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Home > Commentaries > Barnes' Notes > Acts > Chapter 28

Barnes' Notes on the New Testament

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Chapter 28

Verse 1. They knew. Either from their former acquaintance with the island, or from the information of the inhabitants.

Was called Melita. Now called Malta. It was celebrated formerly for producing large quantities of honey, and is supposed to have been called Melita from the Greek word signifying honey. It is about twenty miles in length from east to west, and twelve miles in breadth from north to south, and about sixty miles in circumference. It is about sixty miles from the coast of Sicily. The island is an immense rock of white soft free-stone, with a covering of earth about one foot in depth, which has been brought from the island of Sicily. There was also another island formerly called Melita, now called Meleda, in the Adriatic Sea, near the coast of Illyricum; and some have supposed that Paul was shipwrecked on that island. But tradition has uniformly said that it was on the island now called Malta. Besides, the other Melita would have been far out of the usual tract in going to Italy; and it is further evident that Malta was the place, because, from the place of his shipwreck, he went directly to Syracuse, Rhegium, and Puteoli, thus sailing in a direct course to Rome. In sailing from the other Melita to Rhegium, Syracuse would be far out of the direct course. The island now is in the possession of the British.

{b} "island" Acts 27:26

Verse 2. And the barbarous people. See Barnes "Romans 1:14". The Greeks regarded all as barbarians who did not speak their language; and applied the name to all other nations but their own. It does not denote, as it does sometimes with us, people of savage, uncultivated, and cruel habits, but simply those whose speech was unintelligible. See 1 Corinthians 14:11. The island is supposed to have been peopled at first by the Phoecians, afterwards by the Phoenicians, and afterwards by a colony from Carthage. The language of the Maltese was that of Africa, and hence it was called by the Greeks the language of barbarians. It was a language which was unintelligible to the Greeks and Latins.

The rain. The continuance of the storm.

And of the cold. The exposure to the water in getting to the shore, and probably to the coldness of the weather. It was now in the month of October.

{c} "barbarous people" Romans 1:14; Colossians 3:11
{d} "received us every one" Matthew 10:42; Hebrews 13:2

Verse 3. Had gathered a bundle of sticks. For the purpose of making a fire.

There came a viper. A poisonous serpent. See Barnes "Matthew 3:7".

The viper was, doubtless, in the bundle of sticks or limbs of trees which Paul had gathered, but was concealed, and was torpid. But when the bundle was laid on the fire, the viper became warmed by the heat, and ran out, and fastened on the hand of Paul.

And fastened on his hand. \~kayhqe\~. This word properly means, to join one's self to; to touch; to adhere to. It might have been by coiling around his hand and arm; or by fastening its fangs in his hand. It is not expressly affirmed that Paul was bitten by the viper, yet it is evidently implied; and it is wholly incredible that a viper, unless miraculously prevented, should fasten himself to the hand without biting.

Verse 4. The venomous beast. The word beast we apply usually to an animal of larger size than a viper. But the original word--\~yhrion\~-- is applicable to animals of any kind, and especially applied by Greek writers to serpents. See Schleusner.

No doubt. The fact that the viper had fastened on him, and that, as they supposed, he must now certainly die, was the proof from which they inferred his guilt.

Is a murderer. Why they thought he was a murderer rather than guilty of some other crime, is not known. It might have been,

(1.) because they inferred that he must have been guilty of some very atrocious crime; and as murder was the highest crime that man could commit, they inferred that he had been guilty of this. Or,

(2.) more probably, they had an opinion that when Divine vengeance overtook a man, he would be punished in a manner similar to the offence; and as murder is committed usually with the hand, and as the viper had fastened on the hand of Paul, they inferred that he had been guilty of taking life. It was supposed among the ancients, that persons were often punished by Divine vengeance in that part of the body which had been the instrument of the sin.

Whom, though he hath escaped the sea. They supposed that vengeance and justice would still follow the guilty; that though he might escape one form of punishment, yet he would be exposed to another. And this, to a certain extent, is true. These barbarians reasoned from great original principles, written on the hearts of all men by nature, that there is a God of justice, and that the guilty would be punished. They reasoned incorrectly, as many do, only because that they supposed that every calamity is a judgment for some particular sin. Men often draw this conclusion; and suppose that suffering is to be traced to some particular crime, and to be regarded as a direct judgment from heaven. See Barnes "John 9:1", John 9:2-3. The general proposition, that all sin will be punished at some time is true; but we are not qualified to affirm of particular calamities always that they are direct judgments for sin. In some cases we may. In the case of the drunkard, the gambler, and the profligate, we cannot doubt that the loss of property, health, and reputation is the direct result of specific crime. In the ordinary calamities of life, however, it requires a more profound acquaintance with the principles of Divine government than we possess, to affirm of each instance of suffering that it is a particular judgment for some crime.

