and accused them of hypocritical failure to keep 
the law they were so eager to impose upon others. He seems to 
have known of dark scandals and ugly secrets in the private lives of 
these great men, that were hideously inconsistent with their unctuous 
pretensions to piety (v. 53). This charge coming from one who 
was supposed to be a lawless anarchist, and who was on trial for 
his life, so angered some of the priests and rabbis that their features 
became distorted with rage (7:54), and when, after gazing silently 
upward for a moment, he announced to them that he saw the Naza- 
rene Jesus standing at God’s right hand, they became furious. The 
session broke up in disorder, and they hustled him with their own 
hands out of the court room (vv. 55-57). 


“The Son of God goes forth to war 
A kingly crown to gain; 

His blood-red banner streams afar: 
Who follows in His train? 


a “The martyr first, whose eagle eye 
Could pierce beyond the grave, 
Who saw his Master in the sky, 
And called on Him to save.” 
—REGINALD HEBER. 


38 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy V.—The Witness, Stephen, Js Rilley. 6:8—7:60 
Sixta Day: Tue DeatH oF STEPHEN. 7: 58-60 


The priests and rabbis hurried their prisoner through the city 
gates, and then had him stoned as if he had been a venomous snake 
or a mad dog. No formal sentence seems to have been passed by 
the sanhedrin, for if there had been such sentence it would have 
required the endorsement of the Roman procurator. This was rather 
a case of semi-legal lynching. Human life was lightly esteemed in 
the first century, and the sanhedrin leaders knew that the Roman 
procurator was not likely to feel any concern about the lynching of 
a poor Jew by a company of influential citizens. To be sure they 
proceeded to do their lawless deed with due regard for ceremonial 
propriety. Compare vy. 58 with Leviticus 24: 14; Deuteronomy 17: 7. 
Such conduct simply verified Jesus’ criticism of them as it appears 
in Matt. 23: 23. 

Stephen prayed to Jesus to receive his spirit (v. 59). As the 
stones struck him the divine anesthetic was gently administered. He. 
“fell asleep’? (v. 60) and passed out into the quiet glory of God. 
Can you conceive what really happened when Jesus “received 
Stephen’s spirit” (v. 59)? Certainly the expression indicates that 
Stephen’s career was no more ended when his body lay bruised and 
bleeding among the sharp-edged stones than was the career of Jesus 
ended when His body hung limp and lifeless on the cross. 


There was a heavenly side to this dark scene of human hate. The 
“other world” was very near. Stephen’s soul had not to pass through 
vast inter-planetary spaces in order to alight upon its confines. 
From where he was standing in the court room he could see its very 
heart and center (v. 55). One wonders whether some slight shifting 
of the view-point, some quick transformation of the senses, might 
not introduce one into the glories of the “other world.” 


“But that these eyes of men are dense and dim, 
And have not power to see it as it is.” 
—Tennyson: The Passing of Arilue. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 39 





Stupy V.—Tbe Witness, Stephen, Js Rillev. 6:8—7:60 
SEVENTH Day: THE CAREER OF STEPHEN 


Review for a few moments to-day the career of Stephen. What 
native gifts does he seem to have possessed? Why was he so hated? 
What contribution did he make to the cause in life? In death? 

“Kuo Lao-man was the old letter-carrier and general servant. Mr. 
Kuo said: . . . ‘I was a long time with Pastor Pitkin. He was 
composed and calm. He told me of some things the schoolboys had 
buried, hoping to save them, and then took out a letter he had just 
written to Pi Tai Tai [Mrs. Pitkin], and his camera, and said: 
You go with me, and we will bury these things in the ground un- 
der the dove-cote, so when all is over you will know where to find 
them. Send or take them to the soldiers from the west, or whoever 
comes with them, so that my wife may be sure to receive them. We 
went out, dug quite a deep hole and put them carefully in, wrapped 
in waterproof covers. Then we went back to the pastor’s room and 
talked till after midnight. We knew little of the fate of the Presby- 
terian friends, but were sure that none were living. At last Mr. 
Pitkin said: Do not risk your life any longer, but get over the 
wall in some place as retired as may be, and get into hiding before 
dawn. My letter may be found, and destroyed. If you learn that 
it is, send word to Pi Tai Tai that God was with me, and His peace 
was my consolation. Tell her that when Horace [his little son] is 
twenty-five years old I hope he will come to China to preach the 
Gospel in my place. Then we knelt down and prayed together, and 
he sent me away. About the next day I do not know very much. 
The pastor was killed in the compound, but the ladies were taken 
to the Boxer headquarters. I have not dared to go back, but others 
have been there, and they say the dove-cote ground has been dug 
over and nothing left of the buried articles.’ 

“When Mr. Pitkin’s body was recovered, it was found in a pit with 
nine others, bodies of Chinese whom he had loved... . Pitkin’s 
hands were not bound, but uplifted as if in prayer, in which position 
they became rigid.” 

—R. E. Speer: A Memorial of Horace Tracy Pitkin, 


40 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy Vi.— Persecution Scatters the Witnesses Through 
out Juvea and Samaria. 8:1-40 


First Day: PERSECUTION IN JERUSALEM. 8: 1-4 


Read 8:1-4 and compare it with 1:8. “They have stoned 
Stephen!” was an exclamation which, as it passed from Nazarene 
to Nazarene, sent husbands home to their wives, and mothers to 
their children. The experience of the sanhedrin with Stephen was 
like the taste of blood to a tiger. A furious persecution began. Note 
its leader. With a promptness that was characteristic of him, he 
began that very day (v. 1). His age is indicated in 7:58. Read 
22:3 to see what had brought him to Jerusalem. Note his descrip- 
tion of himself in the autobiographical passage, Gal. 1: 13-14. The 
fury of the persecution is indicated by the fact that it involved house- 
to-house search and did not spare women, who had from the begin- 
ning been prominently connected with the movement. Great num- 
bers moved away from the city to escape danger. Why did the 
apostles stay in the city? 

In spite of the persecutor’s fury, certain persons called “devout 
men” took up Stephen’s bruised and bloody corpse, and gave it for- 
mal burial. They even made unusual lamentation over it. If they 
were Christian Jews they may have been called specially “devout” 
because of their fearlessness. Consider the question which must 
come up again soon:—Why was Saul so violently opposed to the 
Nazarenes? 


“They, therefore, that were scattered abroad went about preach- 
ing the Word” (v. 4). Many of these doubtless, like Philip, had 
been, in a sense, professional preachers in Jerusalem, but many oth- 
ers were commonplace Nazarenes. We need to take pains not to 
lose our sense of having been entrusted with a definite message 
which we are to deliver in all wise and tactful ways, wherever we 
may be. The individual Christian is a propagating center. 





Chapters 3-8, A. D. 30-34 (Zahn). 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 41 





Stupy VI.—ersecution Scatters the Witnesses Through- 
out Judea and Samaria, 8:1-40 


SeconpD Day: THE TESTIMONY IN SAMARIA. 8:5-8 ~ 


Read 8: 5-8. Some of the witnesses who fled from Jerusalem did 
not stop until they reached distant places (9:2; 11:19). The author 
concentrates attention upon one of them, whose work was interest- 
ing because he began to widen the circle of those who might hear 
the testimony. The work in Samaria was the beginning of a broader 
policy. It was, however, only a beginning, for. the Samaritans, 
though cordially hated by the Jews (cf. John 4:9), seem to be re- 
garded in the Talmud as half-breed Jews, or as semi-proselytes, 
rather than as foreigners. They had Jewish blood in their veins. 
Read the account of their origin in 2 Kings 17: 23-33. They wor- 
shiped Jehovah; expected the Messiah (cf. John 4:25); possessed 
the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures and consequently prac- 
tised circumcision and performed the sacrifices of the Levitical sys- 
tem. Jesus preached among them (John 4: 39-42) and probably 
John the Baptist (John 3:23: 4: 37-38). Yet there was plenty of 
ill-feeling between Jews and Samaritans, for the Samaritans rejected 
all-the Hebrew scriptures except the books of Moses, they would not 
worship at Jerusalem, and they constituted a convenient asylum to 
which any Jew who became an unpopular citizen in either Judea or 
Galilee might resort with safety (JosEPpHUS, Antiquities 11:8:7). 
Imagine how a city full of Samaritans, expectant of a Messiah, and 
knowing by hearsay about the opposition of the Jewish priests to 
the new Messianic movement in Jerusalem, would receive a fugitive 
witness. Was this Philip the apostle of that name or Stephen’s col- 
league (6:5)? Why was there so ‘‘much joy in that city’? 


The Nazarene in Jerusalem who was being dragged along the stony 
street to prison probably had very little sense of being serviceable 
to the cause. Yet we, as we look back upon the entire situation and 
its outcome, see that, in the great forward step that was being taken, 
his contribution was as real as was that of Philip, standing flushed 
with the glad sense of success in the midst of the enthusiastic 
crowds of the Samaritan capital. 


42 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy VI.—ersecution Scatters the Witnesses Thraugh- 
out Jusea and Samaria, 8:1-40, 


Tuirp Day: THE Conspicuous SUCCESS OF THE TESTI- 
MONY IN SAMARIA. 8:9-13 


Read 8: 9-13. Luke vividly emphasizes the widely influential char- 
acter of Philip’s work by noting that even a certain Simon, a ma- 
gian, who had for a long time (v. 11) been entrenched in the 
esteem of all classes (v. 10) of the entire nation (v. 9) was himself, 
together with all his admirers, swept into Philip’s following (v. 13). 
The magians must have been interesting men. Their character is 
well described by Professor Ramsay in St. Paul, the Traveler and 
Roman Citizen: “The magian represented in his single personality 
both the modern fortune-teller and the modern man of science; and 
he had a religious as well as merely superstitious aspect to the 
outer world.” The astrologer of the Middle Ages was the ancestor 
of both the modern astronomer and the modern fortune-teller. The 
“wise men” of Matt. 2:1 were “magians” evidently of a superior 
class. What evidence is there here in Acts that this Samaritan 
magian had some religious significance in the eyes. of the people? 

What was probably the substance of Philip’s preaching to these 
people? That is, what did he probably have to say about the King- 
dom of God that would be regarded as good tidings (v. 12)? And 
what did he probably say about the “‘name of Jesus Christ”? What 
did Simon “believe” (v. 13)? It is evidently regarded by Luke as 
a significant evidence of God’s power that Philip should be able to 
do things that could make a magian like Simon stand by in blank 
amazement (vy. 13). 


“And there was much joy in that city” (v. 8). Wherever there is 
a distinct experience of release from evil habit through the power 
of Jesus Christ there is real joy. Is your habitual mood such as to 
convince an acquaintance, who has no Christian experience, that you 
have in your life a source of real joy that is lacking in his? 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 43 





Stupy VI—Plersecution Scatters the Witnesses Through: 
out Judxa and Samaria. 8:1-40 


FourtH Day: Gop’s ENDORSEMENT OF THE SAMARITAN 
Work. 8: 14-25 


Some of the Jerusalem believers may have questioned whether God 
would approve this extension of the testimony beyond the strictly 
Jewish circle. There had been as yet no such signal endorsement 
as the Jerusalem believers had experienced on the day of Pentecost. 
Believers had simply, in the baptismal rite, confessed their allegi- 
ance to Jesus as Messianic “Lord,” and joined the company of those 
who looked for His return to establish God’s Kingdom. Recently 
discovered papyri make it evident that in the eastern world the 
word Lord (“kyrios’’) in such connections as this connoted divinity. 
Read vv. 14-18, picturing the scene phrase by phrase. Evidently there 
were some visible phenomena, such as could be perceived by the 
magian. What do you imagine them to have been? Had they had 
no vital connection with the Holy Spirit during the time between 
their baptism and the arrival of the apostles? The magian recog- 
nized that the two apostles from Jerusalem were Philip’s superiors, 
and he made the naive proposition that these two masters, for a 
money consideration, teach him how to add this accomplishment 
to his repertoire of sorceries. Read vv. 18-24. Why should Peter 
have been so indignant? What was the real difficulty with the 
magian? 

Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching in many villages 
on the way, Note the significant word Luke uses to describe their 
preaching (v. 25). 


The person who has long been deceiving others finally deceives 
himself. He who has long been blunting the moral perceptions of 
others finally finds his own almost hopelessly blunt when he most 
needs to have them keen. 


44 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy VI.—ersecution Scatters the Witnesses Chrougd- 
out Juyea and Samaria, 8:1-40 


FirtH Day: A Eunucu ACCEPTS THE TESTIMONY, 
8: 26-40 


The incident in this paragraph is evidently regarded by Luke as 
constituting a forward step in the process of carrying the gospel 
from Jew to Gentile. And yet at first glance it is difficult to see 
just what advance is here made. Read the whole paragraph, vv. 
26-40, and see whether you can determine just what the forward 
step is. 

Luke does not seem to regard the man as a Gentile, for he cer- 
tainly regards the Roman captain, Cornelius (chap. 10), as the first 
Gentile to receive the testimony. Read 15:7 as corroboration. A 
Jew, resident in Ethiopia, would be called an Ethiopian (cf. 2:5, 9). 

lf he were a full proselyte of Judaism, his case would be exactly 
like that of a Jew and would constitute no advance on what had 
preceded. We have already met Jewish proselytes among the Naza- 
renes (6:5). 

Considerable light is thrown on the situation when it is remem- 
bered that two classes of people are mentioned together in the 
prophecy of Isaiah as not naturally eligible for admission to the 
Messianic kingdom. One of these classes Luke is about to take up 
in chapter 10, with great emphasis upon the significance of its ad- 
mission into the new movement, namely, Gentiles that live among 
the Jews and worship Jehovah, but that do not become Jewish 
proselytes. The other class, closely associated with them as not 
naturally eligible for the new kingdom, is eunuchs. In Deuteronomy 
23:1 the prejudice against eunuchs is expressed, and in Isaiah 
56: 1-8 eunuchs and God-fearing foreigners are classed together as 
ineligibles for whom provision will nevertheless be made. Read the 
passage in Isaiah. It is reasonably clear that the inclusion of a 
eunuch would seem to Luke a decisive forward step. 


“For the love of God is broader 
Than the measure of man’s mind, 
And the heart of the Eternal 
Is most wonderfully kind.” 
—FABER, 


NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 45 





Stupy VI.— Persecution Scatters the Witnesses Through: 
out Judxa and Samaria. $:1-40 


Stxto Day: A Eunucu Accepts THE Testimony (Con- 
tinued). 8:26-40 

Luke lays emphasis on the fact that God arranged the meeting 
between the witness and the eunuch. In the midst of Philip’s exhil- 
arating success in Samaria he found himself, probably in a vision 
of the night, bidden to go some scores of miles southward to the 
Jerusalem-Gaza trunk-road, in a sparsely settled, “desert” section 
where he was not likely to find many to evangelize. The time of 
his starting was designated, for the phrase translated “toward the 
south” may be translated “about noon.” So he left his wife and 
little daughters (cf. 21:8-9) and went on his lonely way down 
through the foot-hills into the Philistine plain, wondering why he 
had been sent. 

As he drew near the trunk-road he saw in the distance a chariot 
and attendants suitable to the needs of a man of rank. In obedience 
to an impulse which he regarded as produced by the Holy Spirit 
(v. 29), he ran to join the company and found in what followed 
abundant evidence that God had planned the meeting. The gentle- 
man in the chariot had come many hundreds-of miles from the 
Abyssinian plateau to celebrate in Jerusalem some feast of the Jew- 
ish calendar, and was now whiling away the long hours by reading 
aloud (v. 30) from a roll which contained the prophecy of Isaiah. 
He had evidently just finished our fifty-second chapter, and his mem- 
ory of the beautiful temple he had just left was merging with visions 
of the city’s future Messianic glory. He had come abruptly upon 
the strange minor note of the fifty-third chapter. Read Isaiah 
52: I—53:9, trying to put yourself in the traveler’s place. 

Philip recognized the passage as one regarded by the Nazarenes 
as Messianic, and inquired whether it could possibly be that the 
gentleman understood its meaning. Why should such a gentleman 
be so ready to ask instruction from a chance pedestrian by the 
roadside? 


It must have given Philip an exhilarating sense of cooperating 
with the unseen God to find himself the object of such evident su- 
perintendence. If we were steadily looking out for opportunities to 
call the attention of men to Jesus Christ very probably we should 
find ourselves evidently working together with God. é 


46 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy VI.—ersecution Scatters the Witnesses Chrough- 
out Judea and Samaria, 8:1-40 


SeventH Day: A Eunucu AccCEPTS THE TESTIMONY 
(Concluded). 8:26-40 


The eunuch may have heard in Jerusalem of the new Messianic 
movement, and may have known that Nazarene refugees were scat- 
tered over the countryside. He may easily have inferred that this 
eager pedestrian was one of them. Philip probably spoke at once 
of the death of Jesus, for the next sentence in the Greek translation 
of Isaiah, which the eunuch was probably using, reads: “By the 
lawless ones of my people was he brought to death.” Philip would 
emphasize the non-resistance of Jesus before His enemies, the fact 
that in His period of humiliation His power of Messianic judgment 
was held in abeyance and that He left no descendants. Read vv. 
32-35. Philip also probably called attention to the providential cir- 
cumstances that had led to their meeting. It is evident from v. 36 
that he had spoken of belief and baptism. After the baptism Philip 
felt himself constrained by the Holy Spirit to hurry away (v. 39). 
The eunuch in gladness of heart turned back to his roll and read 
Isaiah 52:7 with new sense of its meaning. 

It may have been some years later that Philip settled in Caesarea 
(v. 40). Note in 21: 8-10 the opportunity that Luke had to get firsts 
hand information regarding the events described here in the eighth 
chapter. 

Regarding this incident as an illustration of the way in which the 
Christian movement is extended, what persons, influences or agen- 
cies appear to be operative in such extension? 


“The Spirit said unto Philip, ‘Go near’ . . . and Philip ran 
to him” (vv. 29-30). He was a ready witness into whom God’s 
Spirit could think a thought with the assurance that it would be 
so instantly transmuted into action as to make the witness an in- 
carnate volition of the living God. Successful living consists in be- 
ing, without strain or worry, always quietly ready for an emer- 
gency. Could you at a moment’s notice tell a man, who was ready, 
to learn, exactly what it is to become a Christian? 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 47 





Stupy VII.—Jesus Selects a Great Witness for the For: 
eign World. 9:1-31 


First Day: Raspi Sauv’s Earty History 


Luke’s chief interest in describing the remarkable transformation 
of life experienced by Rabbi Saul appears in 9:15. Turn also to 
26: 16-18, noting incidentally the emphasis there laid upon the idea 
of “witnessing.” 

Some facts about his early history are of significance. He was a 
city-bred man (22:3), and the city of his birth was one of the 
three great university centers of the world, the other two being 
Athens and Alexandria. It is scarcely probable that his boyhood 
was much influenced by Greek learning, for his father, grandfather 
and possibly his ancestors still further back belonged to the anti- 
foreign element of the nation. In 23:6 he proudly calls himself a 
son of Pharisees. In his early home life the family seem to have 
kept up their speaking use of “Hebrew” (Aramaic), although many 
Jewish families who lived outside Palestine ceased to use their 
national language. Notice the evidence of this in Paul’s brief auto- 
biographical sketch (Phil. 3:5) and note the effective use he made 
of his ability to speak Hebrew (Acts 21: 40—22:2). Note also 
26:14. The family sent him at an early age back to Palestine and 
proposed to give him the best possible opportunity to become a 
great rabbi. See 22:3; 26:4-5. He felt that he made the most of 
his advantages. See Gal. 1:14. He was always passionately loyal 
to his nation, though for years he had to suffer the unjust reproach 
that he was a renegade Jew. Read his protest in Rom. 9: 1-5. Yet 
the family possessed Roman citizenship. See Acts 22: 25-29. 


One needs to remember that features of his life that seem to be 
of no particular significance may turn out to be of great value in 
the future. He needs to be sure that God is always at work shaping 
his life, 


48 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy VII.—Jesus Selects a Great Witness for the For- 
eign World. 931-31 


Seconp Day: Raspi SAUL, THE PERSECUTOR. 9: 1-2 


When the Jewish authorities determined to stamp out the Nazarene 
heresy God seemed to them to have raised up a man for the hour, 
the young Tarsian, Rabbi Saul. He was a person of great_energy, 
determination and unflinching executive ability. He was thoroughly 
convinced that the heresy must be stopped. Read his comment on 
this period of his life made many years later (26: 9-11). It seemed 
to Saul that Jesus had been an enemy of Pharisaism and its high 
aims for the religious life of the nation. Jesus’ attitude toward the 
Pharisaic interpretation of the scriptures had been critical, and His 
conduct in associating with outcast classes had seemed to the Phari- 
sees to be irreligious. God had openly and unmistakably cursed 
Him, for He had hung in naked shame on a cross between two 
brigands. Now the fanatical Nazarenes dare to assert that the 
blasphemer is on the right hand of God and will soon return as 
Messianic Lord! Worst of all, they are leading the people to 
think lightly of law and temple. Stephen had been a flagrant illus- 
tration of their destructive tendency. So Rabbi Saul steals in upon 
groups of Nazarenes gathered at night-time for prayer. He 
“breathes out threatening and slaughter” whenever he sees a Naza- 
rene. He shouts in the synagogue: “Curse Jesus, or we will kill 
you” (26:11). 

When the Nazarenes had been pretty thoroughly scattered from 
Jerusalem, Saul, with characteristic largeness of purpose, proposed 
to visit the ghetto of every great city in the empire and stamp the 
movement utterly out. The Jews in foreign cities were always in 
danger of yielding to the worldly influence of their environment and 
becoming lax in their observance of the law. If now this Nazarene 
movement should develop within the ghetto itself, the peril would 
be great. 


Read vv. 1-2. What propriety do you see in calling Nazarenes 
men of “the way’? 


Have imagination enough to think habitually of the worst man 
you know as transformed into a disciple of Jesus Christ. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 49 





Stupy VII.—Jesus Selects a Great Witness for the For: 
eign World. 9:1-31 


Tuirp Day: Rassi SAu’s INTERVIEW WITH JESUS. 9: 3-9 


Joseph Caiaphas, the priest, smiled approvingly upon Rabbi Saul 
as he gave him his credentials (v. 2). This troublesome Nazarene 
movement seemed likely now to be wholly overthrown! Rabbi Saul 
took with him a detachment of men to serve as guards for the cap- 
tives who should return to Jerusalem with him, and began his ride 
of 120 miles to Damascus. When he was almost at his destination, 
about noon, a blazing blinding light, outshining the hot Syrian sun, 
fell upon them. Rabbi Saul found himself on the ground and heard 
a voice calling him by no title, but by the personal name in the form 
in which he had heard it in his mother’s arms (26:14). The name 
went sounding down, down, down into the depths of his soul. The 
voice asks him why he persecutes the speaker. Is it the cry of the 
last Nazarene martyr murdered in Jerusalem still ringing in his 
ears? Is it the unforgettable voice of Stephen of the angel face? 
He asks: “Who are you, sir?’’ After a moment of suspense comes 
an answer, the first effect of which must have been to horrify him 
and nearly stop the beating of his heart: “I am Jesus”! With quiet 
authority Jesus began to exercise control, and Rabbi Saul began the 
long life of obedience in which his chief glory was to confess him- 
self Jesus Christ’s bond-slave (cf. Rom. 1:1). When Rabbi Saul 
rose up he found himself unable longer to persecute. Instead of 
dashing into the ghetto with terrifying prestige, he was led in as a 
helpless, groping, blind man. Read carefully vv. 3-9 and consider 
at such length as your time permits, these questions: What actually 
happened te Rabbi Saul at this time? What immediate changes in 
his religious life and conduct were logically necessitated by this 
experience? 


“So sometimes comes to soul and sense 
The feeling which is evidence 
That very near about us lies 
The realm of spiritual mysteries. 
The sphere of the supernal powers 
Impinges on this world of ours.” 
—WuirtierR: The Meeting. 


A. D. 35 (Zahn); A. D. 30 (Harnack); A. D. 33 (32) (Ramsay). 


50 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy VIL—Jesus Selects a Great Witness for the For- 
eign World, 921-31 


FourtH Day: Jesus SENDS ONE OF THE BROTHERS TO 
RABBI SAUL. 9: IO-I9 


Rabbi Saul was conducted to the residence of some leader of the 
ghetto who was doubtless prepared to entertain suitably the distin- 
guished representative of the Jerusalem sanhedrin. The Jerusalem 
rabbi was a strange guest! Read v. 9. By and by he fell asleep 
and dreamed that he saw a man named Ananias come in, speak to 
him, and restore his sight. He awoke and found it only a dream. 
He was a blind man still! Then he heard steps. A visitor was 
announced, and the servant pronounced the name “Ananias.” Rabbi 
Saul felt friendly hands laid on him, heard a voice say, “Brother 
Saul,” and in Jesus’ name bid him see again. He suddenly found 
himself looking into the face of a fellow Nazarene, a devout Phari- 
see like himself (22:12). He received from his visitor the rite that 
inducted him into the new fraternity and took his place among 
those whom he had come to persecute. 

