Paul and Barnabas at Iconium.
1In Iconium they entered the Jewish synagogue together and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks came to believe, 2although the disbelieving Jews stirred up and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against the brothers. 3So they stayed for a considerable period, speaking out boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the word about his grace by granting signs and wonders to occur through their hands.#a. [14:3] Mk 16:17–20. 4The people of the city were divided: some were with the Jews; others, with the apostles. 5When there was an attempt by both the Gentiles and the Jews, together with their leaders, to attack and stone them,#b. [14:5] 2 Tm 3:11. 6they realized it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding countryside, 7where they continued to proclaim the good news.
Paul and Barnabas at Lystra.
8#In an effort to convince his hearers that the divine power works through his word, Paul cures the cripple. However, the pagan tradition of the occasional appearance of gods among human beings leads the people astray in interpreting the miracle. The incident reveals the cultural difficulties with which the church had to cope. Note the similarity of the miracle worked here by Paul to the one performed by Peter in Acts 3:2–10. At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth, who had never walked. 9He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him, saw that he had the faith to be healed, 10and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.” He jumped up and began to walk about. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they cried out in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in human form.”#c. [14:11] 28:6. 12They called Barnabas “Zeus”#Zeus…Hermes: in Greek religion, Zeus was the chief of the Olympian gods, the “father of gods and men”; Hermes was a son of Zeus and was usually identified as the herald and messenger of the gods. and Paul “Hermes,” because he was the chief speaker. 13And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.
14The apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments#Tore their garments: a gesture of protest. when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, 15#This is the first speech of Paul to Gentiles recorded by Luke in Acts (cf. Acts 17:22–31). Rather than showing how Christianity is the logical outgrowth of Judaism, as he does in speeches before Jews, Luke says that God excuses past Gentile ignorance and then presents a natural theology arguing for the recognition of God’s existence and presence through his activity in natural phenomena. “Men, why are you doing this? We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God, ‘who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.’#d. [14:15] 3:12; 10:26; Ex 20:11; Ps 146:6. 16In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways;#e. [14:16] 17:30. 17yet, in bestowing his goodness, he did not leave himself without witness, for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts.”#f. [14:17] Wis 13:1. 18Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
19#g. [14:19–20] 2 Cor 11:25; 2 Tm 3:11. However, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
End of the First Mission.
21After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. 22They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”#h. [14:22] 1 Thes 3:3. 23They appointed presbyters#They appointed presbyters: the communities are given their own religious leaders by the traveling missionaries. The structure in these churches is patterned on the model of the Jerusalem community (Acts 11:30; 15:2, 5, 22; 21:18). for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. 24Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. 25After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. 26From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished.#i. [14:26] 13:1–3. 27And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28Then they spent no little time with the disciples.