An Interpretation of the English Bible THE ACTS by B. H. CARROLL

An Interpretation of the English Bible


Late President of Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

Edited by
J. B. Cranfill

Grand Rapids, Michigan
New and complete edition

Copyright 1948, Broadman Press
Reprinted by Baker Book House
with permission of
Broadman Press
ISBN: 0_8010_2344_0
First Printing, September 1973
Second Printing, September 1976

1 976


I. Historical Introduction and Analysis 1
II. The Dedication, the Introduction, and the
Waiting Church 13
III. An Introduction to the Second Chapter of Acts,
and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit 30
IV. Pentecost and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit 43
V. Pentecost and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Cont.) 55
VI. Pentecost and the Kingdom 66
VII. The Theory of Baptismal Regeneration 79
VIII. The Theory of Baptismal Regeneration 89
IX. The Gift of the Holy Spirit – The Habit of the
Early Church 102
X. The Sadducean Persecution 112
XI. The Office of Deacon, the Pharisaic Persecution,
Stephen and Saul to the Front, a New Issue,
and the Rejection of the Holy Spirit and the
Anointed Church by Jerusalem 132
XII. Philip to the Front 147
XIII. The General Superintendence of the Apostles
Over the Work Outside Jerusalem, The
Samaritans Welcomed into the Kingdom 158
XIV. An Introduction to a Study of Paul 169
XV. Paul’s Early Life Before He Enters the New
Testament Story 188
XVI Saul, the Persecutor 201
XVII. Saul’s Conversion, His Call to the Apostleship
and His Commission 213
XVIII. Saul – From His Conversion to His Ordination 227
XIX. Antioch of Syria, the Center, and Paul’s First
Missionary Tour to the Heathen 239
XX. Antioch of Syria, the Center, and Paul’s First
Missionary Tour to the Heathen (Continued) 251
XXI. The Great Conference at Jerusalem Concerning
a Vital Question of Salvation and the Private
Conference at Jerusalem on Paul’s Inde_
pendent Apostleship and Gospel 267
XXII. The Great Social Question at Antioch and the
Separation of Paul and Barnabas in Missionary
Work 282
XXIII. Paul’s Second Missionary Tour, or the Gospel
Carried Into Europe 294
XXIV. The Ministry of Paul and His Companions at
Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens 310
XXV. Paul at Corinth and the End of the Second
Missionary Tour 326
XVI. Paul’s Third Missionary Tour – Paul at
Ephesus 342
XXVII. Paul’s Third Missionary Tour (Cont.) 355
XXVIII. From Ephesus to Jerusalem 367
XXIX. Paul in the Hands of His Enemies at Jerusalem
and His Speech on the Stairway 380
XXX. Paul Before Felix and Felix Before Paul 392
XXXI. Paul and Festus: Festus and Agrippa; Paul and
Agrippa 407
XXXII. From Caesarea to Rome 421


That Luke is the author of this book appears from its first
sentence (Acts 1:1), making it a continuation of his Gospel,
and from the use of the personal pronoun, first person, in some
chapters, showing that he was a companion of Paul, as in 16:
10_16; 20:5; 28:16. The book was probably written at Rome,
during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:30), Luke
being then with him (Acts 28:16), and as we also see from
the references in Philemon 24 and Colossians 4:14. Its date
was about A.D. 63. The person addressed was Theophilus
(Arts 1:1), to whom his Gospel was dedicated (Luke 1:1).
There are several New Testament references to the author. We learn from Colossians 4:14 that he was (1) a physician;
(2) a Gentile Christian, probably one of Paul’s converts;
(3) the author of two New Testament books (see Luke 1:1;
Acts 1:1); (4) a companion and fellow worker with Paul from
whom he received many of the facts, given both in his Gospel
and in Acts; (5) he first appears in the story at Troas (Acts
16:10_11) and again at Philippi (Acts 20:5) and so continues
with him to end of the book, and (6) he was with Paul in
both of his Roman imprisonments. In the first imprisonment
we have the testimony of Philemon 23; Colossians 4:14; Acts
28:16; and in the second Roman imprisonment we have the
testimony of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:11.
The title of the book is, as the manuscripts say, „Acts of
the Apostles” or, without the article, simply, Acts. Two of the
general limits of the book are (1) the spread of the gospel
from Jerusalem, the Jewish capital, to Rome, the capital of the
world; (2) the time period, AD. 33 to A.D. 63, i.e., thirty years.
Many commentaries contest the propriety of its title, „Acts
of the Apostles”, but that propriety is supported by the fol_
lowing considerations: (1) It does give some of the acts of
all the apostles, i.e., it recites the names of eleven of the
original twelve, and of their place of meeting in an upper
chamber (1:13); (2) it gives the history of the filling of the
place of Judas by Matthias (1:15_26) ; (3) it gives an account
of the baptism of all of them in the Holy Spirit (2:1_4) ; and
subsequently of the teaching of all of them (2:42) ; (4) it gives
an account of their great prayer meeting (4:23_31); (5) it
teaches us that they all wrought miracles (5:12), and were all
imprisoned in the Sadducean persecution (5:18), and were all
delivered by an angel of the Lord (5:19), and were all beaten
with stripes (5:40), and that they continued their teaching
(5:42) ; (6) it shows that they all participated in the ordina_
tion of the deacons (6:2_6); (7) they all remained in Jeru_
salem when the disciples were scattered abroad by the Phari_
see persecution led by Saul (8:1); (8) it shows that they all
participated in sending Peter and John to confer the power
of the Spirit on Philip’s converts in Samaria (8:14); (9) it
shows that some of them received Paul when he was intro_
duced by Barabbas (9:27); (10) they all received and justi_
fied Peter’s account of the conversion of the Gentile, Cornelius
(11:1_18) ; (II) it shows that they all participated in sending
Barabbas to Antioch to look into the preaching unto the
Greeks there (11:20_22); (12) they were all suffering under
the Herodian persecution, one of them, James, the brother
of John, being killed (12:9_24), and Peter imprisoned; (13)
they all participated, including Paul, in the decision of the
great question – the greatest of the apostolic times – whether
Gentiles must become Jews in order to be saved (15:1_21),
and joined in the decree to the churches officially settling this
great question (15:22_30; 16:4) ; (14) there was also full and
official recognition of Paul’s independent apostleship and of
the division of labor – Paul and Barabbas to go to the Gen_
tiles, and the others to the circumcision (this we learn from
Gal. 2:1_10); (15) from chapter 13 to the end of the book
we have the acts of the Apostle to the Gentiles. From these
fifteen particulars, the propriety of the title is sufficiently
evident. It must be observed that the title in the manuscripts
is without the article, and hence makes no claim to record all
the acts of all the apostles. Indeed, its first beginnings at
Jerusalem, then in Samaria, then among the Romans at
Caesarea, then the Greeks at Antioch and various Greek cities
of Asia Minor and in Europe, and finally at Rome.
The propriety of the title further appears from these great
matters touching the kingdom settled, not by one apostle,
but by the body of the apostles: (1) The selection of Mat_
thias; (2) the ordination of deacons; (3) the justification of
giving the gospel to the Samaritans, also (4) to the Gentiles,
in the case of Cornelius; (5) that Gentile Christians were not
to be brought under bondage to the Mosaic ritual. In other
words, that the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile
was broken down, and in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew
nor Gentile, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, male nor fe_
male. It is of intense importance that these great questions
were not settled by just one man, but by the entire apostolic
Another important matter is settled by the book, viz.: that
the apostles, though inspired, illumined, and empowered by
the Holy Spirit, were „set in the church.” We find the
church, the whole 120, participating in the selection of Mat_
thias; we find the church participating in the baptism of
the Spirit, in the institution of the office of deacon, and in
every detail of the worldwide character of the gospel. For
example, the action of the church in the case of the Samari_
tans receiving the gospel, the action of the church in the
case of the Greeks getting it, and in the great judicial deci_
sion of Acts 15, as set forth in Acts 15:2, 6-7, 11-12, 15. This

is a very important matter – to know that even inspired, il_
lumined and Spirit_empowered apostles were set in the church
and worked through the churches.
Many special names, or ascriptions, have been given to this
book, e.g.: Barnes calls it, The Gospel of the Holy Spirit.
Chrysostom, the great Greek orator, The Demonstration of the
Resurrection. Luther calls it, A Commentary on Paul’s Epis_
tles. Eichorn, A History of Missions Propagating Chris_
tianity. Lekebusch, A Continuous Fulfillment of the Promise
in 1:8. Grotius, A Biographical Description of the Work of
Peter and Paul. Baumgarten, The Teachings and Deeds of
the Risen and Ascended Savior. Others, „An unfinished history
of the church of the first century.” Yet others, „The growth
of the church, external and internal, from its foundation in
Jerusalem, the center of Judaism, to its establishment in
Rome, the center of heathendom.” Canon Norris has named
it, The Continued Action of the Risen Lord, Through the
Spirit, in the Interval Between the Gospels and the Epistles.
– (See the fine introduction by Professor Lindsay.)
Certain facts that justify somewhat the definitions of Barnes
and Norris as given above are as follows: (1) Jesus gave his
sentence limits the record to „beginnings.” We have here
worldwide commandment through the Holy Spirit, 1:2; (2)
they were to tarry until they were endued with that Spirit_
power (1:4) ; (3) they received this power (2:1_4) ; (4) every
advance toward a broader gospel was specifically Spirit_
guided, viz.: the freer preaching of Stephen, the broader work
of Philip, the still broader work of the reception of Cornelius,
the preaching to the Greeks, the sending out of Paul and Bar_
nabas, the recognition of their work, the great decision in
Acts 15, the „Where_to_go,” the „how_long_to_stay,” the mak_
ing of officers in the church, and the blessings on their work,
all of the Holy Spirit.
The human heroes of the book are Peter, Stephen, Philip,
and Paul.
We do well to trace on the map the missionary journeys
of the book:
1. The Journeys of Philip: (1) From Jerusalem to Samaria;
(2) From Samaria to the desert land between Jerusalem and
Gaza; (3) Thence to Azotus, and thence to Caesarea.
II. The Journeys of Peter: (1) He first goes (with John)
from Jerusalem to Samaria, and then returns; (2) he goes
to Lydda; (3) to Joppa; (4) from Joppa to Caesarea; (5)
thence to Jerusalem; (6) from Jerusalem he goes back to
Caesarea, where he is left, so far as this history goes. (See,
again, Professor Lindsay’s Acts of the Apostles.)
III. At the dispersion caused by Saul’s persecution we have
the journeys of some unnamed brethren who (1) carried the
gospel from Jerusalem to Phoenicia; (2) others to the island
of Cyprus; (3) yet others to Antioch of Syria.
IV. The Journeys of Barnabas: (1) From Jerusalem to An_
tioch; (2) from Antioch to Tarsus after Paul; (3) from Tarsus
back to Antioch with Paul; (4) from Antioch back to Jeru_
salem with Paul; (5) from Jerusalem back to Antioch with
Paul; (6) from Antioch with Paul and Mark, on a long mis_
sionary tour and return; (7) from Antioch, with Paul, to the
Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) ; (8) back to Antioch; (9) from
Antioch to Cyprus, with Mark, after the separation from
V. The Journeys of Paul: (1) As a persecutor from Jeru_
salem to Damascus; (2) after his conversion, from Damascus
to Arabia and back to Damascus, three years; (3) from Da_
mascus to Jerusalem to see Peter; (4) from Jerusalem to Tar_
sus, several years; (5) from Tarsus to Antioch, with Barna_
bas; (6) from Antioch with Barnabas to Jerusalem, carrying
alms, about the time James was killed and Peter imprisoned
by Herod (Acts 12); (7) from Jerusalem back to Antioch;
(8) then follow his three great missionary tours, ending at
Jerusalem (Acts 13:1 to 21:19); (9) being arrested at Jeru_

salem, he, with many vicissitudes, by land and sea, is carried
to Rome (Acts 21:20 to 28:31).
We should note the contemporaneous history in the thirty
years covered by Acts:
I. Roman Emperors: (1) Tiberius, under whom Christ was
crucified; (2) Caligula, A.D. 37; (3) Claudius, A.D. 41, men_
tioned in Acts 18:2; (4) Nero, A.D. 54.
II. Civil Rulers in Judea: (1) Pontius Pilate, Roman
procurator until A.D. 36; (2) Herod Agrippa I, the Herod of
Acts 12. Under Caligula, the Roman Emperor, he obtains,
first, Gaulonitis, then Galilee and Perea. Under Claudius he
gets Samaria and Judea, and so rules all Palestine until his
death, A.D. 44. (3) Cuspus Fadus, at the death of Herod, be_
comes Roman procurator. (4) Herod Agrippa II, the King
Agrippa of Acts 26, was king, but not of Judea. (5) Felix
was made procurator by the Emperor Claudius. He is the
Felix who trembled under Paul’s preaching, but left him a
prisoner (Acts 23:24). (6) Festus was made procurator by
the Emperor Nero. He is the Festus before whom Paul
appeared (Acts 25).
III. The High Priesthood, which underwent many changes:
(1) Caiaphas, before whom Christ appeared; (2) Jonathan,
son of Annas, A.D. 37; (3) Theophilus, son of Annas, A.D. 38;
(4) Simon Cantherus, A.D. 41; (5) Matthias, son of Annas,
A.D. 42; (6) Elionacus, son of Cantherus, A.D. 45; (7) Ananias,
A.D. 47; (8) Ishmael, son of Phabi, A.D. 59.
The divine purpose of the book appears in its relation to
the Gospel by the same author, and the relation of both
to the glorious person of our Lord. This book must be con_
sidered primarily as a continuation of Luke’s Gospel con_
cerning the one glorious person, our Lord Jesus Christ, in his
saving relation to the whole human race – the Gospel telling
us what Jesus began to do and teach until his ascension and
exaltation to his mediatorial throne; Acts telling us what this

glorious King continued to do and teach until his kingdom had
extended from Jerusalem, the center of Judaism, to im_
perial Rome, the capital and center of the heathen world.
The Gospel gives an account of the earth life of Jesus, while
Acts gives an account of his heaven life.
The stress in both books is on the humanity of our Lord
in his relation to the whole race of man, the Gospel, unlike
Matthew, tracing his genealogy beyond Abraham, and even
Noah, back to Adam; and unlike John, stressing less his ante_
cedent deity, while Acts shows the risen, ascended man made
both Lord and Christ, and reigning in heaven to carry out on
earth and for all nations the purposes of his sacrificial death
in Jerusalem, beginning, indeed, at Jerusalem, but extend_
ing to all nations.
We miss the mark in interpreting the book if we do not see
this aim of the two books, set forth so plainly in Luke 24:
44_48. „And he said unto them, These are my words which
I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things
must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses,
and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me. Then
opened he their mind, that they might understand the scrip_
tures; and he said unto them, Thus it is written, that the
Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third
day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be
preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from
Jerusalem. Ye are witnesses of these things.”
It is reaffirmed in Acts 1:6_8. „They therefore, when they
were come together, asked him, saying, Lord, dost thou at this
time restore the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them,
It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father
hath set within his own authority. But ye shall receive power,
when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be
my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Sama_
ria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” It is re_
peated in Peter’s Pentecostal sermon: „For to you is the
promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off,
even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him” (Acts
2:39), and abundantly evidenced in the freer preaching of
Stephen, the wider work of Philip, and the startling commis_
sion to Paul at his conversion (Acts 9:15; 22:14_21; 26:16_
18), and in the vision of the ark to Peter, followed by the re_
ception of Cornelius, and in the preaching to the Greeks at
Antioch: „But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and
Cyrene, who, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto
the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand
of the Lord was with them: and a great number that be_
lieved turned unto the Lord” (Acts 11:20_21) ; in the sending
out of Barabbas and Saul to the Gentile world (Acts 13:
1_4) ; in the decision of the great question of salvation in Acts
15, preceded by the solemn giving of the hand of fellowship
to the Gentile workers (Gal. 2:1_10); in the side_light set_
tlement of an involved social question just after (Gal. 2:
11_21); and in the devotion of the greater part of the book
to the labors of the great Apostle to the Gentiles.
The divine superintendence in all the transactions recorded
in the book appears from the evident reluctance of the human
agents to follow the broader lines of salvation, on equal terms
for all men. Every forward step was questioned, investigated,
contested, and reluctantly taken. The Jewish prejudice fought
hard and long. If Philip preaches to Samaritans, as our
Lord did, that matter must be investigated (Acts 8:14). To
even our Lord himself, urging the open door to Gentiles, Peter
characteristically replied, „Not so, Lord” (Acts 10) ; and when
Peter was convinced himself, he had to explain to a question_
ing church (Acts II); and so long as the disciples, scattered
abroad by Saul’s persecution, preached to Jews only, it was
all right, but when some of them preached to Greeks, a depu_
tation was sent to look into the matter (Acts 11:19_23).
What a solemn time they had over the great question de_
cided in the council at Jerusalem! How strange that Peter,

who so successfully justified himself when believers of the
circumcision arraigned him for „going in to men uncircum_
cised and eating with them” (Acts 11:2_4), in the case of
Cornelius, should allow himself to be browbeaten into dis_
simulation by the same men on precisely the same point, but
a little while after, at Antioch (Gal. 2:11_21). How fiercely
the same narrow_minded element obstructed every step of
Paul’s advance toward a worldwide gospel! And how stub_
bornly even Paul himself insisted on being a home missionary
to the Jews, instead of going far hence to the Gentiles!
(Acts 22:17_21.)
The marked difference between this book and the Gospel
by the same author appears from two facts: (1) While the
purpose of Acts is to show a continuation of the Gospel ac_
count of what Jesus „began to do and teach,” in the Gospel,
Jesus acts immediately in his own person, but in Acts he
works mediately through the Holy Spirit. Hence Acts has
been aptly styled „The Gospel of the Spirit.” When in his
lifetime he had said, „I will not leave you orphans; I will
come to you,” and when in the great church commission he
says, „Lo, I am with you all the days,” the meaning is this: „I
will come by the Holy Spirit; I will be present by the Holy
Spirit.” This omnipresence by the Spirit was far more ex_
pedient and profitable to them than a limited presence in the
flesh. (2) While Acts is a continuation of Luke’s Gospel ac_
count of what Jesus began to do and teach, the Gospel tells
of what he did and taught on earth – Acts, what he did and
taught from his throne in heaven. In both, the stress is on
the humanity of our Lord in his saving relation to the whole
race. This purpose overrides the prejudices of all the Jewish


I commend to you as fine, clear, and simple, Dr. A. T. Rob_
ertson’s „Outline” as it appears in his Student’s Chronological
New Testament:
I. Jerusalem as the Center (1_12).
1. Waiting for the promise of the Father (1).
2. The promise fulfilled at Pentecost (2).
3. An incident in the work of Peter and John, and opposi_
tion encountered from the Sadducees (3:1 to 4:31).
4. Wrestling with a social problem in church life (4:32 to
5. Outward prosperity and renewed hostility from the Sad_
ducees (5:12_42).
6. Meeting a crisis in church administration (6:1_7).
7. The Pharisees aroused by the preaching of Stephen, and
his consequent death (6:8 to 8:la).
8. The forced expansion of Christian effort in Judea, Sama_
ria and the surrounding countries, as illustrated in the career
of Philip (8:lb_40).
9. The complete change in the affairs of Christianity
wrought by the conversion of Saul the persecutor (9:1_31).
10. The door opened to the Gentiles (9:32 to 11:30).
11. The new persecution from the civil government – Herod
Agrippa 1 (12).
II. Antioch as the Center (13:1 to 21:14).
1. The formal entrance of Barnabas and Saul upon the
missionary enterprise (13:1_3).
2. The first great mission tour of Paul and Barnabas (13:
4 to 14:28).
3. The conference at Jerusalem over question of Gentile
freedom from Jewish ceremonialism (15:1_35; cf. Gal. 2:
4. Paul’s second great mission tour (15:36 to 18:22).
5. Paul’s third great mission tour (18:23 to 21:14).
III. Paul in the hands of his enemies (21:15 to 28:31).
1. In the toils at Jerusalem (21:15 to 23:30).
2. Before Roman Court at Caesarea (23:31 to 26:32).
3. To Rome with appeal to Nero (27:1 to 28:15).
4. For two years awaiting Nero’s pleasure (28:16_31).

There are many good commentaries on Acts available for
English Bible students who know no Greek. As examples I
(1) Professor Lindsay; publishers, T. and T. Clark. This, in
two parts, is small, portable, clear, and simple. Any country
preacher without knowledge of Greek can easily understand it.
(2) Hackett on Acts – American Commentary. This is
critical and classical, but cold. One never reaches the revival
spirit through Hackett. From some of its critical statements
and interpretations we dissent.
(3) As an old, but warm, spiritual commentary, Barnes on
Acts is good.

1. Who wrote the book of Acts, and what is the internal proof?
2. Where was the book written?
3. When was it written?
4. To whom was it written?
5. What are the chief New Testament references to the author?
6. What is the title of the book?
7. What are some of the general limits of the book?
8. What may we say of the propriety of its title, Acts of the Apostles, which has been so generally contested by the commentators?
9. What great matters touching the kingdom were thus settled, not
by one apostle, but by the body of apostles?
10. What other important matter is settled by the book?
11. Mention some special names, or ascriptions, men have given to
this book.
12. Cite some facts which justify somewhat the definitions of Barnes and Norris.
13. Who were the human heroes of the book?
14. Give the missionary journeys of the book.
15. What contemporaneous history in the thirty years covered by
16. What is the relation of Acts to the Gospel of Luke, aa to time,
and how are these books related, as to the glorious person of our Lord?
17. What is the stress of each of these books?
18. What is the aim of the book, and its bearing on the interpreta-tion?
19. What is the evidence of the divine purpose of the book?
20. What are the marked differences between this book and Luke?
21. What outline commended, and what the main points of this out_
22. What books are commended on Acts?

Acts 1:1_26

The key passage of the book of Acts, taken in connection
with Luke 24:47, is 1:8: „But ye shall receive power, when
the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my wit_
nesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and
unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
The whole book is a development of that passage.
The scope of the book is the progress of the gospel by the
church through the Spirit from Jerusalem to Rome, and the
time period of the book is thirty years. The first chapter
is divided into two parts: (1)A dedication, and the introduc_
tion, the first eleven verses; (2) the waiting and preparing
of the church for the promise of the Father (5:12), to the
end of the chapter.
This discussion will be devoted to chapter 1. The book,
like Luke’s Gospel, is dedicated to Theophilus – a Greek word,
meaning a friend of God. We do not know about The_
ophilus beyond what is stated in the Gospel and in this book.
The chapter is divided into two time periods – the introduc_
tion covering forty days from the resurrection of Christ,
until his ascension, and the ten days in which the church
waited and prepared for the giving of the promise by the
It will be observed at once that this book is a continua_
tion of the Gospel by Luke, the first fourteen verses being
but little more than a resume of Luke 24:33_53, and as in
the Gospel he recites what Jesus began to do and to teach,
until his ascension, so in this book he recites what Jesus be_
gan to do and to teach from the ascension up to the time
that the gospel reached Rome in the person of Paul. It is
quite necessary, however, to distinguish between the doing
and the teaching of Christ in the Gospel, and the doing and
the teaching of Christ in Acts. In the Gospel, we have an
account of what Christ did and taught on earth, and here
what he does and teaches from heaven. Especially note that
both the Gospel and Acts confine what they say to the „be_
ginnings” of his doings and his teachings. The Gospel does
not attempt to enumerate everything that Jesus did and
everything that he taught. So in Acts, only the beginnings are
presented. We have the beginning in Jerusalem, in Samaria;
the beginning at Antioch; the beginning at all the places
visited by Paul, but not everything that was done at any of
those places is told in this book. The object of the book
is to show the start in each place.
Another distinction between the two is this: The Gospel
tells what Christ did and taught directly and personally; the
Acts tells what Christ did and taught mediately through the
Holy Spirit and the church. But Jesus is the hero of both
books. It is important to remember – to keep in mind con_
tinually – the conception of Jesus Christ in the book
of Acts. Where is he? In heaven. What is his position
there? He is enthroned as King of kings and Lord of lords,
at the right hand of the Father. What is he doing there?
He is reigning as King, and through his providential govern_
ment caring for his gospel, his kingdom, his church here
upon earth; and so making all things work together for
good to them that love God; and up there, he is also interced_
ing as High Priest for his people. He is their Advocate in
heaven. In this book, the Holy Spirit, his alter ego, is their
Advocate on earth.
We are next to consider in this book the conception of the
church, particularly in the ten days of waiting, and we are

to understand the church as already organized. It has its
chief officers, the apostles. Its laws and ordinances as an in_
stitution are already established. As a particular church at
Jerusalem it will soon have its deacons and pastors. We are
to conceive of the church also as commissioned – that the
church is commissioned to do two things: (1) To bear wit_
ness – to give testimony – and the fact to which they are to
give testimony or bear witness, is the resurrection of Christ;
that the same Jesus who was crucified gave the resurrection
as a sign and proof of his messiahship; that same Jesus was
raised from the dead, and was received, after being recog_
nized on earth, up into heaven. That is the first part of the
commission of the church – to bear witness to the fact that
Christ is risen. (2) Another duty of the church is to pro_
claim to the whole world this risen Christ as the Saviour of the
world, and that is the theme all through the book.
Notice that the church, while organized, is yet ignorant of
some points, viz.: „Lord, dost thou at this time restore the
kingdom to Israel?” That is the question they propounded to
him. They had in mind an earthly, Jewish kingdom, Just as
the premillennialists have in mind an earthly, Jewish king_
dom, at the second advent of our Lord. He evades that
question by telling them it is not for them to know the times
or the seasons. Our words, „times” and „seasons,” indicate
long and short periods. Chronos means a long time; kairos, a
short period of time. In this way Jesus hints that there
are to be long periods of time before the prophecies con_
cerning himself in his word are to be entirely complete.
Note also, concerning the church, its form of government.
Though there are apostles who are ambassadors for Christ,
and qualified to speak for him, yet in the church, they are
all on an equality, with a congregational form of government;
no distinction between apostles, deacons, and other brethren,
and none between man and woman. It is the only pure de_
mocracy the world ever saw. A pure democracy is one in
which all of the people of the state, without regard to age
or sex, or previous condition of servitude, participate on a
footing of equality. In this church, we see three classes of
people: (1) The eleven apostles, kingdom officers, (2) cer_
tain noted women, to whom Luke, in his Gospel, refers several
times, as did the other Gospels – women that had sustained
Jesus by their contributions, and we know the names of
most of them, names given in the Gospels and ‘in Acts, (3)
also the four brothers of Jesus. In the last Gospel account
of them we find that they were unbelievers: „Neither did his
brethren believe on him,” is. e., his brethren according to the
flesh. But here they are in the church, and we safely infer
that they were led to faith by the appearance of our Lord
Jesus Christ to James, the oldest of the brothers. When
Jesus appeared to James after his resurrection, it doubtless
led to the conversion of James, Jude, Simon, and Joseph, the
four half_brothers of Jesus. They are now in church, and
one of them is to be very prominent. He is to be the pastor
of the first particular church; he is to write, perhaps, the
first New Testament book that was written. Another of them,
Jude, is to write one of the latest of the New Testament books.
These are the brothers of our Lord. And these are the three
special classes named in that first church – the apostles, the
women, and the brethren of our Lord. Among the women
his mother is particularly specified, and this is the last refer_
ence to his mother that we have in the Bible.
You don’t get from the Bible the Mariology and the
Mariolatry of Roman Catholicism.
You will remember that Jesus, when dying, commended his
mother to the apostle John. His brothers were very poor;
they were not able to take care of her. But John was wealthy,
and Mary, the mother of our Lord, remained with John until
she died. But the Bible does not tell anything about her be_
ing taken up to heaven without dying, or anything about her
own immaculate conception; nor that she was born holy; nor
does it tell us that she is queen of heaven, and the fountain
of all grace, and the source of salvation. All that comes
from the perversions of the doctrines of Christ in the later
This church, in that ten days of waiting, occupied itself
in doing the following things: At the close of his Gospel,
Luke says that they worshiped in the Temple with great joy;
that they continued in the Temple. In that upper room where
the Lord’s Supper was observed, and where some of the ap_
pearances of Christ were made to them, they continued stead_
fastly in prayer. We infer the object of those prayers by
the promise which had been given: „Ye shall be endued
with power not many days hence . . . and ye shall be my
witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria,
and unto the uttermost part of the earth,” i.e., „tarry until
you are endued with this power; Is will send upon you the
promise of my Father.” Naturally, in those ten days, when
they prayed, they prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit to
qualify them to do their work as a church. The thing that
gave them joy was that when Jesus ascended into heaven,
the angels came and said, „This Jesus, who was received up
from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye
beheld him going into heaven.” So that the ascension of
Christ is directly connected with the second advent of Christ
in its teaching. As the Lord’s Supper continually points for_
ward to the final advent, so the ascension points to the final
advent. But you have not fairly started in theology until you
are able to answer these three questions: (1) Why was Jesus
exalted to the right hand of the Father? (2) What is he doing
up there? (3) How long is he to stay up there? Acts an_
swers them. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, tells us
that because he voluntarily laid aside his glory in heaven
and took upon himself human nature, and in the nature of
mankind suffered and died for the salvation of men, therefore,
„God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above
every name . . . far above all angels, principalities, and
Man was made originally a little lower than the angels, but
with the purpose of God that he should one day be above the
angels. And this is first fulfilled in the ascension of Christ.
We do not see all dominion, once conferred upon man, exer_
cised by man, but we do see Jesus Christ, who was made a
little lower than the angels, exalted to the right hand of the
Father, far above all principalities and powers.
In connection with this ascension, so far as Luke’s Gospel
goes, and so far as the book of Acts goes, Jesus passes out
of sight in the cloud. But the book of Daniel, and one of the
psalms tell us more about the passage up into heaven. The
psalm describes him as he approaches heaven, telling us
how he left the earth, and that as he approached the heavens
he cried out,
Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates;
Yea, lift them up, ye everlasting doors:
And the King of glory will come in.
Who is this King of glory?
Jehovah of hosts,
He is the King of glory.
Then Daniel tells us exactly how he was received in heaven,
saying, „I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there came
with the clouds of heaven one like unto a Son of man, and he
came even to the Ancient of days, and they brought him
near before him. And there was given him dominion, and
glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and
languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting
dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that
which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13_14).
And that the kingdom was to be fulfilled down here upon
the earth among the saints, for an everlasting possession. No_
tice in studying the Bible how one book supplements the
teaching of another book. This book of Acts lifts him up
out of sight in a cloud; that psalm shows him approaching
heaven; Daniel shows him reaching heaven and receiving
his kingship; Philippians shows the extent of his domain when
be had ascended into heaven. As to how long he will stay
there, this book of Acts and the psalm distinctly answer
(Psalm 110:1):
Jehovah saith unto my lord,
Sit thou at my right hand,
Until I make thine enemies they footstool.
How long? Until he has made his enemies his footstool;
and that psalm tells us how he will exercise his power – that
he is sending forth his power (army) through Zion; that in
the day in which he leads out his armies here on earth his
young men shall be volunteers, and shall go forth in the beau_
ties of holiness, and shall be as multitudinous as the drops
of dew in the dawn of the morning. It is very important in the
beginning of this book to see that the hero of Acts is the
hero of the Gospel by Luke; that the hero of Luke is the
hero on earth, and the hero of Acts is the hero in heaven –
the one continuing in heaven his teachings and deeds on
earth, but through the Holy Spirit and the church. But while
that psalm limits his stay in heaven „until his enemies are
made his footstool,” this book limits his stay thus „whom
the heavens must receive [or retain] until the times of
restoration of all things.”
The last conception of the church to which Is shall refer
in her waiting state is that while it is organized and com_
plete, and while it is commissioned, yet as a house, since Jesus
left it, it is empty. While Jesus was with it, that house;
was not empty. During its emptiness it is waiting for its in_
filling and for its power.
In that waiting period of ten days, or toward the end of it,
there is quite an important incident given. Peter, whose mind
has been illumined, as we learn from the last chapter of
Luke, where the Lord opened their minds that they should
understand the scriptures, cites passages from the psalm, one
of which had been fulfilled in the death of Judas, and one
other was to be fulfilled in a successor to Judas, and he
wants the apostolic college complete before the power comes
down. So he goes up in the presence of the 120, not as a
dictator, but speaking to them as brethren, on the footing
of equality, saying, „Brethren, it was needful that the scrip_
ture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spake before
by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was guide to
them that took Jesus. . . .” For it is written in the book
of Psalms, „Let his habitation be made desolate, and let
no man dwell therein; and his office let another take.” „Of_
fice” here means overseership.
This scripture says, „Let another take his office.” Now they
must have the number complete, and so the manner of
selecting a successor to Judas comes up. The church deter_
mines certain qualifications (5:21_22): „Of the men there_
fore that have companied with us all the time that the Lord
Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the
baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from
us, of these must one become a witness with us of his resur_
Note the qualifications: He must have continued with the
Lord up to the present time, beginning with the baptism of
John, and be a competent witness of the resurrection of the
dead. Those qualifications he must have to be one of the
twelve apostles to the Jews. The baptism of John was the
beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God, and as
he is to occupy the position of a witness, he must have con_
tinued all the time that the Lord went in and went out among
the disciples. There were several men in the congregation
who had that qualification, from whom they might nominate,
but here was a matter which the church could not determine
– who of the men so qualified the Lord himself would choose
to fill that office. They could refer the case to him, but they
could not decide the question. Christ alone can call; he alone
can call one to be an apostle. He is not there in person; the
Spirit has not yet come down; and so Peter proposes that the
church nominate, and appeal to Christ by his province, to
determine which of those nominated shall be the one. They
selected two – Joseph, called Barsabbas, and Matthias – both
good men; both, from the baptism of John to the present time,
had been with Jesus; both were witnesses to the resurrection
of Jesus; they have the general qualifications. But the church
could not know the heart of Matthias, nor the heart of
Joseph; so they prayed. Here then is a prayer made par_
ticularly to the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone has the right
to select an apostle: „Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts
of all men, show of these two the one whom thou hast chosen.”
The method of determining the decision of Jesus Christ was
by lot. There are many places in the Old Testament where
matters are decided by lot. The lot is cast, but the dis_
posing of the lot is of the Lord. So they would write on little
tablets, „Matthias” or „Joseph Barsabbas,” and they would
put these tablets into an urn and shake them, and one of
them would fall out. The one that fell out had the name
„Matthias” on it, and if the Lord disposed of the lots of those
nominations by the church, Matthias is designated as the
apostle to take the place of Judas.
Just here, note that we get our word „clergy” from that
transaction, derived from kleros, a lot, and as the lot was used
to determine who should enter that ministry, and as the lot
designated which one was to be in that ministry, so the
ministry at large are called „clergy,” from that word „lot.”
Here arises the question: Was the election of Matthias pre_
sumptuous and unauthorized, and what is the argument pro
and con? An old Hardshell brother once said about it: „Breth_
ren, you know that man Peter; well, he was always going off
with his mouth half_cocked, continually getting into trouble,
and though the Lord distinctly said, ‘Wait until you be endued
with power from on high,’ this Peter in his forwardness pro_
poses to elect an apostle, and who do you think they elected?
You never will guess if I don’t tell you. It was that little
man, Matthias, and he has never been heard of from that
day to this; and if I had been there, I would have voted for
Paul, sure.” That is the Hardshell position. One of the
greatest Methodist bishops practically takes the same posi_
tion, and many other people believe that the election of Mat_
thias was unauthorized. They say, „When we see the founda_
tions of the heavenly city there are twelve names on them,
the names of the twelve apostles. Now, if Matthias is to
come in, where does Paul come in? We know that Jesus did
call Paul.”
All of that is very plausible. Some very good men have
held and do still hold that view. I take the other view, for
the following reasons: (1) It was essential that this house,
which now was built, to be occupied by the Spirit, to be com_
plete, should have the full number of the apostles. (2)
Christ did not only inspire Peter, but he had illumined his
mind to understand the scripture. (3) This man Matthias,
from that time on, was numbered with the apostles. With the
others, he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day
of Pentecost; with the others he participated in all of the
general actions of the apostles, throughout the book; and the
book does continually refer to the whole number of them, in_
cluding Matthias.
Paul’s apostleship stands upon an entirely different basis.
He was the apostle to the Gentiles. There were to be twelve
apostles to the Jews. The number never would have been
completed if Matthias had not been chosen.

Just here we need a restatement of certain matters concern_
ing Judas Iscariot already considered in the interpretation of
the Gospels: Was Judas ever a regenerate man? Did he
fall from grace as well as from office? Was this fall total and
final, so that he was forever lost, or did he so repent that he
was finally saved? The passage from which these questions
arise is Acts 1:15_26, and the answers to them divide the
Christian world into Calvinists and Arminians.
The abstract doctrine is embodied in the proposition: A
child of God by regeneration, or a penitent believer in Jesus
Christ, i.e., one acquitted by justification, may and does
backside through sin after justification, but never does so
fall away as to be totally and forever lost. On this proposi_
tion Calvinists affirm, Arminians deny.
Or a part of the issue may be hypothetically stated: If
it were possible for a regenerate man to lose his regenerate
state, it would be impossible to renew him to repentance. On
the divine side the first proposition is called „The final preser_
vation of the saints.” On the human side, „The final per_
severance of the saints.”
The concrete cases usually cited for argument, pro and con,
are Samson, Saul, king of Israel, David, Solomon, and Judas.
Our present case is Judas. Peter himself says of Judas, what
no one denies, „He was numbered among us [‘us,’ meaning
the twelve] and received his portion in this ministry,” and
quotes a psalm to prove that his office was vacated and must
be filled. The prayer offered to Jesus calls upon him to show
which of the two nominated, should „take the place in this
ministry and apostleship, from which Judas fell away, that
he might go to his own place.”
The evidence from this passage alone is clear that Judas,
by „iniquity,” fell from an office, and not from a regenerate
state. And it certainly intimates that he was forever lost,
since he fell that „he might go unto his own place.” It is clear
from many scriptures that Judas was never a regenerate man.
Long before, in the Galilean ministry, just after the great
discourse on the bread of life, which offended many, our Lord
had said of Judas, „He is a devil” (John 6:70_71). The state_
ment by John (12:4_6) demonstrates that Judas was both a
hypocrite and a thief before he betrayed the Lord, and the
statement by our Lord at the paschal supper certainly inti_
mates his eternal doom (Matt. 26:24; Mark 14:21).
Dr. Adam dark, the greatest Methodist commentator, bases
& hope of the ultimate salvation of Judas on his alleged re_
pentance, confession of sin, and restoration of the bribe_
money (Matt. 27:3_4). The contention is untenable be_
cause: (1) The verb expressing this so_called repentance is
not metanoeo, used to express evangelical repentance, but
metamelornai expressing remorse or worldly sorrow. (2) We
know from Paul’s use of the latter word (2 Cor. 7:10) it
„worketh death,” while true repentance „is unto salvation and
life.” (3) So in the case before us, the remorse of Judas
worked death: „He went out and hanged himself,” which
means suicide, or self_murder.
In our interpretation of the Gospels, particularly of Mat_
thew 27:3_4, in the very passage upon which Dr. Adam Clark
bases his contention, it is shown that a modern author, in the
Edinburgh Review, somewhere about 1870 to 1873, posing
as an ancient Roman living near the time of Christ’s betrayal,
and philosophizing concerning Judas, writes a poem assuming
that he betrayed Christ, in the hope that the Lord, by the
display of miraculous power, would rescue himself and over_
throw all his enemies. But when he saw that the Lord quietly
submitted himself to capture and condemnation, he bitterly
repented, gave back the price of blood, testified of Christ’s
innocence, and in despair destroyed himself. The poem is very
ingenious, but cites no scripture to support its view of the
motive of Judas, and goes squarely against all the scriptural
accounts of the traitor.
It was Satan, who finding an apostle who was a hypo_
crite and thief, disappointed that Christ’s kingdom was not
to be of this world, and its treasurer not likely to have op_
portunity of large stealing, put it into his heart to betray, and
then led his despairing victim to suicide. All of the action
of Judas, subsequent to the betrayal, is on a line with the
remorse of criminals, who, fleeing from their own despair, seek
relief in suicide.
It is very difficult to harmonize satisfactorily Peter’s ac_
count of the manner of Judas’ death, and the disposition of
the price of blood (Acts 1:18_19), with the Gospel account of
Matthew 27:3_10. The difficulties are three: (1) Peter says,
„This man obtained a field with the reward of his iniquity,”
the natural force of which is that Judas himself purchased
a field with the reward of his iniquity. Matthew shows that
the bribers of Judas bought this field, which was a potter’s
field. (2) Peter says that „falling headlong, [i.e., in this
field] he burst asunder, . . .” Matthew says, „He went and
hanged himself.” (3) Peter intimates that this field received
its name, „Akeldama,” i.e., field of blood, from the blood
of Judas. Matthew intimates that it received this name be_
cause purchased with the „blood money” that bribed Judas
to betray the Lord.
It would be uncandid to deny an apparent lack of har_
mony between the account of Matthew 27:3_10 and the
briefer account in Peter’s parenthetical statements (Acts 1:
18:19). It would unnecessarily weary the reader to recite
the multitudinous attempts at reconciliation, or per contra,
the efforts to show hopeless contradiction. A fairly good
report of them may be found in Broadus’ Commentary on
Before attempting my own interpretation I will ask the
reader to have before him both accounts in parallel columns.
He will so find them in Broadus’ Harmony of the Gospels.
Now assume, for argument’s sake, that both accounts, in
some way, are true, and supplementary to each other; that
is, that neither tells the whole story, and both are needed
to a full account, and then verify the assumption by an ade_
quate explanation. The order of the facts, according to
this interpretation, would be:
1. Judas, finding Jesus condemned by the Sanhedrin, is
stricken with remorse. The blood money burns his pocket.
He tries to divest himself of it by throwing it down before
the bribers. But he cannot thus separate himself from
that money any more than Pilate could divest himself of
sin by washing his hands.
2. Judas, driven by despair, fleeing from the sight of men,
goes to an old potter’s field, that is, a place where deep
excavations have been made to get at the kind of clay used
by potters in molding their pottery. We may today find
such pits near cities, excavated for gravel. Whether this par_
ticular potter’s field was in the side of the cliff overlooking
the valley of Hinnom as tradition alleges, or north of the
city, as some conjecture, is immaterial. It was a lonely,
desolate place.
3. Here his urgent despair, wishing to escape itself, sug_
gests suicide. How shall he accomplish it? First construct_
ing a short cord, out of his outer robe or belt, he climbs
down the side of one of the deep pits until level with the
top, and having knotted one end of the cord around his neck
he throws the loop of the other end over a projecting rock,
and swings off. So, as Matthew says, „he hanged himself.”
But with the sudden drop of his weight, the loop slips over
the rock, or dislodges the rock, or breaks – no matter which
– „he falls headlong” (or face down), striking with terrific
force the sharp rocks at the bottom of the pit, „and bursts
asunder, all his bowels gushing out,” as Acts declares.
4. „This became known to all the city.”
5. The authorities became exercised on two points: „Where
shall we bury Judas, and what shall we do with his blood_
money?” „His suicide there has rendered the potter’s field
accursed. We will use his own blood money to buy it for his
burial place, and it will also suffice as a Gentile cemetery.”
So says Matthew. And so also Acts: „This man obtained a
field with the reward of his inequity.” This causative sense of
the word „obtained” is grammatically explained by Hackett
in his Commentary on Acts, expounding this very passage.
But it has more than grammar to support this sense, since
as we have already hinted, Judas could not divest himself of
his title to this blood money, by throwing it down in the
sanctuary, nor divest himself of what was purchased with it.
6. Because his blood money purchased this field, it, ac_
cording to Matthew, was called „The field of blood.” Be_
cause this potter’s field was stained by the blood of his own
self_murder, it, according to Acts, was called „the field of
blood.” Both were true. Neither reason is expressed as
7. But there is yet a higher reason justifying both records:
The potter’s field became a monumental evidence for ages
of (a) the guilt of the bribers; (b) the guilt and doom of the
traitor bribed; (c) the innocence of the betrayed Lord; (d)
the fulfilment of ancient prophecies.
This possible and probable explanation of both records
fully supplies all that is necessary to offset a charge of con_
tradiction between the two accounts.

1. What is the key passage of the book of Acts, and what is its rela_
tion to the book as a whole?
2. What is the scope of the book?
3. What is the time period of the book?
4. What are the two parts of the first chapter, and what the time
of each?
5. To what was the forty days, or the first part, devoted?
6. To what the ten days, or the second part?
7. How does this book continue the Gospel of Luke, and what the
distinction between the two?
8. What is significant from the use of the word „began,” verse I?
9. Who then is the hero of both books?
10. How must we conceive Jesus throughout the Acts?
11. What does Jesus do in heaven, as enthroned?
12. How does he teach and do what he does on earth in that time?
13. What conception have we of the church in the ten days?
14. How does the church manifest its ignorance on some points, what
the meaning of „times” and „seasons,” and what the application?
15. What the form of church government?
16. What is the position of the women in the church?
17. What the three special classes in this first church?
18. What is the last account of the half_brothers of Jesus in the Gos_
pels, and what clearly inferable concerning them from this account in Acts?
19. Which of the half_brothers of our Lord do we hear from again
in the Scriptures, and what did each of them do, respectively?
20. What can you say of this reference to Mary, the mother of Jesus,
and what of the Catholic system of Mariology and Mariolatry?
21. What did the church do during the ten days of waiting, and for
what did they pray?
22. How is the ascension of our Lord connected with the second ad_
vent of our Lord?
23, What three questions must be answered in order to a fair start
in theology, and how does the scripture answer the first?
24. How do the Psalms and Daniel carry on the story of the ascension?
25. How does Paul carry it on in his letter to the Philippians?
26. What is here notable with reference to the relation of the differ_
ent books of the Bible?
27. How do the Psalms carry the idea yet further, and how does Acts
show the same thing?
28. In this conception of the church, what is notable as to its occupant?
29. How was the matter of selecting a successor to Judas introduced,
and what the qualifications for such successor as determined by the
30. Why should they pray especially to the Lord Jesus Christ in this
instance, and what the method of determining his choice?
31. How do we get our word „clergy”?
32. Was the election of Matthias presumptuous and unauthorized,
and what the argument pro and con?
33. What questions arise here concerning Judas Iscariot, what the pas_
sage from which they arise, and into what two classes do the answers to these questions divide the Christian world?

34. What the proposition of the abstract doctrine, and what position
does each class take, respectively?
35. What the hypothetical statement of a part of the issue?
36. What is the first proposition called, from the viewpoint of the
divine side, and what also from the viewpoint of the human side?
37. What the concrete cases usually cited for argument pro and con?
38. What says Peter of Judas, what is clearly evident from this pas_
sage, and what other Scripture proof cited?
39. What hope does Adam dark hold out for the salvation of Judas,
and what the reply to this contention?
40. What he position taken by a modem author in the Edinburgh
Review, and what the reply to this contention?
41. What did Satan find in Judas that made him an easy victim of
suicide, or self_murder?
42. What the difficulties of harmonizing Acts 1:18_19 and Matthew
43. Where may be found a fairly good report of the attempts at
reconciliation, or the efforts to show hopeless contradictions of these accounts?
44. What the author’s interpretation of them, and according to this
interpretation, what the facts.

Acts 2:1_36

This discussion is but an introduction to a long exposition,
or rather a series of discussions of Acts 2, with its correla_
tive passage in both the Old Testament and the New Testa_
ment. Without a clear understanding of it no man can es_
tablish a claim to be a theologian. From its typical and
prophetic roots in the Old Testament, a retrospective view
from it illumines the Gospels, of which it is a climax; and a
prospective view from it illumines the mission of the
churches, inspired letters which complete the Canon, and
which define the scope, doctrine, discipline, and co_opera_
tion of the churches, and prophetically outlines their fu_
ture. It is the fulfilment of many promises. These promises
are not only distinct promises, but are promises with distinct
meaning. It is the beginning of a new dispensation. That
is to say, it is the beginning of the dispensation of the Holy
Spirit and the churches, until Christ comes to final judgment.
And this involves many distinct promises, for example, in
John’s famous chapters (14_17), it fulfils the promise of the
coming of the Holy Spirit to abide with the church as Christ’s
alter ego, or the other Paraclete. Then, many times is the
promise that Christ will baptize in the Holy Spirit. These
promises are quite distinct in meaning. The coming of the
Holy Spirit to abide with the churches, and the promise to
baptize in the Holy Spirit are distinct things. Moreover, in
the promise: „He will baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire,”
the baptism in fire „is distinct in meaning from the baptism in

the Holy Spirit.” Then again, the coming of the Holy Spirit
as an abiding Paraclete, is not the same as the anointing of
the most holy (Dan. 9:24, last clause), though both are here
fulfilled and related to each other.
We must not mix the thought of the coming and abiding
of the Holy Spirit with the churches till Jesus comes with that
accrediting’ of the church whose miraculous varieties of at_
testation will soon pass away with their passing need, for
after „tongues have ceased” the Spirit will still remain, in_
filling with spiritual power, leading, teaching, and guiding the
churches so that the people of God shall not be orphans.
Indeed, there are so many distinct things taught in Acts 2 that
an understanding of it calls for a conception of the meaning
of very many scriptures.
I name now certain scriptures of both Testaments that bear
upon the proper interpretation of Acts 2. The confusion of
tongues at Babel (Gen. 11:1_9). Three Old Testament types:
First, the cloud filling the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34_38). Second,
the cloud filling the Temple of Solomon (I Kings 8:10_11).
Third, the cloud filling Ezekiel’s ideal temple after Solomon’s
Temple was destroyed (Ezek. 43:1_6). Then, as has been
already suggested, we must understand the last clause of
Daniel 9:24, anointing the most holy and the prophecy in
Joel 2:28_32.
The New Testament promise is expressed in Matthew 3:11_
12; Mark 16:17_18; John 1:33; 7:37_39; Acts 1:8. The fol_
lowing New Testament scriptures show the fulfilment of this
promise: Acts 2:1_6; 8:14_16; 9:17, connected with Is Corin_
thians 14:18; Acts 10:44_46; 19:1_6; I Corinthians 12:8_10.
These scriptures show what occurred, to wit: Acts 2:1_6
shows that the Jews received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:14_16 shows that the Samaritans received it. Acts 9:17
with I Corinthians 14:18 shows that Paul received it. Acts
10:44_46 shows that the Romans at Caesarea received it.
Acts 19:1_6 shows that the disciples at Ephesus received it.
I Corinthians 12:8_10 shows that the Greeks at Corinth re_
ceived it. The explanation of these several occurrences is
given in the following scriptures: Acts 2:13_36; 8:18_20; II:
15_18, together with 15:7_9, and I Corinthians 12_14. The
most important of all by way of explanation are these three
chapters of I Corinthians. I would not trust any man to ex_
pound Acts 2 who did not understand these three chapters
in Corinthians.
A study of these passages of scripture shows that the dis_
integration of one people, as one nation, by a confusion of
tongues at Babel, was reversed by the gift of tongues; and
as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost,
signifying that when the human race, because it was of one
lip, one word, one speech, was united against God, he divided
them into different nations by confusing their tongues, and
multiplying their languages, the object of the coming of the
Holy Spirit in Acts 2 was in part to restore the unity of the
long_severed fragments of the human race into one family of
God. The gift of tongues is to indicate how this unity is to
be brought about.
As it was evident that the house built by Moses, his taber_
nacle, even though completed as a structure, was an empty
house until the cloud filled it, showing that God himself was
to be the occupant, and as the Temple of Solomon, though
thoroughly completed, was to be the house of God after the
use of the tabernacle as a portable house was no longer neces_
sary, yet remained empty until the cloud filled it, and as this
was equally true of the vision temple of Ezekiel, all of these
by the infilling cloud symbolizing the presence of God as an
inhabitant of these several houses, show that when Jesus
built the antitype of these houses, which was the church, as an
institution, it was essential that the new house should receive
a heavenly occupant, or as Daniel puts it, there must be an
anointing of a most holy place. Therefore, the church which
Jesus had established was, on this day of Pentecost, infilled
by what the cloud prefigured – that is to say, the coming of
the Holy Spirit. I stress the Daniel prophecy which says:
„Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon the
Holy City, to finish transgressions, and to make an end of
gin_offering, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to
bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and
prophecy, and to anoint the most holy [place].” These events
and the Hebrew use of the words „most holy” forbid any
reference to Christ himself in this anointing. It is after the
Messiah is cut off that the most holy place is to be anointed.
To restate the whole thought: The tabernacle was the house
that Moses built, and when complete was filled with a cloud
signifying the typical presence of God. It was succeeded by
the Temple of Solomon, to which, when complete, the cloud
was transferred, and which was filled with the glory of God.
When that Temple was destroyed, Ezekiel, in exile) sees a
vision temple in which at a certain juncture a cloud came and
filled it. Matthew shows that when Christ died the veil of the
Temple, that is, Zerubbabel’s Temple, enlarged by Herod, was
rent in twain, and when that veil was rent in twain from top
to bottom, it signified that the old Temple was made empty
forever. Yet, God must not be without a temple. So after
the death of Christ had made reconciliation for sin the true
temple, the church, the truly holy place, was anointed by
the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Let us look again at the New Testament promise concern_
ing what was fulfilled in Acts 2. John the Baptist says, „I
indeed baptize you in water, but there cometh One after me
who is to be preferred before me. He shall baptize you in the
Holy Spirit and in fire.” The additional words, „and in fire,”
will be explained later. He afterward points to Jesus and
says, „This is he who is to baptize in the Holy Spirit.” We
have already seen that in Acts I, just before he ascended into
heaven, Jesus said, „Ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit
not many days hence.” It was only ten days, and in John 7
on the last great day of the feast, Jesus said, „If any man
thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on
me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall outflow
the rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit,
which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit
was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Then
in the four chapters of John, from which I gave you references,
Jesus says, „It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I
go not away the Comforter [or Paraclete, or Advocate, or
Helper] will not come unto you.” Then he mentions the
several things the Spirit will do when he comes, and not all
the same things. That was the promise of the Father.
If we look at the story as given in Acts 2:1_4, we see that
three things occur: First, something audible: „And suddenly
there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty
wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.”
Second, what was visible: „And there appeared unto them
tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each
one of them.” Third, a result: „And they were all filled with
the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the
Spirit gave them utterance.”
This evidently occurred in the upper chamber, where they
had celebrated the Lord’s Supper, and where our Lord had
appeared unto them after his resurrection several times. The
sound which was heard was audible, not alone to them. It was
so heard over all the city that a great multitude came together
– that multitude being largely composed of the Jews of the
dispersion from various parts of the world. And they were
confounded, amazed, at hearing each one of those, upon whom
appeared the semblance of a flaming tongue, so speaking that
each man heard what was said in his own language in which
he was born. The sound must have been terrific, for it not
only filled the house, but the city. It was like the rushing
of a cyclone, the sweeping down of a tremendous current of
wind. The people were able to locate the sound, and came
rushing to the place where it was echoing. Everybody could
bear witness to this because it was audible and so loud.
Then, there was an appeal to sight.
There appeared unto the 120ù”tongues distributing them_
selves, tongues like as of fire,” that is, they saw a luminous
appearance of tongues, just as we have seen a lambent flame
act that way. So these luminous tongues distributed them_
selves and sat upon the head of each member of the 120,
including the twelve apostles, those women, the mother of
Jesus, and others, and the brothers of Jesus. This luminous
phenomenon has often been seen in an electric storm, when
the electricity would fasten itself upon some object, like the
point of a spear, or the top of a mast, and play about like a
tongue of fire. It is especially so seen on ships at sea. Virgil
alludes to it, saying that when he saw in a storm that one of
these lambent tongues rested upon the head of young Iulus,
the sailors took it as an omen that he was favored of the gods.
Anyhow, that is what was visible. The results to the 120 are
thus expressed: „And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,
and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them
utterance.” These are the things told in the first four verses
of this chapter, as to what they heard, what they saw, and the
double result: First, filled with the Spirit; second, all of them
speaking with tongues.
Later we will take up the question, „What is meant by
speaking with tongues?” This result took place in Jerusalem,
the holy city, in Samaria, in Caesarea, in Damascus, and in
Corinth, so that the Jews, the Samaritans, the Romans, the
Orientals at Ephesus, and the Greeks at Corinth, all were
baptized in the Holy Spirit. There are some differences in
the details as to the results in these various places. The record
says, „Now when the apostles that were at Jerusalem heard
that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto
them Peter and John; who, when they were come down,
prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: for
as yet he was fallen upon none of them.” It gives no details
of how it was manifested at this place. It must have been
manifested some way, because Simon Magus was so much im_
pressed by it that he thought that if he could obtain the
power of imparting such a gift he could bring much money.
Of the case at Caesarea the record says, „While Peter yet
spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard
the word. And they of the circumcision that believed were
amazed, as many as came with Peter, because that on the
Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. For
they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God,” that
is to say, the baptism in the Holy Spirit was not to be limited
to Jerusalem. The Samaritans, the kinspeople of the Jews, re_
ceived it. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, received it at
Damascus, and the Romans at Caesarea received it.
The record in the case at Ephesus is this: „It came to pass,
that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed
through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found cer_
tain disciples; and he said unto them, Did ye receive the Holy
Spirit when ye believed? And they said unto him, Nay, we
did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given.”
Whereupon Paul explained John’s preaching and baptism,
and then baptized these disciples. „And when Paul had laid
his hands upon them the Holy Spirit came on them and they
spake with tongues and prophesied.” Here is a diversity. It is
stated as plainly as elsewhere that the baptism in the Spirit
was to be received only by Christians. But heretofore its only
manifestation was the speaking with tongues. Here prophesy_
ing is added.
We now take the remarkable case at Corinth as described
by Paul in the first letter to that church, beginning with I
Corinthians 12:4: „Now there are diversities of gifts, but the
same Spirit.” So far we have only found the diversity of
tongues and prophesying. „To one is given through the Spirit
the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge,
according to the same Spirit; to another faith, in the same
Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; and
to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy;
and to another discernings of spirits; to another divers kinds
of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues.”
Indeed, in chapter 14 he adds: „What is it then, brethren?
When you come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teach_
ing, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation.”
He is speaking wholly of these miraculous gifts. The most re_
markable thing about Paul’s explanation in I Corinthians 12
is that the baptism in the Spirit was diverse in its results in
different cases. One man was truly baptized in the Spirit who
could only speak with tongues, but another man was also bap_
tized in the Holy Spirit who could work miracles, while, as it
was foretold in the last of Mark’s Gospel, others could, with
impunity, drink a deadly poison or be harmlessly bitten by
venomous reptiles. And that passage in Mark says, „These
signs shall follow them that believe.”
Consider further the explanations of the several instances
of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:13, 30_
37 the recipients of the baptism in the Holy Spirit appeared
to be very highly stimulated in some way, so that the out_
siders looking on them said, „These men must be drunken
with new wine.” But Peter’s explanation, while admitting the
stimulus and the intoxication, shows it to be a spiritual in_
toxication to which a reference is made in one of Paul’s letters:
„Be not drunk with wine wherein is riot, but be ye intoxicated
with the Holy Spirit.”
That the case at Caesarea was a real baptism in the Holy
Spirit appears in Peter’s explanation in Acts II, where he
says, „And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them,
even as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word
of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized in water; but
ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit. If then God gave unto
them the like gift as he did also unto us, when we believed
the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God?
And when they heard these things, they held their peace, and
glorified God, saying, Then to the Gentiles also hath God
granted repentance unto life.” That is to say, if this baptism
of the Spirit could come only to those who believe, in harmony
with Paul’s question at Ephesus, „Did ye receive the Holy
Spirit when ye believed?” and the Caesareans had received the
Holy Spirit, it followed that God had antecedently granted
unto them repentance unto life.
It is evident, from an examination of the promise of the
baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the miraculous manifestations
of the reception of this baptism, that it was no ordinary work
of the Holy Spirit, such as conviction, repentance, faith, which
had been occurring from the days of Abel. It was yet a thing
of promise when Jesus ascended into heaven. In no way, then,
could the baptism in the Spirit be counted as regeneration.
In regeneration the Holy Spirit is the agent, a sinner is the
subject and the purpose is to make him a Christian; but here
Jesus is the agent, the subject is a Christian, and the purpose
is to increase his efficiency as a Christian man – to accredit
him. It is evident that in Acts 2 the members of the church,
converted people, received this baptism, but after Peter’s
preaching, outsiders were converted. None of them that day
was baptized in the Spirit. They were baptized in water.
There was a promise, however, to them and to their children
limited by „those whom God should call,” that they should
receive this baptism of the Spirit, or this gift of the Spirit,
if God called them to it, and that in making the call there
would be no distinction as to age or sex.
To contrast the baptism of the Spirit and regeneration more
particularly let us consider two passages in John. In John 4:
10_15 Jesus speaks of the water of life as a benefit to the
recipient. He says to the woman, „If thou knewest the gift
of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, give me to drink;
thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given
thee living water.” She says, „Thou hast nothing to draw
with. How are you going to get the water?” To this Jesus
replied: „Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst
again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give
him shall never thirst. But the water that I shall give him
shall become in him a well of water springing up into eternal
life.” That is certainly conversion, and the Joy of it. Who_
ever is converted has in himself and for himself a spring –
an unfailing spring of life. But in John 7:37_38, where the
reference is clear to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he said:
„If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that
believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him
shall outflow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the
Spirit which they that believed on him would receive.” Here
is again a river of water, but it is not for the benefit of the
person. It is beneficial only when it outflows to other people,
and it is expressly declared to be that outgoing power from
a converted man which follows the reception of the Holy
Spirit that is given.
Again, regeneration, or conversion, is of grace in all of its
exercises – contrition, repentance, faith. But the baptism of the
Spirit is a gift, and in Is Corinthians 13 Paul sharply contrasts
the difference between a gift and a grace. He says, „Whether
there be tongues they shall cease, whether there be prophecies
they shall fail; but now abideth faith, hope, love – these three,
and the greatest of these is love.” This is often manifest in
preaching. A man may have a preaching gift; he may be apt
to teach, but he may be devoid of Christian graces; if so
devoid, yet be truly a regenerate man. The references that
have been cited show that no man could receive the baptism
of the Holy Spirit until after he was converted. Paul asks,
„Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed?” Se
also writes to the Galatians) „Received ye the Holy Spirit
by works of law, or through the gift of faith?” Showing that
they had to have faith before receiving the miraculous gift
of the Spirit. In every age of the world, through all of its
preceding dispensations, the plan of salvation was one; that is,
by regeneration on its divine side and by contrition, repent_
ance, and faith on its human side.
Paul in I Corinthians gives an additional thought. He says,
„Ye were all baptized in the one Spirit unto one body.” He
is not here discussing water baptism at all. He says, „Ye were
all baptized in one Spirit,” and the object of the baptism in
the Spirit was unto the church, or the one body. It is, per_
haps, well to make clear just here another distinction. I once
asked a man if be had been baptized. His reply was, „I have
been baptized in the Spirit,” implying that water baptism
amounted to nothing, but the true baptism was the baptism
in the Spirit. I tried to show him that in water baptism a
man is the administrator, and in the Spirit baptism Jesus is
the administrator; that Jesus personally never did baptize in
water. Pointing to him John said, „He is the One that shall
baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”
In water baptism the element is water: „I, indeed, baptize
you in water.” The element in the Spirit baptism is the Spirit:
„He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit,” making a distinction
in element as well as in administrator. There is no distinction
in the subject of the two baptisms. Only a Christian should
be baptized in water, and only a Christian could be baptized
in the Holy Spirit, but the design of the two baptisms was
very unlike. The object of the water baptism is to make a
public confession of faith in the Messiah; as it were, to put
on the uniform of the Lord, or to show forth in a figure the
resurrection of Christ, and to accept the pledge of our own
resurrection. But the design of the baptism of the Holy Spirit
is thus expressed: „Ye shall receive power when the Spirit is
come upon you,” as it is expressed in John 7: „Out from you
shall flow rivers of water.”

1. What the importance of Acts 2?
2. What its relation to certain promises, what the promises, and what
distinction in their meaning emphasized?
3. What Old Testament scripture and incident bearing upon the in_
terpretation of Acts 2?
4. What 1,wo Old Testament prophecies of this coming of the Spirit?
5. What three Old Testament types, of which the coming of the
Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is the antitype?
6. In what New Testament scriptures is the promise of the baptism
in the Spirit expressed?
7. What New Testament scriptures show the fulfilment of this promise?
8. What occurred in each instance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
9. What scriptures give the explanation of what occurred in these
several instances, and which is the most important explanation of all?
10. A study of these scriptures shows what?
11. What the similarity between the tabernacle, the Temple, the
vision temple of Ezekiel, and the house which Jesus built?
12. What the prophecy of this in Daniel, and to what does „most
holy” in Daniel refer?
13. Now restate the whole thought.
14. What was the promise of the Father as stated by John the Bap_
tist, by Jesus, in John 7:37_39, chapters 14_16, and Acts 1:5?
15. What three things occurred on the day of Pentecost as recorded
in Acts 2:1_4?
16. Where did these things occur, and what the effect on the city?
17. Describe what they saw when they came together.
18. What natural phenomenon described by the author to which this
appearance is likened? Give special instance.
19. What the double result of this baptism in the Spirit?
20. What nationalities are represented among those who received this
baptism in the Spirit, and what the significance of it?
21. What the differences in the details as to the results in these several instances?
22. What the record of the case at Ephesus, and what diversity here?
23. What the diversities of gifts at Corinth, and what the results in
some instances as foretold in the last of Mark’s Gospel?
24. In what was the stimulation in the case of this baptism of the
Spirit like intoxication, what Peter’s explanation of it, and what
reference to this similarity in one of Paul’s letters?
25. What the proof that the case at Caesarea was a real baptism in
the Holy Spirit, and how does this prove that only Christians received the baptism of the Spirit?
26. How do you prove that this baptism of the Spirit was not an ordi_
nary work of the Spirit, such as conviction, repentance, and faith?
27. What the difference between the baptism in the Spirit and re_
generation, as to the agent, the subject and the purpose?
28. What limitation as to the ones who should receive this baptism
of the Spirit?
29. Show the contrast between regeneration and the baptism in the
Spirit from two passages in John.
30. What other distinction between regeneration and the baptism in
the Spirit?
31. Prove from the scripture that only Christians could receive the
baptism in the Spirit.
32. What was the object of this baptism in the Spirit?