Yet vengeance. \~dikh\~ Dike, or justice, was represented by the heathen as a goddess, the daughter of Jupiter, whose office it was to take vengeance, or to inflict punishment for crimes.

Suffereth not to live. They regarded him as already a dead man. They supposed the effect of the bite of the viper would be so certainly fatal, that they might speak of him as already in effect dead.--Beza.

{*} "venomous beast" "serpent"
{e} "No doubt" John 7:24

Verse 5. And he shook off, etc. In this was remarkably fulfilled the promise of the Saviour; "They shall take up serpents," etc. Mark 16:18.

{*} "beast" "serpent"
{f} "no harm" Mark 16:18; Luke 10:19

Verse 6. When he should have swollen. When they expected he would have swollen from the bite of the viper. The poison of the viper is rapid; and they expected that he would die soon. The word rendered "swollen"--\~pimprasyai\~--means, properly, to burn, to be inflamed, and then to be swollen from inflammation. This was what they expected here, that the poison would produce a violent inflammation.

Or fallen down dead suddenly. As is sometimes the case from the bite of the serpent, when a vital part is affected.

They changed their minds. They saw he was uninjured, and miraculously preserved; and they supposed that none but a god could be thus kept from death.

That he was a god. That the Maltese were idolaters there can be no doubt. But what gods they worshipped is unknown, and conjecture would be useless. It was natural that they should attribute such a preservation to the presence of a divinity. A similar instance occurred at Lystra. See Barnes "Acts 14:11".

{+} "Howbeit" "However"
{++} "looked" "expected"
{g} "that he was a god" Acts 14:11

Verse 7. In the same quarters. In that place, or that part of the island.

Possessions. Property. His place of residence.

The chief man. Gr. The first man. Probably he was the governor of the island.

Verse 8. A bloody flux. Gr. Dysentery.

And laid his hand on him, In accordance with the promise of the Saviour, Mark 16:18. This miracle was a suitable return for the hospitality of Publius, and would serve to conciliate further the kindness of the people, and prepare the way for the usefulness of Paul.

{a} "Paul entered" James 5:14,15
{b} "laid his hands" Matthew 9:18; Mark 6:5-7,32; 16:18; Luke 4:40; Acts 19:11
1 Corinthians 12:9,22

Verse 9. No Barnes text on this verse.

{*} "healed" "cured"

Verse 10. Who also honoured us. As men who were favoured of heaven, and who had been the means of conferring important benefits on them in healing the sick, etc. Probably the word "honours" here means gifts, or marks of favour.

They laded us. They gave us, or conferred on us. They furnished us with such things as were necessary for us on our journey.

{c} "honoured us" 1 Thessalonians 2:6; 1 Timothy 5:17

Verse 11. And after three months. Probably they remained there so long, because there was no favourable opportunity for them to go to Rome. If they arrived there, as is commonly supposed, in October, they left for Rome in January.

In a ship of Alexandria. See Barnes "Acts 27:6".

Whose sign. Which was ornamented with an image of Castor and Pollux. It was common to place on the prow of the ship the image Of some person, or god, whose name the ship bore. This custom is still observed.

Castor and Pollux. These were two semi-deities. They were reputed to be twin brothers, sons of Jupiter and Leda, the wife of Tyndarus, king of Sparta. After their death, they are fabled to have been translated to heaven, and made constellations under the name of gemini, or the twins. They then received divine honours, and were called the sons of Jupiter. They were supposed to preside over sailors, and to be their protectors; hence it was not uncommon to place their image on ships. See authorities in Lempriere's Dictionary.

Verse 12. And landing at Syracuse. Syracuse was the capital of the island of Sicily, on the eastern coast. it was in the direct course from Malta to Rome. It contains at present about 18,000 inhabitants.

{+} "tarried" "remained"

Verse 13. We fetched a compass. We coasted about; or we coasted along the eastern side of Sicily. The course can be seen on the Map.

And came to Rhegium. This was a city of Italy, in the kingdom of Naples, on the coast near the south-west extremity of Italy. It was nearly opposite to Messina, in Sicily. It is now called Reggio. See the Map.

The south wind. A wind favourable for their voyage.

To Puteoli. The wells. It was celebrated for its warm baths; and from these, and its springs, it is supposed to have derived its name of the wells. It is now called Pozzuoli, and is in the campania of Naples, on the northern side of the bay, and about eight miles north-west from Naples. The town contains at present about 10,000 inhabitants.

Verse 14. Brethren. Christian brethren. But by whom the gospel had been preached there is unknown.

{&} "tarry" "remain"

Verse 15. And from thence. From Puteoli.

