Gospel Perseverance (Acts 14:1-7)

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In his classic book, Lectures to My Students, Charles Spurgeon has a chapter titled “The Minister’s Fainting Fits.” In this chapter, in which I have found solace on a number of occasions, Spurgeon speaks of the reality of discouragement, if not depression, that ministers of the gospel sometimes face.

The nature of the calling lends itself to such emotional let-downs, which can lead to both physical and mental fatigue and even the temptation to quit. Most pastors that I know have written at least one premature letter of resignation.

Yes, the fight can be intense and the will to persevere can at times become lethargic as one battles, even from the church, opposition to the truth and disobedience as the fruit of unbelief.

But such onslaughts of unbelief are not unique to ministers—either in Spurgeon’s day or our own. Yes, in spite of much truth telling, church history records the reality that there is often an equal and opposite reaction of disobedience born from a refusal to believe the gospel truth. This was true in Paul and Barnabas’ day, which is precisely why we should expect it in our day.

In our studies of Acts 13 we focused on the fact that these early missionaries were committed to telling the truth. As they embarked on their first missionary journey from the church in in Syrian Antioch they did so “sent out by the Holy Spirit” (13:4), who emboldened them to declare the gospel truth everywhere they landed. They began in Cyprus and, after travelling several hundred kilometres by land and sea, eventually arrived in southern Galatia (modern day Turkey).

They began in the synagogue, and after an initial positive reception, things began to heat up (at the instigation of unbelieving Jews), with the result that they shook the dust from their feet (13:51) and headed another 120 kilometres in a southeasterly direction until they came to Iconium. This is where we find them at the beginning of Acts 14.

I was struck in recent weeks as I read this text by the observation that Paul and Barnabas persevered in telling the truth in this region—and in synagogues no less—despite opposition. In fact, in some ways it seems that the opposition actually goaded them to do so! These men did not cave in to “fainting fits,” but rather persevered in the face of problems and even in the face of persecution. It is for this reason that we will study 14:1-7 under the theme of “Gospel Perseverance.” May the Lord use His Word to propel us to persevere as well.

They Persevered in their Plan

Chapter 14 opens with words that are becoming increasingly familiar to us in our journey through Acts: “Now it happened at Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews” (v. 1). As we have noted in previous expositions, Paul’s custom was to attend synagogue. As a Pharisee of Pharisees, he had been committed to observing the Sabbath before his conversion, and this included attendance at the local synagogue, where portions of the Old Testament were read and expounded and where Psalms were sung and prayers were offered to God.

Now that Paul was a believer in the long-awaited Messiah, it made perfect sense for him to continue attending synagogue. And how much more meaningful the old covenant would now be to him!

It may be helpful to note that Paul, having repented of his sin and received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour, was only now truly an orthodox Jew (see John 5:39; Luke 24:25-27). And orthodox Jews attend synagogue on the Sabbath!

But this attendance, of course, was not only because Paul was a true Jew (Romans 2:28-29); it was also a strategic move. You see, Paul knew that those who were familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures were most likely to be the most open to the gospel truth. Further, since the Jews were still considered to be God’s chosen nation, Paul saw it as his obligation to reach out to them first. Further, as MacArthur points out, “If they went to Gentiles first, they would not be able to go to the synagogue.”1

For all of these reason, the apostle adopted this strategy, which seems to have been of God (see Romans 1:16). Thus we find him at a local synagogue (presumably on the Sabbath) upon his arrival in Iconium. In spite of having been unceremoniously rejected by many in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, Paul and Barnabas stuck to their plan. What can we learn from this?

At the very least, we can learn that having a plan is an important step if we will evangelise others. We should plan our work and then work according to our plan. Deliberately plan who you will evangelise: family members, fellow students, co-workers, neighbours. If you just wait for someone to ask you to share the gospel with them, you may wait for a long time in vain!

Perhaps another form of deliberate planning would be to carry tracts to give to waiters and petrol attendants and anyone else who might prove to be a strategic target. It is always useful to carry with you something that you can give to those to whom you are ministering the gospel.

Now, I am aware that the term “strategise” is often overworked; nevertheless, if we don’t have some kind of strategy, we will fulfil the adage: “You can’t hit what you don’t aim at.”