Acts 8:1_47

Considering baptism in the Spirit as one of the things that
occurred on the day of Pentecost, let us restate the difference
between it and water baptism in these distinct particulars:
administrator, element, subject, design, form, duration, objec_
tive, establishing the last particular, i.e., the objective, by
bringing out clearly the New Testament usage of the verb,
baptizo, and the noun, baptisma, followed by the preposition,
It is important to note the distinction between baptism in
water and baptism in the Spirit: (1) As to the administrator:
Jn water baptism the administrator is a man in the flesh; in
the Spirit baptism the administrator is Jesus in glory. (2) As
to the element: In the one, water is the element, and in the
other, the Holy Spirit is the element: „I indeed baptize you
in water . . . he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.” (3) The
distinction as to the subject: In both cases the subject is a
Christian; it is, or ought to be, a Christian who is baptized
in water, and it is a Christian who is baptized in the Holy
Spirit. (4) As to the design: In the one the design is to declare
or symbolize what has been done; and in the other the design
is to confer efficiency for what is to be done. The design will
be brought out more clearly later. (5) What is the distinction
in form? Water baptism is uniform – always the same thing.
The Spirit baptism is diverse in form, or manifestation. A
man may be really baptized in the Spirit, and another man
baptized in the Spirit, and they both may not have the same
thing, being thus diverse in form. (6) What is the distinction
in duration? Water baptism in the one form continues until
our Lord’s second advent. The chief event of the day of Pente_
cost, is. e., the coming of the Holy Spirit, was once for all, as
the coming of our Lord in the flesh was once for all. The bap_
tism in the Spirit, after it had come in its diverse accrediting
form, was transitory, ceasing with the sufficient attestation.
(7) The distinction in the objective is even more important.
It is made clear by the New Testament usage of the verb,
baptizo, or its noun, baptisma, followed by the preposition, eis.
Eis in connection with this verb, or its noun, means in or into,
when the reference is to the element, as in Mark 1:9: „Was
baptized of John eis (in or into) the river Jordan.” But with
these references to the element ]ust now we have nothing to do.
We consider the usage when the reference is not to the ele_
ment, but only to the object or objective.
In these cases eis does not mean because of, as some zealous
Baptist would render Acts 2:38, nor in order to, as some
Campbellites would render it, but unto, somewhat like with
reference to. For example: (1) Baptism in water is unto re_
pentance, eis metanoian (Matt. 3:11); (2) unto remission of
sins, eis aphesin . . . hamartion (Acts 2:38). Here the first
example (Matt. 3:11), „unto repentance,” enables us to avoid
a mistake in interpreting the second one (Acts 2:38), „unto
remission of sins.”
The text of Matthew 3:11 absolutely forbids „in order to”
aa a translation of this preposition, because John is there in_
sisting on repentance of the subjects before he would baptize
them. He refuses to baptize the Pharisees until they bring
forth fruits meet for repentance. Therefore baptism unto re_
pentance is not „in order to.” It would destroy the whole sense
of the context, and equally so when we come to consider Acts
2:38. It does not mean „in order to” there.
Brother E. Y. Mullins has a way of making it mean „in
order to” there, by bringing out a kind of a split result, which
I think is unjustifiable by the laws of language. (3) Unto a
death: „So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized eis ton thanaton autou – i.e., into his death” (Rom.
6:3). Here the closest meaning seems to be with reference to.
It certainly could not mean in order to there; that when we
are baptized, we are baptized „in order to” his death; it could
not mean that. (4) Unto his death also explains another in_
stance immediately preceding, i. e., „unto Christ,” eis Christon
lesoun (Rom. 6:3), that is, baptism into Christ means baptism
into his death: „All we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death.” The latter passage is epexegeti_
cal of the former.
Again we find an example in Galatians 3:27: „For as many
of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ,” that
is, as a uniform. (5) With a side of the objective in water
baptism: „Into the name of the Father, and of the Son and
of the Holy Spirit,” eis to onoma (Matt. 28:19). But baptism
in the Spirit has an objective different from any of these. In
I Corinthians 12_14, Paul has discussed baptism in the Spirit
and compared it with other things. And in chapter 12 he uses
this language: „For in one Spirit were we. all baptized into
one body, eis hen soma (I Cor. 12:13). Then in explanation
of the one body he continues: „God bath set some in the
church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then
miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers
kinds of tongues.” These gifts conferred in the baptism in
the Spirit were „unto” one body – the church.
The difference in objective, then, between the two baptisms
is evident: The baptism in water may be „unto repentance,”
„unto remission of sins,” „unto Christ’s death,” „unto the
triune name.” The baptism in the Spirit is „unto the church.”
As no other objective, its object was to empower the church,
to dower the church, to accredit the church. The baptism in
water has no such object.
As the church was established by our Lord in his lifetime,
and commissioned by him, it was God’s building; it was the
true temple. But in his absence, after his ascension and until
the Spirit came, as a temple it had no shekinah; as a house
it had no occupant; as an ecclesia it had no attestation. We
thus see how the baptism in the Spirit was „unto” the church.
1. If the baptism in the Spirit is eis the church, what is
the real significance of this great transaction, as foreshadowed
in the tabernacle of Moses, the Temple of Solomon, the vision
temple of Ezekiel, and the prophecy of Daniel 9:24, recog_
nizing that the baptism of the Spirit is unto the church? The
significance of the great transaction described in Acts 2:2_4,
and explained in 2:16_18, is intensified by its evident fulfilling
of certain foreshadowings in the Old Testament. For example:
The cloud filling the tabernacle, which was the house that
Moses built, when it was completed. In Exodus 40:33_35 we
have a clear account of this; that when this house of God,
this tabernacle was completed, no part was left out, not a
mere particle of the material of which it was to be con_
structed, but when that material was put together so that it
formed a house; when Moses had thus finished this house of
God, the cloud which symbolized the glorious presence of Je_
hovah, came down and filled it, so that it was occupied by a
symbol of Jehovah’s presence.
2. The cloud filled the Temple, which was the house that
Solomon built, when it was completed. We have the record
of it in I Kings 7:51 to 8:11. David gathered this material,
and received from God the architectural plan of it; then
Solomon, with every piece of material prepared beforehand,
put it together; and that day when it was finished the Inhabi_
tant came down – a cloud representing the glorious presence
of Jehovah, and filled that house.
3. The cloud of the glory of Jehovah filled the vision temple
of Ezekiel, when it was seen as completed. We have in the
latter chapters of Ezekiel a description of the ideal temple,
and that record goes on to show that when it was completed
(Ezek. 43:1_4) the glory – the cloud of glory – of the presence
of Jehovah came and filled this temple. It was the anointing
of a new temple, or most holy place) after the Messiah, by
his vicarious, expiatory death, had made reconciliation for
iniquity and brought in everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9:24).
Let us note again the order of events: „Seventy weeks are
decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, (1) to finish
transgression, (2) and to make an end of sins, (3) and to
make reconciliation for iniquity, (4) and to bring everlasting
righteousness, (5) and to seal up vision and prophecy, (6) and
to anoint the most holy [place].”
It is important to observe that the tabernacle as a typical,
but transitory house of God, was occupied by the symbol of
the glorious presence of Jehovah, but when the people were
settled in the land, filling all the borders promised to Abraham
(Gen. 15) and there was peace through all the borders, then
there was no more need for the portable house of wandering
and war; so the cloud symbol of the glorious presence was
transferred to the fixed habitation built by Solomon, restored
by Zerubbabel, and still more restored by Herod – it makes no
difference. Just so, when a fixed typical house had served ita
purpose, its veil was rent in twain from top to bottom, when
Messiah died, and though it survived as a shell until destroyed
by Titus, it was empty – an empty, uninhabitated house, be_
cause the new house, built by our Lord himself – his temple,
his church, was, on this famous Pentecost, filled by the glorious
presence of Jehovah in the coming of the Holy Spirit; and so,
according to Daniel, there was the „anointing of the Most
You need not be disturbed because commentators unwisely
interpret this last clause of Daniel 9:24 as referring to the
anointing of a person, even our Lord himself. Three insupera_
ble obstacles stand in the way of their interpretation: (a) The
Hebrew usage demands that the „most holy” of Daniel 9:24
be considered as a place, or rather a house, and not a person.
(b) The orderly sequence of events in this verse places the
anointing of the most holy as the last of the great series,
and after reconciliation has been made for iniquity, (c) Our
Lord’s own anointing took place at his baptism, the beginning
and not the end of his public career, according to prophecy
(Isa. 11:1_5) and to fact (Matt. 3:16; Luke 4:18_21; John
6:27). Even when Jesus spoke about the anointing in the
address that he made at Nazareth, he quoted Isaiah, and he
claimed that he had that anointing of the Spirit testified to by
Isaiah, and that it was fulfilled that day as he spoke.
It is quite important also to note that as in Ezekiel’s vision
the river of life outflowed from the sanctuary (Ezek. 47), after
the cloud of glory filled it (Ezek. 43:1_4), so, as has been
stated, according to John the outflowing rivers of living water
from the believers was to be after the coming of the Spirit
(John 7:37_39): „Now on the last day, the great day of the
feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him
come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the
scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living
water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they which be_
lieved on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given;
because Jesus was not yet glorified.” The waters of the sanc_
tuary came trickling down, then they became a streamlet, next
as it were ankle_deep, later, up to the knees, then waist_deep,
until they became a river big enough to swim in, wherever it
went conferring life and fertility to the land. John 7 shows
the growth and depth of the stream from the sanctuary, and
this passage should be compared with every passage in Eze_
kiel; then can be seen what occurred on the day of Pentecost
– an infilling of the house that Jesus built, which is clearly
foreshown in Ezekiel and clearly fulfilled in John 7.
It is further to be noted that as the cloud filled the portable
house of Moses, which served only during the period of wander_
ing and war, then was succeeded by Solomon’s cloud_filled and
fixed habitation in time of peace, so the new house, the „time
church” of our Lord, the Spirit_occupied house, on this famous
Pentecost, for the war and moving period, itself will be suc_
ceeded in the eternal peace period by the church in glory, as
an everlasting habitation of God (Rev. 21). These are not
mere annals; they are more than incidental correspondents.
If ever on this earth in the library of sixty_six books of
the Bible there was an articulate system of truth conjoined:
coupled, capable, adaptable, without marring the symmetry
of the whole, it is this truth.
So when you go to interpret this book your interpretation
must fit all round. Thus would „the fathers”ù1 don’t mean
patriarchs, but our Baptist fathers – make this statement:
„The interpretation of one passage must be in accord with
one canon (or rule) of faith.”
We will not carry forward this line of thought, answering
again in enlarged form and in distinct particulars, the follow_
ing questions: What the clear distinction between the coming
of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and the subsequent or
attending baptism in the Spirit that day? What and why the
baptism in the Spirit, its extent as to persons or classes, and
its duration? What the distinction between the ordinary
graces of the Spirit, both before and after Pentecost, and the
extraordinary gifts of the baptism in the Spirit? These are
very important questions, and we will take them up in order:
1. The coming of the Holy Spirit on this Pentecost, and the
baptism of the 120 in the Spirit after he arrived, are two dis_
tinct things which must not be confounded. The baptism
was only one of the many results of his coming, or rather
fulfils only one of the many purposes of his coming. For
example: Acts 2:2_4 is one result. In the same chapter are
many, but one will suffice here: „And suddenly there came
from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind,
and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there
appeared unto them tongues parting among them, like as of
fire; and it sat upon each one of them. And they were all

filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other
tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
That is one of the results of the Spirit’s coming that day.
After Peter had preached, we read ( 2:37) : „Now when they
heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto
Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we
Notice it was a different crowd – a sinner crowd – and that
sinner crowd was not baptized in the Spirit. This is another
result of the Spirit’s coming that day. Acts 2:2_4 is one
result, i.e., this baptism of which the 120 are the subjects,
fulfilling the promises of Acts 1:8, first clause, and last clause
of Mark 1:8. Whereas Acts 2:37 expresses another, but quite
distinct result, fulfilling John 16:8_11, in which sinners are
convicted of sin: „And he, when he is come, he will convict
the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judg_
ment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness,
because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; of
judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged.”
The Holy Spirit came on this Pentecost as the other Para_
clete, the only Vicar or Vice_Regent of our Lord, to remain
on earth, while our Saviour remains in heaven. He is our
earth Advocate (Rom. 8:26_27) only so long as Jesus is our
heaven Advocate (Rom. 8:34, last clause; Heb. 7:25; I John
2:1). When the Lord comes again, the Vice_Regent will cease
to be vicar, just as the vice_president presides only in the
absence of the president, and does not act when he is present.
Some people want an earthly vicar, and call him „Pope.”
The Holy Spirit is the only vicar, who mediately continues
the immediate teaching begun by our Lord (John 14:26; Rev.
2:7, II, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). When Jesus was here, he did the
teaching directly; since he went to heaven, he still does the
teaching, but he does it mediately, through the Holy Spirit.
Hence the statement of our Lord, „He will teach you all
things, . . . and guide you unto all truth,” and the statement
in Acts 1:1_2: „The former treatise I made, 0 Theophilus,
concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until
the day in which he was received up, after that he had given
commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles
whom he had chosen.”
Thus he came to be the great witness to our Lord. He came
to reveal the Lord in us, as the Lord came to reveal the
Father to us.
These multiform purposes of the Spirit’s coming, in all
which he is the agent, are not to be confounded with the bap_
tism in the Spirit, in which our Lord is the agent.
2. The baptism in the Spirit, then, is that miraculous sub_
mersion of certain early Christians in the power of the Holy
Spirit, which accredited the church established by our Lord,
as a new and divine institution, superseding the narrower
Jewish institution, by its inclusion of all people into the family
of God. In order to accredit this, power was manifested in
the miraculous gifts enumerated in Acts 2; 8; 10; 19; I Co_
rinthians 12. To this end, understand that the baptism in the
Spirit is the submersion of certain Christians into the power
of the Spirit in order to accredit a new institution, distinct
from the Jewish institution, in itself to include all peoples,
and not just one people, and for spiritual reasons, not fleshly
reasons. To this end this power came first on Jews (Acts 2)
then on Samaritans (Acts 9), then on Romans (Acts 10), then
on Greeks (Acts 19; Is Cor. 12). The accrediting was just as
much needed to Peter as it was needed to the heathen. He
was mighty hard to convince that this new institution was
meant for all people. Jesus gave him some keys, one to open
the kingdom of heaven to the Jews, and one to the Gentiles,
and he was very prompt in opening the Jew door on this day,
but that other key lingered, and its door remained_ closed,
until he was on a certain housetop. The key had rusted, but
then came that vision of an ark, in which Peter learned that
God, who had cleansed the Gentiles, was no respecter of per-
sons and that the door of faith had to be opened to the
Gentiles also. That accrediting was very hard for the church
to receive. When called to account for the baptism of Cor_
nelius, a marvelous baptism, Peter said: „Who was I, that I
could withstand God?” Why, there was this same gift that
they received on the day of Pentecost, and there it was on this
Gentile, Cornelius, and he was speaking with tongues. „Who
was I, that I could withstand God?” Then when Philip went
to Samaria, as soon as the church at Jerusalem heard that he
was over there baptizing Samaritans, they sent a delegation
to look into the case, for they had no dealings with the Samar_
itans. But when the Spirit came in the same way on these
Samaritans, they spake with tongues. You will notice the
enlargement all the time – from Jews to Samaritans, to Rom_
ans, to Greeks. We are getting at the purpose of this accredit_
ing. I put my definition more clearly on the baptism in the
Spirit than heretofore, as a new institution, superseding the
old, and gathering all peoples into one family of God.
What was the result of that sort of attestation? Paul says
(and I am sure he thoroughly understood it), in that circular
letter to the Ephesians, including besides that Greek city,
other cities in the Lycus valley (Eph. 2:11_22): „Wherefore
remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are
called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision,
in the flesh, made by hands; that ye were at that time separate
from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel) and
strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope
and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye
that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace [is. e., he makes peace between us and
another party that we have been at war with], who made
both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having
abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of command_
ments contained in ordinances; that he might create in him_
self of the two, one new man, so making peace.”
What a light that throws on the death of Christ on the
cross, to which he refers I And therefore, as contained in a
letter to the Colossians, where the peculiar Jewish ordinances
are referred to, he says, „Nailing it to the cross . . . Let no
man therefore judge you in meat, . . .” Let no man therefore
judge you, „for through him we both have our access in one
Spirit unto the Father.” There we have the Trinity. Then the
result: „So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but
ye are fellow_citizens with the saints, and of the household
of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and
prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone;
in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth
into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded
together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.” „In whom
each several building [the church at Ephesus, at Laodicea,
at Smyrna, at Antioch, at Jerusalem], fitly framed [Jews and
Gentiles] together.” I am sure that the accrediting on that
day, is of the greatest importance to the whole universe, in
having convinced Peter, even, that this was a new institution;
that it was not to be a Jewish institution, and that it was to
supersede the old institution.
3. As this baptism was merely to attest, to accredit the
church, it was not necessarily something to be continued per_
manently, but to cease when the attestation was sufficient.
This very transitory nature was one of the things contrasted
with the graces of the Spirit, in I Corinthians 13:8: „Whether
there be tongues, they shall cease, etc.”

1. What the distinction between baptism in water and baptism in
the Spirit as to the administrator?
2. What the distinction as to the element?
3. What the distinction as to the subject?
4. What the distinction as to design?
5. What the distinction as to form?
6. What the distinction as to duration?
7. What the distinction as to the objective? Illustrate by the use of
baptize and baptisma, followed by eis.
8. Restate the real significance of this great transaction on the day of
Pentecost, as foreshadowed in the tabernacle of Moses, the Temple of Solomon, the vision temple of Ezekiel, and the prophecy of Daniel 9:24.
9. Does the „most holy” of Daniel 9:24 refer to a person or to a
place, and what the argument?
10. What the constructive argument based on Ezekiel 43:1_4; 47:1_2;
John 7:37_39?
11. What the relation of tabernacle, Temple, and church, and what
the bearing of this fact on correct interpretation?
12. What the clear distinction between the coming of the Spirit on
the day of Pentecost, and the subsequent or attending baptism in the
Spirit that day?
13. What and why the baptism of the Spirit, what its extent as to
persons or classes, and what its duration?
14. How was the accrediting by the baptism in the Holy Spirit re_
ceived by the church and the proof?
15. What the distinction between the ordinary graces of the Spirit,
both before and after Pentecost, and the extraordinary gifts of the
baptism in the Spirit?

Acts 2:l_47

Was the baptism in the Spirit the same as the baptism in
fire? The form of my answer to that is in Matthew 3:11_12:
„I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance; but he that
cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not
worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in
fire; whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse
his threshing_floor; and he will gather his wheat into the
garner, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.”
I will now explain the additional words, „in fire,” and answer
the question, Is the „in fire” fulfilled in Acts 2:3: „And there
appeared unto them tongues, parting asunder [or distributing
themselves], like as of fire”?
About the fairest, most trustworthy, most thoroughly critical
explanation given by expositors is to be found in Dr. Broadus’
great Commentary on Matthew, to which you are referred. My
own statement of the case, pro and con, is this:
1. One side (but a view that I am going to controvert) is
this: The baptism in the Spirit and fire is one baptism, indi_
cated by the absence of the preposition before „fire.”
2. The „in fire” is epexegetical of „in the Holy Spirit,”
merely expanding the thought, as in John 3:5: „Except one
be born of water and the Spirit, . . .” (3) John the Baptist
appears to have had in mind Malachi 3:1_3, particularly:
„He is like a refiner’s fire . . . and he will sit as a refiner and
purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and
refine them as gold and silver.” Therefore, the baptism in the
Spirit and fire is a purification, a sanctification. (4) The one
pronoun, „you” – „He will baptize you” – shows that the same
persons baptized in the Spirit were baptized in fire. (5) Hence
in the fulfilment we find „tongues of fire,” the visible expres_
sion of the baptism of the Spirit. This is one side, and very
fairly given, and just as strong as one who holds that view
can state it.
1. The other side: It is admitted that the absence of the
preposition before „fire” is strong presumptive evidence of
the unity of the baptism in the Spirit and fire; but it is not
conclusive evidence, and cannot be pleaded against a context
strongly the other way, as many examples of usage clearly
show. The context of the passage quoted as analogous (John
3:5): „Except one be born of water and the Spirit” very
strongly supports the unity of the birth, and that John 3:5 is
epexegetical of „born from above” (John 3:3). But the con_
text of Matthew 3:11_12 and of Luke 3:16 is overwhelmingly
the other way. Let us examine Matthew 3:10_12, noting the
fire in each case: „And even now the axe lieth at the root of
the trees: every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good
fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize
you in water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me
is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he
shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire; whose fan
is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing_
floor; and he will gather up his wheat into the garner, but the
chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.” The ax hews
down, and the trees that bring not forth good fruit, the fire
burns; in v. 12 the fan winnows the chaff from the wheat, and
the fire burns the chaff. In both these verses are two classes
with different destinies. The good trees are not cut down
and burned; the wheat is not burned with the chaff, but
gathered into the garner. The „you” whom John addresses
are two classes – not one – represented by good and bad trees,
and by wheat and chaff. How then can we make the „fire” in
the intervening verse sanctifying and not punitive – consum_
ing? Some of the „you” Jesus will baptize in the Spirit, but
others of the „you” he will baptize in fire, just as he discrimi_
nates between the destiny of good trees and bad trees, and of
wheat and chaff. This view is confirmed by the significant
fact that in every case where the baptism „in fire” occurs, the
context shows it to be punitive, and a consuming fire. The
context of Matthew 3:11 has been given; see also the context
of Luke 3:16_17, where also the fire is given. You will find
that some punitive character is placed upon it. Then if you
will note the absence of such context in Mark 1:8, you will
observe that there is also an absence of the fire. Mark say\
„I baptize you in water; but he shall baptize you in the Holy
Spirit.” Acts 1:5 says, „Ye shall be baptized in the Holy
Spirit,” and does not mention fire; and where it does not men_
tion fire it does not mention the punitive character.
2. The citation from Malachi, presented for the first side
of this argument, is unfortunate for those who cite it, since
the context there supports a contrary view. Malachi 4 is the
context of the third. Let us examine Malachi 4:1_3, and note
the punitive office of the fire, and the class to which it is ap_
plied: „For behold, the day cometh, it burneth aa a furnace;
and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stub_
ble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith
Jehovah of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor
branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of
righteousness arise with healing in its wings [beams]; and ye
shall go forth, and gambol as calves in the stall. And ye shall
tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles
of your feet in the day that I make [do this], saith Jehovah
of hosts.”
That chapter closes by referring to John the Baptist; that
Elijah was to come; Jesus says that John the Baptist was
meant by Elijah in that prophecy. If John the Baptist, as is
claimed, and aa I grant, had in mind what Malachi says,
then he had in. mind two very distinct classes of people. Upon
one class the sun of righteousness was to arise, with healing
in its beams. The other class was to be burned up, and be
ashes under the feet of that first class.
A refiner’s fire is not intended to make the gold or silver
better metal; it does not change the intrinsic value of the
gold or of the silver a particle. But the object of the refiner’s
fire is to eliminate and destroy that which is not gold and
silver, but which is mixed up with it. To separate and con_
sume the dross is the object of the refiner’s fire. Therefore,
no sanctifying power is referred to here; for if it be claimed
that Malachi 3:4 presents two comings of the Lord, far apart,
it is granted. But Joel’s prophecy, which Peter quotes as ex_
planatory of the baptism in the Spirit, does this same thing
(Acts 2:17_18), referring to Christ’s coming in the Holy Spirit,
while verses 19_20, also quoted from Joel, seem rather to refer
to Messiah’s final advent for judgment, as can easily be seen
by the parallel passage in Matthew 24:29_30, and by compar_
ing these phenomena with Matthew 25:41_46, the end of the
discussion. There it is clear that the baptism in fire means
„Depart from me, . . . into everlasting fire . . . And these shall
go away into eternal punishment.”
3. The contention that „tongues of fire” in Acts 2:3 fulfils
the „fire” of Matthew 3:11 is both untenable and inexcusable,
for the viewpoint of either of the theories here contrasted.
Therefore, no „tongues of fire” are in Acts 2:3. There ap_
peared unto them tongues which parted asunder, or distributed
themselves, „like as of fire.” This reference is not even to the
color of the tongues seen, but to the method of parting or dis_
tributing among them. Parting among them like as of fire.
Fire, when it is a great flame, parts asunder, separating in
tongue_shaped flames. Whenever we see a great fire we see
these tongues. There parted unto them tongues, whether black,
white or red, the record does not say, but it does say that
they parted asunder, just as a fire will part asunder, into
several flames that are in the shape of tongues. The point
of likeness, therefore, is not in the color of what they say,
but in the method of its distribution; and „like as” never
expresses identity. That is my point of view of the subject,
and it can readily be seen that it is not untenable, because
there was no fire. Something did occur which finds a likeness
in fire.
I will now suppose that I am on the other side, and I will
show that it is untenable and inexcusable; that this is not
intended to fulfil the other; these tongues did not sanctify
those who possessed them. Says Paul, „Tongues are for a
sign, not to them that believe, but to the unbelieving,” there_
fore they accredit. These tongues did not make the people
any better, but they did accredit the people who spoke them
to the unbelieving crowd that stood around. „For a sign,” not
to the believer, but to the unbeliever. Again Paul says,
„Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging
cymbal.” Once more he says, „Love never faileth: but whether
there be tongues [and he is discussing this baptism in Spirit
altogether], they shall cease. . . . But now abideth faith, hope,
love”; the things that benefit one are the graces of the Holy
Spirit, and they stay in the world and in the church. They
will be here when Jesus comes, but that tongue business ceases.
Why? Because it is not the purpose of the sign to be con_
tinuous. Just as soon as it serves its purpose, it is valueless.
It has exhausted the purpose of it having been brought into
A sign is not to sanctify the one who exhibits it, but to
accredit him.
God gave Moses signs to show unto Pharaoh – not signs to
himself; he had signs for him. The object of these signs to
Pharaoh was not to make Moses better, but to accredit him
before Pharaoh as a messenger from God.
What then is meant by „baptism in fire”?
It means everlasting punishment in hell. (See in my first
book of sermons the subject thus treated.)
Would you, then, in this way, pray to be baptized in the
Spirit and in fire? I would not. I have often heard it: „Come
now, 0 Lord, and baptize us in the Spirit and in fire.” The
reason I would not pray for both of them is that they do not
harmonize; the two things do not go together. If I were going
to pray for the one, I certainly would not pray for the other.
I would not pray for the baptism in the Spirit, because that
was a credential, and its day has passed. (Credentials are
not continuous.) I would not pray for the baptism in fire,
because I do not want to go where it takes place. But I am
quite sure that many people pray that, with a meaning they
have put on those words; and I do know that God oftentimes
answers their prayer, not according to what they say, be_
cause they miscall it, but according to what they mean. And
I doubt not that people often pray for things they do not
name rightly, and the Lord hears and answers according to
the intent.
That brings us to another important question: Were there
any influences of the Spirit communicated at Pentecost which
may now be received? Unquestionably. I have already called
attention to the distinction between the fulness of the mean_
ing of the coming of the Spirit, and the narrowness of the
meaning of the baptism in the Spirit. The very thing those
people prayed for may be involved in the coming of the Spirit.
The Spirit came occupying and infilling the church, and he
came to stay until Christ’s final advent. And if he stays, he
stays for that purpose; and I have a right to pray for all
things which he came to give, except that of accrediting, as
the early church was. Take, for example, what Paul prays
for in the letter to the Ephesians. He prays the two biggest
prayers that I have ever read or heard (Eph. 1:15_21): „For
this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus
which is among you, and the love which ye show toward all
the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention
of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your
heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of
his calling; what the riches of the glory of his inheritance
in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power
to us_ward who believe, according to that working of the
strength of his might, which he wrought in Christ, when he
raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right
hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority,
and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not
only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” These
are all mighty spiritual gifts.
Take his next prayer (Eph. 3:14_19): „For this cause I
bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family in
heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you,
according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strength_
ened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that
Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that
ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to appre_
hend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and
height and depth, and to know the love of Christ, which pass_
eth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of
God.” That is a titanic prayer. Paul prays that for the
church at Ephesus. So the importance of this question: Were
there any influences of the Spirit communicated at Pentecost
that may now be received?
The next question: Was the gift of tongues a power to speak
in other languages, or a mere ecstasy, unintelligible to other
people, and that the man himself oftentimes did not under_
stand? On that point we find the commentators parting
asunder like the forks of a road. Conybeare and Howson, m
their Life and Epistles of Paul, when they come to discuss the
gift of tongues in I Corinthians claim that it was not a gift
to speak in different languages.
Now, was it the power to speak in other languages? Cer_
tainly it was, or I have to take back what I said about Pente_
cost reversing the incident at Babel. Let the record answer
whether this was a mere ecstasy, or actual power to speak in
different languages: „Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem
Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And
when this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and
were confounded, because that every man heard them speak_
ing in his own language. And they were all amazed and mar_
veled, saying, Behold, are not all these that speak Galileans?
And how hear we, every man in our own language wherein we
were born?” (Acts 2:5).
That does not describe mere ecstasy, but the power to speak
in the different languages; and the record goes on to specify
the nations from which they came: „Parthians and Medes and
Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judea and
Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, in Phrygia and Pamphylia,
in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners
from Rome, both Jews and Proselytes, Cretans and Arabians,
we hear them speaking in our tongues the mighty works of
God.” While they were all Jews, yet Jews of the dispersion,
who had ceased speaking the Hebrew tongue, they spoke the
languages of the country where they lived, and what amazed
them – the thing that startled them – was to see these ignorant
Galileans, having a corrupted dialect of Aramaic, speaking
better than they could these words in their own languages,
to which they were born. Is have more respect for Conybeare
and Howson’s commentary than for many others, but I have
not a bit of respect for their position on this subject.
We will now show the likeness between the subjects of these
influences and drunken men, quoting Paul. When the Spirit
came that day to fill the church as an abiding presence, the
subjects of these influences of the Spirit were swept off their
feet. It was like the communication of the divine afflatus,
which showed in their eyes, in their courage, in their mountain_
high, star_high faith. It showed that they were in a measure
possessed – so much so, that outsiders who did not believe in
religion, said, „These men are drunken; that is the way a
drunken man does.” There is a likeness. Paul in his letter to
the Ephesians says, „Be not intoxicated with wine, wherein is
excess, but be intoxicated with the Spirit.” It is an intoxica_
tion in each case, a mighty stimulation. In one case it is a
good Spirit, and in the other, a very bad spirit; in the one a
Spirit of love, in the other a spirit of woe, as a man standing
on a whiskey barrel, once said, „There are spirits above, and
spirits below [pointing to the barrel]; spirits of love, and
spirits of woe.” Each one is a mighty stimulation. One stimu_
lates the soul; the other dethrones the reasoning power. And
yet there are certain resemblances. I have heard this called
drunkenness by infidels who came to a big meeting, who were
rapt, even when gazing in their faces; as these sighed, others
were sobbing, or weeping, or shouting the power of the truth.
„Why,” the infidels would say, „these people here are crazy;
they are possessed; they act like drunken people.”
What did this marvelous coming of the Spirit demonstrate?
I give an illustration to lead up to the answer: A husband and
father loves his family in the old world. They are in privation.
The father comes to the new world. He says, „If I get there
and prosper, I will send you back something that will make
it certain to you that I have arrived and have prospered.”
Months pass away. At last, that wife and those lonely chil_
dren get a letter, and in it is a check on a London bank for
ten thousand pounds. What did that check demonstrate?
„That the man had gotten there, and that he had prospered.
Jesus says, „It is expedient for you that I go away. You think
I am leaving you orphans; but I am not leaving you orphans.
If Is go not away, the Paraclete, the Comforter, will not come
to you. Is go to my Father, and Is will send him to you. Now
you wait and see.” They waited ten days; they prayed. And
on the fiftieth day from his expiatory death the demonstration
came that Jesus was in heaven; that he did get there, and
was exalted to the throne of God, and he is there living as
King and Priest, the whole universe subject to him. It was a
demonstration of the exaltation of Jesus Christ to the right
hand of the Father.
Is will explain the typical signification of Pentecost, the
3,000: The Jews had three national feasts. Every Jew was
expected to attend these three feasts. One of them was the
Feast of Pentecost, the one following the Passover, and sep_
arated from Feast of the Passover by fifty days. On the
fiftieth day from the time the paschal lamb was slain, which
of course would be in April, was the time of the firstfruits
of harvest, and at that feast, they offered unto God the first_
fruits of the incoming harvest, which was to be a pledge of
the greatness of the harvest, of which this was only an
„earnest,” or foretaste. Therefore, if on this Pentecost, the
firstfruits amounted to 3,000 souls, „oh, what shall the harvest
– the final harvest – be?” That day, what shall the harvest
be – that day – when in the fulness of time, out of every nation
and tribe and tongue and kindred, a multitude that no man
can number, will constitute the redeemed of the Lord? The
spiritual significance of Pentecost was these 3,000ùthat is, the
lifting up of the sheaf of the first fruit offered unto God.

1. Was the baptism in Spirit the same as baptism in fire, and what
the scripture proof?
2. Is this additional phrase, „in fire,” fulfilled in Acts 2:3, and what
the explanation of „in fire,” pro and con?
3. Is it right to pray for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and why?
4. Would you pray for the baptism in fire, and why?

5. Were there any influences of the Spirit communicated at Pente_
cost which may now be received? If so, what?
6. Was the gift of tongues a power to speak in other languages, or
a mere ecstasy, unintelligible to other people, and that the man himself oftentimes did not understand?
7. What the similarity between the subjects of these influences of
the Spirit and drunken men?
8. What admonition of Paul relative to these effects?
9. What the „drunken man’s” couplet?
10. What did this marvelous coming of the Spirit on the day of
Pentecost demonstrate? Illustrate.
11. What the typical signification of Pentecost?

Acts 2:1_47

Let us consider the kingdom of heaven in its relation to
this Pentecost. When I was a young preacher I was chal_
lenged to debate with a Campbellite. Young preachers debate
oftener than the old ones. One of the topics for discussion
was, „Resolved, that the kingdom of heaven was set up on the
day of Pentecost, and not before.” He affirmed; I denied.
When I came to reply to his first speech I asked him these
„What did Christ give to Peter?”
He said, „The keys of the kingdom.”
„How many keys?”
„Two; one for the Jews, and one for the Gentiles.”
„When did Peter use the key that opened the door to the
„On this Pentecost.”
„When Peter opened that door of the kingdom on that day,
did he open it from the inside or from the outside? If from
the outside, when did he get in, and how?”
He was so confused that he did not answer.
There is not a word said in this chapter about setting up a
kingdom – not a syllable. It is forced in there. The laws
of the kingdom had been established; the subjects of the
kingdom were there; the executive body of the kingdom had
been established; the house was complete. The King had
gone up to be crowned, but the kingdom was there.

Was the church instituted, established, or organized on this
Pentecost? There is not a syllable on that in Acts 2.
Christ instituted the church. He established it in the days
of his flesh. The church was this day accredited – received
its credentials.
It was a house complete, but empty. It then received its
Inhabitant, but the church was not instituted, nor established,
nor organized on this Pentecost.
Now let us go through this chapter, and simply look at some
things in several verses, calling for explanation.
We will first locate the countries of the people mentioned
in verses 9_11, taking the names where the peoples are ex_
pressed, and then where the countries are named: „Parthians
and Medes and Elamites – Cretans and Arabians.” Take your
map and locate Parthia, and Media where the Medes came
from, and Elam where the Elamites came from. They come
in their order. Parthia is the highest up, next Media, and
then Elam. Look northeast of the Euphrates. Follow that
and commence high up on the map to get Parthia, then drop
down to Media, and lower still for Elam. The Cretans were
the inhabitants of the island of Crete in the Mediterranean,
and the Arabians inhabited Arabia. Luke mentions „Dwellers
of Mesopotamia” – people living between the Tigris and the
Euphrates, between the rivers, or in the midst of the rivers,
as the word signifies. Judea you know. The following are in
Asia Minor: Cappadocia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia; those are
the Asia_Minor provinces, Asia there meaning not the Conti_
nental, but Proconsular Asia. Egypt is in the northern part
of Africa, around the’ Nile. Parts of Libya about Cyrene, also
in the northern part of Africa. Vast multitudes of Jews were
carried there, strangers of Rome; the site of Rome is in Italy.
All these came from these countries, and were Jews or prose_
lytes, one or the other, but all of them, except those living in
Judea, were Jews of the dispersion, or Hellenistic Jews. The

great majority could not speak a word of Hebrew. They
spoke the tongues of the countries where they lived.
Now here is a question on verse 20:
The Sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the Moon into blood,
Before the day of the Lord come,
That great and notable day.

What is that great and notable day of the Lord? Notice
that the prophet in his prophecy has what is called a perspec_
tive ; he glances at a mountain range, peak upon peak, and the
highest peak is the less distinct; and to the eye in this per_
spective the whole range looks like one mountain, but when
he goes there he finds – that it is a mountain back of a moun_
tain. Joel sees two mountain peaks in his prophecy. One is
the coming of the Spirit, which is here described, and the other
is the final advent of our Lord. In Matthew 24 we have this
same description, applying to the final advent of our Lord.
Let us expound 2:23: „Him, being delivered up by the de_
terminate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand
of lawless men did crucify and slay.” I call attention first to
the reading of the Revised Version, the latter part of the
verse: „you have taken and by the hands of lawless men [or
men without the law did crucify.” Notice there is a change
in thought, and the Revised Version is more accurate than
the Authorized Version which reads „by wicked hands have
slain.” But it is not on account of that difference in rendering
that I call attention to verse 23. Here we have presented three
things: (1) The determinate counsel of God, his purpose, and
(2) the foreknowledge of God, and (3) the crucifixion of
Christ by men, where another purpose comes in, the man_
purpose. The man purpose is to crucify Christ. Here is a good
purpose: That Christ should die for man; God’s motive is
good, looking to salvation. Man’s motive is bad, wicked, look_
ing to murder. Notice that this purpose of God, and this
foreknowledge of God are before the world began – before
there was any matter or universe, or any part of the whole
earth. In particular before man was made there was a pur_
pose of God in Christ, and in Christ’s death. That foreknowl_
edge of God was before the creation.
God’s purpose and his foreordination and man’s agency
go right along without any conflict, and if you can get the
fact in your mind that it does, you need not bother about the
philosophy of the explanation.
We are conscious every day that there is a will above our
will, that has to do with carrying out our will and sometimes
not according to our will. Everybody knows both those things,
and it is not worth while to argue about the philosophical
Acts 2: 27, 31 needs some notice. Verse 27: „Thou wilt not
leave my soul unto Hades, neither wilt thou give thy Holy
One to see corruption.” Verse 31: „He, foreseeing this, spake
of the resurrection of Christ, that neither was he left unto
Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.” Note:
1. The distinction here between the soul and the body. When
I was a soldier and not a Christian, I heard a Restorationist
preach about the soul. His theory was that man has no soul
in our sense of the word soul – no more than a brute, but
that a converted man has the pneuma or spirit, and that is
immortal. He said, „As for my soul, it can go to hell whenever
it wants to.” Then he further said, „The word translated
soul in the Bible means so many things that it does not mean
anything. For example, it means, for one thing, a smelling
bottle.” Then he said, „Does anybody want to ask a ques_
tion?” „Yes,” I said, „I’ll ask you one. It is the law of
language, that when you put the meaning of a word in the
place of the word, that it makes sense. Now, what sort of
sense does this make: ‘Why art thou cast down, 0 my smell_
ing bottle? Why art thou disquieted within me, 0 my smelling
bottle? Thou wilt not leave my smelling bottle in hell. What
would it profit a man to gain the whole world and ‘lose his
own smelling bottle?’ ” I did not tell him that somebody else
used that before I did, but it had a practical effect on that
2. The other distinction between soul and body is, „Because
a man goeth to his everlasting home, and the mourners go
about the streets; before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden
bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or
the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returneth to
the earth aa it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who
gave it.” Never be beguiled on two points: (a) that there is
no distinction between soul and body; (b) never waste time
on trichotomy; that is, that there are three parts of the man,
the soma, body, the psuche, soul, and pneuma, spirit. Spirit and
soul are used interchangeably, and to fix up a double man is
sufficient. It is an easy matter to explain how pneuma would
be used in one instance and psuche, or soul, in another. We
have not, however, got to the main point in my mentioning
this: How could both of these, the „not abandoning the soul
unto hell,” and the „not suffering the body to see corruption,”
be expounded in the resurrection of the body? The answer is
that when Christ’s body was raised, and glorified, then the
soul of Christ came back to it, and both can be expressed by
the resurrection of the body. But the distinction is there,
which leads us to the next thought: „Thou wilt not abandon
my soul unto hell.” What does that mean? I am going to
discuss it in two meanings and let you take your choice. Take
the Greek, Hades, follow strict grammatical thought, and see
when he says, „Thou wilt not abandon my soul unto Hades,”
that it would be equivalent to, „Thou wilt not allow my soul
to remain disembodied, houseless.” Hades, the state as well
as the place of the soul, is bodiless. „Thou wilt not let my
soul remain a part, just a part of man, the spiritual part
disembodied; nor wilt thou suffer my body, the other part to
become corrupt.” The resurrection will come to prevent the
corruption, and reunite the soul and body, and thus fulfil both
the thoughts.
All that sounds plausible, but I am going to advance an idea
on which I do not speak dogmatically, but put a slight in_
terrogation point after it myself. The old creed says, „I be_
lieve that Christ died and was buried and descended into hell.”
On that they built this theory – that the soul of Christ, after
his body died, went into the spirit world, not only, as they
advocate it, into paradise or purgatory. As the Catholics say,
he went to bring out the old saints, and when there, another
expounder of the passage in Peter says, to preach to the souls
of the antedeluvians, and bring salvation to them in hell. But
I don’t believe he went there after he died, and you cannot
take the document and support the idea that Christ’s soul went
to hell after he died. You cannot take their papers and make
them agree on any point, first as to whether he went before
the resurrection, or after the resurrection.
It is unquestionable that Christ’s soul entered hell while he
was on the cross: „The pangs of hell got hold upon me.” He
died the spiritual death, which is absence from God, when he
said, „My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And
the devil and the demons were around him; the thirst of hell
was upon him.
But, „Thou wilt not abandon my soul unto hell.” He was
there, but not to stay. He came out of that to say to the
Father, „Receive my spirit.” He was no longer forsaken of
the Father. That is when I think Christ descended into hell.
I am sure that he went, neither in soul, nor in body, after
death, because his soul went to heaven, for he had particular
business up there, which had to be attended to. He had to
go there at once to offer the blood of the atonement as the
High Priest, and when he came back to his body, I am sure
his soul did not go down there; it went up when he died. So
his descent into hell, if you locate it anywhere, you have to

locate it in the three hours’ darkness, when he was God_for_
saken and in the power of Satan.
We will take up 2:28: „Thou hast made known unto me the
ways of life.” There are two ways – the way of the soul, and
the way of the body. Christ makes known what becomes of
the soul on the dissolution of the body. Our Saviour, Jesus
Christ, abolished death and brought life and immortality, life
to the soul and immortality to the body. These are the ways
of life. If we take what Christ did on the cross away a valley
impenetrable drops down into the future as to the soul Where
does it go?
„If a man die, where is he?” Christ showed us. „If a man
die, shall he live again?” Christ says, as to the body, that he
makes known the ways of life for both. I will illustrate in
this way: Some inland travelers in Africa reported a huge
river on the western coast – the Niger. But sailors said that
there was no such river running into the ocean, and that
these travelers had lied. Dr. Lardman determined to solve the
question by experiment. He went inland until he saw this
river, and it was a big one. He went in a boat, and never left
that boat until he came out into the sea, and he noticed that
before it got to the sea it divided into many mouths, not one
of them large. Thus, by an actual experiment, Dr. Lardman
brought to light the existence of the Niger. So Jesus Christ
comes down to earth, enters into the stream of human life,
soul and body. His separated soul does not remain disem_
bodied. His body does not remain in the earth, the grave of
the body, and he comes back. He is the one traveler that has
returned from that bourne. He comes back, and flashes a light
on the question: Where is the soul of the dead man, and what
is it doing? What shall become of the body of the dead man,
and when? This is what is meant by making known to us the
ways of life.
Acts 2:34 says, „For David ascended not into the heavens.”
I heard a Baptist preacher once allege that there was no for_
giveness of sins to the Old Testament saint, nor reception of
the Old Testament saint into heaven until after Christ’s death
and resurrection – that the soul stopped in some half_way
house. I could cite scripture for half an hour to annihilate
that position. This means here, that David in his body is not
ascended into heaven. He is discussing the resurrection of
Christ, and it cannot refer to David, that his body never saw
corruption. He hasn’t ascended into heaven. Why? His grave
is here.
In 2:36, „Let all the house of Israel, therefore, know as_
suredly that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this
Jesus whom ye crucified.” Here are two thoughts. Many
others will occur to you, but two are all I will bring out now.
„This Jesus whom ye crucified.”
In preaching the Convention sermon before a Southern Bap_
tist Convention, several years ago, a Baptist preacher said,
„As to Christ’s resurrection body, we do not know what be_
came of it. It was assumed merely for purposes of identifica_
tion. It is not important that we know.”
I stick that phrase, „this Jesus,” right through his position.
„This Jesus whom ye crucified,” that same Jesus who was
recognized, and that same Jesus who ascended into heaven,
and that same Jesus who is made both Lord and Christ.
It is very important for us to know what will become of
our bodies.
You take the keystone out of the arch, when directly or in_
directly you deny the propitiatory efficacy of the cross, and
the resurrection of Christ.
The resurrection of Christ is the demonstration of the other;
it is the sign – „Lord and Christ.” And here we have the
thought of „Christ, the Anointed One” separated from „Lord.”
And yet it is true that the King is anointed as well as the
Priest. You keep the King and Priest distinct in your mind,
but the person is the same, in Christ. He is a King who is a

Priest, and a Priest that is a King. The offices of Christ are
those of the Anointed One. He was anointed to be our Prophet,
Priest, King, Judge) and Sacrifice. All these are distinct, and
would come under the term, „Christ,” just as the English
word corresponds to the Greek, Christos, and to the Hebrew,
I now expound 2:37, and compare it with 5:33 and 7:54.
Here is something a little peculiar: „Now when they heard
this they were pricked in their heart.” Somebody once asked
to show how repentance comes, and what brings it about.
It is evident here that this pricking of the heart – this con_
viction – brought about contrition. Conviction is God’s side.
God convicts a man, and he becomes contrite. Without con_
viction there is no contrition. Godly sorrow leads to repent_
ance. Not that their hearts were pricked. Peter says, „Re_
pent.” I have called attention to that pricking in the heart,
and ask you to compare it with the word in 5:33, where Peter
is talking again: „When they heard that they were cut to
the heart, and took counsel to slay him.” Notice that in 2:37,
when they were pricked in the heart, they said, „Men and
brethren what shall we do?” In 5:33 they were cut to the
heart and sought to slay Peter. Now turn to 7:54, and this
time is it Stephen speaking, preaching substantially the same
sermon that Peter preached on both of these occasions: „When
they heard those things they were cut to the heart, and they
gnashed on him with their teeth.” Peter preached on the day
of Pentecost and they were pricked in their heart, eventuating
in salvation. In chapter 5 he preached the same sermon and
they were cut to the heart, and sought to slay him, Stephen
preached his sermon, embodying the same facts, and they were
cut to the heart and gnashed on him with their teeth. The
word in Acts 2 in Greek is not the same word used in the other
two places. In 2:37 it is katenugesan; in 5:33 and 7:54 the
word is dieprionto, to saw through; middle voice, to be ve_
hemently enraged. However, I do not set much store by the
fact that the words are different. I merely call attention to
the fact. I make no capital out of the distinction. But there
must be something important in the meaning of a word, and
that word, „cut,” expressed by dieprionto, is a word of im_
portance. It might appear that one of these led to salvation,
but the other to murder, but I do not think so. What I call
attention to is this: You often Hear the question: Can a man
resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit? Stephen says, „You
do always resist the Holy Spirit,” and in verse 51, right
before this. Is it possible that a convicted man can be lost?
I think millions of them are in hell now. But you ask, „Can
the contrite man be lost?” I say that the contrite man can_
not be lost. Whenever the conviction by the Holy Spirit
eventuates in contrition, or godly sorrow, that man will be
saved; but if the conviction does not eventuate in godly sor_
row, it is turned into a murderous direction as in these two
cases. It does not result in salvation. A man cannot commit
the unpardonable sin unless the Holy Spirit has been en_
lightening him. That is the unpardonable sin – the presump_
tuous sin – the sin that hath never forgiveness. It is a sin not
against daylight or intellectual light, but a sin against spir_
itual light.
So that you may, without going into a refined theological
discussion, by taking a common sense view and keeping with
the scriptures, see that the same preacher, Peter, preaching the
same thing each time, and another preacher like him preach_
ing the same thing, the Holy Spirit of God being present each
time, had different effects on the hearers. Here are the facts:
„Pricked in the heart,” . . . „cut to the heart,” and also a two_
fold result. In one case, conviction becomes contrition, or
godly sorrow, and they repent, believe, and are saved. In the
other cases the conviction was not sufficient to produce contri_
tion. They know that Jesus is the Christ. In chapters 5, 7
they know that he not only is the Christ, but also the Spirit
bears witness to the word of Stephen and Peter.
I once heard a preacher rebuke some young people for
laughing in church, stating that they might commit the sin
against the Holy Spirit. I think his remark was very much
uncalled for. Here is the condition when one may commit the
sin against the Holy Spirit, not when he does a thing thought_
lessly, but when he is in a great revival of religion, when the
power of God is following him, when the place is awful on
account of his presence, when sinners are overwhelmingly
convinced, and he then and there rejects Christ, saying, „No”
– when he does not trust him, but goes off and gets drunk,
etc. There is the danger. Such are sinning against the spiritual
light, just as these men mentioned in Acts 7 were.
Consider now Acts 2:38: „Repent ye, and be baptized
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the re_
mission of your sins.” Here I call your attention to the fact
that the word, „repent,” is in the plural: „Repent ye,” a
strong imperative; and then there is a mild imperative, simply
„let every one of you be baptized,” that is, every one of you
who has repented. So that the first question that comes up is:
Does the remission of sins connect with both of these words?
Is it „repent ye” – eis aphesin hamartion – or „repent and be
baptized” – eis aphesin hamartion?” Does it connect with just
one of these imperatives, and if so, which one, and what is
the meaning? I will give some interpretations, some of which
I do not think worth a snap of the finger:
1. Luke 24 says, „Repentance and remission of sins shall be
preached.” That shows the relations between repentance and
remission of sins. It is said that John the Baptist preached
the baptism of repentance „eis aphesin hamartion – repentance
unto the remission of sins.”
2. Here is the strong imperative, „repent,” and then follows
a subsidiary thought: „Let every one of you be baptized.”
Take the main sentence: „Repent ye” – eis aphesin hamartion,
i.e., repent ye . . . unto remission of sins,” and that would
mean just the same as Peter used the word in chapter 3
where he says, „Repent ye . . . that your sins may be blotted out,” using hopos, the remission of sins connecting with the first, and making the word a strong imperative, the other being subsidiary, and intended to imply that repentance has been accomplished, as: „Go make disciples, baptizing them.” Make disciples first, then baptize the disciples. Now they say that this means, „Repent ye unto the remission of sins, and let every one of you be bap-ized,” i.e., every one who has repented and received remission of sins, that one is to be baptized. Dr. Hackett says that this one is not right, and that the remission of sins connects both words. I am not discussing this as a Greek expert just now. I am showing the way to interpret, viz.: that there is a harmony between every passage in the Bible as to repentance and remission of sins.
3. Some take this position: „Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ unto remission of sins,” connecting the remission of sins with Christ, the Anointed One, that when one believes in Christ it is unto the remission of sins, and he cites the passage in Acts 10:43, where Peter says, „To him gave all the prophets witness that whosoever believeth on him, through his name shall receive remission of sins,” or be baptized in his name unto the remission of sins.”
4. Brother E. Y. Mullins explains it this way, that eis here
means in order to, i.e., repent and be baptized in order to the
remission of sins that you receive through repentance and faith
in Christ, and in order to symbolic remission of sins that you
receive in baptism.” That is what he told the Campbellite
convention, and he sent it to me and asked me what I thought
of it. I told him I did not like that split result, making the
word mean double. Using the same word in the same connec_
tion with two different meanings violates the laws of lan_
guage. Is have now given a list of interpretations.
Let us connect remission of sins with the verb, baptistheta,
to be baptized, eis aphesin hamartion. How shall we interpret
it? I interpret it just exactly as I do a passage in Matthew.

1. Was the kingdom of heaven set up on the day of Pentecost, and why?
2. Give the controversy of the author on this point.
3. Was the church instituted, established, or organized on the day
of Pentecost, and if not, what was done to it?
4. Locate on a map the countries of the peoples mentioned in Acts 2:9_11.
5. What is the great and notable day of the Lord mentioned in 2:20,
and what is meant by the perspective of prophecy?
6. What the difference between the revised version and the authorized version of Acts 2:237
7. What three things are presented ill. this verse, and what their application?
8. On verses 27 and 31 what two distinctions between soul and body,
what the position of the Restorationists on this point, and what the
author’s experience with, one of them?
9. What is trichotomy, and is there any scripture for it?
10. What the first theory of interpretation of the expression., „Thou
wilt not leave my soul unto Hades,” given by the author?
11. What the teaching of the old creed?
12. What false doctrine founded on a misinterpretation of this and
other scriptures?
13. What the author’s position and argument on this question?
14. What the meaning of verse 28, „Thou hast made known unto me
the ways of life”? Illustrate.
15. What is the meaning of verse 34, „For David ascended not into
the heavens”?
16. What author’s position with reference to the „half_way house” theory?
17. What two thoughts brought out on Acts 2:36, and what the im_
portance of each?
18. Expound Acts 2:37, and compare it with 5:33 and 7:54.
19. Can a man resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit and be lost?
If so, can a contrite man be lost, and what the relation and the differ_
ence between conviction and contrition?
20. Under what conditions may one sin against the Holy Spirit, and
what is the unpardonable sin?
21. As an introduction to Acts 2:38, what is the first thing about it to which the author calls attention, and what the first theory of interpretation given?
22. What the second theory, and the argument?
23. What the third theory, and its argument?
24. What is Dr. Mullins’ theory, and what the objection to it?
25. Does the author connect the remission of sins with the verb
„repent,” or with „be baptized,” or with both?

Acts 2:38

We now come to an important subject growing out of Acts
2:38 to which I devote two whole chapters because (1) the
two opposing theories of interpretation to this and other pas_
sages, supposed to be kindred, have divided the Christian
world since the second century, resulting in modern times in
the formation of the distinct domination, the „Campbellites,”
and (2) the consequences are that one of these two theories
has changed the plan of salvation, necessitated a new system
of theology, introduced new ordinances, changed the subjects
of church membership, prepared the way for a new church
polity, and for a union of church and state. That being the
case, and as that battle has been going on from the second
century till this day, it justifies these two whole chapters
being devoted to the subject.
The first theory mentioned above, is expressed in the fol_
lowing propositions: (1) The plan of salvation by grace has
ever been, is now, and will ever be, just one plan in its essen_
tial requirements of man. (2) These requirements are all
spiritual. (3) They are the new birth, repentance toward God,
and faith toward (in) the Messiah. (4) The great model of the
faith which brings salvation is the faith of Abraham, prior
to his subjection to any external ordinance. (5) Salvation be_
fore ordinances. (6) Blood before the laver. That is the first
The opposite theory is: (1) Salvation by ordinances. (2)
Baptismal regeneration. (3) Baptismal remission (4) Bap-
tism, like repentance and faith, a condition of the new birth,
salvation and remission of sins.
The entire New Testament usage of the verb, baptize, and
its noun when followed by the preposition, eis, with the ac_
cusative for its object must be considered, in order to correctly
interpret Acts 2:38. The New Testament usage of the verb,
baptize and its noun, when followed by the preposition, eis,
with the accusative as its object, is more important than classic
usage. When you write down all such New Testament pas_
sages, in their order, and look at them carefully, each in its
context, then we must render that preposition, eis, by an Eng_
lish word or phrase that will meet the requirements of every
context. When you write down sentences in the New Testa_
ment from Matthew to Revelation, that have the verb, bap_
tizo, or its noun) followed by the preposition, eis, and that
followed by the accusative for its object, look at those in their
respective groups, then stop and rub out that preposition, eis,
in every case, and substitute its meaning in an English word
or phrase, you must see that it would give a rendering in
English that would fit everything. The meaning of a word
when substituted for that word, will make sense. That is a
fine text which takes the entire New Testament usage. Take
an English_Greek Concordance – it will save much trouble –
and make out a list of passages, commencing with Matthew
3:11: „I baptize you in water unto repentance.” The verb,
baptize, is there, the preposition, eis, and metanoian in the
accusative, which is the object of the preposition. Go thus
through the whole New Testament and note every passage.
Each passage, however, must have baptize), or its noun, fol_
lowed by the preposition, eis, with the accusative as the object.
As we go through the New Testament in this manner we find
a circle of scriptures used to support the theory that water
baptism, like repentance and faith, is a term, or condition,
of salvation. Here are those passages on which the people rely
who hold that baptism is in order to remission of sins: The

passages in which the verb, baptize, or its noun, is employed,
followed by the preposition, eis, with the accusative as it ob_
ject; they select only three. They select as their first group
the following:
1. Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1_4; Galatians 3:27. They take the
passages only of „baptized eis” with the accusative. One of
them is, „baptized eis remission of sins”; another is, „baptized
eis Christ”; and the other, „baptized eis his death.” These
passages form their first group. The grammatical construction
is the same in every case, and they say, „You Baptists have no
plan of induction.” If we ask them how they get into the re_
mission of sins, they say, „We are baptized into it.” If we ask,
„How do you get into Christ?” they answer, „We are baptized
into Christ.” If we ask, „How do you get into the death of
Christ?” they say, „We are baptized into the death of Christ.”
They also say, „We know how to get in, but you have no
method of induction.” When I come to these passages I will
tell you what to say to them. One scripture will answer: „By
faith we enter into this grace wherein we stand.” That is our
method of induction.
2. Their second group is that which connects baptism with
the washing away of sin, without the preposition, eis. „And
now why tarriest thou? – arise and be baptized, and wash
away thy sins” (Acts 22:16). This is the only passage in this
3. The third group consists of those passages which con_
nect baptism with salvation, Mark 16:16: „He that believeth
and is baptized shall be saved,” and I Peter 3:21: „Baptism
doth also now save us.”
4. The fourth group is that which seems to connect baptism
with regeneration, consisting of, „Except one be born of water
and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:
5). „Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it;
that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing
of water with the word” (Eph. 5:25). „According to his mercy
he hath saved us, through the washing of regeneration and re_
newing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
When you can correctly interpret these four groups of
scriptures you have the heart and the body, the center and the
circumference, the substance and the shadow of it all. This
is the second theory, and it thus makes salvation to come
through ritualism – through ordinances.
The real substance of this contention is this: (1) It is a
salvation by ritual. (2) It is a sacerdotal salvation, since it
requires the presence, the office and performance of another
party, the administrator of the ordinances, and thereby securing
our salvation, making you responsible) when your salvation is
dependent upon somebody else, and on what somebody else
does. That is what we call „sacerdotal” – sacer, & Latin word
for priest – a priestly salvation.
(3) This requires competent authority to pronounce on the
fitness of the „sacer” (priest) or administrator, and thus
makes it an endless question with any man as to whether he
is saved until he can prove that the one that baptized him
is a qualified administrator, and thereby contradicting the
statement of Paul, that God made salvation by faith, is. e., Is
may repent and believe by myself, just thinking about the
Bible, or reasoning about it.
(4) Now this other thing: the theory is that, like repentance
and faith, it is a term of salvation, but this is unlike re_
pentance and faith, in that they are personal, and this other
is not personal; it is still more unlike repentance and faith in
this, that the scriptures expressly say, „Except you repent,
you shall perish,” and, „He that believeth not is condemned.”
Nowhere in the Bible do we find an expression of that kind
about baptism.
The greatest modern advocate of their theory is Alexander
Campbell, and a short history of his contention is this: He
came over from Scotland and settled in Virginia. He had a
certain quasi connection with a Baptist church. Anyhow, he
was present at Baptist associations, and named his first paper
The Christian Baptist. But he says, „When I began my
debate on the act of baptism with McCall, who was a Presby_
terian, while studying for that debate I found out that bap_
tism, unless it was intended to secure the remission of sins,
was as empty as a blasted nut.”
That was the germ of the idea in his mind, according to
his own statement, hence Mr. Campbell, from that time on,
began to publish things that the Baptists did not believe, and
soon he brought out a new paper, which he called the Mill_
lennial Harbinger. In other words, he considered himself to
be the harbinger, the forerunner, the „John the Baptist” of
the millennium; and that it was this new theory of his that
was bringing about the millennium. In that Millennial Har_
binger was an „Extra” on the remission of sins. It was a little
too long to go into his little paper. In this Extra, which was the
first general and formal announcement of his proposition, he
took the position of baptismal regeneration, baptismal remis_
sion, or baptismal salvation – that wherever you find „purify_
ing” or „sanctifying” it means baptism. In other words, he
made it mean the whole thing.
When he brought out that extra the „fur began to fly.”
All over the land the Baptists rose up and said, „This man
does not belong to us,” and their leaders began to reply to
his extra, among whom were the celebrated Andrew Broadus,
the elder J. B. Jeter, both of Virginia; also Carr, pastor of one
of the great Richmond churches. Whereupon everybody knew
there would be a war at the next meeting of that association.
The association met and a committee was appointed to con_
sider the state of the churches. That committee, of which Carr
was chairman, found that the churches were being wrecked
by a new doctrine, set forth in the extra of the Millennial
Harbinger. So the committee recommended that the churches
withdraw fellowship from the preachers who advocated that
doctrine, and from the members who accepted it. The churches
acted instantly, all over Virginia. And since they drew that
line of cleavage, Campbellism has no longer hurt the Baptists.
This heresy passed into Kentucky. There it divided the
associations and the churches. Wherever it went a fire arose.
Where there are two horses going in opposite directions, no
man had better try to ride both at the same time. Where two
are not agreed they ought not to try to walk together. Then
Mr. Campbell organized his own denomination. In the mean_
time, he held debates with quite a number of people on the
His two great lines of argument were as follows: He relied
most upon the grammatical construction, i.e., Metanoesate,
kai baptistheto hekastos human en to onomati lesou Christou
eis aphesin ton hamartion humon, kai lempsesthe ten dorean
tou hagiou pneumatos. He said that the grammatical con_
struction placed aphesin hamartion, remission of sins, as the
object to be secured by the baptistheto, and be attempted to
prove his points by the citation of many scholars who admitted
his grammatical constructions. His second argument was that
from the second century down to the present time, great mul_
titudes of Christians had held to that, and the majority of
those who claimed to be Christians, which would include all
the Romanists, all the Greek Catholic churches, and a number
of others. Those are the main lines of his argument.
A kindred theory, similarly based, which he combated to
the very last, stands or falls with the theory, viz.: the propo_
sition that the Lord’s Supper at the hands of the priest, after
it has been converted into the very body and blood of Christ,
is essential to salvation. The advocates of this theory would
say, on grammatical construction, Jesus said, „This [holding
up the bread, after they had blessed it] is my body broken
for you,” and then [holding up the cup]: „This cup is my
blood, shed for the remission of sins,” and then they would
quote a passage in another part of John: „Except a man eat
this flesh and drink this blood he has no life in him.” So they
made much of grammatical construction, and also of historical
argument. They made out a stronger case for their part of the
theory than Campbell did for his) and on precisely the same
line of argument. I have always contended that the Campbel_
lites must abandon their theory, or accept this one as here
If it is true that there is no _way to get into Christ except
through baptism, then there is no way to get Christ into us
except through the Lord’s Supper.
The induction must be both ways: „I in you and you in
me.” There is no shadow of a doubt that the two are like two
pillars which support an arch. The arch is one, and the pillars
are the two supporters of the arch.
The antecedent arguments opposing both Campbell’s theory
and the kindred Romanist theory, similarly based, are as fol_
(1) The plan of salvation from the book of Genesis to
Revelation is one plan. Whatever has been essential as a re_
quirement is always essential, just as much so in the Old
Testament as in the New Testament, and yet baptism and the
Lord’s Supper were not parts of the Old Testament. And all
must admit that some Old Testament people were saved.
If so, according to their theory, they were saved by compliance
with terms that we do not have to observe, and we are saved
by compliance with terms that they did not have to observe;
therefore, the plan was changed in the essential terms of sal_
(2) But the model case of Abraham, the model case of sal_
vation by faith as in Abraham) utterly nullifies any change in
the plan: „Abraham believed Jehovah, and it was imputed to
him for righteousness,” or justification, and Paul says, „This
was written not for Abraham’s sake alone, but for our sake.”
When we believe in Christ it is imputed unto us for righteous_
ness, and we must follow in the steps of our father, Abraham,
showing that the plan of salvation was the same.
(3) Another antecedent, argument is the testimony of the
prophets. Peter said to Cornelius, „To him [that is, to
Jesus] bear all the prophets witness, that through his name
every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of
sins.” Here is remission of sins conditioned upon faith, and
all the prophets bore witness to the fact that a man who be_
lieved on him received the remission of sins, and there was
no baptism at the time that the prophets bore that testi_
(4) Acts 16:30 is the only place in the Bible where the
express question is put, „What must I do to be saved?” and
the express answer is, „Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
thou shalt be saved.”
(5) In many instances in the life of Christ he said to
men and women, „Thy faith hath saved thee,” and that
where there was no baptism at all.
(6) A certain passage in Hebrews goes to the heart of the
matter. Talking about the ritual of the Old Testament it
says, „It was not possible that the blood of bullocks and of
goats could take away sin.” Why?
Because there was no intrinsic merit in the blood of bulls
and goats. Apply that principle: It is not possible that bap_
tism in water shall take away sin. There is no intrinsic
merit in it.
„The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from
all sin.” The Old Testament ritual did not do it, and the
New Testament ritual does not do it.
(7) If we make some external act to be performed by an_
other party essential to our salvation, then the promise of sal_
vation can never be made sure to us, and yet the scriptures
teach that God made salvation by faith that it might be
made sure.
That penitent thief, for instance, was up there dying, hang_
ing on his cross. Suppose baptism is an essential condition
to salvation; he is lost, for he could not come down. But
Jesus looked at him who had complied with no ritual, and
said, „To_day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”
I discuss this subject at length because I want to solemnly
impress upon the mind the way these two theories fight, have
been fighting, and will continue to fight until the end of the
(8) I will assume a perpendicular line as upon a blackboard.
Write on one side of it, „Lovers of God,” and on the other
side, „Haters of God.” On one side are believers; on the
other side, unbelievers. Now, from which of these two sides
will you take the subjects for baptism – people who love God,
and believe in Jesus Christ, or haters of God and unbelievers?
A follower of Campbell will say, „Take lovers of God and
believers in Jesus Christ.” Then I say, „Whosoever loveth
is born of God,” and „we are all the children of God by
faith in Christ Jesus,” and „He that believeth has been born
of God.” They may wrestle with that perpendicular line as
much as they please – they can never break it.
(9) Paul says, „I thank God I baptized none of you; God
sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel.”
If baptism were one of the terms of salvation, Paul was
thanking God that he had refused to perform one of the
things essential to salvation.
Does he not make a distinction there between the essence
of the gospel that saves, and baptism? No man can deny
it if he carefully studies the passage.
(10) The repeated declarations in the Bible, e.g., take this
one: „God so loved the world that he gave his only begot_
ten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish,
but have everlasting life,” and „he that believeth shall not
come into condemnation, but hath everlasting life.” So the
scriptures might be multiplied, but Is must stop here.
We have for the next chapter the interpretation of the four groups of scriptures which are very necessary to the under-standing of the things that oppose one of these theories, as follows: The first group, Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1_4; Galatians 3:27; the second group (just one), Acts 22:16; the third group, Mark 16:16; Is Peter 3:21; the fourth group, John 3:5; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5.
Is have now led up to the exegesis of these four groups. Is want to settle some things while Is am on this. Is would go to the end of the earth to oppose any man who says that he is necessary to my salvation by making any rite or ceremony a term of salvation.
Is would never go and look for the remissions of sins in a
pool of water.
1. What justifies two whole chapters devoted to Acts 2:38?
2. What the propositions of the first theory?
3. What the propositions of the second theory?
4. What particular usage must be considered, that we may correctly
interpret Acts 2:38?
5. What the method pursued in the investigation of this truth?
6. What the first group of New Testament scriptures used to support the theory that water baptism, like repentance and faith, is a term, or condition of salvation, and what the distinguishing characteristic of this group?
7. From these scriptures, what their method of induction, and what
the opposite theory of induction?
8. What the second group, and its distinguishing characteristic?
9. What the third group, and its characteristic?
10. What the fourth group, and ita characteristic?
11. What the real substance of this contention?
12. What the meaning of „sacerdotal”?
13. Who the great modern advocate of this theory, and what is a
short history of hie contention?
14. What were his two lines of argument?
15. What kindred theory, similarly based, which he combated to the
very last, stands or falls with this theory?
16. What antecedent argument opposes Campbell’s theory, and the
kindred Romanist theory, based on the unity of the plan of salvation?
17. What one based on the model case of Abraham?
18. What one based on the testimony of the prophets?
19. What one based on the plain question and answer?
20. What one based on the teaching of Christ?
21. What one based on a passage in Hebrews?
22. What one based upon the promise of a sure salvation to them that believe?
23. What one based on the illustration of the dividing line?
24. What one based on Paul’s statement that he did not baptize cer_
tain people?
25. What one based on the repeated declaration in the Bible?

Acts 2:38

The last chapter was devoted to the great principles which
interpret Acts 2:38, and I would have you bear in mind
everything that was said in that chapter. The object of the
present discussion is to give a brief exegesis of the circle of
scriptures cited. I showed that four classes of scriptures were
generally cited in favor of the Campbellite position, is. e.,
that Acts 2:38 should be interpreted to mean that baptism
is „in order to” remission of sins; that these cases are where
the verb, baptize, or its noun, is followed by the preposition,
eis, and the accusative case, of which the most notable is Acts
2:38. There we have the verb, baptistheto, let him be bap_
tized, and the preposition, eis, with the accusative case,
aphesin hamartion, the remission of sins.
Words in all languages may have, and do have: (1) the
common, ordinary meaning; (2) a frequent meaning, different
from the ordinary; (3) a rare meaning, different from both
the others. Just so this Greek preposition, eis, in the New
Testament with the accusative case, commonly means, in order
to; frequently it means with reference to, or in token of, or
concerning and it rarely means because of.
There are three principles of interpretation which enable
us to safely determine when to depart from the ordinary mean_
ing and render this word according to the frequenter rare
meaning. These principles are (1) the bearing of the local
context; (2) the bearing of the general context (by general
context I mean the trend of the whole Bible teaching, or what
is called the „canon,” or rule of faith); (3) the nature or
congruity of things. You do not need any more than those
three principles when you come to study that Greek preposi_
tion in the New Testament to enable you to know whether to
give in its ordinary, its frequent or its rare meaning.
I will illustrate these principles in reverse order:
(1) The ritualistic Jews, holding to the letter of the law
of sacrifices and strict grammatical construction, insisted that
their compliance with the law of appointed sacrifices did
secure to them the actual remission of sins, and hence there
was no necessity for a new covenant, with a nobler Sacrifice.
But Paul, in the letter to the Hebrews, shows that it was im_
possible for the blood of bullocks and goats to really take
away sin. They had not the intrinsic merit. It was incon_
gruous, contrary to the nature of things, that the blood of a
soulless brute should expiate the sins of a man. Just so when
the Romanist quotes Christ’s words: „This cup of the covenant
which is poured out for many unto the remission of sins”
claims a literal, ordinary meaning for the word, eis, accord_
ing to strict grammatical construction, we reply: It is impos_
sible for grape juice to take away sins.
(2) To illustrate the power of the general context in de_
termining the meaning of a word in a specific case, we say,
scripture must interpret scripture. The trend of the Bible
must govern a literal, grammatical construction of a single
passage. The passage must harmonize with clear, abundant
passages elsewhere. If the book teaches in a thousand pas_
sages that only the blood of Christ, apprehended by faith, can
take away sin, we are not warranted in attributing to an
external rite the same power, merely on the ground or literal,
grammatical construction in a few passages. These few de_
tached passages concerning external rites must be interpreted
in harmony with the spiritual trend of the entire revelation.
That is an unquestioned principle of interpretation.

