The Book of Acts | Session 45 | Acts 3:17-39
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The Book of Acts | God’s Revelation of Transition

Session 45 | Acts 14:3-13

Acts 14:1-6 | Paul’s Ministry in Iconium

  • Verses 1-2 included on session 44
  • Verse 3 –
    • As they were speaking boldly of the word of his grace (i.e.: the Pauline gospel), the Lord granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
      • These signs and wonders are something that appear to be given to the Jews, for the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom (1 Cor. 1:22).
      • It was not immature for the Jews to require a sign, but rather based on their Hebrew Scriptures which demanded visible evidence of new prophetic utterance.
      • God is not condescending to their demands, but rather providing them that which He instructed them to expect.
    • Note that, beginning in verse 8, there were often disastrous results when signs and wonders were displayed in Gentile audiences.
  • Verse 4 –
    • With the Gentile world eager to hear the new message and the Jewish world concerned that the new message was cultic, it is no surprise that the multitude of the city was divided between the traditional Jews and with the apostles.
    • Here, the apostolic title is given both to Paul and to Barnabus (see also v. 14).
      • Note that while we normally only refer to 12 apostles plus Paul, the 13th, the Bible is not as strict in its usage of the term.
      • However, there is no indication that apostles existed prior to the time of Jesus nor after the time of the Kingdom offer.
      • One mark of apostleship was the performance of signs and wonders.
  • Verses 5-6 –
    • The Greek word for assault is ὁρμή [hormey], but it is only used and in James 3:4, where it is not even translated in the KJV.
    • In James 3:4, the Young’s Literal translates as impulse.
    • In verse 6, it becomes clear that an actual assault was not carried out, but the plan was in motion.
    • With this threat, they left to the nearby cities, moving eastward, where they would preach the same grace Gospel.

      Acts 14:7-13 | Paul Viewed as a Deity in Lystra

  • Verse 7 –
    • This verse encompasses all that took place in Lystra and Derbe…and unto the region that lieth round about. Beginning with verse 8 the focus is on Lystra itself.
    • Having fled Iconium, they did not stop proclaiming the good news. This is a perfect example of Paul doing what he would later instruct Timothy, to preach the word; be instant in season, out of season… (2 Tim. 4:2). It was out of season, but this did not stop them!
    • Perhaps our English translations have caused confusion in the gospel. What is being preached here is the gospel as we know it. But our English translations give us the idea that there has always been only one gospel, which is the gospel. If the Greek phrase had been transliterated, it would say something like, and there they evangelized. The Greek word is a form of εὐαγγελίζω [euangelizo], to announce good news.
    • Note, Timothy is from Lystra (Acts 16:1) and could have been a convert from this preaching expedition.
  • Verses 8-10 –
    • What a miraculous healing! Paul (like any experienced speaker) was able to tell that the man had faith to be healed and so Paul declared the crippled man to stand upright on thy feet, and the man leaped and walked.
    • Be reminded that in verse 3 the Lord had granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. Such a “grant” must be made for anyone to command such a miracle as this, and one should not presume that they have been given this miracle power.
  • Verses 11-12 –
    • There was a doubtlessly well-known myth of the Greek gods Jupiter and his son Mercury who, in disguise, visited and elderly couple, Philemon and Baucis, in neighboring Phyrgia. The couple was rewarded with a wish of whatever they wanted because of their hospitality and spared from the devastation brought on their village.
    • This is a potent reminder that worldview affects conclusions that a person makes from their surrounding circumstances (thus worldview education is of paramount importance).
  • Verse 13 –
    • This is an entirely different response than any of the similar miracles in Israel. The Jews would have never made such a response, giving evidence that this is a purely gentile (and pagan) crowd.
    • When some call for “power evangelism” (the use of miracles in evangelism) today, they are misguided. It doesn’t lead to commitment to Christ, but to celebration of pagan deities.
    • What kind of pagan people would deify men?
      • When Cortez entered the Aztec temple in what is now Mexico, Montezuma II welcomed him as a God.
      • Also consider the Apotheosis of Washington in the U.S. Capitol (see information at https://www.aoc.gov/art/other-paintings-and-murals/apotheosis-washington).
    • Jupiter is the Roman name of the Greek God Zeus. Mercury is the Roman name for the Greek God Hermes.
KJV: Genesis 1