Read carefully vv. ro-18. Why mention the fact that Saul was 
praying (v. 11)? Had he not prayed before? What thoughts were 
probably uppermost in Saul’s mind during the three days of blind- 
ness? Saul knows how those who “bear the name before Israel” 
have to suffer (vv. 15-16). 

This experience on the Damascus road always afterward seemed 
to Saul a real interview with Jesus. He recognized the fact that he 
sometimes had trance-like visions (2 Cor. 12: 1-4), but this Damas- 
cus experience he evidently differentiated from such visions, for he 
classified it with the appearances of Jesus to the original disciples in 
the days immediately after the resurrection. Read 1 Cor. 15: 4-8. 
The effect of the experience on the character of Saul, its results in 
the life of the early church through Saul’s missionary activity, and 
its ever-enlarging influence in the modern world through Saul’s 
literary productions, all make it highly reasonable to suppose that 
the Spirit of Jesus met the spirit of Saul and presumably in such a 
way as to produce certain effects in Saul’s physical environment. 

The experience of Saul and the experience of Ananias give hints 
as to the way in which Jesus spends His time. He is working upon 


the lives of men none the less really because less conspicuously 
than in the cases of Ananias and Saul. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 51 





Stupy VII.—Jesus Selects a Great Witness for the For: 
eign World, 9:1-31 


FirrH Day: Rassi Saut BecINs To WITNESS. 9: 19-25 


Saul probably left the house on Straight street and became the 
guest of some Nazarene, perhaps Ananias. He at once visited the 
synagogue, where his reputation as a distinguished rabbi from Jeru- 
salem brought him at first large audiences. Read vv. 19-22, in order 
to ascertain what his main contention was. How did he “prove” his 
point? 

At about this period in Saul’s history something occurred which 
seemed of importance to him. Read his autobiographical allusion 
to it in Gal. 1:15-17. It is uncertain whether he meant by “Arabia” 
the Sinaitic peninsula or some region near Damascus. At certain 
periods of history the term Arabia included even Damascus itself. 
Whether he stayed in Arabia longer than a few weeks or months 
is also uncertain. Gal. 1:18 does not make this clear. Certainly he 
would have needed physical rest after the nervous shock involved in 
the blinding vision. He would have needed also time for a thought- 
ful readjustment of his religious views to his new experience. Is it 
probable that he could have written such an epistle as that to the 
Romans a few months after his Damascus experience? 

He returned from Arabia to Damascus (Gal. 1:17) and soon be- 
gan to see angry faces in his audiences, like those that Stephen had 
seen in the Jerusalem synagogues. Some fanatics of the ghetto 
plotted to assassinate him, and for a time by day and night men 
were lurking about the city gates with daggers under their cloaks. 
Read vy. 23-25. Is there any evidence in 2 Cor. 11: 30-33 that the 
authorities of the ghetto enlisted the city police in their effort to 
dispose of Saul? The passage just cited (especially v. 30) reads 
somewhat as if Saul were ridiculed for the undignified manner of 
his escape. 


Saul’s testimony was based on his personal experience. There is 
much value in the historic facts connected with the life, death, and 
resurrection of Jesus to which we can call attention, but the gist of 
our testimony must be some personal experience interpreted in the 
light of these historic facts. 


52 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy VII.—Jesus Selects a Great Witness for the Fore 
eign Worly. 9:31:31 


SixtH Day: Rassr SAuL RETURNS TO JERUSALEM AS A 
CuRISTIAN WITNESS. 9:26-30 


For two reasons Saul wished to revisit Jerusalem. The first is 
stated by himself in Gal. 1:18. His remarkable experience with 
Jesus had convinced him that Jesus meant him to be an apostle 
(read 1 Cor. 9:1). If he was an apostle, it was extremely desirable 
that he should come to an understanding with the other apostles 
and especially with their leader, Peter, and arrange with them some 
plan for work. One wonders whether the ex-fisherman and the 
rabbi, so similarly forceful in character, but different in training, 
found each other congenial, At a later period they came into col- 
lision (cf. Gal. 2:11-14), and if the author of our second epistle of 
Peter was the apostle, there is indication that the fisherman found 
difficulty in following the train of thought in some of the rabbi’s 
letters (2 Peter 3:15-16). 

A second reason why Saul wished to revisit Jerusalem is implied 
in an account given long afterward by Saul of his experience at 
prayer in the temple during the time of his visit. Read Acts 
22:17-21. Saul hoped that he could lead a large company of his old 
Jerusalem friends among the rabbis into the Nazarene ranks. It 
seemed to him that they would surely be convinced by his experi- 
ence that the Christian contention was just. 

Read now the account of his visit in 9:26-30 and see how dis- 
appointing it was. After two short weeks (Gal. 1:18) the visit 
came to an abrupt end. 

If they did not believe that Saul was a genuine disciple (v. 26), 
what did they think was his reason for pretending to be one? Barna- 
bas and Saul probably had had some previous acquaintance. Notice 
that Saul’s antagonists were from the same class that had furnished 
Stephen’s enemies (cf. 6:9). Do you see any reason for making 
Tarsus his destination? These two weeks were probably weeks of 
rapid growth in Saul’s religious life. From James, the brother of 
Jesus, he had opportunity to learn many things about the personal 
life of the Nazareth family (Gal. 1:19). From Peter he learned 
much about the public life and teaching of Jesus, although the char- 
acteristic features of his own presentation of the gospel, he always 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 53 





regarded as a divine gift not brought to him through any human 
teacher (Gal. 1:11-12). 

He had opportunity also to recall the shameful record of his per- 
secuting fury, to visit once more the spot where he had stood ex- 
ulting over the fate of Stephen. 

He began to see also how much he had sacrificed in becoming a 
Nazarene. His former teacher, Gamaliel, probably received him 
coldly. His associates among the rabbis cast him utterly off. His 
father probably disinherited him and made him feel that such a re- 
sult of all the money expended upon his education was bitterly dis- 
appointing. When Saul finally got safely off on shipboard at 
Cesarea, bound for Tarsus, he had leisure to count up his losses— 
family, friends, property, professional ambitions—everything was 
gone. He could say, as he did later, “I have suffered the loss of 
all things.” Read Phil. 3: 4-i1. 

But in these two weeks Saul was learning to take on his heart 
the burden of the great Gentile world. He had a Pharisee’s con- 
tempt for Gentiles. He could not in a week nor in a year take upon 
him his share of his Lord’s interest in the Gentiles. Jesus gradually 
put the burden on him. In his trance in some quiet corner of the 
temple colonnades they argued about it (22: 17-21). Saul said: “I 
want to stay here in the city. Here surely is to be my first and 
great work, here among the rabbis and these choice people of Jeru- 
salem.” “But, Saul,” said Jesus in the vision, “the Gentiles, the 
Gentiles! I will send thee far hence to the Gentiles!” The great 
world was the burden that lay upon the heart of Jesus—Corinth and 
Ephesus and Rome, their slums and their hordes of despairing 
slaves. These were weeks in which Saul began to share his Lord’s 
interest in the great Gentile world, to be the apostle of which finally 
became his chief joy and glory. 


Jesus’ concern to-day is for the great world ignorant of Him and 
His ideals; for its great cities in China and India, their narrow 
streets filled with men and women, their little children growing up 
in lust and brutality. It is not with Him simply a matter of per- 
sonal pride, an ambition to see the enterprise He began succeed, but 
He feels the same great personal concern for the people themselves, 
for the men, women and children. Have you ever solemnly conse- 
crated your life to the effort to secure for all men a fair chance at 
all good things? 


54 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy VII.—Jesus Selects a Great Witness for the far: 
eign Worly, 9:1-31 


SEVENTH Day: SumMary oF Parr II. 9:31 


Think to-day for a few moments once more of Saul’s interview 
with Jesus. Saul was soon ready to sacrifice everything else for a 
more intimate acquaintance with Jesus (Phil. 3: 8-10). What per- 
sonal qualities in Jesus did Saul find so attractive? That is, what 
great characteristics of Jesus appear in this interview? 

Note also to-day the progress in the development of the main pur- 
pose of the book that has been made in Part II. Compare 9: 31 with 
1:8. Persecution has abated and the Nazarenes are rapidly increas- 
ing in number throughout Judza, Galilee and Samaria. Note Luke’s 
emphasis of the relation of the Holy Spirit to the movement. 


“Paul is the most luminous personality in the history of primitive 
Christianity. . . . In the opinion of the great majority of those 
who have studied him .. . he was the one who understood the 
Master and continued His work. . . . We regard him as Christ’s 
disciple, as the apostle who not only worked harder, but also ac- 
complished more than all the rest put together. It was Paul who 
delivered the Christian religion from Judaism.” 

—Harnack: What Is Christianity? 


PART III 


THE TESTIMONY IS BORNE BY GOD’S DIRECTION FOR 
THE FIRST TIME TO JEHOVAH-WORSHIPING FOR- 
EIGNERS. 9: 32—I12:24 


Srupy VIII.—Jehovah-Worshiping Foreigners in Cxsarea Receive 
the Testimony. 9: 32—11: 18. 

Stupy IX.—A New Christian Center Among Foreigners in Syrian 
Antioch and a Startling Demonstration in the Old Center. 11: 19— 
f2 224 





NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 57 





Stupy VIII.—Jebovah-Worshiping Foreigners in Cusarea 
Receive the Cestimonp. 9:32—11:18 


First Day: PETER AND THE CHURCH PREPARED FOR A 
ForwarD MovEMENT. 9: 32-43 


Luke is now ready to describe with great fullness of detail the 
first approach to foreigners, and before doing so he introduces again, 
in an impressive preliminary paragraph, the person who is to be the 
chief actor. Peter ever after regarded the experience which he was 
now unconsciously approaching as one of the most important of his 
life. See how he alludes to it in 15:7. For an experience so im- 
portant the chief actor would require preparation, and an account of 
this preparation is given in 9: 32-43. Read the paragraph, and state 
how the experience recorded was calculated to prepare Peter for the 
forward step he was soon to take. That is, put yourself in Peter’s 
place and imagine what would have been the effect of these two 
experiences upon him. 

Peter had left Jerusalem and was now visiting groups of Nazarenes 
in all parts of the country. Perhaps in all these communities he was 
already teaching his collection of instructive anecdotes about Jesus, 
which seem to have been later set in order by his assistant, John 
Mark, and which, so arranged, are probably preserved in our Gospel 
of Mark. He is also exercising the same healing power in these 
country churches for which he had been famous in Jerusalem (cf. 
5: 15-16). Among Peter’s anecdotes concerning Jesus’ healing power 
was the one preserved for us in Mark 2:1-12. Read it and com- 
pare it with the somewhat similar experience of Peter with a palsied 
man here in vv. 32-35. What differences do you note in the method 
of procedure in the two cases? What was Peter’s inner experience 
as he faced the paralytic? What inner experience enabled him to say, 
“Jesus Christ is healing thee” (v. 34)? 


Here is a man so intimately associated with Jesus Christ as to 
raise men out of helplessness and set them at work (v. 34). Our 
ability to help men morally to their feet is in proportion to the 
closeness of our alliance with Jesus Christ. 





Chapters 9:32-11:24, 27; A. D. 38-40 (Zahn). 


58 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy VIII.—Jebovah-Worshiping Foreigners in Cxsarea 
Receive the Gestimonp. 9:32—11:18 


SEcoND Day: PETER AND THE CHURCH PREPARED FOR A 
Forwarp MoveMENT (Concluded). 9: 32-43 


Peter’s spiritual experience of Jesus’ nearness to him in Lydda 
was intensified by a more remarkable experience in Joppa. There, 
too, he found himself in a situation similar to one in which he, with 
two other disciples, had seen Jesus exhibit remarkable power. Read 
Mark 5: 35-43, and compare it with vv. 36-42 here in Acts. What 
similarities and differences do you note in the method of procedure 
in the two cases? Through what psychological process do you con- 
ceive Peter’s mind to have passed in this experience? 

It was not Peter alone who needed preparation for the forward 
step to be described in the next chapter, but the entire body of 
Nazarenes. We can scarcely imagine how the Jewish sense of 
decency would be outraged by such intercourse with foreigners as 
Peter was soon to have with Cornelius. (Read 11:1-3.) This 
shock must have been greatly mitigated by God’s evident endorse- 
ment of Peter on the verge of this experience. It was particularly 
advantageous to have this endorsement given in communities so 
strongly Jewish as were Lydda and Joppa. Palestine was largely 
influenced by Greek civilization. Many towns had a large Gentile 
element in their population (cf. Matt. 10: 5), but these two towns 
were strongly Jewish. The occurrences in these two cities influ- 
enced not only the cities themselves, but also the surrounding coun- 
try. This fact is especially emphasized in the case of Lydda. All 
the Jews in the plain of ‘‘The Sharon” became Christians (vy. 35). 


It was while Peter was going regularly about “throughout all 
parts” that he “came down also” to the emergencies in Lydda and 
Joppa, and then into the great opportunity in Caesarea. To the 
man in close touch with God the commonplace routine, which is a 
product of the infinite ingenuity of God, may lead at any moment 
into the emergency and the unusual opportunity. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 59 





Stupy VIII.— Jebovah-Worshiping Foreigners in Caesarea 
Beceive the Cestimany. 9:32—11:18 


TuHirD Day: Gop PREPARES A JEHOVAH-WORSHIPING GEN- 
TILE TO RECEIVE THE TESTIMONY. 10:1-8 


The Jews were shrewd business men, as they are to-day, and 
Palestine was a poor country for business enterprises. Consequently 
the Jews in large numbers had left Palestine and settled in the great 
business centers of the world. They carried their religion with them 
and its central institution, the synagogue. In many of these syna- 
gogues on the Sabbath there might have been seen in the audience, 
perhaps seated by themselves, a group of Gentiles. They were not 
Jewish proselytes, but persons who, weary of the pagan religions, 
had been attracted by the monotheism and higher ethical standards 
of the Jewish faith. They did not care to make the political and 
social sacrifice involved in becoming Jewish proselytes, but they wor- | 
shiped Jehovah, and probably to some extent adapted their sociai 
and domestic life to Jewish standards, else their presence in the syna- 
gogue would not have been tolerated. They are called, in the book 
of Acts, “devout persons” or “those that fear God.” 

The more conservative Jews probably had no social intercourse 
with these Gentile worshipers. Some were less conservative, for 
we know that a pious Jewess in South Galatia allowed her daughter 
to marry one of them. (See Acts 16:1-3; 2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15.) No 
one, however, seems to have supposed that these Jehovah-worshiping 
Gentiles could have any share in the coming “kingdom of God.” 

It was these Jehovah-worshiping foreigners who were destined to 
be the first foreigners to receive the testimony. With these facts in 
mind, read 10: 1-8. Note the “devout’’ person who is mentioned, in 
addition to the captain’s family. Probably there were others like 
him in the cohort. Note on the map the location of Czesarea and 
Joppa. Czsarea was as thoroughly Gentile as Joppa was Jewish. 


It is in the leisure and mood of the prayer hour that God finds 
opportunity to draw near to the soul with His message (vv. 9, 30). 


60 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Strupy VIII.—Jebovah-Worshiping Foreigners in Caesarea 
Receive the Cestimonp. 9:32—11;18 


FourtH Day: Gop PREPARES PETER TO TESTIFY BEFORE A 
JEHOVAH-WoORSHIPING GENTILE. 10:9-23 


The day after the captain’s vision in Caesarea, Peter in Joppa is 
on the oriental house-top, in the seclusion afforded by its protecting 
rampart, for noonday prayer. He can look out upon the blue Medi- 
terranean, with its white-sailed ships. As he is praying he has a 
vision in which a great sail, or sheet, filled with strange contents is 
lowered from the blue sky. A voice from the sky commands Peter 
to do something against which his religious nature, trained for many 
years to regard certain foods as religiously defiling, revolts. Read 
carefully vv. 9-16. Was there anything significant to Peter in the 
place from which these “unclean” animals came and into which they 
were received? 

While Peter was wondering what the significance of his strange 
vision could be, he heard the sound of horses’ hoofs on the pavement 
below, and was seized with a conviction that he was wanted there. 
Read vv. 17-22. 

Peter lodged the three Gentiles without scruples, and the next 
morning, with six Jewish Christians from Joppa, whom he took 
along to be witnesses of whatever God might be going to do, he 
began the ride to Cesarea. The ten men reached Czsarea about 
three p. m. (v. 30) of the next day. Read vv. 22-23. 


If you have a little money to invest and have a friend who does 
business in a large way, that brings many chances for profitable in- 
vestment constantly before him, you call on him often if he enjoys 
having you do so. When you call on him, you listen to him. 

So when you come before God every day, listen to Him. The spir- 
itual industries of the world are open before Him. He has a future 
for you, some broader outlook to give you, some chance for the in- 
vestment of yourself that you have not yet begun to realize. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 61 


Stupy VIII.—Jebovah-Worshiping Foreigners in Cxsarea 
Receive the Cestimonp. 9:32—11:18 


FirtH Day: PeEtTer’s TESTIMONY BEFORE THE ITALIAN 
CAPTAIN AND His FRIENDS. 10: 24-43 


When the group of horsemen reached the captain’s residence, the 
captain came out in person to meet them, and Peter had the ex- 
tremely novel experience of being greeted by a Roman with a pro- 
longed salaam. He politely protested, and then—with a strange sen- 
sation—perhaps for the first time in his life, crossed the threshold 
of a foreigner’s house. The captain, talking to him as they walked 
through the atrium, presented him to a group of gentlemen com- 
posed of the captain’s kinsmen and military friends. Peter and Cor- 
nelius gave an account of the remarkable experiences they had 
passed through during the past few days, and then Peter began his 
testimony. Read vv. 24-34. What was probably the attitude of 
Cornelius’ kinsmen and friends to the Jewish religion? How did 
they happen to be assembled at just this hour? 

Read Peter’s address in vv. 35-43, and note whether it contains any 
new ideas. In addresses to Jewish audiences Peter seems to have 
made his appeal to the conscience in connection with the charge that 
they had killed God's Messiah. This charge he is not able to make 
here. What takes its place here as an appeal to conscience? 


This great leader of the Nazarenes was learning, what others since 
from time to time have had to learn, namely, that God proposes to 
save a larger number than men have expected to see saved. Men 
give up their fellowmen far sooner than God does. Are there any 
persons in your circle of acquaintances, whom you never think of as 
possibly becoming Christians? Do you habitually think of every 
person you meet as one meant by God to be a disciple of Jesus 
Christ ? 


62 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy VIII.—Jebovah-Worshiping Foreigners in Caesarea 
Receive the Cestimonp, 9:32+—-11:18 


S1xtH Day: Gop APPROVES THE PRESENTATION OF THE 
TESTIMONY TO JEHOVAH-WoORSHIPING 
GENTILES. 10: 34-48 


Peter in his first sentence acknowledged his change of view-point. 
He recognized that any Jehovah-worshiping Gentile who lived such 
a life as that of Cornelius was “acceptable” to God, that is, might 
have a chance to believe in the Messiahship of Jesus and begin to 
look for the coming kingdom (v. 35). He used the familiar dox- 
ology with a new sense of its breadth of application (v. 36). Peter 
assumed that these gentlemen were familiar with the history of the 
Nazarene movement (v. 37). Czasarea was a natural outlet for 
Nazarenes leaving the country by sea. In all probability some of 
them had spoken in the Cesarean synagogue, but no one had dreamed 
that their message could be one of good news to any except Jews. 

What features in the character and life of Jesus seem to have im- 
pressed Peter most strongly? 

Peter found it pertinent to the situation of these Jehovah-worship- 
ing Gentiles to assure them that Jesus was the one in whom were 
fulfilled the prophecies that they were accustomed to hear read in the 
synagogue from Sabbath to Sabbath (v. 43). 

It was reasonably clear to all concerned that God had brought this 
witness to the captain’s house, but all doubt was removed when cer- 
tain well-known signs of agitation began to appear in the audience. 
Read vv. 44-48. What is Peter’s argument? How do you account 
for the fact that the Jews were so narrow-minded as v. 45 indicates? 


God’s love is like the tide of the sea as it enters the harbor, 
ready to lift all the shipping—the great ocean liner and the multi- 
tude of smaller craft, the millionaire’s palatial private yacht and 
the old garbage scow. 


“He findeth not who seeks his own, 
The soul is lost that’s saved alone. 
Not on one favored forehead fell 
Of old the fire-tongued miracle, 
But flamed o’er all the thronging host 
he baptism of the Holy Ghost.” 
—WHITTIER: The Meetine. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 63 





Stupy VIII.—Jebovah-Worshiping Foreigners in Casarea 
Receive the Testimony. 9:32—11:18 


SEVENTH Day: THE JERUSALEM BELIEVERS ENDORSE THE 
ForwarD MoveMENT. 11: 1-18 


The attitude of the Jerusalem church toward Gentiles was evi- 
dently that of all orthodox Jews. According to the Talmud, the 
“heathen had fallen away from the service of God, had lost human 
nature, and been transformed into animal nature, so that they were 
morally and physically unclean.” “God could not speak through 
their consciences.” “If they should repent of their sins they would 
receive no forgiveness.” “It was not God’s purpose to have heathen 
in His kingdom unless by circumcision they became Jews.” (WEBER: 
Die Lehren des Talmud.) Doubtless there were Jews who would 
not have subscribed to some of these statements, but the statements 
probably expressed the general attitude toward the Gentile. 

The Jews felt that physical contact could produce moral contami- 
nation, and therefore avoided, as far as possible, all association with 
Gentiles. Particularly in entering a Gentile’s house they ran risk 
of polluting themselves (cf. John 18:28). To eat at a Gentile’s 
table was a most flagrant offense because, in addition to the fellow- 
ship involved in the simple act of eating together, there was the 
certainty that the Gentile did not regard the distinction between 
clean and unclean foods, and would very likely even have something 
on his table that had come from the pagan temple. (Cf. 1 Cor. 
10: 27-28.) The most scandalous feature of Peter’s conduct in 
Czsarea was not his preaching to Gentiles, but his eating with them. 

Read 11: 1-18. Did Luke see any significance in the time at which 
the Holy Spirit “fell on” these Gentile believers (10: 44; 11:15)? 
What are the strong points in Peter’s defense of his action? What 
is the meaning of the last statement in v. 18? 


These Jerusalem Christians were slowly solving the difficult prob- 
lem of holding loyally to what they had always supposed to be 
God’s truth, and at the same time yielding candid consideration and 
hearty acceptance to new revelations of God’s truth, which at first 
sight seemed inconsistent with the old. That the Spirit of God pa- 
tiently guided them in this critical period is the comfort of all those 
who find themselves similarly situated. 


64 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy IX.—A Mew Christian Center Among Foreigners in 
Sprian Antioch anv a Startling Demonstration in the Olu 
Center, 11319—12:24 


First Day: Larce NuMBERS OF JEHOVAH-WORSHIPING 
FoREIGNERS BECOME CHRISTIANS IN SYRIAN 
ANTIOCH. II: 19-30 


Read vv. 19-21, noting on the map the places from which the 
preachers came and to which they went. In vy. 20 some manuscripts 
read “Greeks,” as is indicated in the American Revised Version, 
and others “Grecian Jews.” The context seems to require the con- 
clusion that the persons indicated were Jehovah-worshiping Gentiles. 

New ideas and inventions seem frequently to appear almost simul- 
taneously in the minds of persons far removed from, and wholly in- 
dependent of, each other. At about the time when Peter brought 
the testimony to Cornelius, venturesome spirits, originally from 
North Africa and the island of Cyprus, dared to address their testi- 
mony to the Jehovah-worshiping Gentiles whom they found in the 
synagogues of Antioch on the Orontes. We do not know how these 
nameless pioneers of Christian liberty came to do as they did in 
Antioch. Jews had enjoyed special privileges in that city, and it 
may be that the line of distinction between Jew and Gentile was 
less sharply drawn there than elsewhere. In any case the testimony 
was presented to the Gentiles of the synagogue and aroused great 
enthusiasm among them. 

Read vv. 21-24, and note every point which indicates Luke’s in- 
terest in showing that God approved this new departure. Luke is 
approaching the point in his narrative at which he will have occa- 
sion to describe the attack made by a certain Jewish minority in 
the Jerusalem church upon the Gentile Christians, and so takes pains 
to show that the original attitude of the church as a whole was 
favorable to the new element. Note in vv. 22-30 everything that 
shows friendliness between the Jerusalem and Antioch churches. 


“The Lord” is the chief actor in this new beginning. It was to 
Him that they were “added” (v. 24) as so much working capital to 


be invested in the great enterprise to which He was devoting Him- 
self. 