(3) To illustrate the power of the local context in deter_
mining the meaning of the Greek preposition, eis (here we have
the preposition with the accusative case after it), we now cite
most pertinent New Testament examples: Matthew 12:41:
„They repented eis the preaching of Jonah.” Because eis ordi_
narily means in order to, must we so render it here? It is a
fact, according to chapter 3 of Jonah, and did our Lord so
mean it? If so, they failed in the object of their repentance,
because Jonah never preached to them after they repented –
not a word. The only preaching he did preceded the re_
pentance, and was the cause of the repentance. Therefore,
Dr. Broadus teaches in his Commentary on Matthew that eis
here must have its rare meaning – because of. They repented
because of, eis, the preaching of Jonah. But they say we
must make the ordinary meaning the meaning in every case.
(4) We will now consider a frequent meaning of eis, also
determined by local context, in the following still more perti_
nent passage, for in it we have the verb, baptize, as well as
the preposition, eis (Matt. 3:11): „I indeed baptize you in
water eis repentance.” All the context shows that John re_
quired repentance, and even its fruits, as a condition prece_
dent to baptism. It would be foolish to render it, „I baptize
you in order to repentance.” Here the preposition has not its
ordinary meaning, in order to, nor its rare meaning, because
of, but its frequent meaning, with reference to – a repentance
that they had exercised. „Is baptize you with reference to
that exercising of it,” is what John means. Or, as Tyndale,
in his version (it was a very fine version for his time) says,
„I baptize you in token of repentance.” That makes fine
Matthew 3:11 has a bearing on Acts 2:38. It is the first
New Testament use of the verb, baptizo, followed by the
preposition, eis, with the accusative case, and is the key pas_
sage for unlocking the meaning of Acts 2:38. They stand or
fall together, so exact is the parallel. That they do stand
or fall together is evident from their exact parallelism. A
further evidence that they stand or fall together is found in
the fact that both Mark and Luke tie them together: Mark
1:4: „John preached the baptism of repentance” – eis aphesis
hamartion; Luke 3:3: „He came preaching the baptism of re_
pentance” – eis aphesin hamartion. Here are two gospels, then,
that tie those passages together. And right after them is used
Acts 2:38: „Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in
the name of Jesus Christ” – eis phesin hamartion. If we then
translate Matthew 3:11, „I baptize you with reference to re_
pentance,” and „John indeed baptized with the baptism of
repentance with reference to the remission of sins,” why not
here go right on and say, „Repent ye, and be baptized every
one of you in the name of Jesus Christ with reference to the
remission of sins?” Remember that in every case we render
the preposition in all these conjoined cases (Matt. 3:11; Mark
1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 2:38) by „unto” in the frequent sense of
with reference to. Now that will fit the local context, and it
will fit the general context.
To find another instance of eis is nearer to Acts 2:38 we
have only to glance back to verse 25, another unmistakable
instance of eis in the sense of concerning, and not in order to.
Note that it is in the same speech: „For David saith eis
(concerning] him,” speaking of Christ. What is to hinder us,
then, from taking Acts 2:25, where the eis means concerning,
or with reference to, and putting that meaning of it in verse
The classics abound with this sense of the preposition, eis.
Dr. Broadus quotes three: (1) From Aristophanes: „To jeer
at a man eis his rags,” i. e., with reference to his rags. Now
we would not jeer at a man in order to his rags. (2) From
Xenophon: „To reproach eis friendship.” We do not reproach
a man because of his friendship, and certainly not in order to
his friendship. (3) From Plato: „To differ from one eis vir_
tue.” We do not differ from a man in order to virtue.
We may apply the ad hominern argument to our Camp_
bellite brethren. They evade the many cases of remission
through faith and without baptism, in the life of our Lord, by
saying, „The law of pardon was not given till Pentecost.”
How, then, do they dispose of Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3, paral_
leling remission under the preaching of John the Baptist with
the preaching of Peter at Pentecost in Acts 2:38? John bap_
tized eis aphesin hamartion, exactly paralleling what Peter
did in Acts 2:38. Then, briefly, the meaning of eis in Acts
2:38 is this: Repent ye – plural, and a strong imperative – „and
let every one of you who has repented be baptized” – a mild
imperative – „in the name of Jesus Christ eis aphesin hamar_
tion” – with reference to remission of sins.
I am willing to risk my scholarship on that. One thing I
am sure of is that however much a man may rely on the
technical, grammatical construction, his common sense is
constantly pushing him off that platform when it leaves him
to the idea that he cannot obtain remission of sins from God
unless he submits to an external rite. All the world revolts
at that, and so does the teaching of the Bible.
The second group of scriptures is where baptism is con_
nected with the washing away of sins, without the preposi_
tion, eis, in it. There is only one passage of that kind (Acts
22:16): „Arise [Ananias said to Paul], and be baptized, and
wash away thy sins.” The points here are: (1) Paul is
commanded to wash away his sins; (2) to wash them away in
being baptized. Two simple questions will unveil the mean_
ing: (a) Can a man himself really wash away his sins? (b)
Can water on the outside really wash away sins on the in_
side? The two are answered by the scripture: „God alone can
forgive sins,” and when we come to the real remission it must
come from God. Again: „The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son,
cleanseth us from all sin.” Therefore, it is evident that when
Paul was commanded to wash away his sins – Paul himself,

not God, was commanded io wash them away – that it is not
a real washing away of sins that is meant, because that con_
tradicts the other scripture, that God alone can take away
sin. And when it says that he was commanded to wash away
his sins in baptism, it is evident that it is not a real cleansing
from sin that is contemplated, for the scriptures so abundantly
teach that the blood of Jesus Christ alone really cleanses from
sin. Then what does it mean? That Paul in baptism might
symbolically wash away his sins. What God himself accom_
plished through the sacrifice of his Son, Paul might show forth
in a symbolic cleansing, just as what Christ’s blood accom_
plishes in the remission of sins, the wine of the Lord’s Supper
may symbolically accomplish. As there must first be a sub_
stance to cast a shadow, so the symbolic cleansing is just like
taking the Lord’s Supper, if we are not really saved.
So baptism is unmeaning without a prior and real remis_
sion of sin. Being really saved, we may picture symbolically
that salvation in a memorial. Otherwise it would be like
Bunker Hill Monument without a previous battle to com_
Peter expressly declares that baptism does not put away
the filth of the flesh, using the term „filth” in the sense of
spiritual defilement (not dirt on the body), and using the
word „flesh” in its common meaning of the carnal nature
(not the physical man). I think Peter in that little parenthe_
sis, „not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,” was in_
spired of God to put in a precaution against attributing to
baptism real cleansing of the defilement of sin. He foresaw
the coming of the Campbellites, and put in a word against
The third group of scriptures is apparently connected with
regeneration: (a) „Except one be born of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). (b)
„According to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of
regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
(c) „Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it;
that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing
of water with the word” (Eph. 5:25).
These three passages constitute the third group of scrip_
tures. For a full explanation of John 3:5, see author’s first
volume of sermons, page 181, on, The Human Side of Regen_
eration. The following is a quotation from it:
He must be „born of water and Spirit.” There is just one birth, „born of water and Spirit”; and it means exactly what „born again” means; and it means exactly what „born of the Spirit” means; and it means exactly what „born of God” means; just that and no more. Then, if it means just that, why put it in this form: „born of water and Spirit”T I will tell you why. In the new birth there are at least two distinct ideas: (1) cleansing; (2) renewing. If you took only the idea of cleansing and left out the renewing, cleansing would not do any good. The sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mire,ùbecause she is a sow. If you do not change her nature, then you do no good to cleanse her, but if you change the nature and do not cleanse, then you have left purity imprisoned in filth. So there are two ideas always, at least
two, in the new birth: (1) cleansing; (2) renewing.
For explanation of Titus 3:5 see the same volume, page 183:
„For we ourselves also were sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by
his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Notice how overwhelmingly conclusive and how comprehensive is this scripture: (1) We were every way evil and lost till the love of God to man appeared in our Saviour. (2) It appeared not by our works of righteousness. And baptism is a work of righteousness (Matt, 3:15). (3) But it appeared in the shedding on us abundantly the Holy Spirit,
through Jesus Christ. This is the new birth. (4) But this new
birth consists of two things: (a) The washing of regeneration,
i.e., the cleansing from sin secured by the Spirit’s application
of Christ’s blood, in other words, „born of water.” (b) The re_
newing of the Holy Spirit i.e., the giving of a new heart, which
is „born of Spirit.”
From the same work, page 187, is also taken this extract on
Ephesians 5:25:
„Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he alight sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” Therefore „born of water,” which means the „washing of regeneration,” which means „the sprinkling of our hearts from an evil conscience,” which brings justification, which is apprehended by faith, must be such a „washing of water” as comes „by the word,” becausie faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, and, there-fore, the rantizer of babes who finds literal water_baptism in Ezekiel’s
„Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you,” exchange_ the blood of Jesus, and an essential part of the „new birth” for water, and very little of that. And the immersionist who finds literal water_baptism in John’s „born of water,” makes the same exchange, only getting a little more of the water. But even this compensation is lost in a birth for a burial. His more water has drowned him.
The fourth group of scriptures consists of two: „He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbe_
lieveth shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16), and „which also
after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the
putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of
a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of
Jesus Christ; who is on the right hand of God, having gone
into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made
subject unto him” (I Peter 3:21_22).
The first thing I have to say on Mark 16:16 is that it is
very doubtful whether it is a part of the word of God. Cer_
tainly if you were in the Vatican library in Rome, and they
were to hand you the old Vatican manuscript of the New
Testament and you were to read Mark’s Gospel you would
not find in it the last twelve verses of chapter 16. And if
you had before you the Sinaitic manuscript, discovered by
Tischendorf, and which is supposed to be the oldest manu_
script, you would find that this last paragraph of twelve
verses is not in it. On that account I never preach from any
part of those twelve verses. I never preach from a passage
where it is really questionable as to whether or not it is a part
of God’s Word, and especially would I not attempt to build
up a doctrine on it.
And there is only this one passage in the whole Bible upon
which you can plausibly build a baptismal salvation argu_
ment (Mark 16:16).
It is very easy to answer all those other passages; it is not
go easy to answer this one. But let us suppose’ that_ it really
belongs to God’s Word. „He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.”
I would construe it just exactly as I construe the passage,
„He that endureth unto the end shall be saved.” „He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved”; that is true. He
that endures to the end and is baptized shall be saved; that
is true also. But when the negative is stated, it does not
say, „He that believeth not and is not baptized shall not be
saved, or shall be condemned.” When you put it negatively
it has no reference to baptism. It does not say, „He that is
not baptized shall not be saved.” It does not make any dif_
ference how many things one may put in – believe, be bap_
tized, keep the law, go to church – with salvation, it does not
affect salvation. If the first one was to secure salvation, it
will be true if you put all of them in. That will not take away
from the truth. He that believeth hath everlasting life; he
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Some would
make it read: „He that believeth and is baptized and goes
to church every Sunday, etc., etc. etc., hath everlasting life.”
You can put in as many as you please and they all follow
from the first one. But to put it negatively, you could not
say, „He that does not go to church every Sunday will be
lost.” And in negation it does not say, „He that believeth not
and is not baptized” – it stops at the believer. This is the
explanation of this passage, assuming it to be a part of the
Is once had a controversy with a Methodist brother on fall_
ing from grace. I was stating the fact that if you have your
name in the Lamb’s book of life God will in no wise blot it out
– that it stuck. He said, „I can disprove that.” I said,
„Where is the passage?” He said, „Over there where Jesus is
talking about those who have their names in the Lamb’s book
of life (Revelation 3:5).” I said, „That does not say what he
will do; it says that he will not blot the name out.”
So when you come to prove a thing you must not rely upon
an implication. You must bring up a clear_cut statement of
God’s Word. If that text had said, „He that believeth not
and is not baptized shall be condemned,” I would not know
what to do with it. Bear these in mind then: (1) It is a very
doubtful text. (2) Saving faith is faith that is fruitful
(fruit_bearing). (3) It does not mean that baptism is a con_
dition of entrance into a saved state, by what follows – „He
that believeth not shall be condemned,” like „except ye repent,
ye shall perish.”
On I Peter 3:21 I make this point on the picture of bap_
tism: „Baptism doth now save us.” Baptism doth now save
us in a figure; baptism doth now save us through the resur_
rection of Jesus Christ from the dead. That is the figure, but
baptism does not put away the impurity of the carnal nature
– does not put away the filth of the flesh. These are the
four points: (1) Baptism saves us in a figure. (2) That figure
is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (3) Paul
says, „You have been planted in the likeness of his death, so
ye shall be in the likeness of his resurrection.” Wherever
you see a baptism you see a burial and a resurrection. This
is not a real salvation, but a pictorial one – a figure of salva_
tion, and baptism does save us that way, and nobody will
deny it. (4) The injury of a good conscience toward God.
And the force of this last is: (a) The conscience is bad before
it is cleansed, (b) How made good? Hebrew 9:14: „By the
blood of Christ.” (c) The place of a good conscience – 1Timothy 1:5 explains.

This, my last general remark, is on the evil consequences of
this doctrine. In the history of the doctrine of baptismal
regeneration, baptismal salvation, or baptismal remission, the
consequences have been fearfully evil. By its fruits ye shall
know it. What has been its fruit in history?
(1) The first fruit was that as soon as Christians, after
the apostles, reached a conclusion from these scriptures that
I have been expounding that sins were really remitted in bap_
tism, and that baptism is never to be repeated, they instantly
began to postpone baptism, so as to include, when they were
baptized, just as many of their sins as possible. From the
time of Augustine and Tertullian it was very manifest. Ter_
tullian said, „Why hurry baptism? All the sins you commit
up to that time are washed away. Then put it off as long as
possible.” That is consequence number one.
(2) If baptism means the absolution, or remission of sins,
„Why not,” said the mother, „baptize my baby?” And just
as sure as the sun shines in the heavens this doctrine of bap_
tismal remission forced „infant baptism.” There never would
have been any but for that. And the testimony of history is
as clear as a sunbeam as to the relation between these two
things – that infant baptism is the product of the doctrine of
baptismal regeneration. That is the second fruit – a fruit that
is not good, either.
(3) „Since I may baptize my baby, in order to save it,
why not sprinkle it? Why need I dip the little fellow? Why
not simplify the ordinance, and just sprinkle a few drops of
water on it?” And it is certain that that is the doctrine
which changed the act of baptism from immersion to sprin_
kling. It is certainly true. Dr. Burleson was once telling a
Campbellite friend of ours, Dr. Carrington of Austin – we both
thought a great deal of him – that if there were no infant bap_
tism in the world today, that which he (the Campbellite
friend) was preaching would bring it about. „Oh, no,” he
said, „that could not do it.” Yet it happened with this very
Brother Carrington that he was sent for by a family, and the
mother said, „Brother Carrington, my preacher is gone; you
are a preacher, not of my faith, it is true, but you are a
preacher, and here’s my baby about to die; I believe it is
lost if it is not baptized, and I ask you to baptize the
baby” – and Dr. Carrington, the Campbellite preacher, sprin_
kled that baby I That is a fact of Texas history. I do not like
that fruit.
(4) The next fruit is sacerdotal salvation – a salvation at
the hand of a priest, or some other human being. That is
not good, either.
Another fruit is that if you baptize all the babies, and keep
up baptizing all the babies, then you banish believer’s baptism
out of the world.
There would be none at all. You go to a country where
this „sacramental” ordinance by baptism has prevailed, and
where it has necessitated infant baptism, and where it has
necessitated this change in the form of baptism, there is no
one in the whole nation to be found, since being administered
to infants as they come into the world, not a man could be
found who could pass to maturity to be baptized on a profes_
sion of his faith, and he is taught to believe that it is all right.
They say, „We cannot repeat the baptism.” So if these false
teachings are accredited there is utterly no use for these scrip_
tures: „Believe and be baptized; repent and be baptized; they
that believed his word were baptized, etc.”
(5) The next fruit is this: If there is no salvation without
baptism, suppose I had a brother, a cousin, or an aunt who
died, and was not saved, then I would say, „Why not let us
have a baptism for the dead?” And it brought that in just
as certain as there is anything in the world; for those who
died without having been baptized, and hence, according
to that doctrine, were not saved, and therefore there arose a
baptism from the dead.
Take again this fact: It reverses the gospel. Instead of
repent, believe and be baptized, they put it: Believe, repent
and be baptized.
(7) And it certainly also brings a union of church and state,
as sure as the world stands. This is the fruit of the doctrine
in history.

1. Give a brief statement, in review, of the discussion of Acts 2:38 thus far.
2. What three meanings may a word in any language have?
3. Apply this principle to the Greek preposition, eis.
4. What three principles of interpretation enable us to safely deter_
mine when to depart from the ordinary meaning and to render this word
according to the frequent or rare meaning?
5. Illustrate the principle of „the nature or congruity of things.”
6. Illustrate the principle of „the bearing of the general context.”
7. Illustrate the principle of „the bearing of the local context.”
8. What the bearing of Matthew 3:11 on Acta 2:38?
9. What further evidence that they stand or fall together?
10. What other instance of eis nearer to Acts 2:38?
11. What the classic usage of eis? Give examples.
12. What argument may be applied to the Campbellites? Explain
13. Then, briefly, what is the meaning of Acts 2:38?
14. What constitutes the second group of scriptures, and what the
15. In the light of this explain I Peter 3:21.
16. What the third group of scriptures?
17. Explain John 3:5.
18. Explain Titus 3:5.
19. Explain Ephesians 5:25.
20. What the fourth group of scriptures?
21. Explain Mark 16:16.
22. What the picture of baptism in I Peter 3:21, and what the points
contained therein?
23. What are the evil consequences of the doctrine of Baptismal Re_

Acts 2:39 to 3:l

So now we take up Acts 2:39 to 3:1 for exposition. The
closing part of Acts 2:38 says, „And ye shall receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit,” and verse 39, ‘Tor to you is the prom_
ise and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even
as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.” I take
that last clause of 2:38 – „Ye shall receive the gift of the
Holy Spirit” – because of its connection with the succeeding
verse; and so the question arises – what is meant by the gift
of the Holy Spirit? Does it mean the ordinary graces of
the Spirit, such as men received before Pentecost, and are re_
ceiving now, and have been receiving through all the history
of the world, i.e., the convicting power of the Spirit, repent_
ing power of the Spirit, and believing power of the Spirit?
No, it does not mean that. The promise refers to the prophecy
of Joel: „It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I
will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh,” and then this bap_
tism in the Spirit is described. Peter says to the convicted men
of Israel: „You have witnessed our reception of the baptism of
the Spirit; you have seen its effect on us. Now, if you will
repent and believe, and be baptized, ye shall receive that gift.”
He goes on to say, „For the promise is to you and to your
children, and unto all that are afar off,” limited by just so
many as God shall call to receive it.
Joel says, „I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh,”
i.e., all kinds of people – old men, young men, maidens, –

the promise is unto you, fathers, and unto you, children
of the fathers, and unto you that come from a great distance,
afar off, whether of the dispersion of the Jews, or of the Gen_
tiles. The „afar off” refers to all of those. „After your con_
version, these signs shall follow them that believe” – that which
comes after the baptism in the Holy Spirit. You who then
will repent, who will believe, you shall receive the same thing
that you wonder at in these. In Acts 2 Peter says, „Who was
I, that I could withstand God?” And seeing that these Gen_
tiles received the same gift which they had at the beginning,
while he was talking to Cornelius and his household, the Spirit
fell upon Cornelius and his household, and he began to speak
with tongues. Peter says, „It was the same gift that came
to us on Pentecost.” So in Acts 19, when Paul asked certain
disciples he found there, „Have you received the Holy Spirit
since you believed?” he is asking if, upon their part, they
have been baptized in the Spirit. That is what he means
exactly. That being the meaning of the word „gift” in the
passage, „ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” because
it was promised to them and to their children, and to just as
many as God should call.
It means that the number of people to receive this baptis_
mal power of the Spirit was limited to just as many as the
Lord our God should call to receive it.
He could limit it to some Jews on the day of Pentecost, to
some Gentiles afterward, as in the case of Cornelius; to
some at Corinth, to some at Ephesus, and long enough to
fully accredit the church before his call on that was brought
to a stop – just as many as he would call.
Is now expound 2:42, particularly giving the four services
that constituted the habit of the early church. The King
James Version says, „And they continued stedfastly in the
apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread,
and in prayers.” From that translation we get the idea that
to continue steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine is to remain
firm in the faith. That is not at all the thought of the original,
however. They were constant in attending upon the follow_
ing things: The teaching of the apostles, the breaking of
bread, fellowship, and prayers. They were constantly attend_
ing or they were constant in attending upon the teaching of
the apostles, who kept on with their teaching. It is the object
of that verse to express a habit of the early church – a habit
of continual attention to the following things: (1) Public
worship; (2) the contribution worship (for that is what fel_
lowship here means) ; (3) the Lord’s Supper worship; (4) the
prayer meeting worship.
Let us put that into a little plainer English. If God con_
verts my soul and I believe in Jesus my Saviour, the habit
of my life must be along the line of that faith; and inasmuch
as God has appointed the public services of his church, I
will be constant in my attendance upon those services. I
won’t stay away half the Sundays. If public worship is ap_
pointed by the congregation for every Sunday, then unless
providentially hindered, I will be there at those services.
Then in order to carry on the kingdom of God, if contribution
services are appointed, I won’t skip those on the days ap_
pointed, whatever they may be, few or many; if observing
the Lord’s Supper, I won’t stay from that. The meetings
appointed for prayer, I will attend. That is the true sense
of the Greek. It is one of the finest themes upon which any
preacher can preach. Here were 3,000 people happily con_
verted. They were brought into a new covenant, and these
young converts were constantly attending all the public teach_
ing of the apostles.
This is the literal Greek: „And they were stedfastly con_
tinuing on the teaching of the apostles”; „and they were
stedfastly continuing koinonia,” which has several mean_
ings. Of course it expresses the idea of participation, and
hence we sometimes use it in the sense of fellowship; they
were constantly attending upon the „contributions.”
The necessity for those constant contributions is seen from
the context. The record says twice, epi to auto – all who
believed were epi to auto, i.e., together; they were at the
same place, and there were thousands of them there. There
people were in a great revival meeting. The meetings were
held every day. Some came from a distance, and there were
necessary expenses involved in keeping that great crowd of
people epi to auto – at the same place; and therefore there
had to be a distribution of rations. They had to be fed, just
as when we hold a big meeting – a camp meeting – and the
people gather to stay through the meeting. From twenty to
thirty miles around they came epi to auto, „together,” or „at
the same place.” One brother says, „I will furnish so and
so,” so many hogs, for instance; another so many beeves, and
another so much money, as in this case in Acts where the con_
tributions were necessary. They had all things common.
They took those funds for the support of that meeting into
a common fund, under the conditions of that great gathering,
and they were held together at one place, just as we get a
large sum of money, etc., for the camp meetings of today,
barrels of ice water with cups, thus having meals all to_
gether. A long table is spread, and everything cooked is
placed upon it. We have often seen that kind of a thing –
great crowds of people coming together, having their meals,
not separately, but „together.” And in order that this big
crowd be held together, some man was so full of the Spirit of
God that he said, „To the end that this meeting may go on,
I will bring all I have here and put it in the general fund.”
Later on we strike the account of that man doing it. But I
am trying to show the force of epi to auto, together, or at the
same place. It is a question of that pronoun reference, as to
what „at the same place” means. That would put them to_
gether; therefore the word „together” should be translated,
„that place,” because they were at the same place. There_
fore they were together. Many times in the New Testament
the word which is translated fellowship evidently means con_
tribution. I have not space to recite all the passages. We
come to a number of them in the New Testament.
It was a great task to care for such a vast congregation,
even for one day. The believers numbered 3,000, and a little
later 5,000, not counting the women and children. Later still,
it included a very great number, such as Greeks, and still
later, when the disciples were multiplying and kept multiply_
ing, there arose a complaint concerning the distribution of
the provision for that great camp meeting, because some did
not get enough, and did not get anything to eat. I have seen
at camp meetings the bread or beef give out, and some of the
crowd could not get to the table before it gave out.
This situation in the early church led to the appointment
of deacons. The apostles said, „It is not reason that we should
quit our preaching, our ministry, of the word, and go around
and see that these people are fed, – that this great volume of
food is equally distributed. It is all here common. You must
appoint somebody to take charge of this. We cannot stop to
serve tables. We have to attend to the preaching and prayer
meetings – to the ministry of the word and of prayer. That
is our special charge, so you bring business men here who can
attend to that.”
It was characteristic of those young converts, who were
coming by the thousands, to continually attend all the pub_
lic services – the preaching services, the contribution services
for the support of the meeting, the services for observing the
Lord’s Supper, and the prayer meeting services.
We used to have a big horn, a conch shell, a trumpet or
a triangle, anything that would give a loud sound, at our big
meetings, to announce the services as commencing. They
would have a sunrise prayer meeting, a nine o’clock prayer
service, a ten o’clock song service, an eleven o’clock preaching
service, and then an afternoon service.

Next, in order that these young people and all new con_
verts who were being brought into the church might be intro_
duced to the ordinances of God, they would have the Lord’s
Supper. Note that it is said of these converts that they
formed four habits: Constant attendance on the preaching
service, on the contribution service, the observance of the
Lord’s Supper, and on the prayer service. And when you get a
church to do that you have a power.
I preached on that text at a great meeting of the Southern
Baptist Convention. The most distinguished Baptists in the
United States, and the most learned theological seminary pro_
fessors, the presidents and professors of literary institutions,
the great evangelists and missionaries, at home and abroad,
some of them white_headed, just ready to go away to God,
were present. I presented these four points as the points of
power in the church: Constant attendance on these four serv_
ices – that if a man wouldn’t dodge the preaching, nor the giv_
ing, nor the prayer meeting, nor the observance of the Lord’s
Supper, he would not be very apt to backslide, but would keep
in line. But if he was willing to attend the prayer service, and
shut his eyes when the contribution plate was passed around,
singing, „Fly abroad, thou mighty gospel,” and yet put in
nothing to make its wings flap, he convicted himself. He was
leaving out one of God’s appointed methods of worship. Now
we are enabled to interpret the next thing.
„And all who believed were epi to auto, ‘at the same place,’
‘together’; epi to auto – kai eichon hapanta koina, and had
all things common.” This passage of scripture has given rise
to the doctrine called „the community of goods.” There are
men now who say, „Let every one of us, whether rich or poor,
put into a common pile everything we have, and then each
one take out enough to sustain him every day.” That is the
key passage of the Scholastics. But is it the intent of this
passage (2:44) to teach what is commonly understood as
„community of goods,” is. e., if one has $10,000 worth of
property, another $5,000, and another $2,000, does this passage
require you to lump in your money and to ride out even?
It does not, and here is the proof. I am going to show that
there is no law here establishing what is understood as a com_
munity of goods. In order to do that I will turn a little for_
ward, where the same matter comes up again. In 4:34 we
have this account: „For neither was there among them any
that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses
sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were
sold, and laid them at the apostle’s feet: and distribution was
made unto each, according as any one had need. And Joseph,
a Levite, having a field, sold it, and brought the money and
laid it at the apostles’ feet. But a certain man named Ananias,
with Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession, and kept back
part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought
a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter
said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the
Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
While it remained, did it not remain thine own? and after
it was sold, was it not in thy power?” This shows that his
private ownership had not departed from him. It was not the
object of the scriptures concerning this great lesson to teach
that private ownership was done away with at all. It was a
voluntary thing, done under the impulse of the great meeting
that was going on to take care of all those people, to keep
them together, epi to auto – at the same place. A man did not
have to sell his property; he was not obliged to do it; but if
he felt prompted to do it, in order that the meeting would not
stop, he was not afraid to do it. But if he sold his land
the money was still his; there was no law that required him
to bring it all. But Ananias and Sapphira claimed that they
had put it all in, but they had kept back part, telling a lie
about it to God, or to the Holy Spirit, as if he did not know.
They wanted to have the reputation that Joseph had, who sold
all he had and brought the whole of it and put it into the
fund. So they sold a piece of land, conspired together to fool
Peter and to fool God – that they would go and say that they
had received so much and that was all of it. But Peter says,
„Ananias, that property was yours before you sold it, and
after you sold it the money was still yours. Your offense is,
then, that you said, ‘We received for it so much and put the
whole of it into the common fund.’ ” So that Ananias’ case
disproves any idea of „common property.”
I will illustrate it: In the Madera Mountains, at the head_
quarters of the warlike tribe of the Comanche Indians, for
many generations there has been a beautiful valley, plenty
of water and plenty of grass, and when the moon is at its full,
it is one of the best places in the world for holding a meeting.
So every year they make great provision for a meeting. They
say, „F. W. Johnson, what will you do towards it?” He says,
„I’ll give ten beeves, and so many sheep.” Another says so
many quilts, another a big table, so that anybody may be
invited to come. The crowd is too big to make it all into
one table, however, and there is no time to average just what
they give, but what they do bring there is „common.” You
step up to F. W. Johnson, or to W. D. Cowan, who are the
main supporters of that meeting. You have just come, maybe
a stranger riding horseback, and you say, „I’d like to have
a place to sleep tonight – blankets, etc.” „We have it for
you,” these brethren say; „just come here; everything is
‘common.’ ” Now that did not mean that Johnson sold all
he had and put it in, but for the purpose in view it was truly
a common affair.
There is a change from the American Version in the Re_
vised Version of 2:47 and 3:1 which is a textual matter. Let
us compare these two versions. The last verse of the chapter
of the American Version reads: „Praising God, and having
favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church
daily such as should be saved.” The Revised Version says,
„Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And
the Lord added to them day by day those that were being
saved.” Is there any church in it? No; „to them,” epi tois,
or epi to auto – the same phrase again. „And the Lord added”
to the same crowd, the same place, daily such as were being
saved. In the best of the Greek manuscripts the word
„church,” does not appear, but the Revised Version takes that
epi to auto from the first verse in the next chapter and puts it
there. In other words, chapter 3 begins epi to auto, and joins
it together. „Now Peter and John were going up to the temple.”
We have no „together” in the Revised Version, and the re_
vised is correct. It follows the true original manuscript. The
„together” of 3:1 in the American Version belongs to 2:47, and
this word „together” should be put there in the place of the
word „church.” The idea of the church is there. It was one
Is interpret this passage according to the Revised Version.
Some later manuscripts give the idea as „church” by putting
that word in, just like they put it in once before in the same
chapter, where „church” does not occur, though the idea of
church is there. It was an immensely big church. Before they
got through, the way Is count it, there were 100,000 members
right in Jerusalem, and the crowd just kept gathering by the
thousands every day. It swelled and swelled, got bigger and
bigger, all of the apostles preaching. Just like we would say,
„Brother A. preaches in the First Church at 9 o’clock; Brother
B. at the Second Church at the same hour, and Brother C. in
the Tabernacle, while Brother D. will hold forth in the Court
House.” All over the town that great multitude gathered and
had preaching. They were brought there and held together by
the power of that meeting. If the reader would like to do a
little private work, let him take an English_Greek concordance,
and translate the word „fellowship” and see its relation to
money. You will see that here it means participation in a
money meeting, that is, a fellowship meeting. They had fel_
lowship in the public services; fellowship in giving money’
participation in the giving of money; they had fellowship
when the Lord’s Supper was observed; they participated m
the prayer meeting, and everybody took part.

1. What is meant by the „gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2:38?
2. To whom was the gift limited?
3. Expound Acts 2:42, particularly giving the four services that con_
stituted the habit of the early church.
4. Why was it necessary for those constant contributions?
5. What church office was instituted here, and what the circumstances of its institution?
6. What was characteristic of the young converts in the Pentecost
7. Is it the intent of Acts 2:44 to teach what is commonly under_
stood as „Community of Goods”? What the proof?
8. What illustration by the author of the scriptural idea of having
things „common”?
9. What change from the Authorized Version found in the Revised
Version of Acts 2:47 and 3:1, and what is the true idea of the passage?
10. Interpret this passage according to the Revised Version.

Acts 3:1 to 5:42

Chapters 3_5 are devoted to the history of the first great
persecution of the Spirit_filled and accredited church, with
attendant circumstances. This, quite naturally, was of Sad_
ducean origin. (1) The Sadducees were the rulers of the peo_
ple, dominating in politics, and through the high priest, domi_
nating the Sanhedrin. (2) They were materialists, believing
in neither angel nor spirit, nor in the resurrection of the body.
(3) The great issue, publicly and boldly made by the Spirit_
filled church, was that Jesus was risen from the dead and
exalted to the sovereignty of the universe, and was demon_
strating these great truths by unmistakable signs and wonders.
(4) The people were being swept away by these demonstra_
tions, so that what the Sadducees might well call „the last
error” was worse than the first. (5) Hence the Sadducees
had to meet this issue, so publicly and convincingly made,
or else lose both political and ecclesiastical power. (6) More_
over, the demonstration of the resurrection of Jesus established
his messiahship, and convicted the rulers of sacrilege and
murder in putting him to death, so that they were on trial for
their lives, their faith, their offices, and their political lead_
This important issue had been forced on them by Peter.
In his great sermon on Pentecost he had alleged in the pres_
ence of myriads of the people, from all parts of the world, the
following things: „Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus
of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty

works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the
midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; him being delivered
up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye
by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay: whom God
raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was
not possible that he should be. holden of it” (Acts 2:22_24).
And again, „This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are
witnesses. Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted,
and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy
Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear”
(Acts 2:32). And also, „Let all the house of Israel therefore
know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and
Christ – this Jesus whom ye crucified” (Acts 2:36). He had
introduced the testimony of the prophet Joel, and particularly
the declaration of the great king, David. Three thousand of
the people were converted in one day, and every day follow_
ing vast additions were made to their number. The meeting
was protracted. They held services publicly in the Temple
every day. Money, by voluntary contribution, poured into the
treasury. Their baptisms and observances of the Lord’s Sup_
per were public and continuous. They were jubilant in praise,
and had favor with all the people. The revival was a con_
flagration threatening to wrap all Jerusalem in its spiritual
At this juncture occurred a public incident which forced
the Sadducean rulers to take official notice of the great move_
ment. In the very gate of the temple, Peter and John had
wrought an amazing miracle on a well_known cripple, hope_
lessly lame from his mother’s womb; the miracle was wrought
in the name of Jesus of Nazareth; a great concourse of the
people were attracted to the scene of the miracle, recognizing
the subject of it, witnessing the completeness of the healing,
and standing in amazement before the miracle workers. Peter
replies to their amazement (a) by disclaiming any power or
holiness in himself and John to do this mighty work; (b) he
boldly accuses them of denying the holy and righteous One,
preferring a murderer instead, delivering him up to Pilate
and forcing him reluctantly to condemn him, and of killing
the Prince of Life; (c) that the God of Abraham raised him
from the dead, of which fact they were witnesses, and (d)
that through his name – through faith in his name – was given
to this hopeless cripple, so well known to them, this perfect
soundness in the presence of them all.
Peter further improved the occasion thus: (1) He admitted
that spiritual ignorance caused the people and their rulers to
commit so grave a blunder and so heinous a crime. (2) But
the passion of the Messiah, foreshown by all the prophets,
was thus fulfilled. (3) He therefore exhorts to repentance
and turning, so that (a) their sins might be blotted out;
(b) that great revivals might come from the glorified Lord;
(c) that he must remain in heaven until the times of restora_
tion of all things attested by all the prophets; (d) that this
Jesus was the great Prophet like unto Moses, who according
to Moses, God would raise up from among the brethren; (e)
that whoever would not hear this prophet would be cut off from
Israel; (f) that Samuel and all succeeding prophets foretold
these things; (g) that they, as sons of the prophets and of
God’s covenant that in Abraham’s seed, who is the Messiah,
all nations should be blessed, were first offered the blessings
of forgiveness. To this indictment of rulers and people and
this marvelous exhortation, the people made great response.
About 5,000 men, not counting women and children, were
converted (Acts 4:4).
This issue, so made by Peter, was the boldest and most
comprehensive challenge in all history.
It claimed all the books of the Jewish Bible, all their cove_
nants and promises, all their patriarchs, mediators, prophets,
illustrious kings and heroes, all their sacrifices and rituals. It
charged sacrilege and murder in the rejection of Jesus. It
affirmed the resurrection, the exaltation and the glorification
of the rejected Lord. It preached repentance on account of
this sin. It promised remission of sin and eternal life to
those who believed. It threatened exclusion from the cove_
nant of all the impenitent and unbelieving. It intimated a
transfer of the kingdom to the Gentiles, if they persisted in
their rejection, so the Sadducees had to accept the challenge.
The Sadducees felt compelled to respond to the challenge:
(1) They arrested Peter and John, imprisoned them for the
night, and held them to trial before the Sanhedrin on the mor_
row. (2) They gathered all the Sadducean kindred of the
high priest, Caiaphas, including Annas, his father_in_law, ex_
high priest, John and Alexander, thus assembling those most
responsible for the crime of the murder of the Lord, and by
thus gathering the special Sadducean kindred dominating the
council. (3) The Sanhedrin itself was convened, and the
prisoners set before it.
Their inquisition concedes the fact of the miracle, but de_
mands, „By what power, or in what name, have you done
this?” A prophecy of the Lord was thus fulfilled: „They shall
deliver you up to councils.” Our Lord had foretold and pro_
vided for this very exigency. He said, „Be not anxious be_
forehand what ye shall speak; for it is not ye that speak, but
the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11; Matt. 10:16_20).
In this foretold strait, Peter obeyed the direction of Christ,
as we find in Acts 4:8_12: „Then Peter, filled with the Holy
Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders,
if we this day are examined concerning a good deed to an
impotent man, by what means this man is made whole; be
it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that
in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified,
whom God raised from the dead, even in him, doth this man
stand here before you whole. He is the stone which was set
at nought of you, the builders, which was made the head of
the corner. And in none other is there salvation: for neither

is there any other name under heaven, that is given among
men, wherein we must be saved.”
That is the noblest answer in history.
The effect of Peter’s boldness on the council is thus de_
scribed – Acts 4:13: „Now when they beheld the boldness of
Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned
and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge
of them, that they had been with Jesus.” That council could
not understand that ignorant and unlearned men) arrested
and imprisoned, and brought before that supreme court of
the Jewish nation, should stand there, not as prosecuted,
but as prosecutors, indicting their judges. This shows that
the power of preachers is not dependent upon, or I should say,
not proportioned to the amount of their education, but it 13
proportioned to their being filled with the Holy Spirit, and to
their being educated or trained in the Word of God. Dr.
Alexander, of Princeton, had a theory that only college grad_
uates should be allowed to be preachers, and they refused to
receive into their seminary anybody who did not graduate
at a reputable institution of learning. He was amazed to
hear of some work done by a blacksmith, who never had been
to school much, and he kept on hearing so much about this
blacksmith that he, after investigation, was himself per_
suaded and convinced that this unlearned man did shake the
gates of hell every time he preached to the people. Dr. Way_
land, who differed altogether from the Presbyterians (he was
a Baptist), about the absolute necessity for college education
in order to preach, cites this case of Alexander’s honest testi_
mony to something that he did not understand – and he never
did understand how that blacksmith could be such a power for
God in his preaching.
This is why I have said in one of my opening addresses
before our seminary that while I would always encourage
every man to get all of the education that his means and his

family condition would allow, yet I would never be guilty of
the folly of saying that only college men could be preachers
of power, and that when any theological seminary took the
position not to admit into its theological department any but
college graduates, it took a position that would have pre_
vented either Christ or any one of the twelve apostles from
entering it.
Here were two indisputable facts: A miracle confronted
the Sanhedrin, and it was a good deed of healing and mercy.
How keen the sarcasm of Peter: „If we be examined this day
for a good deed, healing this impotent man.”
A well supported tradition exists among the Baptists of Vir_
ginia. It was in the period of the union of church and state.
Two Baptist preachers were indicted for preaching without
Episcopal license. This tradition says that Patrick Henry
was employed to defend them, or took the case voluntarily,
and that all he did was to stand up before the court and say,
„What is the indictment against these men? Preaching the
glorious gospel of the Son of God? Great God I That is the
indictment! Are there no thieves going around unarrested and
unconvicted? Are there no murderers upon whom to visit
the vengeance of law, that you must indict and try men for
preaching the gospel?”
This should ever be the challenge of the people of God:
Here is our good work! Behold this monument of grace!
This work was not done in a corner. It is self_interpretative.
Here is a drunkard; look at him. See what he was, and
behold what he is I
The result of the deliberation of this inquisition before the
Sanhedrin seems a most impotent conclusion. It is expressed
in Acts 4:15_18, thus: „But when they had commanded them
to go aside out of the council, they conferred among them_
selves, saying, What shall we do to these men? for that in_
deed a notable miracle hath been wrought through them,

is manifest to all that dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny
it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us
threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this
name. And they called them, and charged them not to speak
at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” That was their con_
clusion; so they called them back in again and charged them
Acts 4:19_20: „But Peter and John answered and said unto
them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken
unto you rather than unto God, judge ye: for we cannot but
speak the things which we saw and heard.” In other words,
„You may pass any judgment you please. You are the earth_
ly court, but so far as we are concerned, being under higher
authority, we must ignore both your threat and charge, and
speak boldly and openly what we have seen and heard.” If
one should wonder why the Sadducees stopped at a threat,
the reason is given in Acts 4:21_22: „And they, when they
had further threatened them, let them go, finding nothing how
they might punish them, because of the people; for all men
glorified God for that which was done. For the man was
more than forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing
was wrought.” They had malice enough to kill them, but they
were afraid of the people, and did not like to go before the
people on such a case as that, with a forty_year_old man, who
from his mother’s womb had been a cripple, and everybody
knew him. It was a good thing done, and there he stood,
perfectly healed.
Peter and John report the whole case to the church. Acts
4:23: „And being let go, they came to their own company,
and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said
unto them.” The church reports it to God. „And they, when
they heard it, lifted up their voice to God with one accord,
and said, 0 Lord, thou that didst make the heaven and the
earth and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the Holy
Spirit, by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say,
Why did the Gentiles rage,
And the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth set themselves in array,
And the rulers were gathered together,
Against the Lord, and against His Anointed:

for of a truth, in this city against thy holy servant Jesus,
whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with
the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together,
to do whatsoever way thy hand and thy counsel foreordained
to come to pass.” Let us hear them pray: „And now, Lord,
look upon their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants
to speak thy word with all boldness, while thou stretchest
forth thy hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be
done through the name of thy holy servant, Jesus. And when
they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were
gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy
Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”
This courage and fidelity on the part of leaders and peo_
ple had a wonderful, fivefold result – first on themselves and
then on others: (1) „And the multitude of them that believed
were of one heart and soul. (2) And not one of them said that
aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they
had all things common. (3) And with great power gave the
apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus:
and (4) great grace was upon them all. For neither was there
among them any that lacked: for as many as were possessors
of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the
things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet: and
distribution was made unto each, according as anyone had
need.” Persecution unifies God’s people; it increases their
love for one another, and makes them sacrifice for one an_
other; it opens their hearts and their purses. As an old sailor
once said, „It takes a side_wind to fill all the sails.” (5)

lt developed great men, for example, Acts 4:36_37: „And
Joseph, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas (which
is, being interpreted, son of exhortation), a Levite, a man of
Cyprus by race, having a field, sold it, and brought the money
and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
From this it may be observed that in every meeting of
very great power, when the root of things is gotten at, when
the topmost twig is being shaken, when the sound of the wind
is in the mulberry trees, when the fire is burning in every meet_
ing of that kind, there suddenly steps out to the front some
man who afterward shakes the world. That is one of the
great powers of revivals of religion. It calls out heroes, who
up to that time had never been awakened. Moreover, it ex_
poses and eliminates hypocrites – for example, the marvelous
judgment of Ananias and Sapphira (5:1_10).
From three viewpoints this case is very instructive. It is
evident that these two were swept into the church on the
wave of a great excitement, without spiritual preparation.
They could not understand the coming of the Holy Spirit,
nor the mighty emotions and deeds of those around them who
were filled with the Spirit. They had witnessed the heroic
sacrifice of Barnabas, and coveted, not a similar spirit, but
the credit of his deed, without the sacrifice. They conspired
together to obtain this credit. They sold a piece of land,
agreeing to keep back a part of the price, while affirming that
the part offered was all they received. They had neither a
consciousness of the presence of the omniscient Spirit, nor that
Peter, as an apostle filled with the Spirit, could read their
minds. They supposed they had only to fool a mere man.
They were not prepared for the exposure, nor his awful sen_
tence in Acts 5:3_5. They were filled with Satan – not the
Holy Spirit. Similar tragedies frequently occur in great re_
vivals. The shortest road to the eternal sin – the unpardonable
sin – is from a great revival. Satan attends them, ever ready
to suggest a quick way to instant and eternal ruin.
Indeed, it is only from a place of great light that the un_
pardonable sin can be committed.
A second viewpoint of instruction is the apostolic power of
judgment. It was not often exercised, but always possessed.
A similar case thus appears in Acts 13:6_12. Here again the
apostle recognizes the presence of Satan opposing, through an
agent, the work of the Holy Spirit. There are other New
Testament cases, but these two illustrate.
I have often heard Major Penn and other great evangelists
affirm that, on certain occasions, when the Spirit’s power was
greatest, by a kind of spiritual instinct they felt the hostile
presence of Satan working some form of opposition through
some human agent. On one occasion I witnessed his dramatic
exposure of this hostile occult influence.
A not less important viewpoint is the effect of this judg_
ment (1) on the church, (2) on hypocrites, and (3) on out_
siders. On the church it brought great fear (5:11); on the
hypocrites it says, „Of the rest durst no man join himself to
them” (5:13). It was getting too hot for hypocrites. It is
only in lukewarm times that conscious hypocrites most seek
to join themselves to the churches. People then come in with_
out regard to the spiritual requirement – regeneration. Let the
time come when „judgment must begin at the house of God,”
and the lightning begins to strike, they become very shy of
joining the church.
What was the effect on the outsiders? The answer is found
in 5:14: „Howbeit, the people magnified them; and believers
were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men
and women.” The power of the apostles grows: „And by the
hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought
among the people: and they were all with one accord in
Solomon’s porch.” That is an answer to the prayer found in
4:29_30: „And now, Lord, look upon their threatenings; and
grant unto thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness,
while thou stretchest forth thy hand to heal; and that signs
and wonders may be done through the name of thy holy
servant, Jesus.” Here Peter’s power reaches a climax in special
miracles. Here we have it: „Insomuch that they even carried
out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and
couches, that, as Peter came by, at the least his shadow might
overshadow some one of them” (Acts 5:15).
My brother, J. M. Carroll, has a regular „sugar_stick” ser_
mon on „The Shadow of Peter, or the Power of Influence.”
When you get so near to God and so full of the Spirit that
the people will bring the helpless cases where you would walk
along, so that your shadow might fall on some of them, then
you may know you are at the topnotch of power. The author
has a sermon on special miracles – „The Bones, Fringes, Shad_
ows, Handkerchiefs, and Aprons.” Here you have a miracle
by a shadow. In Elisha’s case the miracle was by bones. In
our Lord’s time they touched the fringe, the hem of his gar_
ment; and in the apostle Paul’s time they sent out aprons
and handkerchiefs that had touched him.
The last two paragraphs of this chapter (Acts 5:17_42)
recite a revival of the Sadducean persecution. The apostles not
only continued their witness of the resurrection, but the Holy
Spirit magnified their witness by mighty signs, wonders and
Judgments, until vast multitudes were converted to the faith,
and they grew to an astonishing height in love, faith, unity,
and courage. The streams of the sick, of the troubled souls,
that converged in a tide toward the apostles and the happy
church, and every increase of the shouts of the healed and the
joy of the redeemed, excited their wrath.
The record says: „But the high priest rose up, and all they
that were with him [which is the sect of the Sadducees], and
they were filled with jealousy, and laid hands on the apostles,
and put them in public ward.” [This time they get all of
them in prison.] „But an angel of the Lord by night opened
the prison doors, and brought them out, and said, ‘Go ye,
and stand and speak in the temple.’ ” So they are to go right
on preaching the word. And when the Sanhedrin the next
morning sends for the prisoners, their officer cornea back with
his finger on his lip, saying, „They’re gone.” Another comes
running in and says, „I saw them; they are right back there
in the Temple, still preaching, and great crowds of people
around.” Then they send officers very quietly, without tumult
or violence, for fear of the people, and bring them before the
court again, and this is the inquisition now: „And the high
priest asked them, saying, We strictly charged you not to
teach in this name: and behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with
your teaching, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
That shows that Peter had hit the mark. He had been in_
dicting them as murderers in every speech he had made, and
now they see the point. They say, „You intend to bring this
man’s blood upon us.” Peter replied, „We must obey God
rather than men.” He repeats his accusation: „The God of
our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, hanging him on a
tree. Him did God exalt with his right hand to be a Prince
and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of
sins. And we are witnesses of these sayings; and so is the
Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
They do not make much out of that man, but were cut to the
heart, and thought in their hearts to slay them.
The end of the Sadducean persecution comes in this way:
An old man, Gamaliel, who was a Pharisee and the teacher
of Paul, a doctor of the law and of great repute, requests that
the prisoners be put apart for another consultation. Gamaliel
makes a great speech, commencing with a word of caution
(5:35). He then recites two well_known incidents of turbulent
movements, which, though so threatening for a time, came to
naught, and the agitators perished, and then hinting that this
movement had higher ends, motives and issues, closes with the
advice found in 5:38_39. The record says, „And to him they
agreed.” But the context shows their agreement was only
partial. (See 5:40.) Just how weak and futile was their half-
way measure appears from 5:41_42. And so ended the Sad_
ducean persecution. We may not leave the subject, however,
without suggesting a dominant reason for their failure. Their
unbelief in the supernatural utterly disqualified them for lead_
Materialists who do not believe in angels, nor in spirit, nor
the resurrection, but in this life only, never can carry the
crowd. Therefore, the one who broke up this persecution, as
we will see in another issue, was a Pharisee, who would not
Join them on that issue. They were ready enough to join in
the persecution in another issue, as we will see later, but they
did not join in an issue of the resurrection, and that was the
issue Peter had made – that Christ was risen. Therefore, we
learn in our Lord’s time, as recorded in Luke 20:27_40, that
when the Sadducees came to Jesus with a question about the
resurrection, he replied to them, and the Pharisees sympa_
thized with his answer in putting the Sadducees down. And
in Acts 23, when Paul was arraigned before this very council,
he divided the crowd by saying, „Brethren, the only thing
against me is that I preached the resurrection of the dead,”
and instantly the Pharisee part of the council stood with Paul.
They would not fight on that issue, and today you need not
have any dread of any opposition that comes from a material_
ist. He can’t get a following, for all over the world men’s con_
sciences and their nature teach that there is a life beyond
this life – that there is a God and a place for the soul. The
materialists, therefore, are a very small crowd; so the Sad_
ducean persecution came to naught.
Before closing this chapter we recur, for practical observa_
tions, to several antecedent paragraphs lightly passed over in
giving rapid history of the Sadducean persecution. First, the
reply of Peter to the request of the lame man at the beautiful
gate of the Temple: „Silver and gold have I none, but what I
have, that give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Naza_
reth, walk.”
It is related that a distinguished visitor on one occasion
was waiting on the Pope, to whom the Pope showed all his
treasures, jewels, the money, explaining that streams from all
over the world continued to flow into this treasury. Says the
Pope, „There has been a very great change since the first
pope’s time) for Peter said, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’ ”
„Yes,” said the visitor, „and I am afraid there has been a
very great change in another direction: that you cannot now
make an impotent man walk; you have the silver and the
gold, but have you Peter’s faith and power?”
We do well also to note that „silver and gold” are not the
greatest, and most times, the best gifts in our power, and to
be thankful for the fact, since otherwise only the rich could
Second, there can be no better example of true homiletics
than Peter’s sermon to the people on the occasion of this great
miracle. It equals his Pentecost sermon. It deserves a special
analysis. It was a great occasion. Carlyle, on Stump Speak_
ing, affirms that the first prerequisite to a great oration is a
great occasion. It must not be manufactured to afford an op_
portunity for a speech. The stirring times and even the urgent
hour must call for it. Then the speech must fit the occasion,
and supply its calls and needs, leaving nothing more to be
There must be a man for the occasion, who, God_called and
qualified, has something to say, and will so say it that action
and not applause will cap its climax – prompt, decisive, fitting,
and adequate action. All these conditions are filled in this
case in Peter himself and the results.
The supreme court of the nation has put itself in opposition
to the supreme court of heaven on the gravest question of con_
science. Those who believed in rendering unto God the things
that are God’s, were making an open, daylight, life and death
issue. At the beautiful gate of the Temple God magnified

their testimony by an amazing miracle. A beggar, crippled
from his mother’s womb, and known to all the people, re_
ceived as alms an instantaneous perfect healing. His frantic
exhibitions of praise to God, and joyous, grateful clinging to
Peter and John, drew an immense crowd whose speechless
amazement and staring, louder than words, demanded an ex_
planation. Peter’s sermon is that explanation.

1. He rebukes their marveling at the man: „Why should it
be thought incredible that God should work a miracle?”
2. He rebukes their staring at him and John, as though
this wonder should be attributed to either their goodness or
3. He attributes the miracle exclusively to his risen Lord,
through faith in his name.
4. He then begins his indictment) seeking their conviction
of sin, contrasting their way with the Father’s (Acts 3:13_
5. He shows again, without any attempt at harmony be_
tween free will and divine agency, that notwithstanding they
had wickedly and murderously contributed to Christ’s suffer_
ings, all these sufferings had been foreshown in all their
6. His tender heart next goes out to the indicted and con_
victed (Acts 3:17).
Here he introduces a new kind of ignorance characteristic
of the New Testament, and delimiting the unpardonable sin.
Theirs was not mental ignorance, for they had head knowledge
of all the matters involved. They lacked spiritual enlighten_
ment, without which the eternal sin cannot be committed.
Compare the case of Paul. (See Acts 26:9; I Tim. 1:13.)
See also the veil over the hearts of the Jews when they read
Moses, 2 Corinthians 3:5, and compare Hebrews 10:26_29.

And yet this spiritual illumination does not necessarily reach
regeneration, for the regenerate cannot commit the unpardon_
able sin (see I John 5:16_18). Nor does spiritual conviction
always result in that contrition or godly sorrow which worketh
repentance unto life.
7. He now comes with great clearness and force to his ex_
hortation and application (Acts 3:19_21). .Here he finely dis_
criminates between repentance and conversion. Logically a
change of mind must precede a change of life course.
8. But we are particularly interested in the motives toward,
or the results conditioned on the repentance and conversion
enjoined. These are. three: (1) „So that your sins may be
blotted out.” (2) „So that there may come seasons of re_
freshings (is. e., revivals) from the presence of the Lord.”
(3) „So that he may send the Christ who hath been appointed
for you, whom the heavens must receive until the times of
restoration of all things.” This part of his exhortation bristles
with eschatological doctrine. It fixes far off the final advent
of our Lord.
It unquestionably teaches, as many other scriptures, that
the dramatic conversion of the whole Jewish nation, so vividly
described by Paul, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Isaiah must not
only precede the advent, but the advent itself cannot be until
all prophecies of antecedent events have been fulfilled.
9. His sermon closes with the identification of the prophetic
Messiah with Jesus of Nazareth, and suggests him, not only
as their Messiah, but the one „in whom all the families of the
earth shall be blessed.”
Third, Acts 4:31: „And when they had prayed, the place
was shaken wherein they were gathered together.” This mira_
cle on nature, like the earthquake which followed the midnight
praise and prayer service of Paul and Silas in the Philippian
Jail (Acts 16:25_26), caused the solid earth to respond in
thrills to its Creator’s mandate.

Fourth, Acts 4:32 (see the passage). From time immemorial
this passage has been made the basis of the socialistic doc_
trine of „Community of goods – no private ownership of prop_
erty.” The contention is untenable. It is true and deducible
from many other passages, that as against God, there is no
absolute ownership of private property – and in the light of
his stewardship no Christian can say, „Aught of the things I
possess is my own.” But it is not here taught that „Com_
munity ownership of private property is substituted for stew_
ardship to God.” This is certainly the teaching of Peter’s
reply to Ananias (see Acts 5:4). It does prove, however,
that individual owners of private property, moved by love
to God, did voluntarily sell their goods, and put it into a
common fund for the necessitous believers. This was a charity
fund for the poor in a great necessity. This necessity arose
mainly from the Jews of the dispersion, enumerated by nations
in Acts 2, lingering so long in Jerusalem to attend the great
revival meeting commencing at Pentecost and lasting until the
Christian part of it was all dispersed abroad by the Pharisee
persecution under Saul of Tarsus (see Acts 8:1_3; 11:19).
This is further evidenced by the necessity for the office of
deacon (Acts 6). It became too burdensome a. matter for the
apostles personally to distribute daily the alms of this com_
mon fund. There is no hint here or elsewhere of „community_
ownership of private property,” but everywhere a custom of
the churches to provide for their own poor, or in case of great
necessity, for the poor saints elsewhere. See Paul’s great col_
lections for the poor saints in Jerusalem, and his specific
instructions to Timothy about each church’s home poor (I
Tim. 5:3_16).
Let us now explain Acts 4:4: „But many of them that heard
the word believed; and the number of the men came to be
about five thousand.” Thus reads the Revised Version, and
the King James has it: „The number of the men was about
five thousand.” Now, does that mean, with or without count_
ing the 3000 on the day of Pentecost, that the number came to
be 5000, or that 5000 were converted this day? It is based
on the exegecies of the Greek, which reads: „The number of
the men came to be about five thousand.” Dr. Newman says
it means that there had been about 2000 converted since
Pentecost, 3000 that day, and by this time had come to be
about 5000, counting men only. Meyer says the same thing
in his Acts; the great exegete, Hackett, a Baptist, in his Book
on Acts, also says it, as do a great many others. But I say
that it means 5000 that day; 5000 heard the word that day
and 5000 believed that day; and the number, as they kept
hearing and believing, came to be 5000 men in all. There is
no reference to any conversions connecting with any previous
occasion, and if we look in the „Pulpit Commentary,” Acts
we find a fine Greek scholar saying that the grammar, al_
though itself is a little doubtful in construction, is in favor of
the position that 5000 that day were converted.
The Sadducees complained, saying, „You intend to bring
this man’s blood upon us” (Acts 5:28). When they were cruci_
fying the Lord, this very crowd said, „His blood be upon us,
and our children.” Peter is not putting the blood on them;
they put it on themselves, knowingly and wilfully. They had
said, „His blood be upon us and upon our children.” They
took that responsibility then, and now they begin to realize
it. But there is a greater realization ahead of them.
Nations, like individuals, are responsible, and when they
complete their rejection of the Spirit’s witness, as their rejec_
tion of our Lord himself, the doom and long exile of this
favored people will commence with the destruction of Jerusa_
lem and last until the fulness of the Gentiles comes in.

1. What the theme of Acts 3:1 to 5:42?
2. Why does the first persecution come from the Sadducees?

3. Who of the church was to the front in making this issue, and
what the 8cripture showing the issue?
4. What the public incident which forced the Sadducean rulers to
take official notice of the movement, what the effect of the incident on
the people, and what Peter’s reply to their amazement?
5. How did Peter improve the occasion, and what the analysis of
his exhortation?
6. How did the people respond to this exhortation?
7. What may we say of this issue so made by Peter, and what in
particular makes it so?
8. How did the Sadducees respond to the challenge?
9. How did they begin their inquisition?
10. What prophecy of our Lord was thus fulfilled?
11. What direction did our Lord give for such exigency?
12. How did Peter obey the direction of Christ?
13. What the effect of Peter’s boldness on the council?
14. What does this show as to the preacher’s power, and what heresy
here pointed out?
15. What the two extreme positions with regard to this subject? Il_
16. What the force of Peter’s answer? Give the Virginia illustration.
17. What may always be the challenge of the people of God? Il_
18. What the result of the deliberation of this inquisition before the
19. What was Peter’s great reply to their threatening?
20. Why did the Sadducees stop at a threat?
21. How did Peter and John and the church respond to the injunc_
tion not to preach, and to the threat if they should preach?
22. What prophecy was here fulfilled as indicated by their prayer?
23. What were the results to the church in this first issue with the
24, What illustrious man comes to the front and, as an example of
this, what benevolence?
25. What awful judgment at this juncture, and what the three view_
points of the case?
26. What was the effect of this judgment (1) on the church, (2) on
the hypocrites, and (3) on outsiders?

27. What is notable in the apostles now, and to what prayer is 5:12
an answer?
28. In what did Peter’s power find a climax?
29. What sermon of the author here cited?
30. How did the Sadducees again take up the challenge, and what
was the result?
31, What ended the Sadducean persecution, and how did it end?
32. Why the failure of all Sadducean opposition and persecution, and what illustration from our Lord’s time?
33. What the story of the Pope and the visitor, and what the impor_
tant lesson of this incident in Arts to us?
34. What great example of homiletics in this connection, and how
does it rank with his other recorded sermons?
35. What, according to Carlyle, are the prerequisites to a great ora_
tion, and how do the occasion and Peter measure up to these prereq_
uisites in this event?
36. Give complete analysis of Peter’s sermon here.
37. What can you say of the earthquake of Acts 4:31?
38. What false doctrine founded on Acts 4:32, and how does the
author refute it?
39. What does the passage really prove, and how is this further
40. Explain Acts 4:4.
41. Explain Acts 5:28.
42. What greater realization was just ahead of these Jews?

Acts 6:1 to 8:3

So far in the book of Acts we have considered two leading
thoughts: (1) the coming of the Holy Spirit to occupy and to
accredit the church; (2) the Sadducean persecution, waged on
account of the issue made by the church and the Holy Spirit
that Christ was risen from the dead. The topics of discussion
in this chapter are very important. We have already noted
that the protracting of the great revival commenced at Pente_
cost (which really lasted three and a half years), detained, in
the Holy City, multitudes of the Jews of the dispersion for so
long a time that great necessity arose, which was met by a
burst of philanthropy never surpassed in the world’s history.
Our first topic is the creation of the office of deacon. The
church was composed of Hebrews and Hellenists, or Grecians.
The Hebrews were Palestinian Jews, speaking the mixed He_
brew tongue, called Aramaic, and were generally more rigid
than the Hellenists in devotion to all the rites and traditions
of the past.
The problem of fairly distributing the benevolent fund of
the church to all the needy ones now confronted the church.
There came up a complaint on the part of the Grecians, that
their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. That
was the problem. It would not do to have the church divided
on a matter of that kind, and there had to be a solution of
that problem. The solution was that the apostles ordered the

church as a whole to select a body of men who should attend
to this financial, or secular matter; and that they would then
be ordained to the work by prayer and the laying on of hands.
The church thereupon elected seven men, calling them from
among the Grecians, the parties from whom the complaint
came, and these seven men took charge of this matter and
relieved the apostles from having to consider the temporalities
when all their energies should be devoted to preaching the
Word. That was the solution of the problem.
Let us connect and explain the following: Acts 2:45, where
they had everything common, and out of that common fund
provided for all the necessitous cases of the entire congrega_
tion; 4:35, where Barnabas and others sold their possessions
and put the proceeds of the sale into this common fund; 6:1,
where complaint arose about the fairness in the distribution
of this fund; 11:29 and 12:25, where a contribution was made
for the purpose of aiding the poor saints in Jerusalem; I
Corinthians 16:1_4, where Paul says, „As I have given order
to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. Upon the first day
of the week let each one of you lay by him in store . . . that
no collections be made when I come,” this fund to be sent to
Judea to help the poor saints; 2 Corinthians 8_9, which is de_
voted to the same subject; and I Timothy 5:3_11, where Paul
instructs Timothy, who was then at Ephesus, as to what kind
of widows to receive on this beneficiary list.
My object in grouping these scriptures is to show more
clearly than heretofore in what respect they had „all things
common” – that it was with regard to the necessity. Those
who had abundance either gave money, or sold their property
and got money, and put it into a common fund, and that
fund had to be distributed among all of the necessitous cases,
according as each had need.
When you study this account all the way through the New
Testament, you will see that it did not approximate in mean_
ing what the Socialists now claim for it; that it did not mean
that all of the property was to be common, but that all should
participate according to the ability, to create a fund common
to the necessity.
We have here the lesson in church polity, that though the
apostles themselves were present, the election of officers must
be by the church, being congregational in form and polity,
and every member of the church, male and female, being en_
titled to an equal vote in matters that related to the congre_
gation. We have already found the same thing in the election
of the successor to Judas. Here again it is made perfectly
plain that even the twelve men, inspired of God, did not as_
sume to elect officers of the church. They directed the church
to do the electing, and they participated in the ordination.
This was the institution of the deacon’s office referred to in
Philippians 1:1, where Paul writes to the bishops and deacons,
and whose qualifications are set forth in I Timothy 3:8_13.
The philosophic ground on which this institution rests is the
division of labor. An Old Testament parallel is Jethro’s sug_
gestion to Moses to appoint judges to judge the small matters,
and let him (Moses) judge only of matters God_ward. In
Christ’s time, Judas exercised the deacon’s office. That college
of apostles was a church in embryo, and Judas, one of the
twelve, carried the bag, with the result that he extracted from
it its contents. „He was a thief,” John says. We may well
ask another question: Is there a failure when the preacher
exercises the deacon function, and was that the reason for
now putting this temporal matter into the bands of laymen?
A preacher can dip a brush In lampblack and swab out all
the white in his reputation, if he goes wrong on the use of
church funds.
I knew a preacher who wanted all the time to be deacon
as well as pastor; he kept all the funds, and there was a great
row at the final examination of his financial accounts.
The Methodists and the Romanists both hold that a deacon
is an order of the clergy. It cannot be that it was intended to
institute a new order in the ministry, for the reason assigned:
„We cannot leave the word of God and serve tables; therefore,
look ye out brethren from among you, suitable men, to attend
to thia, and we will give ourselves to the ministry of the word
and to prayer.” That makes it perfectly plain that they were
not intending to create a new order of preachers, but secular
officers to attend to the temporalities of the church.
I heard a sermon by a great Mississippi Baptist preacher,
S. S. Lattimore, father of J. C. Lattimore, of Waco, and 0. S.
Lattimore, of Fort Worth. The subject was, „We Cannot Leave
the Word of God to Serve Tables,” and the position he took
was that the deacon is elected to serve tables: (1) The tables
of the poor. (2) The table of the Lord’s Supper. (3) The table
of the pastor. I thought it a very ingenious division of the
table question.
If, then, it was not intended to create a new order in the
ministry, what about the preaching of two of these deacons –
Stephen and Philip? The explanation is that deacons some_
times become preachers. Two of these seven did. We see such
things happen now, but they were not elected to the office of
preacher in this case (Acts 6:1_6).
The present classifications in the ministry are: (1) pastors,
meaning shepherds; bishops, meaning overseers of the work,
which refers to the same office; pastors or bishops are those
that have charge of the church; (2) evangelists, or kingdom
preachers; (3) missionaries. A missionary may not neces_
sarily be an evangelist. Those can hardly be called different
orders in the ministry – that is, one is not higher than the
other; it is not a graded thing, but it is a classification.
Some people are concerned to know whether a deacon should
be a married man and a father. I will say that is is better, but
I would not consider it absolutely necessary. We certainly
cannot infer it from the passage that is usually quoted: „Like_
wise their wives . . . grave.” The word does not mean „wives,”
i.e., the wives of deacons, but it means „deaconesses.” It is
better that these men be men of rich religious character and
experience, and possessing the confidence of the denomination,
as they are going to handle public funds.
The result of the solution of this problem which confronted
the church is found in Acts 6:7: „The word of God increased,
and multitudes were converted.” There are certain essential
elements of the rite or ceremony of ordination indicated here:
(1) election by the church; (2) prayer; (3) laying on of
hands. Those three things belong to the rite, or the ceremony,
or ordination.
These remarks have been preliminary. We now advance in
the discussion. A new man came to the front at this time, and
his character and work rendered him prominent, not only
then, but in all ages since. That man was Stephen, and the
character of his work was as follows. The record states (1)
that he was full of the Holy Spirit; (2) that he was full of
faith; (3) that he wrought miracles and wonders. When it
says that he was full of faith, it means that he had a clearer
and stronger faith than any other man then living on the earth.
No one of the apostles had such clear recognition of the mean_
ing of the kingdom of God and of the church and of the work
of the church as this man Stephen. He is the colossal figure
in the history of the early church. He presented a new matter
to the people which it took the apostles a long time to see.
In 6:9 we find a synagogue and some other terms of the
verse that need explanation. This was a Jewish synagogue,
not for resident Jews, but for Jews of the dispersion, who
stayed for a long time in Jerusalem, and as they did not under_
stand the Hebrew language, the ordinary Jewish synagogue in
Jerusalem did not benefit them much, so it is called (1) the
synagogue of the „Libertines” (Freedmen); (2) „Cyreneans
and Alexandrians” – Jews from northern Africa, where they
had been settled by one of the Ptolemies; (3) „Cilicia and
Asia,” the home of Saul; a great many Cilician Jews were in
that synagogue. It is implied in their making an issue with
Stephen that Stephen himself, being a Grecian, being one of
the dispersed Jews, and better able to speak to that class than
to the Hebrews, was pushing, particularly among these dis_
persed Jews, the grand thoughts concerning the kingdom of
God that he bore in his own mind. He was very aggressive;
he carried the war into the enemy’s territory. Saul of Tarsus
was probably the rabbi of this synagogue. He was educated
first at home, then he was graduated in their theological
school, of which Gamaliel was president, and became a rabbi,
and was of this particular synagogue.
The method of resistance to the gospel now adopted by this
synagogue, which was entirely new, was to debate the ques_
tion. There had been no debate heretofore. The Sadducees
did not try to debate with them. This young man, Saul, was
a trained thinker, speaker and logician, and he did not propose
to let this thing go without „tackling” it in debate. So there
was a challenge for debate. Stephen was making certain
points, and he was making them among these Grecian people.
Still young and ambitious, he had his fire; he believed con_
fidently in his ability to beat any man in _the world. They
put it up to him to debate the question. And this is the new
method of resistance. The two opposing were the rabbi of this
synagogue, and Stephen, who was pushing war over into that
synagogue. I would like to have heard the discussion. I am
sure it was a fight of the giants.
The issue now is not the resurrection of the dead, but on
the whole of the old dispensation having served its purpose;
it is vanishing and a new dispensation takes its place. Many
of the things in the old dispensation were nailed to the cross
of Christ. Their great Temple is now an empty house; its
veil is rent in twain from top to bottom; a new temple has
been anointed, according to the prophet Daniel, in chapter 9
– the anointing of the most holy place – the Holy Spirit com_
ing down and filling the house that Jesus built, leaving the
other house vacant. Everything in connection with that sys_
tern that is local and transitory has vanished away. In other
words, Stephen was making right there in that debate just
exactly the argument that is made in the letter to the Hebrews
ùthat in the new dispensation is a greater than Moses, a
greater than the _angels, a greater than Joshua, a greater than
Aaron. That a greater sacrifice than the bullocks, sheep, and
goats, offered on Jewish altars, had been offered. There is
then the new temple, the new sabbath also, everything new
now; just what the letter to the Hebrews discusses. This is
the issue that Stephen made that this Jesus is the one pointed
out by Moses and by the prophets as the true Messiah. That
is the forward step taken by Stephen.
The result of the debate is given in 6:10: „And they were
not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which
he spake.” They could not resist the power of his eloquence,
and Saul went down in the fight. A deaf man was once asked
why he attended a big debate, since he could not hear. He
said he could always tell which side got whipped. „Why?”
he was asked. „Because the one that gets whipped gets mad.”
So Saul, failing in this new method of resistance by discussion,
revived an old one, an account of which we find in 6:11_14.
They took up that old „rusty sword of persecution” that the
Sadducees had tried. They took this thing into the courts,
and brought the power of the council to bear on it, and decided
this matter dogmatically.
When they arrested Stephen and tried him before the San_
hedrin there were three charges, and that shows what he had
been preaching:
(1) Their witnesses testified that this man Stephen had
spoken blasphemous words about their Temple. I have no
doubt that Stephen said it was an empty house that had
served its day – that it was only waiting a short time until it
would be blotted out from the earth, and one stone would not
be left upon another – that it was never to be erected again,

never to have the altar of sacrifices again. That is the first
charge, and we see how plausible they made it.
(2) That he spoke against the law. I have no doubt that
they made plausible proof on that, and yet it was false. He
did not speak against the law, but just as Christ said: „I have
not come to destroy, but to fulfil it” – that the law in all of its
types and shadows and ritual had been completed, filled full,
and there was no more use for it; that there was a new law,
calling for a different Sacrifice, calling for a different Priest.
(3) That he preached that so far as the customs taught by
Moses were typical and ritualistic, and pertaining to a past
dispensation, they would be changed. I have no’ doubt that he
stood there and preached that the wall of partition between
Jews and Gentiles was broken down and ground to powder.
And he had more faith in that than any other man of his time.
His appearance and bearing before the Sanhedrin were mar_
velous. He did not look like a guilty man; he did not look
scared. When they looked steadfastly at him they saw a face
illumined – a face like the face of an angel. The Lord God
was the light of his countenace. The light and glory of God
was in his eye. He stood there as a king among men. He did
not come in like a whipped cur, begging pardon for existence
or appealing for pity.
Let us analyze his defense, and especially make clear his
charge against them. The defense corresponds to the charge
in its three partsù6:13_14. It shows that the Jews misunder_
stood their own scriptures, which distinctly showed the transi_
tory nature of the old dispensation. He submits his proof:
(a) That Moses foretold the coming of a Prophet like unto
himself, whose teaching should be final, (b) The prophets
foretold the same thing, (c) The tabernacle of Moses was
temporary, and succeeded by the Temple, (d) That God had
left the old Temple, since he dwelleth in a temple not made
with hands. Stephen was preaching a temple not made with
hands – the church – every stone in this new temple being a
living stone, or a converted man or woman, (e) That all
through the probations of their history they had rejected the
definitely appointed leaders. They had rejected Moses; they
had rejected God; they had rejected the prophets; they had
rejected the Lord himself, when he came in fulfilment of the
prophecy of Moses; and now, to cap the climax, they were
rejecting the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent from heaven; they
were resisting the anointed church which that Spirit accredited.
The effect of the defense and the charge on that Sanhedrin
was terrific: „They gnashed on him with their teeth.” They
were „cut to the heart.” The word of God was a sword in the
hands of Stephen. It was living and powerful, and dividing
the joints, reaching the marrow and laying bare the soul itself
in its nakedness. His face was shining. One of the great
painters, Rembrandt, obtained his special style by putting a
halo around the face. The photographers adopt that style
now, in which the face is flooded with light, and this is ex_
hibited in the picture. We read that the face of Stephen was
illumined, and looking up, far above earthly courts, he sees
the heavens opened, and the heavenly court. He sees the
supreme court of the universe, the glory of God, and Jesus,
who is represented as seated on the right hand of God. He has
leaped up to his feet. Stephen said, „I see Jesus, standing at
the right hand of the majesty on high.”
That vision was according to a prophecy of our Lord. When
Christ had been put on oath, about three and a half years
before this time, by this same Sanhedrin, having the same
officers, he said (testifying under oath that he was the Mes_
siah), „Hereafter ye shall see me at the right hand of God.”
They counted that blasphemy when Christ said it. Now
Stephen, remembering the words of the Lord says, „I see him.
He said he would appear at the right hand of God. I see him
there.” His appearance was his demonstration that he was the
Messiah. According to what promise of the Lord? Jesus said,
„Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe
also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it
were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place
for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again,
and will receive you unto myself.” When the time of a Chris_
tian’s death approaches, there is a coming of the Lord. Jesus
meets him at the depot of death, and receives him into the
everlasting tabernacles. Stephen, the brittle thread of his life
about to be snapped in twain, and his soul to be evicted by
violence from his crumbling body, says, „I see him; he is
standing; he said he would come, and he has come.” What was
the reason of the effect on that council? It is that this vision
which this man evidently saw was a plea established upon
what Christ had said, and, therefore, they were affected instead
of this man being affected, and though affected, yet not in
love with the truth brought to light. They hated it. The
greater its light the more they squirmed; the greater the light,
the more they writhed in it. Just like a worm exposed to the
light, they could not stand the effect of the light. So they
brought in a verdict on the charge of blasphemy, and he was
executed as indicated by the penalty, which was stoning. Saul
was a member of the Sanhedrin and voted in rendering this
verdict, the proof of which is found in Acts 8:1; 26:10: „Saul
was consenting unto his death . . . when they were put to death,
I gave my vote against them.” But Stephen made a twofold
prayer, which sustains a relation to the words and deeds of
our Lord. His first prayer was, „Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,”
looking into the face of Jesus, just as we look into any man’s
face. Jesus was there, and as the tenement of clay was about
to crumble, and the soul was about to be evicted, Stephen said,
„Lord, receive my spirit.” What word of Christ does he recol_
lect? „It is finished. Father, into thy hands I commend my
spirit.” The other part of his prayer was, „Lord Jesus, lay not
this sin to their charge,” praying for his murderers.. Jesus
made intercession for the transgressors: „Father, forgive them;
they know not what they do.” So Stephen was talking to the
Lord, that he lay not this sin to their charge. Augustine said
of this prayer in one of his great homilies:
Si Stephanus non sic orasset,
Eccleaia Paulum non haberet.
If Stephen had not so prayed,
The Church had not had Paul.

