The Church Leaders in Antioch
Acts 13:1-3 (Spring AD 45)
(1) Now in the church of Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas (a Levite from the island of Cyprus), Simeon called Niger (probably from North Africa); Lucius from Cyrene (a city on the coast of northern Africa, west of Egypt), Manaen who had been brought up with the governor Herod the tetrarch, and Saul (Paul, from Tarsus, in the region of Cilicia). (Antioch’s Christian leaders were diverse racially, culturally, and socially).
(2) While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the mission work to which I have called them.” (3) So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them on their mission journey.
THE FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY OF THE APOSTLE PAUL
(Spring AD 45 to Spring/Summer AD 47)
From Seleucia to Salamis, Cyprus
Acts 13:4-5 (Spring AD 45)
(4) Sent on their mission journey by the Holy Spirit, Saul and Barnabas walked south of Antioch about 16 miles (26 km) to the Mediterranean port city of Seleucia (modern Samandag, Turkey). From Seleucia they sailed about 130 miles (210 km) to the city of Salamis (the largest city on the island of Cyprus, on the east coast). (5) When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed God’s word in the Jewish synagogues. John Mark was with them as their helper.
From Salamis to Paphos
(6) Then they walked around 112 miles (160 km) through the whole island from the east coast to the west coast and entered the capital city of Paphos.
There they met a sorcerer (magician) and Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus, (7) who was an attendant for the Roman governor (proconsul) of Cyprus, Sergius Paulus. The governor was a very intelligent man, and he sent for Barnabas and Saul (Paul) because he wanted to hear God’s word. (8) But Elymas the demonic sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn Sergius Paulus away from faith in Jesus.
(9) Then Saul, who was also called Paul (after using only the Hebrew name of Saul, Luke, the author of Acts, now introduces the Roman name of Paul as he begins his missionary journeys through the Greco-Roman world), filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, (10) “You are a child of Satan and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and deception. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? (11) Now the Lord’s hand is against you, and you are going to be blind for some time, not even able to see the sun’s light.” Immediately a fog of darkness came over him, and he stumbled around, trying to find someone to lead him around by the hand.
(12) When Sergius Paulus saw what had happened to Elymas, he believed in Jesus, because he was amazed at the teaching of the Lord.
From Paphos to Perga
(13) From the city of Paphos, Paul and his mission team sailed about 186 miles (300 km) across the Mediterranean Sea to the capital city of Perga, in the Roman province of Pamphylia. It was in Perga that John Mark deserted them and returned to Jerusalem.
From Perga to Pisidian Antioch
(14) From Perga they walked inland about 156 miles (250 km) through the Taurus Mountains to the city of Pisidian Antioch (in modern Yalvac, Turkey), which was located in the region of Phrygia of the Roman province of Galatia.
On the Sabbath day they entered the synagogue and sat down. (15) After the reading from the law of Moses and the prophets, the synagogue leaders sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of encouragement for the people, please speak.”
Paul’s Message in Pisidian Antioch
(16) Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said, “My fellow Israelites and God-fearing non-Jews, listen to me! (17) The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made them grow in large numbers during their stay in Egypt, and by his mighty power led them out of Egypt. (18) He endured their rebellious behavior in the wilderness for about 40 years, (19) and he overthrew seven nations in the land of Canaan, giving their land to the people of Israel as their inheritance. (20) All this took about 450 years.
“After this, God gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. (21) Then the people asked God for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled Israel for 40 years. (22) After God removed Saul as king, he made David their new king. God said about David, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will obey everything I want him to do.’
(23) “It was through David’s descendants that God has sent to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he had promised us. (24) Before the coming of Jesus, the prophet John proclaimed repentance and water baptism to all the people of Israel. (25) As John was finishing his ministry, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the Messiah (Christ) you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandal straps I’m not worthy to untie.’
(26) “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing non-Jews, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent! (27) The people who live in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus, but in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the (Old Testament) prophets that are read every Sabbath day. (28) Although Jesus was not guilty of any crime requiring the death penalty, they demanded that Pontius Pilate have him crucified. (29) When they had done all that was written about Jesus, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. (30) But God raised him from the dead, (31) and for many days he was seen alive by his disciples who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem (see 1 Corinthians 15:5-8). They are now his eyewitnesses to our people.
(32) “We tell you the gospel (good news): What God promised our ancestors (33) he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus from the dead. As it is written in Psalm 2:7, ‘You are my son; today I have become your father.’ (34) God raised Jesus from the dead so that his body would not decay. As God said in Isaiah 55:3, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David,’ (35) and it is also written in Psalm 16:10, ‘You will not let your holy one see decay.’ (36) Now we all know that after David served God’s purpose in his generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors and his body did decay. (37) But Jesus’ body did not decay because God raised him from the dead.
(38) “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins has been proclaimed to you. (39) Through him whoever believes is set free (justified) from every sin and made right before God—a righteousness you were not able to earn by keeping the law of Moses. (40) Be careful that what it says in Habakkuk 1:5 does not happen to you, (41) ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, because I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’ “
Jews and Non-Jews in Pisidian Antioch
(42) As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak about the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ on the next Sabbath day. (43) When the people were dismissed from the synagogue service, many of the Jews and devout non-Jewish converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and encouraged them to continue in God’s grace.
(44) On the next Sabbath day almost the whole city of Pisidian Antioch gathered in the synagogue to listen to the word of the Lord. (45) But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to argue against Paul’s teaching and said many bad things about him.
(46) Then Paul and Barnabas said to them with great courage, “It was necessary for us to speak God’s word to you Jews first, but since you have rejected it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we will now go to the non-Jews. (47) For this is what the Lord has commanded us, as is written in Isaiah 49:6, ‘I have made you a light for the nations, so that you can bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ “
(48) When the non-Jews heard this, they were happy and honored the Lord’s word; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
From Pisidian Antioch to Iconium
(49) So the word of the Lord spread through the whole region of Pisidia in the Roman province of Galatia (Pisidia was a triangular region located between Phrygia and Pamphylia around 540 square miles/1,399 square km. It is quite possible that Paul and Silas engaged in an itinerant ministry through the whole region). (50) But the Jewish leaders stirred up the prominent God-fearing women and the leading men of the city to persecute Paul and Barnabas, and they expelled them from their region.
(51) So they shook the dirt from their feet in protest against them and walked southeast about 92 miles (148 km) to the city of Iconium (in modern Konya, Turkey). (52) And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.