Chapters 9:32-11:24, 27; A. D. 38-40 (Zahn). 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 65 





STubY IX.—A Mew Christian Center Among Foreigners in 
HSprian Antioch anv a Startling Demonstration in the Oly 
Center. 11:19—12:24 


Seconp Day: Larce NUMBERS OF JEHOVAH-WoRSHIPING 
FOREIGNERS BECOME CHRISTIANS IN SYRIAN 
AnTIocH (Concluded). “11: 19-30 

Not the least important feature of this new work in Antioch was 
its contribution to the development of Saul. As the new work grew, 
Barnabas remembered his old friend, Rabbi Saul. He knew that, in 
connection with Saul’s remarkable experience near Damascus, there 
had been significant hints that Saul was to be connected with a 
great turning of the Gentiles to the Messiah. How this was to be 
brought about probably neither Barnabas nor Saul had known. 
These new developments in Antioch seemed to Barnabas to throw 
some light on the subject. He, therefore, left Antioch for a few 
weeks, visited Saul in Tarsus, and described to him the situation in 
Antioch. Since Saul had left Jerusalem he seems to have been 
working quietly in Syria and Cilicia (Gal. 1: 21),*at first exclu- 
sively among Jews, for Luke regards Peter and the Antioch preach- 
ers as the first to approach the Gentiles. He now returned to An- 
tioch and for a year he and his friend worked together in this great 
church, composed of both Jewish Christians and converted Gentiles 
of the synagogue. In what particulars does it seem to you that this 
year of experience in Antioch contributed to Saul’s development? 

The title “Christians” (v. 26) is not one that would naturally 
have been assumed by the believers themselves. It seems rather to 
have been applied to them by outsiders who recognized that the chief 
interest of the believers seemed to be in one called ‘“Christ.’”’ Would 
unbelieving Jews or Greeks be more likely to apply the title to them? 

Probably almost all churches of any size had groups of prophets. 
Cf. Acts 13:2. They were men to whom messages from God came 
sometimes suddenly, and who were accustomed to speak in public 
meetings in obedience to sudden impulse. In this way they some- 
times introduced confusion into the public service. Read Paul’s in- 
struction to such in I Cor. 14: 29-33. 

Does it give you such satisfaction as these Jerusalem believers 
evidently felt to hear that new regions are being opened to the in- 
fluence of Christianity? 





Chapter 11:25, A. D, 48 (Zahn). 


66 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy IX.—@ ew Christian Center Among Foreigners in 
HSprian Antioch anv a Startling Demonstration in the Oly 
Center, 11:19—12:24 


Tuirp Day: A STARTLING DEMONSTRATION IN JERUSALEM. 
12: 1-24 


Before leaving Jerusalem and beginning an account of the spread 
of the testimony from the new center in Antioch, Luke narrates a 
most impressive incident in the history of the Jerusalem church. 
To-day read the entire section (12: 1-24) and decide why Luke in- 
serted the episode, and how it serves the main purpose of the book. 


“The word of God grew and multiplied” (v. 24). There is all 
about us a thinking, speaking God, not one who spoke 1900 years 
ago, and then turned his attention to other subjects, as a man some- 
times writes a book and then puts the subject out of his mind. He 
proposes to “multiply the word,” that is, not to multiply copies of 
the scriptures, but to increase the number of those whose lives are 
such as to constitute them incarnate expressions of the thought of 
God, until the civilization of the Brotherly Man shall become the 
civilization of brotherly men and prevail in all the earth. 


NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 67 





Stupy IX.—@ Mew Christian Center Among Foreigners in 
Hprian Antioch and a Startling Demonstration in the Oly 
Center, 11:19—12:24 


FourtH Day: A Starttinc DEMONSTRATION IN JERUSA- 
LEM (Continued). 12:1-24 


Begin to look at the section to-day in detail. For the first time 
Opposition arises from the strictly civil authorities and under most 
interesting circumstances. King Herod, who was a grandson of the 
great Herod, had been brought up with the boys of the imperial 
household at Rome, and had acquired spendthrift habits that brought 
him to bankruptcy. His connection with the imperial family re- 
sulted later in his receiving Palestinian territory, and finally the title 
“king.” At the time indicated in Acts, he was a man over fifty 
years of age. He had laid aside his profligate habits and was, par- 
ticularly when resident in Jerusalem, a kind of amateur Pharisee. 

Jerusalem was filled with thousands of bigoted Jews from all over. 
the world who had come up to observe the Passover. They were 
naturally irritated by knowing that the week was being observed by 
the Nazarenes as the anniversary of the death and alleged resurrec- 
tion of their false Christ. King Herod, seeing how obnoxious the 
Nazarenes were to his good friends, the Pharisees, killed a promi- 
nent Nazarene and then proceeded boldly to arrest the great apostolic 
leader himself. He probably knew the difficulty experienced by the 
sanhedrin in dealing with this heresy in the past, but was convinced 
that it could be disposed of in short order when once the iron hand 
of the civil authorities took the matter up in a businesslike fashion. 

Why should God not have saved James as well as Peter? What 
was probably the effect of the death of James on the life of the 
church at this juncture, when a new campaign of extension was 
just about to begin (13:2)? Consider the possible effect of James’ 
death upon the life and work of his brother John. 


We have seen in our day a marvelous deliverance from death ex- 
perienced by the legations and missionaries in Peking, and at the 
same time a terrible sacrifice of others. In the modern instance 
both the deliverance and the sacrifice have been on a larger scale 
than that of apostolic times. Perhaps they are preliminary to cor- 
respondingly greater achievements in evangelism. 


68 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 


—————— 


Srupy IX.—A Mew Christian Center Among Foreigners in 
Sprian Antioch anv a Startling Demonstration tn the Oly 
Center, 11:19—12:24 


Firra Day: A STARTLING DEMONSTRATION IN JERUSALEM 
(Concluded). 12: 1-24 


King Herod found himself dealing with forces that, with silent 
ease, thwarted all his precautions. Behind this movement there is 
an Invisible Power, which makes all opposition futile! The king 
cannot keep his prisoner under lock and guard! In the midst of 
his triumph, while the eastern sun in the open theatre falls on his 
glittering robes and the applause of the people fills his willing ears, 
a silent thrust of pain cuts short his triumph, and he is found, upon 
examination, to be the victim of a loathsome disease from which 
he dies five days later (JosepHus: Antiquities 19:8:2). Read vv. 
20-23. Is this simply a contest between an Infinite Autocrat and a 
finite autocrat? What are the motives that give character to the 
actions of each of the contestants? 

With the end of this section (12:24) the first part of the history 
of the new movement is brought to a close. After this, starting 
from a new center, Syrian Antioch, a new Jeader will carry the 
testimony far afield to the great foreign worid. The movement has 
succeeded in Syria. Its invisible Originator and Guide has proven 
irresistible. Priests, sanhedrin and kings go down before His in- 
visible presence, From this point on the progress of the campaign 
of testimony in extra-Syrian regions will be described. Look briefly 
back at the steps taken in the great movement since 1:8. How 
many steps are there? 


Underneath all of life is the unwavering will of God which bears 
humanity irresistibly on to its divinely appointed and glorious des- 
tiny. 





Herod’s death, A. D, 44. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 69 





Stupy IX.—@ Mew Christian Center Among Foreigners in 
Sprian Antioch anv a Startling Demonstration in the Oly 
Center, 11:19—12:24 


SixtH Day: THE LETTER OF JAMES 


Before turning away from Palestine, to enter the great Roman 
world with Rabbi Saul, it will be interesting to glance briefly at a 
piece of literature which is quite commonly thought to have been 
produced in Jerusalem by James, the Lord’s brother. According to 
this view of its authorship, it was probably written at about the 
time we have now reached in the narrative of Acts, and the picture 
it presents of Jewish life at this time may well be considered. 

Read the following references explaining the situation of the read- 
ers addressed in this letter. They were Jewish Christians outside of 
Palestine (1:1), who doubtless highly esteemed the pastor of the 
Jerusalem church. Many of them were accustomed to see and hear 
him when they visited Jerusalem to attend the yearly religious feasts 
of the Jews. They had organized churches in which the officers 
were called “elders” (5:14). They were in the midst of persecu- 
tion, the thought of which was uppermost in James’ mind when he 
began to write (1:2). Their situation was so perplexing that they 
did not know which way to turn for counsel (1:5). They were in 
such distress that they were tempted, like Job, to accuse God of 
trying to overwhelm them (1: 13-15). Their chief persecutors were 
the rich orthodox Jews, who had not believed in Jesus, and who 
were continually bringing them before the synagogue authorities 
(2:6), and blaspheming the Name in which the Nazarenes had been 
baptized (2:7, cf. Acts 2:38). These rich men employed them and 
kept back their wages (5:4). In all this James endeavored to en- 
courage them by assuring them that the Lord would come to 
avenge them (5:7-9), and by citing the patience of their fore- 
fathers in affliction (5: 10-II). 


The letter presents religion as a certain kind of daily life. It is 
an epistle of the loving life (1:27; 2:14; 4:11). One needs con- 
stantly to remind himself that genuine religion can not consist in 
anything else than a daily life of unselfish thought, word, and deed, 





A. D. 50 (Zahn); A. D. 130 (Harnack). 


« 4 e 


70 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy IX.—A Mew Christian Center Among Foreigners tn 
Sprian Antioch anv a Startling Demonstration in the Gly 
Center, 113:19—12:24¢ 


SeveNTH Day: THe Letrer oF JAMES (Concluded) 


Constant opposition, persecution, and daily debate with their un- 
believing neighbors had engendered a contentious, bitter spirit. They 
must control their tempers and cultivate meekness (1: 19-21). Their 
eagerness to shine in these daily debates needed rebuke (3:1), for 
they would, in the course of them, lose control of their tongues, and 
say bitter things (3: 2-12). Wise men would realize that a quiet, con- 
sistent life is far more convincing than angry argument (3: 13-18). 

They were not free from the love of money which characterized 
the nation. Rich, well-dressed people that visited their Sabbath 
service were given better pews than those assigned to poor men 
(2:1-6). The bazaar men, who traveled from city to city, were 
absorbed in their business, and forgot the speediness with which 
they might be summoned to render their final account (4: 13-15). 
The poor were constantly struggling to get money, oftentimes per- 
haps what was due them as wages. There seem to have been exhi- 
bitions of violence (4: 1-2). Even those that cried out to God for 
help were thoroughly selfish (4:3). Their love of money and of 
what it would get made them false to God (4:4, compare Matt. 
6:24). They need a humbler, soberer spirit (4: 5-10). 

The paragraph 2: 14-16 is best explained on the supposition that 
Paul had been preaching his doctrine of righteousness by faith in 
some of the churches now addressed by James. Perhaps this had 
been done during his residence in Syria and Cilicia (Gal. 1:21). 
This doctrine was one very easily misrepresented, as is evident from 
Paul’s statement some years later in Rom. 3: 5-8. 

James felt the necessity of correcting this misunderstanding of 
Paul’s teaching, and in so doing used the illustration of Abraham, 
which was a favorite one with Paul, and which was, therefore, cur- 
rent among those now addressed. 


This letter is a sturdy protest against the idea that there is value 
in high ideals apart from any faithful effort to realize them in 
daily life. How many things we think of doing, but never do! The 
next time you think of doing something kind, DO IT. 


PART IV 


THE TESTIMONY IS BORNE FOR THE FIRST TIME TO 
FOREIGNERS THAT HAVE NO CONNECTION WITH 
THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE, 12: 25—16:5. 


Stupy X.—In South Galatia Paul and Barnabas learn that Pagan 
Gentiles May Accept the Testimony. 12: 25—14: 20. 

Stupy XI—The Jerusalem Church Indorses the New Work 
Among Gentiles. 14: 2I—16: 5. 





NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 73 





‘Stupy X.—Jn South Galatia Paul anv Barnabas Learn That 
Pagan Gentiles Map Accept the Testimony. 12:25—14:20 
First Day: THe Testimony CARRIED WESTWARD FROM 
THE NEw CENTER. 12: 25—13:4 

The testimony was now to be carried swiftly westward. The 
general situation was favorable for a forward movement with quick 
results. (1) The witnesses had not to spend several years learning 
a new language, for Greek would answer everywhere. (2) They 
had not to wait months for passports, but could go everywhere in 
the empire freely on the great Roman roads and abundant shipping. 
(3) They had no need to build chapels, but found in the Jewish 
synagogues a meeting-house awaiting them. (4) In the meeting- 
house they found a Jewish audience thoroughly trained in a mono- 
theistic faith and expectant of a Messiah. (5) On the edges of this 
audience there was a fringe of susceptible Gentiles already familiar 
with the worship of Jehovah and with the Messianic expectation, 
who constituted a natural means of connection with the Gentile 
community. (6) The presence of these Gentiles in the audience 
was evidence of the general religious unrest among the Gentiles 
and of their readiness to appreciate something higher and better 
than their native faiths. 

Read 12: 25—13:5. Remember who John Mark was (12:12). 
It was he who preserved Peter’s reminiscences of Jesus which have 
come down to us in the “Gospel of Mark.” 

Note what was said about “prophets” in Study IX, Second Day. 
“Teachers” probably gave systematic instruction without waiting 
for sudden and special inspiration. The list begins with Barnabas, 
the distinguished representative of the Jerusalem church, and ends 
with Saul, the latest arrival and perhaps the youngest. 

How did the Holy Spirit say this (v. 2)? Did they probably plan 
a route for the missionaries before leaving Antioch? How does this 
effort to extend Christianity differ from previous efforts? Did Bar- 
nabas and Saul, when they started, expect to preach to Gentiles? 

A group of prayerful Brothers probably walked the sixteen miles 
to Seleucia, the harbor town of Antioch, and waved farewell to the 
three missionaries as they sailed away to Cyprus. Consult the map. 

The Spirit of God goes before the witnesses in a leadership which 
no man is able to exercise. It was He that looked out westward 
through the wistful eyes of the prophets. It was He who had pre- 
pared Barnabas and Saul and now “called” them, 


74. NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy X.—Jn South Galatia Paul anv Barnabas Learn Chat 
Pagan Gentiles Map Accept the Cestimonp, 12:25—14:20 


SECOND Day: Saut’s LEADERSHIP BEGINS IN A CONTEST 
witH A MacIan. 13: 5-13 


Read vv. 4-6, and locate on the map the places mentioned. What 
two possible reasons for selecting Cyprus as their first destination 
are suggested by 4:36 and 11:20? It is evident from 11:19 that 
some preaching had already been done in this island. Note in Col. 
4:10 a probable reason for choosing John Mark as “minister” or 
“attendant.” The service indicated by this word is very possibly 
catechetical instruction in the life and teaching of Jesus, such as 
might have been considered necessary for converts. 

They may have preached their way in a leisurely fashion through 
the island (v. 6), perhaps visiting the lumber and mining towns 
for which the island was famous, if there were any Jewish syna- 
gogues in them. If there were any Jehovah-worshiping Gentiles in 
these synagogues, doubtless the travelers included them in their ap- 
peals just as they had been accustomed to do in Antioch. 

Read vv. 7-12. Do you see why Luke makes so much of this 
incident? It was a typical contest between the new doctrine and a 
current form of religious or semi-religious faith (Ramsay). How 
could such a magian gain influence over an intelligent (v. 7) Roman 
official like the pro-consul? Remember what was said earlier about 
the Samaritan magian in chapter 8. The pro-consul was probably 
a Gentile of the synagogue, for the magian, who had gained such 
influence over him, was a Jew and ostensibly a prophet of Jehovah. 
"The pro-consul would not have been likely to hear Barnabas and 
Saul anywhere else than in the synagogue. Why was the magian 
opposed to the new prophets (v. 8)? This study will be continued 
to-morrow. 


“So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit” (v. 4). It is a 
comfort in times of discouragement to feel a conviction that one~ 
has been sent by God to his work, and that consequently he is in 
the right place, whatever its difficulties may be. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 75 





Stupy X.—Jn South Galatia Paul an Barnabas Learn Chat 
Pagan Gentiles Map Accept the Testimony. 12:25—14:20 


TuHirp Day: Saut’s LeapersHip BEGINS IN A CONTEST 
WITH A Mactan (Concluded). 13:5-13 


Saul felt a strong impulse to attack the magian, in order to save 
the pro-consul, and the event showed that the impulse came from 
the Spirit of God (v. 9). Impressed by the striking inconsistency 
of the magian’s name, “Son of Jesus,” or “Son of Joshua,” Saul 
called him “Son of the Devil,” and with characteristic force drove 
him from the field. Does the narrative read as if the magian’s blind- 
ness was total? And permanent? Perhaps Saul judged from his 
own experience (9:9) that a period of blindness would do the 
magian good! Paul’s own letters seem to allude to a consciousness 
of power to produce marvelous results, like the one described here. 
(Romans 15:18-19. 2 Cor. 12:12 and perhaps 1 Cor. 5: 4-5.) 

The prominent feature of this incident is the emergence of Saul 
from under the shadow of Barnabas. Saul exercises leadership from 
this point on. Cf. v. 7 with v. 13. Luke implies that it is the Holy 
Spirit who brings Paul to the front (v. 9). 

Now that Paul is fairly launched on his career of apostolic leader- 
ship in the Roman world, Luke feels the propriety of beginning to 
use the Roman name, “Paul,” which had probably been given in 
childhood. 

When the company had crossed to the mainland in Pamphylia, 
their young assistant left and returned to his mother in Jerusalem 
(cf. 12:12). Paul took this very much to heart, as is evident from 
15: 36-39. The reason for his leaving was probably something that 
occurred on the passage to the mainland, or after they reached the 
mainland, for otherwise he would have gone back through the island 
from Paphos. What seem to you to have been the possible reasons 
for his action? 


Behind Paul and Barnabas in all these days of new beginnings 
was the great praying church in Antioch. Do you often pray for 
your friends and acquaintances in foreign lands? 


76 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 


Stupy X.—Jn South Galatia Paul anv Barnabas Learn That 
Pagan Gentiles lap Accept the Cestimonp, 12:25—14:20 


FourtH Day: Pavut TESTIFIES IN THE SYNAGOGUE OF 
PisipIAN ANTIOCH. 13:14-42 


Read the very meager narrative in vv. 13-14. For some reason 
Paul wished to lead “his company” up from the lowlands along the 
coast through the rough mountain country, dangerous for travelers 
because of brigands and mountain streams hard to cross at certain 
seasons (cf. 2 Cor. 11:26), to the high plain in which Pisidian 
Antioch is situated. Professor Ramsay holds that Paul went to the 
highlands to recover from malarial fever, by which he had been at- 
tacked in the lowlands, and finds evidence of this in Gal.-4 : 13, which 
probably included the Antiochians among its readers. Read Gal. 
4: 13-15, and notice that the ailment referred to was somewhat 
humiliating in its character. Professor Ramsay thinks that malarial 
chills and fever coming suddenly upon a public speaker, so prostrat- 
ing him as to incapacitate him for public work, would have been 
humiliating, especially since the inscriptions of the country indicate 
that the fever was considered a punishment inflicted by the gods. 
Perhaps it seemed to young John Mark a piece of foolishness to fol- 
low a sick man through the dangerous passes of the Taurus moun- 
tains. If so, his desertion at a critical juncture, when his services 
were so much needed, would have been exceedingly exasperating. 
Very possibly also it disturbed him to see that his uncle, Barnabas, 
who was so much more highly esteemed than Paul in Jerusalem, 
was no longer the dominating influence in the company! 

Paul and Barnabas finally reached Pisidian Antioch, an important 
military center on a great Roman road. They called on the leaders 
of the ghetto, who were glad to engage the traveling rabbis from 
Palestine for the synagogue service of the next Sabbath. Read vv. 
15-41, and note the principal points made by Paul. Notice that he 
at once recognized the presence of the God-fearing Gentiles (v. 16), 
and later included them in his offer of Messianic salvation (v. 26). 


“We bring you good tidings” (v. 32). When you speak to a man 
about becoming a Christian, you are bringing good news to him. 
You have no need to apologize for speaking to him. You are open- 
ing up before him the greatest opportunity that can confront a hu- 
man being. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 77 





Stupy X.—Jn South Galatia Paul anv Barnabas Learn That 
Pagan Gentiles Map Accept the Cestimonp. 12:25—14:20 


FirtH Day: Paut AND BARNABAS FOR THE First TIME 
TuRN To PaGAN GENTILES. 13: 42-49 


The synagogue audience poured out through the door in great ex- 
citement and a week of earnest debate in the ghetto followed.’ Paul 
and Barnabas saw that a crisis was at hand, and, doubtless after a 
prayerful study of the scriptures, determined to meet it by taking a 
new step forward. They proposed to leave the synagogue, and in 
some other building present their message to Gentiles in general, 
regardless of any prévious or anticipated connection with the syna- 
gogue. Read vv. 42-49. To whom does “thee” refer in the quota- 
tion (Is. 49:6), and how does the quotation justify their new step? 
Why was it necessary that the word should first be spoken to Jews 
(v. 46)? What favorite idea of Luke appears in v. 48? On pos- 
sible meeting-places outside the synagogue cf. 18: 6-7; 19:9. 

The preaching outside the synagogue evidently continued for some 
time, perhaps for some months, as is evident from the effect pro- 
duced by it throughout the sub-division of the province in which 
Antioch was situated (v. 49). 


The great crime of the Jews consisted not in the crucifixion of 
Jesus, which was the work of the local ecclesiastical machine in 
Jerusalem rather than the deed of the nation, but in their persistent 
determination not to sacrifice their pre-eminence, in their bitter un- 
willingness to share special privileges with all men. This brought 
them into direct conflict with the living God, who had seemed to 
concentrate attention on them for a time in order that through 
them He might ultimately more effectively bless all nations. The 
penalty they have paid is known to all the world. They expected 
to have the whole earth for themselves (cf. Rom. 4:13), but as a 
nation they have no foot of it. It is the lesson of the ages writ 
large: he that will not share shall not have. 


a NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 





Stupy X.—Jn South Galatia Paul anv Barnabas Learn That 
Pagan Gentiles flap Accept the Cestimonp. 12:25—14:20 


SixtH Day: FurTHER TESTIMONY IN GALATIA. 13:50— 
14:7 

Read 13:50-52. What evidence is there here that God approved 
this new step forward? Were the “disciples” (v. 52) Paul and Bar- 
nabas or the new converts? 

The Jewish religion appealed particularly to the Gentile women of 
the higher classes, and many of them were found among the Jehovah- 
worshiping Gentiles. The Antioch rabbis worked upon these foreign 
ladies of the synagogue and through them upon their husbands, who 
were influential citizens. On what ground do you suppose they 
urged their expulsion from the city (v. 50)? 

They went sixty miles southeast to another important city of 
South Galatia. Read 14:1-7. In v. I it is probably the work in 
the synagogue and its success among Jews and Jehovah-worshiping 
Gentiles that is described. The rabbis stirred up the Jehovah-wor- 
shiping Gentiles that were not converted, and expelled the mission- 
aries from the synagogue (v. 2). Then in some other building the 
work continued for a long time among Gentiles in general (v. 3). 
Finally the attention of the entire city was attracted to the new 
movement and the missionaries left the city just in time to escape 
being lynched (vv. 5-6). What evidence does Luke give that here, 
as ustial, God endorsed the forward movement? From Iconium they 
went about forty miles south to Lystra, a Roman garrison town of 
great importance, and later to Derbe, about twenty miles further. 
Note, in v. 6, the extent of the work. 


“They were filled with jealousy” (13:45). Do you feel jealousy 
or discomfort when you find another more successful than yourself, 
or when you find others beginning to share what you had regarded 
as your own special pre-eminence? Remember that the other man’s 
success is just as great a satisfaction to Jesus Christ as yours is, 
and try to share the satisfaction of Jesus. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 79 





Stupy X.—Jn South Galatia Paul anv Barnabas Learn That 
Pagan Gentiles Map Accept the Testimony. 12:25—14:20 


SEVENTH Day: Morrau Perit In Lystra. 14:8-20 


One of Paul’s regular hearers in Lystra was a man who had been 
a cripple from birth. When Paul had perhaps been describing some 
of the cures God had wrought by him in the neighboring. city 
(14: 3), he saw an expression on the cripple’s face as he sat in the 
audience that made him suddenly shout to him: “Stand up on your 
feet.” Read vv. 8-10. 

The crowds went wild when they saw what had happened, and 
word passed swiftly in the vernacular from lip to lip that the 
strangers were gods. There is a tradition, which was probably cur- 
rent among them, that Zeus and Hermes had once visited the region, 
and the cry was raised that the two gods had appeared again. Some 
one ran with the word to the temple of Zeus, who was their tutelary 
deity, and soon the priest came hurrying on with garlanded bullocks 
ready for sacrifice. Paul and Barnabas protested vigorously. Their 
protest was so effective that the disappointed priest, doubtless some- 
what chagrined, ordered his bullocks led back to their stalls. Read 
vy. 11-18, 

According to vv. 15-17 what motives was Paul accustomed to use 
in his appeal to pagan audiences? 

Read vv. 19-20. Note, as evidence of their hatred, the distance 
traveled by this joint deputation. 

Paul’s body was dragged out to the city refuse-heap, like the car- 
cass of a dog. But when the disciples went to get it for burial, “in 
the evening,” according to one manuscript, “he rose up with difh- 
culty and entered the city.” 