For a long time the elders of our church have been praying for a strategic opportunity to reach into Soweto with the gospel. During a recent elders’ prayer meeting, one of my fellow-elders prayed about this, and as he was praying it suddenly dawned on me that we had been praying for it for a long time without actually taking deliberate action. Later that morning I called a pastor from another church, whom I heard had some contacts in Soweto, to ask if there was any chance of partnering with their church. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any real strategic contacts, but we did commit to deliberately start looking for opportunities in which our churches can partner together in this endeavour. If we will reach out effectively, we must proactively seek opportunities to do so.

Let me appeal to you to make a plan with reference to those with whom you intend to share the gospel. And once those plans are settled, go for it!

They Persevered in Persuading

But not only did they persevere in their established plan, they also persevered in persuading others: They “so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed” (v. 1).

I love the way this verse reads, for it emphasises the fact that they spoke the gospel truth in such a way that many believed. The “great multitude,” of course, refers to those who were at the synagogue. The text tells us that both natural born Jews as well as Gentile proselytes believed the gospel.

But notice the important implication of this verse: They spoke in such a way that they were effective with the gospel. They were persuasive with the truth. They, in fact, aimed to be effective.

It must be said that we should desire to be effective with the proclamation of the gospel. We should desire, and be determined and diligent, to do what we must to speak in such a way that people will believe. That may rock your systematised theology, but so be it! We know and believe that salvation is not up to us or to our ability to persuade people. Nonetheless, this verse tells us that their manner was such that people believed their preaching.

These men were not simply going through the motions but were intent on seeing converts. We ought to be equally as intent. Everett Harrison notes, “It was powerful preaching, indeed, but the power lay in the truth of the message and in the work of the Holy Spirit as He attested that truth to the hearers. The missionaries preached for a decision, not simply to impart information.”2 This bears much meditation.

The result of their persuasive preaching was that “a great multitude believed.” What does this mean?

The Greek term translated “believed” means more than intellectual assent. It means, in biblical usage, “to be persuaded of the truth which evidences fruit” (see John 2:23-25). In other words, it means to salvifically believe. It means to be transformed by what you claim to believe. It means to believe and thus to obey (see Galatians 3:1 and 5:7).

The issue of obedience is fundamentally connected to saving belief. You can’t have the one without the other.

But how exactly did they speak so that people believed? What were some of the characteristics of their believable ministry? Let me suggest a few.

First, they preached the truth propositionally. Their preaching was not reliant on gimmicks and “relevance.” They preached Jesus Christ, who is always relevant. Writing to the churches of Galatia just months after first preaching there, the apostle wrote,

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

(Galatians 1:6-10)

And a little later in the same letter he asked, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” (3:1). The core of the message that they preached was Jesus Christ crucified.

Richard Sibbes once said that “preaching is the chariot that carries Christ up and down the world.” Richard Baxter added, “If we can but teach Christ to our people, we teach them all.” This should go without saying, but this essential and fundamental aspect is often ignored in our time. Far too often, churches and Christians in our day rely on gimmicks and “relevance” in their ministry.

Later this year we will be privileged to host Kevin DeYoung in our church. DeYoung is a young pastor in the United States with a healthy ministry. He once quipped that he has seen God bless his ministry without the need to “pierce anything.” There is so much emphasis today on the need to be relevant to the society in which we live that the simplicity of the gospel can sometimes be undermined. We are often told that we have to relate to the culture if we will reach it, but as DeYoung once said, “By the time the church has found something to be ‘cool’ you can count on it no longer being cool.”

If we will persuade people of the truth then we must use the truth. Evangelism is not about smoke and mirrors.

Second, they preached the truth passionately. They did so with conviction. Paul hints at this in Galatians 3:1 when he speaks of the fact that he had set Christ crucified before them.

Luke informs us that the apostles witnessed of the resurrection “with great power” (Acts 4:33). This is a foundational truth in evangelism. The apostles and their converts were convinced that Jesus rose from the dead. They were not speaking merely from a theoretical perspective but rather were declaring what they truly believed. We should evangelise like converts, not politicians.

Please note that you don’t have to have all of the answers to be believable, but you do need to be able to answer with confidence whether you really believe what you are preaching. Can you say with Paul, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12)?

Some years ago I listened to a message delivered by the late Greg Bahnsen from the pulpit of his church. It was the last sermon that he preached, and he spoke with great conviction from Philippians 1:21. Bahnsen was going in for heart surgery that week, and he had been informed that there was a good chance that he would die on the operating table. He spoke candidly of this possibility, and told his church that, while he was prepared to die, he wanted to make sure that they were prepared for the possibility of his death. It was preaching without great waves of emotion, but with tremendous conviction. Simply put, it was obvious that Bahnsen really believed that to live is Christ and to die is gain. Surely enough, just two days later he died on the table during heart surgery.