I sometimes think of that prayer and that fiery disputant
who was mad because he had been defeated in the debate, and
who is now a persecutor, a witness and judge, and of Stephen,
looking in the face of the Saviour, and saying, „Lord, lay not
this sin to Saul’s charge,” and then I track that prayer until
I see it answered.
There is special significance in the fact that the witnesses
laid their clothes at the feet of Saul. He was the chief per_
secutor, and as the law required that the witnesses should lay
aside their outer cloaks, and cast the first stone, so when they
disrobed themselves of their outer cloak in order to stone
Stephen, they brought their clothes and put them at the feet
of this young man named Saul, showing that everything was
being done under his direction and leadership.
The persecution now commenced is unlike the Sadducean
persecution. It is the most sweeping transaction that the Jews
ever conducted in their history. It includes that most abomi_
nable of all exercises inaugurated – inquisitorial visitation into
the private home, and the dragging of men and women vio_
lently before the courts, and then when they were put to
death, Saul gave his vote against them. It reached every man,
every woman, and every child in the church, except the apos_
tles, and expatriated those whom it did not select. The fire
was so hot that they fled in every direction.
A distinct prophetic period here ends according to Daniel,
who said that when the Messiah comes, he will confirm the
covenant with many for one week; that in the middle of the
week he should be cut off – that is, he would confirm it for one
week of three_and_a_half years during his public ministry,
and then he would confirm it three_and_a_half years after his
death. This persecution of Saul is the end of the second three_
and_a_half years. Hereafter the salvation of the Jews is an
exception; hence there will be no ingathering of the Jews until
they shall say, „Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the
Lord.” It means that the God of salvation is now shut out
from their faces. But this persecution affects the church in a
broader understanding of its commission. Its members see
now, as I will show in a subsequent discussion, that Samaria
must have the Word of God; that the Gentiles must also have
it, as was seen in the forward step of this fiery Stephen, such
as they had never had before, and that no apostle had up to
that time. This gives Stephen a prominent place in the transi_
tion. He is a keystone figure in the transaction. He is the
colossal leader that gets the church out of its rut of preaching
to Jews only, and puts the wheels of the carriage of salvation
on a graded road and track that will lead to every nation,
tribe, tongue, and kindred in the world. Likewise Saul sus_
tained a vital relation to this great transition. He was the
man who by that debate and that persecution, just as ef_
fectually, though unconsciously, helped to spread the gospel
to the whole world, as he did later when he preached it him_
self. Thus again the wrath of man was made to praise God.
But what of the execution of Stephen on the verdict of a
Jewish court, on a Jewish charge, with a Jewish penalty, as
compared with what the same Sanhedrin had said three years
before to Pilate (John 18:31) of the unlawfulness of their
putting a man to death? Pilate said, „Take him yourselves,
and judge him according to your law,” and they said, „It is
not lawful for us to put any man to death.” Here they were
putting a man to death, and they were trying him according
to their law, and Paul says, „We tried and put to death.”
Here is the explanation: This was the year A.D. 37, in which
Tiberius, the Emperor, died, and the new emperor had not
come in, and as procurators were appointees of emperors,
there were no procurators. At this juncture there was no pro_
curator in Palestine, no Pontius Pilate, and, therefore, they
took matters into their own hands at the risk of a subsequent
explanation of it when the emperor should come to it. Just
here the Pharisee persecution ended by the conversion of Saul,
and then the church had rest (Acts 9:31).
Acts 7:2_3, 22, 25, 53 shed much light on the Old Testa_
ment. Acts 7:2_3 says, „The God of glory appeared unto our
father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he
dwelt in Haran, and said unto him, Get thee out of thy land,
and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall
show thee.” The Revised Version of Genesis indicates that
God’s call to Abraham took place after he got into the prom_
ised land. Stephen here says that that call came before he
got to Haran. The King James Version rightly translates Gen_
esis 12:1 and the Revised Version „slips up” on it. The
Authorized Version says, „God had said to Abraham.” Acts
7:22 says, „And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of
the Egyptians; and he was mighty in his words and works.”
That throws light on the education of Moses, and also on the
public official deeds of Moses. Acts 7:25 says, „And he
[Moses] supposed that his brethren understood that God by
his hand was giving them deliverance.” That throws light on
the interference of Moses in Egypt, and shows that God had
told him that he was to deliver Israel. He had a revelation
which we do not learn from Exodus. He supposed his people
understood that they were to be delivered by him. Acts 7:53
says, „Ye who received the law as it was ordained by angels,
and kept it not.” That is light on the Sinaitic covenant – that
it came through the ministry of angels, later reaffirmed in the
New Testament, accepted by Jews, and especially claimed by
Josephus. Just here is needed an explanation of Acts 7:16,
which says, „And they were laid in the tomb that Abraham
bought for the price in silver of the sons of Hamor in She_
chem.” The only explanation of that is that there is an error
in the text of the copyist. Abraham did not buy that land.
If we go back far enough we will see that it was Jacob’s and
not Abraham’s; and that Jacob claimed that he got it by bow
and spear. His sons, Levi and Simeon, got it by as rascally
a trick as was ever perpetrated.
1. What the leading topics so far discussed in Acts?
2. What the themes of this chapter?
3. What the distinction between Grecians and Hebrews in Acts 6:1?
4. What problem now confronted the church, and what its solution?
5. Connect and explain the following scriptures: Acts 2:45; 4:35;
6:1; 11:29; 12:25; I Cor.16:1_14; I Cor. 8_9; and 1 Timothy 5:3_11.
6. What lesson of church polity here taught?
7. Was this the institution of the deacon’s office referred to in
Philippians 1:1, and whose qualifications are set forth in I Timothy 3:8_13? What the proof?
8. On what philosophic ground does this institution rest, what Old
Testament parallel, who in Christ’s lifetime exercised the deacon’s office, and what the result?
9. Was the deaconship, now established, an order in the ministry
as taught by some denominations? If not, how explain the preaching
of Stephen and Philip, who were deacons?
10. What the present classifications in the ministry? Give examples.
11. Must a deacon be a married man and a father?
12. What was the result of the solution of this problem, which con_
fronted the church?
13. What the essential elements of the rite of ordination?
14. What new man now comes to the front, and what character of his work rendered him prominent, not only then, but in all ages since?
15. Explain the synagogue of 6:9 and the other terms of the verse,
and what is implied in their making an issue with Stephen?
16. Who was probably the rabbi of this synagogue?
17. What entirely new method of resistance to the gospel now adopted by this synagogue, and who were the opposing leaders?
18. What the issue this time as contrasted with the Sadducean issue,
and what great forward step had been taken by Stephen which created
this issue?
19. What the result of the debate?
20. Failing in this new method of resistance by discussion, what old
one did they revive?
21. What charges did they bring against Stephen, and what the plausibleness of each?
22. What his appearance and bearing before the Sanhedrin?
23. Analyze his defense; especially make clear his charge against them.
24. What the effect of the defense and the charge, on the council?
25. What the vision of Stephen, what its relation to a prophecy of
our Lord, also to a promise of our Lord, and what the reason of its
effect on the council?
26. Did they render a verdict, and on what charge was he executed,
as indicated by the penalty?
27. Was Saul a member of the Sanhedrin, did he vote in casting this
verdict, and what the proof?
28. What Stephen’s twofold prayer, and what its relation to the words and deeds of our Lord?
29. What said Augustine of this prayer in one of his great homilies?
30. What the significance of the witnesses laying their clothes at the
feet of Saul?
31. What the sweeping persecution that followed, what its significa_
tion, what its character, what its extent, and what its result?
32. What distinct prophetic period ends here, and what its meaning
to the Jewish nation?
33. How did this persecution affect the church with reference to the
34. What may be said of Stephen’s relation to this great transition?
35. What was Paul’s relation to it?
36. Compare the execution of Stephen on the verdict of a Jewish
court, on a Jewish charge, with a Jewish penalty, with what the same
Sanhedrin had said three years before to Pilate, and explain.
37. How did the Pharisee persecution end?
38. What light on the Old Testament from Acts 7:2_3?
39. What light also from 7:22? 40. What from 7:25?
41. What from 7:53?
42. Harmonize Acts 7:14 with Gen. 46:26f; Ex. 1:5; Deut. 10:22.
43. Explain Acts 7:16.
44. Explain the word „church” in Acts 7:38.

Acts 8:4_40; 21:8_9

You will find in the four lists of the twelve apostles the
name of Philip (see Matt. 10:2; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14f;
Acts l:13f). Was the Philip we are to discuss here, Philip,
the deacon of Acts 6:5, or was he Philip, the apostle, and what
the proof? My answer is: (1) In 8:1 it is declared that in
the persecution conducted by Saul of Tarsus, all of the con_
gregation was scattered abroad throughout the regions of
Judea and Samaria, except the apostles, and these latter were
not scattered; (2) Acts 8:14 locates the apostles still at Jeru_
salem when they heard of Philip’s work in Samaria; (3) 8:40
carries this Philip to Caesarea; (4) 21:8_9 shows that many
years later he was still living at Caesarea where he entertained
Paul, and expressly declares that he was one of the seven
deacons. I submit this circumstantial proof of identity because
Romanist traditions confound him with Philip the apostle,
just as they confound James (Acts 15:13) and Jude (Jude 1),
half_brothers of our Lord, with the apostles – James, the son
of Alpheus (Luke 6:15), and Judas, the brother of James
(Luke 6:16). The scriptures concerning this Philip are Acts
6:5; 8:4_13; 8:26_40; 21:8_9, which show that he was a Hel_
lenistic Jew, and that he is said to have had four daughters
who prophesied.
It is well just here to locate on a map the Azotus of Acts
8:40 and trace a line to Caesarea. Gaza is near to Azotus, the
most southern of the Palestinian cities on the Mediterranean
coast, and going up that coast to Caesarea, straight up the
coast line, you have the line of Philip’s travels, and the cities
in which he preached. On this same line are Lydda (9:32) and
Joppa (9:36). This shows that Philip’s work probably led to
Christ the disciples whom Peter found at these two cities.
In Acts 10:37 Peter declares that Cornelius, the centurion
at Caesarea, already knew the word published about our Lord.
It is quite probable that through Philip’s preaching at Caes_
area he had obtained some of the knowledge which prepared
him to receive Peter, as he is the only preacher that we know
of at that time preaching in Caesarea.
Now, trace a line on the map from Tyre through Ptolemais
to Caesarea. Tyre is in Phoenicia, the northern part of the
Mediterranean coast of Judea. Going from Tyre south of
Caesarea, an intervening seaport between Tyre and Caesarea
is Ptolemais. It is probable that the congregations at Tyre and
Ptolemais found by Paul (Acts 21:3_8) were established by
Philip. If we connect Acts 2:17_18 (Joel’s prophecy), that on
the handmaidens should the Spirit of God be poured out, with
21:9, „Philip had four daughters who prophesied,” and Mark
16:17_18, and connect, „These signs shall follow them that
believe,” with Acts 2:43, which tells us that the apostles gave
many signs and wonders, with 8:7, where Philip works mira_
cles, it is evident that both Philip and his daughters had re_
ceived the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
With these facts and probabilities before us, let us give a
summary” of the scriptural history of the life and labors of
Philip. He was a Hellenistic Jew, attending the Passover at
which our Lord was crucified; was in the great audience ad_
dressed by Peter on the day of Pentecost (2:5_11); was con_
verted, with his daughters, and all received the baptism in the
Holy Spirit, and were well_known factors in all the marvelous
history of that series of great meetings, lasting for three_and_
a_half years, recorded in Acts 2:5 to 8:4. Being well known
to all the multitude of the disciples, he was by them elected
to the office of deacon, and was second of the seven. But when
the persecution of Saul ended the great series of meetings,

dispersed the congregation, and thereby left no deacon’s work
to do, he became an evangelist, and boldly carried the gospel
to the Samaritans, as our Lord himself had done (John 4),
and under Spirit_guidance went into the desert near Gaza,
and led the Ethiopian treasurer, a Jewish proselyte, to Christ,
through which convert, according to history and tradition,
Ethiopia was evangelized. Then, under the same Spirit_gui_
dance, he carried the gospel to the whole Mediterranean coast
of Judea, from Azotus to Tyre, establishing congregations at
Saroaria; Peter following him at Lydda, Sharon, Joppa, and
Azotus, Lydda, Sharon, Joppa, Caesarea, Ptolemais, and Tyre,
thus influencing the tides of commerce and merchants that
through these great seaports reached all the western world.
The remarkable things in these labors are: (1) He com_
menced at the important city of Samaria, on the great north_
ern thoroughfare from Jerusalem to Galilee, Damascus, and
the Euphrates. (2) Then near Gaza on the great thoroughfare
from Jerusalem to Africa. (3) Then the coast line of the
Mediterranean, whose seaports were the starting points of the
sea thoroughfares over which travel and commerce reached
northern Africa, Asia Minor, and all Europe. (4) With head_
quarters at Caesarea, the Roman capital of the East, he was
in touch with all the thought, official power, and intercom_
munication of imperial Rome, the mistress of the world. (5)
The selection of these strategical positions was not accidental,
but Spirit_guided in every instance; so we see from the record
that he was to be the forerunner of the Jerusalem apostles
and of Paul, Peter, and John following him to the city of
Caesarea; Paul following him at Tyre, Ptolemais, and Cae_
sarea. (6) He was the first, after our Lord himself, to openly
carry the gospel to the Samaritans, thus breaking down the
wall of partition that had stood between Jews and Samaritans
since Assyria conquered and led away into captivity the ten
tribes, and repeopled the city of Samaria with aliens, and put
over the country captive priests that established a rival wor_
ship to Jerusalem (2 Kings 17:23_24), which later, in the days
of Ezra and Nehemiah, opposed the rebuilding of Jerusalem
and the Temple, and persisted in hostility and alien worship
until the days of our Lord (John 4:9_26). The hostility that
had stood that long, all through these centuries of strife, was
now broken down by the preaching of Philip in that city of
His position in the spread of the kingdom is between Stephen
and Paul in understanding that in Christ there can be neither
Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian,
bondmen, nor freemen, „but Christ is all in all”; he stands be_
tween Stephen and Paul in following worldwide lines of evan_
gelization. Just here we are interested to know what were the
themes of Philip’s preaching in Samaria.
The record says that he preached Christ unto them (8:5);
and he preached unto them concerning the kingdom of God in
the name of Christ. These themes indicate that Jesus died to
save Samaritans, and that the kingdom of heaven was intended
to include Samaritans. The record also says that demons were
cast out, and malignant diseases cured as signs of this man’s
preaching. Then followed a most remarkable result. When
those of the city of Samaria understood that Christ had died
for them, and that they were included in the scope of the
kingdom of heaven, and this was attested by such remarkable
signs, then they all were of one accord, giving attention to the
preaching of Philip, „And there was much joy in the city”
For a long time there had been a man in Samaria named
Simon, a magician, or sorcerer, who dominated Samaria, and
who claimed to have the great power of God. He had bewitched
these people by his sorcery, so that they held him in regard
as the messenger of God in their city. No doubt the bewitch_
ing by sorcery included all of these magical arts and tricks of
legerdemain, and even pseudomiracles, in order to attest him,
so that the city of Samaria, when Philip reached it, was thus
full of malignant forms of diseases. It was demon_possessed,
diseased and deluded by sorcery.
In this connection we notice that Acts 8:12 says that those
who had been subject to Simon, when they believed Philip
preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, were
baptized, both men and women. You learn from that, that
faith must precede baptism, and, therefore, subjects of bap_
tism must be people able to believeùable to repent and be_
lieveùand hence they are here said to be men and women.
From 8:13 we learn that a mere demagogue, when the crowd
won’t follow him, will follow the crowd. When Simon’s flock
all left him, he jumped over the fence.
There are some exceedingly fine lessons concerning Simon
Magus that will come out in the next chapter; so I gather just
this one here. Later we will take up this theme: „The apostles
following Philip.” Then we will consider Simon Magus in
connection with Peter. The only lesson to which I call atten_
tion here is that when the true miracles of God come in touch
with pseudomiracles, they show up the pseudomiracles.
Simon saw that Philip had a power which he did not possess,
and that when the crowd left him he followed the crowd, and.
was filled with wonder at these signs of Philip – they were so
different from his, so manifestly genuine, so much more to the
point, while his were so manifestly demerited in their intent –
just as when Paul came to a certain island there was a sor_
cerer, Elymas, who dominated the island and influenced the
government, but he was rebuked and smitten with blindness
by Paul, and sorcery gave way before the power of the gospel.
Just as in the city of Ephesus, the people who had been de_
luded by books of magic, when the true gospel of Jesus Christ
came in conflict with it, the magic was abandoned and their
books piled on the street, though very costly, and made into a
bonfire, whose sparks ascended to the skies, announcing the
triumph of the word of God over the delusions of Satan.

The great moral lessons of this section are the following:
(1) God sometimes calls men from preaching to crowds in
a city to preaching to one man in a lonely place. Just so we
trace Philip. There, in that big meeting in Samaria, he re_
ceives a call to pass Jerusalem by, going down into the desert
ùa strange direction of God. When he gets there his audience
is just one man.
(2) Men sometimes get less from a heterodox and hypo_
critical Jerusalem than from a wayfarer in a desert place. This
treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia was a proselyte, not a Jew,
but a proselyte to the Jews. He had been attending the great
feasts in Jerusalem, and was now returning. He found no light
in Jerusalem. He had made a long trip, and out there on his
way back he meets a solitary man in the desert and gets light
and life and salvation from him.
(3) The third moral lesson is that the conversion of one
man may revolutionize a nation.,. There are more results abid_
ing today from this desert meeting of two men than from the
great meeting in the city of Samaria. History tells us that
this man, after his conversion, being so influential, became
a preacher of the gospel in his own country, Ethiopia, which
answers to Abyssinia of the present day; that the whole coun_
try was brought to Christ through this man, and in Abyssinia
today there is more religion than there is in Samaria where
this big meeting was, and it is a purer religion. So God under_
stood what he was doing.
Once a pastor preached a sermon somewhat on that line on
Sunday, and a man in the audience was greatly distressed
at heart, and it seemed that it would be a great difficulty to
get him to move away from a great position of usefulness to
loneliness. He came back from hearing the sermon saying,
„Maybe God wants me to lead somebody to Christ like that
Ethiopian eunuch,” and he may revolutionize a nation.
(4) There is much profit in an inquirer’s study of God’s
Word. This was a very sincere man. He did not go to Jeru_
salem except for religious purpose; and driving along, back
home in his chariot he was reading God’s Word. What great
good comes to a man from a study of God’s Word I
(5) Where one wants to understand, and is in desperate
earnestness about it, an interpreter will be found. You may
rest assured that in your study of God’s Word, when you come
to matters that you cannot explain, if you really want to
understand them – if you are desperately in earnest about them
– God is sure to bring you somebody that can explain every
case of perplexity.
(6) The docile spirit will receive instruction from any com_
petent source. This man had the teachable spirit. Here he ia
accosted by a stranger: „Understandest thou what thou read_
est?” And he said, „How can I, except some one shall guide
me?” „And he besought Philip to come up and sit with him,”
whereupon this traveler climbed up into his chariot to ex_
pound that passage of God’s Word.
(7) The next moral lesson is that the spirit of prophecy is
the testimony of Jesus. He was reading a prophecy, and the
place where he read was this:
He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb,
So he openeth not his mouth:
In his humiliation his judgment was taken away:
His generation who shall declare?
For his life is taken from the earth.

(8) The next lesson is that from any text in the Bible the
shortest road leads to Jesus Christ. Philip took that very
scripture which was puzzling this man, and showed him that
the shortest road from that scripture would bring him to the
very same Jesus Christ that he was reading about in that
scripture. He is the lamb, the sheep, which openeth not hia
mouth. This was Jesus, as thus fixed by the Spirit of inter_
pretation, and shows the deep significance of that famous fifty_
third chapter of Isaiah.
(9) When one is converted he seeks to obey. The eunuch
says, „What doth hinder me to be baptized?” In other words,
he says, „You preached Christ to me; I have taken him. Why
not let me obey Christ right now? Why wait till I get back
Here the question arises, Why could not the Jews at Jeru_
salem expound Isaiah 53?
This eunuch was up there, where were priests, rabbis, and
all the Jewish people of Judea. Why could not they tell him
what the prophet meant? The answer is that the Jews be_
lieved only those prophecies to be messianic that spake of the
conquests of the Messiah, and as making the Jews the nation
of the world. They refused to attribute to him the humiliating
passages – those that told of his suffering and of his death.
Some Jews even said that there had to be two Messiahs – one
the great leading Messiah that was to be the great king of the
dews, this conqueror of the world – and the other a Messiah
of suffering.
This passage has a bearing on the act, subject, and adminis_
trator of baptism. The passage says that they got down from
the chariot and that they both went down into the water, and
that Philip baptized him, and that they came up out of the
water. That certainly has a very decisive bearing on the „act”
of baptism, as to what it is. In the preceding verse, when the
eunuch said, „What binders me from being baptized?” Philip
replied, „If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest.”
That means that it is not lawful unless one believes with all
his heart. But it is very doubtful indeed whether verse 37 is
a part of the text; it is certainly not in the oldest manuscripts.
It was doubtless first written on the margin by some copyist
and afterward got into the text.
Alexander Carson said that it was impossible for man or
Satan to keep this witness from saying that immersion is
baptism. Then he said that a fool once followed a wagon all
the way from Glasgow to Edinburg to see if the hind wheel
would ever catch up with the fore wheel. „That fool,” he said,
„had an errand in all that long journey, though a fool’s er_
rand, but whoever will take both the baptizer and the baptized
down into the water for the purpose of sprinkling him has not
even a fool’s errand.”
Old Dr. Fisher, with whom I had a debate in Waco, and also
at Davilla in Milam County, in commenting on this passage,
said, „If Philip preached an immersion sermon he had a
sprinkling text,” and quoted from Isaiah 53: „He shall sprinkle
many nations.” I replied by saying that the word „sprinkle”
in that scripture, meant astonish, or startle, and proved it by
the scholarship of the world, and that the word in Greek was
thaumazo: „So shall he astonish many nations,” and that it
was evident by the very word astonish, which also is implied
from the context: „Like as many were astonished at thee [his
visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more
than the sons of men], so shall he startle [or astonish] many
nations.” That was my reply to him.
It may here be asked, Was the baptism of the ev.nuch
authoritative as to the administrator? If so, why cannot a
deacon baptize now? This deacon, Philip, was the evangelist
at this time, and not a deacon. He had become a preacher.
I have known deacons to become preachers, and I have known,
in some cases, a good deacon to be spoiled to make a mighty
poor preacher, but it was not so in this case.
Philip went ahead and prepared the way under God, for the
apostles. We have already seen that after he baptized the
eunuch he was found at Azotus, and then it is said that he
preached in all the cities up the coast to Caesarea, among
which were Lydda and Joppa, which Peter afterward visited
and found a congregation already there, just as he had fol_
lowed Philip into Samaria. He never thought to go to Samaria
himself to preach, but when he heard that Philip had reached
there, he and John went over to look into it. So he followed
Philip to Lydda, Joppa, and Caesarea; and we see from chap_
ter 21 that Paul, returning from a foreign missionary tour,
stops at Tyre, finding a congregation, and at Ptolemais, also
finding a congregation, and at Caesarea, where he found
another congregation. Paul also stopped at the house of
Philip, the evangelist. It is astonishing how that after the
persecution of Saul of Tarsus, the pressure generally took hold
of the people. They went everywhere preaching the word. They
carried the gospel to Samaria, to Lydda, Joppa, Caesarea,
Ptolemais, Tyre, Phoenicia) and Antioch. They are the ones
that changed the tone of the preaching from Jews only, to
Gentiles as well, and the apostles could hardly keep up follow_
ing. They were getting there after these men had broadened
the lines, lengthened the cords, and strengthened the stakes.
In 8:26_29 it is said that the angel and the Spirit spoke to
Philip, and, in 8:39, the Spirit caught away Philip. Now, how
did the angel and the Spirit thus deal with Philip? Doubtless
the angel of the Lord spake to Philip in a vision; doubtless
the Spirit of the Lord spake to Philip by an inside impression,
and doubtless the Spirit of God moved on Philip powerfully to
go to a new place.

1. Was the Philip of this section the Philip of Acta 6:5, the deacon,
or the apostle Philip? What the proof?
2. Why submit this circumstantial proof of identity?
3. Group in order the scriptures concerning Philip.
4. From these scriptures was he probably a Hebrew Jew or a Hellen_
ist Jew?
5. What do we know of his family?
6. Locate on the map the Azotus of Acta 8:40, and trace a line to
7. Are Lydda (9:32) and Joppa (9:36) on this line?
8. Then whose work probably led to Christ the disciples whom Peter
found at these two cities?

9. In Acts 10:37 Peter declares that Cornelius, the centurion at
Caesarea, already knew the word published about our Lord. Is it prob_
able that through Philip’s preaching at Caesarea he had obtained some
of the knowledge which prepared him to receive Peter?
10. Trace a line on map from Tyre through Ptolemais to Caesarea.
11. Connect Acts 2:17_18, Joel’s prophecy that on the handmaidens
shall the Spirit of God be poured out, with 21:9, „Philip had four
daughters who prophesied,” and Mark 16:17_18, and connect „These signs shall follow them that believe” with Acts 2:43, which tells that the apostles did many signs and wonders, with 8:7 where Philip works
miracles, and then state the relation of Philip and his family to the
baptism in the Holy Spirit.
12. With these facts and probabilities before us, what is a surnmary
of the scriptural history of the life and labors of Philip?
13. What the remarkable things in these labors?
14. What then is his position in the spread of the kingdom?
15. What were the themes of Philip’s preaching in Samaria?
16. What do these themes indicate?
17. How was this preaching attested?
18. What was the remarkable result?
19. Who at this time dominated Samaria, and how, and what is
meant by sorcery?
20. What lesson do we gather from 8:12 on the relation between
faith and baptism, and consequently on the subjects of baptism?
21. What lesson do we gather from 8:13 which says, that when the
crowd left him, Simon also believed and was baptized, and followed
Philip, wondering at the miracles that he wrought?
22. What are the great moral lessons of this section?
23. Why could not the Jews at Jerusalem expound Isaiah 53?
24. What is bearing of this passage on the act & subject of baptism?
25. What said Alexander Carson of this passage?
26. What about that verse 37: „If thou believest with all thy heart,
thou mayest?”
27. What said a Methodist preacher about this?
28. Was the baptism of the eunuch authoritative as to the adminis-trator? If so, why cannot a deacon baptize now?
29. Show how Philip went ahead and prepared the way under God
for the apostles?
30. Explain how the angel and the Spirit spoke to Philip (26, 29),
and how the Spirit caught away Philip (39).

Acts 8:14_26; 9:26_80 with Galatians 1:18_20;
Acts 9:31_43; 10_12.

The scope of this section extends from 8:14 to the end of
chapter 12, omitting the Philip section, which we have dis_
cussed ; also omitting the Paul section, which will be discussed
later. The time covered by it lies between the dates A.D. 34_44;
so I am discussing about ten years of history in this chapter.
The great themes of the section are: (1) The general super_
intendence of the apostles over the work outside of Jerusalem,
Peter leading. (2) The Samaritans formally welcomed into
the kingdom, and receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit,
and the case of Simon, the sorcerer. (3) Superintendence of
the apostles continued, Peter following up the work of Philip
on the Mediterranean coast. (4) Peter leading, the door of
the kingdom opened to the Gentiles at Caesarea, and their
baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 10). (5) Should Jewish
Christians eat and socially dwell with uncircumcised Chris_
tians? (11:1_18). (6) The first blended church – Jew and Gen_
tile – and the name, „Christian.” (7) The Herodian persecu_
tion (Acts 12).
The passages showing apostolic superintendence of the king_
dom of God outside Jerusalem are: (1) Acts 8:14. „When the
apostles that were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had re_
ceived the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John”;
(2) 9:32: „And . . . as Peter went throughout all parts, he

came down also to the saints that dwelt at Lydda,” and then
follows this Mediterranean coast business, where he goes over
Philip’s ground; (3) 11:22 shows that at this time the church,
not the apostles, when it heard that the Grecians had received
the kingdom at Antioch, sent unto them Barnabas. These
passages indicate general apostolic superintendence. Any apos_
tle, by himself, or apostles by themselves, or by point act,
might authoritatively supervise any work in any part of the
kingdom of God, but they had no successors.
Great advance is indicated by the reception of Samaritans
into the kingdom of God. You have only to go back into his_
tory to see the fact of the hostility of the Jew against the
Samaritan. When the ten tribes revolted, and Samaria was
made their capital and leader, the ten tribes were conquered
by the king of Assyria and led into captivity, and the cities
of Samaria were repeopled by an alien element, brought from
beyond the Euphrates. This element intermarried with the
resident poor of the Jews that were left of the ten tribes, and
the king of Assyria sent back a captive priest to establish a
religious headquarters for them. So they built a temple in
Samaria on Mount Gerizirn, and claimed to be the true suc_
cessor to Moses. They retained the Pentateuch in a corrupt
form, and still have it. They said, „It is in this mountain and
not in Jerusalem that you should go to worship.” Therefore,
if the Jew was moving south, which indicated he was going to
Jerusalem to worship, they would not receive him into their
houses. They even refused to receive Christ when he came
that way) but they would welcome him if he came from Jeru_
salem. This hostility became so bitter in the days of Ezra and
Nehemiah that the Samaritans endeavored to frustrate the
rebuilding of Jerusalem. In John 4 we read that the Jews
had no dealings with Samaritans. Therefore, if the Samaritans,
through the bold preaching of Philip, received the word of
God, and if such apostles as Peter and John go there and con_
firm and ratify that work, a moving of the fence is indicated.
The record says, „And Simon also himself believed; and be_
ing baptized, he continued with Philip.” Those who believe in
apostasy, like our Campbellites and Methodist brethren, insist
that he was converted, just like everybody else, and was bap_
tized, and fell from grace. The argument on the other side is
this: There is a belief which is not faith. It is an intellectual
acceptance of the proposition, but not a heart reception of it;
and as a proof that this man was not at heart a Christian,
Peter says to him, „Thou hast neither part nor lot in this mat_
ter; for thy heart is not right before God. Repent therefore
of this wickedness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought
of thy heart shall be forgiven thee.” Simon believed, as a
great many other people believe and are received into the
church. Ostensibly they are all right; preachers cannot read
their hearts. Profession of faith is made; it may be a credible
profession, too, but after circumstances will develop that there
was no true reception of, and reliance on, the Lord Jesus
Christ. So I hold that Simon Magus was not a Christian. It
is not probable that he repented afterward and was saved. He
was guilty of the sin against the Holy Spirit. He offered to
purchase the power, that on whomsoever he laid his hands,
they might receive the Holy Spirit, and he would have the
power of working miracles. He tried to buy the power of the
kingdom of God, and it was a sin against the Holy Spirit.
Peter seems to feel it is a case like that of which John speaks:
„There is a sin unto death; I do not say you should pray for
it.” It is an eternal sin, for which there is no forgiveness,
neither in this world nor in the world to come. He seems to
have that impression on his mind when he says, „If perhaps
the thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee.” The legal
offense in medieval and modern times called „simony” is de_
rived from this name. A man is guilty of simony when he
obtains by bribery an ecclesiastical office or gift.
There are later ecclesiastical traditions concerning Simon
and Peter and they are legion. Beginning even from the time
of Justin Martyr, and going on for several centuries, there are
legends, and the books are full of them, to this effect: (1) That
Simon Magus, from the time of this meeting with Peter, hated
him and determined to devote his life to blocking the gospel
of God. (2) That he followed Peter to Rome, and there he
claimed himself to be the Christ, and that he had the oracles
of God, and Justin Martyr says that a statue was inscribed
there with that legend, and that he obtained, according to this
tradition, great power with the apostles. The tradition further
alleges that he was the founder of that gnosticism which Paul
had to combat in the Lycus Valley, and of which so much is
said in my sermon before the Southern Baptist Convention in
Hot Springs. Now when we receive these traditions, let us
always do so with a great deal of salt. Some of the most
powerful forgeries ever perpetrated in ecclesiastical history
are connected with these traditions of Simon.
The Holy Spirit states that Peter went to Lydda, and there
he found a certain one named Aeneas, who kept his bed eight
years, and healed him; and the miracle was so astonishing that
all the section of Lydda and Sharon, seeing him, turned to the
Lord. While he was there at Lydda the brethren at Joppa,
who had already been led to Christ through Philip, sent for
him on account of the death of a most estimable womanù
Dorcasùa woman of great charity. And when Peter got there
the weeping friends exhibited the garments she had made for
the poor. Peter raised her to life, and that miracle further
spread the power of the gospel. From the transactions at Jop_
pa the modern „Dorcas” societies get their name.
The case of Peter and Cornelius has many great texts and
lessons: (1) Cornelius, the man, was captain of a hundred in
a Roman band, part of the real bodyguard of the emperor.
(2) He was a religious man, doubtless what the Jews called „a
proselyte of the gate,” not circumcised, but a man who prayed
to God always, and gave much alms to the people. This man,
a poor Gentile of the uncircumcision, had a vision from God,
telling him that his prayers and alms had come up before God
as a memorial. They had not yet reached their consumma_
tion. He was not a saved man yet, but they were gone up as a
memorial. That showed that he was near the kingdom of God,
and also showed his attitude toward the kingdom. To whom
the angel said, „Send men to Joppa, and fetch one Simon, who
is surnamed Peter; he lodgeth with one Simon, a tanner, whose
house is by the seaside, . . . who shall speak unto thee words
whereby thou shalt be saved.” In other words, „You are not
saved, but you are in a condition now to be saved, and this
man will tell you how to be saved.” This is Cornelius and his
We now take the other man, Peter, as the third messenger
to Cornelius. On the way, according to a Jewish custom,
Peter, preaching to the cities, at the hour of prayer, the
ninth hour, goes up to the housetop to pray – one of the regu_
lar praying places. He prayed; he became hungry, and sud_
denly he saw a vision. He saw a great ark, as though it were
a sheet with its four corners drawn together, making some_
thing in the shape of the ark, slowly let down from the
heavens. Peter peeped over into it and saw everything that
was in Noah’s ark – every kind of bird, beast, elephant,
rhinoceros, hippopotamus – lions, tigers, leopards, jackals,
hyenas, and every bird from the condor and eagle to a hum_
ming bird, and every snake that crawled – the horse, the rab_
bit, the dove, the pigeon – all mixed up together in that ark.
Certainly a sight such as Peter never saw before, nor even
the Roman emperors, when they gathered at their magnifi_
cent feasts the trophies of the chase from the hunting fields
of the world. They never saw the multitude and the mag_
nitude of animals that Peter saw in that ark. The lion and
the lamb, and the leopard and the goat were all there to_
gether. So Cornelius said, „If it is good for me, it is good
for my wife, and for my servant, and I have gathered all
my household to see if you can tell us words whereby we can
be saved. I would like for these people to hear, that they
may be saved also.”
Peter makes a confession: „I perceive that God is no re_
specter of persons.” It was high time that he was learning
that. But in every nation wherever the heart hungers after
union with God, after reconciliation with God, whether civil_
ized or barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, longing for re_
demption, and as Paul says, „is seeking after God,” God is
ready to save. „I see that now, but I never saw it before,”
says Peter. So Peter was convinced, and preached Christù
Christ for the Gentiles. Finally, as he threw the doors to
the Gentiles wide open, he said, „To him bear all the prophets
witness, that through his name every one that believeth on
him shall receive remission of sins.” That is a fine text. We
strike the same thought in Revelation: „Whosoever will, let
him come.” As Peter said it, the heart of Cornelius laid hold
of Christ. I will prove that presently. He then and there
repented toward God and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Look at the very words of it. He then and there received
the remission of sins, and following that, received the bap_
tism in the Holy Spirit. The whole crowd of them was saved
in a body, and they began to speak with tongues, as the
Spirit gave them utterance.
When Peter narrated these facts to the questioning Jews,
they heard it all and said, „Then hath God granted to the
Gentiles repentance unto life.” And recounting the facts in
the great meeting, Peter described it thus: „God gave unto
them the like gift as he did also unto us.” So they repented,
had faith and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. The question
came up before: „This is a Gentile crowd; yet, in view of these
facts can anyone forbid water that these should not be bap_
tized?” In other words, „Who is going to oppose the baptism
of these people with these facts before them?” And he
commanded them to be baptized. That, then, is the case of
Peter and Cornelius. „Whosoever” was the wide gate for the
Jews on the day of Pentecost. Here we see the gate for the
Gentiles opened.
Acts 11 says that Peter got into trouble, for some of the
brethren rose up and said, „We hear that you went unto the
Gentiles – uncircumcised men – and did eat with them and
drink. We know that Gentiles ought to be Christians in
order to be saved, but Jesus is the king of the Jews, and you
eat with Gentiles, i.e., uncircumcised people who violate the
law of Moses.” Peter stated the case over again, and it was
decided he had done right, but it did not stay decided, not
even for Peter, not even after that great decision stated in
chapter 15, where came up the whole question. There was
Peter, in the presence of all the apostles, also Titus, Paul
and Barnabas, and after that gathering he went to Antioch
and ate with the Gentiles, as he had done with Cornelius,
until certain of them came from James; then Peter drew out,
and even Barnabas was overcome by their doctrine. So Paul
leaped up, shook his finger in Peter’s face, saying, „Thou art
tearing down what thou didst once build up.” (See 10:4_29,
Certain circumstances led to the planting of the gospel in
the capital of Syria, the great city of Antioch. A crowd of
brethren were going ahead of the apostles all along here.
The apostles were not scattered. They first preached to the
Jews only, but in chapter II it says that some of them,
when they got to Antioch, preached to the Gentiles, just
as Philip had done to the Samaritans, and the Gentiles here
accepted and were baptized, and there, for the first time, waa
a blended church of Jew and Gentile, the middle wall of par_
tition broken down, ground to powder and pulverized to dust,
and God’s prophets blew even the very dust away, and made
thus of twain one new man in Christ Jesus, in whom is neither
Greek nor Jew, nor Scythian, barbarian, bond nor free, indi_
cating thus how it started there.

Here we find the origin of the name, „Christian.” The
word occurs three times in the New Testament. In chapter
11 it is said, „The disciples were called Christians first at
Antioch.” At Jerusalem they were called Jews; they were
called Gentiles at Rome; but here they were called „Chris_
tians.” The outsiders gave them a name in Antioch, the city
which belonged to Antiochus Epiphanes – that Greek city, one
of the four dependencies of the kingdom of Alexander the
Great. Seeing this blending of different nationalities they
said, „They are Christians, whether Jew or Greek.” In Acts
26 Paul, speaking before Agrippa, the latter said, „With a
little trouble you would persuade me to be a Christian,” and
Paul replied, „I would that not only almost but altogether
you were just as I am, except these bonds.” Then in I Peter
4, Peter says, „If you suffer for your own sins, bear it; you
deserve that, but if you suffer as a Christian, – if affliction is
put on you simply because you are a Christian, not because
you have done wrong, rejoice and glorify God in it.”
Campbellites of the present day quote a prophecy to the
effect that this name was divinely given, God intending it to
be the name of his people, and therefore, instead of calling
themselves Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians,
etc., they took the God_given name, „Christian,” and want us
to so call them. They say that theirs is the „Christian church”
and ours is only the Baptist church. That is their contention.
But when Barton Stone and others raised the point, Alexander
Campbell said in his book, „This name was not God_given;
but given by the heathen as an expression of their concep_
tion of that blended church; the name ‘disciple’ is God given.
Let no man among us be guilty of trying to force upon us
the peculiar name of Christian.” They squirm when Alexan_
der Campbell is quoted on their name. Calling yourself a
name, does not make you what that name signifies. Better
wait till others bestow that name, and not usurp it. If God
calls you a Christian, all right; if your neighbors give you the
apostolic character, all right, but just because you say, „I am
a Christian; mine is the Christian church,” that does not make
it so, and it is supreme folly to force a man who does not be_
lieve that they have the gospel, to continually call them
Let us compare the Revised Version text of 9:31 with the
common version, and harmonize this use of the word „church”
with the Baptist view. The American Version reads, „Then
had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and
Samaria, and were edified.” The Revised Version says, „So
the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had
peace, being edified.” Baptists say you cannot use the word
„church” in a provincial sense. Does not this Revised Ver_
sion rendering „knock the bottom out” of this position? I
say no. Why? Because at that time there was only one
church. „Then had the church rest.” Its members were scat_
tered all over Judea, but later, when those scattered crowds
were brought together into separate organizations, Paul says,
„The churches of Judea,” and Dr. Broadus endorses my posi_
In chapter 12 we have the case of Herod against the church.
Herod the Great was the one who sought to destroy Jesus
when a baby; the record tells of his death. This is the Herod
here that had Christ brought before him and crowned with
thorns, and mocked him. When we come to Acts 26 we
find Herod Agrippa, still a different one. You have seen
the Sadducean persecution and the Pharisee persecution. You
now come to the Herodian persecution – not the ecclesiastical
but the governmental. The Roman appointee_power perse_
cutes and kills James, the brother of John, and imprisons
Peter, intending to put him to death. And the church got
together at the house of John Mark’s mother, and prayed,
„0 God, spare Peter! Spare Peter!” They prayed, Herod
slept, and an angel swooped down and opened the prison doors
and released Peter, setting him down before the prayer meet_
ing crowd. Peter answered their prayer by knocking at the
door, at which answer they were startled, saying, „This surely
must be a spirit”; the answer came quickly; when they
knocked, it was opened. Then the record says that Herod
made out he was God; that God struck him and the worms
ate him, and the word of God waxed mighty and prevailed.
It has been that way ever since. He who tries to crush the
gospel and its teachings will be eaten of worms. Voltaire,
Ingersoll, and finally all the higher critics, have preached
the gospel’s funeral, yet it is today the livest thing on God’s
earth, and the worms will eat the man who opposes it.
The word „Easter” occurs in the American Version of
12:4: „Intending to bring him forth to the people after
Easter.” The Revised Version says, „Intending after the
Passover to bring him forth.” So the common version says
that Herod intended after Easter to bring him forth. Pious
Episcopalians and Romanists use this verse of the American
Version to confirm their custom of celebrating Easter, but
the Greek plainly shows that „Passover” is precisely the word.
The events and factors in the great transition from a Jew_
ish conception of the kingdom and the church, to a conception
of the kingdom and church of all people, are as follows: (1)
Stephen’s enlarged gospel; (2) Philip’s broader practice; (3)
the conversion and commission of Saul of Tarsus; (4) the
opening of the door of the kingdom of heaven to the Gen_
tiles (Cornelius and others) at Caesarea; (5) the blending
of all together in one great church at Antioch. Thus the whole
matter was accomplished.

1. What is the time and scope of this section, and what its several
2. Cite the passages showing apostolic superintendence of the king_
dom of God outside Jerusalem.

3. What great advance is indicated by the reception of Samaritans
into the kingdom of God?
4. Was Simon Magus a Christian, & what the argument pro & con?
5. Is it probable that he repented afterward and was saved? If
not, of what sin was he guilty?
6. What legal offense in medieval and modern times was derived
from this name?
7. What the later ecclesiastical traditions concerning Simon & Peter?
8. Summarize the work of Peter in following up Philip at Lydda
and Joppa.
9. What modern organizations get their name from the transactions
at Joppa?
10. Summarize the case of Peter and Cornelius, telling its great texts
and their lessons.
11. What the issue in the Jerusalem church over this case, how de_
cided, and did it remain decided for Peter?
12. Recount the circumstances of planting the gospel in the capital
of Syria, the great city of Antioch.
13. What was the origin, and what the New Testament usage of the
name „Christian?”
14. What the Campbellite contention concerning the name, and your
view of it?
15. Compare the Revised Version text of 9:31 with the common
version, and harmonize this use of the word „church” with the Baptist
16. State the case of Herod against the church in chapter 12, and its
issue, and distinguish this Herod from the others in the New Testament.
17. Explain the use of the word „Easter” in the American Version
12:4: „Intending to bring him forth to the people after Easter.”
18. State, in order, the events and factors in the great transition from
a Jewish conception of the kingdom and the church, to a conception of
the kingdom and church of ail peoples.


We now make a new start in our study of Acts, and .1 open
the discussion with a general bibliography of Paul. Some
of the most helpful books on Paul are: (1) The textbook,
Goodwin’s Harmony of the Life of Paul; (2) Conybeare and
Howson’s Life and Epistles of Paul, which is the greatest
that has been published, and no book on this line has ever
equaled it; (3) Farrar’s Life and Works of Paul. While Far_
rar is semi_infidel as to the Old Testament scriptures, and not
quite so bad, but bad enough in that respect concerning the
New Testament, yet his treatise on the life of Paul is wonder_
ful, and to be highly recommended; (4) Stalker’s Life and
Works of Paul; (5) Malcolm McGregor’s Divine Authority of
Paul’s Writings; (6) Monod’s Five Lectures on Paul; (7) The
Epic of Paul, by W. C. Wilkinson, who wrote that fine Epic
of Moses, and who is great in these epics; (8) the author’s two
lectures, Paul, the Greatest Man in History, and The Fifth
Gospel; (9) Ramsay’s books on Asia Minor, and Paul’s
Travels; (10) Hackett on Acts; (11) Lightfoot on Galatians;
(12) Luther on Galatians; (13) Smith’s Bible Dictionary,
article, „Paul”; (14) Paley’s Horae Paulinea. (I read that
when I was a boy. My father had some books which would
now be considered „old,” but they beat anything we can get
hold of today, and this is one of them. Nothing has ever
been published since to equal some articles by Paley.) (16)
Various commentators on Acts and Paul’s letters; (17) a late
but valuable book on Paul is Wilkinson’s Paul and the Re_
volt Against Him.
The New Testament bibliography of Paul consists of: (1)
Acts of the apostles; (2) Paul’s letters; (3) 2 Peter 3:15_16,
and (4) James 2:14_26. The New Testament passage that
goes farthest back in the history of Paul is Acts 9:15: „He
is a chosen vessel unto me, . . .” The next passage going
back in Paul’s history, is Galatians 1:15.
The following is the chronological data in the history of
Paul, and probable conclusions:
1. At the first mention of his name, he is called „a young
man” (Acts 7:58), and in his letter to Philemon, written dur_
ing his first Roman captivity, he calls himself „Paul, the
2. (a) Though a „young man” when first mentioned in
the history, yet he was probably a member of the Sanhedrin
(Acts 26:10), which necessitated that he must be at least
thirty years old. (b) He was probably rabbi of the synagogue
mentioned in Acts 6:9, which had the debate with Stephen,
and which also called for thirty years of age. (c) The high
powers conferred on him by the high priest (Acts 9:2) and
the Sanhedrin (22:5) argues a man of reputation and assured
position, (d) Daniel 9:26_27 teaches that the Messiah would
confirm the covenant with many Jews for one week, or seven
years, but that he himself would be cut off in the middle of the
week; so that the confirmation of the covenant with many
Jews must extend three and one_half years after the Messiah’s
death; but this abundant confirmation with many Jews ceased
with Paul’s persecution and conversion, (e) But Paul was
converted when Aretas was king of Damascus (2 COT. 11:32),
which reign Josephus dates, (f) From all which we may fairly
conclude that Saul was about the age of our Lord.
3. (a) The outside evidence: We learn from 2 Corinthians
11:32 that Aretas was king of Damascus when Paul escaped
therefrom after his return there from Arabia, which was
about three years after his conversion; and also the date of

his first visit to Jerusalem as a Christian (Gal. 1:18). The
Aretas date we get from Josephus. (b) The death of Herod
(Acts 12) coincides with Saul’s second visit to Jerusalem (Acts
11:30; 12:23_25), and Josephus gives us the date of Herod’s
death, (c) Galatians 2:1 fixes his third visit to Jerusalem
fourteen years after his conversion, which was the occasion of
the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), A.D. 50. (d) Paul’s two
years’ imprisonment at Caesarea, the outgoing of Felix and
the incoming of Festus (Acts 21_26) furnishes dates from
Josephus and Roman historians (A.D. 61), which, with the
length of the voyage to Rome, aid us to know that he reached
Rome about A.D. 62 or 63.
The profit and the delight of the study of history is most
enhanced when we study the character, life, and labors of a
great man in a great period of time. In every such case
the thoughtful and candid student discovers that a higher
power has prepared the man for the times and the times for
the man – a fact less apparent, though no less true, in the
cage of ordinary men in uneventful times. Alexander the Great
scattering the Greek civilization from Macedon to the Nile,
the Euphrates, and the Indus; Caesar smiting Gaul, bridging
the Rhine, and crossing over to Britain; Marlborough shat_
tering the overweening power of Louis XIV at Blenheim,
Oudenarde, Ramillies, and .Malplaquet; Frederick the Great
triumphing at Rossbach and Leuthen; Napoleon crumbling
the monarchies of Europe; Bismarck welding feeble princi_
palities into the Germanic empire, while Von Moltke’s
strategy culminates at Sedan, Metz, and Paris; Columbus
discovering America; the Declaration of American Independ_
ence, fruiting at Yorktown; Dewey’s victory in Manila Bay,
with Schley’s triumph off Santiago –
All these, as interpreted by the wisest students, manifest
God in history as unmistakably, if not so expressly, as the
call of Abraham, Moses giving the Law from Mount Sinai,
Samuel establishing the School of the Prophets, David sitting
on the throne of united Israel, or Ezra restoring Jerusalem
and the scripture canon.
Indeed, every broad generalization of history, by its dis_
closure of God’s purpose and man’s preparation, snatches the
scepter from both the uncertain hand of Chance and the re_
lentless grasp of Fate, to put a diadem on the brow of Provi_
It did not just happen that Hebrew civilization, expressed
in one word, „religion,” was distributed over the world by
the dispersion of the Jews, by their synagogues in every city,
and by a propaganda that compassed sea and land to make
one proselyte. Nor was it by mere chance that Greek civiliza_
tion, expressed in one word, „culture,” was next diffused
throughout all the lands by conquest, colonization, trade, and
language. Nor by accident did Roman civilization, expressed
in the one word, „government,” follow after to bind the whole
world into unity. These all, and many other confluent forces,
were but constituent and essential elements of that „fulness of
time” in which he came, whose accusation was „written in
Hebrew and Greek and Latin.” Nor was it a fortuitous
circumstance that Jesus of Nazareth failed to impart all his
gospel to the twelve apostles, unable to receive its fulness
and unprepared for its worldwide propagation. Which one
of the Galilean fishermen was ever able to interpret, expound,
and apply all the significance of earth’s greatest tragedy, the
crucifixion on Calvary, or to set forth with equal clearness
and correlation the respective parts of all the participants
in that tragedy?
God did not intend Christianity to be like the Jordan River,
which confines its flow within a narrow channel, but he de_
signed it to become a river of life. Christianity would have
been disseminated in its gospel merely to the Jew, but for
Paul. But what part had the Jew, through the Sanhedrin
and Herod? What part the heathen, through Pilate’s court?
What part the devil, whose was the power of death and dark_
ness? What part God, the Father? What part the Holy
Spirit? What part the Son himself, and what part you and
I? Were they fully prepared to answer these other burning
1. Under what law was Jesus condemned – Jewish, Roman,
or Divine?
2. Of what offense was he convicted – blasphemy, treason,
sedition, or sin?
3. By what court was the operative sentence pronounced
– the Sanhedrin, Pilate, or God?
4. What penalty was assessed – separation of soul from the
body, or separation of the soul from God, or both?
5. By whom was he executed – the centurion or the Al_
6. Who of them could systematize the correlated doctrines
deducible from this execution into an inexorable and universal
plan of salvation?
7. Will this salvation be all of grace, or all of works, or of
grace and works combined?
8. Was this the death of a hero, or martyr, inciting to
imitation and saving by example, or was it the death of a
unique substitute for sinners, vicarious and expiatory?
9. Was the fountain of salvation, unsealed by this death,
to be confined in its flow within the narrow channel of a
small Jewish river, losing itself in the Dead Sea, with no out_
let, or must it become a river of life, whose healing tide, ever
wider, deeper and more irresistible, could neither be dammed
up nor turned aside by any barrier of race, color, sex, caste,
or condition, until its inflow should heal all dead seas?
10. Was Christianity intended to crystallize into historic
form as only one of many Jewish schools or sects, or .must it
become in development the world’s one „image of truth be_
side which the Jewish remnants are only as the shapeless

fragments and powdered dust struck off by the sculptor’s
chisel from the block of marble in carving the snow_white
11. Was the service of this new religion to perpetuate the
weak and beggarly rudiments of a typical ritual administered
by robed priests at obsolete altars, through lifeless liturgies
and cumbrous ceremonies, or be rendered in tiny essays on
tinted paper, aping some heathen philosophy, charming by its
conceit, but powerless to awaken or to save, or must it be
proclaimed viva voce, by living heralds, face to face with dying
men wherever found – in the home, on the street, in the
field, or in the forum?
The requirements involved in the complete answers to these
and kindred questions called for a new man and an independ_
ent apostleship. That man was Saul of Tarsus – a man pre_
pared for his work by nature, culture, and grace. As ante_
cedent probabilities we need not inquire what things were
supposedly requisite to his fitness. We have something more
reliable in the actual facts.
Let us rapidly glance at the most salient and significant
of these facts which enter into his preparation or constitute
his fitness for the apostolic office.
He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews – not a Hellenist – and
specially qualified for his great work. A Hellenist was a Jew
who had not been living in Palestine, but Paul did not Hellen_
ize. He remained a Hebrew of the Hebrews. The orthodox
Palestinian Jews not only retained the sacred speech, but were
zealous in the maintenance of strict Hebrew traditions con_
cerning their holy city, their Temple, and their law. On the
other hand, most of the Jews of the dispersion had lost their
Hebrew speech and manners in acquiring the Greek tongue
and its culture. They were not merely liberalized and broad_
ened by the spirit and genius of the Greek cities where they
lived, but were loosened in attachment to many holy things
of their ancient religion, by travel, trade, and cosmopolitan
association with their philosophies and religions. If the He_
brew was too narrow, the Hellenist was too broad. But
Saul of Tarsus, though a Hellenist, did not Hellenize. Born
in one of the most famous university cities of the Gentile
world, expert in the Greek language and literature, familiar
from childhood with the trade, movement, culture, philoso_
phies, and religions of foreign lands and nations, he was yet
trained diligently in his childhood, according to Mosaic re_
quirements, spent his boyhood in the secluded school of the
synagogue, and was graduated from the sacred Jerusalem col_
lege. Thus profiting above all his associates in the Jewish
religion, having sounded all its depths, climbed all its heights,
traversed all its breadths, weighed all its merits, he was pe_
culiarly qualified, in his own experience, to meet, resist, and
overcome the deadly Judaizing tendencies that everywhere
sought to sink Christianity into a mere Jewish sect.
He was a Roman citizen. This citizenship he did not
purchase, but he was free_born. How this exalted privilege,
once esteemed the world’s highest honor, came into his family,
we may only conjecture. Certainly, not from his being born
in Tarsus, which, though a free city in being allowed to re_
tain self_government after subjection to Roman power, was
not a Roman colony like Philippi.
Perhaps his father, or grandfather, was one of the Jewish
captives led away into slavery by Pompey, and was after_
ward not only manumitted, but enfranchised by adoption into
some noble Roman family. However it came about, the fact
is certain, Paul could say, in the sentence immortalized by
Cicero, „I am a Roman citizen.”
Exemption from chastisement by the lictor’s rod and from
other shameful indignities was not the chief value of this citi_
zenship. It conferred access to circles of association from
which a mere Jew was forever barred. Thus, unlike the origi_
nal twelve, he was en rapport with the world’s three great civi_
lizations. As a Hebrew he faced all Jews. As a Hellenist he
faced all Greeks. As a Roman citizen he faced the world.
He might not only appeal to Caesar, but preach the gospel
in Caesar’s household.
There was an advantage and also a disadvantage in his
being a Pharisee of the Pharisees. In national spirit, this
constituted him a patriot, and not a Herodian. In religious
spirit this committed him to a belief in the immortality of
the soul, the resurrection of the body, and the final judg_
ment. The Sadducean spirit could not give birth to an apos_
Pharisaism also constituted him a legalist. The only way
of life it recognized was that of obedience to the law of Moses.
This obedience must meet, not only all the requirements of
both the moral and ceremonial law, as written in the sacred
books, but all additional requirements and subtleties of tradi_
tion imposed by rabbinical comment on the law. His theory
of righteousness would be: „I need no regeneration by the
Holy Spirit, because I am a child of Abraham. I was never
in bondage to original sin. I need no suffering Messiah to
vicariously expiate either my birth_corruption, or my actual
transgression, seeing I am freeborn, and touching the law,
have lived a blameless life. I need no continuous sanctifica_
tion by the Holy Spirit, seeing that I keep myself without
spot or blemish. I may well thank God that I am not as
other men. I fast twice a week. I pay tithes of all I possess.
I am as white as snow. I stand on my record under the great
Mosaic Law: Do and live. I have diligently busied myself
to establish my own righteousness, arid need not to submit
myself to the righteousness of another. If any man might
have confidence in his record, and reasonably hope to be ac_
quitted and not condemned in the final judgment, I more,
since I have gone beyond all other men in the attainment of
In other words, since Saul of Tarsus failed of life in this
direction, let no other, till the end of time, hope to succeed.
He followed that pathway to the mouth of the pit, and under
his feet crumbled its last inch of standing ground.
Paul always obeyed the dictates of his conscience in matters
of right and wrong. He was a sincere man. He allowed noth_
ing to beguile him into doing what he believed to be wrong,
or to restrain him from doing what he honestly believed to
be right. He followed his convictions without shirking or fal_
tering, into all their logical consequences. Even in his sins,
conscience was king. If he persecuted by invading the sanc_
tity of the home and dragging men and women to prison,
judgment, and death, it was only because he verily thought
within himself that he was doing God’s service.
Before determining the exact value of this qualification
for apostolic office, let us first settle the intrinsic value of a
verdict of conscience. Conscience is that inward faculty or
monitor, divinely implanted in the very constitution of man,
which passes judgment on the rightfulness of its owner’s mo_
tives and conduct. Its standard of right is the highest known
law. It is, therefore, neither a law_maker nor a law_pub_
lisher, but a judge who interprets and applies whatever law
is known. If the known law standard be faulty, or if the
knowledge of a faultless law standard be imperfect, its man_
dates may not be expected to quadrate with abstract right.
On this account, the decisions of one man’s conscience, and
what is adjudged wrong in one country, may be accounted
right in another country. Moreover, if the very nature of
man become corrupt, his conscience also suffers in the fall,
and may itself need to be cleansed in order to normal purity.
And, what is equally important to know, if the mandates of
any individual conscience be habitually slighted and disre_
garded, it loses its sensitiveness and becomes callous. Its fine
inoral perceptions become dim eyed. While conscience, being
an original and necessary faculty, is never the creature of edu_
cation or custom, neither of which has creative power, it may

become the slave of either, or of both. All these considera_
tions militate against the infallibility of its verdicts.
But, notwithstanding these necessary disclaimers, conscien_
tiousness is an essential element in all true goodness or great_
ness. The insincere man can never be either good or great.
Moreover, the characteristic of conscientiousness is the most
reliable ground of hope for the repentance and conversion of
one who is in the wrong. Being right himself, one may hope to
gain the most rabid and violent opponent, if only the opponent
be sincere in his opposition, but if his opposition be only a
cloak for his covetousness, a mask for his selfishness, or a
mere subterfuge behind which he seeks for personal ends,
then he will not likely be receptive of truth or amenable
to reason. It follows that, until death ends probation, a con_
scientious man is always salvable.
Mark well that a conscientious man can never commit the
unpardonable sin – the sin against the Holy Spirit – and there_
fore, conscientiousness clearly delimits the scope of possible
salvation. It is just at this point that Saul’s conscientiousness
bears upon his fitness for his great apostleship, and makes his
conversion a signboard marking the boundary line of possi_
ble salvation. He himself says, „Though I was before a
blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious; howbeit Is ob_
tained mercy, because I did it ignorantly and in unbelief”
(I Tim. 1:13). That is to say, that if he had committed these
sins against spiritual knowledge and spiritual convictions, his
sin would have been unpardonable. In yet other words, any
man this side of death may be forgiven, who has not re_
jected Christ after spiritual knowledge, and after having
established, strong convictions that he is the Christ. The posi_
tive side of the doctrine is thus stated in that great disserta_
tion attributed to Paul: „For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no
more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of
judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the
adversaries. A man that hath set at nought Moses’ law dieth
without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses:
of how much surer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged
Worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and
bath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was
sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the
Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:26_29). Thus, the conversion of
Saul of Tarsus located one pole of salvation.
Paul was also the chief of sinners. Not counting those
guilty of the unpardonable sin, he was the greatest sinner
earth has ever known, or ever will know. If we could take
all men from Adam to Christ’s second advent, and grade them
in single file according to the heinousness of their offenses,
Saul of Tarsus would be the outside man, farthest from heaven
and nearest to hell. The snatching of this man from the
very brink of the pit, the plucking of this brand from the burn_
ing, to make him not only a Christian, but an apostle, gives
ground for hope to all the prisoners of despair, and furnishes
a model, beyond which Omnipotence could not go, of the
superabounding grace of God. This is just what he says,
„Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom
I am chief; howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in
me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all his long suf_
fering, for an ensample of them that should thereafter believe
on him unto life eternal” (I Tim. 1:15_16). His conversion,
therefore, locates the other pole of salvation.
He was a great thinker and profound reasoner. Only John,
of the original twelve, is called a theologian, and his theology
is of the mystical order, to be understood and appreciated
mainly by the man already saved. But Paul’s theology is
intended to convince the unbeliever and overwhelm the gain_
sayer. He seems to have studied profoundly all the signifi_
cance of the tragedy of Calvary, and to have formulated and
correlated into a system all the doctrines which enter into the
plan of salvation. If eloquence be rightly defined as „so
speaking as not merely to convince the judgment, kindle the
imagination and move the feelings, but to give a powerful im_
pulse to the will,” then Paul was profoundly eloquent. The
letter to the Romans must remain to the end of time a monu_
ment of argument, towering higher, broader_based and more
imperishable than the pyramid of Cheops. One such apostle
was needed, that Christianity might commend itself to earth’s
thinkers, and remain unshaken by the assaults of all opposing
Paul was the greatest sufferer. Before the scales of his
dazzling call fell from his blinded eyes, the Master said,
„I will show him how great things he must suffer for my
sake.” Somewhat early in his ministry, the catalogue of his
sufferings stood „in stripes above measure, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I
suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the
deep; in journeyings often, in perils of rivers, in perils of
robbers, in perils from my countrymen, in perils from the
Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in
perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in labor and
travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings
often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are
without, there is that which presseth upon me daily, the
anxiety for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:23_28).
Our last look at him discovers „such a one as Paul the aged,’*
burdened with fetters, and the last word we hear is, „For I
am already being offered, and the time of my departure is
come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the
course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for
me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the right_
eous Judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only,
but also to all them that have loved his appearing” (2
Tim. 4:6_8).
Next to his Lord „he was a man of sorrows and acquainted
with grief.” Chains bound his wrists, while stocks enclosed
his ankles. His back was often bared to the Jewish scourge
and the lictor’s rod. He was more storm_tossed than Aeneas,
more wind_driven than Ulysses. If, by the turn of a helm,
he shunned the maw of Charybdis, he must feel the grating
of his keel on the granite edge of ‘Scylla. While bonds con_
fined him, ocean wrecked him that the viper might bite him.
Mobs openly raved to rend him, while conspiracy lurked
to assassinate him. Always danger sentineled his sleep, and
death confronted his waking. He was tortured more than
Tantalus by hunger that might not be appeased, and thirst
that might not be quenched. Prometheus, bound on the cold
rocks of Mount Caucasus, while vultures fed on his vitals,
was not more a living sacrifice than Paul offered in his body,
which died daily, and was ever under the sentence of death.
He was lonelier in his responsibility than William Pitt, the
great secretary, standing solitary against the world, or than
Frederick the Great, with his world deluge of enemies pouring
in on him from every side. And withal, the care of all the
churches was heavier on him than the weight of the world
on Atlas. But as the sandalwood tree perfumes the axe which
smites it, so his sufferings exhaled the fragrance of interces_
sion for those who smote him. On his lips the song would in_
deed have been eloquent:
Must I be carried to the skies,
On flowery beds of ease,
Whilst others fought to win the prize,
And sailed thru’ bloody seas?
Now, at last, his own words of faith are fulfilled to him:
„For our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh
for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory”
(2 Cor. 4:17).
He who can part from country and from kin,
And scorn delights, and tread the thorny way,
A heavenly crown through toil and pain to win –
He who, reviled can tender love repay,
And, buffeted, for bitter foes can pray –
He who, upspringing at his Captain’s call,
Fights the good fight, and when at last the day
Of fiery trial comes can nobly fall –
Such were a saint, or more; and such the holy Paul!
He was the greatest worker. Rarely, indeed, do we find the thinker and the evangelist combined! The man who writes great books or matures profound philosophies is seldom a man of affairs. The mystic will likely be a dreamer, delighting in soli-tude and meditation. But Paul was no secluded monk, no Utopian idealist. He mixed with men. He loved the crowded city. Dr. Farrar seems to bewail that, unlike David, he never described the marvelous landscapes and the sea_views of his travels. May it not be that he was too much absorbed in the „manscape” to dwell on the landscape? Whoever traveled so much, preached so much, and labored so much?
Paul never had a vacation. Even in prison he wrote those
letters which constitute the world’s heritage. Doubtless he
rests well now.
Paul was also the weakest man. We are accustomed to asso-ciate robust health with great endurance. But Paul was never well. His body was a body of death. Great sickness was the occasion of one of his mightiest ministries. He moved about in weakness and trembling. He was buffeted by a thorn in the flesh so excruciating that three times, as his Lord in Gethsemane, he earnestly besought his Master to remove it, and make him well. The world marveled when the Prince of Orange on the one side, and the Duke of Luxemburg on the other side, both invalids, directed every movement of their opposing armies from litters carried on men’s shoulders, being unable to walk or ride. Paul was afflicted, doubtless, with acute and repulsive ophthalmia, and so oft-times must have been led by another. Poor groping man! How pitiable when left alone I With great sprawling letters

