Eager to Preach, Eager to Hear (Acts 17:1-15)

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Paul and Silas departed Philippi after meeting with the infant church established there. This work would become a great one in the space of a short period and one that would be dear to Paul’s heart. The church in Philippi would prove to be a great blessing in Paul’s future ministry, as recorded here, in Thessalonica (Philippians 4:15-16).

In the passage before us, Paul and Silas travelled 160 kilometres from Philippi to Thessalonica. They did so because they were eager to preach (1 Thessalonians 2:1-2). Though they were probably nursing recent wounds, they were eager to take the risk and repeat their evangelistic efforts in Thessalonica, a very strategic city. The words of David Livingstone are appropriate to describe Paul’s attitude. When Livingstone was asked where he was prepared to go, he answered, “I am prepared to go anywhere, so long as it is forward.”1 The idea of turning back never occurred to Paul. And so he and Silas made a beeline for Thessalonica, passing hurriedly through Amphipolis and Appolonia on his way. After perhaps a two or three day journey, they eventually arrived in Thessalonica (modern day Salonika), a city at the time of some 200,000 inhabitants.

Thessalonica was an important city for several reasons. One reason is that that it was directly on the Egnatian Highway, and so it became a major cosmopolitan city. It was perhaps the fourth most important Roman city of the day.

It was here that Paul would once again preach the gospel and, as in Philippi, plant another vital local church. Paul would eventually write two inspired letters to this church and the content of those letters would fill in some of the gaps left in the record of Acts 17.

But in Acts 17 we also read of Paul’s ministry in Berea, when he, as at Philippi, was forced to leave Thessalonica. Here, he was likewise eager to preach, but unlike in Thessalonica, those in the Berean synagogue were eager to hear. That is, in Thessalonica, many of the Jews to whom Paul preached were closed-minded, whereas in Berea the majority were fair-minded as hearers.

These two historical accounts give us opportunity to study two important aspects of church life and therefore two aspects of the Great Commission: preaching and listening. We will structure our study around these two major issues: how to preach and how to listen.

Eager to Preach

Verses 1-9 record the Thessalonian ministry, and highlight Paul’s eagerness to preach.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.

But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harboured them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

(Acts 17:1-9)

He had a Strategy

As we have seen elsewhere in our studies, Paul had a particular missionary strategy in the cities that he visited, and that strategy usually involved a synagogue. Things were no different in Thessalonica. “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews” (v. 1).

There was always method to Paul’s ministry. We read, as we have before, that “his custom” was to go first to the local synagogue. This was also Jesus’ custom (Luke 4:16). His strategy, as we have seen, involved going first to those who might be the most receptive. That is, he initially evangelised those who had an old covenant theological and biblical foundation upon which he could build.

And so we see that Paul’s strategy was to go to a key city and head straight for the key centre: the synagogue. As a travelling rabbi, he knew that he would receive at least an initial invitation there. And in Thessalonica, he lasted a bit longer than in many other places: They tolerated him for about three weeks.

If we are eager to share the gospel then we will make a plan to do so. There is a young lady that I know who recently relocated to a particular part of Asia, where she will be officially teaching English, but her desire is to use the opportunity as a gospel ministry. Her heart is there, and so she has made whatever strides necessary to afford herself opportunity to share the gospel.

It is while Paul was in the Thessalonian synagogue that we have this wonderful record of how we should be eager preach the gospel—and how we should actually do it.

In v. 3 Paul states, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” The word means “to proclaim” and is used ten times in Acts, usually with reference to preaching the gospel. Paul also uses it in 1 Corinthians 2:1 when recounts that he had “declared” to them the gospel.

Of course, evangelism requires that we proclaim Jesus as the Christ, but the question that we must address is, how do we preach Christ? This record teaches us how.

He Relied on the Scriptures

Paul’s strategy was grounded in the Scriptures, as we learn in vv. 2-3: “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.’”

Reasoning

First, v. 2 tells us that Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” Paul used the Scriptures. The Word of God was his point of reference. It was his authority. The Scriptures were the foundation of what he had to say. Though he doubtless used illustrations and perhaps contemporary allusions, the Scriptures were nevertheless his confidence and the source of His message.

We should note that it is the Word that creates and forms the church. Paul spoke with those he was evangelising. He “reasoned” with them. He discussed, disputed, dialogued and with them. He preached to them. The point that I want to make is that Paul was willing to be questioned because he was prepared with answers—from the Scriptures. This was his pattern all through his missionary endeavours (cf. 18:4, 19; 19:8-9; 20:7).