Third, these missionaries proclaimed the truth powerfully. That is, they preached in the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul made clear reference to this in Galatians 3:

This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

(Galatians 3:2-9)

We know that Paul preached in the power of the Spirit because his words to the Corinthians were characteristic of his ministry elsewhere and everywhere.

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

(1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

These men spoke as those anointed by God. They were persuasive because the Spirit of God worked irresistibly through them. This too is our only hope.

It is said that, each Sunday, as Spurgeon ascended the steps to the pulpit, he muttered with each step, “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” This is a missing element in so much of our Christian life and it is inexcusable. He lives within us!

Of course, if we will speak powerfully by the Spirit then we must live powerfully by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Finally, these men, no doubt, preached prayerfully. Again, this almost goes without saying but we need to say it. If we will be persuasive to the glory of God and to the good of souls then we must be more prayerful.

When a group of men came once to the Metropolitan Tabernacle to hear Spurgeon preach, he asked them if they would like to see the church’s “boiler room.” He took them down to the basement where they saw several hundred church members on their knees praying for the service. Whatever power Spurgeon had in his ministry was driven by the prayers of his people.

The New Testament makes far more of prayer than we often do. Paul coveted the prayers of the Romans (Romans 15:30), the Ephesians (Ephesians 6:19-20) and the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 3:1). We underemphasise prayer to our own detriment, and to the detriment of our ministry.

They Persevered in Persecution

Paul and Barnabas also persevered in the midst of great persecution.

But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

(Acts 14:2-3)

Notice the word “therefore” in v. 3. Because their ministry raised such opposition, they stayed where they were and continued to faithfully preach the gospel.

A Rebellious Response

As in Pisidian Antioch, the missionaries encountered “unbelieving Jews” in Iconium. The word “unbelieving” carries the connotation of “disobedient.” The word means “to be unwilling to be persuaded or to withhold belief and then also to withhold obedience. The two meanings run into one another. To disbelieve the word of God is to disobey God.”3

To disbelieve God is to disobey Him both fundamentally and coincidentally. We see this here in the response of disobedient Jews in the synagogue.

We learn from this that not all will be persuaded to believe, and those who do not believe are rarely passive in their unbelief. These unbelieving Jews “stirred up” the Gentiles. The word means “to arouse against” or “to excite.” It was precisely the same opposition that Paul and Barnabas had encountered earlier (13:50).

The disobedient Jews further “poisoned” the minds of the Gentiles. The word means “to exasperate” or “to embitter.” It is translated in 12:1 by the word “harass.” They poisoned the “minds”—literally, the “souls”—of the Gentiles against “the brethren.” The “brethren” is a reference to their fellow synagogue worshippers; that is, to those in the synagogue who believed the preaching of Paul and Barnabas.

This is a sad word, but a frequent occurrence in church history. Those who should be on the same side are often at odds. How often do churches split over disagreement when they ought instead to stand together for the gospel!

Texts like this one should serve as a warning to us to be careful of how we speak of those who are entrusted with the proclaiming of God’s Word. Don’t be responsible for poisoning the minds of those who could be helped by the ministry of a faithful minister or local church. Guard your heart and thus your tongue! The local church should be a place where people are persuaded to believe rather than discouraged to not believe!

A Remarkable Response

Despite the opposition—in fact, because of the opposition—“they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord.” This is somewhat surprising to us. We expect to read that they left, but they did not. They were opposed and they responded with perseverance. And they did so because their ministry was “in the Lord.”

These missionaries spoke freely, courageously, without hesitation, and assuredly because they spoke in reliance upon the Lord. Calvin said it well: “For seeing that they knew thereby that the Lord was present with them, and that his hand was nigh to help them, they were worthily [goaded] forward to behave themselves stoutly.”4

Of the term “boldly,” MacArthur writes, “Boldness is that essential quality without which nothing significant can be accomplished for the gospel. Boldness is what enables believers to persist in the face of opposition.”5 The New Testament has much to say about boldness in Christian ministry (see 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Philippians 1:19-20; Acts 9:27-28; 13:46). Paul and Barnabas were confident and thus they stayed put. “Whatever else these two were they were brave men. It always takes courage to be a Christian because it always takes courage to take a way that is different from the crowd.”6

They were cognisant of the fact that opposition to the truth is to be expected. “‘So’ seems to indicate that it was the persecution that caused the missionaries to stay in the city for a long time. Opposition can indeed be a challenge to God’s servants to stand their ground, for this is evidence that the gospel is making an impact (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:8-9).”7 Because these men were convinced that Christ was with them (Matthew 28:20), they were willing to carry their cross (Matthew 16:24-28) in Christ-centred ministry (John 15:20; 1 Corinthians 1:21-25).