.An angel looking down upon these scenes in South Galatia would 
have thought this spectacle in Lystra beyond belief. A crowd of 
angry men running down a street, chasing two men as if they were 
dogs, overtaking them and stoning one of them until he is apparently 
dead! Yet these two men are bearers of good news from God and 
have in their hearts only good will towards those who would kill 
them! And yet, however high the tide of sin rises, God’s grace rises 
higher. Where sin abounds, grace superabounds. 


80 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XI.—Tbe Jerusalem Church Endorses the Mew Work 
Among Gentiles. 14:21—16:5 


First Day: PauLt AND BARNABAS RETURN TO ANTIOCH. 
14: 21-28 


From Derbe Paul and Barnabas might have gone on through the 
Cilician Gates to Tarsus, and thence through the Syrian Gates home 
to Antioch. Consult the map. Home would certainly have been 
welcome! Behind them were unscrupulous enemies, who would kill 
them if they could. Nevertheless, they turned back. Why? Read 
Vv. 21-23. What did they do to “confirm the souls of the disciples” 
(v. 22)? And what was the character of the “tribulations”? 

Evidently it at once became necessary to form new organizations 
for the groups of believers in these cities. The Jewish Christians 
might have continued in the old synagogue, worshiping God as they 
had worshiped Him before Paul and Barnabas came, for there was 
nothing in synagogue worship that was inconsistent with the belief 
in Jesus’ Messiahship. Jesus had always attended the synagogue. 
But the synagogue authorities probably objected to their presence, 
and certainly such Gentile Christians as had not been previously 
connected with the synagogue would not wish to attend now, even 
if allowed to do so. If you have time, consider why these converts 
needed a church organization. A study of this question in the case 
of this simple, primitive situation, where all the essential elements 
in the case stand out in clear relief, may throw some light on the 
reason for the existence and support of the modern church. 

Trace on the map their return route as described in vv. 24-26. 
Note, in v. 27, the simple item on which all the interest of the author 
is centered. 


“Confirming the souls of the disciples” (v. 22). We sometimes 
feel greatly concerned about those who are not Christians, but many 
a man who joined the church when a boy may be passing through 
a period of painful doubt as he proceeds to transform inherited opin- 
ions into personal convictions, and need sympathetic help fully as 
much as one who is not called a Christian. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 81 





Stupy XI.—@be Jerusalem Church Envorses the Mew Work 
Among Gentiles. 14:21—16:5 


Seconp Day: THe Vatipity oF GENTILE FAITH QUES- 
TIONED, 15: 1-5 


The period of peaceful reminiscence in Antioch after these long 
months, or years, of excitement and peril was terminated by an 
unpleasant episode. A delegation from Juda visited the Antioch 
church and declared that the Christian faith of the large Gentile 
element in the church would not suffice to secure them a place in 
the Messianic Kingdom of God. Read vv. 1-5. It is necessary to 
see clearly the view-point of these protesting visitors. They were 
Pharisees who, like Paul, had become convinced that Jesus was the 
Messiah, but who took an attitude toward Gentile Christians en- 
tirely different from that of Paul and Barnabas. They thought that 
the law of Moses was inspired by God, and therefore unchangeable 
in all its details. It seemed to them that the great promise of the 
Messianic Kingdom had been made to law-keeping Jews, and there- 
fore no Gentile could hope to have part in it unless, by circumcision, 
he became a member of the body to which the promise had been 
made. To be sure, no one could be admitted to this Kingdom with- 
out believing in Jesus as the Messiah, but only law-keeping Jews or 
regularly circumcised proselytes had the privilege of believing in the 
Messiah. 

Give the following general questions as much thought to-day as 
your time permits: Why did these Pharisees make their protest in 
the Syrian Antioch church? Why did they make it just at this 
time? In the great discussion provoked by them in the Antioch 
church (v. 2) what answer did Paul and Barnabas probably make 
to their arguments? 

The churches in Pheenicia had no objection to Gentile Christianity, 
for many of them, following the example of the great church in 
Syrian Antioch, probably had admitted Gentiles of the synagogue 
into their membership. Of course the Samaritans would not object 


(v. 3). 


Do you heartily count as a Christian brother every man who takes 
Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, no matter how much he differs from 
you in social habits or theological views? 


82 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XI.—@be Jerusalem Church Envorses the Mew Work 
Among Gentiles. 14:21—16:5 


Tuirp Day: THE Great DEBATE, 15: 6-21 


The proceedings of this so-called “council” in Jerusalem, con- 
ducted with oriental deliberation, probably continued for several 
weeks. The strenuous Pharisee minority which appears here pro- 
testing against Gentile Christianity, may have come into the church 
after Peter’s experience with Cornelius and after the founding of 
the Jewish-Gentile church in Syrian Antioch (11: 20-24). If they 
were already in the Jerusalem church at that time, they doubtless 
shook their heads over the situation, but let it pass as something 
exceptional, and not worth contending against. But when the move- 
ment assumed such unexpectedly large dimensions under Paul and 
Barnabas in South Galatia, and included pagan Gentiles, they felt 
the imperative necessity of making an uncompromising stand against 
the movement. Naturally they went, first of all, to the source of 
the trouble, the church in Syrian Antioch. Very probably they pro- 
posed to proceed from there to Pisidian Antioch and the other cities 
of South Galatia, and to repair the mischief that Paul and Barnabas 
had done. If so, the determined opposition they met from Paul and 
Barnabas in Syrian Antioch and the appeal to Jerusalem temporarily 
checked them. 

Why did the question seem to Paul and Barnabas to be so im- 
portant? Why not yield to the representation of the protesting 
Pharisee? 

Read vv. 6-13, and state Peter’s argument. Notice that it is not the 
mere surgical operation of circumcision that is urged, but the keep- 
ing of the entire Mosaic law. To put the rabbi's “yoke” upon all 
the Gentile Christians and try to teach them to do what the Jews 
themselves had never succeeded in doing would vex God. What 
was the argument advanced by Barnabas and Paul in v. 12? 


Do you take pains to familiarize yourself with the wonderful side 
of God’s work in the world (v. 12)? Do you read missionary litera- 
ture enough to acquaint yourself with God’s achievements in non- 
Christian nations? Some of them are as marvelous as any recorded 
in Acts, and they constitute now, as then, striking proof that God 
is at work in the world. 





A. D, 52 (Zahn); A, D, 47 (46) (Harnack); A. D. 49 (Ramsay). 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 83 





Stupy XI.—Tbe Jerusalem Church Envorses the Mew Work 
Among Gentiles. 14:21—16:5 


FourtH Day: THe Decision To ENDORSE GENTILE CHRIS- 
TIANITY, 15: 13-29 

After Paul and Barnabas had joined Peter in an appeal to the 
logic of events (v. 12), the decisive speech, proposing the action 
finally taken, was made by James, the famous brother of Jesus. Read 
it in vv. 14-21, and state its argument. He cited, perhaps with some 
quiet sense of family pride, a prophecy that spoke of the restoration 
of the Davidic dynasty, which he evidently conceived to be fulfilled 
in the Messianic glory of Jesus. Very likely to his mind it also 
involved the prospective establishment of Jewish national political 
prestige. He pointed out that the prophecy included Gentiles as 
well as Jews (v. 17). The protesting Pharisees might have re- 
sponded that, to be sure, the Gentiles were included, but of course 
only on condition that they become circumcised Jewish citizens. 
James would probably have used the argument of Paul and Barna- 
bas in reply. 

James proposed, however, that four things be required of all Gen- 
tile converts. Read vy. 20-21. It may very likely be, as Professor 
Ramsay suggests, that these four requirements had always been 
made by the synagogue authorities of such as wished to become 
Gentiles of the synagogue. If so, then James proposed that Gentile 
Christians should be received into the Christian church on the same 
terms upon which they had been tolerated in the synagogue. Does 
v. 21 mean that, since Jewish synagogues were to be found in every 
city where there was likely to be a Christian church, concessions 
must be made by Gentile Christians to the feelings of the Jewish 
Christians for the sake of fellowship? Or that, since Moses was 
so generally taught in all Jewish synagogues, Christian Jews would 
surely remain loyal to Moses and not claim for themselves the same 
laxity that it is proposed to tolerate in the case of Gentile Chris- 
tians? Or that Gentile Christians will be ready to yield these four 
points, since they have long been familiar, by hearsay at least, with 
Moses’ teaching on these points? 

The practical value of the requirement that concerned meat from 
an animal offered in pagan worship before being sent to market is 
at once apparent. Unless a Jewish Christian could be sure that he 
should never find such meat on a Gentile brother’s table, he would 


84 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





never visit him and would probably refuse all Christian fellowship. 
The regulation regarding blood in Leviticus 17:10 expressly in- 
cluded sojourning Gentiles (“strangers that sojourn among them”), 
and so might have been thought to apply directly to Gentile Chris- 
tians. “Things strangled,” which had the blood still in them, per- 
haps came in the same category. Fornication seemed to the Gentiles, 
even to some Christian Gentiles (1 Cor. 6: 12-17), to be the harmless 
gratification of a natural appetite, but the Jewish Christian must be 
assured that the Gentile had discarded this abhorrent view. 

The decision settled one point with perfect clearness—a Gentile 
need not become a Jew, in order to be a Christian. It left two points 
unsettled: (1) Would a Gentile be a better Christian if he would 
consent to be circumcised? The unreconciled Pharisaic minority 
seem to have left this council and to have sent emissaries through- 
out South Galatia, urging that the Gentiles could not be Christians 
of the highest grade unless circumcised, a view which Paul’s epistle 
to the Galatians seems to have been written to oppose. (2) Could a 
Jewish Christian have intimate social relationship with an uncircum- 
cised Gentile brother? Misunderstanding on this point probably led 
to the unfortunate episode described in Gal. 2: 11-14. 


“That the residue of men may seek after the Lord” (v. 17). This 
is the age when the human residuum is being brought to seek after 
the Lord. What has ordinarily been regarded as the waste of hu- 
manity, the submerged tenth in the great cities, the despised races, 
the cannibals among the heathen, is receiving a new valuation. We 
are waking up to see God’s age-long purpose to do this great class 
good, just as the church woke up to the same fact in the period we 
are studying. 

In your life plans are you taking account of your duty to the 
“residue of men,” or do you chiefly consider the favored classes? 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 85 
SE ee 


Stupy XI.—Tbe Jerusalem Chareh Endorses the Dew Work 
Among Gentiles. 14:21—16:5 


Firth Day: Tue Decision REPORTED IN ANTIOCH. 
15: 22-35 

Read carefully vv. 23-29. Note the attitude of the council to (1) 
those who had made the protest, (2) those whose missionary work 
had been criticised, (3) the Gentile Christians. How did they know 
that it seemed so to the Holy Spirit (v. 28)? 

The Jerusalem church showed its extreme consideration for the 
Gentile church in Antioch by selecting distinguished men to deliver 
their decision in person. 

Read vv. 30-33, and note the precautions taken to remove all ves- 
tiges of unpleasant feelings that might have been occasioned by the 
recent discussion. Probably there was a period of great social ac- 
tivity, in which many Jewish Christians freely entered the homes 
of their Gentile brethren. All ate the Lord’s Supper together, re- 
gardless of nationality. 

It is not entirely clear that the episode described in Gal. 2: 11-14 
occurred after the Jerusalem council, but such is generally thought 
to have been the case. Read it carefully. If it did occur after the 
council, then Peter (Cephas) himself visited Antioch and joined in 
the general good feeling. He seemed to agree with Paul that it 
had been the intent of the Jerusalem council not only to recognize 
the validity of Gentile Christianity, but to legitimatize free social 
intercourse between Jewish and Gentile Christians. Evidently not 
every Jerusalem Christian took this view. Certain distinguished 
Christians from Jerusalem, not the defeated Pharisees of course, 
perhaps representing the view of James himself, denied that any 
such interpretation of the council’s action ought to be made. Their 
influence was so great as to make Peter, and even Barnabas, with- 
draw from all Gentile dinner parties. Paul regarded such with- 
drawal as insincere, and said so publicly. 


“God . . . had opened a door of faith unto the Gentiles” 
(14:27). He opened the door, and held it open when men struggled 
to shut it. No thoughtful modern “Gentiles,” familiar with Christian 
history, can long hesitate to enter the door opened, and held open, 
at such a cost. 


86 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XI.—Thbe Jerusalem Church Cnvorses the Mew Work 
Among Gentiles, 14:21—16:5 


SixtH Day: Paut’s Own VERSION OF THE JERUSALEM 
CounciL. Gal. 2: 1-10 


In Paul’s letter to the Galatians (2: 1-10) he gives an account of 
a visit to Jerusalem, generally thought to be the council visit which 
we are now studying. The standpoint of Paul’s account is entirely 
different from that of Luke’s. Paul is chiefly concerned to show 
that his own personal relationship to the Jerusalem apostles was 
one of independence, and so he gives an inside view of that which 
Luke describes from the outside. This results in some differences 
of detail in the two accounts, but in no clear contradictions. 

Read Gal. 2: 1-10, and note the points in which it resembles and 
differs from the account in Acts I5. 

The following is a paraphrase of the difficult verses (Gal. 2: 2-5): 
“T laid my gospel of salvation for Gentiles by faith alone before a 
private meeting of the apostles and elders, because I feared that in 
a great public meeting there might not be such an opportunity for 
question and answer as would result in my position being clearly 
understood. In that case I feared they might decide against the 
acceptance of uncircumcised Gentiles, and so my missionary career 
of the present and past among the Gentiles be in vain (v. 2). They 
did not, however, even ask for the circumcision of my associate 
Titus (v. 3). The question of his circumcision would never have 
been raised at all, had it not been for certain men who had slipped 
into church membership without being genuinely converted; who 
had joined the church simply to ascertain the degree of intercourse 
allowed between Jewish and Gentile Christians, and to use their in- 
fluence against freeing Gentile Christians from bondage to the Mo- 
saic law (v. 4). You may be sure we stood firmly for your recog- 
nition as Christians without circumcision” (v. 5). 


Are you sometimes deterred from doing what you know to be 
right, by dread of what influential persons may think of you? Jesus 
is an influential person. Try to realize His presence. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 87 





Stupy XI.—@be Jerusalem Church Endorses the Mew Work 
Among Gentiles. 14:21—16:5 


SEvENTH Day: THE DECISION OF THE COUNCIL CARRIED TO 
THE SOUTH GALATIAN CHURCHES. 15:36—16:5 


Read 15: 36-41. Why was the fact that Barnabas’ nephew had 
not gone with them before a reason for not taking him now? With 
which of the two do the author and the Antioch church seem to 
have sympathized? Had the episode in Gal. 2: 11-14 anything to 
do with this disagreement? Notice the evidence that Mark worked 
later with Paul and was regarded by him as a valued assistant. 
Col. 4:10. 2 Tim. 4:11. Barnabas goes to the region where he 
is best known and to that part of their previous route which John 
Mark had traveled with them. 

Read 16: 1-5. The two things that interest Luke are the delivery 
of the decision of the Jerusalem council to these churches whose 
Jewish-Gentile membership would naturally be so keenly interested 
in it, and Paul’s discovery of a new assistant destined to be ever 
after intimately associated with him and his work. Paul speaks of 
him in 1 Cor. 4:17 as one of his converts, and he had, therefore, 
been converted on Paul’s previous visit to this region. His family 
belonged to the less conservative element among the Jews. The 
decision of the Jerusalem council had not applied to Jews, and it 
was important, therefore, that Timothy as a Jew should be cir- 
cumcised. Very likely one strong argument against allowing Gentile 
liberty had been the fear that Jewish Christians would soon ask for 
the same, and Paul wished to give no justification for this fear. 

The churches have come through another crisis, and are stronger 
than before (v. 5). How was the “daily” increase secured? 


“Him would Paul have to go forth with him” (v. 3). Paul always 
desired and appreciated associates. Might it not be that your effi~ 
ciency as a Christian would be largely increased if you were to cul- 
tivate the friendship of one or two Christian friends, with whom 
you might have frequent prayer and conversation? Perhaps you 
have already learned the value of such association. If so, recommend 
it to others. The adoption of the suggestion may mark the begin- 
ning of a new era in their Christian experience. 





PART V 


THE TESTIMONY IS CARRIED TO GENTILES IN THE 
ROMAN PROVINCES, MACEDONIA, ACHAIA AND 
ASIA BY PAUL AND HIS ASSOCIATES, UNDER THE 
GUIDANCE OF GOD AND IN SPITE OF JEWISH OP- 
POSITION. 16:6—19: 20 


Stupy XII.—Paul and His Associates Carry the Testimony into 
Macedonia. 16: 6—17: 15. 

Stupy XIII.—Paul and His Associates Carry the Testimony into 
Achaia. 17: 16—18: 18. 

Stupy XIV.—Paul and His Associates Carry the Testimony into 
Asia. 18: I19—I9Q: 20. 





NEW STUDIES IN ACTS ol 





Stupy XII.— aul and Dis Associates Carry the Testimony 
into fflacedonia, 16:6—17:15 


First Day: Paut’s Periop oF UNCERTAINTY. 16:6-10 


Paul with his young associate Timothy, and Silas the Jerusalem 
prophet, passed through the cities in which he had preached a year 
or two before, reporting to them the action of the Jerusalem coun- 
cil. When this definite work of revisitation and delivery of the de- 
cree was accomplished, Paul experienced the utmost difficulty in 
deciding what to do next. The Roman province Asia to the west 
seemed to him to present promising opportunities for doing what 
he and Barnabas had done in the South Galatian cities, but when 
he began to plan to go there he found himself “forbidden of the 
Holy Spirit” to do so. Then he went on, after leaving Pisidian 
Antioch, through the rest of Phrygian Galatia, and traveled north- 
ward toward the Roman province Bithynia. But when he had 
reached a certain point on their journey he found that the “Spirit 
of Jesus suffered them” to go no farther. They then traveled west- 
ward until they finally reached the seaport Troas. Read vv. 6-8. 
How did the Spirit make this wish known? Through Silas the 
“prophet” (15:32)? Compare also 18:9. 

These months must have been very unsatisfactory to Paul in some 
ways. The memory of his sharp words with Barnabas must have 
been an unpleasant one. Everywhere in South Galatia he was re- 
minded of the pieasant companionship they had enjoyed in their 
earlier work in these cities. He was repeatedly embarrassed by 
being obliged to explain why Barnabas was not with him! These 
long journeys without the satisfaction of knowing where he was 
going were very trying. He was perhaps almost ready for the serv- 
ices of a physician when he finally reached the seaport where Luke, 
“the beloved physician,” joined the party (“‘we,” v. 10). 

The cry of the man in the vision contained one word that always 
stirred Paul’s soul! Read vv. 9-10. 


The church of Jesus Christ is a company of men and women 
banded together by Jesus Christ for the purpose of bringing help to 
every point of need, far or near. Wherever any soul stands in need, 
even though the need be unrecognized by the needy soul itself, there 
some member of this Christly band is to hasten with help. 





Chapters 16-18, A. D. 52-54 (Zahn); A. D. 47-49 (46-50) (Harnack). 


92 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 


Stupy XII.—Paul anv Dis Associates Carrp the Cestimony 
into SHacedonia. 16:6—17:15 


Seconp Day: THE BEGINNING IN PHILIPPI. 6: 11-15 


On some one of the boats that sailed over the blue waters of the 
Mediterranean there were four travelers, like their fellow-travelers 
in outward appearance, but on an errand that has made them live 
in history, and that has given an abiding interest to every spot they 
touched. They went at once to the great “colony city,’’ Philippi, 
situated on the Egnatian Road. As a “colony city” it enjoyed spe- 
cial privileges, of which it was naturally proud. Professor Ramsay 
considers Luke to have been a Macedonian, and thinks that Paul’s 
vision in Troas took the form it did because Luke had previously 
been urging him to begin work in Macedonia. If so, Luke would 
naturally have many things to show them. 

Read vv. 11-13. Does the situation seem on the whole to promise 
as great results as the Troas vision may have led them to antici- 
pate? Does there seem to have been a synagogue in the city? Where 
was the “man of Macedonia” who had appeared in the vision! 
This situation must have stood out in discouraging contrast with 
the brilliant successes in South Galatia when Barnabas was still 
with him! Was the one convert a Jewess? She was evidently a 
woman of business ability and of some means, for she had in the 
bazaar a stock of fine goods brought from her home city in Asia, 
also a “household,” and she felt herself able to entertain the four 
strangers in her home. Paul was exceedingly careful not to over- 
tax anyone’s hospitality (cf. 1 Thess. 2:9). Is there any evidence 
here that he hesitated about accepting her invitation? What evi- 
dence is there here that Luke regards this new step as instigated 
of God? 


“Whose heart the Lord opened” (v. 14). There is need that we 
keep constantly in mind the mystery of the presence of God. The 
presentation of moral truth in any form to another possesses a fes- 
cinating interest when God’s presence, leadership, and cooperation 
are recognized and counted on. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 93 





Stupy XII.—flaul and Dis Associates Carry the Cestimonp 
into fflacedonia. 16:6—17:15 


TuHirp Day: Paut AND SiLtas Pusiicty WHIPPED AND 
IMPRISONED. 16: 16-24 


A half-demented slave-girl attended the riverside services and 
caught up certain phrases from the lips of the preachers,—‘“Most 
High God,” “‘salvation,”—and for days afterward, whenever she saw 
them upon the street, it was her custom to follow them and shout 
the phrases at them. The slave-girl’s condition and behavior greatly 
distressed Paul and he finally felt himself moved by the Spirit of 
Jesus to cure her diseased mind. Read vv. 16-18. The girl is de- 
scribed as having a “Python spirit” or “Delphic spirit.” That is, 
her oracular utterances were regarded as having some prophetic 
value, and people were willing to pay her owners for the privilege 
of consulting her about their business ventures or love affairs. 

Paul as a stranger systematically propagating religious ideas had 
always to contend with the suspicion that he was introducing a new 
religion; and in a civilization in which the government licensed 
religion this might at any time make him politically offensive. The 
fact that his principal idea was the Messiahship of Jesus was a still 
more suspicious circumstance. It was always easy to say that he 
was preaching “another emperor” than Cesar (cf. 17:7). The 
owners of the slave-girl, angered by the fact that he had ruined their 
business, tried to fan this ever-smouldering suspicion into a flame 
of hate. In addition to this, they rang out the old anti-Semite cry 
in the market, a cry all the more popular just now in this “colony 
city,’ eager to ape the mood of the mother city, Rome, where an 
anti-Semite agitation was on (cf. 18:2). Why did Paul and Silas 
not announce their Roman citizenship (v. 37) and claim immunity 
from such punishment? 


The long contest of the ages is the contest between the passion 
for money and regard for men. The owners of the slave-girl cared 
more for money than for the welfare of the girl. Sometimes those 
who are operating manufacturing establishments care more for large 
dividends than for the safety and health of their operatives. Any 
moral reform that affects “business” is opposed. Christianity’s aim 
is to establish the fact that men are more than money. 


04. NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XII.— aul and bis Associates Carrp the Cestimonp 
into {flacedonia. 16:6—17:15 


FourtH Day: Gop VinpicATes His WITNESSES. 16: 25-32 


The main point here is that God, with a strong hand, brought His 
witnesses out of prison and even transformed the jailer himself into 
one of their followers! Read vv. 25-32. It might well have seemed 
to Paul, as he sat chained in the darkness with his back raw and 
his feet fast in the heavy blocks, that this was the climax of all the 
misforttine and disappointments of the recent months. But that 
would not have been like Paul. Read v. 25 once more. Paul was 
speaking out of his own experience when a few months later he 
wrote: ‘Rejoice alway. Pray without ceasing. In everything give 
thanks” (1 Thess. 5: 16-18). Was God connected with this earth- 
quake? It is said that the structure of a modern Turkish prison is 
such that the effect of an earthquake is to loosen bars, bolts and 
staples. (RAmsay’s St. Paul, pp. 220-221.) 

Why should the jailer wish to kill himself (v. 27)? Paul, looking 
out toward the lights for which the jailer immediately called, saw 
his uplifted hand and gleaming knife, and stopped him with a “great 
cry.” His Christian instinct te “help” came instantly into action. 
The other prisoners would have been glad to see him kill himself. 

As soon as the jailer had secured the other prisoners (so one 
manuscript reads), he salaamed to his two rescuers, brought them 
out and asked the great question: ‘‘What shall I do to be saved?” 
What did he mean by this question? Saved from what? Had he 
heard their preaching during the past weeks? To “believe in” a 
person is to believe him to be what he represents himself to be, and 
to treat him accordingly. What is it, then, to believe in Jesus as 
Lord? Cf. 1 Cor. 12:3; Rom. 10:9 (Revised Version). 