Notice that he did not use the Scriptures in a proof-texting sort of way. He reasoned, proved and persuaded from the Scriptures. Luke here uses “words that describe Paul’s method of preaching” and “imply his careful dealing with his hearers’ questions and doubts.”2

Expounding

Second, Paul expounded the Scriptures (v. 3a). The word translated “explaining” means “to open thoroughly” or “to expound.” It means, as it is translated here, “to explain.”

When Paul met with people at the synagogue he not only read and quoted Scripture, but also explained what he read so that his hearers would be in a position where the Lord could open their hearts (16:14) to the expounded Word.

There is a lovely illustration of this in Luke 24:27-45. There, Jesus expounded the Word and opened the eyes of His listeners so that they would see Him—quite literally! Such is the goal of all evangelism. Such is the goal of all preaching and teaching; that is, if it is biblical.

We learn here that preachers need to labour hard to be sure they know what they are talking about. They need to labour so as to make sense of the Word. They cannot casually speak without actually knowing what the text is about. They must have done their homework so that they are able to explain and convince people of what God is saying in His Word.

On the flip side, there is the need for preachers and pastors to be held accountable to open up the Scriptures. This implies a need on behalf of the listeners to know the Word. Churches, therefore, must prioritise the exposition of the Word and never minimise or marginalise it.

Demonstrating

Third, Paul demonstrated what he explained from the Scriptures. He gave evidence of what he was alleging. He proved what he alleged. And so must we.

The word translated “demonstrating” literally means “to set before,” and implies the setting forth of something to be examined by others. The word “may refer to Paul’s argument in ‘setting the fulfilment alongside the predictions.’”3

The word is used in the Gospels with reference to Jesus setting forth a parable before his hearers. Jesus used something familiar to illustrate or to demonstrate in order to prove a point. He sought to manifest plainly (for those with ears to hear) a truth for His hearers. This is precisely what Paul was doing and precisely what we must do as well. We need to give some windows to our hearers.

I would guess that Paul did so by comparing Scripture with Scripture. Perhaps he used Isaiah 53 as a text, from which he then showed how magnificently Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled every jot and tittle of the prophecy—all the way down to the detail of being buried in the grave of the wealthy. Whatever text(s) Paul used, he realised that he needed to intelligently explain and illustrate and to give proof of his thesis that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

But note the specifics of what Paul alleged and then proved: that “the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead.”

Keep in mind that the Jews stumbled over the idea of a crucified Messiah. And they stumbled precisely because, along the way, preachers had failed to open up the Scriptures. Everything in the Old Testament pointed to the cross, but because Israel’s teachers failed to preach the Scriptures, the cross was obscured. It is always this way. Paul therefore sought to make it clear that the cross was no mistake; it was not a providential aberration in God’s plan, but rather His plan all along.

Preachers must realise that there are stumblingblocks to people believing the gospel. Obviously, the fact that people are (born) spiritually dead is a huge one that only God can do anything about, yet there are also intellectual obstacles that we should seek to remove by Scriptural answers.

In doing so, we must not be shy to use Scripture. We must use the Bible to prove what the Bible says. As we do so, we must emphasise the death, burial and resurrection. All the clever arguments in the world will do nothing to people if they do not receive the biblical revelation of Calvary and the empty tomb. And we must not be hesitant in dogmatic declaration. Paul was quite dogmatic: “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”

He was Successful

Paul was faithful, and the results were in line with God’s purposes. That is, Paul was an aroma of life to those who believed and an aroma of death to those who chose to not believe (see 2 Corinthians 2:16).

Regeneration

Verse 4 tells us the initial response, and it is a glorious one: Several people were saved. “And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.”

I need to take an important aside. Reading 1 Thessalonians, it is clear that a significant number of non-Jews were saved. The fact that they turned from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9) indicates that they were Gentiles. Therefore, there was other evangelising going on in Thessalonica outside of these three Sabbath days. Other indications in the book also reveal that Paul probably spent several months there. But here we have the account of Jewish converts—and “not a few” of them. I love that phrase!

