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1. Prophets. See on Luke vii. 26.
Lucius of Cyrene. Attempts have been made to identify him with Luke the evangelist; but the name Lucas is an abbreviation of Lucanus, and not of Lucius. It is worth noting, however, that, according to Herodotus (iii., 131), the physicians of Cyrene had the reputation of being the second best in Greece, those of Crotona being the best; and that Galen the physician says that Lucius was before him a distinguished physician in Tarsus of Cilicia. From this it has been conjectured that Luke was born and instructed in medicine in Cyrene, and left that place for Tarsus, where he made Paul's acquaintance, and was, perhaps, converted by him (Dr. Howard Crosby, "The New Testament, Old and New Version"). But, apart from the form of the name (see above), the mention of the evangelist's name here is not in accord with his usual practice, since he nowhere mentions his own name, either in the Gospel or in the Acts; and if the present passage were an exception, we should have expected to find his name last in the list of the worthies of Antioch. Of the five here named, four are known to be Jews; and therefore, probably, Lucius was also a Jew from Cyrene, where Jews are known to have abounded. Luke the evangelist, on the contrary, was a Gentile. Nothing certain can be inferred from Rom. xvi. 21, where Lucius is enumerated by Paul among his kinsmen. If suggeneiv, kinsmen, means here, as is claimed by some, countrymen, it would prove Lucius to be a Jew; but the word is commonly used of relatives in the New Testament. In Rom. ix. 3, Paul applies the term to his fellow-countrymen, "my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites."
Which had been brought up with (suntrofov). Some render foster-brother, as Rev.; others, comrade. The word has both meanings.
2. Ministered (leitourgountwn). See on the kindred noun ministration, Luke i. 23. This noun has passed through the following meanings: 1. A civil service, especially in the technical language of Athenian law. 2. A function or office of any kind, as of the bodily organs. 3. Sacerdotal ministration, both among the Jews and the heathen (see Heb. viii. 6; ix. 21). 4. The eucharistic services. 5. Set forms of divine worship (Lightfoot, "On Philippians," ii., 17). Here, of the performance of Christian worship. Our word liturgy is derived from it.
Separate. The Greek adds dh, now, which is not rendered by A.V. or Rev. It gives precision and emphasis to the command, implying that it is for a special purpose, and to be obeyed at the time. Compare Luke ii. 15; Acts xv. 36; 1 Cor. vi. 20.
5. Synagogues. The plural implies that the Jews were numerous in Salamis. Augustus, according to Josephus, made Herod the Great a present of half the revenue of the copper mines of Cyprus, so that numerous Jewish families would be settled in the island. In the reign of Trajan, upon the breaking out of a Jewish insurrection, the whole island fell into the hands of the Jews, and became a rallying-point for the revolt. It is said that two hundred and forty thousand of the native population were sacrificed to the fury of the insurgents. When the rebellion was extinguished, the Jews were forbidden thenceforth, on pain of death, to set foot on the island.
Minister (uphrethn). Better, as Rev., attendant. See on Matt. v. 25.
6. Sorcerer (magon). That the man was an impostor is told us in the next word, but not in this term. It is the word used of the wise men who came to the Savior's cradle. See Matt. ii. 1, 7, 16. Elymas was a magian; of what kind is shown by false prophet. See on Matt. ii. 1.
Bar-Jesus. Son of Jesus or Joshua.
Sergius Paulus. Di Cesnola relates the discovery at Soli, which, next to Salamis, was the most important city in the island, of a slab with a Greek inscription containing the name of Paulus, proconsul.
Prudent (sunetw). Better, as Rev., a man of understanding. See on Matt. xi. 25.
8. Elymas. An Arabic word, meaning the wise, and equivalent to Magus. See on ver. 6.
Withstood. "The position of soothsayer to a Roman proconsul, even though it could only last a year, was too distinguished and too lucrative to abandon without a struggle" (Farrar, "Life and Work of Paul").