When the brethren heard of us. The Christians who were at Rome.

As far as Appii forum. This was a city about fifty-six miles from Rome. The remains of an ancient city are still seen there. It is on the borders of the Pontine marshes. The city was built on the celebrated Appian way, or road from Rome to Capua. The road was made by Appius Claudius, and probably the city also. It was called the forum or market-place of Appius, because it was a convenient place for travellers on the Appian way to stop for purposes of refreshment. It was also a famous resort for pedlars and merchants. See Horace, b. i. sat. 5.3.

And The three taverns. This place was about eight or ten miles nearer Rome than Appii forum. Cicero ad Att. ii. 10. It undoubtedly received its name because it was distinguished as a place of refreshment on the Appian way. Probably the greater part of the company of Christians remained at this place, while the remainder went forward to meet Paul, and to attend him of his way. The Christians at Rome had doubtless heard much of Paul. His epistle to them had been written about A. D. 57, or at least five years before this time. The interest which the Roman Christians felt in the apostle was thus manifested by their coming so far to meet him, though he was a prisoner.

He thanked God. He had long ardently desired to see the Christians of Rome, Romans 1:9-11; 15:23,32. He was now grateful to God that the object of his long desire was at last granted to him, and that he was permitted to see them, though in bonds.

And took courage. From their society and counsel. The presence and counsel of Christian brethren is often of inestimable value in encouraging and strengthening us in the toils and trials of life.

{e} "came to meet us" Acts 21:5; 3 John 1:6,8
{f} "courage" Joshua 1:6,7,9; 1 Samuel 30:6; Psalms 27:14

Verse 16. The captain of the guard. The commander of the Pretorian cohort, or guard. The custom was, that those who were sent from the provinces to Rome for trial were delivered to the custody of this guard. The name of the prefect or captain of the guard, at this time, was Burrhas Afranius. Tacit. Ann. 12, 42, 1.

But Paul was suffered, etc. Evidently by the permission of the centurion, whose favour he had so much conciliated on the voyage. See Acts 27:43.

With a soldier that kept him. That is, in the custody of a soldier, to whom he was chained, and who, of course, constantly attended him. See Acts 24:23. See Barnes "Acts 12:6".

Verse 17. Paul called the chief of the Jews. He probably had two objects in this: one was to vindicate himself from the suspicion of crime, or to convince them that the charges alleged against him were false; and the other, to explain to them the gospel of Christ. In accordance with his custom everywhere, he seized the excellent opportunity of making the gospel known to his own countrymen; and he naturally supposed that charges highly unfavourable to his character had been sent forward against him to the Jews at Rome by those in Judea.

Against the people. Against the Jews, Acts 24:12.

Or customs, etc. The religious rites of the nation. See Barnes "Acts 24:12".

Was I delivered prisoner, etc. By the Jews, Acts 21:33, etc.

{|} "come together" "assembled"
{h} "though I have committed" Acts 24:12,13; 25:8
{i} "delivered prisoner" Acts 21:33

Verse 18. When they had examined me, etc. Acts 24:10-17, Acts 25, Acts 26.

No cause of death. No crime worthy of death.

{k} "Who" Acts 24:10; 26:31

Verse 19. The Jews spake against it. Against my being set at liberty.

I was constrained. By a regard to my own safety and character.

To appeal unto Caesar. See Barnes "Acts 25:11".

Not that I had ought, etc. I did it for my own preservation and safety; not that I wished to accuse my own countrymen. It was not from motives of revenge, but for safety. Paul had been unjustly accused and injured; yet, with the true spirit of the Christian religion, he here says that he cherished no unkind feelings towards them.

{a} "appeal" Acts 25:11

Verse 20. Because that for the hope of Israel. On account of the hope which the Jews cherished of the coming of the Messiah; of the resurrection; and of the future state through him. See Barnes "Acts 23:6".

I am bound with this chain. See Barnes "Acts 26:29". Probably he was attached constantly to a soldier by a chain.

{b} "hope of Israel" Acts 26:6,7
{c} "chain" Acts 26:29; Ephesians 3:1; 4:1; 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:16; 2:9; Philemon 1:10,13.

Verse 21. We neither received letters, etc. Why the Jews in Judea had not forwarded the accusation against Paul to their brethren at Rome, that they might continue the prosecution before the emperor, is not known. It is probable that they regarded their cause as hopeless, and chose to abandon the prosecution. Paul had been acquitted successively by Lysias, Felix, Festus, Agrippa; and as they had not succeeded in procuring his condemnation before them, they saw no prospect of doing it at Rome, and chose therefore not to press the prosecution any farther.

Neither any of the brethren that came. Any of the Jews. There was a very constant intercourse between Judea and Rome; but it seems that the Jews, who had come before Paul had arrived, had not mentioned his case, so as to prejudice them against him.