The word “persuaded” hails from a root that means to believe and to obey. It is not that Paul coerced people to believe his preaching, but rather the Lord opened their hearts in conjunction with the opened Word (see 1 Thessalonians 2:13). Nevertheless, once again we see the importance of engaging people’s minds, hearts and wills in our preaching. Our message is not superficial, and it needs to be articulated in such a way that it is seen as reasonable, even while unpopular.

Riot

But the wonderful description of those early converts (v. 4) is followed in vv. 5-9 by an ugly scene:

But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harboured them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

(Acts 17:5-9)

We learn here that, though some had responded to the gospel message, others were enraged by it. Gospel preaching will almost always produce these diverse responses. That is, even though biblical preaching is reasonable, the responses to it are often irrational, and often aggressively so. Pastor and author Don Fortner observes, “How often this is repeated! Unbelief hardens into resentment, and resentment breaks out in malicious abuse. . . . This stirring up of violence and slander was caused by religious, churchgoing people. When they could not refute the doctrine of Christ and would not give up their false religion, their hearts, filled with hatred for God and his gospel, erupted in cruel and vicious attacks upon God’s messengers.”4

When we read of some being “envious,” we should read it in conjunction with 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16:

For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.

(1 Thessalonians 2:14-16)

The Jewish leaders (in this, case probably the rabbis) were insanely jealous of the success that Paul and other gospel preachers were having among Jewish people. And since they could not beat them (and would not join them), they decided instead to kill them.

We don’t know much time transpired between verses 4 and 5, but I think that it was probably quite some time.5 Perhaps over the months, as the Jewish converts persevered, the unbelieving Jews began to panic as they realised that this was more than some temporarily “finding religion.” These converts were really serious about following Jesus.

Discovering that the missionaries were staying with a man named Jason, they gathered a mob and descended on this man and his home. The enemies of the gospel would stop at nothing to silence those eager to evangelise. “The rabble is apparently summoned to make the attacks upon the Christians appear like a popular movement.”6

Paul and Silas had given them the slip, but this mob dragged Jason out of his house to stand trial before the politarchs, the judicial council of the city. As they did so, the mob cried out with great angst and with much contempt, “These [men] have turned the world upside down.” Actually they were turning the world right side up! Their evangelism was in fact “causing a radical social upheaval.”7

The mob then accused Jason of “harbouring” (what beautiful word!) them, which simply means that he was guilty of showing them hospitality. But what made this hospitality so heinous in their eyes was (supposedly) because of their loyalty to Caesar! Does this sound familiar?

Their accusation was that these missionaries were preaching Jesus as a rival king to Caesar. They were being accused of treason. Again, does that sound familiar?

There is something here that we do not want to gloss over. I am persuaded that indeed Paul and Silas were proclaiming Jesus as King, and that He had a kingdom. In fact in the Thessalonian epistles, Paul records that, when he was with them, he spoke of the parousia (the Greek term for “the coming”) of Jesus. This word was used in that day to speak of kings who came to judge.

Further, by the proclamation of the gospel, they were seeking to turn the world upside down. They were seeking to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ from the subjects of Caesar. So, yes, in a very true sense they were revolutionaries with a revolutionary message. The gospel, without apology, is revolutionary. “When Christianity really goes into action it must cause a revolution both in the life of the individual and in the life of society.”8

I sometimes smile when I read or hear of Christians who are alarmed by the so-called “Reconstructionists.” I think to myself, why would we not want the world reconstructed along biblical lines? The law leads us to the gospel, and the gospel experienced leads us right back to the law, whose function is to redirect (read: reconstruct) how we are to live (see Romans 8:1-4).

Of course, we are not called to overthrow existing governments, neither by the sword nor by political machinery. Yet we should expect that, through the gospel, God’s kingdom will increasingly come. Such progress is a threat to those who will not bow the knee to Christ. The threat comes from Him, not from His followers. Stott with customary insight writes, “The kingship of Jesus has unavoidable political implications since, as his loyal subjects, we must refuse to give any ruler or ideology the supreme homage and total obedience which are due to him alone.”9 It is therefore impossible to separate religion from politics in the common sense of the term.

May God give us a renewed confidence in the gospel and hence a renewed eagerness to proclaim it and to make disciples of Christ!

The result of these accusations was a shaking up of the crowd to such an extent that the politarchs made Jason pay a bond to the effect of guaranteeing that these men would not be guests in his home and that they would leave town. That is precisely what they did (v. 10).

