Miracles and Revival in Iconium
1When Paul and Barnabas arrived at Iconium, the same thing happened there. They went, as they always did, to the synagogue and preached to the people with such power that a large crowd of both Jews and non-Jews believed.
2Some of the Jews refused to believe, and they began to poison the minds # 14:2 Or “embittered their souls.” of the non-Jews to discredit the believers. 3Yet Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a long time, preaching boldly and fearlessly about the Lord. # 14:3 The Aramaic uses the phrase “the Lord Yahweh,” referring to Jesus Christ. Many trusted in the Lord, for he backed up his message # 14:3 The Aramaic is “manifestation of grace.” of grace # 14:3 The Greek word for grace, charis, means “that which brings delight, joy, pleasure, and sweetness.” (See Strong’s Concordance, Gr. 5485.) with miracles, signs, and wonders performed by the apostles.
4The people of the city were split over the issue. Some sided with the apostles, and others with the Jews who refused to believe. 5Eventually, all the opposition factions came together, with their leaders devising a plot # 14:5 The Aramaic is “They issued a decree” (death sentence). to harm Paul and Barnabas and stone them to death. 6When the apostles learned about this, # 14:6 Although not clearly stated, it is possible that it was by supernatural revelation that Paul and Barnabas learned of the plot to kill them. they escaped to the region of Lyconia, # 14:6 Lyconia means “land of the wolf.” to the cities of Lystra # 14:6 Lystra means “ransomed” or “set free.” and Derbe # 14:6 Derbe means “tanner” or “one who covers with skins.” The journey from Iconium to these cities would have been about twenty-two miles (thirty-five kilometers). and the nearby villages. 7And they continued to preach the hope of the gospel. # 14:7 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “the good news.”
Paul and Barnabas Preach at Lystra
8In Lystra, Paul and Barnabas encountered a man who from birth had never walked, for he was crippled in his feet. 9He listened carefully to Paul as he preached. All of a sudden, # 14:9 There is an implication in the Greek that Paul was watching this man and waited until he saw faith rise in the man’s heart for his healing. Paul discerned that this man had faith in his heart to be healed. # 14:9 The same phrase, “to be healed,” is consistently translated elsewhere in the New Testament as “to be saved.” To be saved and to be healed are synonymous. 10So he shouted, “You! In the name of our Lord Jesus, # 14:10 As translated from the Aramaic. This clause is absent in the Greek. stand up on your feet!” The man instantly jumped to his feet, stood for the first time in his life, and walked!
11When the crowds saw the miracle Paul had done, they shouted in their own language, # 14:11 That is, the Lyconian language. “The gods have come down to us as men!” 12They addressed Barnabas as “Zeus” # 14:12 The Aramaic is “the master of deities,” and the Latin is “Jupiter.” Also found in v. 13. and Paul as “Hermes,” # 14:12 Hermes was considered to be the messenger god, whom the Romans called Mercury. In Ovid’s famous story Metamorphoses, there is an account of Philemon and Baucis from Lystra, who took in two strangers (Zeus and Hermes) and welcomed them into their home. But the rest of the village rejected them, and for that the village was destroyed—only Philemon and Baucis survived. That story was no doubt in the minds of the people when they welcomed Barnabas and Paul. They did not want to make the same mistake as their ancestors. (See Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.611–725.) Archeologists have found a stone altar near Lystra with an inscription dedicating it to Zeus and Hermes. because he was the spokesman.
13Now, outside of the city stood the temple of Zeus. The priest of the temple, in order to honor Paul and Barnabas, brought bulls with wreaths of flowers draped on them to the gates of the courtyard where they were staying. # 14:13 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is ambiguous and could be “the gates of the temple” or “the gates of the city.” The crowds clamored to offer them as sacrifices to the apostles. He even brought flower wreaths as crowns to place on their heads.
14When the apostles # 14:14 The book of Acts clearly states that there were more than twelve apostles who were recognized by the church. Barnabas is described multiple times as an apostle. Ephesians 4:11–13 says that apostles and prophets will minister and equip the body of Christ until we are complete and restored into Christ’s fullness. understood what was happening, they were mortified and tore their clothes as a sign of dismay. They rushed into the crowd and shouted, 15“People, what are you doing? We’re only weak human beings like everyone else. This is why we’ve come to tell you the good news, so that you would turn away from these worthless myths # 14:15 Implied in the text, which is simply “things.” and turn to the living God. He is the Creator of all things: the earth, the heavens, the sea, and everything they contain. 16In previous generations he allowed the nations to pursue their own ways, 17yet he has never left himself without clear evidence of his goodness. For he blesses us with rain from heaven and seasons of fruitful harvests, and he nourishes us with food to meet our needs. He satisfies our lives, and euphoria # 14:17 See footnote on Acts 2:28. fills our hearts.”
18Even after saying these things, they were barely able to restrain the people from offering sacrifices to them.
19Some of the Jews who had opposed Paul and Barnabas in Antioch and Iconium arrived and stirred up the crowd against them. They stoned Paul and dragged his body outside the city and left him for dead.
20When the believers encircled Paul’s body, he miraculously stood up! # 14:20 The Greek word used here, anistemi, is used twenty-seven times in the New Testament for people being raised from the dead. Paul stood and immediately went back into the city. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
21After preaching the wonderful news of the gospel there and winning a large number of followers to Jesus, they retraced their steps and revisited Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. 22At each place they went, they strengthened the lives of the believers # 14:22 The Aramaic is “they confirmed their spirit of discipleship.” and encouraged them to go deeper in their faith. And they taught them, “It is necessary for us to enter into the realm of God’s kingdom, because that’s the only way we will endure our many trials and persecutions.” # 14:22 That is, the only way to avoid the oppression of the age is to enter deeper into God’s kingdom realm. An alternate translation would be “Through great tribulation we enter into God’s kingdom realm.” Neither translation of this sentence implies a future kingdom, but a kingdom realm that is presently accessible.
23Paul and Barnabas ordained leaders, known as elders, from among the congregations in every church they visited. # 14:23 The appointment of elders among the people dates back to the days of Moses in the wilderness. See Ex. 18:21, where the word used to describe these leaders is khayil, or “mighty men of valor.” The word khayil is also used for the radiant church (commonly known as the “virtuous woman” found in Prov. 31). These elders were the pastors and leaders of the churches, ordained by the apostles. See also Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1. After prayer and fasting, they publicly committed them into the care and protection of the Lord of their faith.
24After passing through different regions of central Turkey, # 14:24 Or “After they had passed through Pisidia, they went into Pamphylia.” 25they went to the city of Perga, preaching the life-giving message of the Lord. # 14:25 Or “the manifestation of Lord Yahweh,” as translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “the word of the Lord.” Afterward they journeyed down to the coast at Antalya, # 14:25 Or “Attalia.” Antalya is a city on the southwestern coast of Turkey. 26and from there they sailed back to Antioch.
With their mission complete, they returned to the church where they had originally been sent out as missionaries, for it was in Antioch where they had been handed over to God’s powerful grace. 27When they arrived in Antioch, they gathered the church together and shared with them all of the wonderful works God had done through them and how God had opened the door of faith for the non-Jews to enter in. 28Afterward, Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a long time in fellowship with the believers. # 14:28 This would have been AD 47–48, when Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, the region they had visited during their first missionary journey. Antioch of Syria is here seen as the center of the missionary enterprise as the church hosts the anointed apostles Paul and Barnabas, who taught the church during their time there. For many centuries Antioch of Syria was considered a major Christian center. Into the fourth century, it was noted as having schools of theology and institutions of learning.