{*} "shewed" "related"

Verse 22. What thou thinkest. What your belief is; or what are the doctrines of Christians respecting the Messiah.

This sect. The sect of Christians.

Spoken against. Particularly by Jews. This was the case then, and, to a great extent, is the case still. It has been the common lot of the followers of Christ to be spoken of with contempt. Comp. Acts 24:5.

{d} "every where" Luke 2:34; Acts 24:5,14; 1 Peter 2:12; 4:14

Verse 23. Appointed him a day. A day when they would hear him.

To his lodging. To the house where he resided, Acts 28:30.

He expounded. He explained or declared the principles of the Christian religion.

And testified the kingdom of God. Bore witness to, or declared the principles and doctrines of the reign of the Messiah. See Barnes "Matthew 3:2".

Persuading them concerning Jesus. Endeavouring to convince them that Jesus was the Messiah.

Both out of the law of Moses. Endeavouring to convince them that he corresponded with the predictions respecting the Messiah in the books of Moses, Genesis 49:10; Deuteronomy 18:18, and with the types which Moses had instituted to prefigure the Messiah.

And out of the prophets. Showing that he corresponded with the predictions of the prophets. See Barnes "Acts 17:3".

From morning till evening. An instance of Paul's indefatigable toil in endeavouring to win his own countrymen to Jesus as the Messiah.

{e} "lodging" Philemon 1:2
{f} "expounded" Luke 24:27; Acts 17:3; 19:8
{g} "law and prophets" Acts 26:6,22
{+} "testified" "bore testimony to"

Verse 24. And some believed, etc. See Barnes "Acts 14:4".

{h} "some believed" Acts 14:1; 17:4; 19:9; Romans 3:3

Verse 25. Had spoken one word. One declaration of solemn prophecy, reminding them that it was the characteristic of the nation to reject the testimony of God, and that it was to be expected. It was the last solemn warning which we know Paul to have delivered to his countrymen the Jews.

Well spake. Or he spoke the truth; he justly described the character of the Jewish people. The passage here quoted was as applicable in the time of Paul as of Isaiah.

The Holy Ghost. A full proof of the inspiration of Isaiah.

By Esaias. By Isaiah. Isaiah 6:9,10.

{++} "Holy Ghost" "Holy Spirit"
{&} "Esias" "Isaiah"
{i} "the prophet" Psalms 81:11; Isaiah 6:9; Jeremiah 5:21; Ezekiel 3:6,7; 12:2
Matthew 13:14,15; Romans 11:8

Verse 26. Saying, etc. See this passage explained; See Barnes "Matthew 13:14"; See Barnes "John 12:39,40".

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

{|} "waxed gross" "become"

Verse 28. The salvation of God. The knowledge of God's mode of saving men.

Is sent unto the Gentiles. Since you have rejected it, it will be offered to them. See Barnes "Acts 13:46".

And that they will hear it. They will embrace it. Paul was never discouraged. If the gospel was rejected by one class of people, he was ready to offer it to another. If his own countrymen rejected and despised it, he never allowed himself to suppose that Christ had died in vain, but believed that others would be inclined to embrace its saving benefits. How happy would it be if all Christians had the same unwavering faith and zeal as Paul!

{k} "Gentiles" Matthew 21:41; Acts 13:46,47; 18:6; 22:21; 26:17,18; Romans 11:11

Verse 29. And had great reasoning. Great discussion or debates. That is, the part which believed that Jesus was the Messiah, Acts 28:24, discussed the subject warmly with those who did not believe. This whole verse is wanting in the Syriac version and in some Greek Mss., and is supposed by Mill and Griesbach to be spurious.

Verse 30. Paul dwelt two whole years. Doubtless in the custody of the soldiers. Why he was not prosecuted before the emperor during this time is not known. It is evident, however, Acts 28:21, that the Jews were not disposed to carry the case before Nero; and the matter, during this time, was suffered quietly to sleep. There is great probability that the Jews durst not prosecute him before the emperor. It is clear that they had never been in favour of the appeal to Rome, and that they had no hope of gaining their cause. Probably they might remember the former treatment of the Roman emperor of their people, See Barnes "Acts 18:2"; they might remember that they were despised at the Roman capital, and not choose to encounter the scorn and indignation of the Roman court; and as there was no prosecution, Paul was suffered to live in quietness and safety. Lardner, however, supposes (vol. v. pp. 528, 529, Edit. 8vo. Lond. 1829) that the case of Paul was soon brought before Nero, and decided; and that the method of confinement was ordered by the emperor himself. Lightfoot also supposes that Paul's "accusers, who had come from Judea to lay their charge against him, would be urgent to get their business despatched, that they might be returning to their own home again, and so would bring him to trial as soon as they could." But nothing certain is known on the subject. It is evident, indeed, from 2 Timothy 4:16, that he was at some time arraigned before the emperor; but when it was, or what was the decision, or why he was at last set at liberty, are all involved in impenetrable obscurity.