Eager to Hear Preaching

In the closing section of our particular text, we have a wonderful corollary and an important and informative contrast with the previous story. If we learned in vv. 1-9 about being eager to preach and how to do it, we learn in vv. 10-15 about those eager to hear and how we should do likewise. This account has much to teach us.

Sent Again

In previous studies, we have noted that the apostles were courageous men who were willing to face persecution and to go toe-to-toe with the evil one for the glory of Christ. But we have also noted that they were faithful shepherds who were careful about not putting the sheep unnecessarily in harm’s way. And here we have another example of this. “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews” (v. 10).

Because Jason was forced to pay security (an ingeniously manipulative ploy on the part of the politarchs) as a pledge that he would no longer show hospitality to these preachers, Paul and Silas, out of concern for their brother, departed Thessalonica, even though this pained them deeply (see 1 Thessalonians 2—3).

They headed toward the coastline. Perhaps to evade those who might be intent on following them to inflict harm, they gave them the slip and ended up some 40-50 kilometres slightly southeast of Thessalonica. They came to Berea.

Upon their arrival, they did what they always did: They went to church. “They went into the synagogue of the Jews.”

Before moving on it is helpful to note that the word for “sent away” here is the same used in Acts 13 when the local church in Antioch initially sent Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey. We learn from this that even leaders need to submit to the congregation, and that is precisely what we see here with Paul and Silas. For the good of all concerned, they did so.

A Blessed Contrast

The response that Paul and Silas encountered in Berea was somewhat different to that they encountered in Thessalonica. “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (vv. 11-12).

The synagogue attendees here were more “fair-minded” than those in Thessalonica, and the result was that “many” (in contrast to “some,” v.4) were persuaded of the truth and thus “believed.”

The term “fair-minded” contrasts with the closed-minded, prejudicial response of many of the Jews in Thessalonica. There, “blind prejudice prevented them from fairly weighing the evidence for the teachings proclaimed,”10 but in Berea the listeners were open. This open-mindedness was rewarded. Let’s examine this more closely to learn what we can about how to listen to preaching.

They Listened with Integrity

First, we need to note that this was a synagogue, initially, of unbelieving Jews. These were not Christians to whom Paul and Silas were initially preaching. Nevertheless, they were open to listening. And if the Spirit of God saw fit to commend these unbelievers for their listening, then we should assume that He expects those whom He has regenerated to also be good listeners!

They Received the Word

The word “received” means “to accept” or “to approve” and carries the connotation of receiving hospitably.11 In other words, as we have already noted, this Jewish congregation was open to the truth of God’s Word. And this boded well for them! Harrison says it well: “The description indicates . . . a generous spirit free from prejudice. Their ‘nobility’ consisted in this, that instead of having a suspicious attitude that was ready to reject out of hand what was set before them, they actually “received the message with great eagerness.”12

The synagogue in Thessalonica, it would seem, boasted that they believed the Word of God, but their response to its exposition proved otherwise. But in Berea, they were apparently hungry to hear what the Scriptures truly revealed.

This is what we need to pray for in our evangelism; that is, that those we speak to will give the word an honest hearing. And this is the characteristic that needs to continue to mark those who become Christians. We can contribute to this by being winsome. If you come across bigoted and closed-minded, don’t be surprised if your hearers respond in kind.

They were Teachable

Verse 12 explains in what way they received the Word: “with all readiness.” That is, they were willing to hear. They had an inclination to listen.

The picture is one of eagerness to listen. They came with, it would seem, a predisposition of expectancy. And as was true of them, those who approach the Word of God with such a disposition will not be disappointed. Or at least they should not be.

Those of us who preach should be very concerned that our hearers, who come with legitimate (biblical) expectations, will not leave disappointed. We need to labour in the Word and in teaching. We need to work to the point of exhaustion if our hearers will experience edification. There is no place for laziness when handling God’s Word. There is no God-honouring allowance for superficial, shallow and frothy preaching.

When people come to sit under the preaching of the Word, if they have been prepared by God, they will look for answers about salvation. They will look for Christ; and we had better do our level best to show them Christ from the Word, as God intended His Word to do.

They were Diligent

These synagogue attendees were, for the most part, not only expectant and eager but also diligent to apply the effort to make sure that what they heard lined up with what God had said. In other words, they were eager but not gullible. “They tested the truth of Paul’s message by the touchstone of Scripture rather than judging it by political and cultural considerations.”13

The word translated “searched” means “to examine,” “to judge” or “to scrutinise.” It was a judicial term with reference to examining evidence with a view to making a judgement. A good example of its use in this regard is found in Luke 23:14, where Pilate, “having examined” Jesus “found no fault in Him.” Also, in 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul uses this word to describe those who have been again as the only ones able to “discern” the truths of God.