must he write, when no amanuensis is at hand to receive dic_
tation. Paul was a little man, like Alexander Stephens. He
had no imposing presence like Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee,
Albert Sidney Johnston, and John C. Breckenridge. „His
bodily presence was weak.” But surely he had the silver
tongue and golden mouth of oratory, did he not? Ah! no;
„his speech was contemptible,” in the judgment of his ene_
mies; or, as he admits, he was „rude in speech.” Perhaps he
outstammered Moses. Durer’s picture of him, or the ivory
German tablets of the eleventh century, is nearer to nature
than Raphael’s cartoon.
A poor, little, afflicted, blear_eyed, bald_headed, stuttering
Somebody must always be present to minister unto him,
or direct his steps, or write his letters. How can this man
travel? How can he endure privation? How can he do a
man’s work? With no gift or grace of elocution, how can he
speak? William L. Yancey, Daniel Webster, Sargent S. Pren_
tiss, Roscoe Conkling, W. J. Bryan – they are orators. But
this man who rises in weakness, in fear and much trembling,
whose stammering tongue cannot please fastidious ears, and
who is estopped by conscience, will not speak with the enticing
words of man’s wisdom – how can he be an orator? He could
not possibly look well. There is not only nothing imposing
in his presence, but there is something unpleasant, if not re_
Sir Walter Scott, in Rob Roy, makes Die Vernon say that
„if only a woman were blind so as not to see his outward
appearance, she would certainly fall in love with Rashleigh
Osbaldistone’s voice.” But Paul had not even a voice. „His
speech was contemptible.” What on earth had he, then, to
make him great?
He had a personality more striking and decisive than any
other man of history. He had a Christian experience which

he never doubted, and of which, as a fact, he made more
than did any other man.
It comes out in every speech and letter. He had humility
the lowest, and courage the sublimest. He had faith without
wavering, love immeasurable, and hope without a cloud. He
had exquisite sympathy for all the lost and the suffering, and
the most lively appreciation of every word and deed of
kindness. He had convictions which hell could not shake.
He believed something. There was no palsy in his trust.
He had a commission from God. He had high conceptions of,
and loyal devotion to, duty. His fidelity to a trust could not
be beguiled, purchased, nor intimated. The powers of the
world to come possessed him at all times. The nearness,
certainty, and eternity of heaven and hell he always real_
ized. But more than all, he had the grace of God, which was
made so perfect in his weakness that he could glory in his in_
firmities, and find strength in his very powerlessness. The
faith of his converts stood, not in the wisdom or eloquence
of man, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and power of
God. He had all the internal equipment, but none of the
external graces of the great orator.
He was the firmest and yet the most flexible of men. Let
classic authors eulogize the combination of the suaviter in
nodo, with the fortiter in re. This is the man more courtly
than an old_time Virginia gentleman, and more inflexible than
Wellington, who illustrates the combination. A vital principle
he never surrendered nor compromised. In matters of mere
expediency, he would go any length to conciliate and to gain,
and, fortunately for mankind, he had the common sense to
know a principle when he confronted it. He never could have
mistaken stubbornness for firmness, or opinion for principle
He discriminated well between liberty and lawlessness. He
was always careful lest his exercise of liberty and privilege
should be the occasion of a brother’s stumbling. In great
love, he often declined to claim all his rights and dues. He
excelled marvelously in adjustment and adaptation. In a
perfectly innocent way, he was made all things to all men,
if by all means he might save some. He put himself readily
on the plane of either Jew or Greek. If one sought, however,
to change his gospel into another gospel, he became as rigid
as granite and as hot as a volcano. He would have buried an
anathema into the face of an angel coming on such an errand.
0, but he could stoop to the lowest, soar to the highest, weep
with the saddest, rejoice with the gladdest, and pray for the
He had a complete and independent gospel. He received
it, not mediately, but directly from the glorified Lord. He
had never read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, for they
were as yet unwritten. He did not receive a syllable of his
gospel nor a shred or his apostolic authority from any of
the original twelve. We might as well call Peter the pope of
Abraham and Moses as to call him the pope of Paul. The
revelation to Paul was more complete than the revelation to
Peter. The authority conferred on Paul was both independent
and absolute. The pillars of the church at Jerusalem com_
municated nothing to him, but were constrained to recognize
his authority, and to give the hand of fellowship to his inde_
pendent mission. Peter never had occasion to rebuke Paul, but
Paul was constrained to correct Peter. Every contention of
Paul was sustained, not only by men, but by the Holy Spirit.
And in his last letter Peter reckons Paul’s writings among
the scriptures of God. The reformatory power for erring
churches and teachers rests in Paul’s writings. There Augus_
tine found it. There Luther found it. There Spurgeon and
Whitefield found it. There must we all find the clearest
data for determining Christian doctrine, Christian ethics, and
church order.
In thus selecting for emphasis a few out of the many
characteristics of Paul’s power, we have suffered from the
embarrassment of riches. The half a score might as well have
been a full score. We find one_half of the books and one_
fourth of the bulk of our New Testament written by this
man. It is also evident that part of Luke’s Gospel was de_
rived from Paul. In discussing such a man, there is danger of
ascribing to the servant the glory of the Master. On this
point Monod says, „Fear not from, however, a panegyric in
which the saint of the day shall usurp the place reserved to
his Master and ours. . . . It would be poorly apprehending the
spirit of Saint Paul, to render him that which belongs only
to the Lord. Could I forget myself to that extent, I should
expect to see his image rush to meet me, crying out to me, as
formerly to the inhabitants of Lystra, ‘0, men, why do ye
do these things? We also are men, subject to like passions
with you.’ ”
Let us look to see what lies behind and before us. We
have studied an important part of the Acts of the apostles.
The rest of the book will be devoted to a study of Paul, cen_
tering on his work. I will add a few notes on books to those
already mentioned, as follows: Conybeare and Howson will
furnish the background or historical setting of the scriptural
picture. Stalker’s is the best summary of the subject; the
more we study it the more its value appears. Dr. McGregor’s
has no equal in the matter considered. Farrar’s surpasses
all others in exegesis, though it contains some things much
to be reprobated. Paley’s, an old book and favorite of my
youth, is devoted to an argument on the evidences of Chris_
tianity, based on the undesigned coincidences between the
Acts and Paul’s epistles. As most of these are by Pedobap_
tist authors, we may naturally expect some things to which the
author may not subscribe.
And now, while none of us may aspire to Paul’s place in
history, may we each, according to his gifts and God’s mercies,
see to it that what history we make shall harmonize with his.
May we. in our day, be faithful to the deposit of truth left
us by him and follow him, as he followed Christ.
1. What is the general bibliography of Paul?
2. Give the New Testament bibliography of Paul.
3. What New Testament passage goes farthest back about Paul?
4. What the New Testament passage going back in Paul’s history?
5. What the chronological data in the history, and what the prob_
able conclusions?
6. When is the profit & delight of study of history most enhanced?
7. Illustrate from history.
8. Give a brief generalization of history on this point.
9. Illustrate this generalization by the significance of three words.
10. Did God intend Christianity to be like the Jordan River which
confines its flow within a narrow channel?
11. Can you answer all the questions propounded by the author aa
necessitating a new man and a new apostleship?
12. Was he both a Hebrew of the Hebrews and a Hellenist, and what
the qualifications for his great work?
13. Was he Roman citizen? How did he obtain and what its value?
14. What advantage & disadvantage of being Pharisee of Pharisees?
15. In what did his extreme conscientiousness consist?
16. What the intrinsic value of a verdict of conscience?
17. What the exact value of this qualification for apostolic officer
18. How does this conscientiousness of Saul of Tarsus locate one
pole of salvation?
19. In what way was he the chief of sinners, and how does this
locate the other pole of salvation?
20. How was he a great thinker and profound reasoner?
21. How was Paul the greatest sufferer?
22. Show how he was the greatest worker.
23. How was Paul the weakest man?
24. Explain his being the firmest and yet the most flexible of men.
25. Show that he had a complete and independent gospel.
26. In selecting characteristics of Paul’s power, from what may one
suffer, and what the danger in discussing such a man?
27. What the testimony of Monod on this point?
28. What the best book commended for the background of this study of Paul, what the best as a summary, what the best on the author- ity of Paul’s writings, what the best in exegesis, and what the best on the evidences of Christianity?

Acts 81:39; 22:3; 23:6, 34; 26:4_5; 2 Corinthians
11:22; Romans 11:1; Galatians 1:13_14; Philippians 3:4_6;
I Timothy 1:12_13; 2 Timothy 1:3.

This discussion does not make much headway in the text
book, but it covers an immense amount of territory in its
facts and significance. This section is found in Goodwin’s
Harmony of the Life of Paul, pages 15_17, and the theme is
Paul’s history up to the time that he enters the New Testa_
ment story. Saul, now called Paul, a Jew, of the tribe of
Benjamin, of the sect of the Pharisees, yet a freeborn Roman
citizen, by occupation a tentmaker, by office a rabbi, and
a member of the Sanhedrin, was born in the city of Tarsus,
in the province of Cilicia, about the time of our Lord’s birth.
Tarsus was situated on the narrow coast line of the eastern
part of the Mediterranean, just under the great Taurus range
of mountains, and on the beautiful river Cydnus, which has
a cataract just before it reaches the city, and a fall, beautiful
then and beautiful now, coming down into that fertile plain
where the city goes into a fine harbor, which opens the city
to the commerce of the world through the Mediterranean
Sea. It was on the great Roman thoroughfare, which was one
of the best roads in the world. There were two of these
mountain ranges, one of them right up above the city through
the Taurus range into the coast of Asia Minor, the other
following the coast line, which leads into Syria. This is the
way that the mountains came down close to the sea, making
a certain point very precipitous, and there was a typical beach

between those mountains and the sea. That road into Syria
was called the Oriental way. Over the Roman thoroughfare
passed the land traffic, travel and marching armies for cen_
turies. It was in that pass that Alexander fought his first
great battle against the Persians, and thus obtained an en_
trance into the East. It was through that pass that, march_
ing westward, and before Alexander’s time, Xerxes the Great,
the husband of Esther (mentioned in the Bible), marched his
5,000,000 men to invade Greece. I could mention perhaps
fifty decisive battles in ancient history that were set and
were successful conquests by preoccupation of that pass. That
shows the strategical position of this city – that it commanded
the passes of the Taurus into Asia Minor, and the pass into
Syria, and through its fine harbor came in touch with the com_
merce of the world on the Mediterranean Sea.
Paul says that it was „no mean city,” in size or in popu_
lation. It was notable, (1) for its manufacture, that of weav_
ing, particularly goat’s hair, for on that Taurus range lived
goats with very long hair, and this was woven into ropes,
tents, and things of that kind; (2) because it was the capital
of the province of Cilicia; (3) because, under Rome, it was
a free city, i.e., it had the management of its own internal
affairs, which constituted a city a free city, like the free
city of Bremer in the early history of Germany. Other cities
would be under the feudal lords, but there were a number
of cities free, and these elected their own burghers, and gov_
erned their own municipal matters – a tremendous advantage.
Tarsus received from the Roman Emperor the privilege
of being a free city. Keep these facts well in mind, especial_
ly and particularly as regards the land and sea commerce.
(4) Because it possessed one of the three great world_famous
universities. There were just three of them at that time:
one at Tarsus; one at Alexandria, at the mouth of the Nile;
and one at Athens. It was not like some other cities, re_
markable for its great buildings, its public games and its works
of art. You could see more fine buildings in Athens or in
Ephesus or in Corinth than you had any right to look for in
Tarsus. It celebrated no such games as were celebrated in
the May festivals at Ephesus, and in the great Greek amphi_
theater in that city, or in such games as the Isthmian, cele_
brated in Corinth. It was not remarkable for any of these.
Its popular religion was a low and mixed order of Oriental
paganism. There is this difference between the Oriental and
Occidental heathen – the former in the East, and the latter
at Rome, and the West. Ephesus had an Oriental religion,
though it was a Greek city. Tarsus, too, was a Greek city,
but was partly Phoenician and partly Syrian. There were
more arts and intellectuality in western paganism than in
the Oriental, which was low, bestial, sensual, in every way
brutal, shameful, immodest, and outrageous. The Phoenicians,
who had a great deal to do with establishing the city of Tar_
sus, had that brutal, low form of paganism. That infamous
emperor, Sargon, celebrated in the Bible, the Oriental king
of the original Nineveh, was worshiped in that city. There
never lived a man that devoted himself more than he to
luxury in its fine dress, gorgeous festivals, its gluttony, its
drunkenness, its bestiality. Paul was born in that city, and
he could look out any day and see the heathen that he has
so well described in chapter I of the letter to the Romans.
Citizenship in a free city under Rome did not make one
a Roman citizen, as did citizenship in Philippi, a colony. To
be born in a free city did not make one a Roman citizen.
It conferred upon its members, its own citizens, the right to
manage their own municipal affairs. To be born in Philippi
would make one a Roman citizen, because Philippi was a
colony. The name of its citizens were still retained on the
muster roll in the city of Rome. They had all the privileges
of Roman citizenship. Their officers were Roman officers.
They had processions, with the magistrates, and the lictors
and with the bundles of rods. But there was nothing like
that in Tarsus. The question came up in Paul’s lifetime,
when the commander of a legion heard Paul claiming that
be was a Roman citizen. This commander says that with a
great sum of money he did purchase his citizenship in Rome.
Paul says, „But I was freeborn.” If freeborn, how then could
he have obtained it? In one of two ways: Before Christ was
born, Pompey invaded Jerusalem, and took it. He was one
of the first great triumvirate, with Julius Caesar and Marcus
L. Crassus. Pompey’s field of labor was in the East, Caesar’s
was in the West, and he (Pompey) took Jerusalem and led
into slavery many Jews of the best families. When these
slaves were brought to Rome, if they showed culture, social
position, educational advantages, they were promoted to a
high rank) or office, among slaves; and if they particularly
pleased their owners they were manumitted, either during the
lifetime of their owner, or by will after his death. In this
way many noble captives from all parts of the world were
carried as slaves to Rome. They were first set free and then
had conferred upon them the rights of Roman citizenship. It
could have been that Cassius, who with Brutus, after the kill_
ing of Julius Caesar, combined against Mark Antony, and
Octavius (Augustus), who became the emperor and was
reigning when Christ was born, captured this city of Tarsus
and led many of its citizens into Rome as slaves. Paul’s
grandfather, therefore, or his father, might have been led
away captive to Rome, and through his high social position
and culture may have been manumitted, and then received
as a citizen. Necessarily it occurred before this boy’s time,
because when he was born, he was born a Roman citizen. It
could be transmitted, but he had not acquired it.
There is a difference between the terms – Jew, Hebrew,
Israelite, Hellenist, and a „Hebrew of the Hebrews.” All
these are used by Paul and Luke in Acts. We get our word,
„Hebrew” from Heber, an ancestor of Abraham. Literature
shows that the descendants of Heber were Hebrews, and in
the Old Testament Abraham is called „the Hebrew.” That
was not the meaning of the word in New Testament times.
We come to the New Testament meaning in Acts 6, which
speaks of the ordination of deacons, and uses the word „He_
brew” in distinction from „Hellenist.” They both, of course,
mean Jews. While a Hebrew in the New Testament usually
lived in Palestine, but not necessarily, he was one who
still spoke or was able to read the original Hebrew language
and who practiced the strict Hebrew cult. A „Hellenist”
was a Jew who had either been led into exile, or who, for the
sake of trade, had gone into other nations, and settled among
those people and had become liberalized, lost the use of the
Hebrew tongue entirely, and neither spoke nor wrote the He_
brew language, but who spoke and wrote mainly in Greek.
„Hellenist” is simply another term for „Greek.” Whether
used in the New Testament Greek or the Hellenistic Greek,
it means Jews living among Greek people, and who had ac_
quired the language, and in the many respects had followed
more liberal Greek customs. Then a Hebrew living in Pales_
tine would not allow himself to be liberalized.
Paul lived out of Judea. He, his father, and indeed his
grandfather, adhered strictly to all the distinguishing charac_
teristics of the Hebrews. The „Israelite” and the „Jew” mean
anybody descended from Jacob. „Israelite” commenced lower
down in the descent. „Hebrew” gets its name from the ances_
tor of Abraham, but an Israelite was a descendant of Jacob.
The distinction of „Jew” came a little later to those descend_
ants of Jacob living in Judea. The „Hebrew of the Hebrews”
means a Jew_who went to the greatest possible extreme in
following the Hebrew language, cult, habits, training, and re_
ligion. He was an extremist among them.
Some people would suppose from Paul’s occupation – tent_
making (he worked at that occupation, making tents with
Aquila and Priscilla) – that from this unskilled labor his fam_
ily were low in the social position, and poor. The inference is
wholly untenable. In the first place, every Jew had to have
a trade, even though he were a millionaire, and Paul’s old
teacher, Gamaliel, used this language: „Any kind of learning
without a useful trade leads to sin.” Paul took up this trade
because he lived at Tarsus. There anybody could go out and
learn the trade of weaving ropes and check_cloth made out of
the long hair of Mount Taurus goats. The trade would not
simply satisfy the Jewish requirement, but a man could make
his living by it. We see Paul a little later making his living
just that way. Well for Paul that he knew something besides
I am more and more inclined to follow an industrial idea
in systems of education. We have our schools and univer_
sities where the boys and girls learn a great deal about books,
and the girl goes home and does not know how to make
bread. She does not know how to rear a brood of chickens;
she does not know how a house is to be kept clean, hor
how to keep windows clean. The floors in the corners and in
places under the beds and sofas are unswept. Boys come
home that cannot make a hoe handle. They have no me_
chanical sense, no trade. They can neither make a pair of
shoes nor a hat nor a pair of socks, nor anything they wear.
And thus graduates of universities stand with their fingers
in their mouths in the great byways of the world – practically
‘beggars – not knowing how to do anything.
The Jews guarded against that. Let Paul fall on his feet
anywhere, and withdraw from him every outside source of
financial support, and he would say, „With these hands did I
minister to my necessities.” He could go out and get a piece
of work. He knew how to do it. All this is bearing on the
social and financial position of Paul’s family. Everything in_
dicates the high social position of his family, and that it oc_
cupied a high financial position. They did not take the
children of the lowest abode and give them such an ecclesias_
tical training as Paul had. They did not educate them for
the position of rabbi, nor let them take a degree in the highest
theological seminary in the world. Paul’s family, then, was a
good one.
Paul’s religious and educational advantages were on two dis_
tinct lines: Purely ecclesiastical or religious, and I can tell
just exactly what it was. A little Hebrew boy five years
old had to learn the Ten Commandments, and the hallelujah
psalms. When six, he advanced to other things which could
be specified particularly. His education commenced in the
home and went on until he entered the synagogue, which
trained him in all the rudiments of biblical education. When
he was twelve or thirteen years old he was called „a son of
the commandments.” Just like the occasion suggests when
Jesus was twelve years old he had them take him to Jerusa_
lem, and he was allowed to go into the Temple and to be
with the great doctors there.
When Paul was twelve or thirteen his influential father
sent him to the great theological seminary. There were two
of these seminaries. One had a greater influence than the
other in the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, he says, „I was
brought up in this city. I was born in Tarsus, but brought
up in the city of Jerusalem, at the feet of Gamaliel.” He was
a very noble character. The opposite seminary differed from
this one. It was the Shammai Seminary, differing from the
other on this point: The Shammai Seminary was very narrow;
did not allow its pupils to know anything about literature
whatsoever except religious literature. But the aged Gamaliel
said to Paul and to all his other students, „There are certain
classical lines along which you may study and learn.” This
is the kind which Paul attended, the school of Gamaliel,
graduating there and becoming a doctor of divinity, or a rabbi.
He studied profoundly. This religious part of his education
he got in the original Hebrew. When he and Jesus met at
the time of his conversion, they spoke in the Hebrew_ tongue
to each other. „There came a voice which said in the Hebrew
[the old Hebrew tongue], Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?” And he answered in the Hebrew. Then, of course, he
spoke and wrote in the Aramaic, which was the common dia_
lect in Judea, and different from the Hebrew, since the Hebrew
had gone altogether out of use in the ordinary speech, and
almost in the ordinary reading.
The New Testament abounds in evidence of Paul’s general
educational advantages. The city of Tarsus possessed one of
the three great universities of the world. Did Paul take a
course in that? There is no evidence that he did, and no
probability that he did. For the universities in that day did
not mean as much as they do today in a certain line, though
I am sorry to say that the great universities of the present
day are dropping back and adopting the old utterly worthless
studies of the universities of that day; that is, speculative
philosophy about the origin of things, and they do not know
anything more when they get through than when they began.
Also the Epicurean philosophy, which we now call „Darwin_
lanism,” making a speculative study of biology, botany, geol_
ogy, etc., trying to prove that everything came from a
primordial germ, and that man not only developed from a
monkey, but from a jellyfish, and that the jellyfish developed
from some vegetable, and that the vegetable is a development
of some inorganic and lifeless matter.
There never was at any time in the world one particle of
truth in the whole business. None of it can ever be a science.
It does not belong to the realm of science.
Saul never had a moment’s time to spend in a heathen
university, listening to their sophistries, and to these philo_
sophical speculations, or vagaries. If he were living now he
would be made president of some university. We learn from
the Syrians that one of these universities, the one in Tarsus,
had a professor who once stole something, and was put in
„limbo.” Their university professors were also intensely
jealous. They had all sorts of squabbles, one part in a row
with another part; so that after all there was not much to be
learned in the universities of those times, and after a while
there will not be much in ours, if we go on as we are now
going. I am not referring to any university, particularly, but
I am referring to any and all, where philosophical specula_
tions are made thee basis of botany, zoology, natural history
of any kind, geology, or any kindred thing. Paul struck it in
the city of Athens, its birthplace, and smote it hip and thigh.
I do not suppose at all that Paul was a student in the uni_
versity of Tarsus, but that while he was at Jerusalem, and
under the teaching of Gamaliel, he did study such classics as
would be permitted to a Jewish mind. Hence we find in his
letters expressions like this: „One of themselves, a prophet of
their own said, Cretans are always liars,” and when at Athena
he says, „Certain, even of your own poets have said, For we
are also his offspring.” How could he become acquainted
with those classical allusions if he had never studied such
things? That chiliarch, who commanded a thousand men – a
legion – said to Paul, „Do you speak Greek?” He had heard
him speaking Greek. Of course he spoke Greek, and wrote
Greek, All of his letters were written in Greek. He had learned
that Greek language somewhere. He had not learned it in
that university at Tarsus, but in the Seminary at Jerusalem.
Take his letters and see his profound acquaintance with the
Greek games of every kind. Some of them he may have at_
tended, but he certainly knew all about them as though he
had witnessed them. He may have seen only an occasional
game. So he must have learned it from the literature, for he
discusses every phase of it, especially the foot_racing, the com_
bats in the arena between the gladiators, and the wrestling
with the lions in the arena. His letters are full of allusions
that indicate his acquaintance with the Greek literature. At
Alexandria there was one of the other universities, a much
greater one in its Greek literature than the university of
Tarsus. Alexandria was founded by a Greek, Alexander the
Great. One of the Ptolemies had a great library, the greatest
library in the world, which was destroyed by the Saracens.
But notice also how Paul puts his finger right upon the very
center and heart of every heathen philosophy, like that of
Epicureanism – our Darwinianism; that he debated in Athens;
and note the Stoics whom he met while there, and the Pla_
tonians, or the Peripatetics. You will find that that one little
speech of his, which he delivered in the city of Athens, con_
tains an allusion which showed that he was thoroughly and
profoundly acquainted with every run and sweep of the
philosophic thought of the day, and anybody not thus ac_
quainted could not have delivered that address. This is to
show the general culture of his mind.
Take the mountain torrent of his passion in the rapid letter
to the Galatians. Take the keen logic, the irresistibility of its
reasoning, which appears in the letter to the Romans, or take
that sweetest language that ever came from the lips or pen
of mortal man, that eulogy on love in I Corinthians 13. Then
take the letter to Philemon, which all the world has considered
a masterpiece in epistolary correspondence. It implies that
he was scholarly. Look at these varieties of Saul’s education.
He was a man whose range of information swept the world.
He was the one scholar in the whole number of the apostles –
the great scholar – and I do not see how any man can read the
different varieties of style or delicacy of touch, the analysis
of his logic or reasoning, which appear in Paul’s letters, and
doubt that he had a broad, a deep, a high, and a grand general
As to Paul’s family the New Testament tells us in Acts 23:
16 that he had a married sister living in Jerusalem, and that
that sister had a son, Paul’s nephew, who intervened very
heroically to help Paul in a certain crisis of his life. And in
Romans 16:7_11 are some other things that give light as to his
family: „Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen, and my
fellow_prisoners . . . who also have been in Christ before me.”
Here are a man and a woman, Andronicus and Junias, Paul’s
kinsfolk, well known to the apostles in Jerusalem, for he says,
„Who are of note among the apostles.” They were influential
people, and they had become Christians before Paul was a
Christian. Take verse II: „Salute Herodion my kinsman,”
and verse 21: „Timothy, my fellow worker saluteth you; and
Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.” So here we
have found six individuals who are kinspeople to Paul, and
who were all members of the church at Rome. We know that
much of his family, anyhow.
The things which distinguished a Pharisee from a Sadducee
were of several kinds: (1) The latter were materialists, whom
we would call atheists. They believed in no spirit; that there
was nothing but matter; that when a man died it was the last
of him. (2) There were Epicureans: „Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die,” they said. (3) Also in their political
views they differed from the Pharisees. The Pharisees were
patriotic, and wanted the freedom of their nation. The Sad_
ducees were inclined to the Roman government, and wanted
to keep up the servitude to the Romans. (4) The Pharisees
also cared more about a ritualistic religion. They were Puri_
tans – stern, and knew no compromise, adhering strictly to the
letter of the law, in every respect. If they tithed, they would
go into the garden and tithe the cummin and the anise. The
phrase, „Pharisee of the Pharisees,” means one who would
whittle all that down to a very fine point, or an extremist on
that subject. He said (Gal. 1:14), „I advanced in the Jews’
religion beyond many of mine own age among my country_
men, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my
fathers.” They were just Pharisees – he was a Pharisee of the
Pharisees. He went all the lengths that they would go, and he
topped them. It meant something like this: „I am a son of
Abraham; I am freeborn; I have never sinned; I need no
vicarious expiation for me; I need no Holy Spirit; I was never
in that bunch; .you need not talk or present regeneration to
me; I am just as white as snow.” It followed that they were
not drunkards, they were not immoral; they were chaste, and
did not have any of the brutal vices.
Paul had perhaps never met Jesus. They were about the
same age. Paul went to Jerusalem when he was thirteen years
old, and stayed there until he graduated in the same city.
Some contend from certain expressions, as, „I have known
Christ after the flesh; henceforth I will know him . . . no
more,” that he had known Jesus in the flesh. It will be re_
membered that in the public ministry of Christ he was very
seldom in Jerusalem. He stayed there a very short time when
he did go. His ministry was mainly in Galilee. Even in that
last mighty work of his in Jerusalem – there is a big account
of it – but it just lasted a week. And Saul may have been
absent at Tarsus during that time. I think when he saw
Jesus the fact that he did not recognize him is proof enough,
for if he had known him in the flesh he would have recog_
nized him. But he said, „Who art thou?” when he saw him
after he arose from the dead.
Paul, before conversion, was intensely conscientious in what_
ever he did – free from all low vice, drunkenness and luxurious
gluttony and sensuality of every kind. He was a very chaste
man, a very honest man, a very sincere man, a very truthful
man, and all this before conversion. Is take it for granted that
he was a married man. An orthodox Jew would not have
passed the age of twenty unmarried. He could not be a mem_
ber of the Sanhedrin without marrying; and in that famous
passage in Corinthians he seems to intimate clearly that he
was a married man. Speaking to virgins (that means unmar_
ried men and women and includes both of them that had never
married) he says so and so; and to widows and widowers, „I
wish they would remain such as I am.” It seems to me that
the language very clearly shows that at that time he was a
widower. Luther says that no man could write about the mar_
ried state like Paul writes if he was an old bachelor. I think
Luther is right; his judgment is very sound. Paul did not
marry again; he remained a widower, and in the stress of the
times advised other widowers and widows to remain in that
state; but if they wanted to marry again to go ahead and
do so; that it was no sin; but the stress of the times made it
unwise; and he boldly took the position that he had a right
to lead about a wife as much as Peter had, and Peter had a

1. What the theme of this section?
2. What Saul’s name, nation, tribe, sect, citizenship, occupation,
office, birthplace, and date of birth?
3. Give an account of Tarsus as to its political, strategical, commer_
cial, manufacturing, educational advantages, and its popular religion.
4. Did citizenship in a free city under Rome make one a Roman
citizen as did citizenship in Philippi, a colony?
5. How, then, could one obtain it?
6. Distinguish the difference between these terms: Jew, Hebrew,
Israelite, Hellinist, and a „Hebrew of the Hebrews.”
7. What the social and financial position of Paul’s family, particu_
larly in view of his occupation?
8. What Paul’s religious and educational advantages?
9. What New Testament evidences are there of Paul’s general edu_
cational advantages?
10. What do we know about Paul’s family as seen in the New Testa_
11. Was Paul a rabbi? If so, where did he probably exercise his
functions as a rabbi?
12. What is the meaning of the phrase, „Pharisee of the Pharisees?”
13. Did Paul ever meet Jesus before his death? If not, how account
for it in view of the interest and publicity of the last week of our
Lord’s life?
14. What was Paul’s character before conversion?
15. Was he a married man, and what the proof?

Acts 7:57_68; 8:1_4; 22:4_5, 19_20; 26:9_11;
I Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13, 22_24.

In a preceding chapter on Stephen we have necessarily con_
sidered somewhat a part of the matter of this chapter, and
now we will restate only enough to give a connected account
of Saul. In our last discussion we found Saul and other mem_
bers of his family residents in Jerusalem, Saul an accomplished
scholar, a rabbi, trained in the lore of the Jewish Bible and
of their traditions, a member of the Sanhedrin, an extreme
Pharisee, flaming with zeal, and aggressive in his religion, an
intense patriot, about thirty_six years old, probably a widower,
stirred up and incensed on account of the progress of the new
religion of Jesus.
In considering this distinguished Jew in the role of a per_
secutor, we must find, first of all, the occasion of this marvel”
ous and murderous outbreak of hatred on his part at this
particular juncture, and the strange direction of its hostility.
On three all_sufficient grounds we understand why Saul did
not actively participate in the recent Sadducean persecution.
First, the issue of that persecution was the resurrection, and
on this point a Pharisee could not join a Sadducean material_
ist. Second, the motive of that persecution was to prevent the
break with Rome, and Saul as a Pharisee wanted a break
with Rome. Third, the direction of that persecution was main_
ly against the apostles and Palestinian Christians, who, so far,
had made no break with the Temple and its services and ritual,
or the customs of Moses. To outsiders they appeared as a
sect of the Jews, agreeing, indeed, with the Pharisees on many
points, and while they were hateful in their superstition as to
the person of the Messiah, they were understood to preach a
Messiah for Jews only and not for Gentiles. That is why
Saul did not join the Sadducean persecution – because of the
issue of it, because of the motive of it, and because of the
direction of it.
1. Five causes stirred him up to become a persecutor: First,
the coming to the front of Stephen, the Hellenist, whose
preaching evidently looked to a Messiah for the world, and
not only looked to a break with Jerusalem and the Temple,
but the abrogation of the entire Old Covenant, or at least its
supercession by a New Covenant on broad, worldwide lines
that made no distinction between a Jew and a Greek. That
is the first cause of the persecuting spirit of Saul.
2. Stephen’s Messiah was a God_man and a sufferer, ex_
piating sin, and bringing in an imputed righteousness through
faith in him wrought by the regenerating Spirit, instead of a
Jewish hero, seated on David’s earthly throne, triumphant
over Rome, and bringing all nations into subjection to the
royal law. This is the difference between the two Messiahs.
So that kind of a Messiah would be intensely objectionable
to Saul.
3. Stephen’s preaching was making fearful inroads among
the flock of Saul’s Cilicean synagogue, and sweeping like a fire
among the Israelites of the dispersion, who were already far
from the Palestinian Hebrews.
4. Some of Saul’s own family were converted to the new
religion, two of them are mentioned in the letter to the Romans
as being in Christ before him, and his own sister, judging
from Acts 23, was already a Christian.
5. Saul’s humiliating defeat in the great debate with Ste_
These are the five causes that pushed the man out who had
been passive in the other persecution, now to become active

in this persecution. They account for the vehement flame of
Saul’s hate, and the direction of that hate, not toward the
apostles, who had not broken with the Holy City, its Temple,
its sacrifice, nor the customs of Moses, but against Stephen
and those accepting his broader view. We cannot otherwise
account for the fact that Saul took no steps in his persecution
against the apostles, while he did pursue the scattered Chris_
tians of the dispersion unto strange cities.
We may imagine Saul fanning the flame of his hate by his
thoughts in these particulars:
1. „To call this Jesus ‘God’ is blasphemy.
2. „To call this convicted and executed felon ‘Messiah,’
violates the Old Testament teaching of David’s royal son tri_
umphing over all of his enemies.
3. „That I, a freeborn child of Abraham, never in bondage,
must be re_born, must give up my own perfect and blameless
righteousness of the law to accept the righteousness of another,
is outrageous.
4 . „That I must see Jerusalem perish, the Temple destroyed,
the law of the Mosaic covenant abrogated, and enter into this
new kingdom on the same humiliating terms as an uncircum_
cised Gentile, is incredible and revolting.
5 . „That this Hellenist, Stephen, should invade my own
flock and pervert members of my own family, ‘Andronicus and
Junias, my kinsmen’ [Rom. 16:7], and my own sister [Acts
23:16], and shake the faith of my other kinsmen, Jason and
Sosipater [Rom. 16:21], is insulting to the last degree.
6. „That I, the proud rabbi, a member of the supreme court
of my people, the accomplished and trained logician, should
be overwhelmed in debate by this unscholarly Stephen, and
that, too, in my own chosen field) the interpretation of the
Law, Prophets, and Psalms, is crucifixion of my pride and an
intolerable public shame. Let Stephen perish!

7. „But more humiliating than all, I find myself whipped
inside. This Stephen is driving me with goads as if I were an
unruly ox. His words and shining face and the Jesus he makes
me see, plant convicting pricks in my heart and conscience
against which I kick in vain; I am like a troubled sea cast_
ing up mire and filth. To go back on the convictions of my
life is abject surrender. To follow, then, a logical conclusion,
is to part from the counsel of my great teacher, Gamaliel, and
to take up the sword of the Sadducee and make myself the
servant of the high priest. Since I will not go back, and can_
not stand still, I must go forward in that way that leads to
prison, blood, and death, regardless of age or sex. Perhaps
I may find peace. The issue is now personal and vital; Ste_
phen or Saul must die. To stop at Stephen is to stop at the
beginning of the way. I must go on till the very name of this
Jesus is blotted from the earth.”
That is given as imagined, but you must bring in psy_
chology in order that you may understand the working of this
man’s mind to account for the flaming spirit and the desperate
lengths of the persecution which he introduces.
Seven things show the spirit of this persecution, as expressed
in the New Testament:
1. In Acts 8:3 (Authorized Version), the phrase, „making
havoc” is used. That is the only time in the New Testament
that the word „havoc” is found. It is found in the Septuagint
of the Old Testament. But it is a word which expresses the
fury of a wild boar making havoc – a wild boar in a garden:
rooting, gnashing, and trampling. That phrase, „making
havoc,” gives us an idea of the spirit that. Saul had, which is
the spirit of a wild boar.
2. In Acts 9:1, it is said of Saul, „Yet breathing out threat_
enings and slaughter.” How tersely expressed that is! The
expiration of his breath is a threat, and death. Victor Hugo,
in one place, said about a man, „Whenever he respires he
conspires,” and that is the nearest approach in literature to
this vivid description of the state of a man’s mind – that the
very breath he breathed was threatenings and slaughter.
3. The next word is found in Acts 26:11. He says, „being
exceedingly mad against them.” That is the superlative de_
gree. He was not merely angry at the Christians, but it was
an anger that amounted to madness; he was not merely „mad
but „exceedingly mad.” So that gives you the picture of that
wild boar.
4. „He haled men and women.” „Haled” is an old Anglo_
Saxon word. We don’t use it now, but it means „to drag by
violence.” He didn’t go and courteously arrest a man; he
just went and grabbed men and women and dragged them
through the streets. Imagine a gray_haired mother, a chaste
wife. a timid maiden, grabbed and dragged through the streets,
with a crowd around mocking, and you get at the spirit of
this persecution.
5. The next word is „devastate.” Paul used this word twice,
and Ananias used it once (Acts 9:21). That word is the term
that is applied to an army sweeping a country with fire and
sword. We say that Sherman devastated Georgia. He swept
a scope of country seventy_five miles wide – from Atlanta to
the sea, leaving only the chimney stacks – not a house, not a
fence – with fire and sword. And that word is here employed
to describe Saul’s persecution.
6. Twice in Galatians he uses this word in describing it: „Is
persecuted them beyond measure,” that is, if you want to find
some kind of a word that would describe his persecution, in its
spirit, you couldn’t find it; you couldn’t find a word that would
mean „beyond measure.”
7. The last phrase is in Acts 22:4, „unto death.” That was
objective in spirit, whether men or women. These seven ex_
pressions, and they are just as remarkable, and more so, in
the Greek, as they are in English, give the spirit of this perse_

The following things show the extent of this persecution:
1. Domiciliary visits. He didn’t wait to find a man on the
streets acting in opposition to any law. He goes to the houses
after them, and in every place of the world. The most startling
exercise of tyranny is an inquisition into a man’s home. The
law of the United States regards a man’s home as his castle,
and only under the most extreme circumstances does the law
allow its officers to enter a man’s home. If you were perfectly
sure that a Negro had burglarized your smokehouse, and you
had tracked him to his house, you couldn’t go in there, you
couldn’t take an officer of the law in there, unless you went
before a magistrate and recorded a solemn oath that you be_
lieved that he was the one that did burglarize your place,
and that what he stole would be found if you looked for it in
his house.
2. In the second place, „scourges.” He says many times I
have scourged them, both men and women, forty stripes save
one; thirty_nine hard lashes he put on the shoulders of men
and women. Under the Roman law it was punishable with
death to scourge a Roman citizen. Convicts, or people in the
penitentiary, can be whipped. Roman lictors carried a bundle
of rods with which they chastised outsiders, but on home peo_
ple they were never used. Cicero makes his great oration
against Veres burn like fire when it is shown that Veres
scourged Roman citizens. Seldom now do we ever hear of a
case where a man is dragged out of his house and publicly
whipped by officers of the law, just on account of his religion.
3. The next thing was imprisonment. He says, „Oftentimes
I had them put in prison.” A thunderbolt couldn’t be more
sudden than his approach to a house. Thundering at the door,
day or night, gathering one of the inmates up, taking him from
the home and taking him to jail. What would you think of
somebody coming to your house when you were away in the
night, and dragging your wife and putting her in jail, just
because she was worshiping God according to the dictates of
her conscience? We live in a good country over here. We
have never been where these violent persecutions were carried
4. He says that when they were put to death he gave his
voice against them. He arrested them and scourged them,
and then in the Sanhedrin he voted against them.
5. In the next place he compelled them to blaspheme. The
Greek doesn’t mean that he succeeded in making them blas_
pheme, but that he was trying to make them blaspheme. For
instance, he would have a woman up, and there was the of_
ficer ready to give her thirty_nine lashes in open daylight:
„You will get this lashing unless you blaspheme the name of
Jesus,” Paul would say. Pliny, in writing about the Christians
in the country over which he presided when he was ordered
to persecute the Christians, says, „I never went beyond this:
I never put any of them to death if when brought before me
he would sprinkle a little incense before a Roman god. If he
would Just do that I wouldn’t put him to death.”
6. Expatriation, ex, from, patria terra, „one’s fatherland” –
exiled from one’s country. It was an awful thing on those
people at a minute’s notice either to recant or else just as they
were, without a minute’s preparation, to go off into exile,
father, mother, and children. The record says, „They were all
scattered abroad except the apostles.”
7. Following them into exile into strange countries, and
cities, getting a commission to go after them and arrest them,
even though they had gotten as far from Jerusalem as Damas_
8. The last thing in connection with the extent of this per_
secution is to see, first, the size or number of the church. Let
us commence with 120 (that is, before Pentecost), add 3,000
on the day of Pentecost, add multitudes daily, add at another
time 5,000 men and women, add twice more, multitudes, mul_
titudes, then we may safely reach the conclusion that there

were 100,000 Jewish communicants in that first church at
Jerusalem. That represents a great many homes. This man
Paul goes into every house, he breaks up every family. They
are whipped; they are imprisoned; they are put to death or
they are expatriated; and over every road that went out from
Jerusalem they were fleeing, the fire of persecution burning
behind them. The magnitude of the persecution has never
been fully estimated.
There are eight distinct references by him in two speeches
and four letters that show his own impressions of this sin.
One of them you will find in the address that he delivered
on the stairway in Jerusalem when he himself was a prisoner
(Acts 22) ; another one is found in his speech at Caesarea be_
fore King Agrippa (Acts 26). You will find two references in
chapter I of the letter to the Galatians (1:13, 23) ; there is one
in I Corinthians 15:15; another in Philippians 3; still another,
and a most touching one, when he was quite an old man (I
Timothy). We may judge of the spirit and the extent of a
thing by the impression that it leaves on the mind of the
Everything that he inflicted on others, he subsequently suf_
fered. He had them to be punished with forty stripes save
one; five times he submitted to the same punishment. He had
them put in prison; „oftentimes” he was imprisoned. He had
them expatriated; so was he. He had them pursued in the
land of expatriation; so was he. He had them stoned; so was
he. He attempted to make them blaspheme; so they tried to
make him blaspheme under Nero, or die, and he accepted
death. He had them put to death; so was he. Early in his
life, before a great part of his sufferings had yet commenced,
we find his catalogue of the things that he suffered in one of
the letters to the Corinthians, and just how many particular
things that he had suffered up to that time.
Two considerations would naturally emphasize his unceasing
sorrow for this sin:
1. His persecution marked the end of Jewish probation, the
closing up of the last half of Daniel’s week, in which the Mes_
siah would confirm the covenant with many. From this time
on until now, only an occasional Jew has been converted.
Paul did it; he led his people to reject the church of God and
the Holy Spirit of God, the church which was baptized in the
Spirit, and attested by the Spirit. He, Saul, is the one that
pushed his people off the ground of probation and into a state
of spiritual blindness – judicial blindness – from which they
have not yet recovered.
2. The second thought that emphasized this impression was
that he thereby barred himself, when he became a Christian,
from doing much preaching to this people. In Romans 9 he
says, „I could wish that I myself were anathema from Christ
for my brethren’s sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
„I bear them witness,” he says in the next chapter, „that they
have a zeal for God,” and in Acts 22 he says that when he was
in the Temple wanting to preach to Jews, wanting to be a
home missionary, God appeared to him, and said, „Make
haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they
will not receive of thee testimony concerning me.” That was
one of the most grievous things of his life, and we find it, I
think (some may differ from me on this), manifested in the
last letter of his first Roman imprisonment – the letter to the
Hebrews. He wouldn’t put his name to it. He didn’t want to
prejudice its effect, and yet he did want to speak to his people.
Let us compare this persecution with Alva’s in the Nether_
lands, and the one following the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes. In a few words, it is this: There were two great bodies
of Christian people, so_called, in France – the Romanists and
the Huguenots. Henry of Navarre was a Huguenot. He be_
came king of France, outwardly abjuring his Huguenot prin_
ciples, but on the condition that liberty of conscience should
be allowed to the people. His grandson, Louis XIV, revoked
that great edict of toleration, and by its revocation, in one
moment, commanded hundreds of thousands of his people to
adopt the king’s religion. If they didn’t, troops or soldiers
were placed in their homes with the privilege of maltreating
them, and destroying their property, without being held re_
sponsible for any kind of brutal impiety that they would
commit. Their young children were taken away from the
mothers and put in the convents to be reared in the Romanist
faith; the men had their goods confiscated, and in hundreds
of thousands of instances were put to death. They were re_
quired to recant or leave France at once. Before they got to
the coast an army came to bring them back, and when some
of them did escape, my mother’s ancestors, the Huguenots,
when that edict was revoked, came to South Carolina. Some
of them went to Canada, some to other countries where there
was extradition. The Romanists pursued them, and when they
were able to capture them, brought them back to France to
suffer under the law. Some of those that reached Canada left
the settlements and went to live among the Indian tribes.
There they were pursued.
When Alva came into the Netherlands (Belgium and Hol_
land), the lowlands, under Philip, the King of Spain, the in_
quisition was set up and he entered the homes; he made
domiciliary visits; he compelled them to blaspheme; he put
to death the best, the most gifted, those holding the highest
social and moral positions in the land, to the astonishment of
the world. With one stroke of his pen he not only swept away
all of their property, but anyone that would speak a kind
word to them, or would keep them all night in the house, such
a person was put to death. All over that country there was
the smoke going up of their burning, and the bloodiest picture
in the annals of the world was what took place when Alva’s
soldiers captured a city. I would be ashamed before a mixed
audience to tell what followed. The devastation was fearful.
This persecution illustrates the proverb, „The blood of the
martyrs is the seed of the church.” Whenever Saul put one to
death, a dozen came up to take the place of that one. Indeed,
be himself caught on his own shoulders the mantle of Stephen
before it hit the ground, as God put the mantle of Elijah on
Elisha, and as God made John the Baptist the successor in
spirit to Elijah. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the
The effect of this persecution on the enlargement of the
kingdom, and on missions, was superb. Those Jewish Chris_
tians in Jerusalem – those terrapins – would never have crawled
away from there, if Saul hadn’t put fire on their backs, but
when the fire began to burn and they began to run, as they
ran, they preached everywhere. It was like going up to a fire
and trying to put it out by kicking the chunks. Whenever a
chunk is kicked it starts a new fire. When that persecution
came, then Philip, driven out, preached to the Samaritans.
Then men of Gyrene, pushed out, preached to Greeks in An_
tioch, and they opened up a fine mission field. Peter himself,
at last, was led to see that an uncircumcised Gentile like Cor_
nelius could be received into the kingdom of God. So it had a
great deal to do with foreign missions.
The effect of this persecution in bringing laymen to the
front was marvelous. They never did come to the front in the
history of the world as they did in this persecution. The apos_
tles were left behind. The preachers right in the midst of the
big meeting in which 100,000 people had been converted, were
left standing there, surrounded by empty pews, with no con_
gregation. The congregation is now doing the preaching. A
layman becomes an evangelist. These people carry the word
of God to the shores of the Mediterranean, into Asia Minor,
to Rome, to Ephesus, to Antioch, to Tarsus, to the ends of the
earth, and laymen do an overwhelming part of this work.
It is well, perhaps, in this connection to explain how Saul, in
this persecution, could put to death Christian people, since
they, the Jews, had no such authority. In the case of Christ
we know that it was necessary for the Jews to obtain Roman
authority in order to put to death, but Just as this time Pontius
Pilate was recalled, the Roman Procurator was withdrawn, and
a very large part of the Roman military force and the suc_
cessor of Pilate had not arrived, so the Jews were left pretty
much to themselves until that new procurator with new legions
came to the country.

1. What of Saul already considered in a preceding chapter?
2. Why did not Saul participate actively in the Sadducean perse_
3, What five causes stirred him up to become a persecutor?
4. How may we imagine Saul fanning the flame of his bate by his
5. What seven things show the spirit of this persecution as expressed
in the New Testament?
6. What things show the extent of this persecution?
7. What eight distinct references by him in two speeches and four
letters which show his own impressions of this sin?
8. What his own sufferings, in every particular? Were they such
as he inflicted?
9. What two considerations would naturally emphasize the unceas_
ing sorrow for this sin?
10. Compare this persecution with Alva’s in the Netherlands and the
one following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
11. How does this persecution illustrate the proverb, „The blood of
the martyrs is the seed of the church”?
12. What was the effect of this persecution on the enlargement of the kingdom, and missions?
13. What was the effect of this persecution in bringing laymen to the
14. How explain that, in this persecution, Saul could put to death
Christian people, since they, the Jews, had no such authority?

Acts 9:1_19, 22:5_16; 26:12_20; I Corinthians 1:1,
9:1; 15:7_10; Romans 7:7_35.

In commencing this chapter, I call attention to my address
called, „The Greatest Man in History,” which you will find in
The Southwestern Theological Review, Vol. I, No. II. There
are ten special scriptures which bear upon the conversion of
Saul, and most of them upon his call to the apostleship. The
accounts given are as follows: (1) By Luke, Acts 9:1_9, A.D.
36; (2) by Barnabas, Acts 9:26_28, A.D. 39; (3) by Paul at
Corinth, Galatians 1:15_16, A.D. 57; (4) by Paul at Ephesus,
1 Corinthians 15:8_10, A.D. 57; (5) by Paul at Corinth, Romans
7:7_25, A.D. 58; (6) by Paul at Jerusalem, Acts 22:1_16, A.D.
59; (7) by Paul at Caesarea, Acts 26:1_19, A.D. 60; (8) by
Paul at Rome, Philippians 3:4_14, A.D. 62; (9) by Paul in
Macedonia, I Timothy 1:12_16, A.D. 67; (10) by Paul at Rome,
2 Timothy 1:9_12, A.D. 68. In order to understand the conver_
sion of Saul of Tarsus we must be able to interpret these ten
To prove that Paul was under conviction before his conver_
sion Is submit two scriptures: (1) The words that Jesus said
to him when he met him, „It is hard for thee to kick against
the goads.” (2) What he says about his experience in Romans
7:7_25, that he was alive without the law until the command_
ment came, when sin revived and he died.
As to the time and place of Paul’s conversion, the argument
is overwhelming that he was converted outside Damascus.
In the first place, the humility with which he asked the ques_
tion, „Who art thou, Lord?” Second, the spirit of obedience
which instantly followed: „Whereupon, 0 King Agrippa, Is
was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” Again he
says, „When God called me by his grace, he revealed Christ
in me.” So we may count it a settled question that Paul was
converted out there on the road, when the light above the
brightness of the midday sun shone about him, and he fell to
the ground.
The proof that his vision of Jesus was real, and not a mere
mental state, is found in I Corinthians 9:1, and also 15:8, in
which he expressly affirms that he had seen Jesus, and puts it
in the same class with the appearances of Jesus to the other
disciples, after his resurrection from the dead. It was not
simply an ecstasy, nor a trance, nor a mere mental state, but
be actually met Jesus, and saw him. Jesus appeared to him,
not in the flesh, as on earth before his death, but in the glory
of his risen body. He and Paul actually met. There was a
necessity for his actually seeing the Lord. He could not other_
wise have been an apostle, for one of the main functions of the
apostolic office was to be an „eyewitness” that Jesus had risen
from the dead. So Peter announces when Matthias was chosen
to fill the place of Judas that he must be one who had con_
tinued with them from the time of the baptism of John until
the Lord was taken up into the heavens, and that he must be
one eyewitness of the resurrection of Christ. Other passages
also bearing on his apostolic call, are, one particularly, I
Corinthians 9:1_9, and then what he says in the beginning of
his letters: „Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of
God, not of man.” I need not cite all of these beginnings. You
can trace these out yourself. The second particular passage
that I cite, to be put by the side of I Corinthians 9:1_9, is
Galatians 1:15_16.
Let us distinguish clearly between his conversion and his
apostolic call, and show what part of this point experience
may not be expected in conversions today, and _was not a part

of his Christian experience, and what the elements of his
Christian experience. When I was interested in the subject of
my salvation, to me, a sinner and an outsider, the distinction
between Saul’s conversion and his call to the apostleship was
very clear. You must understand that the light above the
brightness of the midday sun was the glory of the appearance
of the risen Lord to Saul, in order that he might see him to
become an apostle, and the shock which Paul experienced by
thus seeing the risen Lord was the shock that knocked him
down, but it was not a part of his Christian experience – it
was a part of his call to the apostleship. You must not expect
anything of that kind in order to your conversion, nor must
you teach other people to expect it. But the elements of his
Christian experience were these: (1) He was convicted that he
was a sinner; (2) Christ was revealed to him; (3) he did be_
lieve on the Christ thus revealed as his Saviour; (4) he did
then and there receive the remission of his sins, which remis_
sion was pictorially set forth in his baptism three days later.
Here it is well for us to define a Christian experience. I was
once present when a man came to unite with the church, and
the first question propounded to him was, „Please tell us in
your own way why you think you are a Christian.” „Well,”
he commenced in a sort of „sing_song” manner, „one day – ah,
about five o’clock – ah, Is just took a notion to walk around the
work_fence – ah, and Is thought maybe I’d better take my rifle
along – ah, for Is might see a squirrel – ah,” and he went on
just that way. Is myself have heard, in a Negro protracted
meeting on the Brazos, about eight miles below Waco, candi_
date after candidate tell their experiences. They commenced
this way: „Well, about last Sunday night – ah,” following the
same „sing_song” manner, „something seemed to drop down
on me like a falling star – ah, and Is heard the angel Gabriel
toot his hown – ah; I went down in the valley to pray – ah,”
and so on.

Therefore, I say that we ought to define accurately the
Christian experience. This is a Christian experience: All those
convictions, emotions, and determinations of the soul wrought
by the Spirit of God in one’s passage from death unto life.
That may sound like a strange definition of a Christian ex_
perience. It has in it a conviction and certain emotions, also
certain determinations, or choices, and those convictions and
emotions are not excited by seeing a squirrel, not in imagining
that you heard Gabriel blow his horn, for it is not Gabriel
that is going to blow the horn. Michael is the horn_blower.
But this conviction, this emotion and the determinations of
the will, are all Spirit_wrought. And a Christian experience
covers every one of those in the passage from death unto life.
There are varied uses which the New Testament makes of
Paul’s experience:
1. As soon as he was converted, and yet outside Damascus
or at least as soon as he had entered Damascus, the Lord tells
Paul’s Christian experience to Ananias in order to induce that
disciple to go to him. That disciple says, „Lord, I know this
man. Why, he is a holy terror! He just kills us wherever he
finds us.” But the Lord says, „I tell you he is a chosen vessel
unto me, and you go to him.” So the Lord made use of Paul’s
experience to prepare Ananias to accept Paul, and to minister
to him what ought to be ministered to him, just as God made
use of the experience of Cornelius related by himself to Peter
in order to prepare Peter to perceive that God was no respecter
of persons.
2. The second use made is by Barnabas in Acts 9:26_28.
Paul came to Jerusalem three years after his conversion, and
essayed to join himself to the disciples, but they would not
receive him: „You? Take you? Accept you? Why, this whole
city is full of the memories of your persecutions.” But Barna_
bas took up for him, and related how this Saul had met Jesus,
and how he was a believer in this gospel, and a preacher. And
the relating of Saul’s experience to the Jerusalem church re_
moved all of their objections to him, and prepared them to
receive him among them, so the record says, „he went in and
out among them.”
It is for such objects that the Christian experience should
be related to the church. God requires it as the second cere_
monial act – that the man shall publicly confess the change
that has taken place in him before he can be received into the
church, and Is will be sorry whenever, if ever, the Baptists leave
that out. A man must not only be converted inside, but in
order to join the church there must be a confession of that
In this particular case it was exceedingly appropriate for
Barnabas to relate it, as they would not be disposed to believe
Paul. The general rule should be that each candidate tell his
own experience. It is better to let the candidate just get up
and tell the church why he thinks he is a Christian, in his own
way. Some people object to it. They say it is too embarrassing
to the women. Is have never found it so, but Is have seen men
so „shaky” when they went to get married that they answered
so low Is could hardly hear them. But women are always as_
sertive. A woman knows she loves him. She knows what she.
is doing, and she doesn’t mind saying so.
I remember a Christian experience related to our old First
Church at Waco. A Mrs. Warren gave it. I talked with her
privately, saying, „When you come before the church, don’t
let anybody suggest to you what you are to say, and don’t
you say anything because somebody else has said it; you just
simply say what has happened to you.” When I put the ques_
tion to her, she opened her Bible and put her finger on the
passage from which she heard a sermon, and showed how that
sermon took hold of her; told how it led her to pray; she then
turned to another passage, showing that through faith she
believed in Jesus Christ; and she thus turned from passage
passage. I considered hers the most intelligent and the most

impressive Christian experience I had ever heard. That kind
of testimony does a world of good.
3. The third use of it Paul himself makes in his letter to the
Galatians. He says, „God, who separated me even from my
mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son
in me.” Thus he goes on to make use of his Christian ex_
perience. He says, „Therefore, now first I was converted, and
then called as an independent apostle. That is why I do not
go to Jerusalem to submit my experience to Peter or John,
having derived this direct authority from God, from Christ,
who alone can call an apostle. That is why I did not submit
to the instruction of man.”
4. The next use he makes of it is what is told in Romans 7,
and he there tells his experience in order to show the use of
the law in the conversion of a man – that the law does not
convert the man; that it discovers sin to him: „I had not
known sin except the law said, Thou shall and shalt not do this
or that. I was not even conscious that I was a sinner until
the law showed me I was a sinner. Apart from the law I felt
all right, about as good as anybody, but when the law came,
sin revived and I died.” And then he goes on to show that
this mere sight of sin through the law cannot put one at peace
with God, neither can it deliver one; it does not enable one to
follow the right that he sees in order to evade the wrong
that he would not; that it leads one to cry out, „Wretched
man that I am, who shall deliver me out of the body of this
death?” But when he says, „I thank God through Christ Jesus
our Lord,” he then shows how his conversion, through faith in
Jesus Christ was led up to by the law: the law was a school_
master to lead him to Christ.
5. In the letter to the Corinthians he makes another use of
it. He explains that he is so different from what he was, say_
ing, „By the grace of God I am what I am.” In other words,
„You need not come to me and say, ‘Why, Paul, when did
you commence to do better, to work out your own righteous_
ness? You are so different from what you were when I first
heard of you; you then were breathing out threatenings,’
for I say to you, By the grace of God I am what I am.”
6. We see another when he stands on the stairway in Jeru_
salem, giving an explanation as to why he quit one crowd and
then went to another crowd. They were howling against him
for going over to the Christians after being so zealous as a
Jew, and he asked the brethren to hear him. He admits all
that they said as to what he had been, and to justify his oc_
cupying the position he now occupies, he says, „I will tell
you my Christian experience,” and be proceeds to do it. If a
leader of wild young men, up to all sorts of mischief and devil_
ment, should go off for a few days, and come back changed,
and the boys say, „Come down to the saloon tonight, and
let us have a good time,” and he would then say, „No,” they
would wonder what had come to him and would ask, „What
has come over you lately? Come and let us have a game of
cards.” But, „No,” he says, „boys, I will tell you why I
cannot do that.” Then he explains why, and he leaves that
crowd because he can’t stay with it any more. So Paul ex_
plained why he left the persecuting crowd, and could not go
with them any more. He had had a Christian experience.
7. In Acts 26 there is another instance recorded in which
he made use of it. He was at Caesarea, arraigned on trial
for his life, before Festus and King Agrippa. He is asked to
speak in his own defense. In defending himself against the
accusations of his enemies he relates his Christian experience.
8. In the letter to the Philippians he relates his Christian
experience in order to show the impossibility of any man’s
becoming righteous through his own righteousness, and to show
that Christ laid hold of him. He uses his own experience now
to show that his righteousness can never save him, and that
though regenerate, he cannot claim to be perfectly holy and

9. In I Timothy 1:12_16 he relates his Christian experience
in order to explain two poles of those who are salvable: (a)
„God forgave me because I did it through ignorance,” and
(b) to show that any man who has not committed the unpar_
donable sin, may be saved, since he, the chief of sinners, was
10. Then, in the last letter to Timothy, and just before
he died, he recites his Christian experience. He says, „I
know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that
he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him
against that day,” is. e., „Is committed my soul to him on that
day when he came to me and met me; I knew him before I
committed it to him, and I am persuaded that he is able to
keep it.” He made that use of his Christian experience be_
cause he was under the sentence of death, expecting in a few
hours to be executed. This is his farewell to earth and to
time, so he closes his letter with the statement that the time
of his exodus is at hand; that he is ready to be poured out
as a libation; that he has fought a good fight, has kept the
faith, and that he feels sure that there is laid up for him a
crown which God the righteous Judge will give to him at
his appearing, is. e., the appearing of Jesus. The relating of
that experience came from the lips of a dying man, showing
that the ground of his assurance gives calmness – the calmness
of God’s peace.
A startling fact confronts us in these many uses of his
experience. We do not find many uses of Peter’s experience,
or John’s, or Matthew’s, or Mark’s, or Luke’s. Paul is the
only man in the New Testament whose experience is held
up before us in ten distinct passages of scripture. To ac_
count for the fact, let us expound the two reasons for this
particular man’s conversion (I Tim. 1:13_16), in which he
says, „Howbeit Is obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly
in unbelief . . . howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy,
that in me as the chief [of sinners] might Jesus Christ show
forth all his longsuffering, for an ensample, . . .” the conclu_
sion of which is this: All these uses are made of Paul’s ex_
perience because as Abraham had the model faith, which is
the pattern for all generations, so Paul is a model in Chris_
tian experience – he is the pattern. If you preach on the
faith of Abraham you have the model faith of the world; if
you preach on the experience of Saul of Tarsus you have
the model experience of the world.
The principal lesson to us is that as it was in the par_
ticular case of Paul, so it is in our case, that the most stupen_
dous fact in our history is not when we were born according
to the flesh, but when we were born according to the Spirit.
That is our real birthday. It is the most significant and the
most far_reaching fact of anybody’s lifetime and an abundant
use may be made of it.
For instance, John Jasper, the Negro preacher, with his
Christian experience could always reply to any atheist – even
to President Eliot, of Harvard, about a new religion. He
would say to President Eliot, „When you say there is no
such thing as the religion that has been preached, you ought
to say, ‘Not as you knows of.’ Is have it, and since Is have
got it and you haven’t, Is am higher authority on that than
In Edward Eggleston’s Circuit Rider is the story of a
fighting preacher, who was going to his appointment, and
certain rough men stopped him on the way and told him that
he must turn round and go home, and not fill that appoint_
ment. „No,” he said, „I am going to fill it; I’m not going
home.” „Well, then, we will take you down from your horse
and give you such a beating that you will not feel like preach_
ing.” „Well, you ought not to do that,” he said. „You get
down,” they said. He got down and whipped both of them
outrageously, but in the fight he got his jaw badly bruised
and marred, and when he got to where he was to preach he
could not preach. There was a big crowd, and no preacher
who could preach. So he looked around and took a poor, thin,
long_haired, black_eyed young fellow who had been very wild,
but who had just been converted – just a boy. The preacher
said, „Ralph, get up here and preach.” „Why,” he says, „I
am no preacher; I have not been a Christian long; I have
not been licensed, nor ordained.” „But,” said the preacher,
„get up here and preach.” „Why,” said the boy, „I do not
know any sermons.” „Well, if you try to make a sermon
and fail, then throw your sermon down, and tell your Christian
experience before this crowd.” So that boy got up and made
a failure of trying to preach a sermon like preachers preach.
Then, weeping, he said, „Brethren, I can tell you how God
for Christ’s sake forgave my sins,” and he became more elo_
quent in telling his experience than Demosthenes or Cicero,
and that whole crowd was weeping under the power of the
boy’s simple recounting of the salvation of his soul. He could
not possibly have done any better than just what he did that
There is a myth that when Jupiter made a man he put a
pair of saddlebags on his shoulders. In one of the saddle_
bags was the man’s own sins and in the other were the sins
of his neighbors, and when the man threw the saddlebags
on his shoulder the sins of his neighbors were in front of
him and the other saddlebag with his own sins was behind
him so that he could not see them, but his eyes were always
on the sins of his neighbors_ But when conversion comes God
reverses the saddlebags, and putting the man’s own sins in
front, he places the sins of his neighbors behind him, so that
he never thinks about what a sinner A, B or C is, but, „Oh,”
he says, „what a sinner I am!” That is the way of it in the
Christian experience. Some think that it was the thought
underlying this myth which caused Paul to call himself the
chief of sinners, is. e., that it was because he saw his own
sins, but not the sins of other people. My belief is that
all of us feel that way the first time we quit looking at our
neighbors’ sins and begin looking at our own sins, but it is
not the explanation of Paul’s statement, because that does not
make a pattern of the case. He says, „Faithful is the saying,
and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into
the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief: howbeit for
this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus
Christ show forth all his long_suffering, for an ensample of
them that should thereafter believe on him unto eternal life.”
Note that his case was a pattern to them that should there_
after believe. That was the reason, and not simply that of
looking at his own sins instead of his neighbors.
What particular act, or series of acts, or state of mind con_
stituted him the chief of sinners, is. e., was it because he was
a persecutor, blasphemer, or injurious? No. I have showed
in a previous chapter that Louis XIV and Alva in the low_
lands persecuted worse than all. Others have gone before him
in blaspheming, and there have been more injurious men than
he. The answer is this: He was a „Pharisee of the Phari_
sees,” that is, he was an extremist, going to the fine points
of Pharisaism, the acme, the pinnacle, the apex of Pharisaism,
which is self_righteousness, and Paul was the most self_right_
eous man in the world. What is the sin of self_righteousness?
It says, „I am not depraved by nature; I do not need the new
birth, the re_birth of the Holy Spirit; I need no atonement; I
am the ‘pink of perfection.’ ” That is the greatest sin that
man ever committed, because it rejects the Father’s love.
It rejects the Saviour’s expiatory death, and his priesthood. It
rejects the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and
sanctification. Hence it is the culmination of sin. While
other people are self_righteous, Paul was the outside man,
which means that if all the sinners from Adam to the end
of the world were put in a row and graded according to their
heinousness, this one a sinner) this one more a sinner, that one
even more, and to the outside man, the worst, the one next to
hell, that man was Saul of Tarsus. That is what is meant
by being the outside man as a pattern. He topped them all,
to be held up before other sinners, so as to say, „If the out_
side man was saved, you need not despair.” The value of this
man’s conversion to the church and to the world is very great.
It marked the turning point in the direction of the labors of
the church in a worldwide way, and it established forever
the foundations of the new covenant as against the old cove_
His apostolic call and independent gospel knocks the foun_
dation out from under the Romanist claim that Peter was the
first Pope, because it shows that he did not derive from Peter
his apostolic authority; that he did not even goto see Peter
before he commenced exercising his call; that he did not get
from Peter one syllable of his gospel; and whenever an issue
came up between him and Peter the latter went down and not
Paul. That one fact destroys the entire claim of the papacy
that Peter was the first Pope.
There are some things in this connection that need ex_
planation. First, the falling of the scales from his eyes.
Literally, there was no falling of the scales from his eyes,
but the glory of Christ blinded him. His physical eyes could
not see. It was not his soul that was blinded, but his physi_
cal eyes; and „the scales” that fell from his eyes was this
temporary suspension of sight caused by this glory of the
Lord. If you hold your eye open a little and let me put a red
hot iron, not against your eye, but close to it, it will make
you as blind as a bat, but if you shut your eye it won’t do
it, because the tears in your eyes will break the conduction of
the heat. Paul’s case is just as when you are standing out
of doors on a dark night and there comes an intense flash
of lightning. When it is gone you cannot see for a moment.
That is the scales.
Second, Paul was unable to eat and drink for three days.
The experience that had come to him was turning the world
upside down. He had meat to eat that the ordinary man
knows not of. The disciples were astonished that Jesus, sit_
ting at the well of Sychar, was not hungry. He says, „I
have meat to eat that ye know not of.” Hundreds of times
I have been in that condition, after a great illumination in
‘God’s work, and some powerful demonstration in a meeting,
that I could not eat anything. The things of heaven tasted
so much better than the things of earth. No man eats for a
while in the shock of such tremendous experience as that
Paul passed through.
Third, the Lord said to Ananias, „Behold, he prayeth.”
The question arises, What was he praying for? What do
you pray for? You are converted. The Lord said to Ananias,
„Paul prayeth.” It was used as a proof that he was converted,
and, „therefore Ananias, you may go to him.” Ananias was
afraid to go. So the Lord said, „Why, you need not be afraid
to go; he is not persecuting now, he is praying; there has a
change come over him.” I do more praying and quicker
praying after an extraordinary visitation of God’s grace than
at any other time.