Opportunities are exceedingly deceptive in appearance. An ap- 
parent limitation is often a great opportunity. Here were two men 
in a most unpromising situation. They might well have sat in the 
midnight darkness, groaning in gloomy bitterness of spirit. But 
though they were so tightly bound they could still sing and pray, 
and God made it to be their hour of power. To the soul in joyful 
league with God the time of apparent limitation may be the hour 
of greatest opportunity. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 95 





Stupy XII.—aul anv bis Associates Carrp the Testimony 
into {Macedonia. 16:6—17:15 





FirtH Day: THE TRIUMPHANT DEPARTURE. 16: 32-46 


The two witnesses followed up their first swift reply to the jail- 
er’s question with more extended explanations, both for himself and 
his entire domestic establishment (v. 32). The whole household 
became Christians on the spot and began at once the kindly offices 
of Christian helpfulness, Read vv. 33-34. Perhaps this breakfast 
was not merely necessary refreshment for the men weakened by 
their public whipping, but it may also have had the significance of 
the Lord’s Supper following baptism. Read vv. 35-39. Why did the 
magistrates wish these men released? Had they connected the earth- 
quake with them? Paul’s feeling in v. 37 was entirely natural. He 
may have thought also that such action would serve to keep the 
magistrates from taking any measures against the Philippian believ- 
ers after he and Silas had left the city. The magistrates had good 
reason to fear serious consequences if their action should be re- 
ported at Rome. Note that Silas seems also to have been a Roman 
citizen. Paul and Silas were great souls. It might seem as if the 
“brethren” would have comforted them (v. 40). 

This word “brethren” shows that a group of believers had been 
formed here. They were peculiarly dear to Paul ever after. It may 
be interesting to glance at a few expressions in a single extant letter 
that Paul later wrote them. Notice in Phil. 4: 15-16 what they did 
for him in the weeks just after his departure from the city. Read 
also Phil. 1: 3-11 and 4: 1-7. 


The secret of Paul’s joy in the midst of suffering was the glad 
consciousness that by such experiences he was becoming constantly 
better acquainted with his Lord. The ambition of Paul’s life was 
to experience a deepening acquaintance with the One who met him 
on the Damascus road,—as he expressed it to these same Philip- 
pians, “to know Him and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil, 


3:10). 


96 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XII.— aul anv bis Associates Carrp the Cestimonp 
into {flacevonia, 16:6—17:15 


S1xtH Day: FurtHEeR Testimony IN MACEDONIA. 17: 1-9 


The pronoun “they,” instead of “we,” indicates that Luke re- 
mained behind in Philippi. Note that the pronoun “we” does not 
occur again until Paul returns to Philippi some years later (20: 6). 
Paul, Timothy and Silas traveled down the great Egnatian Road 
through two cities and stopped finally in Thessalonica, 100 miles dis- 
tant from Philippi. It was a great, rich city, and, like the modern 
Saloniki, was the seaport for a large and rich interior. It had com- 
munication by sea with all the Mediterranean world. Anything that 
happened here would surely soon be known in all that part of the 
world (cf. 1 Thess. 1:8). 

Read vv. 1-4. Was the length of Paul’s stay in the city three 
weeks, or was that the time he was allowed the privilege of the 
synagogue platform? Phil. 4:16 throws some light on this point, 
together with r Thess. 2:9. From what three classes were his con- 
verts drawn, according to v. 4? What fourth class appears in 
1 Thess. 1:9? 

Read vv. 5-9. The leaders of the ghetto, jealous of the popularity 
of these traveling rabbis and jealously resenting their admission of 
Gentiles into the special privileges of the Jews, played upon the 
superstition of the rabble and the political fears of the “Politarchs,” 
who were perhaps afraid the city might lose its privilege of being 
a “free city’ (Clemen), to such an extent that an attempt was made 
to arrest Paul. Perhaps they enlisted the pagan priests whose tem- 
ples were losing worshipers (cf. 1 Thess. 1:9). 

Jason was probably a Gentile, who had offered his house as a 
meeting-place after Paul was refused the further use of the syna- 
gogue. It seems from v. 6 that reports had come from Philippi and 
also from South Galatia (13:50; 14: 4-5, 19). 


“There is another king, one Jesus” (v. 7). Would anyone guess 
it from your life? 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 97 





Stupy XII.— aul anv bis Associates Carrp the Testimony 
into fflacevonia. 16:6—17:15 


SEVENTH Day: Paut Driven Our oF MaACceEDONIA. 
17: 10-15 





The “Brothers” in Thessalonica had concealed Paul and his asso- 
ciates, but the ‘“‘Politarchs” had probably required Jason to pledge 
that Paul would leave the city. The feeling of the “rabble” (v. 5) 
was so intense that the Brothers thought it best for Paul and Silas 
to leave by night and immediately. The missionaries slipped away 
to Bercea, a comparatively secluded town, not on the Egnatian Road, 
about fifty miles from Thessalonica. 

Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians makes it evident that he 
left Thessalonica before his work there was in condition to leave 
(3:5), and that he was accused by his enemies in the city of being 
a heartless adventurer who had been after the money of his con- 
verts, and whom they would never see again (2:5-9). He seems 
to have hoped that the feeling against him in Thessalonica would 
soon subside to a point that would make it practicable for him to 
return without endangering Jason (Ramsay). Read 1 Thess. 
2: 17-19. 

The Jews in Bercea were less conservative than those in Thessa- 
lonica, and gave the missionaries a much fairer hearing, Read vv. 
10-12, The extreme bitterness of the Jewish feeling against Paul 
appears in v. 13. 

Read vv. 14-15, and note the evidence of Paul’s great danger. 
When the Thessalonian Jews came to Bercea, Paul instantly left the 
city, either concealing, or not having decided upon, his destination. 
Perhaps Silas and Timothy stayed behind to make the Thessalonian 
pursuers think that Paul was being concealed in the city. The 
deputation of Bercean Brothers that served as the bodyguard did 
not think it safe to leave him until they had reached the distant city, 
Athens. Indeed it seemed scarcely safe to leave him alone then. 
They probably feared assassination. 


“They received the word with all readiness of mind” (v. 11). As 
this study proceeds do you find yourself receiving the word with 
readiness? Are you ready to be and do whatever the word re- 
quires, to adjust your plans to the demands made upon your life by 
this great movement whose history we are studying? 


98 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Strupy XIII.— Paul an bis Associates Carrp the Cestimony 
into Achaia. 17:16—18:18 


First Day: THE Witness AMONG THE UNIVERSITY MEN. 
17: 16-21 

Out of immediate danger of assassination Paul had now a breath- 
ing spell. He needed it, for the past months had been exceedingly 
strenuous, and he was about to begin in Corinth what was perhaps 
the most difficult piece of missionary work in his whole life. 

Paul was accustomed to life in a university city, for he had been 
born in one. The art of Athens made little impression upon him, 
for he was a Jew, and the Jewish mind had been trained to regard 
graven images as a peril (Ex. 20:4; JosEpHuUS, Wars 1: 32:2). 
Naturally it was the religious aspect of these works of art that ap- 
pealed to Paul as he strolled about the city (v. 23), and the city 
appeared to him perilously “full of idols.”” Read vv. 16-18. 

As usual he went straight to the ghetto and its synagogue. Notice, 
in v. 17, the two classes of persons whom he found there. In what 
other place did he deliver his message? To whom? 

These daily discussions in the agora with university professors 
and students resulted in two opinions about him. The first was that 
he was a person who was hanging around a university center, pick- 
ing up scraps of learning which he was anxious to air (“babbler’”’), 
an ignorant amateur trying to talk with specialists! Others took 
him more seriously as a propagandist of two new deities, Jesus and 
Anastasis (‘resurrection’), or Jesus and the divinity that resur- 
rected Him. This more serious estimate of Paul became dominant. 
He was too much in earnest to be disposed of in any jocular way. 
He was evidently a man who ought to be investigated by the Are- 
opagites, the court responsible for the investigation of all new teach- 
ing. Read vv. 19-21. 

In some crowded room or open portico of the agora, perhaps near 
the foot of the hill which gave the court its name, Paul stands up 
among representatives of the court of the Areopagus and a crowd 
of interested spectators, professors and students, to make an infor- 
mal statement of his views, which will enable the court to ascertain 
whether any formal steps are necessary. 

It is a man’s dominant idea expressed naturally and without hesi- 
tation that tells how much and in what way his life is to count. 





Chapters 16-18, A. D. 52-54 (Zahn); A. D. 47-49 (46-50) (Harnack). 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 99 





Stupy XIII.— aul any bis Associates Carrp the Testimony 
into Achaia. 17:16—18:18 ) 


Seconp Day: Paut’s Testimony BEFORE THE AREOPA- 
GITES, 17: 22-34 


Read vy. 22-31, and compare it hastily with Paul’s synagogue ad- 
dress in 13: 16-41. What is the main theme of the address in 
Athens? Paul shows himself acquainted with the philosophical con- 
ceptions of the Stoics and Epicureans, and also with the cheaper, 
unphilosophical notions of the popular theology. Probably in the 
crowd both philosophers and populace were represented. 

In a courteous introductory sentence he acknowledges that they 
are “unusually religious” (v. 22), inasmuch as in their desire to 
omit no god, or to appeal to the proper god, they have built an 
altar to “God TiJnknown” (v. 23). This altar gives him a text and 
perhaps suggests a defense, should one become necessary. 

His first great idea is God—personal, supreme, and Creator of all 
things (v. 24). His statement involves the ascription to God of a 
more definite personality than the pantheistic Stoics admitted, and 
was opposed to the Epicurean theory, which, while considering the 
gods to be persons, relegated them to a blissful life among the stars, 
far away from the troubled earth and all its interests, This state- 
ment forbade ranking Him among the host of gods recognized by the 
people. Such a being cannot be thought of as living in a temple. 

God is the personal sustainer of all life (v. 25). He keeps the 
seasons in their fruitful succession, the stars in their courses, the 
rivers running to the sea (cf. 14: 15-17). He is not living a life of 
blissful indifference to the world, as do the gods of the Epicurean 
philosophers. On the other hand, neither does He need the food 
and drink offerings left by the people in their temples for the gods. 

God made all nations of the same stock (v. 26) and left no room 
for the proud discrimination between “Greek and Barbarian.” 

God regulates the course of history (v. 26), assigning to each 
nation its period of culmination and decay, setting in motion and 
directing the great streams of immigration that have so changed his- 
tory. Perhaps Paul appealed to Stoic cosmopolitanism, 


_ Have you thought of the great tides of modern immigration as 
answering some great purpose of God, none the less because they 
occur in accordance with economic law? 


100 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XIII— Paul ant his Associates Carrp the Testimony 
inte Achata, 17;16—18:18 


Tuirp Day: Paut’s TESTIMONY BEFORE THE AREOPAGITES 
(Concluded). 17:22-34 


God’s purpose in directing the development of human civilization 
is to reveal Himself, and to enable individual men to find Him 
(v. 27). Capacity for intelligent prayer is a mark of high civiliza- 
tion. This rests on the supposition that God is very near to men 
(vv. 27-28). He has not fled to the stars to avoid men, as have the 
Epicurean gods. 


“Closer {s He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.” 

Some of their own poets, one of them a Cilician like Paul, have 
recognized that God is the Father of men (v. 28). He has never 
grown weary of trying to make His dumb, deaf, blind children 
know that He is always near them. 

Such a fatherly God cannot be properly represented by stone and 
metal, as the people suppose (v. 29). He is not statue-like. 

A crisis is now at hand, in which it will become evident that God 
is not indifferent to this long failure to find Him and yield Him 
spiritual worship. God will judge the world (vv. 30-31). 

And now Paul comes to his culmination—humanity in the hands 
of the resurrected Jesus (v. 31). 

The general feeling was that one holding so absurd a notion as a 
judgment by a resurrected dead man was not to be taken seriously, 
and needed no further investigation. The idea of a resurrection was 
perhaps not so absolutely irreconcilable with Stoic thought, and some 
were inclined not to take it utterly as a jest. One Areopagite, a 
woman, and a few others were profoundly impressed. 

It was doubtless a significant experience for Paul. His comment 
on it can be read between the lines of 1 Cor. 1: 22-23, and 2: 1-6 
which refers directly to this period. 


Perhaps in no age more than our own has it been essential to 
Tecognize the real strength of Paul’s position, namely, that he could 
confront the philosophical theories and popular superstitions of his 
day with the report of a personal experience of increasing power 
over sin through association with Jesus Christ, which experience was 
intelligible to him in the light of certain historic facts in the career 
of Jesus of Nazareth, 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS IOI 





Stupy XIII.—aul any bis Associates Carrp the Testimony 
into Achata. 17:316—18:18 


FourtH Day: THE WITNESS IN THE Great City. 18: 1-18 


From the university town Paul came to the great commercial cen- 
ter, Corinth, half-way between Rome and Ephesus. Here it was 
not university professors and students with whom he had to deal, 
but business men, sailors, porters, licentious women, slaves, people 
of the street and the wharf, rather than of the lecture-room and the 
library. Its spirit was that of keen commercialism, superficial but 
conceited culture and scandalous vice. 

Paul came to Corinth in a disturbed state of mind. He came to 
the great city alone, which was no slight circumstance to one who 
loved company as well as he did (cf. 28:15; 17:15). He was in 
distress of mind about his church in Thessalonica, where he had 
been cruelly slandered. While still in Athens Timothy had come to 
him in response to his urgent summons (17:15), but had been im- 
mediately despatched to Thessalonica. Read 1 Thess. 3: 1-5. More- 
over, as we have just seen, his experience with the university peo- 
ple in Athens had not been reassuring and he perhaps doubted 
whether he would fare any better in Corinth. The athletic Greeks 
loved a fine presence and a graceful bearing, which Paul seems not 
to have had. They loved fine rhetorical phrasing in public speech, 
and this also Paul did not have. A considerable«portion of the 
church, even in after years, were never satisfied with his “delivery” 
(2 Cor. 10:10; 11:6). Read again 1 Cor, 2: 1-4. 

Paul’s first care was to earn money for the heavy expense of 
Timothy’s journey to Thessalonica and back, and also perhaps for 
one made by Silas from Bercea to Philippi. It is difficult to account 
for Silas during this period. Yet Paul had time to preach in the 
synagogue, Before Timothy and Silas arrived he had met two 
who were forever after to be his fast friends, Read vv. 1-6, 


Most great deeds have been wrought in the face of great difficulties. 
If one can only be sure that he is allied with a great cause, difficul- 
ties need not discourage him. 


102 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XIII.—Paul an His Associates Carrp the Cestimany 
into Achata, 17:16—18:18 


FirtH Day: THE WITNESS IN THE GREAT City (Con- 
cluded). 18: 1-18 


What two circumstances mentioned in vv. 7-8 tended to embitter 
the synagogue authorities? Read vv. 9-10, which show how des- 
perate the situation had become. Paul evidently feared assassina- 
tion or lynching, and began to think of abandoning the work. He 
was kept from doing this by nothing less than such a vision as he 
had in two other crises of his life (22: 17-21; 23: 11). 

Soon after an incident occurred which completely discomfited the 
Jewish opposition. The new pro-consul, brother of the philosopher 
Seneca, utterly refused to hear the charges they brought against Paul 
and allowed the anti-Semites in the city to pound the newly elected 
leader of the ghetto in front of the bema itself. Read vv. 12-17. 
Gallio took a very different view of the situation from that which 
the officials in Philippi and Thessalonica had taken. He was con- 
vinced that the question was one which Roman law left within the 
jurisdiction of the Jewish authorities. 

In spite of the misgivings with which Paul began his work in 
Corinth, he afterward looked back upon it with evident satisfaction. 
Read 1 Cor. 9:2; 2 Cor. 3: 1-3; 12: 11-12, The church was largely 
made up of people from the middle class (1 Cor. 1:26), but there 
were some distinguished exceptions: the leading man in the ghetto 
(v. 8), Titus Justus, whose house was big enough to accommodate 
large meetings (v. 7); the wealthy lady Chloe, with her slaves 
(1 Cor. 1: 11) ; Stephanus, the hospitable entertainer (1 Cor. 16:15); 
Erastus, the city treasurer (Rom. 16: 23). Slaves were found among 
the members (1 Cor. 7:21), and some degraded men were rescued 
from the lowest slums (1 Cor. 6: 9-11). 


The most wonderful fact about the great city was the presence of 
Jesus in it. Not only was He there, but He was full of hope for the 
city. He saw in its streets a multitude of people every day, some 
of them degraded men and women, who were recoverable and whom 
He already regarded as potentially His own (v. 10). What He 
needed in order to make them really His own was a suitable wit- 
ness who would put himself at his Lord’s disposal and die at his 
post if necessary. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 103 





Stupy XIII.—Paul ant bis Assoctates Carrp the Testimony 
into Achaia. 17:16—18:18 


StxtH Day: Paut Writes A LETTER TO THE THESSALO- 
NIAN BELIEVERS FROM CORINTH 


Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians throws so much light 
upon the situation in Acts that it should be briefly considered. It 
is evident from 1 Thess. 3:1 and 3:6 that the letter was written 
just after Timothy’s arrival in Corinth (Acts 18:5). Its first pur- 
pose was to express Paul’s great relief at finding them still holding 
fast to their new Christian profession. Read 3: 1-10. 

The second purpose was to deny the slanderous stories that his 
enemies were so industriously circulating about him in order to 
alienate his followers from him. These stories were probably be- 
ing circulated by the Jews and by the unbelieving husbands and 
neighbors of Paul’s converts among the Gentile ladies of the syna- 
gogue (Acts 17:4). These slanderers said that Paul was a fanatic 
(“error,” 2:3), or a licentious man (“uncleanness,” 2:3), or a 
tricky schemer (‘‘guile,” 2:3). His trickiness consisted especially 
in his scheming to get money from his converts (2:5-9). His 
dupes in Philippi had sent him money twice! (cf. Phil. 4: 16). There 
were many adventurers abroad on the Egnatian Way, looking for 
chances to make easy money! Or he was ambitious to become the 
head of one of the many new fraternities (2: 6-7). He had stayed 
long enough to get them into trouble, and had then run away! They 
said he did not care or dare to come back himself, but sent a cheap 
subordinate or substitute. Notice his exaltation of Timothy (3:2). 

The gist of Paul’s defense is in 2: 3—3: 10, as has just appeared. 
Now read the first chapter, noticing how, by quiet emphasis of the 
high character of his work among them, he leads up to the spirited 
defense in the second chapter. 

“From you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord” (1:8). The 
faithful lives of believers constitute a proclamation of the gospel. 
The repoit of what was going on in the lives of certain people in 
Thessalor ica was the best pessible advertisement of Paul’s gospel. 
He needed not to speak anything (1:8). Draw near to God before 
you go out into the day, and let Him use your life, hour by hour, 
as a proclamation of His word of love. 





A. D. 53 (Zahn); A. D, 48-49 (Harnack). 


104 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XIII.—aul any his Associates Carrp the Cestimony 
inta Achata, 17:16—18:18 


SEVENTH Day: Pau Writes A LETTER TO THE THESSA- 
LONIAN BELIEVERS FROM CorINTH (Concluded) 


A third purpose of the Letter was to give further teaching on 
some points which he had not had time to discuss before his hur- 
ried departure from Thessalonica, and to emphasize some things 
that he had said. There was always danger from the low concep- 
tions of sexual morality that prevailed on every side (4: 2-8). The 
gospel contained some exciting truths, and there were some who 
dropped their regular work in their excited anticipation of the Lord’s 
speedy return. They were in danger of becoming dependent on oth- 
ers, as well as failing to meet their business engagements with non- 
Christian business men (4: 11-12). Thessalonica was a city of large 
business interests, and there were probably numerous workmen 
among the believers. 

Some of the Christians had lost friends by death and feared that, 
inasmuch as they had died before the Lord’s return, they would 
lose their place in the kingdom that He was to inaugurate at His 
coming. (Read 4: 13-18.) 

There were some ill-balanced, excited prophets who needed to be 
held in check by the church officers. But in restraining them the 
officers needed to be careful that they did not repress some genuine 
manifestation of the Spirit (5:19), and that they did not allow 
abuses of the prophetic gift by the prophets to lead to an under- 
estimate of the gift itself (5:20). They were to exercise discrimi- 
nation (5:21). On the other hand, these prophets and all others 
needed to cultivate respect for church officials (5: 12-13). 

Soon after writing this letter Paul seems to have written a sec- 
ond letter to the Thessalonians, which, however, throws little light 
on the narrative in Acts, and so need not be considered here. 


“Build each other up” (5:11). It is the will of God that the Chris- 
tian life be developed by the mutual influence of believers upon each 
other’s lives. Some are ready to influence, but not to be influenced; 
to give, but not to receive. Are you ready to do both? 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 105 





Stupy XIV.— Paul anv bis Associates Carrp the Testimony 
into Asia, 18:18—19:20 


First Day: Pau REvisits JERUSALEM AND SOUTH GALA- 
TIA. 18: 18-23 


Read vv. 18-23. There was no occasion for such a premature de- 
parture from Corinth as had been necessary in Thessalonica, and 
Paul was able to leave behind him a large, well-organized church. 
What business called him back to Syria, we do not know. Just 
before he went on shipboard in one of the harbor towns of Corinth 
he had his head shaved, in fulfillment of some vow that he had made 
to God. Perhaps it was connected with the final completion of his 
perilous Corinthian campaign. On his way to Syria Paul touched 
at Ephesus, the metropolis of the Roman province Asia. Note, in 
16:6, the evidence that this great province and city had earlier 
seemed to him an inviting, but for some reason a forbidden, field. 
Note here, in v. 21, Paul’s evident remembrance of this earlier ex- 
perience. He had time for one or two discourses in the ghetto, and 
left behind him, as industrious propagandists, the Jewish friends 
who had stayed loyally by him during the Corinthian dangers. 

Perhaps, with many other Jewish pilgrims, if it were some Jew- 
ish feast that called Paul to Syria, he sailed through the gateway 
of the great artificial harbor at Cesarea and went on shore. Note, 
in 8:40 and chapter 10, the friends he might hope to find here. 
The expression “went up and saluted the church” (v. 22) seems 
hardly the natural description of a visit to the church in Cesarea, 
and indicates rather a trip to Jerusalem. After some days in Jeru- 
salem, he went to Antioch on the Orontes, his “home church,” and 
after some weeks or months there started again for a third visit 
to his numerous churches in South Galatia. Glance at 13:14, 51; 
14:6 to recall the cities that had been centers of his extensive South 
Galatian work. Glance at 16:6 where his second visit to that part 
of the world is mentioned. 


“He reasoned with the Jews” (v. 19). Christianity involves a 
mystical experience with Jesus Christ, resting on a rational basis 
and issuing in an ethical result. 


106 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XIV.— aul any his Associates Carrp the Cestimany 
into Asia. 18:18—19:20 


SEcOND Day: Paut’s LETTER TO THE GALATIANS 


At some time in this general period of Paul’s life he wrote his 
celebrated letter to the Galatian churches. It is sometimes assigned 
to the weeks of Paul’s residence in Syrian Antioch, mentioned yes- 
terday (Acts 18:23), in which case, of course, the letter was soon 
followed by Paul himself, It is sometimes thought to have been 
written earlier, during the first weeks in Corinth, before Silas and 
Timothy reached him (Acts 18: 1-4), for no names are coupied with 
his own in the opening of the letter (Gal. 1:1). If this were the 
date, it would be the oldest of Paul’s extant letters. But Gal. 1:2 
indicates that more Christians were with him at the time of writing 
than can be supposed to have been at Corinth during those early 
weeks, ‘The situation implied in Gal. 1:2 is well met by the suppo- 
sition that it is the overwhelming moral force of all the great Antioch 
church that he brings to bear upon the Galatian churches in the in- 
dignant remonstrance so vehemently expressed in this letter. Sup- 
posing it, then, to have been written in Antioch (Acts 18: 18), there 
is time to look at a few of its salient features, without taking time 
to read it through. 

Paul had visited the Galatian churches twice when he wrote the 
letter (Gal. 4: 13, “former time,” margin R. V.). The latter of these 
two visits was the one described in Acts 16:6, when Paul carried 
to them the deliverances of the Jerusalem council, declaring that no 
Gentile believer need be circumcised, in order to be a Christian. 
Paul knew how bitterly unreconciled to this deliverance the Phari- 
sees who had fought it in the council were. He anticipated that 
before long they would visit South Galatia, and in some way try to 
make Jewish proselytes of the Galatian Christians. He forewarned 
the Galatian churches against such an effort when he left the de- 
crees of the council with them. He alludes to this forewarning in 
his letter. Read Gal. 1: 6-10, especially v. 9. 