The picture is therefore one where those who claimed to believe the Bible took it seriously enough that they compared Scripture with Scripture, looking for confirmation or evidence contrary to the words of the preacher.

Such a response should not be threat to a preacher but should rather serve to both encourage and to motivate him to make sure that he knows what he is talking about!

Stott summarises this neatly:

What is impressive is that neither speaker nor hearers used Scripture in a superficial, unintelligent or proof-texting way. On the contrary, Paul “argued” out of the Scriptures and the Bereans “examined” them to see if his arguments were cogent. . . . As Bengel wrote about verse 11, “a characteristic of the true religion is that it suffers itself to be examined into, and its claims to be so decided upon.”14

I must make one more important observation before moving on: These people, who were so diligent, were prepared by God. Only God can give hearers such a hunger for truth. Therefore, let us pray for the Spirit’s preparation of the hearts of unbelievers who, by God’s grace, will one day become believers.

They Believed

Not only did they listen, but they believed. “Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (v. 12). This is an important observation.

G. K. Chesterton once famously said that the purpose of an open mind is so that it might close on something. That is precisely what we see here. The Spirit of God began a work and sealed the work by giving them hearts to believe. Their open minds were matched with open hearts. O that we would see such a work in our day! But how?

We must engage people where they are. We must be confident and therefore not combative. We must be compassionate and therefore patient. We must be prayerful and proactive at the same time.

And a word to parents: Cultivate this Berean ethos in their children! Help them, through prayer and instruction, to be eager hearers of the Word, so that God might work in them.

Here We Go Again!

The enemy of truth is relentless, and we see this once again as those hostile to the gospel in Thessalonica, enraged through envy, made the fifty kilometre journey to Berea to rid that city of this pestilent preacher.

But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.

(Acts 17:13-15)

Arriving in Berea, they proceeded to agitate and shake the crowd to oppose Paul’s ministry and message. The brothers here, out of concern for Paul’s safety, sent him to Athens, while Silas and Timothy stayed behind for some time.

It seems from this account that Paul was seen as the ringleader, and that he obviously was the main preacher. For this reason, the enemy had painted a bull’s eye on his pulpit!

This episode reveals that, obviously, not everyone in Berea had learned the lesson about being a good listener. There were those who were intent on opposing the truth, despite convincing evidence to the contrary. So it goes in our evangelistic efforts. Yet we must not be discouraged, for God saves those whom He enables to hear.

We gather from Acts 20:1-4, along with 19:29, that probably a church was left behind and that it had some stalwart believers, one of whom was Gaius, who became a travelling companion of Paul. And so, even though it seemed as if Paul’s fruitful ministry was cut short by troublemakers, the Lord had done a great work, which would continue.

I am sure that there are many more lessons here, but let me point to one: Use evangelistic opportunities as God provides them to you.

The Bereans were ready to listen. Later, Paul would exhort pastor-teacher Timothy to be always “ready” to preach (2 Timothy 4:2). He was saying to Timothy, “Take advantage of every opportunity that you have to proclaim the gospel.” And Timothy’s eyewitness experience in Berea no doubt served him well in learning this lesson.

Let us too be eager, willing and ready to preach by being prepared to do so. And what a joy we will experience when our eagerness to preach is matched, in the providence of God, with those who are eager to hear.

Show 14 footnotes

  1. William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles: The Daily Study Bible Series (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1955), 140.
  2. Richard N. Longnecker, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1981), 9:469.
  3. John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1990), 271.
  4. Donald S. Fortner, Life After Pentecost: A Guide to the Acts of the Apostles (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1995), 201.
  5. See my comments above about Gentile converts.
  6. Everett F. Harrison, Interpreting Acts: The Expanding Church (Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1986), 277.
  7. John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1990), 273.
  8. Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 139.
  9. Stott, The Message of Acts, 273.
  10. Charles R. Erdman, The Acts: An Exposition (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1966), 137.
  11. See, for example, its use in Matthew 10:14; 40-41; 11:14; 18:5.
  12. Harrison, Interpreting Acts, 279.
  13. Longnecker, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 9:471.
  14. Stott, The Message of Acts, 274-75.