1. What address commended for study in connection with this chap_
ter, and have you read it?
2. What the scriptures bearing on the theme, and what the corre_
sponding date of each?
3 Prove that Paul was under conviction before his conversion?
4. Through whose ministry was Paul convicted?
5. At what point in the story was he converted – when he met Jesus
outside Damascus, at the end of three days in Damascus, or at his
baptism ?
6. What the proof that his vision of Jesus was real, and not a mere
mental state?
7. What was the necessity for his actually seeing the Lord?
8. Cite other passages also bearing on his apostolic call.

9. Distinguish clearly between his conversion and his apostolic call,
and show what part of this joint experience may not be expected in
conversions today, and was not a part of his Christian experience.
10. Define a Christian experience.
11. What varied uses does the New Testament make of Paul’s expe_
12. What startling fact confronts us in these many uses of his ex_
perience ?
13. To account for the fact expound the two reasons for this par_
ticular man’s conversion (I Tim. 1:13_16) in which be says, „Howbeit
Is obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief; . . . howbeit
for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as the chief of sinners]
might Jesus Christ show forth all his long_suffering, for an ensample,
14. What the lessons to us of the use to be made of our experience,
and what illustration of it?
15. Cite the myth of Jupiter concerning the man and the saddlebags.
16. Was it the thought underlying this myth which caused Paul to
call himself the chief of sinners, is. e., was it because he saw his own
sins, but not the sins of other people? Explain fully.
17. What particular act, or series of acts, or state of mind constituted
him the chief of sinners, i.e., was it because he was a. persecutor, blas_
phemer, or injurious?
18. What the value of this man’s conversion to the church and _the
19. What the bearing of his apostolic call and his independent
gospel on the Romanist claim that Peter was the first Pope?
20. Explain the falling of the scales from his eyes.
21. Explain his not eating and drinking for three days,
22. The Lord said to Ananias, „Behold, he prayeth.” What was he
waiting for?


See list of references below.

The theme of this section is the history of Saul from his
conversion and call to the apostleship, up to his ordination as
an apostle to the Gentiles; that is, it extends from Acts
9 over certain parts of Acts up to chapter 13, but not all of
the intervening chapters of Acts. The scriptures are Acts
9:17_30; 11:25_30; 22:17_21; Galatians 1:5_24; Acts 15:23_
41; 2 Corinthians 11:23_27, 32_33; 12:1_4; Acts 26:20, which
you have to study very carefully in order to understand this
section. The time covered by this period is at least nine
years, probably ten years, of which we have very scanty
history. We have to get a great part of our history from
indirect references, and therefore it takes a vast deal of
study to make a connected history of this period.
Two scriptures must here be reconciled, Acts 9:19_26 and
Galatians 1:15_18. The particular points conflicting are that
Luke in Acts 9 seems to say that immediately, or straightway,
after his conversion Saul commenced to preach at Damascus,
and the Galatian passage says that straightway after his
conversion he went into Arabia and remained there a long
time before he returned to Damascus. The precise question
involved in the account is, Did Paul commence to preach
„straightway” after his conversion, as Luke seems to repre_
sent it, or did he wait nearly three years after his conversion
before he began to preach? Luke’s account in Acts 9 seems
on its face to be a continuous story from Damascus back to
Jerusalem, without a note of time, except two expressions:
„And he was certain days with the disciples that were at Da_
mascus,” and then a little lower down he uses the expression,
„when many days were fulfilled.” Luke’s account says noth_
ing about Saul’s leaving Damascus, his long absence and re_
turn there. In a very few words only he tells the story of
three years. With his account only before us, we would
naturally infer that Saul began to preach in Damascus
„straightway” after his conversion, but we would also infer
that this preaching was continuous there after he commenced,
until he escaped for his life to go to Jerusalem. But the
Galatian account shows that he left Damascus straightway
after his conversion, went into Arabia, returned to Damas_
cus, and then took up his ministry there, and, after three
years, went to Jerusalem. This account places the whole of
his Damascus ministry after his return there.
The issue, however, is not merely between Luke’s „straight_
way” and the Galatian „straightway,” though this is sharp, but
so to insert the Galatian account in the Acts account as not
to mar either one of the accounts, and yet to intelligently
combine the two into one harmonious story. In Hackett on
Acts, „American Commentary,” we find the argument and the
arrangement supporting the view that Paul commenced to
preach in Damascus before he went into Arabia, and in chap_
ter II of Farrar’s Life of Paul we find the unanswerable argu_
ment showing that Paul did not commence to preach until
after his return from Arabia, and that his whole ministry
at Damascus was after that time, and then was continued
until he escaped and went to Jerusalem.
The Hackett view, though the argument is strong and plaus_
ible in some directions, breaks down in adjustment of the

accounts, marring both of them, and failing utterly in the
combination to make one intelligent, harmonious story. The
author, therefore, dissents strongly from the Hackett view
and supports strongly that of Farrar. In other words, we
put in several verses of the letter to the Galatians right after
Acts 9:19.
Let us take Acts 9, commencing with verse 17: „And
Ananias departed, and entered into the house; and laying his
hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, who
appeared unto thee in the way which thou earnest, hath sent
me, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with
the Holy Spirit. And straightway there fell from his eyes
as it were scales, and he received his sight; and he arose and
was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened. And
he was certain days with the disciples that were at Damascus.”
And Galatians 1:15 reading right along: „But when it was
the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my
mother’s womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his
Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles;
straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither
went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before
me: but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned unto
Damascus.” All of that must follow Acts 9:19. Then we
go back and read, beginning at Acts 9:20: „And straightway
in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, that he is the Son of
God,” that is, straightway after he returned from Arabia.
Then read to Acts 9:25, and turn back to Galatians 1:18:
„Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit
Cephas.” Then go with Acts 9:26: „And when he was come
to Jerusalem, he essayed to join himself to the disciples.” The
following is a harmony of these scriptures:

It, is intensely important that you have this harmony of all
these scriptures. You divide all of this into four parts just
like the Broadus method in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
I have in four parallel columns made the harmony complete in
the passages mentioned, showing how far to read, and then
taking up the one that supplies, so that one can read the entire
story without a break. In column I of this harmony read Acts
9:17_19; in column 2, Galatians 1:15_17; returning to column
I read Acts 9:20_25 and 2 Corinthians 11:32_33; then in col_
umn 2, Galatians 1:18 (except the last clause); then back to
column I and read Acts 9:26_27; in column 2, Galatians 1:
18 (last clause) and 19_20; then back to column I, read Acts
9:28_29 (except last clause); then in coimn 3 read Acts
22:17_21; in column I, Acts 9:29 (last clause) to verse 31; in
column 2, Galatians 1:21_24; in column 4, Acts 11:25_30;
12:25. This is the harmonious story of Paul. Then read for
purposes of investigation, Acts 15:23_41 in order to get the
information about his Cilician work, also read 2 Corinthians
11:23_27 to find out what part of the sufferings there enum_
erated took place in Cicilia. Then read 2 Corinthians 12:
1_4, as this pertains to Cilicia. Then read Acts 26:20 and
ask the question, When did he do this preaching in Judea, and
was it during his Cilician tour? This gives all the scriptures.
Carefully read it over in the order in which the scriptures are
given. It makes the most perfect story that I have ever
read. It does not mar any one of the four separate cases.
It does combine into one harmonious story and gives us an
excellent harmony of these scriptures.
The value of this harmony is very evident. This arrange_
ment mars no one of the several accounts of the story, but
does combine them into one harmonious story, and provides
an explanation for Luke’s „certain days,” „many days,” the
Galatian „three years,” Luke’s „straightway,” and the Gala_
tian „straightway.”

With this harmony before us, we can see why Luke is so
very brief on the account of Paul in Acts 9. His plan is to
tell the story of the Jerusalem church rp to the end of chap_
ter 12. All matters apart from that are briefly noted, and
only as they connect with Jerusalem, the center. But from
chapter 13 he makes Antioch the center, and we are told of
his arrest, and later on he shifts back to Jerusalem, and then
back to Rome, and thus winds up the history. Remember the
centers: First center, Jerusalem; second center, Antioch; third
center, Jerusalem, and fourth center, Rome.
Saul did not commence preaching at Damascus immediate_
ly after his conversion because he had nothing to preach. He
had not yet received the gospel. A man cannot by sudden
wrench turn from propagating the Pharisee persecution to
propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ. He must have the
gospel first, and must receive it direct from the Lord. After
you take up the New Testament passages showing how he
received the gospel, you will see that he did not receive it
while at Damascus. Indeed, we have the most positive proof
that he did not receive it there.
But why did he go into Arabia, where in Arabia, and how
long there? Being willing to accept Christ as his Saviour, he
needs time for adjustment. He needs retirement. He needs,
like every preacher needs after conversion, his preparation to
preach and to know what to preach. He went into Arabia
for this purpose, and, of course, Arabia here means the
Sinaitic Peninsula, or Mount Sinai. Up to his conversion he
had been preaching Moses and the law given on Mount Sinai.
Now he goes into Arabia to Mount Sinai, the very place where
God gave the law to Moses, to study the law and the gospel,
and comes back to us, having received of the Lord the gospel
as explained in Galatians.
There are some analogous cases. The other apostles had to
have three years of preparation, and under the same teacher,
Jesus. They would have done very poor preaching if they
had started immediately after their conversion. Jesus kept
them right there, and trained them for three years. Now Paul
commences with the three years’ training, and he goes to
Arabia and receives the three years’ preparation under the
same teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He not only
knows the facts of the gospel as we know them from Mat_
thew, Mark, Luke, and John, but as one that was there right
at the time, and he gets it firsthand from the Lord Jesus
Christ himself telling him all the important facts bearing
upon the remaining of the incarnation of Jesus, where he
came from in coming to the earth, how much he stooped, what
the coming signified, of his death, his burial, his resurrection,
his ascension. We get the harmony of the gospel by studying
the books, but he did not get it as we do, but by direct reve_
lation from the Lord Jesus Christ. He introduces a state_
ment concerning the revelation that he received, and he is
careful to tell the Corinthian church how that Christ died,
was buried, and rose again in three days. It took three years
and a half in the analogous cases of other apostles.
Elijah went into Arabia and into this very mountain when
he was perplexed; and there came an earthquake, and God
was not in the earthquake; and there came a fire, and God was
not in the fire, but there came a still, small voice showing Eli_
jah what he must do. Take the case of Moses when the revela_
tion was made to him that he was to deliver Israel out of the
hands of the Egyptians. God told him the methods and the
means and sent him into the same Sinaitic Peninsula. He
stayed there forty years in study and preparation, and then
delivered Israel.
John the Baptist remained in the wilderness thirty years in
order to preach six months. Neither did Jesus open his mouth
to preach a sermon until after his baptism, and was led into
the wilderness and tempted of the devil, and then came back
and immediately commenced to preach. More hurtful mis_
takes are made by unprepared people taking hold of the
Scriptures than in any other way. A certain colonel, when
asked by a zealous young preacher, „Well, colonel, what do
you think of my sermon,” answered, „Zealous, but weak.”
We have only to read Galatians 4 to see the significance of
Sinai and Jerusalem, which shows the revolutions which took
place in his mind while he was in Arabia. If the apostle Paul
had not gone into Arabia, but had been sent to Judea under
the old covenant, which is Jerusalem, as Jerusalem now is,
the Christian world would have been a Jewish sect. You
have only to read to see how certain of the apostles clung
to the forms and customs of the Jewish law and claimed that
one could not be a Christian without becoming a Jew and
being circumcised. What would have been the effect if God
had not selected this great life and revealed to him the min_
istry of the gospel that had been rejected by the Jews and
given to the Gentiles, so that foreigners and aliens might be_
come citizens and saints? For a more elaborate discussion of
this subject see the author’s sermon on the Arabian visit.
Just before the ministry at Damascus he went into Arabia
and returned. He was in Arabia over two, perhaps three
years. As he stayed about three years before he went back to
Jerusalem, his ministry was not very long in Damascus. The
record says, „straightway in the synagogues he proclaimed
Jesus,” etc. What kind of sermons did they have? The Jews
over at Damascus that were still holding to the Mosaic law
could not yet understand .this revolutionary preaching, and
right there at Damascus, he received one of the five Jewish
scourgings that are mentioned in 2 Corinthians, which gives a
list of the number of times he received the forty stripes save
one, and the number of times beaten with the Roman rods,
and the number of times scourged with the Jewish scourge.
Finding the scourging was not sufficient, they laid a plot
against him. They conspired and set a watch at every gate
all around the city to kill him. The walls at Damascus have
houses built on them, as you can see to this day. They put
him in a basket and from a window in the upper story they
letrbim down by the wall. Aretas was king of Damascus
at this time) and he stationed soldiers at every gate to keep
watch, and while they were watching the gates, Paul escaped
from the window in an upper story, as given in the thrilling
account of 2 Corinthians 11:32_33. Also Luke gives the ac_
count, saying that the brethren let him down in a basket by
the wall. Now he being let down, started to Jerusalem. Three
years have elapsed since he left there, a persecutor, and he
returns now a preacher of the Lord Jesus Christ. That pre_
sents this connected account.
But why did he want to go to Jerusalem to see Peter?
Commentaries say he wanted to get information from Peter;
Catholics say that Peter was Pope. Whatever he wanted to
get, I think he derived nothing from Peter. When he came
there they expressed distrust of him. If he had commenced
to preach at Damascus „straightway” after his conversion, in
three years’ time some notice would have gotten to Jerusa_
lem, and there would not have been this distrust when he
got there. Only one had heard of this change and his begin_
ning to preach, and that was Barnabas, of the Jewish church.
When Barnabas related Paul’s experience, they received him
and he went in and out among them. But he was there only
two weeks.
He commenced immediately to preach to the Grecians, and
it stirred up the people as it did at Damascus, and they were
so intensely stirred that they laid a plan to kill him. So
he left, and there are two reasons for his leaving. When the
brethren saw the Jews were about to kill him, they sent him
to Caesarea and over to Tarsus. That is one of the reasons
for his leaving. Paul gives an entirely different reason. He
says, „And it came to pass when I was come again to Jeru_
salem, even while I prayed in the Temple, I was in a trance,
and Jesus came unto me saying, Make haste and get thee
quickly out of Jerusalem, for they will not receive thy testi_
mony concerning me. Get thee far hence and preach to the
Gentiles,” and he, therefore, went.
Here was the Cilician ministry, its sufferings and its reve9
lations. He was over there five years, and some of the suffer”*
ings enumerated in I Corinthians II are bound to have oc_
curred in that period; some of the shipwrecks, some of the
scourges, some of these stonings. In 2 Corinthians 12 he
says, „I knew a man in Christ, fourteen years ago,” so if you
drop back fourteen years you find yourself there with Paul in
Cilicia. In 2 Corinthians 12:1_4 we find the revelations
that occurred there. One of the revelations there was that
marvelous revelation that he received (2 Corinthians 12:4):
„How that he was caught up into Paradise.” Here the ques_
tion arises, Was it in this tour that he preached on the coasts
of Judea? In Acts he seems to say that he preached at Damas_
cus first and then at Jerusalem, and in Cilicia, and on the
coasts of Judea. We have no history of his preaching on
the Judean coasts beyond his statement, and if he did not
preach on the coasts of Judea at that time, when do we
find a period in bis life before that where he could have
preached on the Judean coasts? On his way to the Jerusa_
lem conference. Therefore, he says, „While I was in Cilicia,
and the five years I was at Tarsus, and just a little way from
Tarsus on the Judean coasts.”
Let us consider the Antioch ministry. The record says
Bamabas had gone to Tarsus in order to find Saul and bring
him back with him, and that Bamabas and Saul preached a
year at Antioch. A great many were brought into the church.
It was the first time in the world where Jew and Gentile were
in the same church together, socially, eating and drinking
with each other. But Paul now makes his second visit to
Jerusalem. The last of chapter II tells us that Agabus, one
of the prophets, foretold a drouth in Judea, and Paul and
Bamabas took a collection over to them. Later, when Paul
is making his last visit to Jerusalem, Agabus meets him and
gives that remarkable prophecy which we find in Acts 21,
about what would happen to Paul if he went to Jerusalem,
he having received the revelation from the Holy Spirit. But
the condition of Jerusalem when he arrived was awful. Herod,
as we find in Acts 12, was persecuting the church, and had
killed James and imprisoned Peter. Paul comes just at that
time. On his return to Antioch he finds a new companion,
The Romanists place here Peter’s first visit to Rome. They
take two passages of scripture, one Acts II, where Peter
visits all parts, and they say when he left Jerusalem this
time he went to Rome, and got back to Jerusalem in time
for that big council in Acts 15. So far as Bible history goes,
there is not a bit of testimony that Peter ever saw Rome.
I think he did, but we do not get it from the Bible.
Here arises another question, Did the shock of our Lord’s
appearance to Saul on the way to Damascus, likely injure
him physically in a permanent way, and permanently affect his
sensibilities? My opinion is that it did. He was never a
strong man after that. His eyes always gave him trouble.
Though the scales fell from his eyes, and he was not entirely
blind, his eyes were weak, and he had to grope his way in
walking. There are two pictures of Paul which greatly con_
trast his physical appearance. Raphael gives us a famous
cartoon of Paul at Athens, and one of the most famous pic_
tures of the great apostle. We find a copy of it in most Bible
illustrations, certainly in any Roman Catholic Bible. An_
other picture is by the artist, Albrecht Durer. It is called a
medallion, a carved picture, and it presents a little, ugly,
weak, bald_headed, blear_eyed Jew. Durer’s picture is the
one that fits Paul’s account of himself, and not Raphael’s.
I here commend, in addition to Conybeare and Howson’s
Life of Paul and Farrar’s History, Lightfoot on Galatians.

1. What the theme of this section?
2. What the scriptures?
3. What the time covered by this period?
4. What two scriptures must here be reconciled?
5. What the problem here?
6, What the Hackett view of it?
7. What the real solution of it?
8. Show how the scriptures are made to fit this scheme.
9. How may we show the harmony of these scriptures?
10. What the value of this harmony?
11. Why did not Saul commence preaching at Damascus immediately after his conversion?
12.Why did he go into Arabia, where in Arabia, & how long there?
13. What the analogous cases cited?
14.What was the added value of this preparation to Saul?
15.What sermon commended in this connection & have you read it?
16. Describe the ministry at Damascus.
17. Why did he want to go to Jerusalem to see Peter?
18. Explain the distrust there & its bearing on preceding question.
19. How long was he there?
20. What of his ministry while there?
21. What two reasons for his leaving?
22. How long was the Cilician ministry, and what its sufferings and
its revelations?
23. Was it in this tour that be preached on the coasts of Judea?
24. Describe the Antioch ministry, and how long was it?
25. What carried Paul on his second visit to Jerusalem, and when does Agabus again appear in this history?
26. What was the condition of Jerusalem when he arrived?
27. Where do the Romanists place Peter’s first visit to Rome?
28. On Paul’s return to Antioch, what new companion had he?
29. Did the shock of our Lord’s appearance, to Saul on the way to
Damascus likely injure him physically in a permanent way, and per_
manently affect his sensibilities?
30. What two pictures of Paul greatly contrast his physical appear_
ance, and which is most likely true to nature?
31. What special authority on this period, in addition to Conybeare
and Howson, and Farrar’s History, commended?

Acts 13:1 to 14:28

A map of the Roman Empire in the times of the apostles
should be always before the New Testament student. The
reason that a map of that kind is of so much importance to
the student is that it gives the Roman provinces to which
the New Testament, and particularly the book of Acts, makes
so many references. This is specially needful in studying any
part of the New Testament that applies to Asia Minor and
the provinces of Asia, in order that one may comprehend the
governmental divisions at that time, and the form of the
government in the different places.
It is important to locate the two Antiochs of this section,
and tell how there happened to be two. The first Antioch –
the one from which Paul starts out – is the capital of Syria.
Syria includes the Holy Land. The second Antioch is in the
Roman province of Galatia, but the native name of it is the
Phrygian Antioch of Pisidia. There happened to be two,
because the ruler of the Syrian Antioch built the other An_
tioch, and that ruler was Antiochus. Whether he was An_
tiochus Is, II, III, or IV, we do not stop to notice now, but
he was Antiochus, ruler of Syria, and built over in Asia Minor,
in the country of Pisidia, which was afterward included in
the Roman province of Galatia, the second Antioch.
Alexander the Great conquered all of Asia Minor and Syria,
and the Orient up to the river Indus. When he died his
empire was divided into four parts, and one of his generals,
Seleucus, had the empire of Syria, whose capital was this
Syrian Antioch, built by Antiochus, one of the Seleucidae, 80
that it was the capital of the fourth part of the Greek em_
pire. There this great man ruled, and before the New Testa_
ment times one of the kings who reigned was Antiochus
Epiphanes, who was the one that troubled the Jews so much,
and tried to destroy their religion, the history of which we
find in the book of the Maccabees. After a while the Ro_
man Empire rises, and the Romans sweep the Greek Empire
away. And when they sweep it away, then they divide the
whole Roman Empire into governmental provinces, and one
of the governmental provinces was Syria. That included
Antioch, Damascus, and Jerusalem, and the head of the dis_
trict lived at Antioch. That brings up the history somewhat
to the first Pentecost.
In Acts 2 we learn that certain Syrian Jews were there in
Jerusalem, and heard Peter’s great sermon. In chapter 6 we
learn that Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch, was one of the
first deacons. When the persecution of Saul, which com_
menced at the death of Stephen, was raised against the Jeru_
salem church, certain Syrians who were there went as far as
Antioch, some of them preaching to the Jews only, and some
of them preaching to the Greeks. As soon as information came
to the Jerusalem church that the Greeks were being preached
to in the city of Antioch, they sent Barnabas there, a good
man, full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Barnabas had been
the means of introducing Saul, after his conversion, to the
Jerusalem church. When he saw the magnitude of the work
in the Syrian Antioch, and knowing that Paul was called to
be an apostle to the Gentiles, he went to Tarsus after Paul.
Paul joins him in Antioch, and they start off to preach and
build the first blended church of Jews and Gentiles.
Paul’s commission to the heathen was given to him on the
day he was converted, and the exact words of it are found in
Acts 26 as follows: „But arise, and stand upon thy feet; for
to this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a min-

ister and a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen
me, and of the things wherein Is will appear unto thee; deliver_
ing thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom
I send thee, to open their eyes, that they may turn from
darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God,
that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance
among them that are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:16_
18). That was his commission, given him the day he was con_
It was about ten years after that commission was given to
the commencement of this section, and there were many inter_
mediate events. It was three years from his conversion to his
first visit to Jerusalem; he was five years in Cilicia; he was
more than one year at Antioch; so it would be about ten
years in all since this commission was given. The interme_
diate events are as follows: (1) His going into Arabia to re_
ceive the gospel. (2) His preaching at Damascus. (3) His
preaching and rejection in Jerusalem. (4) His preaching in
Cilicia. (5) His preaching at Antioch.
This long delay of ten years between the giving of his
commission to the Gentiles and his now being ordained to
be sent out to the Gentiles, are explained thus: As an ex_
ample, God called Moses as a deliverer of Israel forty years
before he instructed him to commence the delivery. As there
was a necessity for delay in the case of Moses in the proper
preparation of the public mind and Moses’ own mind and the
mind of the Egyptians, to take place between his call and
the work of deliverance, just so it was in the case of Saul. He
was not ready to preach outright, at once, from the day
he was called to preach to the Gentiles. Public sentiment at
Jerusalem in the church that already existed was not yet
ready for him. In his own time God would tell him when this
great work would commence.
The Holy Spirit now intervenes to give effect to this com_
mission. He found a certain number of disciples, brethren,
prophets and teachers at Antioch, engaged in fasting and
prayer, and impressed their minds to ordain Barnabas and
Saul to go to the Gentiles. He is the one that intervenes,
and that is how he did it, as chapter 13 commences thus:
„Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there,
prophets and teachers, Barnabas, and Symeon that was called
Niger, and Lucius of Gyrene, and Manaen, the foster_brother
of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. And as they ministered to
the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me, Bar_
nabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them.
Then when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands
on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:1_3).
There is a distinction between prophets and teachers. A
prophet was one who had, by inspiration and authority,
revelations from God to deliver to the people. He might also
be a teacher. A teacher was one) when he was not a prophet
also, who could instruct other people in the things that were
revealed by inspiration. This is the distinction between a
prophet and a teacher.
Here we have an ordination ceremony. An ordination is an
official ceremony by the church, setting apart a man to a
specific work by prayer and laying on of hands. The value of
the ordination here is this, that while Paul had received his
commission known to him, there had been no occasion of the
Holy Spirit calling a church to recognize that commission of
Paul. In other words, God always makes a double shot. If
he calls a man to preach, he calls a church to recognize that
call. If he calls a man to do a specific thing, then he also
calls the particular person that he is to work with. The
Eunuch meets Philip promptly, and is at the place to receive
him when he comes. He called Peter to go to Cornelius, and
he called Cornelius to receive Peter. Sometimes a young fel_
low thinks he is called to preach, and no church agrees with
him. I think he had better not preach. There must be a
call at both ends of the line. Paul had been preaching be_
fore. This was not to call him out as a preacher. This was
to send him out to preach to Gentiles, therefore the necessity
of this ordination.
Let us delimit the three missionary tours with Antioch as the
central authority. The first one is set forth in Acts 13_14. At
the beginning of chapter 13, Antioch sends out the mission_
aries. At the end of chapter 14 they get back home and
report all their work. So that one is delimited. The second
one starts from Antioch, commencing in Acts 15:36. And that
one ends at Acts 18:22. That is the end of the second tour.
The third commences at Acts 18:23: „And having spent some
time there, he departed, and went through the region of
Galatia, and Phrygia, in order, establishing all the disciples.”
That takes us to the end of chapter 20. With Antioch as a
starting point, here are three great missionary tours to the
heathen, as just delimited; so that we are now to consider
these tours in order, and our topic now is the first tour.
The missionaries thus far are Barnabas and Saul. Barna_
bas is the one who so kindly befriended Saul, and introduced
him to the Jerusalem church, and who went after him to
Tarsus and brought him to Antioch to help in the great re_
vival there, so their relations were very close. There went
along with them a young man named John Mark as their
minister; that is, he was to attend to a great many details of
this expedition, and Paul needed him very much on account
of his own physical condition, being half_blinded. It was a
great help to have a young man along who could manage de_
tails. So the missionaries were Barnabas, Saul, and John
With a map before you, start from Antioch, the great capi_
tal of Syria. Damascus is about half_way between Jerusalem
and Antioch. Come down to the sea from Seleucia. There
they take ship and come to Salamis, on the Island of Cyprus;
then they go through the country about 100 miles to Paphos,
which is the capital of Cyprus; then they take ship and go
to Perga, which is the capital of the Roman province, Pam_
phylia; then they go through the Taurus Mountains into Pisi_
dia to Antioch, its capital; then they go southeast to Iconium
and then south to Lystra, then east to Derbe. Now they take
a back track until they get down into Pamphylia again at
Perga; then they go across the land to that seaport, Attalia;
there they embark and go home; they do not go back by
Cyprus, but they go straight to Seleucia. That is the course
on the map; so the tracing is from Antioch in Syria to the
Seleucian sea port; from that sea port to Salamis, on the
Island of Cyprus; through the island to the capital of the
island, to Pamphylia, across the mountains to Antioch in
Pisidia; and from there to Iconium; then to Lystra, to Derbe,
and right back over the trail until they get to Perga, then to
Attalia, and then straight across to Seleucia in Syria.
The Island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean Sea, has al_
ways been a famous place. I could speak at length on its past
history. At this time it was a part of the Roman Empire, and
Paphos is said to be the birthplace of the goddess, Venus.
The Greeks said she was born out of the foam of the sea,
and hence the worship was largely the worship of Venus,
and as vile a worship as the human mind can devise. The
Jews had been there quite a while. Long before Christianity
came, Jews were there. There was also a synagogue at Sala_
mis, which is on the east side of the island, and Paphos is
on the west. Both are sea ports. One can go from one place
to the other, either by land or by sea.
The recorded incidents of the work in Cyprus are few.
The record tells us, without any other incident, that they
preached in the synagogue at Salamis. What happened we
do not know. The record then says they went from there to
Paphos, and there they found a certain Jew, Bar_Jesus, is. e.,
son of Jesus. His Greek name was Elymas, and he was a
sorcerer, and that sorcerer opposed Barnabas and Paul, by
exerting an influence over the Roman governor And Paul.
by the exercise of apostolic power, smote him with blind_
ness, and the miracle made such an impression on the mind
of Sergius Paulus that he accepted the faith preached to them;
so the Roman governor became a convert.
Just here it is well to account for the important position
of Elymas, a. sorcerer, at the court of Sergius Paulus. By this
time in history, mythology was rejected by the Romans. They
saw it was a deception, but the human mind cannot do without
some kind of religion, and particularly are men anxious to
understand the future, and, therefore, they turn to the for_
tunetellers, diviners, and sorcerers, and we find them at almost
every Roman court. We find them with the kings up to the
fifteenth century. This Roman, like any other man, was
anxious about the future. He had no faith in the heathen
religion, and this Oriental comes along as a sorcerer, like
Balaam in the old time, like Simon Magus that we have just
heard about over in Samaria, and Rome was full of them.
That is how they came to find such a gentleman (?) there.
There are two changes relative to the missionaries, which
date from Paphos. First, from this time on Saul is called
Paul. Never after this is he called Saul. In chapter 13,
„Saul who is also called Paul” is there in parenthesis. We
need not try to account for this change in the name by at_
tributing it to the conversion of Sergius Paulus; that is con_
jecture. It is a fact that Jews took corresponding Roman
names. It may be that the great Elymas family at Rome was
the one who bought the ancestors of Paul, and that among the
Romans his name was always Paul, and among the Jews it
would be Saul. But anyhow the change takes place in that
name. We find from now on Paul steps to the front. Sec_
ond, Barnabas has been in the front all the way, and his name
was first when they were first sent out. All the time after
this date it is Paul and Barnabas, and when they talk about
who is going, Paul is first. The braver man in an exigency

ill a missionary tour comes to the front. The next preaching
place is Antioch of Pisidia.
Let us look at the way of going from Paphos to Antioch.
They take a ship here at Paphos and come to Pamphylia,
and a little distance from the coast is Perga. Leaving Perga,
they go over some awful mountains. The men that travel
over those roads say now that they are horrible, and terrible
to get over. They keep climbing and climbing, and when they
get up there to Antioch, they are on a high plain, far above
the seacoast, just as the Panhandle plain is above the low_
lands of Houston; just as they climb from Amarillo to Denver
through the mountains.
A far_reaching event occurred while they were at Perga.
John Mark left them, the cause of which we have but a faint
idea. Paul and Barnabas do not tell why, but we know that
it was something blame worthy, for Paul kept it in his mind as
a bitter and blamable thing. It may be that this young man
started out with them on this trip, willing enough to stay with
them as long as they were at Cyprus, Barnabas’ own home,
where he could be with kinsmen, for Mark was akin to Barna_
bas. He was all right there, but when they got to Perga,
and there saw before them that terrible climb into the moun_
tains, into an unknown world, and the peril of robbers, and
ten thousand other perils, he took the toothache, or something
of that kind, and dropped out.
The effect on the relations between Paul and Barnabas
was that when they started on the second tour, and Barnabas
wanted to take Mark, Paul said he should not go, because he
turned back before. Barnabas stood up for his kinsman. This
separated Paul and Barnabas. Barnabas took Mark, and
went back to Cyprus, and Paul took Silas and went over the
same country. So these two good friends separated in their
work for life. As to the effect on the further relations be_
tween Paul and Mark, I am glad to report that, later on,
Paul takes Mark back, and writes, „Send Mark to me, for he is
profitable to me for his ministry.” So the relations between
Paul and Mark ended promisingly.
Here this question arises, Why probably was there no
preaching at Perga on the going_trip, and yet when they re_
turn, they do preach at Perga? The probable answer, as
given by quite a number of very distinguished men on this
question, is, that they got to Perga at the middle of the spring.
The people down on the coast at that season leave the coast
and travel up into the mountains on account of malaria. When
they came back, that malaria was over, and the people were
at home; therefore, when they came back they preached at
Perga. Moreover, in going with this emigration of the people
to the mountains they would have needed escorts. Two lone
men, going through that terrible mountainous country, would
have had a hard time.
This Antioch, as I have said, was built by Antiochus, one
of the Greek rulers at the other Antioch, and it was a city of
very considerable importance throughout the Grecian and Ro_
man world. Augustus, the second Roman Emperor (Julius
Caesar being counted the first), made it a colony. We will
strike another colony when we get to Philippi a little later.
Antioch in Syria was a free city, but Antioch in Pisidia was
a colony. That gave them _the privilege of Roman citizens,
their names being retained on the muster of the citizens in
the city of Rome. They had free municipal government,
Roman magistrates just as they had in the city of Rome, who
ruled over that town. It remained an important place for
1,400 years, which is a long time. Probably more than 1,500
years it remained an important place. It was right on the
Roman road that commenced near Ephesus, and went through
this country to reach Syria. It ran along the mountains, and
came right down close to the sea, and there is that pass
where so many important battles were fought. Antioch was
right on that road. There was the native population; there
was also the Greek population that came when the country
was in the empire of the Greeks, then there was the Jewish
population – a very large population – and finally, the Roman
population. Their religion was heathen and vile.
There was a synagogue at Antioch and we have their serv_
ice described in Acts 13:14_15: „But they, passing through
from Perga, came to Antioch of Pisidia; and they went into the
synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. And after the
reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the syna_
gogue sent unto them, saying, Brethren, if ye have any word
of exhortation for the people, say on.” That is a scene such
as can be witnessed until this day, and is witnessed in ten
thousand places of the earth. On the sabbath day a certain
part of the law is read, then a section of the prophets, then
comes what is called the Midrash – the interpretation of the
scriptures read.
Quite a number of men, with whom I agree, have inferred
from certain Greek words used in the passage of the law
that was read, that it was a portion of Deuteronomy I, and
the portion of the prophets read was Isaiah 1:1_22. They
appointed so much of the law to be read every sabbath day,
and a certain portion from the prophets. Having read, the
custom was for the minister in the synagogue to look around,
and if there was any distinguished brother present, he was
very apt to invite him to deliver the Midrash. When Jesus
was in the synagogue at Nazareth, they handed him the book
and told him to read, and he read a passage to them in Isaiah,
whereupon he delivered a sermon and told them that the
scripture he read was fulfilled in their midst that day. In
like manner, Paul, taking the second passage of the law and
prophets, delivers his first recorded sermon, and we have it
right before us.
Let us analyze this first recorded sermon of Paul’s. He
commenced with the references in Deuteronomy and Isaiah.
He told them bow that God had brought them up out of the
land of Egypt; how he had cared for them in the wilderness;
how he had preserved them in the time of the Judges until
David was king, and how he had promised that the Son of
David should be the Messiah, and how the prophecy had been
recently fulfilled; that the Son of David had come; that the
rulers at Jerusalem had misunderstood and crucified him, and
he had risen from the dead, and wound up by saying, „Now
my glad tidings to you is that through faith in this crucified
Son of David, who is risen from the dead, you can be puri_
fied from all the things that are written in the law against
you.” In other words, his sermon, in the most tactful way,
gives us a historical account of that people, winding up in
the crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, and _the justifica_
tion through faith in Jesus, which brings salvation. It is one
of the most orderly sermons in the world.
There is a very important chronological date given in this
sermon. He says that it was 450 years from the beginning
of the period of the Judges to Samuel, the prophet. Then, if
we add forty years, the time Samuel judged Israel, we have
490 years, the period of the Judges. So, from the call of
Abraham to the settlement in Canaan was 490; from the
settlement in Canaan to the rise of the monarchy, 490 years;
from the rise of the monarchy until its downfall, 490 years,
and from the downfall of the monarchy to the coming of
Christ, 490 years.

1. What map should be always before the New Testament student,
and why?
2. Locate the two Antiochs of this section, and tell how there hap_
pened to be two.
3. Give brief account of the Syrian Antioch up to the first Pentecost.
4. Trace in Acta the events touching this Antioch up to chapter 13.
5. What was Paul’s commission to the heathen, and when was it
given to him?
6. How long was it after this commission was given him to the com_
mencement of this section?
7. What the intermediate events, and why the long delay between
his commission and his ordination?
8. Who now intervenes to give effect to this commission, and how?
9. What the distinction between prophets and teachers?
10. What is an ordination, and what its value here?
11. Delimit the three missionary tours, with Antioch of Syria as the
central authority.
12. Who the missionaries, and what their relation thus far?
13. Trace on a map the first tour.
14. Give a short account of Cyprus, its government, its heathen reli_
gion, the Jews there, and its connection with Christianity thus far.
15. Locate Salamis and Paphos.
16. What the recorded incidents of the work in Cyprus?
17. How account for the important position of Elyrnas, a sorcerer
at the court of Sergius Paulus?
18. What changes relative to the missionaries dating from Paphos?
19. Describe their way of going from Paphos to Antioch.
20. What far_reaching event occurred while they were at Perga, what
the probable cause, what the effect on the relations of Paul and Barna_
baa in the next tour, and what the ultimate effect on Paul’s relations
to Mark?
21. Why probably was there no preaching at Perga on the going trip,
and yet when they return they do preach at Perga?
22. Give a short account of this Antioch, its government, its heathen
religion, and the Jews there.
23. Describe the synagogue at Antioch and their service therein.
24. Analyze this first recorded sermon of Paul’s.
25. What important chronological date given m this sermon, and
what its bearing?


There are certain Old Testament passages interpreted in
Paul’s great sermon in Antioch of Pisidia. The Psalm 2:7:
„Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Paul in_
terprets that to refer to the resurrection of Christ. Christ was
the Son of God in several ways – by eternal subsistence, by
being born of the Virgin Mary, and by his resurrection from
the dead: „This day have I begotten thee.” The second pas_
sage that he interprets is Isaiah 55:3: „I will make an ever_
lasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”
Paul refers that to the resurrection, and not the sure mercies
that come to David, but the sure mercies that David, as a
prophet, foresaw. This he explains by another passage in
Psalm 16:10, in which David foresaw that the Messiah’s body
would not see corruption, and that his soul would not be left
disembodied. If it were not for Paul’s interpretation no man
would have rightly given the meaning of these Old Testament
passages. So the third one is the passage in Psalm 16:10,
and the last one is Habakkuk 1:5, in which Paul applies to
them the prophetic warning of Habakkuk.
The results of this sermon were immense. Both Jews and
proselytes, before they left the house, crowded around him
and asked him to present the same matter to them the fol_
lowing sabbath. Whenever a preacher goes to an appoint_
ment, and the brethren crowd around him and ask him to
repeat that matter the following Sunday, then he may know
that he made a good impression. The second result was
that a great many of the Jews and proselytes, even after
they had left the house, talked with them personally and
evidenced conversion. And the third result was that the
sermon was so much talked about in the intervening week
that when the next sabbath came, the house would not hold
the people. He had a message for the Gentiles by which they,
without becoming Jews, could be saved – saved at once – by
simply believing upon Jesus Christ. It certainly was glad
tidings to those Gentile people in that city, and the result
was that the city turned out en masse. I consider it one of
the greatest recorded sermons.
But when the next sabbath came, and the Jews saw such
a vast multitude of Gentiles pouring into their synagogue,
they were filled with jealousy. The Jews were willing to
take the Gentiles in occasionally, but they must become Jews.
They would keep them proselytes at the gate a while, and
after they were circumcised they became proselytes of right_
eousness. But they never sought to turn great bodies of
people. They thought that salvation and the divine favor
were for the Jews. When they saw this mixed multitude of
Gentiles pouring in to bear this new gospel, their prejudice
and jealousy caused them to stand against the gospel. The
crowd divided. How did Paul meet this issue? He says,
„Since you judge yourselves unworthy of eternal .life, we
turn to the Gentiles.” In other words, „You have had the
gospel offered to you, and you reject it; you don’t want these
others to have it; now we turn away from you and we turn
to these other people.” Then he makes a bold declaration
which shows what a power of interpretation is in the man:
„For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying,
I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles,
That thou shouldest be for salvation unto the
Uttermost part of the earth.
Jesse Mercer preached a great missionary sermon on this
text. It was on an important missionary occasion. This

was the point he made: Whatever a prophet foretells as to
God’s purpose, that to succeeding men becomes a command
to do that thing. When God, through Isaiah, said, „I have
get thee for a light of the Gentiles,” that prophecy becomes
a command to us to go, and we should acknowledge that
command; and he deduced the sermon from the text. When
I was a young preacher I memorized that sermon. It may
be found in the life of Jesse Mercer.
The last clause of verse 48, which reads thus: „As many
as were ordained to eternal life believed,” needs some ex_
planation. When I was a young fellow and had not imbibed
the doctrine of predestination I wanted that to read, „And
as many as believed were ordained to eternal life.” Perhaps
that is the way you want to interpret it. Dr. Broadus said,
„Let the scripture mean what it wants to mean,” and you
let that passage stand – ordination to precede eternal life.
Ordination to eternal life takes place in eternity. Paul, in
Romans 8, gives us the order. Many modern people do not
believe it. We seldom ever hear anybody preach a sermon
on it. I heard a strong preacher once say, „I just can’t be_
lieve it.” Romans 8:29 reads, „For whom he foreknew, he
also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son
. . . and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and
whom he called, them he also justified.” Justification comes
at believing. So unless that passage reads, „As many as
were ordained to eternal life, believed,” it would break Paul’s
chain all to pieces.
Settle it in your mind that salvation commences with
God, and not with man.
If you put it the other way, „As many as believed were
ordained to eternal life,” then you put the man ahead. It
is the question after all, Is salvation of grace or of works?
There are certain notes of time which they spent in An_
tiocli. We do not know how long. We know they were
there two sabbaths, for we have an account of his great ser_
mon one sabbath and his repeating the same discourse the
next sabbath. Then there is this additional note, verse 49:
„And the word of the Lord was spread abroad throughout all
the region.” So we can’t tell just how long they were in that
city. But that sermon that day touched and converted many
Jews and proselytes. It interested a whole Greek city, and not
only the city, but all that country around Antioch was stirred
Verses 50_51 read as follows: „But the Jews urged on the
devout women of honorable estate, and the chief men of the
city, and stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and cast them out of their border. But they shook off the dust
of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.” The
things that need explanation are (1) that reference to those
women, and (2) their shaking the dust off their feet. It is an
interesting fact that very many of those who became prose_
lytes to the Jews were great and intelligent women. These
women evidently became disgusted with the heathen religion.
A woman in her sorrow is much more apt to want to find a
real consolation than a man, because he is out in the busy
world, and finds in the press of business an engagement for
his mind, while the woman, sitting at home, perhaps churning
with her hands, or rocking the cradle with her feet, with a
question in her mind that keeps knocking for an answer. The
Jews went to these leading women and got them to use their
And when the leading Women of the town go to talking
against a preacher, he had just as well pack his grip.
As long as the women stand up for him he need not be
afraid of the men. Jesus commanded that when the dis_
ciples entered a town, they should go to a house and say,
„Peace be to this house,” and if they received them they
should let their peace rest on that house, but if they did not
receive them, they were to shake the dust off their feet.
Just what Jesus said do, Paul and Barnabas did. They shook
the dust off their feet as a testimony. All this we will meet
at the great judgment day. A man is on trial, and there is
brought up a little handful of dust in evidence, and he looks
at that and says, „What has that dust got to say against
me?” The answer comes, „On this very dust God’s apostle
stood and preached to you the word of eternal life, and you
rejected it.” That is the thought.
When I was in Mexico, Brother W. D. Powell, who was
then missionary there, brought me a little pebble – a beauti_
ful translucent stone, with a crimson streak through it. I
said, „What do you bring that to me for?” He said, „It is a
memorial. When Maximilian was shot to death it was found
that he stood on this white stone, and it is a memorial of
the killing of Maximilian.”
It is astonishing how many witnesses will rise up in the
judgment against people. The Book of Tears, the Book of
Curses, the words we speak, and the dust they stand on when
they plead with men to turn to God, all witness against those
who reject Christ and persecute his witnesses.

I will give a short account of Iconium, its government, its
heathen religion, the Jews there, and why the apostles here
were safe from the authorities at Antioch. The jurisdiction
was different here. Iconium was the central one of fourteen
cities under Roman government, governed by a tetrarch, and
the authorities at Antioch had no jurisdiction in that tetrarchy.
It was the convenience of these several communities that was
of great advantage to the apostles. Sometimes they would
have to go only a few miles to get into a different jurisdiction.
In this case it was sixty miles from Antioch of Pisidia to
Iconium, and it was sixty miles from Iconium to Derbe. The
heathen religion was about the same as at Antioch of Pisidia,
which has been described, and there were a great many Jews,
just as there were at all the other places.
Of Paul’s ministry here the record says, „And it came to
pass in Iconium that they entered together into the synagogue
of the Jews, and so spake that a great multitude, both of
Jews and of Greeks, believed.” Mark the words „so spake.”
A long time ago I discovered that I did not need so much
to study to know what to say when I went to preach, but
I did need to study in order to „so speak” that what I said
would stick – take root. There is the problem of speaking –
any kind of speaking. It is a very easy matter for any
preacher that has good common sense to take a passage of
scripture and outline what he is going to say, but now let
him deliver it, and so say it that it will attract attention –
that it will fasten itself upon the hearts of the people. The
difference in the power of men is the difference in the way
they say things. They so spake that a great multitude of
Jews and Greeks believed.
Suppose they had gotten up there and preached this way:
„I am telling you about God, and some time or other in your
life it would be a good thing to look into this.” They cer_
tainly would not have convinced anybody. But they shot
to kill. They wanted an immediate acceptance. They so
spake as to put the issue right on the hearts of the people,
so that they would decide that day – not wait until after
dinner, not wait until they went home, but that they decide
right then.
„But the Jews that were disobedient stirred up the souls
of the Gentiles, and made them evil affected against the
brethren. Long time, therefore, they tarried there, speaking
boldly in the Lord. who bear witness unto the word of his
grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
[Now you come to an important result.] But the multitude
of the city was divided; and part held with the Jews, and
part with the apostles.” Jesus says, „I came not to send
peace, but a sword.” If you preach the gospel straight_out,
you are going to make a line of cleavage unless you give up
and Just say some little easy thing that will have no more ef_
fect than that Bar_Jesus had. When you preach as these men
preached, lines will be drawn; they are going to stand for or
The other way you won’t make any enemies and you won’t
make any friends with the people. You will be like the fly
when it apologized for resting on an ox’s horn. He said, „If
you had not said something I would never have known you
were there.” If you are like that fly, they won’t know you
are in town, but if you stir them up, how ready they are to
begin to draw the line! They will talk about you on the
street, and in the home, one man saying, „I like this, and
I don’t like that,” and the fire gets hotter and hotter, and at
last you have the town divided. Easy preachers never can
divide a town. So that is a part of the result.
Let’s see the next verse: „And when there was made an
onset both of the Gentiles and of the Jews, with their rulers,
to treat them shamefully and to stone them, they became
aware of it, and fled into the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra, and
Derbe, and the region round about.” When they could no
longer meet them with argument, or withstand the power of
these men, then they took up persecution, just as Saul himself
did when Stephen beat him in the debate; he went over and
borrowed the weapon, persecution, from the Sadducees, as
if to say, „I will throw rocks at him.”
As to the time of the ministry there, all we know is what
the record says – that it was a long time. As to the result,
they captured half the crowd, and it terminated as it did at
Antioch, by persecution.


Lystra had a different government from Iconium. It was
a place of some importance, and the heathen religion there
was different from the heathen religion at Cyprus. In Cyprus
the main worship was Oriental Venus. Here at Lystra there
was a temple of Jupiter, and the worship of this place was the
worship of Jupiter, the chief god according to the Greek
mythology. Zeus, the Greeks called him, but the Romans
called him Jupiter. The Jews were here, just as they were at
the other places.
The events of the ministry here are found in the following
scriptures: Acts 14:8_20; 16:1_3; I Timothy 1:2, 18; 2 Tim_
othy 1:1; 3:10_11, which are very important. The record
commences: „And at Lystra there sat a certain man, impotent
in his feet, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had
walked. The same heard Paul speaking who, fastening his
eyes upon him, and seeing that he had faith to be made
whole, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And
he leaped up and walked. And when the multitude saw what
Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech
of Lycaonia, The gods are come down, to us in the likeness of
This ministry commences there with the healing of that
helpless cripple. By one word of Paul’s he became sound in a
moment. The miracle had a tremendous effect upon the whole
population, as you see from the next verse (12): „And they
called Barnabas Jupiter, [he was more imposing]; and Paul,
Mercury [he was quicker], because he was the chief speaker.”
The old legends are full of the accounts of gods moving among
men. It was a favorite trick of Jupiter’s; sometimes for no
very nice purpose. But now when they saw these men, at a
word, convert a hopeless, helpless cripple into perfect sound_
ness of health, they said, „These men are gods; Jupiter comes
down; we have his temple and he has not been here in a long
time, but he is here with Mercury.” They went to the priests
of the Temple, and they were ready enough to respond; they
got ready to sacrifice to Jupiter; they took a large handsome
bull, or steer, put garlands on his horns, and prepared him
for sacrifice. They marched in a big parade down to where
Paul and Barnabas were, and were going to kill that ox in
the street. Paul and Barnabas, having been reared Jews, with
the idea of one God, it seemed to them the most awful blas_
phemy, and they rushed among them and said, „We are men
just like you! We are not gods! There is only one God!”
But they had a great deal of difficulty in keeping these people
from welcoming them as gods.
Notice still further (19): „But there came Jews thither
from Antioch and Iconium [the two last places visited] and
having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul, and
dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.”
They left him lying, bruised by heavy stones. These are the
three events: (1) The healing of the cripple. (2) The at_
tempted worship of them as gods. (3) Paul stoned until he
was supposed to be dead. If those had been all the events I
never would have added Acts 16:1_3; I Timothy 1:2, 18; 2
Timothy 1:1; 3:10_11 to the list of scriptures to show the
events at Lystra. What do we learn by looking at these pas_
sages? We find that among the number that were con_
verted at Lystra were a grandmother named Lois, a mother
named Eunice, and a boy named Timothy, which is the big_
gest event that happened here. We will hear from those same
people again as we go on in the history. If nobody else
had been converted in that meeting but that one boy, whose
mother was a Jewess and whose father was a Greek – that
boy Timothy – the whole tour, with all its sufferings and its
changes, would have been paid for. When Paul got up he
moved on and went to Derbe.

The events at Derbe were these: They had an exceedingly
successful meeting. There was no persecution here at all, which
is the first place where they did not meet with strong re_
sistance, and a very famous man was converted, whose name
is Gaius. We find him referred to in Acts 20:4. Gaius, of
Derbe, who attached himself to Paul, just as Timothy at_
tached himself to Paul later. But Acts 19:29 tells us about
a Gaius, Acts 20:4 tells us about a Gaius, Romans 16:23 tells
about a Gaius, I Corinthians 1:14 tells about a Gaius, and
3 John tells about a Gaius. Now, what is the difference
between the Gaius of Acts 19:29; 20:4; Romans 16:23; I
Corinthians 1:14; 3 John? The Gaius of Acts 19:29 and
Romans 16:23 is a Macedonian. He will be converted later
on. We have not come to his conversion yet. The Gaius of
Acts 20:4 is a Derbe man. Gaius of I Corinthians 1:14 is
a Corinthian man. We have not come to his conversion; we
will get to it later. The Gaius of 3 John, I don’t know. It
is probable that he may have been an Ephesian. He may
possibly have been the Gaius of Derbe. John afterward came
to stay in this country, had jurisdiction over it after Paul
had passed away, and he knew Gaius and wrote him a letter.
They returned the same way and the sublimest spirit of
Christian courage was evinced by going back this way. They
had just been expelled by persecution from Lystra, Iconium
and Antioch. They go right back to every one of those places,
and follow clear on down to Perga. Let us imagine that we
are off on a missionary tour, and are nearly home; that we
could go home without much trouble, and the impression
comes to us to go back the way we came, a very circuitous
Way, and as we go back, to stop at the places where our
lives had been in danger – where those enemies still were.
But there were two great objects accomplished by going back
this way. They are clear and distinct: They went back to
confirm the faith of the converts in those places, and to
ordain elders in every church that had been established. These
people had just emerged from heathenism. The record says
that the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy
Spirit. These churches had no preachers. These young con_
verts had no training, and they go back to confirm them in
the faith.
I never will believe in the Roman and Episcopal rite of
confirmation. There is no such thing in the Bible, but the
Bible doctrine of confirmation is a great thing.
Do not leave a young convert, who is like a little toddling
fellow – a baby that doesn’t know how to walk – to run around
and pick up just what he can find to eat. Nurture him.
There is a mighty lesson for mission work here. One of
the surest and best opportunities of mission work is to
strengthen the things that are. When we raised this question
in the mission work in Texas, all over Texas men said, „I
will pay money to the mission work, but I won’t pay money
and call it missions to send a man around to the churches.”
Those are the very places that needed the work of confirma_
tion. When you strengthen a feeble church, you increase the
missionary opportunity. General missionaries go from town
to town where there are churches, hold meetings, confirm,
strengthen, root and ground the faith of the people, and build
them up in the knowledge of the grace of God.
When they went to a church they sought out the gifts that
had been developed under the preaching.
You can hold big meetings, but when you preach, if no
one under your preaching ever wants to preach, then you
may question your own authority to preach. Whenever a
meeting does not impress some man to preach, I don’t care
how much fuss you make, the meeting is a failure.
In those places where they stood up and preached, some
converts were impressed to preach (there was always more
than one; here the number was from one to fifteen); they
were ready for ordination, and we find a sample of just how
it was done. The brethren at Lystra and Iconium recom_
mended to Paul the next time he comes along, to ordain
Timothy. The apostles went to these churches and found that
some young converts had a message, had been talking in
prayer meeting, and then the church would say, „Brother A,

B, or, C is doing good work. He is speaking and leading some
to Christ.” „And they ordained elders in every church,” as
many as were ready for it. There are very few Baptist
churches without these. I have known forty_six ordained
preachers to be in the First Baptist Church in Waco, but that
doesn’t mean that they were all pastors of the church. There
may be a pastor with half a dozen assistants. Dr. W. B.
Riley’s church at Minneapolis has six or seven assistants. So
that has no bearing on the Baptist polity except to confirm it.

There were great sufferings on the land part of this tour,
and there is another account of them, besides Luke’s in Acts,
found in 2 Timothy 3:10_11. Timothy was one of the con_
verts on this tour. Paul, writing in Timothy here, said, „But
thou didst follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, long_
suffering, love, patience, persecutions, sufferings; what things
befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecu_
tions Is endured: and out of them all the Lord delivered
me.” This is a reference to Timothy when they were at
Lystra, where Timothy was converted. When the grand_
mother, the mother and the son get right, things are all
right: „The unfeigned faith, that is in thee; which dwelt first
in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and, I am
persuaded, in thee also.” When the old grandmother was
converted, then the mother, and then the boy, I imagine he
stopped at that house. That gave Timothy an opportunity
to know about these things. And there is another event – there
were certain prophecies about Timothy which show that some_
body had prophesied great things about this boy. So, very
naturally, Paul would go there to stay while he was in that
According to modern maps of the Roman Empire, on the
northern border of Pamphylia is a province that used to be
Galatia, bordering on Lycaonia, and was by the Romans
put under one province. Dr. Ramsay contends that as Acts
gives no account of Paul’s preaching in that Galatian province,
and as it does give an account of his preaching at Derbe,
Lystra, and Iconium, those were the Galatian churches; that
Paul spoke of the country as it then existed. I am very much
inclined to agree with him. He wrote a great book on it.
If his contention be right, the events that are mentioned in
the letter to the Galatians must be added. Paul said, „The
reason that I stay with you so long is that I am sick, and the
trouble is with my eyes.” He never got over that blinding
light when Jesus appeared to him, and he says, „I bear wit_
ness that you Galatians so sympathize with me that you are
willing to pluck out your eyes and let me have them.” If
the thing could have been done, they would have been willing.
The relation of a particular church to this tour is this: The
church at Antioch – a great church in the grace and under
the direction of the Holy Spirit – started these men out, and
they made the tour, came back, gathered that church to_
gether, and made a report of the work they had done.
It sometimes happens that a particular church is able to
conduct a missionary enterprise by itself. Spurgeon’s church
was able to do it. Riley’s church in Minneapolis baa a foreign
mission established. Generally it is better for all the churches
to combine as an association, state convention, or national
convention in the work. But we cannot deny that a single
church has the right, and, if it has the ability, it is its duty
to do missionary work as a church, whether any other church
does or not.
It is interesting to note the distances and modes of travel
of these New Testament missionaries. By using a scale we
find that from Antioch to Seleucia it is about sixteen miles;
from Seleucia to Salamis about 130 miles; from Salamis to
Paphos, about eighty miles; from Paphos to Perga, about 200
miles; from Perga to Antioch, about eighty miles; from An_
tioch to Iconium) ninety miles; from Iconium to Lystra, seven_
ty miles; from Lystra to Derbe about forty miles. There is
land travel and sea travel, and part of the land travel is the
crossing of mountains. You can get the direction from the
In all the places touched, there were certain elements of
population. There is always first a native population. This
is the Roman province of Galatia, but this part used to be
Phrygia, and Phrygia used to reach over to Galatia, and
Lycaonia was on the east. There is always the native popula_
tion, or original people. The next is the Greeks. The Greek
population came in when that country was subject to Greece.
After this, great multitudes of Jews poured in, and the latest
of all came the Romans. At any one of these places could
be found original natives, Greeks, Jews, and Romans; that is
the order in which they settled. That takes us through Paul’s
first missionary tour, which shook the world.
There arose from that tour an issue of very great impor_
tance, and a decision was reached that affects all time. That
issue was made from the fact that it was the first time that
preachers of Jesus Christ went to the heathen. God sent a
Roman centurion to Peter, but he was a proselyte, and here
they are told to go to the heathen. Then it is immensely im_
portant from the personality of the converts. Sergius Paulus,
Lois, Eunice, Timothy, and Gaius of Derbe, a mighty man,
were brought to God on that tour. And to this day there is the
impression of that one expedition.
Many miracles were wrought, but only two are specially set
forth, though the record says that God wrought wonders and
mighty deeds by their hands. The miracle on Elymas and
that cripple are the only ones that are mentioned.
I often take up the Bible and read that first tour, then I
shut the book and try to see the people. I see the mission_
aries; then I see Bar_Jesus; then Sergius Paulus, who was
converted; then this family – Lois, Eunice, and Timothy; then
that cripple, poor fellow, and the joy that came to his soul;
then I see that great evangelist, Gains, that was converted.
in that way I impress the thing on my mind so that I can
get off without my Bible with me and follow every tour of
Paul’s, not only the three recorded in Acts, which we are
now considering, but the one he took into Cilicia, and the one
that follows after the book of Acts. I make these people live
before me. Then I begin to say: What shall I do with these
people, and what lesson shall I learn from them for myself?

1. What Old Testament passages interpreted in Paul’s great sermon
in Antioch of Pisidia?
2. What the interpretation here given of each?
3. What the results of this sermon?
4. What the occasion of the issue with the Jews on the next sabbath,
how was this issue met, and what the result?
5. What great sermon here cited, and what the theme and content
6. Explain the last clause of verse forty_eight, which reads thus:
„As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
7. What are the notes of time which they spent in Antioch?
8. Explain verses fifty, and fifty_one which read as follows: „But
the Jews urged on the devout women of honorable estate, and the chief
men of the city, and stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barna_
bas, and cast them out of their borders. But they shook off the dust
of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.”
9. Give a short account of Iconium, its government, its heathen re_
ligion, the Jews there, and why the apostles here were safe from the
authorities at Antioch.
10. Give an account of Paul’s ministry here, its time, its result, and
its termination.
11. Give a brief account of Lystra, its government, its heathen re_
ligion and the Jews there.
12. What the events of their ministry here?
13. What the events and characteristics of the work at Derbe?
14. What is the difference between the Gains of Acta 19:29; Acts
20:4; Romans 16:23; I Corinthians 1:14; and 3 John?

15. Trace their way back across to Perga, and then directly to Antioch.
16. What spirit did they evince by going back this way?
17. What two great objects were accomplished by going back this
18. What mighty lesson for mission work here?
19. Why was there a plurality of elders in every church, and what
Its bearing on present Baptist polity?
20. Locate Pamphylia on the map of the Roman Empire.
21. What the great sufferings on the land part of this tour, and where
is another account of them besides Luke’s in Acts?
22. What is Dr. Ramsay’s contention about the Galatian churches
to which Paul wrote the letter later?
23. What is the relation of a particular church to this tour?
24. What the respective distances, directions, and methods of travel
from Antioch in Syria to Seleucia, to Salamis to Paphos, to Perga, to
Antioch in Pisidia, to Iconium, to Lystra, and to Derbe?
25. In all these places touched, what the elements of population and
their order of settlement?
26. What issue arose from this tour, who were some of the promi_
nent converts, and what the miracles wrought?

Acts 15:1-35 with Galatians 2:1_10

In order to understand thoroughly Acts 15 we must con_
sider the scriptures cited at the head of this chapter, and their
several themes, in addition to the scriptures and themes in the
succeeding chapters. On these great events we have the rich_
est, the ablest, and the soundest literature in Christian history.
That part of Conybeare and Howson that touches Acts 15;
Dr. Lightfoot’s great discussion on the same subject in his
Commentary on Galatians, that part of Farrar’s Life of Paul
that touches on Acts 15, and Philip Schaff’s great discussion
on the subject in his History of the Christian Church, are
very fine. I could cite many others, but these are all great
books, and their discussion of Acts 15 is the most important
and far_reaching in the history of Christianity.
The history of the question raised at Antioch, is as follows:
A number of Pharisees, nominal converts to Christianity,
who held membership in the church at Jerusalem, and who
opposed the reception of Gentiles into the church, left Jeru_
salem and went to Antioch, and side_stepped into the church,
i.e., stepped sideways into the church. That is what the
Greek says. It means surreptitiously, privily. Their pur_
pose was to spy out what was done at Antioch in the matter
of Gentiles, and then to bring them into bondage to the Jew_
ish customs. It was a villainous thing; it didn’t come up
naturally. When they got up there, they privately agitated
this question: „Except a man be circumcised after the man_
ner of Moses, he can not be saved!” That made it intensely
important – a question of salvation: „Except one submit to
this external rite (that God never intended for anybody but
Jews), he could not be saved.” It stirs me every time a ques_
tion of that kind comes up, e. g., when a man says, „Except
you be baptized, you can’t be saved.”
Whoever and whenever anyone makes salvation depend
upon an external rite, that one is an enemy to the gospel of
They commenced the agitation that way, and finally what
is discussed so much privately comes out publicly, somebody
says something about it. Paul and Barnabas soon learned that
there were a lot of „sneaks” that had slipped into the church,
and were undermining the most fundamental things that they
preached, and, of course, as says our history, there was no
small discussion about the matter.
But why didn’t Antioch, being an independent church, settle
that question itself? The answer is that the men who were
making this issue came from a similar church at Jerusalem,
and claimed to have the backing of the authorities at Jeru_
salem. Hence, there was a propriety that could not be disre_
garded, viz.: that this matter should be referred to that Jeru_
salem church and to the apostles. Their questions were, „Did
you give these men any such permission to come to us? Are
they representatives of you, or are they just representing their
own deviltry?” We do that now in our churches. If a man, or
a set of men, goes from one church to another church, and
stirs up a row there on a question of intense doctrinal im_
portance, before voting on it the latter church must decide
whether these people represent the former church. That is
why the matter was referred to the church at Jerusalem by
the church at Antioch.