“A bond-servant of Christ” (v. 10). The last clause of Gal. 2:20 
shows why a high-spirited man like Paul could use such language. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 107 





Stupy XIV.— aul ant his Associates Carrp the Testimony 
into Asia. 18:18—19:20 


Tuirp Day: Paut’s LETTER TO THE GALATIANS (Con 
tinued ) 


In spite of Paul’s forewarning, the Jerusalem Pharisees found the 
Galatian Christians an easy prey when, a year or two later, they 
came among them on their destructive errand. This was partly be- 
cause of the sly way in which they came. They did not come di- 
rectly contradicting the decree of the Jerusalem council. They did 
not say that it was impossible to become a Christian without be- 
coming a Jewish proselyte. They simply said that if a man wished 
to be a first-class Christian he must be a circumcised Jewish pros- 
elyte. What they said can only be guessed by noticing Paul’s re- 
plies, just as one can guess what has been said at one end of the 
telephone line by listening to the replies at the other end. They 
probably emphasized the fact that Jesus Himself had been circum- 
cised (Gal. 4:4-5). They asserted that Paul preached an uncir- 
cumcised Christianity, simply because he thought it would be popu- 
lar among the Gentiles (1:10); that he really believed in circum- 
cision (5:11). He had circumcised his special friend Timothy 
(Acts 16: 1-3), but he had “shut out” the ordinary Gentile Chris- 
tians from first-class Christianity (4:17). 

Furthermore, they said that Paul was a mere subordinate of the 
Twelve who had taught him all that was true in his gospel and 
who did not really approve of the peculiar features he had added. 
Read rapidly, with these thoughts in mind, Gal. 1: 11—2: 14. 


The letters of Paul are the letters of a busy missionary writing in the 
midst of arduous labors, or sometimes in the enforced leisure of an 
imprisonment. Paul threw himself unsparingly into the work of meeting 
the needs of men without thought of literary fame, but because of the 
experience gained in this way he was chosen by the Spirit of God to put 
the gospel into the literary form in which it has been most effectively 
presented to irreligious men ever since. 

Is it not wise for us, in making our life plans, to try simply to meet 
the sorest and most immediate need of men, regardless of possible 


fame or position? 


108 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XIV.—Daul any bis Associates Carry the Cestimony 
into Asia. 18:18—19:20 


FourtH Day: Paut’s LETTER TO THE GALATIANS (Con- 
cluded) 


Paul attacks the motives of these missionaries of Pharisaism. They 
seem to him to be simply using Gentile Christianity as a bait by 
which to draw Gentiles into the ranks of Jewish proselytes. They 
wish to boast among the Jerusalem rabbis of their success in making 
Jewish proselytes (6:13), and so escape any unpopularity that they 
might incur among non-Christian Jews because of their Christianity 
(6:12). They had begun somewhat disingenuously to urge the ob- 
servance of certain feast days (4: 10-11) and had been urging cir- 
cumcision without making clear all that the rite involved (5: 2-3). 

Over against their general advocacy of circumcision Paul asserts 
that one thing only can result in “‘justification’—that is, in being 
accounted righteous or forgiven, and so being “‘saved”—and that 
one thing is believing in Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus Christ 
means accepting Him as what He represents Himself to be and 
treating Him accordingly, namely, surrendering to Him as Lord the 
control of one’s life. This act brings a man under Jesus’ personal 
influence and the purifying power of His personal friendship (2: 20). 
This personal friendship with the Spirit of God in Christ is the 
highest blessedness conceivable. It is the experience promised by 
God all through the ages since Abraham as the culmination of bless- 
edness (3:2, 14). No surgical operation like circumcision can add 
anything to it (3:3). 

The need of circumcision and the Mosaic law has passed away. 
Jesus Christ in His death has made an exhibition of the loving heart 
of God, which prohibits sin far more effectively than the law ever 
did (2: 20-21; 3: 23-25). 


“The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself up for me” 
(2:20). A true test of character is the way in which one responds 
to love. As He “gave Himself up” for us, so we may gladly and 
confidently give ourselves up for Him. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 109 





Stupy XIV.— aul and bis Associates Carrp the Cestimong 
into Asia. 18:18—19:20 


Firto Day: THe DEVELOPMENT OF RUDIMENTARY WIT- 
NESSES IN EPHESUS. 18: 24—I9:7 


Paul followed his letter into South Galatia, and it is to be hoped 
found that it had prepared the way for his coming to “establish 
all the disciples” (18:23). Then he went westward into the prov- 
ince of Asia and came to Ephesus, where he found a group of men 
in a stage of religious experience rather difficult to understand. 
Before*his arrival his two friends, Aquila and Priscilla, had found 
a talented Jew in about the same stage of experience. Read 18: 24-28. 

Perhaps Luke’s reason for bringing Apollos into his narrative is 
the fact that there had been those in Corinth who thought more 
highly of Apollos than they did of Paul (1 Cor. 1:12), and it gave 
him satisfaction to show that Apollos had been brought into the 
higher Christian experience by Paul’s friends and had been intro- 
duced to the church in Corinth by them. 

We need to remember that Christian truth had not yet assumed 
any fixed literary form. Many of those who were interested in the 
movement were, of necessity, very imperfectly informed regarding 
it. Through some traveling Christian they had learned about vari- 
ous phases of it, or possibly through some one of the many inade- 
quate written gospels that. were at one time current in the church 
(Luke 1:1). In any case, these men in Ephesus knew nothing 
about the experience described in the second chapter of Acts. 

When they learned more about the resurrected Jesus and gave 
themselves up to Him as their living Lord (v. 5), they had an ex- 
perience of spiritual exhilaration which resulted in ecstatic ejacu- 
lations and in sudden temporary inspirations which enabled them to 
deliver messages from God’s Spirit in the public meetings (v. 6). 


“Instructed in the way of the Lord”; “fervent in spirit” (18:25). 
Do not be afraid to cultivate an enthusiasm based on knowledge. 
See that you have such knowledge as will beget enthusiasm. Let 
every wise plan for the extension of God’s kingdom have your en- 


thusiastic support. 





Chapter 19, A. DB. 55-57 (Zahn); A. D. 60-53 (49-52) (Harnack). 


’ 


110 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XIV.— aul ant his Associates Carrp the Cestimony 
into Asia, 18:18—19:20 


SixtH Day: THe TESTIMONY OVERCOMES SUPERSTITION 
In Asia. 19:8-20 


Luke has pictured Paul in Athens, the university city; in Corinth, 
the great commercial center; and now the victory in which the 
word of God prevails is won in Ephesus, the great center of oriental 
superstition. Read vv. 8-10, noting as usual the two classes of peo- 
ple to whom the testimony was delivered, and the wide extent of 
territory covered. How was the work probably carried on in the 
other cities and villages of the province? 

One manuscript represents Paul to have occupied the lecture- 
room of the professor of rhetoric from II a. m. to 4 p. m., that 
is, during the heat of the day, when most men rested (Ramsay). 
Paul probably worked at his trade until 11 o’clock (20: 34-35), and 
then began lecturing, sometimes continuing his discussions far into 
the night (20: 31). What expression in v. 10 indicates Luke’s domi- 
nant interest? 

Read vv. 11-12. These phenomena were especially calculated to 
appeal to those who had been impressed by performances of the 
magicians. The healings may have taken place in accordance with 
psychic laws through which “God wrought.” 

Read the humorous incident described in vv. 13-17. There had 
been Jews of Palestine in Jesus’ day who dealt more or less in magi- 
cal incantations. Cf. Matt. 12:27. Certain relatives of the high 
priest’s family here in Ephesus were engaging in religious or pseudo- 
religious practices with the same commercial spirit that seems to 
have characterized the heads of the family in Jerusalem. In the 
crazy man’s attack upon his would-be healers the power of Jesus 


was proven to the citizens of Ephesus in a way suited to their 
habits of thought. 


“The name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (v. 17). Sooner or 
later into every great movement for the uplift of society comes the 
recognition of the part played in it by “the Lord Jesus.” Centuries 
pass, but He stands foremost in every advance of humanity. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS III 





Stupy XIV.— aul anv bis Associates Carrp the Testimony 
ints Asia, 18:18—19:20 


SEVENTH Day: THE TESTIMONY OVERCOMES SUPERSTITION 
In Asta (Concluded). 19:8-20. PAuL WRITES 
TO THE CHRISTIANS IN CORINTH. 


The work of reformation among the Ephesian magicians was 
thorough. It made these men cut off all possibility of returning to 
their dark ways. Read vv. 18-19. If a “piece of silver” was a 
denarius or drachma, the amount equaled about 50,000 days’ wages 
(cf. Matt. 20:2), that is, between $50,000 and $100,000. 

Verse 20 closes the fifth great division of the book of Acts, 16:6 
—19:20. Look back for a moment over the titles of the daily les- 
sons in Studies XII, XIII, XIV and note the progress of the narra- 
tive. What has been Luke’s dominant idea in this division? In 
determining the trend of thought note the significant statement in 
TO221, 

During these three years (20:31) in Ephesus Paul carried on a 
spirited correspondence with the church in Corinth, and perhaps 
made them one short visit in which he endeavored to overcome the 
opposition to himself that had been stirred up probably by the Jeru- 
salem Pharisees who had created the disturbance in South Galatia. 
P:.ul handles them without gloves in 2 Cor. 11: 4-15. All that is 
extant of this interesting correspondence is the so-called First Let- 
ter to the Corinthians and possibly chapters 9-13 of Second Corin- 
thians. 


A fundamental source of weakness in the lives of some professing 
Christians is their unreadiness to cut entirely loose from whatever 
might lead them easily back into the old life. For all such there is 
an inspiring suggestion in the picture of this group of Ephesian 
Christians standing about the burning books, their determined faces 
lighted by the flames that were consuming what might easily be a 
source of temptation to them. The possession of power in the Chris- 
tian life is conditioned upon unreserved renunciation of all that 
ministers to evil. “Abhor that which is evil.” 





PART VI 


THE TESTIMONY FINALLY ESTABLISHED BY PAUL 
UNDER GOD’S DIRECTION IN ROME, THE CENTER 
OF THE GENTILE WORLD, IN SPITE OF FIERCE JEW- 
ISH OPPOSITION. 19: 21—28: 31. 


Stupy XV.—Paul Closes His Asiatic Work and Starts for Jeru- 
salem by Way of Macedonia and Achaia. I9:2I—20:5. 

Stupy XVI.—After Many Warnings on the Way, Paul Faces 
Death in Jerusalem. 20: 6—22: 22. 

Stupy XVII.—After Two Years of Suspense in Prison Paul Ap- 
peals to the Emperor. 22: 23—25: 12. 

Stupy XVIII.—A Last Famous Testimony in Czsarea and a 
Perilous Voyage to Rome. 25: 13—28: 106. 

Stupy XIX.—The Testimony Finally Established in the Capital 
of the World. 28: 17-31. 





NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 115 





Stupy XV.—aul Closes His Asiatic Work anv Starts for 
Jerusalem bp Wap of SHlacevonia and Achaia. 19:21—20:5 


First Day: THE EpHESIAN OPPOSITION IN A FRENZY. 
19: 21-41 


Read 19:21, in which the author forecasts the substance of the 
last great section of his history. Two associates precede Paul into 
Macedonia, to insure such preparation for his coming as will enable 
him to accomplish as much as possible in the short time he will be 
able to devote to each church. Read v. 22. 

Now follows a paragraph (vv. 23-41) which Luke’s dramatic sense 
leads him to place at the forefront of this last section. The section 
is to record a succession of perilous experiences through which Paul 
passes on his way to Rome, and a howling crowd of frenzied Arte- 
mis worshipers passing across the stage prepares the reader for the 
dangers that are to follow. Read vv. 23-41. 

It is not the priests or the political custodians of the popular re- 
ligion that oppose Paul. From what class does the opposition 
come? To what two, or three, motives do they appeal? 

Luke is interested to show in this impressive way how conspicu- 
ously successful the new movement has been in the entire province. 
The shrine market was seriously depressed! These miniature tem- 
ples were sold in great numbers, to be used as votive offerings in 
the temple, or to be kept at home, or to be placed in the graves of 
deceased friends (Ramsay). In response to the impassioned appeal 
of the shrine-maker, some one raised the sacred Artemis cry, and 
fhe company started for the great open-air theatre, from which per- 
haps the venerated temple of Artemis could be seen. Great numbers 
hearing the Artemis cry joined the crowd, not knowing what had 
gathered it. On their way to the theatre the leaders captured some 
of Paul’s company, as they had doubtless planned to do. 


Greed for money and religious pride find themselves hard pressed 
by the democratic spirit of Jesus, who works always for the enlarge- 
ment of the liberty of all mem and against the special privileges of 
a few. 


116 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 


Srupy XV.—Jaul Closes his Asiatic Work and Starts for 
Jerusalem bp Wap of JMacedonta and Achaia, 19:21—20:5 


Seconp Day: THE EPHESIAN OPPOSITION IN A FRENZY 
(Concluded). 19: 21-41 


In the great amphitheatre the leaders of the ghetto, fearful that 
the crowd might confuse them with the Christians, brought a Jew 
named Alexander down from the seats to the stage to explain that 
they were not offenders. If he were the person mentioned later by 
Paul (2 Tim. 4:14) he was a coppersmith, and may not have been 
too orthodox a Jew to have profited by the shrine trade! The sight 
of one who was a Jew and who was, therefore, known not to be an 
Artemis worshiper simply enraged the crowd, and for two kours 
in a religious frenzy they shouted the Artemis cry. This cry must 
have been something sufficiently rhythmical to lend itself to repeated 
utterance, like the cries of the dervishes of the East to-day. One 
manuscript has a reading which suggests the exact words: ‘“Me- 
ga-le Ar-te-mis” (“Great Diana”). Finally one of the officials suc- 
ceeded in bringing the exhausted men out of their frenzy and made 
a rational statement that dispersed them all to their homes. What 
was the substance of his argument? Do you see any other reason 
than personal friendship that may have made the Asiarchs wish to 
keep Paul out of the theatre? Cf. 16:37-39. Soon after a meet- 
ing, very different from that in the amphitheatre, was held in some 
commodious place—perhaps in some retired spot outside the city 
under the open sky. Read 20:1, and let your imagination picture 
what took place in this meeting. 


“Paul, having sent for the disciples and exhorted them, took leave 
of them” (20:1). The great apostle had labored famously in the 
province, but the ultimate responsibility for the perpetuation and 
propagation of the movement rested upon ordinary disciples. It is 
the testimony by deed and word of the ordinary Christian that keeps 
Christianity alive in the world. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 117 





Stupy XV.—Plaul Closes His Asiatic Work anv Starts for 
Jerusalem bp Wap of Macedonia and Achaia. 19:21—20:5 


Tuirp Day: Paut Revisirs MACEDONIA AND AGAIN 
WRITES TO THE CHRISTIANS IN CORINTH. 20: 1-5 


Luke here passes summarily over a period of great interest in 
Paul’s personal experience, because the period furnished little that 
was of importance for Luke’s purpose. We know from Paul’s ex- 
tant correspondence with the Corinthian church that he left Ephesus 
in great distress of mind over the situation in Corinth. His relations 
with the Corinthian church had become so strained that it was doubt- 
ful whether they would receive him if he visited them. He had 
sent one of his lieutenants, named Titus, to bring about a better 
understanding in the Corinthian church, and expected to receive a 
report from him in the city of Troas, where Paul, on his way from 
Ephesus to Macedonia, had agreed to meet him. Titus failed to 
meet him there and, although the city presented an excellent op- 
portunity for evangelistic work, Paul was too much worried to 
utilize it. Read 2 Cor. 2: 12-13. He went on into Macedonia, doubt- 
less visiting Philippi and Thessalonica. Somewhere in Macedonia 
Titus met him with a report from Corinth that greatly relieved his 
mind. He immediately wrote 2 Corinthians, or at least chapters 1-9. 
(Chapters 10-13 were very possibly part of a separate letter written 
earlier in Ephesus, and were later put by the Corinthian church 
with chapters 1-9.) Read 2 Cor. 7: 5-16. 

During this hurried journey through Macedonia and Achaia Paul 
was busily engaged in an enterprise not described in the book of 
Acts. He was collecting a large sum of money from all the Gentile 
churches for the relief of the many needy Christians in the Jeru- 
salem church. It was gathered from churches as far apart as South 
Galatia and Corinth (see 1 Cor. 16:1). In the letter to the Roman 
Christians, written about this time, Paul states the purpose of the 
collection. Read Romans 15: 25-27. He hoped that the gift would 
bind the two elements in the church together. Romans 15: 30-31. 


“Without were fightings, within were fears” (2 Cor. 7:5). We 
are not spared temporary distress and anxiety any more than was 
Paul, but these may be made to us, as to him, valuable experiences, 
because they prepare us to receive God’s comfort (7:6). 





A. D. 57 (Zahn); A. D. 53 (52) (Harnack). 


118 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 


Srupy XV.—Paul Closes His Asiatic Work and Starts for 
Jerusalem bp Wap of Macedonia and Achaia. 19:21—20:5 


Fourtu Day: Paut’s APPEAL TO THE CORINTHIAN CHRIS- 
TIANS FOR Money. 2 Cor. 8—9 


Before leaving the subject of the collection which bulked so large 
in Paul’s mind at this time, read rapidly chapters 8-9 of the Second 
Letter to the Corinthians, which show a masterly knowledge of hu- 
man nature and the motives to which it responds. Read the chap- 
ters as a psychological study, and if ever in the future you have 
occasion to make an appeal for money you will do well to return 
to these chapters for suggestions. Note that Paul uses lower motives 
as well as the highest. 


“See that you abound in this grace also” (8:7). Paul ranks Chris- 
tian giving with the fundamental Christian virtues, faith, knowl- 
edge, earnestness, love. Do you desire an increase of the spirit of 
generous giving just as really as you desire an increase of faith? 
Are you employing any means to secure it? 


NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 119 





Stupy XV.—*aul Closes bis Asiatic Work anv Starts for 
Jerusalem bp Wap of Macedonia anv Achaia. 19:21—20;5 


Firtu Day: Paut Revisirs ACHAIA AND WRITES TO THE 
CHRISTIANS IN RoME. 20: 1-5 


It is to be hoped that when Paul reached Corinth he found them 
ready with their money! The reconciliation with them after the 
trying pericd of their estrangement from him must have been very 
satisfactory to both parties. 

It was apparently near the close of these winter months in Corinth 
that Paul wrote the most famous of all his extant literary products, 
the letter to the Christians in Rome. There is time only to note its 
general setting and purpose. First note the evidence, in Rom. 
15: 25-26, that the letter was written at the time just suggested. 

It becomes apparent also from 15: 23-28 that Paul had begun to 
plan a Spanish mission. Since he must report to his Lord that he 
had preached the gospel to the Gentiles of the entire empire, it was 
necessary that he should go to the western edge of the world. Per- 
haps he thought he could send lieutenants into Britain. To succeed 
in Spain, he must be sure of his relation to the church in Rome. 

Since it was so important that the Roman Christians should sym- 
pathetically support him in his Spanish mission, he took pains to 
acquaint them thoroughly with his views. He had learned from bit- 
ter experience in South Galatia and Corinth the points at which his 
theological opponents could misrepresent him. Very likely he sus- 
pected that those whom he had just driven from the field in Corinth 
would hurry to Rome when they learned of his plan for a Spanish 
mission, in order to prejudice the Roman church against him. In 
order to prevent this he wrote a full statement of such of his views 
as were most fundamental and most liable to misrepresentation. See 
how the memory of misrepresentation appears in Romans 3: 7-8; 
Can OTS, 727, F337 O° 1-3; 


“J am a debtor both to Greeks and barbarians” (Rom. 1:14). Paul 
felt that all men had a right to know the facts about Jesus Christ 
and His salvation. That there should be good tidings in the world 
from God for all men, and some men not know them, seemed to him 
an intolerable thought. 





A.D. 58 (Zahn); A. D. 58-54 (62-53) (Harnack). 


120 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XV.—Paul Closes His Asiatic Work an¥ Starts for 
Jerusalem bp Wap of SMacevonia and Achaia. 19:21—20:5 


SixtH Day: Paut Revisirs ACHAIA AND WRITES TO THE 
CHRISTIANS IN RomE (Concluded). 20: 1-5 


Paul’s Letter to the Roman Christians breaks up into several sec; 
tions which you will not have time now to read. In chapters 1-5 
he shows that all men need God’s forgiveness, and that those who 
turn from their sins and give themselves in penitent faith to the 
control of the personal revelation of God madé by the crucified 
Jesus receive God’s loving forgiveness. Read 5: 1-11, in which the 
thought of the section is summed up, 

In chapters 6-8 Paul describes the triumphant life which the Holy 
Spirit of God enables the forgiven disciple of Jesus to live. Read 
8: 12-17, 38-39. 

In chapters 9-11 Paul discusses the perplexing fact that God’s 
own chosen people have, as a nation, rejected God’s Messiah. He 
maintains that this situation is no surprise to God (read 9:6); he 
shows what the national fault has been (read 9: 30—10: 4); and 
prophesies that the nation will in time accept Jesus as its Messiah 
(read II: 25-27). 

In chapters 12-16 Paul takes up very incisively the ethical side of 
Christianity, discusses with great practical wisdom difficulties that 
are apt to arise in church life (e. g., 14: 1-6), and speaks more 
personally of his own immediate plans and prospects (e. g., 
15: 22-29). 


“The word is nigh thee.’ Read Rom. 10:8-9. Each moment is a 
fresh opportunity for a man to connect himself with Jesus as Lord 
and to enter at once upon an eternal career. Jesus Christ’s eternity 
has already begun. Accustom yourself to think of your non-Chris- 
tian friend as eligible for such an experience now, and your prayer 
and effort for him will gain in expectancy. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 121 





Stupy XV.—Paul Closes His Asiatic Work any Starts for 
Jerusalem bp Wap of MMacevonia anv Achata. 19:21—20:5 


SEVENTH Day: PAuL STARTS FOR JERUSALEM. 20: 1-5 


After Paul had come to an amicable understanding with the 
Corinthian Christians, had received their offering for the Jerusalem 
church, and had provided for the Spar@sh mission by writing to 
the Christians in Rome, he engaged passage for Palestine. Suddenly 
he became aware that among his prospective fellow-passengers were 
a number of bigoted Jewish Passover pilgrims who planned to as- 
sassinate him on the voyage. His success in winning back the 
Corinthian church, his ambitious plans for further work in Spain, 
his masterly effort to conciliate the conservative Jewish element in 
Jerusalem by his gift from Gentile Christendom, made them des- 
perate. He gave up his passage probably at the last moment and 
went northward by land into Macedonia. Read v. 3. 

In v. 4 appear the names of the committee appointed by the con- 
tributing churches to carry their gift to Jerusalem. Note the places 
from which they come. Provision had been previously made by 
Paul for such a committee. Read 1 Cor. 16: 3. 

It is uncertain to how many persons the word “these” in v. 5 
refers. Note also that possibly the phrase, ‘‘as far as Asia” (v. 4), 
ought to be omitted. The sudden discovery of the plot to assassinate 
Paul may have disarranged the plans of the various members of the 
committee, ; 

Note the occurrence again of the pronouns “us” and “we” in 
vv. 5-6, and compare with 16:17; 17:1. Luke seems to have re- 
joined the party at the place where he left Paul some years before. 


Paul was able, in the midst of so many distractions, to write such 
a letter as that to the Romans, because the great thoughts expressed 
in that letter were the permanent furniture of his mind. Keeping 
one’s mind steadily on certain great ideas and one’s life steadily re- 
sponsive to them makes great achievements possible under conditions 
that would seem likely to render any successful effort impossible. 


122 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XVI.—fter Manp Warnings on the Wap, Paul Faces 
Death in Jerusalem. 20:6—22:22 


First Day: THE REMARKABLE INCIDENT IN TROAS. 
20: 6-16 


Read vy. 6. The “days of unleavened bread” would be of signifi- 
cance to Christians as the anniversary of the death and resurrection 
of Jesus, and Jewish Christians would naturally continue their pre- 
Christian observance of these days with a devotion increased by the 
Christian associations connected with the period. Read vv. 7-12, and 
note evidence that the author was an eye-witness. 

Note in 2 Cor. 2: 12-13 the reason for Paul’s wishing to spend a 
full week here, although hurrying to Jerusalem (Acts 20:16). The 
first day of the week (v. 7) seems already to have become the day 
for Christian meetings instead of the Jewish Sabbath. Cf. 1 Cor. 
16:2. The “breaking of bread” seems to have been connected with 
the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Cf. 1 Cor. 10:16. The men- 
tion of “many lights” in v. 8 is perhaps an assurance that there 
could have been no such immoral practices as were sometimes 
charged against Christians. (Cf. 1 Thess. 2:3, “uncleanness.”?) Or 
it may be to account for the lad’s sleepiness. 

Does the author think that this lad (v. 9) was dead? Did Paul 
consider him to be dead? The people were about to raise the death- 
wail over him (v. 10). 

Trace the route (vv. 13-15) on the map. Did Paul’s desire to be 
in Jerusalem at Pentecost (v. 16) have any connection with the 
delivery of the money collected from the western churches? 


Imagine the conversation of this group of Christian gentlemen 
sailing over these blue waters, made memorable by their voyage! 
We naturally think of Paul as a companionable man, for true Chris- 
tian culture develops qualities that make one companionable, 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 123 


—. 





