Reading for Today:
2 Chronicles 9:1–10:19
2 Chronicles 9:29 In later years, Solomon turned away from God; and, due to the influence of his wives, he led the nation into idolatry. This split the kingdom and sowed the seeds that led to its defeat and dispersion. The Chronicles do not record this sad end to Solomon’s life because the focus is on encouraging the returning Jews from Babylon with God’s pledge to them for a glorious future in the Davidic Covenant.
Psalm 80:8 vine out of Egypt. The vine is a metaphor for Israel, whom God delivered out of Egypt and nurtured into a powerful nation (Is. 5:1–7; 27:2–6; Matt. 21:33–40).
Proverbs 20:16 Garments were common security for a loan but they always had to be returned by sundown (Ex. 22:26, 27; Deut. 24:10–13). “Seductress” is more likely “foreigner.” Anyone who foolishly has taken on the responsibility for the debt of a stranger or an immoral woman will likely never be paid back, so he will never pay his creditor unless his own garment is taken as security.
Acts 14:4 apostles. Barnabas was not an apostle in the same sense as Paul and the 12 since he was not an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ nor had he been called by Him. It is best to translate “apostles” here as “messengers” (2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25).The verb means “to send.” The 12 and Paul were “apostles of Christ” (2 Cor. 11:13; 1 Thess. 2:6), while Barnabas and others were “apostles of the churches” (2 Cor. 8:23).
Acts 14:15–17 Because the crowd at Lystra was pagan and had no knowledge of the Old Testament, Paul adjusted his message to fit the audience. Instead of proclaiming the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he appealed to the universal and rational knowledge of the One who created the world (17:22–26; Jon. 1:9).
Acts 14:17 did not leave Himself without witness. God’s providence and His creative power testify to man’s reason of His existence (Rom. 1:18–20), as does man’s own conscience, which contains His moral law (Rom. 2:13–15).
DAY 7: How does Acts 14 demonstrate the varied reactions for preaching the gospel of Christ?
The city of Iconium was a cultural melting pot of native Phrygians, Greeks, Jews, and Roman colonists. A great multitude came to faith as Paul and Barnabas spoke “boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (v. 3). Acts of such divine power confirmed that Paul and Barnabas spoke for God. Nevertheless, the gospel message divided the city and a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them (v. 5). This proves that their Jewish opponents were the instigators, since stoning was a Jewish form of execution, usually for blasphemy.
Fleeing Iconium, they went to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia (v. 6). Lycaonia was a district in the Roman province of Galatia.Lystra was about 18 miles from Iconium and was the home of Lois, Eunice, and Timothy (16:1; 2 Tim. 1:5).The strange reaction by the people of Lystra to the healing of the cripple, who had never walked (v. 8), had its roots in local folklore. According to tradition, the gods Zeus and Hermes visited Lystra incognito, asking for food and lodging. All turned them away except for a peasant named Philemon and his wife, Baucis. The gods took vengeance by drowning everyone in a flood. But they turned the lowly cottage of Philemon and Baucis into a temple, where they were to serve as priest and priestess. Not wanting to repeat their ancestors’ mistake, the people of Lystra believed Barnabas to be Zeus and Paul to be Hermes.
“Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there…they stoned Paul…supposing him to be dead” (v. 19). Paul did not die from the stoning as some claim, who link it to his third-heaven experience in 2 Corinthians 12. “Supposing” usually means “to suppose something that is not true.” The main New Testament use of this word argues that the crowd’s supposition was incorrect and that Paul was not dead. Another argument in favor of this position is that if Paul was resurrected, why didn’t Luke mention it? Also, the dates of Paul’s third-heaven experience and the time of the stoning do not reconcile.