In his own hired house. In a house which he was permitted to hire, and occupy as his own. Probably in this he was assisted by the kindness of his Roman friends.

And received all, etc. Received all hospitably and kindly who came to him to show him kindness, or to listen to his instructions. It is evident from this, that he was still a prisoner, and was not permitted to go at large.

Verse 31. Preaching the kingdom of God. See Barnes "Acts 20:25".

With all confidence. Openly and boldly, without any one to hinder him. It is known, also, that Paul was not unsuccessful even when a prisoner at Rome. Several persons were converted by his preaching even in the court of the emperor. The things which had happened to him, he says, Philippians 1:12-14, had fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel, so that his bonds in Christ were manifested in all the palace, and in all other places; and many brethren in the Lord, says he, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. In this situation he was remembered with deep interest by the church of Philippi, who sent Epaphroditus to him with a contribution to supply his wants. Of their kindness he speaks in terms of the tenderest gratitude in Philippians 2:25; 4:18. During his confinement, also, he was the means of the conversion of Onesimus, a runaway slave of Philemon, of Colosse in Phrygia, Philemon 1:10 whom he sent back to his master with a letter to himself, and with an epistle to the church at that place. Colossians 4:8,9,18. During this imprisonment he wrote, according to Lardner, the following epistles, in the following order and time, viz :--

Ephesians, April, A. D ............................... 61 2Timothy, May .................................... 61 Philippians, before the end of ........................62 Colossians .......................................... 62 Philemon .......................................... 62 Hebrews, spring of ................................. 63

Here closes the inspired account of the propagation of Christianity, of the organization of the Christian church, and of the toils and persecutions of the apostle Paul. Who can but be deeply affected when he comes to the conclusion of this inspired book of revivals, and of the history of the spread of the Christian religion, and of the account of that wonderful man--the apostle Paul? Who can help heaving the sigh of regret, that this interesting historian did not carry forward the history of Paul till his death; and that henceforward, in the history of the church, we want this faithful, inspired guide; and that, from the close of this book, everything becomes at once so involved in obscurity and uncertainty? Instead, however, of pouring forth the sigh of unavailing regret that the sacred historian has carried us no farther onward, we should rather speak the language of praise that he has given, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, a history of the church for thirty years after the ascension of the Saviour; that he has recorded the accounts of the first great revivals of religion; that he has presented us the examples of the early missionary zeal; that he has informed us how the early Christians endured persecution and toil; that he has conducted us from land to land, and from city to city, showing us everywhere how the gospel was propagated, until we are led to the seat of the Roman power, and see the great apostle of Christianity there proclaiming, in that mighty capital of the world, the name of Jesus as the Saviour of men. Perhaps there could be no more appropriate close to the book of the inspired history, than thus to have conducted the apostle of the Gentiles, and to have recorded the spread of Christianity, to the capital of the Roman world, and to leave the principal agent in the establishment of the Christian religion in that seat of intelligence, and influence, and power. It is the conducting of Christianity to the very height of its earthly victories; and having shown its power in the provinces of the empire, it was proper for the inspired author of this ecclesiastical history to close the account with the record of its achievements in the capital.

Why Luke closed his history here is not known. It may have been that he was not afterwards the companion of Paul; or that he might have been himself removed by death. It is agreed on all hands that he did not attend Paul in his subsequent travels; and we should infer, from the conclusion of this book, that he did not survive the apostle, as it is almost incredible, if he did, that he did not mention his release and death. It is the uniform account of antiquity, that Luke, after the transactions with which the Acts of the Apostles closes, passed over into Achaia, where he lived a year or two, and there died at the age of eighty-four years.

Everything in regard to the apostle Paul, after the account with which Luke closes this book, is involved in doubt and uncertainty. By what means he was set at liberty is not known; and there is a great contradiction of statements in regard to his subsequent travels, and even the time of his death. It is generally agreed, indeed, that he was set at liberty in the year of our Lord 63. After this, some of the Fathers assert that he travelled over Italy, and passed into Spain. But this account is involved in great uncertainty. Lardner, who has examined all the statements with care, and than whom no one is better qualified to pronounce an opinion on these subjects, gives the following account of the subsequent life of Paul. (Works, vol. v. 331--336. Ed. Loud. 1829.) He supposes that, after his release, he went from Rome to Jerusalem as soon as possible; that he then went to Ephesus, and from thence to Laodicea and Colosse; and that he returned to Rome by Troas, Philippi, and Corinth. The reason why he returned to Rome, Lardner supposes, was that he regarded that city as opening before him the widest and most important field of labour; and that therefore he proposed there to spend the remainder of his life.