We must be prepared to stand our grand when opposition comes. Opposition is sure to arise—from family, school-mates, co-workers, neighbours, and even perhaps church members! Are you willing to stand your ground in the fact of such opposition?

A Remarkable Revelation

As they persevered in persecution they also persevered in fruitfulness. The Lord “was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (v. 3). This is an encouragement to the faithful. These men remained faithful and Jesus made their efforts fruitful.

There is no mistake here about who was doing the saving. These servants were doing the speaking, but it was the Lord Jesus Christ who was doing the work of saving sinners. This, of course, is in keeping with the promise that He gave in Matthew 28:19-20 (cf. Mark 16:19-20).

Fruitfulness in the midst of persecution is not unusual. “This has often been the experience of Christian workers; when difficulties increase, there is a comforting revelation of the grace and mercy and goodness of God.”8

It is a great blessing to know that we are not called to persevere dependant on our own strength. The mission to which we have been called is one in which Christ goes with us. He is the one who bears witness to “the word of His grace” (what a wonderful description of the gospel!).

It is interesting that Jesus “granted signs and wonders” to occur, whose purpose no doubt was to confirm their message and to secure belief. We are often reticent to accept such an occurrence in our day. After all, did not Jesus and Paul condemn such “sign seeking” (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-23; Mark 8:12). For example, listen to these words by MacArthur: “Such supernatural confirmation is unnecessary today. Whether a man speaks for God can and must now be determined by whether his message conforms to the only standard, which is Scripture.”9 I would agree with most of this—in context. But at the same time I do believe that this statement can be erroneously overly dogmatic. Let me explain.

Let’s consider first that Jesus categorically refused to give unbelieving Jews a sign. It must be understood that at this point they had all they needed to believe that Jesus was the Messiah and yet they were obstinately disobeying and disregarding and disbelieving the evidence. Jesus hence refused to cast His pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6).

And yet it is interesting that, on several other occasions, Jesus performed miracles as a sign in order for the people to believe on Him. In fact, the Gospel of John is arranged around seven signs or miracles that Jesus performed during His ministry.10

It should also be emphasised that, in our text in Acts 14, it clearly states that these “signs and wonders” came from Jesus (see Acts 1:1) and in the midst of Jews. Hence, Jesus never categorically condemned signs, miracles and wonders as a means towards belief. What He did refuse was to do tricks like a performer before the defiantly unbelieving.

This is important for us to understand. We often hear stories of those who claim to have received visions through which they have eventually come to Christ. This is especially the case in gospel “closed” regions like North Africa and parts of Asia. We should not summarily dismiss these as spurious. We have little biblical basis on which to categorically reject them. As long as a vision does not contradict Scripture, we should be careful not to quench the Spirit or despise prophecies. Instead, we must examine all things (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21). Listen to these helpful words in this regard (along with Macarthur’s above): “‘God hardly ever allows [miracles] to be detached from his Word.’ Their ‘true use’ is ‘the establishing’ of the Gospel in its full and genuine authority.”11

I would conclude the same from Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians 1. Again, I believe that Paul was speaking with reference to those who think that they are too “sophisticated” to believe in Christ.  Paul was saying that if the Jews would not believe the obvious evidence before them, they should not expect any further evidence.

In summary, let me say that we must be careful about throwing out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to the miraculous. We should not count it strange if Jesus chooses to do some wondrous things today as a means to gather in His flock and to encourage His servants.

One more observation is important here: Though Jesus was the source of the “signs and wonders” He did them through His servants. This highlights once again the wonderful knitting of God’s sovereignty and human means. God uses His people to reach His people.

They Persevered in their Purpose

In the final section of our text, we see that, in spite of great gospel success, there was also an attendant division in the city.

But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. And they were preaching the gospel there.

(Acts 14:4-7)

I find this in itself remarkable, because we see here that the gospel impact had moved beyond the synagogue to the entire city! The result was that people were taking sides.