Two distinct motives influenced Paul to participate in car_
rying this question to Jerusalem, although an independent
apostle and himself competent to decide it authoritatively.
They were these: The church at Antioch elected him as a
messenger, to take this matter up at Jerusalem. Paul was
accustomed to yield to a church. An apostle is set in the
church, and not over it. But he took precaution to carry the
matter to the Lord, and so the second motive was, that the
Lord, by revelation, told him to go up – that these things need_
ed settlement at Jerusalem. It was an intensely important
thing that the apostle should not even seem to be preaching
contrary doctrines, and if the apostles and the authorities in
the Jerusalem church were teaching that men could not be
saved except they become Jews, then it was quite important
for that matter to be known. If they were not teaching that,
it was equally as important that these men who came to
represent them, should be publicly exposed.
As a test case Paul took Titus along. Here is” a full blood
Gentile – Titus – who on that first missionary tour, while the
record nowhere says it in. so many words, it is quite probable
was converted. He was a Paul man and a life_long companion
of Paul. Is suppose he was converted in the island of Cyprus,
the first place they touched and labored.
Paul took this case along. These men said, „Except a man
be circumcised, he cannot be saved.” Paul answers, „Here is
a man, not a lineal descendant in any way from Abraham,
Isaac, or Jacob, and do you mean to say that this intelligent
man, who has the evidence of his conversion and the attesta_
tion of the Spirit of God, who is evidently already saved, can’t
be saved until he is circumcised? He is not a Jew; he doesn’t
want to become a Jew. He is not even a proselyte of the gate.”
It was important to take along a case on the great question.
The history of the journey to Jerusalem is found in 15:3:
„They, therefore, being brought on their way by the church,
passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the con_
version of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the
brethren.” You will note that the church having sent these
messengers out, accompanied them part of the way. They
didn’t let them slip off. They were going on a very important
mission – a mission for this church – and were to represent the
church in this matter, and so this church brought them on the
way, and I suppose paid all their expenses. A church ought
to pay the expenses of any messengers that they send to repre_
sent them in an association or convention. I don’t know
whether it was at this time, or during the five years that he
was in Cilicia (Tarsus) that he did that preaching on the coast
of Judea, but certainly he had a chance to do some of it on
this trip. He went right through the country, and through the
coast country. And the record says that they went talking
about this question that was going to come up, and talked
about the salvation of the Gentiles, and there is no other
statement in the New Testament or anywhere about Paul’s
having preached in the coast of Judea.
After the arrival at Jerusalem there were several public
and private conferences, but it is somewhat hard to tell just
how many. We know that there were very important private
conferences. We will notice one of them presently, but we
know that there must have been at least three public con_
The first was when the delegation got there. The record
says that they were received by the apostles and the elders
and the church. It was a grave matter. These representatives
came with high credentials. The matter touched both churches,
and the Jerusalem church, in a very dignified way, turned out
to hear what they had to say. Then the record says that there
was much discussion, and some of the sect of the Pharisees
boldly took the position that those men that went to Antioch
were right – that one had to be circumcised in order to be
saved. That may have been the second assembly – the recep_
tion assembly first and then the discussion, as to the object
of their coming, in a second assembly. Anyhow, there is one
assembly, and no conclusion reached. The matter is discussed.
There were men right in Jerusalem avowing precisely what
those fellows that slipped in up at Antioch had said. The rec_
ord then says, „The apostles and the elders were gathered
together to consider of this matter.” The apostles and the
preachers – all the preachers in the church at Jerusalem – held
a meeting for them, but the main body of the church was not
there. Just as one would gather together all the officials of a
church to consider a grave matter, and then when they had
considered, one goes before a church meeting and presents
his recommendations. The record then says that they called
the whole church together, and the letter says that the church
participated in the decision that had been reached in that
meeting of the apostles and elders. So there were certainly
three public meetings and one private meeting. Paul affirms
that one of the meetings was held in private, and it was with
the apostles only, and the pastor of the church, James.
This was not a council in the ordinary sense of the word.
A deliberation of one church is not a council – it is a con_
ference. The Antioch church sent some questions there, and
the Jerusalem church conferred upon these questions. A coun_
cil is where a number of churches, through messengers, reg_
ularly accredited, meet and consider a matter. So when we
get into ecclesiastical history, and they tell us about this being
the first great synod, and the first great council, we need not
believe it. This was just a church conference. Paul didn’t
vote in it. They deliberated, and rendered a decision. The
Antioch church referred the question to the Jerusalem church
for final decision.
The record says that they sent these men to the apostles
and elders who were at Jerusalem, but they were received by
the whole church, and when the apostles and elders had con_
sidered it, then the whole church came together and considered
it, and joined in the answer, or final decision.
We will now hear the decision of the question submitted
to them: „Forasmuch as we have heard that certain who went
out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your
souls; to whom we gave no commandment; it seemed good
unto us, having come to one accord, . . .” and then it goes on_
to finish the decision. They not only decided against the state_
ment that those men made in Antioch, but they utterly dis_
avowed those men, and I think they ought to have had a little
church trial after that crowd got away, and called these men
up for lying and spying. They may have done so. But, any_
how, they decided the question in favor of Paul.
This decision was communicated in a formal letter, and
then two great representatives of the church were sent along
to confirm it by word of mouth. It was a very important pro_
ceeding. To whom was it communicated? „And they wrote
thus by them: The apostles and the elders, brethren, unto the
brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and
Cilicia, greeting.” They sent it to a whole section of the
country. By whom was it received? The record says, „So
they, when they were dismissed, came down to Antioch; and
having gathered the multitude together [the whole church],
they delivered the epistle [to the whole church],” and then
Judas and Silas got up and spoke by word of mouth to the
whole church. What was its effect? It gave very great joy at
Antioch. That is a fine suggestion to young preachers about
how to do things. There wasn’t a misstep made anywhere.
The church at Antioch didn’t get mad and kick and say the
Jerusalem church had gone into heresy. They didn’t fuss about
IT. They said, “Let us find out if this is so.” They did it in a
dignified, honorable manner. Every time I read it over, I am
charmed with the method with which they went at the thing,
and how the response was made.
The order of all the proceedings, private and public, was as

1. They were received by the whole church at Jerusalem,
and then the question stated) whereupon certain members of
the church took the position that they ought to be circumcised.
The case of Titus was presented: „What are you going to do
about this man?” That meeting reached no decision; that was
for discussion.
2. When they adjourned, Paul met the apostles and the
elders and privately laid before them a question, somewhat
involved in this matter, as to his independent apostleship and
his gospel. That matter had to be settled separately. There
were Jewish members of the church that denied that Paul had
an independent apostleship. They thought he must be sub_
ordinate to the others. So he wanted that question settled.
There were some among them that questioned whether he had
the full gospel. He wanted that settled. Then there were
others that questioned whether it was his particular mission
to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. He wanted that settled,
and that was not to be settled by the church at Jerusalem, but
by these apostles. The apostles were Peter and John – and
James, the half brother of our Lord and not an apostle, but
the pastor of that church, and one of the most influential men
among the Hebrew Christians in all the world – certainly on
outside Jews more influential than all the rest of them put to_
gether. Paul says in the letter to the Galatians that it became
evident in this private conference that nobody gave him any_
thing or added anything to his gospel. He didn’t get it from
any of them. He didn’t get his authority from them. He was
called to be an apostle independently by the Lord Jesus Christ,
and they recognized the divine call of Jesus Christ; that Paul
was the apostle to the Gentiles, and that Peter was the apostle
to the circumcision, and got up and gave each other the right
hand of fellowship on it. That was a tremendous gain. That
was in the private conference.
3. So when the public meeting came, in which the apostles
and elders were to consider this question, we want to know
what the proceedings were. James presided, because he was
pastor of the church, and all the apostles were there, and so
when the case was ready for consideration, the first thing was
for Paul and Barnabas to state the case of their work among
the Gentiles, and they got up and recited that missionary
journey we have just discussed, how they went to Cyprus and
what followed there; how they went to Phrygia, and Mysia,
Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe; what were the tremendous ef_
fects of that tour; what mighty signs and displays of divine
power attended that work; they recited it all. „Now you are
to consider whether we dare go back over that journey, and
tell those people they are not saved. They repented they be_
lieved, they were baptized, the Spirit attested the work.” Paul
testified that Jesus sent him to do the work; the Holy Spirit
testified that he had Paul and Barnabas set apart to do that
work. Now that is the case.
As soon as that was over, only two men spoke. Peter got
up and said, „Brethren, this case has already been settled.
You have already passed on it; you know how that in the be_
ginning I led, under the divine guidance, the Gentile Cornelius
into the kingdom of heaven. You have already investigated
that fact, and passed on it. Are you going to repeal your deci_
sion in these other cases?”
Then James got up and said that what Simeon said (he calls
him Simeon, which is the Aramaic name for Simon) was con_
firmed by prophecy; that prophecy said that it should be just
that way and he quoted the prophecy. He says, „Brethren
my view of the matter is that we should not attempt to put on
these Gentiles a burden that neither we nor our fathers were
ever able to bear. You can’t impose the whole Mosaic ritual
on the Gentile world.” When those two men got through
speaking, the case was settled unanimously, so far as the apos_
tles and the preachers were concerned.
4. Then came the whole church conference. They were
called together, and the recommendations made by the apostles
and preachers were presented, and to the surprise of everybody
that leaned to the Mosaic side of the question, the decision
was unanimous. Whereupon they wrote this letter and sent
these men. I don’t know when there ever was such a meeting
of the church except the meeting on the day of Pentecost
when the Holy Spirit was received.
The test case brought by Paul had to be discussed and dis_
posed of publicly, because it represented the marrow of the
question that was sent down to them, viz.: „Shall Titus be
circumcised?” Paul says, „He certainly was not,” and it was
decided that Titus did not have to be circumcised.
The infidel Renan says that Paul yielded, and that Titus
was circumcised. The semi_infidel Farrar takes the same posi_
tion. He devotes about four pages most elaborately arguing to
show that Paul, in order to gain the main question, would
make concession in the case of an individual. Paul was never
known to concede a principle. I have warned you more than”
once concerning Farrar. He was a very great man, had a very
bright mind, and was a great scholar. His Life of Christ is
really masterful, and so is his Life of Paul, but you can’t trust_
him. You have to watch him with both eyes all the time.
The first tiling you know, he will go off at a tangent on some
freak. His head wasn’t level. As old Governor Brown, of
Georgia, used to say, „He was a very brilliant man, but he
lacked judgment.”
Let us analyze the letter sent: (1) A most respectful greet_
ing; (2) disavowal of the men who came to represent them at
Antioch; (3) the decision itself; (4) a restriction on the Gen_
tiles of certain necessary things which we will consider later.
James, in his speech, uses this language: „Wherefore my
judgment is that we trouble not them that from among the
Gentiles turn. to God; but that we write unto them, that they
abstain from the pollution of idols, and from fornication, and
from what is strangled, and from blood,” or, as it is expressed
in the letter, „For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to
us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary
things; that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and
from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication;
from which, if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you.”
Could you do any one of those things without committing’
a wrong. In other words, would it be wrong for you to eat
an animal that had been killed by being choked to death? Or
would it be wrong for you to eat blood pudding? My answer
to the question is this: That the most of these things are a
part of the covenant with Noah before there were any Jews –
a covenant that touched the whole human race. There is where
we find it, and therefore in imposing that upon Gentiles, they
did impose no more than God imposed in the Noah_covenant
for the whole race. The reason that they assigned for not :
eating things strangled or for not eating the blood after it was
taken out in an any way, is that the life is in the blood. It is
all right to eat a beef, but not the blood. [Opinions differ here.”
To my mind none of us are justified in taking life in order to
live, nor are we called upon to make cemeteries of our diges_
tive organs in which to inter dead hogs and cattle.__Editor. ,
When you put the knife in the throat to let the blood out, don’t
catch that blood and make a blood pudding out of it. Old Mr.
John McKnight, at Independence, said that he liked blood
puddings better than any other food that he had. In the first
place, it is an animal way of eating. Tigers and lions catch a
deer by the throat and drink its blood. Minks and polecats do
that when they get into the chicken house. One of them will
kill a dozen chickens and just drink the blood. A sheep_killing
dog will do that, or a wolf. One hungry wolf in one night may
kill dozens of sheep – never bothering them except just to cut
the jugular vein with his tusks and drink the blood. It is a
beastly thin, and I say it is wrong now.
In the very next chapter, Paul and Silas carried this very
decree, or decision, and gave it to the churches in Antioch,
Pisidia, Lystra, and Derbe, to be kept by the churches. Dr.
Farrar tries to make it appear that a good many of those
things were just local, and soon passed away. The decree of
the conference at Jerusalem was delivered to all the churches.
Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, very many years after this, in
making his revelation to John on the Isle of Patmos, brings up
this charge against two of those churches. „You eat things
sacrificed to idols. . . .” Repent, therefore; or else I come, . . .”
So that what they imposed at the end of that letter (and this
is about what James meant: „We don’t propose to make Jews
out of you, but we do insist on your being decent men”) was
that these Christians were to observe things that touch all
Here we need to harmonize the circumcision of Timothy
that took place a few days after this (Acts 16:3) with the
non_circumcision of Titus (Gal. 2:3_5). There stood Paul at
Jerusalem and said, „Ye can’t circumcise Titus,” and a few
days after, at Lystra, he takes Timothy and circumcises him.
Timothy was a Jew, and as a matter of expedience, in order to
give him a greater entrance in preaching to Jews, Paul circum_
cised him. Titus was not a Jew. Paul says in the matter of
expediency: „I will be all things to all men to enable me to
save them. I will become a Jew to those that are Jews; to
those that are weak I will be weak. I will put myself on their
basis, if there isn’t a great principle involved.” He saw no use
in circumcision at all. He says, „Circumcision availeth noth_
ing, and uncircumcision availeth nothing,” but in the minds of
Jews, and particularly at that day, a Jew that wouldn’t be
circumcised couldn’t get a hearing.
A certain premillennial interpretation has been put on the
speech of James, in which he said, „Brethren, hearken unto me:
Simeon hath rehearsed how first God visited the Gentiles, to
take out of them a people for his name.” They say that the
object of preaching is to take the elect out of the crowd – not
to preach to save everybody, but to go to pick out the elect.
That is the first step. „And to this agree the words of the
prophets; as it is written,
After these things I will return,
And I will again build the tabernacle of David, which is fallen;
And I will build again the ruins thereof,
And I will set it up.”
They say that the next stop is the restoration of the Jews
and the Jewish polity, the Temple, and all its services, etc.~,
that having now taken the elect out of the heathen nations,
and having brought the Jews back, the other elect, then „the
residue of men may seek after the Lord.” They say that that
is the order.
A Campbellite man was the first I ever knew to present that
thought. In a great debate between Thompson, a Baptist
preacher, and Burgess, a Campbellite preacher, when they
were discussing election, the Campbellite preacher took the
position that the elect were the picked crowd, and that they
were elect in every sense of the word, but that the bulk of the
saved would consist not of the elect, but of those that would
come in afterward. B~b, here will never be such an anti_
climax as Christ coming back to the earth, and then setting
up the old Jewish polity, and becoming the king of the Jews
literally, and through the kingdom of the Jews, ruling the
That is the very interpretation that Paul fought all his life,
and that James fought. That is premillennialism. That when
they say, „Thy kingdom come on earth,” they mean to say,
„at Jerusalem with Christ as earthly king, and ruling all the
rest of the world through the Jews, with the old polity set
up.” They misinterpret the words of Christ. The New Testa_
ment shows that the restoration of the Jews is the conversion
of the Jews; that it is a spiritual restoration, and that the Jeru_
salem they come into is the heavenly Jerusalem, and not the
earthly Jerusalem, and that the old Jewish polity will never
be set up.

I doubt, not that the Jews will one day settle again in the
Holy Land. I think that is very probable. Personally I would
like to see them do it, but if you mean by it that when they
get there that Jesus will come to them – come before the mil_
lennium – and that their old polity of sacrifices will be”
established, and that he, as king at Jerusalem, will rule all
kings of this world through the’ Jews, I don’t believe a word
of it.
I Corinthians 8:8 teaches that meat offered to idols is as
good to eat as any, on the ground that an idol is nothing, pro_
vided that such eating does not make one stumble. It takes
the position that there is no sin in eating a piece of meat of_
fered to an idol; that every creature of God is good; that is
all right, but you must not consider the abstract right of a
thing. You must consider it in its relation. There isn’t a
particle of harm in my pressing my finger on a piece of crook_
ed steel, but if that crooked steel is the trigger of a pistol, and
the pistol is pointing at another, then there is a great deal of
harm in pressing a crooked piece of steel. Paul says, „If my
eating meat causes a weak brother to stumble, I will never eat
it while the world stands.” As a proof that it is wrong, Jesus
Christ himself speaks against it in Revelation in regard to
the churches, holding them responsible for violating that law.
Then Paul himself says in that same letter to the Corinthians,
and in a different connection, „You cannot take the cup of the
Lord and the cup of demons.”
It is of immense signification that the decision was here
made that Paul’s gospel was independent, and that his apostle_
ship was not derived from the others. The first part of the im_
mense signification is that it wipes off the face of the earth
the foundation stone of Romanism – that the pope of Rome is
the head of the Christian world. Here was a man (they say
Peter was the first pope) who gave no authority to Paul. Here
is a man that is welcomed by Paul. Here is a man that goes
up and gives the right hand of fellowship upon this fact – that
Paul was independent of him, got nothing from him, and was
not responsible to him. But the decision of these Jerusalem
conferences, public and private, did not forever settle the
questions decided. They did settle them authoritatively, but
not practically.
There were some important matters also not decided by this
conference which occasioned much trouble later. One of them
was, Shall Jewish Christians socially eat and drink with Gen_
tile Christians? Another was, Is it essential for a Jew, not a
Gentile, to be circumcised in order to be saved? But Peter
greatly strengthened the Jerusalem decision. He followed right
on after, and he got up there and confirmed what Silas and
Judas had just said.

1.What must we consider in order to understand thoroughly Acts 15
2. On these great events what valuable helps have we?
3. Give the history of the question raised at Antioch, showing its
origin, its importance, its discussion, and particularly why it should be
referred to Jerusalem, since Antioch was an independent church having
competent jurisdiction over its own affairs.
4. What two distinct motives influenced Paul to participate in car_
rying this question to Jerusalem, although an independent apostle, and
himself competent to decide it authoritatively?
5. What test case did Paul take with him, and why?
6. What the history of the journey to Jerusalem, and was this the
time when he preached throughout all the coasts of Judea, as is affirmed in Acts 26:20?
7. After the arrival at Jerusalem, how many public and private con_
ferences were held? Explain fully.
8. Was this a council in the ordinary sense of the word? If not,
what was it?
9. To whom did the Antioch church refer the question, and by whom was the matter finally decided?
10. What was that decision, how was it communicated, to whom
communicated, by whom received, and the effect of its reception?
11. Recite the order of all the proceedings, private and public.
12. Was the test case brought by Paul considered and disposed of
publicly or privately?
13. How was it decided?
14. Who of prominence in modern times contend for a different re_
sult in this particular matter? What is their contention?
15. Give in order the incidents of the discussion, and the decision
of the main question, the speakers, and their speeches. (See the record.)
16. Analyze the letter sent.
17. What have you to say of the necessary things imposed on the
Gentiles by this letter? Would you now consider it wrong to do any
of those things, and why?
18. What subsequent proofs that this decision was not local, not to be limited in time, not to be limited to Gentiles in Antioch, Syria and
19. Harmonize the circumcision of Timothy that took place a few
days after this (Acts 16:3) with the non_circumcision of Titus (Gal.
20. What premillennial interpretation has been put on the speech of
James, and what the reply to it?
21. Does not I Corinthians 8:8 teach that meat offered to idols is
as good to eat as any, on the ground that an idol is nothing, provided
that such eating does not make one stumble, and what the application
in this case? What does the editor of this INTERPRETATION say about
meat eating?
22. Before whom were the questions of Paul’s independent apostle_
ship, gospel and the subdivision of labor brought, how decided, and why was this particular matter not referred to the Jerusalem church at large?
23. What the immense signification of the decision that Paul’s gospel was independent, and that his apostleship was not derived from the others?
24. Did the decision of these Jerusalem conferences, public and pri_
vate, forever settle the questions decided?
25. What important matters were not decided by this conference,
which occasioned much trouble later?
26. Who, coming to Antioch, greatly strengthened the Jerusalem de_

Galatians 2:11_21; Acts 15._36_39.

We have two distinct scriptures and two special themes in
the scope of this chapter. The first scripture is Galatians 2:
11_21, and the theme of that scripture is „The Great Social
Questions at Antioch.” The second scripture is Acts 15:36_39,
and the theme is, „The Separation of Paul and Barnabas in
Missionary Work.”
We showed in the last chapter that, while it was definitely
settled in the Jerusalem conference that a Gentile did not have
to be circumcised and become a Jew in order to be saved,
there were other important questions that the Jerusalem con_
ference did not settle. While it decided the Gentile’s relation
to the Jewish law, it did not decide fully the Jew’s relation
to the law, and this social question comes up on the Jew’s
relation to the law, viz.: Were the Jews under the Mosaic
covenant, as they understood themselves to be, or could they
mix freely with the Gentiles and eat with them! It was purely
a social question. Admitting that the Gentile can be a Chris_
tian and be saved without any respect to the Mosaic law,
what about the Jew and his relation to that law? Ought they
allow the Jew to mingle freely with the Gentile? How could
he go on keeping the Mosaic covenant if he did? That was the
question. And why had this question come up? Paul had
his way in that Jerusalem conference; he won out on all his
points. Evidently there was an impression left on the minds
of the strict Jews at Jerusalem after that circumcision ques_

tion for the Gentiles had been settled, lest there should be a
misunderstanding as to what a Jew should do. And so a party
of Jews left Jerusalem and came to Antioch, and Paul says
that they came from James. And that is nowhere denied in
the history. They do not come in surreptitiously, as did that
first party, but they came on account of the apprehension in
the mind of James that the Jews were straying away too far.
„Certain from James,” and Paul states that on his own knowl_
edge. In case of those other men, James disavowed sending
them, but no one disavows that this party that now came to
Antioch did come from James. They were afraid that some
work was going on there in that free and easy way at Antioch.
That distinct question with them was a matter of conscience
to the Jews. That is why, by whom, and how that question
was raised.
The names of the parties who came are not given. Paul just
says, „Certain from James.” You understand that now at An_
tioch are Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Mark, and Peter. They are
there when these men come from James. Before these men
got there, Peter and Barnabas were mingling freely with the
Gentiles, and all of them eating with them. James may have
heard of that, but anyhow, when these men came from James,
that shocked Peter. You cannot account for the effect on
Peter unless you realize that these men came from James,
pastor of the church at Jerusalem, the most widely known,
the most influential Jew with the Jews, in the known world.
We get the estimate with which James was held by
everyone, especially his own church at Jerusalem, by read_
ing Josephus. He attributes the destruction of Jerusalem to
the fact that the Jews stoned this James. Everybody knew
him. He was an ascetic. He did not eat enough to keep a
chicken alive, and had large callosities formed on his knees
by his being continually in prayer. John the Baptist, Elijah,
the Rechabites, or the Essenes, were never more ascetic than
James was.
Before we leave this question we note what Paul says –
that not only Peter was led away by representatives of this
man, but that Barnabas. his old comrade, was overcome.
He had been with him on the first tour, and they had mingled I
freely with the Gentiles. It looked like this social question
was going to practically neutralize all the advantages of the
conference. So we see that in a church like Antioch
half of the members would be counted as outcasts from the
other half. They would let them stay in the same place with
them when they went to preaching, but they must not go into
each other’s houses – must not take a meal together. Very
soon, unless human nature was very different then from what
it is now, it would have made the biggest kind of a row.
Those Gentiles would have said that God is no respecter
of persons; that what God had cleansed was not common or
unclean, but that the Jews refused to come to their houses;
that they could not see how they could have fellowship with
them in church relations. So it brought on an extremely acute
crisis that lasted for a long time. Certainly, it lasted through
Paul’s lifetime.
As this very question had been considered and favorably
decided at Jerusalem in the case of Peter himself and Cor_
nelius (Acts 11:1_18; 15:7_11), why, under the prompting of
James, should it be raised again at Antioch? You know that
when Peter, under a vision of the Lord, went to the house
of Cornelius, he entered into that house, he took his meals
with Cornelius, and Acts II tells us that when he got back
to Jerusalem they raised a question with him, saying, „Thou
wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.”
That is the very question we have here. Peter had a hard
time saving himself, but we find his exposition in Acts II,
and very nobly does he appear there. He said, „God has
showed me that I must not so construe that old Mosaic law.
He showed me that what he had cleansed I must not count
unclean, and he sent the baptism of the Spirit on Cornelius,”
and when he got through with his speech they agreed with
him. As this very question had been considered and favorably
decided at Jerusalem in the case of Peter himself and Cor_
nelius (Acts 11:1_18), why under the promptings of James,
should it be raised again at Antioch?
I will give my opinion as the answer to that question. I
take it for granted that James saw the difference between
a preacher alone – just the preacher – going in unto Gen_
tiles when he was preaching to Gentiles, and the establish_
ment of a common precedent that would affect all the members
of the church. We understand, as Peter was under divine
guidance, and being a preacher, like any preacher in China,
who is bound to go into that Chinese’s house and eat with
him if he ever does him any good. My opinion is that James
made a distinction between the preacher’s doing this and
the whole church doing this. He was afraid that the dis_
tinction between the Jews and the rest of the world would be
obliterated if this custom prevailed with the people. That’s
my answer to that question.
Does the history indicate a change of conviction on the
part of Peter and Barnabas since the Cornelius case, or a
weak dissimulation under pressure from Jerusalem? Paul
answers it very clearly. He very plainly says that Peter’s
convictions on the subject were not changed, and Barnabas
was not changed, and that because certain ones came from
James, they were led to dissimulate. That is his word, „dis_
simulate.” Peter held James in great reverence. He was
the half_brother of our Lord, and that fleshly relation gave
him an undue prominence. It was not a case where Peter
would agree with James, for he did not after he got to An_
tioch this time. He mingled freely with the Gentiles, eating
with them so there was no change of conviction, but he did not
want to pull loose from James.
Let us see what Paul says about that. I will give the lan_
guage in order to get its full import. It commences at Gala_
tians 2:11: „But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted
him to the face, because he stood condemned. For before
that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but
when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fear_
ing them that were of the circumcision. And the rest of the
Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that even Bar_
nabas was carried away with their dissimulation.” That is
pretty plain talk. He was the only man in the crowd that
recognized how big that question was.
Paul was the man that saved the situation, and here is his
argument. Here is what he says to Peter (Gal. 2:14_21) : „But
when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the
truth of the gospel, I said unto Cephas before them all [he
did not take him off privately; just got him in the meeting],
If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do
the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the
Jews? [That is the way you have been doing the Jews.]
We, being Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the
law but through faith in Jesus Christ – even we believed on
Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ,
and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the
law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we sought to be
justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is
Christ a minister of sin? God forbid, for if I build up again
those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a transgressor.
For I, through the law, died unto the law, that I might live
unto God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no
longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which
I now live in the flesh I live in faith – the faith which is in
the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.
I do not make void the grace of God: for if righteousness is
through the law, then Christ died for nought.”
In other words Paul says, „If your position is correct – that
you can take the Gentiles in without circumcision and they
can be saved in Jesus Christ – and if the preacher can go and
mix with these people, is Christ a minister of sin? You found
sin in something that is not sin.” Then he says, „God forbid,
for if I build up again those things which I have destroyed,
I prove myself a transgressor.” That is exactly what Peter
did. He built up the right thing, as he did in the case of
Cornelius, but here in Antioch he is pulling that down. „I
through the law died unto the law that I might live unto
God. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer
I that live) but Christ liveth in me; and that life which I
now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in
the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.”
In other words, „This Christian life that I am living I do
not live by the Mosaic law. I do not make void the grace
of God; for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ
died for nought.” He counted it a repudiation of the gospel.
That’s who saved the situation and how he saved it.
Let us take James as he is presented to us in Acts 21.
When Paul goes to Jerusalem the last time, and goes there
loaded down with money that he has raised for those people
– the poor – James comes to him and says not a word of
thanks for the money or presents. But, „Brother, you see
how many thousands [or, rather, according to the Greek word
here meaning myriads, how many ten thousands] there are
of the Jews who believe, and they are all zealous for the cus_
toms of Moses, and they are under the impression that you
are preaching and doing away with the customs of Moses:
I suggest that you conform to a certain custom of Moses:
Take a vow on yourself and go into the Temple and let all
the people see that you are keeping a vow according to the
Mosaic customs.” I can conceive of what must have been
the feeling of Paul that day, but how as a matter of expedi_
ency, where no principle was involved, he said, „While I do
not consider this custom binding on me, I am willing to be

Jew in observing this law if you do not make the custom
a law of salvation in the gospel.”
Look at James as he appears the last time in the Acts, then
take his letter and read it through. It is written to the dis_
persion in this very territory where Paul’s missionary tour
is. While in that letter of James there is the clearest evi_
dence that he is a Christian that he does accept Jesus Christ
as his Saviour, and while there are many good things and no
evil things, there is an absence of some good things that
would have come in mighty well if he had said them.
So far, then, as we have light on the history of James, he
would have been satisfied for Christianity to have been a sect
of the Jews, believing in the Messiah, but holding on to the
Temple and all of its rites. That is my impression. That is
the reason that in that sermon of mine, „But I Went into
Arabia,” I take the position that if it had not been for
Paul; if God’s providence had not raised him up to stand
by the right view of that question, Christianity would have
remained a Jewish sect. You see that Peter was afraid of
James; and Barnabas, as great as he was, was also afraid of
James, and I suspect that this controversy at Antioch, and
Paul’s rebuke, had somewhat to do with the separation of
Paul and Barnabas in future work. There was another mat_
ter which was the cause of that separation, but we must re_
member that here were two men out on that first tour, and an
issue had come up in the church where they had left, and
Paul takes a position that convicts Barnabas of dissimulation.
There might have beenù1 do not affirm itù1 suggest that
there might have been a residuum of feeling in the heart of
Barnabas that would have made him willing enough, the next
time they go out, not to go together. That would be the way
of two of us. If we had had a sharp debate, it would have
had that effect on us. Barnabas had as much human nature
as we have.

The immediate occasion of that separation was this: Paul
had proposed to Barnabas that they go back and revisit all
the churches that they had preached to in that first mission_
ary tour, and see how they were getting along. Barabbas
gays, „Yes, and I will take Mark along.” Paul says, „No,
not Mark; we tried him once and he backed out right at the
critical point.” Barnabas says, „He is my cousin; he is all
right. If I go, Mark must go.” Paul said, „He cannot go
with me,” and so the contention became sharp, and they
separated. Barnabas takes Mark and goes back to Cyprus,
his old home, the place that Paul and Barnabas evangelized,
and in that part of the territory Mark had been faithful.
Paul goes to the part of the country that Mark did not visit
with them. And this man Silas, one of the deputies sent up
by the Jerusalem church, continued to remain at Antioch, and
he was very much taken with Paul, and he says, „I will go
with you.”
It is hard to say about the merits of the quarrel. I can see
how Barnabas was going to hang onto his kinsman, and give
him another trial, and, as a matter of fact, giving him that
other trial pulled him out all right. Even Paul was satisfied.
Later on in his life he has Mark back with him, and was
very much pleased with him, and in his letter, he says, „Bring
Mark with you. I need him.” So you must judge Barnabas
was right, by proving that Mark ought to have another
Brethren, what would become of us, if, when we made a
blunder, we did not have another chance? Some of the bit_
terest things in our memory are when we recall the great mis_
takes that we have made, and if there is one thing that a good
man desires, it is an opportunity to show that he does not
want to perpetuate his mistakes, and so with Barnabas. [Per_
haps the greatest weakness in many otherwise good men is
their unwillingness to forgive and restore an erring brother.
Not so with Jesus. The same Peter who, with bitter oaths
denied the Master on the night of the betrayal, was upon
repentance, at once taken to the Saviour’s heart, and on the
day of Pentecost strode like a giant. – Editor.] But we must
understand Paul. Life to him was a very serious thing, and
these missionary enterprises were full of labor and suffering,
and very great danger. He wanted to know the people that
went with him. He himself was very feeble, never well,
continually needing some young man to help him. Now, is it
wisdom to start out after a thing, a desperate undertaking,
and take a man along that failed the other time? So my
view of the merits of the quarrel is that both of these men
had enough to justify their views in the case. The fact that
one or the other did not yield proves that both of them were
still in the flesh. The best man in the world is in the flesh.
Well does Paul say later, „I do not count myself perfect, I
do not consider that I have laid hold of everything for which
Christ laid hold of me; I am trying to forget the things that
are behind, and press forward to the things that are before;
keeping my eyes on the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
In other words, he says, „I have the standard all right. I
won’t lower it, but I do not come up to it.”
The New Testament has not another word to say about
Barabbas. His name drops out of the history. What he
did when he went to Cyprus with Mark, we do not know. I
take it for granted that they did well, but the New Testament
does not have another word to say about him. It would have
had a great deal to say if he had gone on with Paul. He
lost the association with the man that was to shake the world,
and fill all future ages. That was a very great loss.
It is as if a man had started out with Sam Houston in
the war of Texas Independence, and they had been together
up to the time of the fall of the Alamo, of Goliad and Refugio,
and there some question had come up and he had separated
from Houston. He would have missed by that separation
the glory of San Jacinto. I think he would have thought of
it on every San Jacinto Day as long as he lived. He may have
had the highest and best motives for pulling away, but the
children would always say when April 21 came, „Papa, I wish
you had kept on with Houston until after that battle.”
The great practical lessons of present value to be derived
from these events at Jerusalem and Antioch are:
1. Present_day churches have the same things to confront
them as did the Antioch church.
2. Do not multiply the things you say are essential to sal_
vation. Just leave them where God left them. Do not say
with the Campbellites that one cannot be saved unless he is
baptized, and do not say with the Romanists that he cannot
be saved unless he partakes of the Lord’s Supper. Leave
things that are essential to salvation Just as you find them,
all spiritual – regeneration, repentance, and faith, and stop
3. Don’t be a stickler for things that, carried out to their
legitimate analysis, will nullify a question of salvation. Do
not stand for any position that, if it is fully carried out, will
block the gospel and divide churches.
4. Whether you think about Paul, Barnabas, Peter, Mark,
or James, we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Just think
of all the good men that you know and you will be bound to
quote Paul.
5. God himself shows that there is a propriety in dividing
the work into home missions and foreign missions. When
Peter and Paul gave each other the hand of fellowship, Peter
went to the Jews, Paul to the Gentiles – one to be a home
mission man and the other a great foreign mission leader,
and God was in that.
6. Division, even when it springs from quarrels, God can
overrule to a greater furtherance of the gospel. Associations
have been formed sometimes because two brother Baptists
could not both be leaders. Look at what great result followed

the separation of the Southern Baptists from the Northern
Baptists. We never amounted to anything here in the South
until the Southern Baptists were organized. The old Na_
tional Convention never met in the South. We had no per_
sonal acquaintance with the secretaries; only a few people
in the great states sent contributions, and they were little,
piddling contributions. When the Southern Baptist Conven_
tion was organized, we had our own assemblies and all the
meetings were held in the South from Texas to the Atlantic
Coast, and the result was that we multiplied the points of
contact between the people, and that division resulted in
great good.
If there never had been any split in the school at Old Inde_
pendence, we would not have Baylor University. This uni_
versity resulted from the split at Old Independence. A quar_
rel occurred between the trustees and Dr. Burleson. It is
hard to say which was more to blame, but in the great vital
points, Dr. Burleson was right, but he ought not to have been
crowded like they crowded him on those great questions. He
took his entire faculty and moved up to Waco and started
Waco University, and the old school began to decline when
he left.
I have not mentioned a hundredth part of the practical les_
sons that can be discovered from these great events, but I
will pass on, commencing at Paul’s second missionary tour
in the next chapter.

1. What the scriptures and themes of this chapter?
2. What was the great social question raised at Antioch soon after
the Jerusalem conference which tended to nullify its decisions?
3. What the full history of it?
4. Why, by whom and how was it raised?
5. Why had it stronger support at Jerusalem than the question about
circumcision, and how account for its effect on Peter and Barnabas?

6. As this very question had been considered and favorably decided
at Jerusalem in the case of Peter himself and Cornelius (Acts 11:1_18;
15:7_11), why under the prompting of James, should it be raised again
at Antioch?
7. Does the history indicate a change of conviction on the part of
Peter and Barnabas since the Cornelius case, or a weak dissimulation
under pressure from Jerusalem? Explain fully.
8. Who saved the situation, and what his argument?
9. Does the subsequent history of James in Acts 21:17_25, or in his
letter to the dispersion, or in Josephus, indicate that he ever reached a
clear understanding of the distinction between the old covenant and
the new? Discuss.
10. Is it possible that this controversy at Antioch, and Paul’s rebuke,
had somewhat to do with the separation of Paul and Barnabas for the
future work? Explain.
11. What was the immediate occasion of that separation, and what the merits of the quarrel between Paul and Barnabas?
12. What does the editor of this INTERPRETATION say of a great common weakness and the importance of forgiveness and brotherly love?
What illustration cited?
13. What further has the New Testament to say of Barnabas, and
what possible loss to him in the separation?
14. What great practical lessons of present value to be derived from
these events at: Jerusalem and Antioch?

Acts 15:40 to 16:40.

The second missionary tour of Paul includes all of that part
of Acts 15:40 to 18:22. Let us trace on the map this entire
tour. Starting at Antioch they passed through a part of
Syria, Cilicia (following the line on the map), then to Derbe,
Lystra, Iconium, Pisidia, and then to the Galatian churches
proper, Pessinus, Ancyra, and Tavium, then over against
Mysia, where an attempt was made to go into Bithynia and
into Mysia, but the Spirit forbade, and they came on down to
Troas, across from Troas, having passed Mysia to the seaport
to Philippi, then from Philippi they went to Thessalonica and
to Berea. There Paul leaves his company, part of which
comes to Athens by sea; from Athens he goes to Corinth,
and from Corinth he sails to Ephesus, from Ephesus he re_
turns to Caesarea, to Jerusalem, and then to Antioch again.
That outlines the tour.
Luke’s account of this tour is found in Acts 15:40 to 18:22.
There are many parallel accounts in Paul’s letters, which will
by the tour was about three and a half years, about A.D. 51_54.
The great general event of the tour is the carrying of the
gospel into Europe. The preceding events, though of great
moment and covering much time, are briefly sketched that
the author may hasten to his chief theme. We are dependent
on Paul’s letters for a knowledge of those details, otherwise
we could not construct a connected narrative, and even these
do not supply details for much of the tour.

A striking characteristic of this tour is the addition to
Paul’s party from time to time of famous fellow workers, each
of whom will be noticed in proper connection. Equally strik_
ing is the fact, developed in this tour, and everywhere mani_
fest in the next tour, that the questions decided at Jerusalem
and Antioch, while authoritatively settled, were not practically
settled. It was a bitter and desperate fight throughout Paul’s
life, and in some form had persisted through all Christian
history, and is a living issue today of very great magnitude.
In the study of this tour, we must also decide in some way
or other, and as well as may be, certain historical questions
involving no little textual critics, relative to the work in
Galatia. The decision depends upon the weight of proba-
bilities, and leaves room for honest differences of judgment.
We cannot hope to consider all the matters of this tour in
one chapter. This would be to leave the reader without a
clear understanding of some of the most important matters
in the Bible. We must take time for study sufficiently thorough
to enable one to teach a Sunday school class at least in this
part of the New Testament.
This tour originated in a suggestion of Paul to revisit the
brethren in all the cities evangelized on the first tour to see
how they fared (Acts 15:36). We have already noted (Acts
14:21_23) a return visit to all the churches established then,
to confirm them; to exhort them to continue in the faith,
to warn them to expect tribulation, and to provide them
with a local ministry. This he did not consider sufficient.
They were babes in Christ, without experience or training
enough to safely care for themselves. And the lesson has
already been emphasized that convert culture was stressed
by Paul as an essential and important part of missionary work.
He did not consider missions to be like marking and branding
cattle, and then turning them out to scatter over a fenceless
range. They needed to be horded, fed, and rounded up enough

to know where home was. It was economy to strengthen weak
All mission work, in order to become permanent and self_
sustaining, calls for general evangelists, not free lances given
to sentimental slush, but men of character, mighty in doc_
trine, and sound in church polity.
Moreover, Paul was eager to carry to these churches the
decision of the Jerusalem conference; to hedge against similar
trouble on his beloved mission field. It was this care for all
the new churches established that constituted the bulk and
weight of Paul’s crushing burden. Two fires burned unquench_
able in his soul: „I must go forward to the regions beyond; I
must go back and see how they fare behind me.”
The reader will observe that Paul, when he started on this
tour, had no thought of Europe. But Luke, writing after_
ward, barely glances at this confirming work, and rushes the
narrative into Europe. How little do any of us know when we
start out where we will land! Be like Paul; let the Spirit
guide. Hold your life loosely in his hands.
What was accomplished in Syria and Cilicia is given in Acts
15:40_41. In two verses Luke disposes of the work in Syria
and Ciliciaù”Confirming the churches.” These churches were
probably planted by Paul in his early ministry (Acts 9:30;
26:20; 11:26). What was accomplished in the churches of
Lycaonia and Phrygia, viz.: Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and An_
tioch, is given in Acts 16:1_5. In two verses (16:4_5) Luke
tells us that as they went through these cities, they delivered
to them, to be observed by them, the decision of the Jerusalem
Conference, and so the churches were established in the faith,
and increased daily. But one far_reaching event at Lystra
he notes more particularly – Paul’s finding of Timothy, the
good report of him by two churches, his circumcision by Paul,
and his accession to the mission band. Both Titus and Timo_
thy were fruits of the first missionary tour. From Paul’s
letters we gather very important additional matter about
this great evangelist, who was nearer to Paul’s heart than
any other co_laborer of his life. Let us sum up the general
facts about him: His father was a Greek; his mother was a
Jewess (Acts 16:1). His mother’s name was Eunice and his
grandmother’s name was Lois. They were devout people, and
had carefully instructed the child in the Holy Scriptures (2
Tim. 3:15). When Paul preached at Lystra, on the first
tour, the grandmother was first converted, then the mother,
then the boy (2 Tim. 1:5). Paul calls Timothy „my be_
loved child,” „my true child in faith” (2 Tim. 1:1; I Tim.
1:2). „My beloved and faithful child” (I Cor. 4:17).
On this return to Lystra, Paul finds Timothy very active in
Christian service in his own home church (Acts 16:1_2). Cer_
tain prophets in the church had foretold by inspiration that
he would be a grat preacher (I Tim. 1:18). The churches at
Lystra and Iconium, where he had labored, united in his com_
mendation (Acts 16:2). As Paul had long desired a compan_
ion to take the place vacated by Mark, he selected Timothy
for this place, and that his ministry might not be handicapped
among the Jews, he circumcised him (Acts 16:3). And on the
approval of the churches, he was ordained by a regular pres_
bytery, Paul participating, to the office of an evangelist (2
Tim. 4:5). As the hands of the presbytery were laid upon
him, the gift of the Holy Spirit came upon him. There is no
New Testament evidence that he ever became a pastor, not_
withstanding the postscript to 2 Timothy in the common ver_
sion, or did other work than that of an evangelist, often, how_
ever, acting in this capacity as the apostolic delegate, with
all the authority of such delegation, as at Ephesus (I Tim.
1:3). He was a kingdom preacher rather than pastor of a
particular church.
F rom this ordination till Paul’s death, he was the most
beloved, the most faithful, and the most efficient of all, Paul’s
co_laborers. Paul’s love toward him, care for him, and appre_
ciation of him were unbounded, and bear this testimony: „As
a child serveth a father, so he served with me in the gos_
pel” (Phil. 2:22).
The modern young preacher cannot do better than to study
Timothy, and Paul’s exhortations to him, to find a model of
ministerial character and fidelity.
An orderly summary of his further connection with Paul
is as follows:
1. Becoming Paul’s inseparable companion, except as di_
rected elsewhere by Paul, he labored with his great leader in
that trying period of sickness and success among the Gala_
tians, described in Galatians 4:15_20.
2. At Philippi (Phil. 2:22; Acts 16:12_40).
3. At Thessalonica and Berea and was left at Berea (Acts
4. Rejoins Paul at Athens, and was sent back to Thessa_
lonica (Acts 17:15 and I Thess. 3:2).
5. Rejoins Paul at Corinth (Acts 17:15; 18:5; I Thess.
3:2), and brings the news from Thessalonica that occasions
the first letter to that church, Timothy being associated with
him in sending the letter. The second letter follows.
6. Timothy remains with Paul throughout the rest of this
tour, and on the third tour till he was sent to Corinth during
the great meeting at Ephesus (I Cor. 4:17; 16:10).
7. From Corinth he returned to Ephesus with the news that
led to the second letter to the Corinthians.
8. Near the close of the Ephesian meeting, Paul sends
Timothy to Macedonia (Acts 19:20), where Paul joined him.
9. At Corinth he sends salutations in Paul’s letter to the
Romans (Rom. 16:21).
10. With Paul, Timothy returns from this third tour (Acts
20:4), yet Timothy went ahead as far as Troas, and they
were there together.

11. From Troas, Timothy and the rest of Paul’s company
go by sea to Assos (Acts 20:13_14), and take up Paul, who
had traveled thither by land from Troas.
12. It is probable that Timothy did not go with Paul be_
yond Miletus on this return trip, as intimated in Acts 20:4, but
he was with Paul in his first Roman imprisonment and joined
in the letters to the Philippians, Philemon, and Colossians
(Phil. 1:1; 2:10, Philem. 1; Col. 1:1). But was arrested there,
and so not associated with the letter to the Ephesians.
Shortly, however, he was liberated, as mentioned in the letter
to the Hebrews (Heb. 13:23).
13. In the last tour of Paul (not mentioned in Acts) Timo_
thy was left at Ephesus (I Tim. 1:3), while Paul went the
last time into Macedonia.
14. Paul was again arrested, taken to Rome and there, just
before his martyrdom, wrote the second letter to Timothy
(2 Tim. 1:2).
In considering the work in Galatia, we are bound to take
up that historical question that involves some textual criti_
cism, viz.: Where were the churches of Galatia to which Paul
wrote his letters, and when did he establish those churches? Dr.
Ramsay’s contention is that Paul in speaking of Galatia, sim_
ply means a Roman province, not confining it to the ethnolog_
ical founders; that it covered Galatia proper, part of Pisidia,
and a part of Lycaonia, and, therefore that the churches of
Galatia to which he wrote the letters were the churches of
Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia, and hence
the work done there, if that contention be correct, is the work
that we have already discussed in the first tour.
That is a new contention, and a whole book of great re_
search is devoted to sustaining that proposition, and one of the
texts cited to support it is this passage in Acts 16:6. We do
not get the thought from the King James Version. The Greek
of that is this: „When they had gone through the Phrygian

[an adjective] and Galatian country.” Dr. Ramsay says that
that text proves his contention; that to call it the Galatian
country some people might think it meant ethnological Gala_
tia, that is, Galatia, according to the population; but to call
it the Phrygian and Galatian country, it would mean that
part of Phrygia which Galatia was made to include under the
Roman Empire, and would prove that the churches of Phrygia
and Galatia were the churches of Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and
That is a strong point, but my objection to it is that Luke
does not follow, even half the time, the names according to
a map of the Roman Empire. He follows one according to
peoples. His Galatia is Galatia proper; hence he has his
Lycaonia, and he has his Mysia, following the ethnological
peoples of the places. Nearly all commentators contend that
the churches of Galatia were churches in Galatia proper.
Here are the three great towns: Pessinus, Ancyra, and
Tavium; they belonged to Galatia proper. If those commen_
tators were right, and I think they were, then Paul’s whole
work in Galatia is summed up here by Luke in half a verse:
„When they had gone throughout Phrygia and Galatia.”
That is all he says about it. He doesn’t tell what is done.
He doesn’t belong to the party then, but he joins the party
a little later, just before they go over to Philippi. He just
touched the most important points until they got to this place,
where Luke joined the party. From that time on he puts the
bulk of the work in Europe.
Galatia is the same as Gallia. When Caesar says, „Gaul
is divided into three parts,” that is the same as if he had said,
„All Galatia is divided into three parts.” The inhabitants of
this body of country were genuine Gauls. In modern times
we would call them French. They were Celts, a very different
class of people from the Germans. They are a lively, cheerful,
dancing, singing, mercurial people. They are the people that
settled Wales, and they have these characteristics there today.
They also settled Ireland, and that’s the Irishman of today
– lively in imagination, but not stable. They are quick to
take up a thing, and just as quick to turn it loose.
What led Paul to preach to those people? An overwhelming
gickness took possession of him, probably that acute disease
of the eyes. His suffering was very great. He tells about it
in his letter to these churches, and he says that they were
very good to him. They received him as though he was an
angel from heaven he says, „You were so compassionate with
me that you would have taken out your own eyes and given
them to me, so that I could have seen better.” The meeting
there was attended with all those demonstrations that signi_
fied the recent meetings in Wales – great enthusiasm. People
came up shouting; they may have had some shakes, as in the
early Methodist meetings; surely ‘it was a regular storm
meeting over there. That is the way they received him. An_
other fact is that some Judean people – teachers – came over
and told these people that Paul was not an ordained apostle;
that he never saw Jesus Christ in the flesh; that he was sub_
ordinate to others, and to the Jews, and there were a great
many who said, „His gospel is not first_class. If you want
to get the right thing, you hear James, or Peter.” And those
Galatians – mercurial fellows that they were – went over to
that other crowd. Paul hears about it, and he writes his let_
ter, saying:
„0 foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you, that you should
turn away from that which I have preached unto you, and
turn to the weak and beggarly elements of the world? I would
like to ask you a question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit
by works of the law, when I was among you, or did you re_
ceive it by faith, and having commenced in the Spirit, is it
right now to try to consummate it in works according to the
old ceremonial Mosaic law? That is incongruous. If you
commence in the Spirit, you must go on in the Spirit!” He
says, „These people have made merchandise of you. When I
was among you, I set Christ before you, as evidently cruci_
fied, and you accepted it as if an angel from heaven had
preached it. Now I stand in doubt; it looked as though you
were converted people, but I am not sure of it now. If you
were converted people, how could you turn back so quickly?”
Galatians 4 shows us what his work up there was, which Acts
doesn’t mention at all. Luke just puts it in half of a verse.
Timothy was with him there. The letter to the Galatians
is a flashlight from heaven. It contains more parts of the
history of the New Testament than any other equal amount
of the Word of God. That is the reason Luther bugged that
book to his heart. He based his reform on the letter to the
Galatians. So Paul had great success in Galatia.
There is a strange guidance of the Holy Spirit on this tour.
The record of it is set forth in Acts 16:6_8. Physically,
Paul was nearly dead. He had been very sick, almost unto
death, in that Galatian meeting. Now he starts from it to
come down to Proconsular Asia. The Spirit says, „No, you
can’t go there this time.” He will go there next time, but he
does not let him go there this time. Then when he gets up
to the province of Mysia, he says that his mind inclined him
to go into Bithynia. The Spirit barred the way, saying, „Not
now.” And so passing from Mysia without stopping, not
knowing where he will go, they come down to Troy.
There was a time when Greece invaded Troy and wiped
it off the face of the map. See Homer and Vergil. Now Paul
goes to Troy, very sick, and he sees in a dream_vision away
across the Aegean Sea a colossal, gigantic figureùMacedonia.
It is Greece appealing to Troy; it is Europe calling to Asia
for the gospel; and he sees that figure with outstretched hands
and hears him say: „Come over into Macedonia and help
us. We belong to the human race; we have had no gospel.”
Maybe that is why the Spirit would not let him go into
Bithynia and would not let him go into Asia, but brought him
to the edge of the sea, across which is Macedonia.
It was the most stupendous event in history, apart from the
crucifixion of Christ – the carrying of the gospel into Europe.
After the work in Asia and Africa had surely passed away,
Europe took up the work until „the course of empire took its
way” across the ocean and brought the gospel to America,
and now America is taking it up and is carrying it into all
parts of the world. This event revolutionized history.
There was a remarkable accession to the party at Troas.
It was Luke, who was a physician. Paul calls him „the be_
loved physician.” Unquestionably he also was an evangelist.
Paul wants him to join the party to take care of his broken
down body. Luke becomes a traveling surgeon with Paul,
and we know that he went with Paul over to Philippi; that
he remained there till Paul comes back there to return to
Asia, and that Luke went with him all the way to Rome, the
physician still with him – with him when arrested in Jerusalem,
with him in Caesarea, and probably at Caesarea Luke wrote
his Gospel. Paul was there two years with him. Luke was
with him on that voyage to Rome.
Take your Bible and look up the word „Luke” and, gath_
ering all together, sum it up. But the books do not follow
in order of time. For instance, Romans, then I and 2 Corin_
thians; they come first in the Bible, but I and 2 Thessalonians
come first in time, then I and 2 Corinthians, then Galatians,
and next Romans. If you can get your books arranged right,
and connect them on that plan, you will get the order. There
is no difficulty in that question, except the order. Now you
see from that a very important accession to the party is Luke.
They cross the sea and come to Neapolis, the seaport, and
then come on to Philippi.
The Romans, having conquered the Greek Empire, divided
this country into provinces, making Philippi one of the chief
cities. Achaia represented that part of Greece that is the
Peloponnesus, almost an island, where Athens and Corinth
are. Philippi was a city of some importance before the Ro_
rnans got possession of the country, but after they had
conquered it, the Romans themselves had a big fight with
each other after Julius Caesar was assassinated. Augustus
Caesar became emperor, but not until the downfall of the
other triumvirate. Augustus Caesar associated himself with
men to help him gain the empire. When Julius Ceasar was’
assassinated, Brutus and Cassius (who were among the con_
spirators) raised a war in order to make Rome a republic,
as it used to be, and the last fight for the republic was &t
this town called Philippi. After the battle was lost, Brutus
and Cassius committed suicide on the field of battle, and on
account of the great triumph, the Romans made that city a
I have already described a Roman colony thus: It con_
sists of a body of citizens of the people of Rome, who, in a
body, retain their names on the muster rolls of Rome, and the
city is governed just exactly like the city of Rome. That
accounts for the fact here that magistrates governed the city,
and they were followed by lictors, who executed the will of
the magistrates, and each lictor carried a bundle of roda.
When they punished, they did not bother with scourging.
When you see the account of being punished with rods, that is
Roman; when forty stripes save one are given, that is Jewish.
Philippi was a Roman city, then, and very few Jews were
there. How do we know? Because no synagogue was there.
All that they had was a little prayer chapel, Just outside of
the city on the river bank. The King James version says,
„Where prayer was wont to be made.” The Greek says,
„Where was a prayer_chapel.” There were not enough peo_
ple to have a synagogue, and they had to content themselves
with a little prayer_chapel outside the city. This shows that
very few Jews were there. It was like a little mission station,
away out of the city, with about one and a half men in it,
and twelve women. That explains how that, when they went
to the first meeting, they found women there.
There were some marvelous events in connection with the
work in Philippi. The first event is the first conversion in
Europe. Paul went to that prayer meeting and found some
women there, and commenced talking to them, and the record
says that the Lord opened the heart of Lydia so that she
attended to the things spoken by Paul. Lydia was a visitor
from Thyatira, over in Asia. She was a fine business woman,
and her business took her there. She was a Jewish proselyte.
Let the preachers please notice:
„Whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things
which were spoken by Paul.”
That shows that our greatest need in preaching is to get
attention. When a colonel gives out his first word in drilling
a battalion, it is, „Attention, battalion!” We have to get
good attention before we can get them to do anything. A
preacher goes into a city immersed in politics, or business, or
pleasure; they do not know anything about him; he gets
no attention. Here comes the antecedent work of the Holy
Spirit. Where does Lydia’s attention come from? The Lord
opened her heart. Here we see just how it was done. Do not
say that because Lydia attended to Paul that the Lord
opened her heart, as so many want to construe that other scrip_
ture, saying, „All that believe are ordained to eternal life,”
which reads: „And as many as were ordained to eternal life,
believed” (Acts 13:48). Take notice that God hits first every
time – that grace, from its incipiency to its consummation in
glory, carries out the work of salvation. It does not start
with us.
If salvation had waited for us to start it, it never would
have been started. It always starts with God.
And Lydia was baptized. The work looked like it would
stop just on the fringe of the town, in a little Jewish prayer
meeting. If the devil had not been so big a fool, it would
have stopped right there. But the devil had possession of a
maiden who was demon_possessed, and this maiden was a for_
tuneteller, a sorceress, a diviner, and seeing the value of her
power, no matter who did the work, they did not care about
that – whether God or the devil – they saw that money could
be made out of that maiden. They formed a syndicate and
bought her, and her value to them was that the demon pos_
sessed her mind. Oh, the greed of money! That men would
form a company, patronizing the work of the devil to rake in
a big pile of shekels! For under the devil’s influence this
maiden wanted to be associated with such men as Paul, Luke,
Silas, and Timothy, and as they would go to prayer meeting,
she would follow along after them. The people would see
them, and she would turn to the people and say, „These men
just ahead are the great power of God.” She wanted to be
associated in mind with these workers. And there is not a
business on the earth that will not call you a good fellow
if you just stand before the people as if you were a „hail,
fellow, well met.” If you wink at whiskey_selling, at gambling,
at the vices, at the sabbath_breaking, they will cover you with
flowers, and the newspapers will notice you, saying, „There is
a broad preacher.”
But Paul was not willing to be associated in the public
mind with the devil, and he commanded the devil to come
out, and when the demon came out she was not worth a cent
to them. Their capital that they had invested was all gone.
When men see their capital going, no matter what kind of
evil business it is invested in – whenever they see that busi_
ness knocked in the head by the gospel – they are going to
fight and not be very scrupulous. So they grabbed these
preachers and took them before the magistrates. They did
not say a word about casting that demon out of the maiden,
but they came and made this accusation: „These men, being
Jews, have greatly disturbed this Roman city, and teach cus_
toms not lawful for us to observe, being Romans. The grass
will grow in Philippi if you let these men go on; the whole
business of the town will be killed.” You get a city stirred
up on that, and it will howl. And the magistrates had the
lictors to take Paul and Silas and beat them – whip them like
slaves. They then put them in jail, charging the jailer to
keep them safely. That night, at midnight, with no light, their
feet in the stocks, their backs bruised, death coming tomorrow,
they prayed. That is a time for men to pray. They can do
nothing. God can do anything. They pray, and right in close
connection with that prayer comes an earthquake. The in_
fidel will tell you that it was a coincidence; faith will tell you
that the earthquake was God’s answer to the prayer. That
is the way he had of answering it. The prison doors were
all thrown open, and that jailer, supposing all the prisoners
were gone, put his sword toward his heart. He was a Roman,
and had received a charge; his prisoners were gone; he would
kill himself when all hope was lost: „Brutus and Cassius com_
mitted suicide right out there on the battlefield and why may
not I?” – and with the point of the sword on his heart comes
the word of the gospel – „Do thyself no harm.” Man has no
right to harm himself. Other people may harm you, then you
cannot help it. A man may set fire to your house while you
are away, but don’t you go home and set fire to it. Some
vile whisperer may put shame on the honor of your wife or
sister, but don’t you do it. Never put your signature to your
own dishonor. Let the world do what it will, but don’t you
be the author of your own shame.
I took that as a text in the prohibition campaign of 1887,
and preached all over Texas on it: That a man had no right
to harm himself, because of his relations to other people; be_
cause he could not make it stop in himself. That jailer had
a family, and if he had killed himself, that family would have
waked up that night and stood barefooted in his blood. The
jailer, trembling and astonished, came in and fell down before
Paul and Silas. „Since I may not harm myself . . . what
must I do to be saved?” And as quick as lightning comes the
answer to the question, „Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ
and thou shalt be saved, and your family can come in at the
same door, if only they believe.” „Come in and all thy house,
into the ark,” said God to Noah.
I have thought a thousand times of that scene. At midnight,
that man was lost. At midnight, he was saved. At midnight,
salvation came to him, and to every member of his family.
They all believed; they all rejoiced; they were all baptized.
What a mighty change since they went to bed that night.
Went to bed lost – woke up next morning – everyone – in the
kingdom of God. I suppose that if the devil had known what
was going to happen, he never would have pestered those peo_
ple, but would have let the meeting fringe just outside the
city with a few Jewish women.
This is the only place in the Bible where the question is
plainly asked: „What must I do to be saved?” And there is
the answer: „Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou
shalt be saved.” Be saved, right there and then, and forever.
I note also that this was not a Jewish persecution. There
were very few Jews there, and they had no influence. It
was a Roman persecution.
The church established here was the dearest to Paul of all
the churches he established. It sent contributions to him
more than once. So I say that it was really a missionary
Just here the question arises, How do you account for
Paul being beaten with rods? His Roman citizenship would
have saved him if he had claimed it. Sometimes he claimed
it, and sometimes he did not. If he had just said, „I am a
Roman citizen,” they would not have dared to beat him with
those rods; but he did not claim half of his rights, and it was
best for the gospel that he did not. That finishes chapter 16.
From there they went to Thessalonica.

1. What the scriptures for Paul’s second missionary tour?
2. Trace on. the map this entire tour.
3. What the time covered by thia tour, what the great event of this
tour, and from what source do we get the details of this tour?
4. What striking characteristic of this tour?
5. What equally striking fact developed in this tour and everywhere
manifest in the next tour?
6. In the study of this tour what historical question must we de_
cide, and upon what does the decision depend?
7. What was the object at the outset, and what real distinction be_
tween this and his former missionary tour?
8. What was accomplished in Syria and Cilicia?
9. What was accomplished in the churches of Lycaonia and Phrygia,
viz.: Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch?
10. What great accession to this party at Lystra, and what the history
of this great evangelist?
11. Give an orderly summary of his further connection with Paul.
12. What was the work in. Galatia, what Dr. Ramsay’s contention, and
what the author’s objection to it?
13. Who were the Gauls, the inhabitants of Galatia; what their traits?
14. What Paul’s rebuke to this people found in his letter to them?
15. What can you say of this letter, and what use made of it by
Martin Luther?
16. Give an account of the strange guidance of the Holy Spirit on. this tour.
17. What is the real meaning of Paul’s „Man of Macedonia?”
18. What remarkable accession to the party at Troas, and what the
New Testament account of this man?
19. Give a history of Philippi.
20. What can you say of its government?
21. How may we know that there were few Jews there?
22. What the marvelous events in connection with the work in Philippi?
23. What is the infidel’s explanation of the earthquake at Philippi,
and what the Christian’s explanation?
24. Is a man ever justifiable in committing suicide, and why?
25 What pointed question here as to the plan of salvation, and how
did Paul answer it?
26. Was this a Jewish persecution, and what the proof?
27. What was the character of the church established here, and how
was it regarded by Paul?
28. How may we account for Paul being beaten with rods, since he
was a Roman citizen?

Acts 17:1_34.

Thessalonica is situated at the head of the gulf leading into
the Aegean Sea and is on the great Ignatian Road. It was
then, and has been ever since, a great city. It was not only
important on account of its strategic position in the days of
Paul, but continues so till this day. There are multitudes of
both Jews and Christians in it now. About the middle of the
tenth century, it was captured by the Saracens, or Mohamme_
dans. Then it was rescued by the Crusaders, and then, final_
ly, in about the middle of the fifteenth century, it was cap_
tured by the Turks and they hold it yet. It was a free city,
not a colony. The Emperor Augustus made it a free city.
The form of its government is indicated by a word that Luke
uses, which occurs here only in all literature – „polytarchs”
which means many chiefs. It was governed by men of its
own selection. In the days of the Dutch towns and German
free towns, we had something like its form of government
– governed by the burgesses, or syndicates, elected by the peo_
So far as the record goes, it seems that Paul was there
three weeks. Anyhow, it says that he preached for three Sun_
days in the Jewish synagogue. As to the matter that he
preached we gather something, but very little, from the rec_
ord. The record tells us that he „went in unto them, and
three sabbath days reasoned with them from the scriptures,
opening and alleging that it behooved the Christ to suffer and
to rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus whom, said

he, I proclaim unto you, is the Christ.” Another clause in
the text shows that his enemies said that he taught that
there was another king – one Jesus. That shows that the man_
ner of his preaching to the Jews was to take the Old Testa_
ment and prove from it that the Messiah that was to come
would be a sufferer; that he would be put to death; that he
would rise again from the dead, and that, risen from the dead,
he would become the exalted King of the universe. But that
gives you but a faint conception of what Paul preached while
he was there. I enjoin upon you, that you quietly sit down
and read over the first and second letters to the Thessalonians,
and learn from them what he says he preached while he was
there with them. At least, you will find these matters were
presented – especially eschatological matters – the doctrine of
the last things. It has to do with what will take place at
the last, at the end of the world, in connection with the coming
of Christ. Very great stress was put upon that in Paul’s
preaching, and the reason that he preached that particular
thing was that both to him and to them the preaching was
in great suffering and persecution, and he was pointing to the
fact that, while we must have tribulation upon the earth, at
last all will be well for the righteous and evil for the wicked.
Another thing that he says that he preached day and night
was that whoever professes to be a Christian must live a holy,
godly life; that he must not steal; must not lie; must not
wrong his neighbor; that he must be industrious; he must not
be an idler, nor a busybody. In other words, as much there
as anywhere else he ever preached it, he presented the prac_
tical side of Christianity. Read his letters where he says to
those he is addressing, „You remember I told you this when I
was with you.” How thankful we ought to be that we have
these two letters to the Thessalonians! We never would get
upon our minds the right impression of that three weeks’
meeting if we did not have these letters to tell us how the
meeting was carried on.
It is also very important to know how he preached, how
he held a meeting, as well as the things he preached about.
He presented Christ as prophet, sacrifice, priest, king, and
judge, and he presented a holy life, but we want to know the
manner in which he preached. It is important, not only to
have something to say, but to say it so that it will stick. Note
what he says: „Our exhortation is not of error, nor of un_
cleanness, nor in guile: but even as we have been approved
of God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak; not as
pleasing men, but God, who proveth our hearts. For neither
at any time were we found using words of flattery, as ye know,
nor a cloak of coveteousness [we didn’t have any financial
ax to grind in that meeting], God is witness; nor seeking glory
of men, neither from you nor from others” (I Thess. 2:3_6).
Then he continues, „When we might have claimed authority
as apostles of Christ, we came among you as brethren; we
were gentle in the midst of you, as when a nurse cherisheth
her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we
were well pleased to impart to you not the gospel of God only,
but also our own souls, for you were very dear to us. You re_
member, brethren, and are witnesses how holily and righteously
and unblameably we behaved ourselves toward you that be_
lieve. You know that we dealt with you, every one of you,
as a father with his own children, exhorting you and en_
couraging you and testifying unto you.” That is a very fine
manner. When you hold a meeting, remember how Paul
preached in this great cityùthe manner of it as well as the
The manner of the reception of his preaching is found in
I Thessalonians 2:13: „For this cause we also thank God
without ceasing, that, when ye received from us the word of
the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the
word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which
also worketh in you that believe.” It is a great thing when a
man is holding a meeting, if he so conducts himself that people
will think he is God’s messenger, and they will receive what
he preaches, not as the word of men, but as the word of God.
The power of this preaching there is seen also from the let_
ter. The text, verse 6, taking the testimony of the enemies,
says, „These that have turned the world upside down are come
hither also.” That is their testimony to the power. Let us see
what the testimony to the power of that meeting is on the
part of Paul. In I Thessalonians 1:5 he says: „Our gospel
came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the
Holy Spirit, and in much assurance.” The power was so great
that the people who believed received assurance as they re_
ceived faith. The evidences of the Spirit’s work were so
marvelous, so manifest, that converts who believed, believ ‘d
fully; they staggered not with any doubt, having a full as_
surance of faith. So that must have been indeed a great meet_
ing in its power.
The cost of the meeting was borne in two ways. The first
proof is I Thessalonians 2:9, „For ye remember, brethren, our
labor and travail: working night and day that we might not
burden any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”
Paul paid his own expenses. He didn’t do it all the time, as
I will prove to you. Toward the latter part of the meeting,
that Philippian church that he had just established, sent him
a big contribution, which he very gratefully acknowledges
when he writes the letter to the Philippians. It was a mission
church, hardly out of the cradle yet. He had just left it, and
they remembered how poor he was, without money and with_
out purse. They recalled how he had worked, and of their own
volition, without a suggestion from him before he left Thes_
salonica, they took up a big collection and sent it to him. He
states that they did it more than once. They sent him another
one when he got to Corinth.
What a beautiful church was that Philippian chutch! Of
all the churches that Paul ever established, he appreciated
the church at Philippi most, and it loved him most. It not
only sent funds to him here at Thessalonica, but at Corinth,
and when they heard that he was long afterward arrested
and taken to Rome as a prisoner, they sent their pastor with
a big contribution to go and find him in the prison and give it
to him. So I would call that a Missionary Baptist church.
In I Thessalonians 2:14_16 he refers thus to the character
of the opposition: „For ye, brethren, became imitators of the
churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus: for ye
also suffered the same things of your own countrymen, even
as they did of the Jews; who both killed the Lord Jesus and
the prophets, and drove out us, and please not God, and are
contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles
that they may be saved; to fill up their sins always: but the
wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” Then in the very
beginning of the letter he refers to the opposition of the Jews,
not the Jewish Christians, but the outside Jews. He held the
synagogue for three sabbath days, but they fought him from
the very start.
As to the result of that meeting, Acts 17:4 says, „And some
of them [that is, the Jews, not many] were persuaded and
consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a
great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.” The Lord
bless the women! And these were great women, rich women,
influential women. So there the accessions to the church were
just a few Jews, but a great multitude of the proselytes and
of the outside Gentiles, and not a few good women. That
church ought to have made a fine record.
But we also want to know what about the results afterward.
So I cite another passage from the letter, written not long
after the meeting. Paul is at Corinth when he writes it. He
says, „And ye became imitators of us and of the Lord, having
received the word in much affliction, with joy in the Holy
Spirit; so that ye [the result] became an example to all that
believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you hath sounded
forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia,
but in every place your faith to God_ward is gone forth; so
that we need not to speak anything. [The report that goes on
about the work in your place does the speaking.] For they
themselves report concerning us what manner of entering in
we had unto you; and how you turned unto God from idols,
to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from
heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who de_
livereth us from the wrath to come” (I Thess. 1:6_10).
There is a certain expression there that I stress. When you
talk about the results of that meeting, you have first the mul_
titude; you have, second, the character, and if I had time, I
would give you individuals that afterward became famous,
who were converted in that meeting. Then we have the fact
stated that so marvelous was that effect that the sound went
forth, or it sounded forth, sounding all over Macedonia, all
over Achaia and everywhere. Thessalonica was a seaport and
the news of that meeting went out on every ship. Thessalonica
was on the great Ignatian Way, and the travel was incessant
ò east and west, away from Rome and toward Rome, and every_
body carried the news of that meeting. It was on the by_way
that went up into a high place of Macedonia, and even into
Illyrica; they all heard about the meeting they had at Thes_
salonica, that is, this three weeks’ meeting. Thessalonica was
a great city, and many people lived there.
The Jews, having found that they couldn’t stop this meeting
by growling and standing out on the edges (you know how
opponents do stand out on the fringe of the meeting and make
fun and snarl), said that the meeting was overriding them and
therefore they went before these polytarchs and preferred a
charge – a charge of treason – Just exactly like the charge they
preferred against Christ: that there was another king, and
therefore it was against Caesar, saying, „They tell about an_
other king – one Jesus.” That is one point. The next point is
sedition. They caused the disturbance. Nobody was disturbed
but themselves, and they were doing it. If there was anything
in the world that a Roman magistrate would become alarmed
at, it was turbulences in the streets. The Roman power was
very stern about any popular disturbance. They would hear
a charge of that crime quicker than they would anything else.
And the soldiers were ready to dash in among them at any time
to put down any sort of a mob movement. You will see a
sample of it, and how a Roman deals with it, when we get to
They went to the house of Jason, the man with whom the
preachers were staying. Jason was entertaining them. There
are still a good many people left in the world like the women
in the time of Elisha that built a prophet’s chamber. They
are glad to have the preachers. They get benefit in the family.
We learn from the letter to the Romans that Paul had a
kinsman named Jason, but this one is in Thessalonica, and
while it is hardly probable that that kinsman did move over
to Rome, as it wasn’t very long till the letter to the Romans
was written, I conclude that this Jason was not a kinsman of
Paul, but Just one of the brethrenùone of the converts. They
rushed up to the house, but Paul and Silas were not there, and
they captured Jason and others, and brought them up before
the magistrates, and put them under bond that there should
be no more disturbances, very much like people giving bond
now to keep the peace.
I call attention to a word in the Authorized Version of Acts
17:5: „The Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took
unto them certain lewd fellows.” In our time that old Angio_
Saxon word „lewd” has a meaning of sexual infamy attached
to it. That is not the meaning here. Very recently one of the
greatest writers on the use of words has published an article
in a magazine on the change in the meaning of English words.
„Lewd” originally meant the people. After a while it began
to mean the common people, and finally it got to mean (and
this is the meaning it has here) that part of the people we call
loafers – people who hang around courthouses or stand and
talk at the barroom doors. If you can just think of the word,
„town loafer,” you will have the right idea. So, on the whole,
the meeting was not successful with the Jews.
Paul’s desire to continue his work at Thessalonica was
evinced later. They shipped him off rapidly, leaving Silas and
Timothy there, however. Some of the brethren took Paul and
carried him down to the sea in order that he might go by sea
to Athens. He couldn’t travel by himself, and those young
converts were very kind to him. It is like the country brethren
sending buggies to meet the preacher, and sending him back
when he goes out to hold his meetings. They took Paul all the
way down to the seacoast. In his feebleness he couldn’t go by
himself. They went with him to Athens, and having domiciled
him there, they went back home. When they went back they
took a message from him to Timothy and to Silas to come to
him at once. Here is what he says on that subjectù1 Thes_
saloniang 2:17_18: „But we, brethren, being bereaved of you
for a short season . . . because we would fain have come unto
you, I Paul, once and again; and Satan hindered us.” Then
he goes on to say why he wanted to come – that he counted
that great multitude his hope, his crown of rejoicing; that that
would be enough for him when he got to heaven, bringing his
sheaves and saying, „Lord, these are from Thessalonica.” And
in I Thessalonians 3:2 he refers to it again: „And sent Timo_
thy, our brother and God’s minister in the gospel of Christ, to
establish_ you, and to comfort you concerning your faith.” We
see he had sent word to Timothy to join him at Athens. Tim_
othy came, and as soon as he got there, Paul sent him back
to Thessalonica: „I can’t bear to think of what would become
of that crowd of people; I want to know how they are getting
along,” says Paul. „I go to Corinth from Athens, and you can
join me there, and tell me about the Thessalonians.” We find
after a while that Timothy did come to him at Corinth, and
this called forth those letters to the Thessalonians.