In the year of our Lord 64, a dreadful fire happened at Rome, which continued for six or seven days. It was generally supposed that the city had been set on fire by order of the emperor Nero. In order to divert the attention of the people from this charge against himself, he accused the Christians of having been the authors of the conflagration, and excited against them a most furious and bloody persecution. In this persecution, it is generally supposed that Paul and Peter suffered death; the former by being beheaded, and the latter by crucifixion. Paul is supposed to have been beheaded rather than crucified, because he was a Roman citizen, and because it was unlawful to put a Roman citizen to death on a cross. Lardner thinks that this occurred in the year 65. Where Paul was beheaded is not certainly known. It is generally supposed to have occurred at a place called the Salvian Waters, about three miles from Rome, and that he was buried in the Ostian Way, where a magnificent church was afterwards built. But of this there is no absolute certainty.

It is far more important and interesting for us to be assured, from the character which he evinced, and from the proofs of his zeal and toil in the cause of the Lord Jesus, that his spirit rested in the bosom of his Saviour and his God. Wherever he died, his spirit, we doubt not, is in heaven. And where that body rested at last, which he laboured "to keep under," and which he sought to bring "into subjection," 1 Corinthians 9:27, and which was to him so much the source of conflict and of sin, Romans 7:5,23 is a matter of little consequence. It will be watched and guarded by the eye of that Saviour whom he served, and will be raised up to eternal life. In his own inimitable language, it was sown in corruption, it shall be raised in incorruption; it was sown in dishonour, it shall be raised in glory; it was sown in weakness, it shall be raised in power; it was sown a natural body, it shall be raised a spiritual body, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44. And in regard to him, and to all other saints, when that corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and that mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory," 1 Corinthians 15:54. To Paul now, what are all his sorrows, and persecutions, and toils in the cause of his Master? What but a source of thanksgiving that he was permitted thus to labour to spread the gospel through the world? So may we live, imitating his life of zeal, and self-denial, and faithfulness, that, when he rises from the dead, we may participate with him in the glories of the resurrection of the just!

{a} "kingdom of Jesus" Acts 4:31; Ephesians 6:19
---------------------------------------------------------------------- BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES


I.--Brief history of Christ after his death, 1--8; his ascension to heaven, 9--11. The disciples' return to Jerusalem, 12--14. Peter relates the history of Judas' wickedness and ruin; Matthias chosen an apostle by lot, 15--26.

II.--The Holy Ghost poured out upon the disciples, 1--4. Multitudes crowd to see and hear them; part are astonished, and others deride, 5--13. Peter vindicates himself and brethren, and shows that this was promised by Joel, and bestowed in consequence of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, 14--36. Three thousand converted to Christ, 37--41. These primitive Christians remarkably pious and charitable, and God blesses them, 42--47.

III.--Peter and John cure a lame man by a word, 1--11. Peter takes occasion to represent Christ's power, and their sin in crucifying him, 12--18. He exhorts and encourages them to repent and believe in him, 19--26.

IV.--Peter and John are imprisoned; but five thousand are converted to Christ, 1--4. Being examined touching their cure of the lame man, they avow that they had done it by the authority and power of Jesus Christ, 8--12. The Jewish rulers dismiss them, and prohibit them from preaching, 13--22. The two apostles and brethren ask of God further operations of his grace; and are answered by a repeated descent of the Holy Ghost, 23--31. The believers knit together in love, and abound in piety and charity, 31--37.

V.--Ananias and Sapphira struck dead, 1--11. The apostles work many miracles, 12--16. Are again imprisoned, but delivered by an angel, and go on in preaching, 17--25. Being again brought before the sanhedrim, they boldly avow Jesus to be the exalted Messiah, 26--33. By the advice of Gamaliel, they are dismissed, after being scourged, 34--40. They depart, rejoicing in their persecution, and proceed in their work of preaching Christ, 41, 42.

VI.--Seven deacons chosen and ordained for the distribution of alms, 1--6. Many priests and others converted; Stephen actively bestirs himself for Christ --is disputed against, accused, and appears before the sanhedrim, 7--15.