Stupy XVI.—After #Mlany Warnings on the Way, Paul Faces 
Death in Jerusalem. 20:6—22:22 


Seconp Day: Farewett To ASIA. 20: 17-38 


Paul felt that his work in this part of the world was over. He 
had, perhaps during his recent three months in Greece (20: 3), even 
entered Illyricum, and there was no longer any place for him in 
these regions. Read Romans 15: 18-23. He does not expect to 
come this way again before he meets his Lord. Read Acts 20: 25, 38. 
Therefore, it is through the elders of the metropolitan church in 
Ephesus that he sends his farewell to Asia. They are to be leaders 
in the Christian work of the province. Pead vv. 17-35, regarding 
them as reporting the retrospect and prospect of a great witness, and 
confine your attention for the present to that which stands out clearly 
in retrospect only. 

What did Paul conceive his life-work to be? How came this to 
be his life-work? 

What is the “gospel of the grace of God” (v. 24)? And how 
does one “testify” to it? 


Jesus Christ had given Paul his life commission, not because of 
any special favor with which He regarded Paul. Jesus had been 
moved to the unusual demonstration on the Damascus road because 
of His habitual “compassion on the multitudes.” “To this end have 
I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a minister and a witness” to 
the multitudes in darkness (Acts 26:16-18). Have you ever taken 
seriously your life commission from Jesus Christ? Do you “minis- 
ter” in any way to anybody? And do you have anything of im- 
portance to which you can “testify” as a “witness”? 


124 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XVI.—QGfter flanp Warnings on the Wap, Paul Faces 
Death in Jerusalem. 20:6—22:22 


Tuirp Day: FAREWELL To ASIA (Concluded). 20: 17-38 


Read vv. 17-38 again, noting what were the salient features in 
Paul’s prospect. To what is he looking forward? 

Evidently there is plenty of trouble ahead. The local prophets in 
every church that he visited warned him that this was the case 
(v. 23). He could already feel in spirit the pressure of bonds upon 
his body (v. 22). There was also danger ahead for the church. 
Wolfish persons from without would savagely attack the faith of 
the church as such persons had recently done in Corinth (v. 29). 
Within the church ambitious persons would try to gather parties to 
follow their leadership (v. 30). 

Paul faced this dark prospect with composure and good cheer 
because of two considerations. One of them appears in v. 28. What 
is it? The other appears in v. 32, “the word of his grace,” that is, 
the message of his kindness, namely, the gospel. Paul felt that this 
message was so adapted to human need that men could be relied 
on to accept it and be built up by it out of weakness into power, 
out of sin into righteous living. There would always be among the 
children of men a church illustrating that which had been the domi- 
nant characteristic of the life of Jesus, namely, the joyful helping 
of the weak. ‘There would always be men and women being trained 
in the unselfish use of power. 

After the retrospect and prospect these men, who were bound to- 
gether by the strongest ties that bind men in time or eternity, 
kneeled before the Lord who gave them their unity, rose up, kissed 
their friend and parted from him for a season (vv. 36-38), 


The dominant spirit of Christianity may be expressed in homely 
fashion by the simple word, HELP. “Ye ought to HELP the weak” 
(v. 35). To help them become strong, of course. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 125 





Srupy XVI.—AQfter Many Warnings on the Wap, Paul Faces 
Death in Jerusalem. 20:6—22:22 


FourtH Day: Tue Witness ADVANCING TOWARD PERIL. 
21: 1-14 


Luke, with keen literary instinct, so selects and arranges his ma- 
terial as to prepare his reader for the great peril that awaits Pauli 
in Jerusalem. Read vv. 1-14, noting the impressiveness with which 
the local prophets warn Paul of the approaching crisis. 

We have already noted the chance afforded Luke in Czsarea (v. 8) 
to gain first-hand information regarding the events described in 
chapters 8 and 10. Paul had once chased Philip out of Jerusalem 
(8: 1-5)! Luke had here also an impressive illustration of the ac- 
tivity of Christian women. His gospel surpasses others in the promi- 
nence that it gives to women. 

In Cesarea a prophet from Judea itself came to meet them and 
showed Paul how he would soon look as a captive in Jerusalem. 
He used the ominous words, “deliver him into the hands of the Gen- 
tiles.” “The words seem to imply the execution of a death sentence. 
Cf. Luke 18: 32, where Jesus used the words in this sense. 

It was not too late for Paul to turn back. Agabus made it evi- 
dent that the Jerusalem brethren did not expect him to come far- 
ther. The committee could deliver the money to the church. The 
members of the committee with the local Cesarean friends unite in 
beseeching Paul not to go farther (v. 12). Paul himself knew well 
the fanatical temper of the city, especially at this sacred season of 
the religious year. Those who planned his assassination in Corinth 
(20:3) would be waiting for him in Jerusalem. He knew that it 
was the slaughter city of God’s prophets, a city some of whose prin- 
cipal points of interest were the tombs of the great men of God 
that it had murdered. And now the city sat in sullen, vindictive 
hate, quiet but alert, to seize him as its latest victim. Luke with 
evident pride in his hero reports Paul’s decisive reply (vv. 13-14). 


“Ready .. . todie . . . for the name of the Lord Jesus” 
(v. 13). A characteristic of our Christian faith is the affection of 
its adherents for a person, They do not merely venerate His mem-~ 
ory or adopt the principles He taught, but they love Him as a 
present reality in their lives, 


126 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XVI.—After fAanp Warnings on the Wap, Paul Faces 
Death in Jerusalem, 20:6—223:22 


FirrH Day: Pau REAcHES JERUSALEM AND MAKES AN 
EXTREME EFFORT TO CONCILIATE JEWISH 
OPPOSITION. 21: 15-26 


From Czsarea the committee went probably on horseback to Jeru- 
salem, stopping, according to one manuscript, one night on the way 
with one who had very early become a Christian and who probably 
gave Luke valuable information for his history. Read vv. 15-16. 

Representatives of the Jerusalem church hospitably met the dis- 
tinguished travelers, and conducted them to the lodgings that had 
been prepared for them. The very next day James, the Lord’s 
brother, and his board of elders, gave them a formal reception. None 
of the Twelve seem to have been in Jerusalem. Read vv. 17-18. 

They evidently approve of Paul and his work, but there are tens 
of thousands (“myriads’’) of Christian Pharisees now visiting the 
city to attend the Pentecostal festival who regard Paul as an enemy 
of God and wish that he were dead. James believes that this feel- 
ing is due to their misunderstanding of Paul, and he suggests an 
action by which Paul can correct this misconception without in the 
least compromising the liberty of his Gentile converts over the world. 
Read vv. 20-25. James’ suggestion was that Paul should meet the 
expenses connected with the accomplishment of the Nazirite vow in 
the case of four orthodox Jewish Christians, join them in their final 
ceremonies, and so show that he encourages obedience rather than 
disobedience to the Mosaic law in the case of Jewish Christians. Paul 
was accustomed to conform his conduct to Jewish ideals when he 
lived among Jews (1 Cor. 9: 19-20) and so assented. Read v. 26. 

Was Paul’s real attitude toward the Mosaic law what James seems 
to have thought it to be? Cf. 1 Cor. g: 21; Gal. 6:15. Where did 
he get the money with which to meet the expenses of the vow? 

Paul had come to Jerusalem bent on doing everything he could 
to bring the Jewish and Gentile elements into closer sympathy, and 
went to the very verge of consistency in accomplishing his purpose. 


Even the best intentions are sometimes misunderstood, and those 
who suffer under such circumstances can only patiently take what 
comes. Some time the misunderstanding will be cleared away. 





A. D, 58 (Zahn); A. D. 54 (53) (Harnack). 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 127 





Srupy XVI.—After Manp Warnings on the Wap, Paul Faces 
Death in Jerusalem. 20:6—22:22 


Sixta Day: Facinc DEATH. 21: 27-36 


Ordinary Jewish Christians, who were ready, like the “myriads” 
of v. 20, to keep the Mosaic law, were no longer offensive to the 
non-Christian Jews. They were no longer “persecuted for the 
cross of Christ.” (Gal. 6:12.) Such tolerance, however, did not 
extend to Paul, whose heinous offense it was to encourage Gentile 
Christians to look for the Kingdom of God without keeping the 
Mosaic law. He was bitterly hated all up and down the Jewish 
world. He had not been long in the city of Jerusalem before this 
bitter hate assaulted and nearly killed him. Some of his old Jewish 
enemies from Asia saw him in the temple precincts at the time of 
his Nazirite vow. They had, a little before, seen him in the streets 
of the city with the Asiatic Gentile, Trophimus, one of the com- 
mittee. Their prejudice instantly leaped to the conclusion that he 
had taken him into that part of the temple area which Gentiles 
were forbidden, under penalty of death, to enter. He was not only 
crowding Gentiles into the church, but into the holy temple itself! 
They circulated this report, and in a few hours crowds of maddened 
Jews were racing through the narrow streets toward the southeast 
quarter where the temple stood. Every one was looking for Paul, 
and when finally some one recognized him in one of the temple 
colonnades they pounced upon him and dragged him out of the tem- 
ple area into the city street. The temple police instantly closed the 
gates leading from the city into the temple court, and Paul was 
face to face with death. Read vv. 27-31. 

Claudius Lysias, the chiliarch, in the Roman barracks nearby 
heard that there was a riot. He came on the run with several cap- 
tains and a detachment of soldiers, forced his way through the 
crowd, and in a moment Paul was between two soldiers, chained to 
each. The soldiers lifted him from his feet, and the mob surged 
toward the barracks steps. Read vv. 31-36. 


Unreadiness to surrender special privileges or eagerness to secure 
them is a tap-root of evil. “Away with him” (v. 36) they said 
also of Him who died to make special privileges the common pre- 
rogative of all. 


128 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XVI.—Mfter Manp Warnings on the Wap, Paul Faces 
Death in Jerusalem. 20:6—22:22 


SEVENTH Day: Paut’s TESTIMONY BEFORE His CoUNTRY- 
MEN. 21: 37—22:22 


Paul’s ability to speak Greek convinced the chiliarch that his 
prisoner was not a certain famous insurgent whom he was hoping 
to arrest. Paul’s master passion was the testimony, and this was a 
chance. His readiness to speak surprised the mob into silence, 
which was deepened when they found that, though a foreign-born 
Jew, he could use the Aramaic vernacular. Read 21: 37—22:2. 
Judge from Rom. 9: 1-5 what his frame of mind was. 

Read now. 22: 3-21, noting Paul’s emphasis of all details that had 
a conciliatory tendency, especially vv. 3, 5, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20. Paul 
shows that he is no hater of his nation, as he is supposed to be 
(21:28). It was against his preference, and in obedience to a direct 
command of God, that he went among the Gentiles. The offensive 
word “Gentiles” was tactfully withheld until the very end, but 
when at last it did come out it aroused their fury (v. 22). The 
same evil spirit that had shrieked and yelled for the blood of Jesus 
when He stood against the desire of the priest and rabbi for special 
privileges was still in the heart of the city. Paul turned sorrow- 
fully into the barracks, and the city blindly faced its approaching 
doom. 


“Thou shalt be a witness for him” (v. 15). Our mission is to call 
the attention of men in a convincing way, by a convincing life and 
words, to the existence of an invisible Christ. We are to live our 
lives with such constant reference to the Invisible Presence that 

. those who do not see or know Him shall come to think of Him asa 
teality. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 129 





Stupy XVII.—After Two Bears of Suspense in Prison Paul 
Appeals to the Emperor. 22:23—25:12 


First Day: PRELIMINARY EXAMINATIONS. 22: 23—23:10 


Inside the barracks Paul’s back was at once bared, his hands 
stretched above his head and tied to the whipping-post ready for the 
scourging thongs. Read vv. 24-29. Note the quiet pride with which 
Paul meets the chiliarch’s suspicion that he is too poor to have been 
able to purchase citizenship. Stanch Pharisees, such as Paul’s an- 
cestors were, would hardly have purchased citizenship. It was prob- 
ably conferred upon them for some distinguished service to the 
state. 

The chiliarch proposed to find out from the Jewish sanhedrin 
what crime the prisoner had committed. Read 23: 1-10, remember- 
ing that Paul, if not at one time a member of the sanhedrin, had, as 
a rabbinical student (22:3), often attended its sessions. What 
policy did Paul pursue in making his defense? 

The statement in vy. 1 applies to his career as a Christian, which 
was the period under discussion. 

The Jews whitened the walls (v. 3) of their rock grave-chambers 
(Matt. 23:27), so that men might see them in the night and not be 
defiled by touching them. 

Paul’s reply (v. 5) might be translated: “I did not know that he 
was a high priest.” He had heard a voice commanding that he be 
struck, but he had not seen who spoke. With reference to any 
member of the high priest’s family (called high priests; cf. v. 14) 
Paul would not have used such language, and frankly apologized. 

Paul appealed to the fact that he came of an old Pharisaic family 
and that, as a Nazarene, he was in reality standing for one of the 
fundamental positions of Pharisaism, namely, the resurrection of the 
dead (v. 6). 

The chiliarch found that he could get very little light on the case 
from the sanhedrin (10) ! 


“Thou shalt not speak evil of a ruler of thy people” (v. 5). Kev- 
erence for regularly constituted authority, so uncommon in our day 
and nation, is an essential element in Christian character. 


130 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 


Stupy XVII.—After Cwo Pears of Suspense in Prison Paul 
Appeals ta the Emperor. 22:23—25:12 


Seconp Day: Jesus ENcourAcGes His WITNESS, AND A 
Conspiracy AGAINST THE Testimony Is 
DEFEATED. 23: 11-24 


In a vision during a sleepless night, or perhaps in a dream, Jesus 
drew near to Paul and assured him that he should yet testify in the 
capital of the Gentile world. Read v. 11; cf. 18: 9; 22: 18-21. 

When Paul’s bitter enemies saw that there would be at least no 
speedy conviction of him by the sanhedrin, forty desperate men 
vowed that they would neither eat nor drink until they had assassi- 
nated him. They did not shrink from planning an attack upon 
Roman soldiers. The brutal and degraded character of the sanhedrin 
leaders in these degenerate days is evident from the fact that these 
assassins boldly counted on their codperation. Read vv. 12-15. 

The defeat of this conspiracy was accomplished in a very simple 
but extremely interesting way, and the account of it is presented in 
Luke’s most engaging style. Read vv. 16-24. 

Many questions arise in this connection. Was Paul’s brother-in- 
law a member of the sanhedrin, and therefore cognizant of the plot? 
Or was this sister a widow? Did she perhaps not live in Jerusalem 
at all, but rather in Tarsus, and had this young man been sent to 
Jerusalem to be trained by the rabbis in the hope that he would 
make good his uncle Saul’s grievous failure to maintain the Phari- 
saic fame of the aristocratic family? Was this young man, there- 
fore, a student who had the privilege of attending the sessions of 
the sanhedrin, and in this way became cognizant of the conspiracy? 


Jesus’ personal interest in the success of the testimony comes 
clearly out in v. 11. He was and is the Invisible Superintendent of 
this great campaign of testimony. His personal consideration for 
His witnesses is also evident. He does not simply use them as tools. 
“No longer do I call you servants. . . . I have called you 
friends” (John 15:15). He knew that Paul was being bitterly dis- 
appointed over the outcome of his long anticipated visit to Jerusalem 
and sorely needed comfort. So He came to him with words of cheer 
and promise of further achievement. Read vy. 11. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 131 





Stupy XVII.—After Two Bears of Suspense in Prison Paul 
Appeals to the Emperor, 22:23—25:12 


Tuirp Day: Pau DELIVERED TO THE PRocURATOR FELIX. 
23: 23-35 

Read 23: 23-24, 31. What thoughts were probably in Paul’s mind 
during the night ride with the clatter of horses’ hoofs and the rattle 
of spears against shields sounding in his ears? 

Read 23: 26-30. Is the representation of the chiliarch accurate? 

Read vv. 31-35. The procurator Felix was a man perhaps now in 
middle life. He had been a slave, but he and his abler brother had 
known how to make their way in a court in which deftness in com- 
mitting crime and helping prominent personages to gratify lust were 
prime requisites for success. The two young men had succeeded so 
well that both had gained their freedom. The brother, Pallas, had 
become the favorite of an emperor, and Felix had received an im- 
portant procuratorship in the East. He had been a forceful admin- 
istrator and had been particularly vigorous in the suppression of 
brigands and revolutionists (cf. 24:2). He had been speedily fas- 
cinated by one of the beautiful girls of the Herodian family, who 
had married a native prince. He hired a magician to do for him a 
piece of disreputable work, the like of which he had himself prob- 
ably often done in his younger days, namely, induce her to abandon 
her husband and marry him. (JosEPpHUS, Antiquities 20:7: 2.) 

It was this nian to whom Paul was delivered and who immediately 
asked him the formal question (v. 34) customary in such cases. 
“Herod’s Pretorium” (v. 35) was the official residence of the procu- 
trator, and probably contained a prison and quarters for soldiers. 

When had Paul been in Czsarea last? What friends had he 


there? 


Paul’s many years of active missionary life are now succeeded by 
the quiet routine of prison life. Perhaps the thought of Paul, the 
prisoner, did as much to inspire and steady the Christians through- 
out the western world as he in his freedom could have done. It is 
not always the most “active” life that is the most useful. 


132 NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 





Srupy XVII.—After Two Pears of Huspense in Prison Paul 
Appeals to the Emperor. 22:23—25:12 


Fourtu Day: Paut’s HEARING BEFORE THE PROCURATOR 
FELIX, 24: 1-23 


Luke possessed great skill in making summary reports of public 
addresses. Although these reports are brief, they seem to retain 
the characteristic features of their originals. We have already had 
occasion to see this in the different types of address found in chap- 
ters 2, 13, 17. Read 24:1-9, noting the professional swing with 
which the rather unctuous lawyer, hired for the occasion, states his 
case. ; 

Is it probable that Luke was present? We have seen that Luke 
reached Jerusalem with Paul (‘“‘us,” 21: 18), and we know that later 
he sailed for Rome with Paul (‘‘we,” 27:1). 

Note carefully the four charges made by the lawyer, the first very 
general, the other three more specific. The charge that Paul was 
an “insurrectionist’” might have been thought particularly likely to 
enlist Felix against him, for the procurator seems to have been 
specially active against such (JosEPHUS, Antiquities 20:8:5). As 
soon as the lawyer had made his statement the high priest, who 
was present in person, surrounded by an imposing group of san- 
hedrin dignitaries, vigorously corroborated the lawyer’s indictment 
(v. 9). They do not intend to let Paul escape them this time. 
What measure of truth was there in any of the charges? 

The procurator indicated to Paul by a nod (‘‘beckoned,” v. 10) 
that he might begin his defense. 


“And when the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, Paul 
answered” (v. 10). The procurator seemed to himself and to the 
public of his day to be a far more important personage than the 
Jewish prisoner whose case he was hearing with such nonchalance. 
But the Roman’s name would not have lived among men, except for 
its association with that of an apostle of Jesus Christ. The signifi- 
cant and memorable fact about any person is his relation to Jesus 
Christ. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 133 





Stupy XVII.—After Two Bears of Suspense in Prison Paul 
Appeals to the Emperor, 22:23—25:12 


FirtH Day: Paut’s Heartnc BErorE THE PROCURATOR 
FeLix (Concluded). 24: 1-23 


Read vy. 10-21, noting Paul’s answer to each, of the charges pre- 
ferred by the lawyer (vv. 5-6). Why specify the time (v. 11)? 

Paul knew from previous experience (e. g., before Gallio, 
18: 13, 15) the necessity of showing that the “sect af the Nazarenes” 
were in such vital accord with the Jewish religion as to be entitled 
to the protection afforded to the Jewish religion by Roman law. 
Christianity was not an unlicensed religion. Read vv. 14-15. 

In addition to Paul’s flat denial of the charges made against him 
he called attention to two fundamental weaknesses in the prosecu- 
tion. First, the prosecution had no real witnesses. The Asiatic 
Jews, to whom allusion had doubtless been made, were suspiciously 
absent (vv. 13, 19). The second weakness in the prosecution, the 
statement of which constituted Paul’s climax, was the fact that he 
had appeared before the supreme court of his nation and that body 
had preferred no charges against him! The president of that court, 
the high priest himself, was now before Felix and must make this 
damaging admission! Read vv. 20-21. 

Paul also lays great stress on the fact that the vital point in the 
Nazarene preaching is the resurrection of Jesus. Perhaps he hoped 
by making this clear again to divide his accusers as he had previously 
divided the sanhedrin. But probably the Sadducean high priest had 
taken pains to see that no Pharisees were members of the present 
delegation. Or if there were Pharisees present, their hatred of Paul 
was sufficiently bitter to keep them quiet. 

Felix, who perhaps through his Jewish wife or through some of 
his military associates in Cesarea (cf. 10:1, 24, 44), had favorable 
information about the Nazarenes, sent the sanhedrin leaders and 
their lawyer away disappointed. Read vv. 22-23. 


“J also exercise myself to have a conscience void of offense toward 
God and men alway” (v. 16). Paul had a strong sense of the judg- 
ment day and of accountability to God. One ought frequently to 
ask himself,—Are my conduct and feeling toward every man such 
as could be frankly described and confidently justified before my, 
Lord in His judgment? 


134 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XVII.—After Two Bears of Suspense in Prison Paul 
Appeals to the Emperor, 22:23—25:12 


SixtH Day: THe TESTIMONY BEFORE FELIX, THE PRo- 
CURATOR. 24:24-27 


Read vv. 24-27. Both the procurator and Drusilla, his Jewish 
wife, were evidently interested in the Nazarene movement. Dru- 
silla’s father was the Herod who beheaded James, imprisoned Peter, 
and soon after died a horrible death which the Nazarenes regarded 
as inflicted by God. He had been a sort of Pharisee himself in his 
later life (12: 1-3, 23). As was suggested yesterday, the Nazarene 
movement in Czsarea may have entered official circles. The procu- 
tator and his wife soon invited Paul to a personal interview. Note, 
in v. 24, the exact subject of which Paul spoke to them. The truth 
that he presented evidently was that Jesus Christ will judge men 
(cf. 17: 31), and that to prepare for His judgment one must accept 
Him as Lord, and live a life of righteousness and chaste self-control. 
This Felix had not done. Dark memories of bloody deeds during 
his slave-life in Rome and of his unchaste passion for the woman 
at his side stirred his conscience and forced him to an awkward and 
embarrassed termination of the interview. Read v. 25. The experi- 
ence of Felix on this occasion was, however, a mere spasm of re- 
morse and dread, a psychologically ominous prophecy of his future 
rather than a disposition to repent. 

Read v. 26. On what subjects do you suppose Paul and Felix, 
both of whom in different ways had seen so much of the world, 
used to talk? Where did Felix suppose that Paul could get money 
for the bribe? Analyze the character of Felix. 


These were days of critical importance in the career of the procu- 
trator, After many years of evil living, a door opened before him 
into life and purity. A man living in hourly fellowship with the 
Son of God was providentially brought into close relationship with 
him. He failed, however, to act decisively upon the impressions of 
which he was conscious in his best moments, and so failed to pass 
through the open door. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 135 





Srosy XVI1—After Cwo Bears of Suspense in Prison Paul 
Appeals to the Emperor, 22:23—25:12 


SEVENTH Day: Paut Is Forcep To APPEAL TO CA&SAR, 
25: 1-12 


Read 25: 1-12. Festus, who seems to have been a better man than 
Felix, went up immediately from the city of his official residence 
to the Jewish capital, probably to inspect the forces stationed there 
and to acquaint himself with the situation in this center of turbulence. 
The Jewish leaders, still hating Paul as bitterly as ever, hope that 
Festus will be so desirous of their good-will at the beginning of his 
administration as to grant them a favor. The date of the beginning 
of Festus’ procuratorship is generally thought to have been about 
the year 60 or 61, and to be one of the fixed dates in the chronology 
of Paul’s life, but even this date is not unquestioned, and the earlier 
date, 55 or 56, is sometimes advocated. 

Picture in imagination the scene described in v. 7, the excited 
accusers crowding about the prisoner before the judgment seat and 
vociferating against him. 

State the principal items charged, as suggested by Paul’s defense. 

What does Festus’ proposal (v. 9) indicate as to his opinion re- 
garding Paul’s alleged plotting against Cesar? 

What did Festus suppose would be the probable outcome of this 
trial in Jerusalem? What was Paul’s opinion as to its probable 
outcome ? 

Just what emergency necessitated the appeal to Cesar? 

Every Roman citizen seems to have had the right, except in cer- 
tain cases, to appeal from an inferior jurisdiction to that of the 
emperor himself. Festus ascertained, after a moment’s consultation 
with his council, that Paul’s case was not an exception (v. 12), 

These two years in Cesarea must have given Luke large oppor- 
tunity to consult original sources for the composition of his Gospel 
and the Book of Acts. 

Through imprisonments, false accusations, and unjust magistrates, 
God’s purpose that Paul should witness in Rome was steadily being 
catried out. It is a great gain when we learn that an apparently 
disadvantageous situation can be made to contribute directly 10 use- 
fulness. 