But note the sadness of this. The text tells us that “part sided with the Jews, and part sided with the apostles.” The apostles were also Jews, but they were not considered to be so by those opposed to the gospel. It is a tragedy beyond description that those who should have got it refused it. It is a tragedy when those who profess to be God’s people are able to attract the pagans to their hostility against the truth of the gospel! So many of the church’s enemies are often within the fold: wolves masquerading as shepherds.

And so Paul and Barnabas, as in Pisidian Antioch, were now faced with a schism that turned violent (v.5). The words “violent attempt” speak of a violent impulse which results in an assault. The Greek term “connotes impulsiveness and suggests an action not controlled by reason.”12 The same word is used on Mark 5:13 to describe the herd of pigs who “ran violently” over a cliff to their deaths. In Acts 7:57 and 19:29 the word is used to describe a riot of people.

Those disobeying the gospel were intent on insolently mistreating these men with a view to stoning them to death. The lives of these missionaries were in danger and they, by God’s providence, became aware of it. They therefore fled some thirty kilometres south to Lystra and then to Derbe.

The word translated “fled” literally means “to seek refuge.” Its only other New Testament usage is Hebrews 6:18, where it speaks of fleeing to Christ for refuge.

Now, some have been a bit confused, if not disappointed, by action of the missionaries. After all, the chapter opens with them choosing to stay as opposition surfaced, but now they fled. Were they being somehow inconsistent? Had they lost their faith? Were they guilty of unbelief? Hardly!

The fact is that sometimes the best choice when faced with opposition is to persevere where you are, and sometimes the best choice is to persevere elsewhere. In either case, we are always called to persevere. These missionaries did persevere, but they did so in other cities (v. 7), which, by the way, also proved to be places of persecution.

The Lord Jesus commanded His disciples “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 10:23). These men were being obedient to their Lord. A dead gospel preacher is not all that effective!

Erdman notes, “At times it is best to suffer as martyrs; at other times to seek safety and to resume work when the storm is spent.”13 And Robertson adds, “It is a wise preacher who always knows when to stand his ground and when to leave for the glory of God.”14 Macarthur sums it up well:

Their flight was an act of prudence, not cowardice. There was obviously nothing more they could accomplish by remaining at Iconium, so it was time to move on to new territory where the gospel was needed. . . . Persecution merely pushed the good new of forgiveness and salvation into new regions.15

Again, please note that these men persevered, even though they fled. They simply went somewhere else, knowing full well that soon the powder keg of opposition would be kindled again in response to their gospel proclamation. I love the picture of v. 7: “And they were preaching the gospel there.” Literally, this reads that they were “evangelising there.” They were busy evangelising everyone everywhere.

As I write these words, South Africa is experiencing tough times politically, economically, judicially and socially. We face difficulties here. But the things that I have mentioned are faced by unbelievers as well. I want to be careful of drawing too much of a parallel between what we are experiencing and what Paul and Barnabas faced. At present, Christians are not being persecuted for the sake of the gospel. And yet, at the same time, I want to say that if a believer chooses to emigrate to another country—for whatever reason—they should learn from these men that God expects them to persevere there just as He expects for us to persevere here. We are all called to evangelise. Our calling is for everyone to evangelise everyone everywhere!

Sadly, it has often been the case that, when believers have fled for refuge from South Africa to other countries, they have ceased persevering. I want to exhort you that perhaps the best place to persevere is where God has planted you—in the face of difficulties!

In closing, let us be encouraged by the promise that wherever we are in this world, if we are obedient to our Lord’s Great Commission, we can rely on His promise that there He is with us. Therefore, with such confidence, let us speak boldly in reliance upon the Lord and expect great things both from and for Him.

Show 15 footnotes

  1. John F. MacArthur, Jr., Acts: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 2 vols. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 2:45.
  2. Everett F. Harrison, Interpreting Acts: The Expanding Church (Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1986), 230.
  3. A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1930), 3:204.
  4. John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, 22 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005), 19.1:4.
  5. MacArthur, Acts, 2:46.
  6. William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles: The Daily Study Bible Series (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1955), 116.
  7. Harrison, Interpreting Acts, 231.
  8. Charles R. Erdman, The Acts: An Exposition (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1966), 121.
  9. MacArthur, Acts, 2:44.
  10. He, of course, performed far more than seven, but John uses seven particular miracles as the arranging feature of his Gospel.
  11. John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1990), 229.
  12. Richard N. Longnecker, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1981), 9:433.
  13. Erdman, The Acts, 121.
  14. Robertson, Word Pictures, 3:207.
  15. MacArthur, Acts, 2:47.