VII.--By an historical account of the Hebrew nation under Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, 1--16: under Moses, 17--4!: under Joshua, David, and Solomon, 44--50: and under their judges and kings, 42, 43: Stephen shows that the temple and ceremonies were but typical; and that, for their wickedness, God had threatened to disperse their nation. He charges his persecutors with wickedness, 51--53. Enraged,they stone him to death; he commits himself to Christ, and prays for his murderers, 54--60,

VIII.--While Stephen is buried and lamented, the Christians at Jerusalem are terribly persecuted by Saul and others, 1--3. The church enlarged by the dispersion of the persecuted preachers, who spread the gospel abroad; particularly Philip in Samaria, 4--13. Peter and John confirm the new converts there, and reprove Simon, 14--25. Philip converts and baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch, 26--38. The eunuch joyfully pursues his journey homeward; Philip preaches along the western borders of Canaan, 39,40.

IX.--Saul, going to persecute the Christians at Damascus, is, by Christ's voice from heaven, converted, 1--9. After some reluctance, Ananias baptizes him, 10--19. Saul preaches Christ at Damascus, 20--22. The Jews attempt to murder him, and he narrowly escapes, 23--25. After three years, he is admitted among the Christians at Jerusalem, 26--28. To escape the fury of the Hellenist Jews, he retires to Tarsus, while the church greatly flourishes, 29--31. Peter cures Eneas of a palsy, and restores Dorcas to life, 32--43.

X.--The long-promised calling of the Gentiles into the gospel church. Directed by a vision, Cornelius sends to Joppa for Peter, 1--8. Directed by a vision of beasts and a voice from heaven, Peter readily goes, 9--23. Peter and Cornelius relate the substance of their respective visions, 24--33. Peter represents that the distinction of Jews and Gentiles was now abolished by God; and exhibits Christ crucified, and now exalted, as the Messiah foretold by the prophets, and the Saviour of the world, 34--43. The Holy Ghost descends upon Cornelius and his friends, and they are baptized, 44--48.

XI.--Peter accused by his Christian brethren at Jerusalem, 1--5. He vindicates himself, and abundantly satisfies them, 6--18. The gospel published at Antioch in Syria, with great success, 19--21. Barnabas is sent thither; and, finding Paul, goes with him to help forward the work: the converts are there first named Christians, 22--26. Agabus having foretold a famine, the Syrian converts agree to contribute to their poor brethren at Jerusalem, 27--30.

XII.--Herod Agrippa persecutes the Christians, murders the apostle James, and imprisons Peter, 1--4. Peter liberated by an angel, 5--19. Herod struck by an angel, and dies miserably, 20--23. After his death the gospel has great success, and Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch, 24, 25.

XIII.--Paul and Barnabas are solemnly separated to preach the gospel, 1--3. Beginning at Seleucia, they proceed to Cyprus, 4--7. They strike Elymas the sorcerer with blindness, and convert Sergius Paulus, 8--12. Coming from Cyprus, they arrive at Antioch in Pisidia; where Paul gives the Jews a history of their nation, from the deliverance from Egypt to David; represents the crucified Jesus as risen again and exalted to glory, and as the only Saviour of men, 13--41. On the next sabbath, some were converted; but other Jews contradicting and blaspheming, Paul and Barnabas pronounce them obstinate unbelievers, and preach to the Gentiles with great success, 42--49. Departing thence, they testify against their persecutors, and come to Iconium, 50--52.

XIV.--After successfully preaching the gospel at Iconium, persecution makes Paul and Barnabas flee to Lystra, Derbe, etc., 1--7. At Lystra they heal a lame man; upon which the people could scarcely be restrained from worshipping them as gods, 8--18. Quickly after, instigated by the Jews, they stoned Paul till they thought he was dead, 19, 20. They visit the churches lately planted, 21--23. They report what the Lord had done, 24--28.

XV.--A dispute at Antioch about circumcising Gentile converts; Paul and Barnabas sent to Jerusalem to have the matter decided, 1--5. The apostles and elders meet to consider it; after Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and James had spoken, a decision is made against circumcising Gentiles; but requiring them to abstain from things offered to idols, from things strangled, from blood, and from fornication, 6---29. Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch, where the decree is received with great joy, 30--35. They propose a second journey, but contend about John Mark, and take different routes, 36--41.

XVI.--Paul finds Timothy at Lystra, circumcises him, takes him for an assistant, and visits the churches, delivering the decrees, 1--5. The Holy Ghost prohibits their preaching in Proconsular Asia and Bithynia, but directs them to Macedonia, 6--12. Lydia is converted at Philippi, and entertains them kindly, 13--15. Paul casts out a spirit of divination, for which he and Silas are scourged and imprisoned, 16--24. They sing praises in the prison, an earthquake opens the doors, and the jailer and his family are converted and baptized, 25--33. Paul and Silas oblige the magistrates to liberate and dismiss them honourably as Roman citizens, 34--40.

XVII.--Paul comes to Thessalonica, and preaches with great success; is persecuted by the Jews, 1--9. Flees to Berea, and preaches till the Jews drive him thence, 10--14. Conducted to Athens, he preaches Christ and the resurrection, and disputes with the heathen, 15--31. Converts but few, 32--34.