A. D. 60 (Zabn); A. D. 55-56 (Harnack). 


136 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XVIII.—G Last Famous Cestimonp in Caesarea and a 
Perilous Bopage to Rome, 25:13—28:16 


First Day: THE Famous TESTIMONY BEFORE KING AND 
Court. 25: 13—26: 32 


The prolonged suspense of an imprisonment which seemed likely 
to end any day, and yet dragged on for two years, must have been 
very hard for a man of Paul’s strenuous temperament to bear. Yet 
it afforded him an opportunity for a series of testimonies before 
high officials whom he might not otherwise have met. The most 
splendid of these occasions so far was the one we are now to study, 
and the testimony, already given twice, is now repeated with appro- 
priate literary elegance. 

To-day read 25: 13-23. The young king, Herod Agrippa II, with 
his sister Bernice, had come to Cesarea from his little kingdom in 
the interior, to pay their respects to the new procurator, Festus, the 
successor of their brother-in-law, Felix. The relations between 
Bernice and her sister Drusilla had been somewhat strained 
(JosepHusS, Antiquities 20:7:2), and Bernice had probably felt no 
very great sorrow when her sister’s husband had been recalled to 
Rome. Agrippa had lived a good deal in Rome and was probably 
glad to visit with someone fresh from the gossip and intrigue of 
Roman court circles. The palace where Festus entertained them 
had been the old home of Agrippa and his sister, the place where 
their father had met his horrible death (12: 19, 23). 

What help did Festus hope to receive from Agrippa? 

The occasion described in v. 23 was a full-dress assembly at 
which the military officers from the garrison, the principal civil 
officers from the city, the procurator, the young king and his sister, 
with their retinue, were present. Before this assembly Paul, the 
imprisoned rabbi, was brought in chained. 


“To-morrow, saith he, thou shalt hear him” (v. 22). Agrippa was 
unconsciously drawing near the supreme moment of opportunity in 
his long career. That eventful morrow dawned as had many days 
before, and as did many days afterward. But on that eventful day 
he was to hear the testimony of a man who had seen Jesus in His 
glory, and was to be made the object of a direct appeal. May no 
great opportunity pass us unrecognized and unused! 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 137 





Stupy XVIII—@ Last famous Testimony in Cesarea and a 
Perilous Bopage ta Rome. 25:13—28:16 


SeconD Day: THe Famous Testimony Berore KING AND 
Court (Continued). 25:13—26: 32 


Read 25: 23-27. Luke takes special pains to bring out the fact 
that the Roman official recognized in this great Christian leader 
nothing contrary to Roman law. This fact would be serviceable to 
the Christians in any time of persecution by the Roman govern- 
ment. Luke may have realized this, even though there may have 
been no such persecution at the time when the book was written. 

Paul, who had so little opportunity to preach to anyone in these 
days, and who never before had such an audience to address, re- 
joiced in his opportunity. He was particularly glad to speak be- 
fore the young king, who, like himself, was both a Jew and a 
Roman citizen, and able to understand the religious aspects of the 
case while viewing them from the cosmopolitan Roman standpoint. 
Read 26: 1-3. 

What is the main point in vv. 4-11? 

What three circumstances in vy. 4-5 show how close to the heart 
of Judaism Paul’s pre-Christian life had been lived? That which 
God had promised (vy. 6) was the Messiah and His Kingdom. No- 
tice the eloquent irony in vy. 6-7. The “vote” (v. 10) may not have 
been cast as a member of the sanhedrin. 

Read vy. 12-15. There is indication in vy. 14 that Paul had been 
experiencing an inner struggle. It is not probable that he was re- 
sisting the conviction that Jesus was the Messiah (v. 9). It was 
rather an unrest, due to his discovery that he was not keeping the 
law. Rom. 7: 7-8 is probably a bit of spiritual autobiography refer- 
ring to the period. 


“Thou art permitted to speak for thyself” (26:1). In a sense 
more profound than the young king realized, every man has a mes- 
sage born of his own experience. No one but himself can ever utter 
it. It is his message springing out of his experience. It will come 
from him with a divine force which the report of no mere observer 


can have. 


138 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Srupy XVIII.—@ Last Famous Testimony in Caesarea and a 
Perilous Bopage to Rome, 25:13—28:16 


Tuirp Day: Ture Famous TESTIMONY BEFORE KING AND 
Court (Concluded). 25: 13—26: 32 


It was not with the bare hope of “saving his soul,” but with the 
vision of a career, that Jesus appealed to Paul. In what was the 
career to consist, according to vv. 16-18? 

Read vv. 19-23, which describe Paul’s experience in this career 
up to the moment of speaking. What are the most important 
thoughts in vy. 22? Who are the “great’’? 

The statement in v. 23 was too much for the procurator, and he 
broke out in protest. The idea of a resurrection was queer enough, 
but that Paul should speak of this crucified Jew as a living source 
of light to Romans was too gross an absurdity to pass unnoticed. 
The only charitable supposition was that the rabbi’s close applica- 
tion to his sacred books (v. 22) had produced mental derangement 
(v. 24)! Paul took advantage of the interruption to close in per- 
sonally upon his audience. The young king’s father had been, os- 
tensibly at least, a Pharisee. The young man himself must be ac- 
quainted with the Hebrew prophets and had been about Jerusalem 
enough to be well acquainted with the Nazarene movement and the 
Nazarene exegesis of the prophets. Paul, therefore, appealed di- 
rectly to him to tell whether he had not made his case. But the 
king had no mind, after the procurator’s outbreak, to enter into the 
discussion, and put Paul off with the sportive remark, that he 
seemed to think that he could even make a Nazarene of him with 
a little persuasion! Read vv. 25-29. 

It is impossible to tell how profoundly moved some of the elegant 
company may have been as they passed out of the audience-room. 
Perhaps some of the military men present were already Nazarenes 
(chap. 10) and had listened to the testimony with prayerful hearts. 

Note the point Luke emphasizes in vv. 31-32. 


“A witness both of things wherein thou hast seen me and of the 
things wherein I will appear unto thee” (v. 16). It is not merely 
a past experience, but also a present deepening experience with Jesus 
Christ, that is to constitute the basis of our message. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 136 





Stupy XVIII—A@ Last Famous Cestimonp in Cxsarea and a 
Perilous Bopage to Rome, 25:13—28:16 


FourtH Day: THE VoyacE BEGINS. 27: 1-13 


Read 27: I-13, using a map. 

Note the evidence in vy. 1 that Luke accompanies Paul. Some of 
the “other prisoners” (v. 1) may have been those condemned to 
Geath in the Roman arena. Aristarchus had come up to Jerusalem 
with Paul (20: 4). 

How do you account for the kindness of the centurion (v. 3) here 
and later (v. 43)? This Alexandrian vessel (v. 6) was an Egyptian 
grain ship (v. 38). 

Read the account of the council (vv. 9-12), using the map. The 
adverse winds (v. 7) had so delayed them that it was past the 
season of safe navigation. The “fast,” or Jewish day of atonement, 
occurred about the time of the autumnal equinox. Who presided 
over the council? Is there evidence that more than four persons 
consulted? Note that Paul appears here in consultation as a gen- 
tleman of distinction whose opinion as an extensive traveler (cf. 
2 Cor. 11: 25-26) is sought. The “owner” may have been merely 
the sailing master, if this were one of the government fleet of grain 
ships. In that case, the other person mentioned might have been 
the pilot. 


It becomes more and more evident that the plan of God is closely 
interlaced with all the plans of men. The plans of grain merchants, 
procurators, centurions, and sailors, all enter into the comprehensive 
plan of God. God is in His world, and the lives of men constitute 
the pre-eminent feature of the “world.” 





A. D. 60 (Zahn); A. D. 56-57 (55-56) (Harnack). 


140 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 








Stupy XVIIL—@ Last Famous Testimony in Casarea and a 
Perilous Bopage ta Rome, 25:13—28:16 


FirtH Day: THE TERRIBLE STORM. 27: 14-44 


Read the account of the beginning of the storm (vv. 13-17). The 
Euraquilo was a northeast wind. The gale was so violent that they 
could simply run before the wind (v. 15), to the partial protection 
of the little island (see map), where they were able to take on 
board a small skiff they had in tow (v. 16), and slip cables around 
the hull of the vessel to strengthen it against the strain of the 
storm (v. 17a). Then fearing that they would be drifted into the 
African shoals (see map, and note the direction of the wind), they 
reduced sail and headed the ship in a direction that resulted in 
their reaching Malta, 476 miles away, fourteen days later. 

Read carefully vv. 18-37, letting your imagination produce for 
you the scenes described. 

The cargo that was thrown out (v. 18) did not include the grain 
in the hold (v. 38). In v. 19 some manuscripts read ‘‘we,” instead 
of “they,” in which case Luke himself probably helped to throw 
overboard some of the heavier and less essential parts of the ship’s 
equipment. 

Is there any hint in vv. 21-26 that Paul had prayed in this perilous 
time, and for whom he had prayed? 

“Driven on through the sea,” rather than “to and fro in the 
sea” (v. 27). The Adria is not the modern Adriatic, but the central 
Mediterranean. 

What characteristics of Paul are revealed by his conduct on this 
perilous voyage? Some of them contributed largely to the success 
of his life-work. 


“God, whose I am” (v. 23). In the roar of the storm and the an- 
gty presence of death Paul’s triumphant confidence was the simple 
fact that he belonged to God. When you find yourself threatened 
by any dreaded situation, stop and regain poise by remembering 


whose you are, and that no real harm can come to one who belongs 
to God. 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS I4I 





Srupy XVIII—Q@ Last famous Testimony in Cxsarea anv a 
Perilous Bopage tu Rome, 25:13—28:16 


S1xtH Day: THE TERRIBLE Storm (Concluded). 27: 14-44 


Read vv. 39-44, noting each phrase carefully. 

This part of the island (v. 39) was not near the principal harbor 
with which sailors might have been expected to be familiar. The 
rudders had been lifted out of the water to protect them from the 
beating of the waves, and are now let down into the water, so 
that the ship may be steered straight to the beach (v. 40). This 
place (v. 41) is thought to have been a channel between a little 
island and the main island, connecting “two seas.” A soldier for- 
feited his own life if his prisoner escaped (v. 42; cf. 16:27). 

Read 28: 1-10 with careful attention to each phrase. Picture to 
yourself the 276 from the ship, the natives of the island, the cold 
driving rain, the smoking fire, the sea and the wreck. 

This island was apparently the one now called Malta. The in- 
habitants are called “barbarians” (v. 2) by the Greek author, not 
in contempt, but because it was the common designation of people 
that did not speak Greek. They were Pheenician-speaking Cartha- 
ginians. 

Who were probably included in the “us” to whom entertainment 
was given by the magistrate (v. 7)? Does the word “us” (v. 10) 
indicate that Luke had given medical service to the people? 


Paul was a useful man in every situation. If there be but one 
willing man of God in a situation, since God Himself is there, what- 
ever can be done by God through a willing man will be done. 


142 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XVIII—@ Last famous Testimony tn Cesarea and a 
Perilous Bopage to Rome, 25:13—28:16 


SeventH Day: THe ARRIVAL IN Rome. 28: 11-16 


Read 28: 11-16, using the map. 

This vessel (v. 11) had probably reached the island before the 
storm. Its figure-head was Castor and Pollux. The fact that there 
were Christians in Puteoli (v. 14) shows how a church could form 
itself in a great business center like Rome, as it were by chance. 
Perhaps the centurion had reason for delaying in Puteoli, or else 
he showed special favor to Paul (v. 14). Word was sent from 
Puteoli to Rome, and two delegations of Roman Christians came 
out some thirty and forty miles on the Appian Road to meet Paul 
(v. 15). Why did he thank God? And why had he been discour- 
aged or apprehensive (v. 15)? Perhaps he thanked God in some 
audible ejaculation that Luke noticed, or in specially fervent prayer 
with the newly arrived brethren. 

Glance over Rom. 16 for the names of some who may have met 
him. Imagine the meeting! 

In what ways were the hardships of this voyage advantageous to 
the general work of Paul? Particularly consider the influence of 
Paul, during the voyage and the winter in the island, upon the cen- 
turidn and upon all the ship’s company; the report of Paul carried 
by the centurion to his fellow-officers in Rome, and by the soldiers 
to their fellow-soldiers in the Roman barracks. 


“Whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage” (v. 15). 
Do you adequately appreciate your fellow Christians? And are you 
such a Christian friend as to make your fellow Christians take cour- 
age at sight of you? 





A. D. 61 (Zahn); A. D, 57 (56) (FEartack), 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 143 





Stupy XIX.—Thbe Cestimonp Finally Establishey in the 
Capital of the Gentile Worlds. 28:16-31 


First Day: Paut, As Usuat, MEEts THE LEADERS OF THE 
GHETTO. 28: 16-22 


Read vv. 16-22. Perhaps through the influence of his friend, the 
centurion Julius, Paul had considerable liberty (v. 16). Paul evi- 
dently had money at his disposal with which to meet the expense of 
such an arrangement and later to pay the rent of “his own hired 
dwelling” for two years (v. 30). This may have come to him 
through reconciliation with his family or through the generosity of 
the churches. 

Paul as usual turned first to his own countrymen. Note the points 
that he was concerned to make clear in his first interview with them. 
They had heard of the Nazarene sect, but knew nothing about it in 
detail. They were prejudiced against it, but were willing to hear 
what a distinguished Jerusalem rabbi, evidently enjoying the favor 
of the Roman authorities, might have to say about it. Why had 
the high priest not sent word to them from Jerusalem about Paul’s 
appeal to Cesar? They seem to have had no connection with the 
Christians in Rome probably because, according to Paul’s Letter to 
the Romans, most of the Christians were Gentiles. Furthermore, 
these Christians were scattered over the city, meeting in groups in 
private houses. (Rom. 16:5, 14.) 


“Because of the hope . . . Iam bound” (v. 20). It is a strange 
fact that the men who have hoped great things for humanity have 
often suffered because of their hope. They have often been unpopu- 
lar, and have sometimes lost their lives as martyrs. The Liberator 
of Humanity, with His great hope of the Kingdom, died on a cross. 
Why is it? 


144 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XIX.—Thbe Cestimonp Finallp Established in the 
Capital of the Gentile Worly. 28:16-31 


Seconp Day: Paut TuRNS TO THE GENTILES. 28: 23-31 


With his usual literary skill, at the end of his volume Luke dra- 
matically represents Paul turning from Jew to Gentile. Read vv. 
23-28. Paul’s last word to them is a word of doom, impressively 
spoken in the ominous language of one of their own great prophets 
(vv. 25-27). But the Gentile world is receptive (v. 28)! The last 
utterance ascribed to Paul by the author is a declaration that the 
gospel has passed from Jew to Gentile. The testimony began in 
Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish world, as a Jewish possession. 
It has passed to Rome, the capital of the Gentile world, and has 
become a Gentile possession. 

What expression in v. 23 carries you back to Luke’s general 
conception in 1:8? 

The testimony is thoroughly established in Rome through two 
years of residence. Read vy. 30-31. The readiness of the Gentiles 
to hear (v. 28) is evident from the fact that they allowed Paul to 
preach boldly and without fear of interference (v. 31). This was 
in striking contrast to the treatment usually accorded him by Jews. 

While the author has brought to completion his account of one 
great epoch, his narrative ends leaving certain great questions cry- 
ing out for answer. What was the outcome of Paul’s appeal to 
Cesar? What was the effect of his two years of preaching in the 
city, and what were some of its many interesting incidents? Per- 
haps the author planned to answer these questions in a third volume. 
His first volume ends in a similar way, bringing one narrative to 
completion and preparing the way for another. Cf. Luke 24: 44-53. 


“Preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching the things concern- 
ing the Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 31). We are appointed to keep before 
men by conduct and word the ethical ideals involved in the phrase, 
“Kingdom of God,” and personal connection with Jesus Christ the 
Lord as the means of increasingly realizing these ideals, 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 145 


Stupy XIX.—@be Testimony Finally Established in the 
Capital of the Gentile World. 28:16-31 


Tuirp Day: THE LETTERS OF THE ROMAN IMPRISONMENT. 
28 : 30-31 


We are not left entirely without further suggestions regarding 
Paul’s life during the two years in Rome. Four letters seem to 
have been written within this period, namely, those to Philemon, to 
the Colossians, Ephesians, and Philippians. It is possible that the 
first three of these were written during Paul’s two years of confine- 
ment in Czsarea (24:27), but they are generally assigned to the 
Roman imprisonment. Their contribution to Paul’s biography dur- 
ing this period may be quickly gleaned. 

To-day read rapidly the short letter to Philemon. Make up your 
mind what it is about and what contribution it makes to your knowl- 
edge of Paul during these two years. He is evidently looking for- 
ward to release (v. 22). 


“A prisoner of Christ Jesus” (v. 1). Jesus Christ can accomplish 
a great deal through a life lived under serious limitations, if only 
that life be given without reserve to Him. Paul’s prison experience 
gave birth to some of the letters that have most strongly influenced 
the life and thought of the world. Beautiful thoughts about Jesus 
Christ, His power and His glory, shaped themselves with new clear- 
ness during these prison years, and are increasingly enriching the 
life of a world then undiscovered. 





A. D. 61-63 (Zahn); A. D, 57-59 (56-58) (Harnack), 


146 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XIX.— The Gestimony Finallp Establishey in the 
Capital of the Gentile World. 28:16-31 


FourtH Day: Tue LETTERS OF THE ROMAN IMPRISON- 
MENT (Continued). 28: 30-31 


Note more closely certain biographical points in the Letter to 
Philemon. Philemon was a gentleman residing in Colosse, a city 
of the province of Asia, as is evident from vv. 2, 11 compared with 
Col. 4:9, 17. He had been converted by Paul (v. 19) perhaps when 
visiting Ephesus, for Paul seems never to have visited Colosse (Col. 
2:1). He was a well-to-do man, for he had a church in his house 
(v. 2). It may be his wife and son who are mentioned in vy. 2. If 
this be so, his son was engaged in some sort of church work (Col. 
4:57), 

Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, had run away, or when sent away 
on business had kept and squandered his master’s money and failed 
to return home (vv. II, 15, 18, 19). He had been converted in Rome 
by Paul and his associates (v. 10), and had proven himself useful 
in the city mission work they were carrying on (vv. 11, 13). But 
although Paul could have used him he sent him back to his master 
with this note, in company with (under the charge of?) Tychicus 
(Col. 4: 7-9). Vv. 11-19 and Col. 4: 7-9 are worded with such ten- 
derness and tact as to secure for the runaway a cordial reception 
by both master and church. He is Paul’s “very heart” (v. 12), 
trusted by him (vv. II, 13), to be received as Paul himself would 
be (v. 17). Philemon will find him truly helpful in the future 
(“Onesimus” means helpful) (vv. 11, 15)! God’s providence has 
been in the incident (vv. 15-16). The actual money loss Paul will 
make good, if Philemon sees fit to require it (vv. 18-19) ! 

A most interesting group are with Paul (v. 24; cf. Acts 20: 4-5). 


“I thank my God always” (v. 4). Paul’s first thought in every 
situation was of its advantageous features. He had cultivated the 
appreciative habit. 





A. D. 61-63 (Zahn); A, D, 57-59 (56-58) (Harnack). 


NEW STUDIES IN ‘ACTS 147 





Stupy XIX.—Thbe Cestimonp Finally Establisher in the 
Capital of the Gentile Worly. 28:16-31 


FirtH Day: THE LETTERS OF THE ROMAN IMPRISONMENT 
(Continued). 28: 30-31 


With Paul’s brief letter to Philemon of Colosse he sent also a 
longer one to all the Christians in Colosse (Col. 4:7-9). The 
church in Colosse was probably founded not by Paul (2:1), but by 
a man named Epaphras (1:6-7). This man Epaphras now visits 
Paul in Rome, as a representative not only of the church in Colosse, 
but also of the neighboring churches in Hierapolis and Laodicea 
(Col. 4: 12-13). 

At the time of writing, Paul had in his company a number of 
Christian Jews whose names are given in Col. 4: 10-11, and who 
were helping him in the missionary work of which his “hired house” 
was the center. In Col. 4: 12-14 appear the names also of certain 
Gentile helpers. Chief among all his helpers was the young man 
whose name stands with that of Paul at the beginning of the letter 
(Colts £). 

A medley of strange views, partly Jewish in their origin and com- 
bined also probably with local superstitions, were being introduced 
into the church. The advocates of these views had much to say of 
certain lordly angelic beings called “thrones,” “dominions,” “prin- 
cipalities,” “powers” (1:16), among whom they were probably will- 
ing to assign Jesus Christ a place. Those who wished special en- 
lightenment, superior to that available for those who simply had 
faith in Jesus Christ, were being told that they must seek it through 
intercourse with these angelic beings in visions (2:18-19). Paul 
asserts in his letter that Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God, is 
superior to these lordly angels. Indeed, Jesus Christ gave them their 
being (1: 15-17). The humblest believer has immediate access to 
Jesus Himself, and finds in intercourse with Jesus the highest ex- 
periences that any man is capable of having (1:27-28; 2: 6-13; 


3: 1-4). 
“Set your mind on the things that are above” (3:2). “What gets 
your attention gets you.” 





A. D. 61-63 (Zahn); A. D. 57-59 (56-58) (Harnack). 


148 NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 





Stupy XIX.—Thbe Testimony Finallp Established in the 
Capital of the Gentile World. 28:16-31 


SixtH Day: THE LETTERS OF THE ROMAN IMPRISONMENT 
(Continued) 


Very much like the Letter to the Christians in Colosse is that to 
the Christians in Ephesus. Some of the oldest manuscripts omit the 
words translated “at Ephesus” (1:1), which fact has given rise 
to the theory that the letter was originally a circular-letter intended 
for several of the churches in the province of Asia, and that possibly 
it is the one referred to in Col. 4:16 as being in possession of the 
church in Laodicea. The letter ultimately received the name of the 
most prominent church in the circle to which it was sent. Paul was 
still a prisoner when he wrote it (3:1; 4:1; 6:20). The fact that 
Tychicus who carried the Letter to the Colossians (Col. 4:7) also 
carried this one (Eph. 6:21) makes it seem probable that all three 
letters—Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians—were sent at the same 
time. : 

It assumes the supreme exaltation of Jesus Christ, as does Colos- 
sians (Eph. 1: 20-23), and the direct connection of every believer 
with the person of his Lord (3:17), but lays peculiar emphasis on 
the close relation which exists between all believers by virtue of their 
common relation to the exalted Christ. (2: 11-16; 4: 1-6.) 

4 

“Speaking truth in love” (4:15). Honesty and sympathy are the 
foundation virtues in Paul’s conception of character. To deal sim- 
cerely and kindly with every man is the triumph of character, caught 
by the contagion of daily association with Jesus Christ. 





A. D, 61-63 (Zahn); A. D, 57-59 (56-58) (Harnack). 


NEW STUDIES IN ACTS 149 





Stupy XIX.—@he Testimonp Finallp Establisher in the 
Capital of the Gentile World. 28:16-31 


SEVENTH Day: THE LETTERS OF THE ROMAN IMPRISON- 
MENT (Concluded) 


Paul’s letter to the Christians in Philippi is rich in biographical 
allusions. Only the most salient of them can be noted. 

It was written near a crisis in his imprisonment (2:23) when he 
was expecting either execution or release (1: 20-21; 2:17). On the 
whole he is expecting release (1: 24-25; 2:24). He has now only 
one really trusty helper with him. Of the rest he speaks quite 
critically (2: 19-22). 

Paul is in communication with Christians in Rome, among whom 
are now found some of the Emperor’s household (4: 22). 

Unfortunately there are in the city certain Jewish Christians who 
are not in sympathy with Paul and would gladly make Paul’s situa- 
tion harder to bear (1:15-17). Paul has gdined great influence 
over the court (I: 12-13), and, perhaps through the constantly chang- 
ing guard stationed in his house, among the soldiers also, 

The letter acknowledges a gift of money sent by the Christians 
in Philippi (4:10, 18), perhaps especially needed for house rent 
(Acts 28: 30), or for expenses connected with the crisis in his trial 
(2:23). A man from Philippi who brought the gift probably car- 
ries back the letter. This messenger has been sick and homesick, 
and Paul seems to feel that the church may criticise the man for 
failing to remain in Rome to help him (2: 25-30). 

“The things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto 
the progress of the gospel” (1:12). Paul had thoroughly committed 
himself, all that he owned and all whom he could influence, to the 
publication of the gospel throughout the empire. It was not strange 
that every circumstance in his changeful career was made to serve 
his master passion. In the twentieth century the Lord still calls 
for men whose master passion it shall be to introduce into every 
department of life the ethical ideals of Jesus Christ, and who will 
bring to all men the glad word of the gospel, that this master pas- 
sion can be kept strong and efficient by association with the per- 
sonality of the living Lord, Jesus Christ. 





A. D. 61-63 (Zahn); A. D. 57-59 (56-58) (Harnack). 




















 BS2626 .B63 
Bosworth, Edward Increase, 1861-1927. 
) __ Newstudies in Acts. 


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