9. Saul - Paul. The first occurrence of the name of Paul in the Acts. Hereafter he is constantly so called, except when there is a reference to the earlier period of his life. Various explanations are given of the change of name. The most satisfactory seems to be that it was customary for Hellenistic Jews to have two names, the one Hebrew and the other Grreek or Latin. Thus John was also called Marcus; Symeon, Niger; Barsabas, Justus. As Paul now comes prominently forward as the apostle to the Gentiles, Luke now retains his Gentile name, as he did his Jewish name during his ministry among the Jews. The connection of the name Paul with that of the deputy seems to me purely accidental. It was most unlike Paul to assume the name of another man, converted by his instrumentality, out of respect to him or as a memorial of his conversion. Farrar justly observes that there would have been in this "an element of vulgarity impossible to St. Paul"
10. Mischief (radiourgiav). Only here in New Testament. Originally, ease or facility in doing; hence readiness in turning the hand to anything, bad or good; and so recklessness, unscrupulousness, wickedness. A kindred word (rJadiourghma, lewdness, Rev., villainy) occurs at ch. xviii. 14.
Right ways. Or straight, possibly with an allusion to Elymas' crooked ways.
11. Mist (acluv). Only here in New Testament. The word is used by medical writers as a name for a disease of the eyes. The mention of the successive stages, first dimness, then total darkness, are characteristic of the physician. "The first miracle which Paul performed was the infliction of a judgment; and that judgment the same which befell himself when arrested on his way to Damascus" (Gloag).
12. Astonished (ekplhssomenov). See on Matt. vii. 28.
13. Loosed (anacqentev). See on Luke viii. 22.
Paul and his company (oi peri ton Paulon). Lit., those around Paul. In later writers, used to denote the principal person alone, as John xi. 19, came to Mary and Martha; where the Greek literally reads, came to the women around Mary and Martha. Paul, and not Barnabas, now appears as the principal person.
15. Exhortation. See on ch. ix. 31.
16. Beckoning. See on ch. xii. 17.
Men of Israel. See on ch. iii. 12.
17. People (laou). Restricted in the Acts to the people of Israel.
18. Suffered he their manners (etropoforhsen). From propov, fashion or manner, and forew, to bear or suffer. The preferable reading, however, is ejtrofoforhsen; from trofov, a nurse; and the figure is explained by, and probably was drawn from, Deut. i. 31. The American revisers properly insist on the rendering, as a nursing-father bare he them.
19. Divided by lot (kateklhronomhsen). The A.V. gives the literal rendering. The Rev., gave them their land for an inheritance, is correct, so far as the meaning inheritance is concerned (see on 1 Pet. i. 4), but does not give the sense of distribution which is contained in the word.
24. Before his coming (pro proswpou thv eisodou autou). Lit., before the face of his entrance. A Hebrew form of expression.
25. Think ye (uponoeite). Originally, to think secretly: hence to suspect, conjecture.
26. To you. The best texts read to us.
33. Hath fulfilled (ekpeplhrwke). Completely fulfilled; force of ejk, out and out.
34. The sure mercies (ta osia ta pista). Lit., the holy things, the sure. Rev., the holy and sure blessings.
35. Suffer (dwseiv). Lit., give.
36. Was laid unto (proseteqh). Lit., was added unto. Compare ch. ii. 47; v. 14.
41. Perish (afanisqhte). Lit., vanish.
Declare (ekdihghtai). Only here and ch. xv. 3. See on shew, Luke viii. 39. The word is a very strong expression for the fullest and clearest declaration: declare throughout.
42. Next (metaxu). The word commonly means intermediate, and hence is explained by some as referring to the intermediate week. But the meaning is fixed by ver. 44; and though the word does not occur in the New Testament elsewhere in the sense of next, it has that meaning sometimes in later Greek.
43. Religious (sebomenwn). Lit., worshipping. Compare ver. 50 and ch. xvi. 14.
45. Envy (zhlou). Rev., jealousy. See on Jas. iii. 14.
46. Put (apwqeisqe). Not strong enough. Better, as Rev., thrust, denoting violent rejection.
Lo (idou). Marking a crisis.
Coasts (oriwn). Not a good rendering, because it implies merely a sea-coast; whereas the word is a general one for boundaries.
51. Shook off. See on Matt. x. 14.