XVIII.--Paul goes from Athens to Corinth: preaches first to the Jews, 1--6; and afterwards to the Gentiles with great success, and encouraged by a vision, 6--11. Accused before Gallio, who refuses to hear the accusation, 19--17. Returns through Ephesus, Antioch, and other places, 18--23. Apollos, instructed by Aquila and Priscilla, preaches in Ephesus and Achaia, 24--28.

XIX.--Paul returns to Ephesus, and imparts the Holy Ghost to some of John's disciples. 1--7. Preaches three months in the Jews' synagogue; but meeting there with great opposition, he preaches two years in the school of Tyrannus, 8--12. Some Jewish exorcists confounded, and many other practisers of devilish arts converted, 13--20. Paul defers his intended journey, 21, 22. Demetrius and his brethren raise a mob to cry up Diana, but the town clerk disperses it by a sensible remonstrance, 23--41.

XX.--Paul travels through Macedonia, Greece, and Asia, till he comes to Troas, 1--6. Preaches at Troas, administers the Lord's Supper, and raises Eutychus, 7--12. Leaves for Jerusalem, and comes to Miletus, 13--16. Sends for the elders of Ephesus, and charges them to take the care of their church, 17--35. Takes a most solemn and affectionate farewell, 86--38.

XXI.--Paul and his friends, sailing southward from Miletus, touch at Patara, Tyre, Ptolemais, and arrive at Caesarea, 1--8. Lodged in Philip's house, and urged in vain to forbear going up to Jerusalem, 8--14. Coming to Jerusalem, Paul salutes the brethren; reports his success; and at their advice, purifies himself after the custom of the Jews, 15--25. Some Asiatic Jews, seeing him in the temple, incense the multitude to apprehend him, 27--30. Being in danger of his life, he is rescued by the Roman captain, 31--40.

XXII.--By an affectionate address in the Hebrew tongue, Paul procures attention, 1,2. He gives an account of his parentage and early life, 3--5; of his conversion, 6--11; of his being baptized, and further instructed by Ananias, 12--16; of his call from heaven to preach to the Gentiles, 17--1; which greatly enrages the Jews, 22, 23. The chief captain again rescues him, and orders him to be bound and scourged, 24, 25. Paul claims his privileges, is freed from his bonds, and brought to the Jewish council, 26--30.

XXIII.--Paul, before the council, professes his continued integrity; rebukes the high priest, and foretells his ruin, 1--5. He prudently creates a division among his enemies, 6--9; and is carried away by the chief captain, 10. Christ, by a vision, encourages him, and warns him of further trouble at Rome; plot of the Jews to murder him, 11--15. Paul's nephew informs him and the chief captain of the plot, 16--22. Its execution prevented, 23--35.

XXIV.--The high priest and elders, with Tertullus, come to Caesarea, and accuse Paul before Felix, 1--9. Paul clears himself, and defends his behaviour and doctrine, 10--21. Felix defers the decision, and gives Paul more liberty, 22, 23; trembles at his discourse, 24, 25; but he leaves him a prisoner, 26, 27.

XXV.--Paul again accused before Festus, 1--7. He again vindicates himself, and appeals to the Roman emperor, 8--12. Festus relates the case to king Agrippa, who desires to hear Paul, 13--23. Festus presents Paul; acquits him of the charges, and leaves him to answer for himself, 23--27.

XXVI.--After a polite address to Agrippa, 1--3; Paul gives an account of his parentage, Pharisaical profession, belief of the resurrection, inveterate rage against Christ and his followers, 4-11. Relates the manner of his conversion and call to the apostleship; his preaching Christ afterwards, 12--23. Festus pronounces him mad; but Paul maintains the contrary, 24--26. Agrippa almost persuaded to be a Christian; declares Paul innocent, 27--32.

XXVII.--Paul's voyage to Rome as a prisoner: the beginning calm and prosperous, 1--8. Paul warns them of a storm, but in vain, 9--11. They meet it, and are nearly wrecked, 12--20. Paul assures them that their lives would be preserved, 21--26. They all escape to land at Malta, 27--44.

XXVIII.--Paul and his companions hospitably entertained at Malta, 1, 2. Miraculously preserved from a viper, 3--6. Heals Publius' father, and others, 7--10. After three months, they sail by Syracuse, Rhegium, and Puteoli; Paul travels to Rome, 11--16. He sends for some principal Jews, and shows them the injustice of his imprisonment, 17--20. He afterwards preaches the gospel with partial success, 21--29. As a prisoner in his own hired house, he preaches unmolested to all that come to him, 30, 31.

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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Acts 28". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". <>.  


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