Berea was not a place of the importance that Thessalonica
was. It was like holding a meeting in the country, and the
Jews there being far out of touch with the travel of Jews and
the Jerusalem news, liked the preacher that would get
up and tell them about the Old Testament. These were more
noble than the Jews at Thessalonica. They not only received
the word gladly, but they took up their Old Testaments and
examined them to see if what Paul preached was true. You
have a people in a good fix when you make them pull their
Bibles out and brush the dust off and verify what you preach.
That is a fine spirit. The character of the work done here at
Berea was fine, but there was a distinction in its result from
that done in Thessalonica. At Berea a multitude of the Jews
were converted, and only a few at Thessalonica.
The work was interrupted when that same Jew crowd of
devils at Thessalonica heard he was there holding another
meeting and followed him and brought the case up before the
officers of the law. If they could have just held the meeting
there a while longer with that spiritual force of the Berean
Jews, without being interrupted, and with everybody getting
out their Bibles as the preacher preached, all the Jews in that
country might have been converted. But Paul left Silas and
Timothy, while the Berean brethren took him on to Athens.
We are not to think of the Athens of the days of Pericles,
the greatest city in the world for its power in art, painting,
sculpture, oratory, philosophy, literature, and so great that it
has affected the world ever since. We are not even to think
of the Athens of the days of Demosthenes, though some of the
characteristics were already developed that are now in full
sway. Demosthenes, when he was trying to stir them up
against Philip of Macedon, told them that Philip of Macedon
was a man that was always doing something: „You don’t do
anything but just go around and say, What is the news? How
on earth are you going to stand before such a man as Philip
of Macedon?” We will see that they are of that disposition
when Paul reaches Athens. While not in ita glory, it still has
its Acropolis, high up over that city – that marvelous building
– even today a wonder of the world, its Parthenon, and over on
another hill stood a colossal statue of the goddess Minerva,
and lower down on the hill was their celebrated court room,
Mars’ Hill, the Areopagus (pagos meaning hill, and arcs mean_
ing Mars – „Mars’ Hill”), and lower down still was what is
called the „Agora,” market place. It was a big market place,
with rows and rows of the most beautifully sculptured pil_
lars, and under the porticoes of that market place the philoso_
phers would meet the people and teach. Socrates taught there.
The market place was the daily newspaper of the day. It was
the schoolhouse, where everybody met everybody and told
everybody what everybody knew. It was full of sculptured
idols. They were on every hilltop. They were on all the hill_
sides, and lined both sides of the streets clear down to the bay
– the Pireus. They were in every house; they were in every
garden, and as a writer once said, „It is easier to find a god
in Athens than to find a man”; gods to the right of them, gods
to the left of them, gods in front of them, and gods behind
them, all around them and all over them, and yet the people
had lost faith in all those gods.
I have already said that the brethren of Berea brought him
overland to the seaport. There he took ship, came around to
Athens, sailed through those rough waters of the Aegean –
those islands of the Aegean about which Byron wrote, „The
Islands of Greece, where Paphos and Sapho sang,” said
to be the most beautiful islands in the world except the
Thousand Islands in one of the northern lakes. When Paul
arrived he had no forward thoughts; they were all backward.
He was distressed to be there by himself, and he says, „Tell
Silas and Timothy to come forthwith.” Then his mind was on
that great meeting in Thessalonica and Berea and Philippi;
there were two fires always burning in his heart, one pointing
to the regions beyond, and one pointing back to the regions
behind. But his mind was diverted and his spirit was stirred
within him when he saw the city full of idols. Walking up
and down the streets, he saw these idols, and reading the in_
scriptions on them, his spirit was stirred within him. This
stirring of the Jew’s heart at beholding the idols in Greece
was foretold by what prophet? I preached my educational
sermon on that. It is frum Zechariah: „I will stir up thy sons,
0 Zion, against thy sons, 0 Greece.” He was grieved with its
philosophy, and just as it is now, a man that believes in God,
in the inspiration of the scriptures and in the integrity of the
scriptures, comes, and there is the philosopher of the schools
competing. I sent that address to Dr. Strong, at Rochester,
and he wrote back and said, „I don’t fear the Greeks as much
as you do,” but now he fears the Greeks in his old age, when
one of his own sons has gone off after them, and when he sees
the whole North swept away with their philosophy, his old
age is full of intense concern.
Paul first went into the synagogue and preached to the Jews.
Then he went for that market place. That was the place to
find the people, and he took them one at a time. He just had
to preach. Then it is said that certain philosophers of the
Epicureans and Stoics met him. Epicureanism is just exactly
what modern evolutionists teach. They are the authors of it,
and later, men borrowed from them. In other words, the Epi_
cureans stole all their best ideas. They were materialists and
atheists. They didn’t believe in God. They believed all things
in the world came about by a fortuitous coming together of
atoms. That the earth is governed by chance and not divinely,
and that death is the end of man, therefore „Let us eat and
drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” was their motto.
The Stoics were Pantheists and materialists. They believed
that matter was eternal; that nothing happened by chance as
the Epicureans taught, but that everything comes to pass by
an inexorable fate. They beat the Hardshells, saying that

„whatever is to be will be if it never happens.” Their great
fault was pride.
Mars’ Hill was a place where they held their courts. The
Athenian ecclesia assembled there. Raphael’s cartoon of Paul
in Mars’ Hill is a great work of art. Raphael was a great
painter, one of the masters, and he has left an immortal paint_
ing of Paul here at Athens. You see a very imperfect copy
of it in some of your Bibles; if you could study the great paint_
ing itself, it would_ evidently be a marvel to you.
Let us analyze Paul’s address on Mars’ Hill. He commences
exactly as Demosthenes commenced, „Men of Athens [he knew
about Demosthenes], I perceive that in all things ye are very
religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of
your worship [objects of your worship: you carry your re_
ligion into worshiping a multiplicity of things; that is very
religious], I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an
Unknown God.’ ” Two classical writers declare that they have
seen those altars with those inscriptions. Understand that
Paul was carried to that courthouse practically unawares.
He was not dragged there, but he was taken to the courthouse
on this charge: „You seem to be a setter forth of strange gods.”
There was a law in Athens that no man must introduce another
god. I sympathize with that law. They surely had enough.
Socrates was put to death on that very charge, that he said
that a spirit which they called a demon, a supernatural being,
instructed him, and as he didn’t call that spirit either Jupiter,
Pluto, Saturn, Minerva, or Venus, or any of their so_called
gods, that was teaching a strange god, and Socrates was put
to death. That charge is brought against Paul. In analyzing
his address, you see how adroit he is in evading that: „You
accuse me of setting forth strange gods,” and in using their
very words, he says, „I set forth unto you a God that you
ignorantly worship. I am introducing no new divinity. I am
introducing a God that you confess you are ignorant of, for

you have an altar on which you have inscribed, ‘To the Un_
known God.’ Now that God whom you do not know, I tell
you about, and he is not at all like what the Epicureans or
the Stoics teach; he created man and everything you see, and
he does not need anything from us. We sprung from him, and
he made of one blood all the nations that inhabit the earth.”
The Athenians believed that their blood was „blue blood,”
and that no other people in the world had the same origin.
They taught that they were indigenous – that they just came
up right there, and that all the rest of the world were bar_
barians. Standing on Mars’ Hill, where they held such a be_
lief, and such a contempt for the outside world, he made them
see the unity of the race, and that they were not separate from
the rest of the world in their derivation. And standing there,
with a gesture he could point to the statue of the goddess
Minerva, and then sweep his hand toward the Acropolis, where
hundreds of gods were presented in statues, he says, „God
dwelleth not in temples made with hands,” thus quoting Ste_
phen. How well he remembered what Stephen said I
Then he says, „And this God, of whom you have unjusti_
fiable ignorance, not only appointed your nation its place and
its season, but every other nation its place and its season, and
has put in man a longing for God that they should seek after
him. Though they grope in blindness, that he would reach
out his hand and touch their hand, if haply they might find
him. He is not far off. He is near.” Then he said (the idea
of going to the most cultivated place in the world, e. g., to
Yale, Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge combined, and say_
ing to them, „The times of your ignorance God overlooked”),
„You are great in a certain way. You know how to paint,
and how to make speeches, how to carve in wood, and in
stone; you know how to philosophize, but about God, about
eternity, about the relation of man to heaven, and to his
fellow man, you are just as ignorant as moles and bats.”
And it is _true today, that the places of the greatest culture
are the places of the greatest ignorance of God and the hard_
est places in which to preach.
Paul says, „God overlooked your ignorance, but now, as
Christ has come, as life and immortality are brought to light,
as the stream of life is brought to your very door, God now
commandeth men everywhere to repent, because he hath ap_
pointed a day of judgment, and the judge will be this very
man that I preach unto you, and the evidence he (God) has
given to this man is that he raised him from the dead.”
The Athenians stopped him right there, „Oh, if you are
going to talk about the resurrection of the dead, why of
course philosophers cannot believe that. If you are going to
bring in a miracle like that, why, we can’t accept it.” Paul
quoted from two of their poets. Aratus, of Tarsus, Paul’s
own city, was one of them, who wrote,
With him, with Zeus are filled
All paths we tread, and all the marts of men:
Filled, too, the sea, and every creek and bay.
And all in all things need we help of Zeus,
For we, too, are his offspring.
And, second, Cleanthes, who wrote,
„Tis meet that mortals call with one accord,
For we thine offspring are, and we alone
Of all that live and move upon this earth
Receive the gift of imitative speech.

This address of Paul proves him to have been a very
learned man. The logic of his address, the connected chains
of thought, prove it. He was acquainted with Demosthenes’
manner of commencing an address, and everything shows
that he could speak to the most cultivated audience in the
world. But this is the only time that he ever adopted the
learned method of preaching, and it was the poorest preach_
ing that he ever did, and had the poorest results. There was
one man, Dionysius and one or two women converted. So
when he got over to Corinth, the next place, he just got down
on his knees and said, „I discard rhetoric; I discard all
rounded periods; I lay aside the wisdom of words, and in
fear and trembling I cling to the cross of Christ,” and he
had another big meeting, but he didn’t have it at Athens. If
you were going to preach the commencement sermon at Yale
or Harvard, I venture to say that unless somebody warned
you, you would get on your stilts and scrape the sky with
your rhetoric and oratory. They wouldn’t care anything
about that. It is nothing more than the aurora borealis to
them – nothing more than glowworms. The greatest crowd
of intellectualists are like a lot of lightning bugs on a mullein
leaf, with their tails together, and imagining that they are
illumining the world.
Paul never did get from under the mighty impressions
of the Thessalonians and the meeting in Philippi and Berea.
Oh, that was a love feast! And he got up on the mountaintop.
He saw the city of Jerusalem, the way opened up into heav_
en, and the power of the world to come got hold of him.
But when he got down there at Athens to philosophizing, his
heart grew cold. So every time he thought of that meeting,
he was whipped. You had just as well try to feed your guests
on a painted supper as to preach that way.
This question arises, Did Paul ordain elders in Thessalonica,
and what is the proof? I say that he did, but the proof is found
in one of his letters to them. That shows how many things
Luke leaves out. If we had a letter of Paul about every place
he held a meeting we would not be ignorant about what was
done. The proof is that when he left Thessalonica he left
preachers in charge of it, not only Silas and Timothy, but
special men. He didn’t mark and brand cattle to turn them
out on the range.
1. Where is Thessalonica situated, what its strategic position in the
days of Paul and now, what of the Jews there, what its relation to the

Mohammedans, and what kind of government did it have?
2. How long was Paul there, and what the proof?
3. What the matter and what the manner of his preaching there?
4. What the importance of his method of preaching there?
5. What the manner of the reception of his preaching?
6. What the power of his preaching there?
7. How was the cost of the meeting borne, and what church sent
contributions to him at various times?
8. What was the character of the opposition at first in Thessalonica?
9. What was the result of the meeting then and thereafter?
10. What expression here stressed by the author, and why?
11. How did the persecution assume the Gentile form, and what the result?
12. What is the meaning of „lewd fellows” in this connection?
13. Who of the mission party had been left at Philippi?
14. On the whole, was the meeting successful with the Jews?
15. How was Paul’s desire to continue his work at Thessalonica
evinced later?
16. Give an account of Berea, its importance, the Jews there, the
character of the work done there, and the distinction between this re_
sult, and the result at Thessalonica.
17. How was the work interrupted?
18. Whom did Paul leave behind?
19. Give an account of Athena.
20. How did Paul reach Athens?
21. What the state of Paul’s mind when he arrived there?
22. What diverted his mind, and put him to work there?
23. To whom did he first preach?
24. Then to whom did he preach?
25. Who were the Epicureans, and who now represent them?
26. Who were the Stoics, and what did they teach?
27. What was Mars’ Hill?
28. Describe Raphael’s cartoon of Paul on Mars’ Hill.
29. Analyze Paul’s address on Mars’ Hill.
30. What was the result of this effort of Paul?
31. Who were the poets from whom Paul quoted in this speech, and
what were their words?
32. Who came to him here?
33. What does this address prove as to Paul’s learning?
34. What evidence have we that Paul discarded later this philosophi_
cal method of preaching, and why?
35. What the respective impressions on Paul’s life about the work in
Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens?
36. Did Paul ordain elders in Thessalonica, and what the proof?

Acts 18:1_22.

The twenty_seventh chapter of Farrar’s Life of Paul is very
fine in furnishing a background of Acts 18. Also the cor_
responding chapters in Conybeare and Howson, and par_
ticuarly that chapter in Stalker’s short Life of Paul that is
devoted to the study of the New Testament church – the
church at Corinth. But the Corinth of this section is not the
Corinth of ancient Greece. That Corinth was absolutely
destroyed by the Romans before Christ, and this is an en_
tirely new city. It is situated on an isthmus which connects
the upper part of Greece with the lower part. The lower part
is called Peloponnesus, and the upper part is called Achaia.
In the history of the world, the strait of water or the isthmus
of land has always been regarded as strategically important.
This isthmus was the highway from upper Greece into lower
Greece. It has a port on each side, one opening into the
Aegean Sea, and the other on the western side, opening into
the Mediterranean Sea. The smaller vessels of that day were
sometimes dragged across that isthmus in order to avoid that
circuit around the lower part of Greece.
The government was proconsular. Whenever the governor
of a Roman province is called proconsul, that means that it is
a senatorial province. If it is an imperial province, then the
emperor at Rome appoints without any counsel, its chief
officer, and the very word proconsul proves that this was a
senatorial province, and this Corinth of this section is the
Roman capital of Achaia.


Standing high above the city is the mountain capped with
buildings, called Acro_Corinth, Just as Athens had its Acropo_
lis. From the top of that Acro_Corinth one could see over
into both seas, and far out into upper and lower Greece.
The second celebrity was the famous Isthmian games
where athletics held sway. Athletes from every part of the
world competed in boxing, in foot racing, in throwing quoits.
What we would call, in modern times, the football ground of
the world, was here at Corinth, and it attracted more atten_
tion than anything else.
The third celebrity was its Temple of Venus. Venus had
a great many temples, and they were called by different
names, but she was the main goddess worshiped here.


The religion was too vile to discuss publicly. Just think of
Sodom and Gomorrah) and you have a picture of the religion
of Corinth. An ancient writer said that Corinth had the
highest culture in the world, but was rotten in the sight of
God. No decent tongue could describe what occurred under
the name of religion, Just as common and everyday as eat_
ing a family meal. This was intensified by the fact that it
was a commercial place of great importance, and, second, it
was the game place of the world. It was the place where the
vanity fairs, the races, and all forms of gambling were car_
ried on, and the sailors of two seas continually coming in, the
vileness of the West itself, polluted by the vileness of the
Orient; thus we have a description of Corinth.
There were multitudes of Jews there. Wherever commerce
goes, the Jew goes. It was a place of multitudes of slaves,
not Negro slaves, but captives of any nation in war, reduced
to the most abject slavery, in which the honor and the life
of the slave are held absolutely at the will of the owner. Paul
was here nearly two years. The record specifies that he re_
mained here a year and a half, with some time before, and
many days after that. So if we say about two years, we will
have it about right.
Acts 18 and I and 2 Corinthians are of inestimable value.
We would not have on very vital points any New Testament,
if these letters to this church that Paul established there,
were left out. So on that account, Dr. Stalker, in his Life of
Paul, devotes a whole chapter to the New Testament church,
and takes the church at Corinth as his example.
Paul went from Athens to Corinth. Athens is in the upper
part of Greece toward the east, and Corinth is right on the
isthmus that connects upper and lower Greece. I take for
granted that he went by sea. He could go in about five
hours, and if he went the other way, by land, it was a very
hard all day trip, and some over, unless they went fast. There
was nobody with Paul in going to Corinth. Timothy had
joined him at Athens. Silas was yet at Berea, and Paul had
sent Timothy from Athens back to Thessalonica. Luke had
remained at Philippi, and so here he was by himself going off
to a new place. But he found on his arrival in Corinth Pris_
cilla and Aquila, about the most noted married couple men_
tioned in the New Testament, with the woman’s name com_
ing first. In other words, I take it that she had a more de_
cided character than her husband. A famous Southern woman
was called Madam Laver and Mr. Laver was called the
husband of Madam Laver. But her name was in the front.
They both, Aquila and Priscilla, are good and great people.
They lived a part of their time at Rome, and the Emperor
Claudius just at that time had banished the Jews from Rome.
There was a tremendous colony of Jews on the off side of the
Tiber in the city of Rome, a place of terrible disturbances,
and Claudius banished the Jews. And so Aquila and Pris_
cilla, being Jews, came over to Corinth.
A connected New Testament account of this remarkable
man and his wife is of some value. By taking a concordance
and getting the names, we find that at Rome, at Corinth, at
Ephesus, they kept house; and in Rome they had a church
in their own house. There is no use in talking abo_ut this
faithful New Testament couple living out of the church. If
there wasn’t a church, they would establish one. I always
like to read about them. They are the ones who take young
preachers in charge, who haven’t learned all about the gos_
pel, and teach them what they don’t know, and keep them
from making mistakes – a fatherly, motherly couple.
Paul was supported in Corinth at first by his own labor.
It was cheap labor, and he didn’t make enough to live on,
and part of the time he was half starved. I mean that, literal_
ly. Later, when Silas and Timothy Joined him, they brought
a contribution from the Philippian church, and be had a
better time after that. This privation of Paul gives the oc_
casion of the most remarkable discussion in the New Testa_
ment on the support of the ministry. We find it in 2 Corin_
thians. Everyone ought to read and thoroughly study that
discussion. He asks these Corinthian people to forgive him for
doing them the wrong of not being chargeable to them for
that two years’ work. It hurt them for a preacher to stay
there two years and get nothing for it. It was a „slam” on
them. But he had a special reason. Everybody in Corinth
worked for gain. And so, when this preacher came, the first
question would be, „What ax has he to grind?” „What self_
ish interest is he after?” Some of them didn’t work for gain,
but they would sell themselves for gain, body and soul. See_
ing what public sentiment was on that subject, he determined
that no man in Corinth should give him a nickel. He claimed,
however, his right to a living. But he waived the right in
view of the exigency of the situation.
Paul’s labors, until the arrival of Timothy and Silas, were
very strenuous. He worked so hard every day to get enough
to support him that he used the sabbaths only in discussing
with the Jews in their synagogues, somewhat mildly too.
But there was a turn in his labors on the coming of Timothy
and Silas. He was a man that appreciated sympathy. His
heart craved it. He loved to see brethren standing close by
him that would stand up to him, and it greatly increased his
courage and his determination when Silas and Timothy joined
him. So when they same, he went over to the synagogue and
made this issue supreme: The Messiah of the Old Testament
is Jesus of Nazareth. When he made that issue, and made
it very sharp, the Jews blasphemed. They accepted the chal_
lenge, and fought back at him so hard that he shook his robe,
like shaking the dust off his feet, signifying that he was done
with them. Their fight against him was intensely bitter. You
see his feelings reflected in his letter to the Thessalonians
which he wrote there, about how intense and bitter was their
opposition. He went just across the street to the house of a
Jewish proselyte called Justus, and held his meeting there in
that private house. We will see that he did exactly a similar
thing when we get to the next chapter, at Ephesus, when he
goes over into the schoolhouse of one Tyrannus and opens
up his meeting. He was close to the synagogue and the Jews,
and he wanted to be thus situated so that all the Jews going
to the synagogue who wanted to hear him could do so, and
he held his meetings there in that house.
The condition of his labors here was hard:
1. He was afflicted in body very .much. He was very weak,
and the physical condition caused his mind to despond.
2. The opposition was baneful and deadly.
3. His hunger and poverty were such that he broke down
under it. It is the only place in the Bible where it looked
like Paul was going to be whipped.
God saw that his servant was about to fail. Jesus ap_
peared to him in a vision and said, „Fear not, Paul. You are

letting these people scare you. Fear not, nobody here shall
harm you.” He had his life in his hand every day, and he
knew that those Jews had the spirit to assault him on the
streets, anywhere they met him. „Fear not, Paul, I am with
thee. Preach boldly the truth and don’t let the fear of man
fall on your heart; your meeting is going to be very pros_
perous, for I have much people in this city.” That is a clause
that calls for explanation. God is here speaking of people
as being his people before they had even been under convic_
tion: „Is have much people in this city. You haven’t called
them out yet, but there is a lot of them here, and you have to
preach and let your preaching bring them out.” An Arminian
can’t explain that passage, but a Calvinist can. In the Gospel
of John, Jesus says, „Other sheep have I, not of this fold.
I am going to call them, and when I call they will come.” The
man doesn’t come first. Let me repeat again what I have en_
deavored to make plain – that God’s work comes first, and
that man responds to God’s work. The Arminian would like
to have it read, „I will have much people in this city after
they are converted.” He counted them his then – his in elec_
tion; his in predestination.
His themes here were very different from what they were
at Athens. He stuck to one theme here – Jesus Christ and
him crucified. He had only one reliance here – the demonstra_
tion of power by the Holy Spirit. He laid aside all his rhetoric
and all his earthly wisdom and knowledge, and as a little
child, relying exclusively upon the power of the eternal Spirit,
he preached Christ and him crucified. He admitted that there
was not much strength in him. He says, „I was with you in
weakness and fear and much trembling. You couldn’t depend
on me,” and he says, „I determined that if you were con_
verted, your conversion should not be attributed to the wis_
dom of man, but to the demonstration of the power of the
Holy Spirit.”

There were some very notable conversions here. Among
them Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, and his entire fami_
ly. Paul captured the captain on the other side – Stephanus
and all of his household, and another Gaius. He got one
Gains in Derbe, and another in Macedonia, and still a third
Gains, he gets here at Corinth; and Erastus, who is also a
man of influence – these became valuable helpers in after
years. But the majority of his converts came from what we
call the lower classes of the people. A great number of them
were slaves. Some of them were fresh from the vilest de_
basements of heathenism. Some of them were liars. He says
so. Some of them were drunkards, for he says, „Such were
some of you,” when exhorting them to quit lying, stealing,
and subjecting themselves to beastly debauchery. „Such were
some of you, but ye are now washed; ye are sanctified.”
When we consider that this population here was very much
mixed, the last layer being Romans, the next layer Greeks,
then Jews, then a mixture of the odds and ends of creation,
every traveling faddist, necromancer, fortuneteller, seer,
diviner – every fellow that had a trick by which to make
money at a fair – coming to the Isthmian games, we can form
some idea of the nature of the converts. If we go to any big
city where a fair is going on, we may see the fellows stand_
ing around who will relieve us of our money for a great
variety of things and with very little trouble to us if we
pay any attention to them.
Achaia was a senatorial province. It changed back and
forth in its history, but now we know by that word, „deputy”
(in the King James version, „procurator”), that it was sena_
torial. Gallic was the procurator, and Farrar, chapter 27,
gives us a superb account of him. His real name was not
Gallic, but a Roman widower named Gallic had adopted
him, so he had added the name Gallic to his own name. He
was the brother of the famous philosopher, Seneca, and was
said to be the noblest, most gentlemanly Roman of his day,
about as Sir Philip Sidney was regarded among the English.
He is the only man that the Romans ever called „the sweet
Gallic.” He was always superbly dressed, gentlemanly in
manners, nothing harsh about him, and his brother Seneca
was known to say of him, „Everybody in the world loves
Gallic, and none of them loves him half as much as he de_
serves.” This is the character of the man that was proconsul.
The prosecution of Paul before Gallic is quite interesting.
Gallic had just come, and these Jews had been fighting Paul
to the death, seeing a new procurator, determined to prose_
cute him before the procurator, and their charge was that he
taught contrary to the Jewish law. As soon as the charge
was made, Paul rose to speak, and Gallic waved him aside:
„There is no necessity for any speaking here. I quash this
indictment. If you have a charge against this man for im_
morality, for anything that comes in the Roman jurisdiction,
it is reasonable that I should hear you, but when you come
up here concerning questions and matters of your own law, I
will have nothing to do with it. This court dismisses the case.”
Farrar well says, „I wish he had not dismissed it till Paul
had made that speech he started to make, for we do want
another speech from Paul, such a one as he would have made
if he had had a chance.”
There are a great many people who hang around the court_
house and catch the cue from the tone of the judge, and when
these men saw the judge dismiss Sosthenes, the ruler of the
synagogue, probably the successor of Crispus – when they
saw him dismissed from the court, they concluded they would
add a little to it. So they grabbed Mr. Sosthenes and gave
him a beating right there in full view of the judge. It wasn’t
hard to make a Greek or a Roman crowd beat a Jew. All
they wanted was permission.
I knew one young man in Burleson County that couldn’t
make a prayer in public without referring to the number of
the people like Gallic, who „cared for none of these things.”
He brought it into every prayer that he ever offered. Now
when it is said that Gallic „cared for none of these things,”
it wasn’t the religious question that he cared nothing about,
but he didn’t care what they did to. Sosthenes, that Jew.
That was a very little matter to him, and it was to anybody
that came from Rome. He had never heard the Christian
side presented at all. Perhaps if he had heard it he might
have been saved, and tradition says that Paul did save his
brother Seneca when he got to him.
This question arises: Is the Sosthenes of verse 17 the Sos_
thenes of I Corinthians 1:1? I Corinthians, the first letter
that Paul writes back to this church, says, „Paul, called to
be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and
Sosthenes, our brother.” Now, is he the same man? If he is
the same man, that beating did him a great deal of good.
But there is no reason to suppose that it was the same man.
Some great letters were written from Corinth at this time.
In these two years, early in his stay there, he wrote the first
letter to the Thessalonians. As soon as Timothy came and
brought him the news, he wrote that letter of love and com_
fort, I Thessalonians, and toward the end of his stay there,
about a year after his first letter, he wrote his second letter
to correct some wrong impressions that they had drawn from
his preaching among them, and from his first letter about
expecting Christ any moment, and making their ascension
robes, quitting their business and giving away their property.
He wrote the second letter to take that conception out of their
There were remarkable displays of spiritual power in the
great number of baptisms in the Spirit at Corinth. All those
Pentecostal signs – speaking with tongues, miracle_working
power, the gifts of the Spirit, and mountain_moving faith.
No church in the New Testament had such a meteoric display
of supernatural power as this church had at Corinth, and it
was the wonder of the world to see a saved man get up and
speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave him utterance.
A man who the week before had been a drunkard, would
turn away from maudlin speech to enunciating the praises of
God, under the mighty power of that Spirit. The meeting
stirred the mud sills.
They misused these supernatural gifts of the Spirit in that
they magnified them above the graces of the Spirit – love,
faith, hope, and Christian character. Let a man from low
down in the scale of the world, from the rabble, get hold of
such tremendous power as that of the baptism of the Holy
Spirit, and it is the biggest thing in the world. He doesn’t
want to think about anything else nor talk about anything
else, so when he would get into a meeting with others who
had received this gift, it was like a bedlam. Twenty_five or
thirty would be standing up at the same time, some singing,
some praying, some testifying. Paul writes to them and says,
„If an infidel or an ignorant man should come upon you dur_
ing such a time he would say, ‘You are crazy,’ ” and there_
fore he wrote those three marvelous chapters, the twelfth,
thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of I Corinthians, which is
the one great exposition of the baptism of the Spirit found
in the New Testament.
I am now glad that they babbled as they did, for if they
had not, we in our time would never have had that sweetest
gem in the Bibleù1 Corinthians 13, in which he teaches that
„Love is the greatest thing in the world,” and the superiority
of faith and hope over any of these passing powers that were
merely given for signs and for attestation: „Whether there be
tongues, they shall cease; whether there be prophecies, they
shall fail, but now abideth faith, hope, love – these three, and
the greatest of these is love.” So that we are indebted to
what the Methodists would call „that sanctified row” in the
church at Corinth for about the three finest chapters in the
New Testament.

With the most remarkable sagacity, Dr. Stalker has put
in a brief life of Paul and made one of his chapters „a New
Testament Church.” I have been wonderfully impressed with
his acumen and wisdom in making that chapter bring out
before us, so we can see it, a church of New Testament times.
Some Jews in it, many heathen in it, slaves in it, recently
converted drunkards, and liars and thieves – all of this church
babes in Christ, mere toddlers without training and experi_
ence, misunderstanding the Lord’s Supper and their public
services, and yet Christians, needing a leader, needing disci_
pline, needing confirmation in the faith. Stalker well says
that if you should take a look at that New Testament church
– the church at Corinth – you would not be filled with despair
if you had vexatious problems in the church to which you
preach. Where have you in our time, among this decent
American people, anything at all comparable to the problems
of that New Testament church?

The salient events of Paul’s return to Syria, in order, are
these: About ten miles from Corinth was its seaport opening
into the Aegean Sea at Cenchrea. He went there because he
intended to reach Syria by sea. Aquila and Priscilla went
with him. They intended to stop at Ephesus, having business
there, and to Paul’s surprise, the Jews in Ephesus, who had
never met him, heard him and asked him to come again and
stay longer. He said „No” – that he had an engagement
ahead of him, and that if God willed he would come back
again, and on the next tour he did come back and in the
power that shook the world. But just now he couldn’t stop
to hold a meeting in Ephesus. So he sailed into Syria, and
his vessel landed him at Caesarea, the Roman capital of
Judea, and from Caesarea he went to Jerusalem and saluted
the brethren, and from Jerusalem he went to Antioch, the
place where he set out. Those are the salient events.
Paul, staying two years in Corinth, would necessarily have
a church established at that seaport, only ten miles away.
He reached all that country in that two years’ meeting, so
that we know that there was a church there, because he
mentions a church there in his letter to the Romans written
not a great while after, while he was at Ephesus on the next
trip. And the most notable member of that church was a
woman named Phoebe, who was a deaconess. Paul bears
remarkable testimony to her. He says she was a helper of
May heaven’s blessing rest on the good women that, in
the cause of the gospel, give themselves, heart and soul, to it!
Such a woman as Priscilla, such a woman as Phoebe, such
a ladies’ society as the first ladies’ society of the New Testa_
ment, organized to take care of Jesus as their guest; such
women as Lydia and numbers of others – what an unmixed
blessing to the church and to the world!
But what have you to say of this office? Was it a New
Testament office? When I was pastor of the First Baptist
Church at Waco, we elected deaconesses, but we didn’t ordain
them. In other words, in the administration of the affairs of
a large church, there is always some use for experienced
women. Sometimes a case of discipline would come up con_
cerning a woman, involving matters of such delicacy that a
deacon could not very well investigate it. That is a fine place
for a deaconess to get in some work. Sometimes it happens
that strangers join the church, women who don’t know how to
prepare for baptism, and a deaconess, as soon as a woman
would join the church, would go right up to her and ask her
if she understood what was necessary to be done for bap_
tism, proffer her assistance, and a great many other things
of that kind.
The record says that at Cenchrea, he shaved his head, hav_
ing a vow. Some of the commentators boldly claim that
Aquila is the nearest word to that expression „he had a vow”
– that Aquila is nearer than Paul, and that we ought not to
skip Aquila in going back to find an antecedent. But the
probabilities are that Paul had a vow. I imagine that, back
there in that Corinthian meeting, when he was about whipped
in mind, whipped inside, about to give up, and when Jesus
appeared to him and told him not to get scared, that he was
with him and nobody should hurt himù1 imagine that in
that awful time, following the human instinct and perfectly
in accord with the Old Testament covenant, he made a vow
– the most natural thing in the world for a man to do when
he is in very great trouble. „Now Lord, you just get me out
of this and Is will do so and so.” Is know one mercurial man
in Waco that every time he gets sick he gets scared and calls
in all his kinsmen and solemnly makes a vow that if the
Lord will pull him through this time, that he will go to
church; that he will be good, but when the trouble is past,
he is like Ephraim, like the fellow in the ship about to sink,
who said, „Lord, if you will just save me from this ocean
death, Is will give 5,000 dollars to your cause,” and an Irish_
man near by hearing him, said, „You are a fool,” and the
man said, „Why, ought Is not to say it?” „Yes, but don’t
you mean it. Just say you will, and when you are saved out
of it, you needn’t do what you promised.” It is right to make
a vow. That is clearly taught in the Old Testament, but
„Pay thy vows unto the Lord.” If we will do a good thing,
it is right to resolve to do it, but the wise man says in that
inimitable book of Ecclesiastes, „Keep your feet. Don’t let
them slip from under you when you go into the house of God,
and don’t give the sacrifice of fools.” He is talking about
their vows. He says it is better that one should not vow than
to vow and not pay. He says, „If you do_ vow, pay, and don’t
say before the angel, It was an error.” Anyhow, Paul made
a vow and the vow we know from what is said about it, was
what is called the temporary Nazirite vow. A man might vow
a Nazirite vow for thirty days, or he might take the vow
of the Nazirite for life. John the Baptist was a Nazirite.
Did the shaving of the head mark its beginning or its end?
That marks its end.
On his return from the second missionary tour, did Pau)
go to Jerusalem before he went to Antioch, and what the
proof? A good deal of it rests on one statement: „And
when he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and saluted the
church, and went down to Antioch.” That is all in the history
about this fourth visit of his to Jerusalem after his conver_
sion, and it is a matter of fact that in going to Jerusalem.
from Caesarea, it is all the way up hill, and, as one traveler
said, „half the way back.” Dr. Farrar allowed his imagina_
tion to spread its wings and take a big flight in trying to fill
up this record, „He went up and saluted the church.” He
thinks rightly, I suppose, that Paul wanted always to have
a good relation to that Jerusalem church and the other apos_
tles, but he imagines from the little said about it and the
short stay, that they gave Paul the cold shoulder. They may
have done so. There were some that would have been quite
willing to do it.
There is a notable difference in Paul’s travels and letters
and the travels and letters of modern Christians, and even
the modern lives of Paul. Paul never wrote anything about
the statue of Minerva, the Pantheon, the Acropolis at Athens,
the Acro_Corinth, the notable landscapes and „seascapes.”
Let one of the brethren go off on a trip to the Holy Land and
he devotes his whole letter to the description of curios, in
answering questions concerning curios and sightseeing, but
Paul was more interested in „manscapes” than landscapes or
seascapes. He was going on a mission of salvation. All of
his heart and soul was in it. It would amaze Paul to read
Conybeare and Howson or Farrar, at the immense amount
of space that they devote to background. And yet there is
proof that Paul was not unobservant of the remarkable
scenes witnessed in Corinth. I Corinthians 4:9; 9:24_27; 11:
14; 15:32; 2 Corinthians 1:14_16; 5:10 show that Paul took
a look at those Isthmian games when he was there; that
many of his illustrations refer to the boxing, the foot racing,
the athletic exercises, and to the triumphs that are declared.
He doesn’t give a shadow of a thought to what they were,
but simply makes that language to apply to Christian foot_
races, the Christian athletic exercise and the Christian tri_
umph. In Corinth he wrote his letter to the Romans, and that
awful picture of heathendom, commencing at 1:21 and ex_
tending to verse 32, was illustrated before his eyes there in
Corinth. In the first letter to the Corinthians, 5:1; 6:9_20;
10:7_8; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 7:1, we see that the most im_
pressive, the most appalling thing to Paul was the moral
corruption of the place. It was at this place that a man took
his father’s wife. Read the passages that I have given, and
see that when this preacher got there, more to him than the
scenery, more than the widespread white wings of commerce,
more than culture and refinement, more than the startling
sight of ships dragged across that little isthmus from sea to
sea, was the awful corruption of this Sodom.
I close this chapter with a lesson concerning Gallic. What
a pity that Gallic did not know that that day he had an
opportunity, and perhaps the only one in his life, of hearing
a speaker whose words would reverberate throughout suc_
ceeding ages till the coming of Christ! Gallic stands up be_
fore the minds of the world simply because, for one brief
moment of his life, he came into the light of Paul, and mil_
lions of people know Gallic from that fact more than any_
thing about which his brother Seneca or the Roman Emperor
said of him. Then was his opportunity.
For one fleeting instant he stood in the orbit of the light of
the greatest man history ever produced, and if he had not
waved aside the speaker ready to speak, he could have heard
precious things.

1. What the special helps on Acts 18?
2. Give a brief account of Corinth, its situation, history, govern_
ment, celebrities, religion, and the Jews.
3. How long was Paul there?
4. What the value of Acts 18 and. I and 2 Corinthians?
5. Trace on the map Paul’s travel from Athena to Corinth.
6. Who was with Paul in going to Corinth?
7. Whom did he find there, and why were they there?
8. Give a connected New Testament account of this remarkable man
and his wife.
9. How was Paul supported in Corinth?
10. To what remarkable discussion does this give an occasion?
11. Give an account of Paul’s labors until the arrival of Timothy and Silas.
12. What turn in his labors was stressed on the coming of Timothy
and Silas, and what was the issue of it?
13. What constituted the hard condition of his labors there?
14. How was he cheered and uplifted, and what the explanation of
the last clause of 18:10?
15. What the themes of his ministry there?
16. What notable conversions there, and what the position and char_
acter of most of the converts?
17. Was Achaia an imperial or senatorial province of Rome, and what the proof?
18. Give an account of Gallic, the procurator, and what book gives a
fine and elaborate account of him?
19. Give an account of the prosecution of Paul before Gallic, its
charge, why dismissed, and the result?
20. Explain the misuse of the last clause of verse 17 in modem sermonizing.
21. Is the Sosthenes of verse 17 the Sosthenes of I Corinthians 1:1?
22. What great letters were written from Corinth at this time?
23. What remarkable display of spiritual power in this meeting, what its misuse, and what the great discussion called forth by the misuse?
24. How has Dr. Stalker made most valuable use of this part of
Paul’s work?
25. Give, in order, the salient events of Paul’s return to Syria.
26. Give an account of Cenchrea, the church established there, its
most notable member, and her office.
27. Was the vow at Cenchrea Paul’s or Aquila’s, what the proof, and
did the shaving of the head mark its beginning or its ending?
28. What the proof that on his return from the second missionary
tour Paul went to Jerusalem before he went to Antioch?
29. In what notable respect are Paul’s travels and letters different
from the travels and letters of modern Christians, and even from the
modem lives of Paul, and what the lesson?
30. Yet what proof that Paul was not unobservant of the remarkable
scenes witnessed in Corinth?
31. What feature of Corinthians life most impressed his mind?
32. What great lesson concerning Gallic?

Acts 18:23 to 21:16.

The scriptures, so far as Acts is concerned, devoted to this
tour, are from chapters 18:23 to 21:16. The special theme is
„Paul at Ephesus” (Acts 19). The time of the whole tour
is from A.D. 54 to A.D. 58ùfour years. The time at Ephesus,
three years. At this time Nero was emperor at Rome, and
under him Paul was to suffer martyrdom.
Let us trace on the map the whole tour from Antioch to
Jerusalem. Commencing at his usual starting point, Antioch.
he came near Tarsus, and went up into upper Galatia – Gala_
tia proper – confirming the churches at Tavium, Ancyra, and
Pessius. Then he went down to Ephesus. He was at Ephesus
three years. In that time he made many other runs into
the country, so as to reach all Asia. Leaving Ephesus, he
went again into Macedonia, stopping at Troas, as before,
where Titus met him, or was to have met him, came on into
Macedonia, and went to these same churches where he had
labored on his second missionary tour, then coming on down
to Corinth, where he remained quite a while, three months
anyhow, and in that time he wrote the letter to the Gala_
tians and the letter to the Romans; while at Ephesus he
wrote the first letter to the church at Corinth; while up in
Macedonia he wrote the second letter to the church at
Corinth. Then he came on back and took a sea voyage to
Tyre and to Caesarea, then he went to Jerusalem, and there
he was arrested and remained a prisoner all through the rest
of the book of Acts.

A large part of this tour is devoted to confirming churches
previously established. Until he goes to Ephesus all that part
of the first tour is devoted to confirming churches previously
established, and after he leaves Ephesus, all that part of the
tour through Macedonia and Achaia is devoted to confirming
churches. The advanced work is the work that he did at
Ephesus. The letters written during this tour, as stated
above, are as follows: While he was at Ephesus he wrote the
first letter to the Corinthians, and after he got over into
Macedonia he wrote the second letter to the Corinthians,
when he got to Corinth he wrote the letter to the Galatians,
and also the one to the Romans, and this last letter, the one
to the Romans, was to prepare the way for his coming to
The closing part of chapter 18 tells us that Apollos came to
Ephesus; that he was a Jew from Alexandria; that he was
a very learned and a very eloquent Jew; that he had heard
of John’s preaching over in Judea that Jesus had come, John
pointing to Jesus as „The Lamb of God that was to take
away the sin of the world.” Further than that he did not
know. It was a gospel of a Messiah, but what that Messiah
he did not know. He is one of the most remarkable charac_
ters in the Bible, and his contact with Paul is very special.
Just about the time that Paul goes to Ephesus, before he
gets there, Apollos has expressed a desire, after being in_
structed in the way of the Lord by Aquila and Priscilla, to
go over to Corinth. They write letters of commendation, and
he goes to Corinth, being now fully instructed in the gospel
of Jesus, and becomes a tremendous help to Paul in Corinth,
but is made the occasion of a division, though himself not
intending evil.
Perhaps there was no man living who could, in a more
popular way, present the Old Testament scriptures, and their
bearing upon Jesus as the Messiah. He did not have an
equal in his day as a popular speaker. In his graces of person
all the matters preached were lost. At Corinth some brethren
were so attached to him that they preferrd him to Paul and
Peter, or anybody else, and in that way, without his intend_
ing it, he was made a part of the occasion of creating a divi_
sion in the church at Corinth. To show that he had no part
in it, Paul, after Apollos came back to Ephesus, wanted to
send him back to Corinth, but in view of the troubles that
had arisen, he declined to go. He did not want to go there
and let a crowd of schismatics rally around him. The scrip_
tures which refer to this man are not a great many, but
they are very pointed, showing his real value as a genuine
preacher, and Paul was very much attached to him.
A mighty financial enterprise was engineered on this third
tour, an enterprise of mammoth proportions to help the poor
saints in Jerusalem. We have to gather the history of this
work, which was a big enough piece of work for any one man
to do, from the various letters. The most notable scriptures
bearing upon it are I Corinthians 16:1_3; 2 Corinthians 8_9,
though there are references elsewhere. When he got there
into Galatia that he had previously evangelized, he gave
orders to these churches to lay by in store on the first day
of every week, and take up a systematic collection. When he
got over into Macedonia, he repeated these orders, and the
finest response of any of them was made by these poor peo_
ple living at Philippi. When he came down into Achaia, he
repeated the same instructions to the churches there, and in
his two letters, particularly the two to the church at Corinth,
he tried to stir them up to redeem the pledges they had made
the year before. All through this period of four years, that
systematic collection was going on. He sent Titus to help
out the Corinthians in engineering their collections, and as
the funds were raised, they were placed in the hands of repre_
sentatives of the church raising the money, and some repre_
sentative of each section went back with him when he went
to Jerusalem to carry it. So when he got to Jerusalem, the
end of this tour, he put down before the leaders of the church
funds that had, during the four years, been gathered in the
Gentile churches of Asia and in Europe. What a pity that,
coming before that Jerusalem church with these funds, the
brethren did not give him a more cordial welcome!
What is written about this financial enterprise is of in_
estimable value to the churches today. To show how much
value could be drawn, I got my first idea from what is a
prepared collection from studying these financial enterprises
as stated everywhere in these letters. Every preacher should
group the references to this enterprise and the different ex_
pediences adopted, and learn once for all how a collection is
to be taken, how a great contribution is to be engineered.
I practiced it in my pastoral life in Waco. When a collec_
tion was to be taken for home, state, or foreign missions, or
the Orphans’ Home, I spent weeks preceding, preparing for
that collection, and when the day came, before a word was
said, Is would know within a few dollars what that collection
was going to amount to. I had first canvassed the Ladies’
Society, B. Y. P. U., and the Sunday school, and knew what
they were going to pledge. I had previously approached the
leading contributors as to how much they would give as a
start, when the collection was to be taken. As soon as the
day came and I had announced the purpose of the collec_
tion, Is simply called out, „Ladies’ Society No. I, No. 2,” etc.,
and their amounts would be called out and the money sent
up in an envelope; then the Sunday school, then the Young
People’s Union, then expressions from leading individuals, BO
that by the time this was over, which would be done in Just
a few minutes, we would generally have about a thousand
dollars. Then would commence the appeal to others that
could not do so much, and in fifteen minutes our collection
would be over. If any man imagines that that was an offhand
business, then it shows that he has not studied the situation;
that he did not know what I had been doing for weeks.
Ephesus, for a long period, had been a famous city. It
is near the coast line and they had at this time a magnificent
seaport. It was a Greek city. The Ionians had colonized
Ephesus, and the day of the Greek glory had passed, and it
was now the capital of the Roman province of Asia. While
it had its own municipal government, the Greek ecclesia, the
very word that is used to refer to a church, and exactly such
an ecclesia as that ruled Athens, ruled in other Greek cities
unless the power had been taken away from them, but we
will have special occasion in this connection to learn what a
Greek ecclesia does.
The celebrities at Ephesus constitute a part of the won_
ders of the world. This very celebrity was the marvelous
temple of Diana. This temple had been burned down the
night that Alexander the Great was born, and all Asia
Minor and Greece proper contributed funds to rebuild it.
When Alexander came to be a man, they still had not com_
pleted it, and be offered to furnish all the funds if they
would just let his name be written on it. They declined.
There were 127 pillars of the most magnificent sculpture
that has ever been seen in any structure on earth. A prince
was proud to be allowed to put up just one of those pillars if
he was able. The stairway work into the upper part of it
was just one vine, brought from Cyprus, that naturally curved
to make the stairway. That temple is listed among the seven
wonders of the ancient world.
In the temple were the finest pieces of sculpture in the
world. The greatest of the sculptors at Athens prided them_
selves on putting their masterpieces in this temple. The
greatest painters had hanging on these walls their master_
pieces. Votive offerings, priceless in value, were to be seen.
The shrine part of the temple, that part which held the god_
dees, was a small dark place somewhat like the most holy

place in the Jerusalem Temple, and back of that shrine was
a bank, as we now call it. It was the safe place for all the
people of that end of the world to put their money.
The Diana of this temple must not be confounded with the
Diana of the Greek or Roman religion. That one was beau_
tiful, but this Diana here, so far as the statue shows, was a
beastly, Oriental, ugly image that looked like a mummy,
wrapped about on the lower part and covered with breasts,
the whole idea being to show the productiveness of nature.
And it was claimed that that statue dropped down from
heaven. I don’t blame anybody in heaven for dropping it,
if it was up there. The worship of it was just as bad as the
worship of Venus on the Island of Cyprus, or in the city of
The time of the great festival was our May Day in May.
All Asia poured into Ephesus in May, and this is just the time
that this persecution against Paul takes place – just this time
of the year. Their May Day festival consisted largely of
parades, something like a carnival in New Orleans, but in
the city of Rome men put on grotesque masks, some repre_
senting Jupiter,, some Mercury, some Venus, some one thing.
and some another, and the beating of ten million tin pans, or
the scraping of iron, or the grinding of steel, or the letting off
of forty steam engines at one time could not equal the kind of
noise they made. They thought it great, and that it needed
a great noise.
Another celebrity there was its famous amphitheatre. The
remnants of it can be seen until this day, in which some of
the events in this chapter took place. It would seat thirty
thousand people, being somewhat larger than most theatres_
in this country. These were the notable celebrities – the Tem_
ple of Diana, one of the wonders of the world, their famous
May Festival, and this magnificent theatre.
I have already given some account of the character of their
religion. Just as at the fairs in this country, there are
thousands of people who made their living by carving little
shrines and temples, either representing the temple itself, or
representing the image of the goddess, with magical letters
written on it. These visitors would come in and want to
carry back a portable temple, portable goddess or portable
memento of the time they had had at the May Festival.
There were a great many Jews there.
There were three co_existent ecclesias present in this one
city, which had a bearing on the essential character of a
New Testament church. First, there was the Greek ecclesia –
that organized assembly which performed no functions except
as an assembly. Then the Jewish ecclesia, and finally that
ecclesia of which Jesus said, „I will build my ecclesia”
Every one of them was an organized assembly, each one
of them had no power to transact business except in session
at the regular assembly. I know that some men, just a hand_
ful, yet have an idea that the church is not an ecclesia, and
they deny the ecclesia idea altogether. Theological profes_
sors who take that position have to repudiate 136 references
to the Jerusalem ecclesia, and they have to repudiate every
reference to Christ’s ecclesia.
One text summarizes the whole situation at Ephesus.
Paul, in writing his first letter to the Corinthians, says, „I
will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost; for a great door and
effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”
When I was a young preacher I took that as my text and
took Acts 19 to expound the meaning of the text. We find
that passage in I Corinthians 16. That text summarizes the
whole situation.
The rest of this chapter will be devoted to expounding
that text, „There are many adversaries.” Ten special ad_
versaries are mentioned. Acts 19:1_7 tells us that when Paul
got over there he found a certain adversary in the form
of an incomplete gospel, and it was hurtful to the complete

gospel to have the ground overcast by an incomplete gospel.
Let us state fully the case of the twelve disciples found at
Ephesus, and bring out clearly the following points of con_
troversy: (1) Was John’s baptism and gospel, Christian bap_
tism and gospel? (2) Who baptized the twelve disciples?
(3) Were they rebaptized by Paul? (4) If so, what the
elements of invalidity in their first immersion? (5) What
the bearing of the whole case on valid baptism?
The record states that when Paul got over there and found
these men, he said, „Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye
believed?” You know that in Acts 2:38 there was a prom_
ise that whosoever would believe in Jesus Christ would re_
ceive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That gift had come down
that day with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Now Paul,
wishing to find out the status of these men, says, „Did ye
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?” And they said, „We did
not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given.”
That is, they had no knowledge at all of Pentecost. „Well,”
he said, „into what then were ye baptized?” They said, „Into
John’s baptism.” Paul then explains that John truly preached
„repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus,” and
baptized people, but it was in a Christ to come, John had
foretold this thing that had occurred on Pentecost, saying,
„When the Messiah comes he will baptize you in the Holy
John had been dead twenty years. These men evidently
had not seen baptism by John. If they had ever heard John,
they would have known that John taught that the Messiah
would send this gift of the Holy Spirit, and would baptize
his people in the Holy Spirit. He saw that there was a
deficiency in their baptism, and that their faith did not
go far enough, since it did not take in a Messiah as already
come. It was a general belief in a Messiah, but not in Jesus
as a particular Messiah. John was the harbinger to Christ.
He had no successor; no man had a right to perpetuate John’s
baptism; so when people elsewhere, as did Alexander, took
it upon themselves to baptize with reference to John’s bap_
tism, it was without any authority. So that a capital de_
ficiency in their baptism was that it was not by an au_
thorized administrator, and so Paul, having explained the
matter to them that the Holy Spirit in the baptism of the
saints had come down, and that Jesus had come, counting as
nothing the unauthorized baptism to which they had been
subjected, rebaptized them, and then laid his hands on them
and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit and began to
speak in tongues. They were thus lined up, and that is the
way that trouble was disposed of.
This is a real adversary you find as you go out to work.
As a rule you will find people lodged about half way. They
believe some things, but they don’t get far enough. Perhaps
they are satisfied with the sprinkling they received in child_
hood; perhaps they have had a baptism like these people, but
not by a qualified administrator, and the thing tends to con_
fusion, but if you are ever going to have people drawn into
co_operation, you will have to meet those things.
The second adversary is presented in Acts 19:8_10: „And
he entered into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the
space of three months, reasoning and persuading as to the
things concerning the kingdom of God. But when some were
hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before
the multitude, he departed from them and separated the
disciples, reasoning daily In the school of Tyrannus. And
this continued for the space of two years; so that all they
that dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews
and Greeks.” That adversary was the Jewish ecclesia – the
synagogue – refusing to accept Jesus as the Messiah, blas_
pheming his name, bitterly obstructing the work, as we have
seen in other places. Paul saw that in that city of the
gods a line of cleavage must be drawn so he did just
what he had done at Corinth. He moved his meeting
to the schoolhouse. He had nothing more to do with the
Jews; they could not walk together; they could not agree.
The Jews were fighting him and fighting the gospel, so that
he disposed of that adversary by a separation of the church
and the Jews. He drew a line. He did not want a row every
time they came to the meeting. He followed this plan for
two years, and held the day.
The third adversary is presented in Acts 19:11_12: „And
God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul; insomuch
that unto the sick were carried away from his body hand_
kerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them,
and the evil spirits went out.” That adversary was the
demons, the devil’s spiritual agency, and if there ever was a
place on earth where demonology prevailed in its worst ex_
tent, and the demons were multitudinous and disastrous, it
was right here at Ephesus. As Satan’s sub_agents, his de_
mons had been controlling that city, and its business, and
prompting its spirit, it became necessary that some extraor_
dinary power of God should be brought to bear to counteract
the influence of those demons. So here we come to a case
of special miracles. Here I commend to the reader my ser_
mon on „Special Miracles.” The Spirit’s power was dis_
played in an unusual way. We had a case of that remark_
able miracle where the very shadow of Peter healed people
near him. An apron that Paul wore while he was at work
at his trade, carried and touched by a sick man – a man under
demoniacal possession – caused the devil to go out of him,
and a handkerchief that Paul used to wipe his face when the
sweat would pour down under his labor, had the same effect.
These were unusual miracles, like the miracle of Elisha’s
bones that brought a man to life when he touched them.
God shows extraordinary power in order to meet extraordi_
nary exigencies, and so the demons were wiped out.
The fourth adversary is given in Acts 19:13_18: „But cer_
tain also of the strolling Jews, exorcists, took upon them to
name over them that had the evil spirits the name of the
Lord Jesus, saying, I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul
preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew,
a chief priest, who did this. And the evil spirit answered
and said unto them, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but
who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was
leaped on them, and mastered both of them and prevailed
against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and
wounded. And this became known to all, both Jews and
Greeks, that dwelt at Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all,
and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Many also
of them that had believed, came, confessing and declaring
their deeds.”
So we find this adversary to be impostors who assumed to
cast out’ demons under the name of Jesus, while having no
respect for Jesus, and hating Paul – impostors that borrowed
Paul’s reputation there and the idea of the power of Jesus
in casting out demons, and these impostors came from the
Jews. I once heard a preacher say, shaking his head, „Those
were smart demons, saying, ‘Jesus I recognize, Paul I know,
but who are you? You liar, you impostor, you can’t come
to meeting shaking the name of Jesus over me. I can whip
you.’ ” And so that is the way that adversary was over_
The fifth adversary we find in Acts 19:19_20: „And not a
few of them that practiced magical arts brought their books
together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted
the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
So mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed.” What
was that adversary? Evil literature, called „Ephesian Let_
ters.” Certain letters were written on little slips to carry
in the vest pocket, pinned on the lapel of the coat; certain
magical incantations were written out. You find abundant
reference to it in ancient literature, plays about a certain
athlete who never could be killed until he had lost the magi_
cal letters on his person. Like a Negro with a horseshoe above
his door, or with a rabbit’s foot to keep good luck. It is as_
serted that that literature obtained a hold over a great many
of their minds, and it obtains it yet over many minds. A
great many people now will turn back if a rabbit goes across
the path ahead of them. They go back and start over if
they happen to take a ring off the finger. They will not start
on a journey on Friday. In our time there is a vicious litera_
ture, vile and corrupt, and that is one of the greatest enemies
of Christianity. Good literature has to fight evil literature,
and the gospel triumphs when the evil literature goes down.
When those books were brought together and piled in that
street, and a bonfire made of them, and the smoke of that
fire hailed the stars, it stood a lurid monument of the mighty
power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The sixth adversary is found by examining several scrip_
tures, viz.: Acts 19:21_22; I Corinthians 1:11; 4:17; 5:1; 7:
1; 16:8_9, 17. What was that adversary? The devil was
very anxious to get Paul away from Ephesus, and so he
starts a row at Corinth, the church that Paul had estab_
lished, and appeals to him to come to Cloe’s household, and
so the church at Corinth writes him a letter in which are
all sorts of questions about the contention, for him to set_
tle, and an appeal made to him to come and help them. Paul
says, „I will tarry at Ephesus.” The devil led them astray
that far, and had already weakened his force, since he had
to take Timothy and Erastus and send them over to stay
that tide until he could get there.

1. What the general theme of this chapter, and what the scriptures?
2. Trace on the map the whole tour from Antioch to Jerusalem.
3. What part of this tour is devoted to confirming churches
previously established, what the churches, and what part to advance the work?
4. What letters were written during this tour, what the order of
writing, what the place and time of each, and which was to prepare
for new work?
5. Give a connected account of Apollos.
6. What mighty financial enterprise was engineered on this third
7. Give an account of Ephesus, its celebrities, its prevalent religion,
and the Jews there,
8. What three co_existent ecclesias were present in this one city, and
what the bearing of the fact on the essential character of a New Testa_
ment church?
9. What one text summarizes the whole situation at Ephesus?
10. What the first adversary, and how overcome?
11. State fully the case of the twelve disciples found at Ephesus an_
swering the five questions in the body of the text?
12. What the second adversary, and how overcome?
13. What the third adversary, and how overcome?
14. What the fourth adversary, and how overcome?
15. What the fifth adversary, and how overcome?
16. What the sixth adversary, and how overcome?


We continue in this chapter the discussion of Paul’s ad_
versaries at Ephesus. The seventh adversary was the crafts_
men’s ring, organized by Demetrius, the silversmith. In mak_
ing the silver shrines or other souvenirs of the temple, whether
of wood, stone, or metal, or the portable images of the god_
dess, or the amulets, charms and talismans inscribed in the
„Ephesian letters,” or the costumes for the May festivals, a
multitude of craftsmen were employed – designers, molders,
coppersmiths, sculptors, costumers, painters, engravers, jewel_
ers. Perhaps one image or shrine would pass through the
hands of several craftsmen before it received the delicate fin_
ishing work of the silversmith. The enormous crowds as_
sembled in the annual May festivals, the steady influx of
strangers from a world commerce, the devotees of the dis_
plays in the theatre, all inspired by curiosity, superstition,
lewdness, or the greedy spirit of traffic, would create a de_
mand for such wares surpassing the value of a gold mine. But
the preaching of Paul, so far as accepted, undermined the
whole business, dried up the springs of demand, and tended
to leave all these craftsmen without an occupation.
Demetrius, anticipating the genius of modern times, or_
ganized the several guilds to make a life and death fight
against a common enemy threatening all alike. His own in_
spiration was the love of money. His business was as profit_
able as the slave trade, the whiskey traffic, or the panderers
who supplied the victims of lust. But formidable as a
craftsmen’s union may be when used as a unit to promote
evil, Demetrius was too shrewd a politician to rely on only
one means of war. While perhaps religion was nothing to
him, he caring only for gain, yet he recognized the value
of alliance with that mighty factor, religious fanaticism, the
eighth adversary, and so stirred it up in these crafty words:
„For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who
made silver shrines of Diana, brought no little business unto
the craftsmen; whom he gathered together, with the workmen
of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this busi_
ness we have our wealth. And ye see and hear, that not
alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul
hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that
they are no gods that are made with hands: and not only is
there danger that this our trade come into disrepute, but also
that the temple of the great goddess Diana be made of no
account, and that she should even be deposed from her mag_
nificence whom all Asia and the world worshipeth.”
The devil never inspired a craftier speech. From his view_
point the facts justified his fears. We learn from the letter
of Pliny, fifty years later, that the gospel had put all the
gods of Mount Olympus out of business, and left all their
temples desolate. Combining gain, superstition, and civic
pride he necessarily stirred up the ninth adversary, namely –
a howling, murderous, senseless mob. A tiger aroused in the
jungle is not swifter in his leap, nor a pack of ravenous wolves
more cruel, nor a flood of molten lava, vomited from the
hot throat of a volcano, more insensible to argument. If the
mob spirit lasted it would be hell. Its own violence exhausts
it, or who could escape? A conflagration in heat and roar
could not surpass in swiftness and terror the gathering of that
Ephesian mob.
„Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” rolled in surges of repe_
tition and reverberation through the streets of the city, and
every palace, tenement and house of traffic poured its occu_
pants into the streets to swell the volume of the frenzied
throng, saying, „Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” „Where
is this Paul? What house dares to harbor him?” They rush
to this place of abode. Aquila and Priscilla interpose and
„lay down their own necks” to save their guest. Paul can_
not be found. The mob seizes two of his co_laborers, the
Macedonians, Gaius and Aristarchus. Had they found Paul
he would have been torn asunder, limb by limb, but not find_
ing him against whom their hate burns, they think to in_
voke another ally, the tenth adversary, the Greek ecclesia,
or municipal authority, and so pour themselves, 30,000 strong,
into the great theatre, its place of gathering, and keep on
Here occurs a sideshow, or injected episode, unwise, im_
potent, ludicrous, shameful. The Jewish ecclesia, the unbe_
lieving synagogue, becomes alarmed. They know they are
a stench in the Gentile nostril. They know that such a storm_
cloud charged with electricity will strike somewhere, and in
the absence of the particular victim sought, their pitiable
experience has taught them that it will strike the Jew. So
they put in Alexander, one of their officials, as a lightning
rod to assure the dear Ephesians that they did not do it –
that they hate Paul as much as the mob does. Poor Alex_
ander never got a hearing. Being recognized as a Jew, his
appearance was like waving a red rag in the face of a mad
bull. The howling was renewed, „Great is Diana of the
Ephesians!” and did not stop for two hours.
In the meantime Paul, informed that his friends were held
in jeopardy, with characteristic and magnanimous courage,
sought to push his way into the theatre to say, „Here I am;
if ye seek me, let these men go.” But prudent friends inter_
posed to restrain him. Even certain of the Asiarchs, officials
selected from the province to be managers of the May fes_
tivals and masters of ceremonies, who were attached to
Paul, besought him not to venture himself into that theatre
where he could get no hearing, and would only needlessly
sacrifice his life.
The mob, having shouted itself hoarse and exhausted its
cyclone fury, the opportunity brought forth a matchless
political orator, the town clerk, or recorder of the Greek
ecclesia. Using a faultless address as a broom, he coolly
swept that exhausted mob out of the theatre a limp, ashamed,
inert mass of trash. Truly, he was a master of assemblies.
He filled Virgil’s description of Neptune assuaging the storm
which inconsiderate Aeolus had let loose against the frail
Trojan fleet, or was like Dr. Broadus at the Fort Worth
session of the Southern Baptist Convention, in 1890, quieting
in a moment the controversy on Sunday school publications.
Young preachers aspire to be masters of assemblies.
They ought to study this town clerk’s speech. Note its ex_
cellencies. He awaited his opportunity. He would not have
been heard earlier. He quietly showed them that their
proceedings were undignified, unlawful, unnecessary, and dan_
gerous. Is paraphrase what he said: „Everybody knows that
Ephesus is the sacristan, or custodian of the temple of Diana,
and of the image of the goddess which fell down from Jupi_
ter. Nobody has questioned the city’s jurisdiction. These
men whom you have unlawfully arrested and brought here,
are not charged with the sacrilege of robbing the temple or
blaspheming the goddess. A mob has no authority to arrest
men, and cannot be a court. An ecclesia has no authority
unless lawfully summoned. If Demetrius has a grievance
against Paul for an offense coming under Roman jurisdiction,
let him carry his case before the proconsul. If the grievance
touches matters over which the Greek ecclesia. has jurisdic_
tion, let him bring this case before the regular session of that
court. These courts, both Roman and Greek, being accessi_
ble, why raise a tumult so obnoxious to our Roman masters?
Indeed, we are liable already to answer to the Romans for
this disturbance, this being only a mass meeting and a vio_
lent one at that. Rise, be dismissed, go home, keep quiet, do
nothing rash.”
We will now analyze the „great door and effectual” opened
to Paul (I Cor. 16:9) : (1) Hearts are locked against the gos_
pel so men will not give attention; God opens the heart to at_
tend, as in Lydia’s case (Acts 16:14). (2) The door of faith
is closed against the gospel; God opens it so men will believe
(Acts 14:27). (3) Jesus is the door to the sheepfold, but
man cannot see except that the Spirit directs his eyes (John
’10:7; I Cor. 12:3). (4) Utterance, liberty, or afflatus, does
not come to the preacher at his will, but the Spirit can open
the door of utterance so that he can speak with a tongue of
fire (Col. 4:3). (5) The door of access to the Father can
be opened only by him who has the key of David. He can
open and none can shut and none can open. He has
the keys of death and hell (Rev. 1:18; 3:7_8). So at Ephe_
sus, God opened to Paul a door of utterance, and to the
people the door of attention, faith and salvation. It was
great and effectual. Neither the synagogue nor the Greek
ecclesia, nor the proconsul, nor Satan and all his demons,
could shut it.
The expressions in the chapter that mark the progress of the
work are: (1) The baptism of the twelve disciples in the
Holy Spirit (v. 6) so that Paul at one stroke gained twelve
mighty helpers; (2) all Asia heard the word (v. 10); (3)
special miracles conquer demons (w. 11_12); (4) fear fell
upon all, and the name of Jesus was magnified (v. 17); (5)
confessions were made (v. 18) ; (6) the burning of the books
(v. 19) ; (7) so mightily grew the word of the Lord and pre_
vailed (v. 20); (8) demons were made to refuse recognition
of impostors.
Chapter 20:17, 28, 35, proves that under Spirit_guidance
elders were ordained and instructed. The great converts of
this meeting were Tychicus and Trophimus (20:4) Epaphras
(Col. 1:7), and the family of Philemon (Philem. 2). The
following scriptures show that no other preacher in the his_
tory of the world labored under such hard conditions, suffered
as much, or carried such a burden. He was in the shadow
of death, and exposed to the daily malice of earth and hell for
three years: Acts 20:18_21, 26_27, 31_35; I Corinthians 4:11_
13; 15:19, 32; 2 Corinthians 1:8_10; 4:5_15; 6:4_10; 11:23_
28. It is evident that in this three years occurred many of the
horrible privations, perils, imprisonments, scourgings, hunger,
cold, sickness, and daily death, and the burdens enumerated in
2 Corinthians 11:23_28. The fighting with wild beasts at
Ephesus (I Cor. 15:32) has no reference to the Demetrius
mob, for that had not yet occurred.
It must be understood literally, that he had been thrown
to the wild beasts in the arena of the theatre, and died under
their claws and fangs) but, as at Lystra, where he was stoned
to death, was restored by the miraculous power of God (2
Cor. 1:8_10). He expressly says of this occasion: „We
are made a spectacle unto the world, both angels and men”
(I Cor. 4:9). The Greek is theatron, to which he again refers
in Hebrews 10:33. It was at this time he wrote: „If we have
only hoped in Christ in this life, we of all men are most
pitiable” (I Cor. 15:19). It was of this period he wrote:
„I bear branded on my body the marks [Greek: stigmata]
of Jesus” (Gal. 6:17). From head to foot he was crowned
with ineffaceable scars. It was of this time he wrote: „Even
unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are
naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;
and we toil, working with our own hands; being reviled, we
bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we en_
treat: we are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring
of all things, even till now” (I Cor. 4:11_13).
He never knew where he could stay at night. Consumed
with hunger and thirst, he preached in rags. We would not
do it. See the spruce, dapper messengers gather in our as_
semblies, shining in spotless collars and cuffs, and think of
Paul in rags. See him burdened with the care of all the
churches. See him going from house to house by day and
night for three years, pleading with tears. See him the vic_
tim of foul aspersion and misrepresentation. Scorn gibes him.
Mockery crowns him with thorns. Envy, jealousy, and
malice, raging furies, seek to tear him limb from limb.
Defeated greed, slanderer, and exposed uncleanness, like
harpies, pick and hawk him with beak and talons. Tyranny
binds him with chains to cold rocks that vultures may gnaw
his vitals. Every day he dies, every day he is crucified, every
day persecution drives cruel spikes and nails through his
hands and feet. In the gloom of every night demons come
like vampires, or hooting owls, or howling wolves, or hideous
nightmares, or croaking ravens, to break his spirit. Hell’s
cartoonists sketch his future in a background of evil omens
and apprehensions. It was of these trials he wrote:
„But in everything commending ourselves, as ministers
of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in dis_
tresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in
watchings, in fastings; in pureness, in knowledge, in long_
suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in love unfeigned, in
the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of
righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by glory
and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers,
and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying,
and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrow_
ful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich;
as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:
There are several items that need to be noted in particular:
He was supported there by the work of his hands. Perhaps
once Corinth sent him a contribution, or at least some kind
words, which he counted as food (I Cor. 16:17_18). The
designation given to the gospel here and the preceding and
subsequent references thereto is „The Way,” i.e., the way of
life (w. 9, 23). The name originated with our Lord: „I
am the Way” (John 14:6), and it was twice used in Acts be_
fore the double use of this chapter (9:2; 18:25) and three
times subsequently (22:4; 24:14, 22). It became common in
the early centuries.
Note the great special service rendered to Paul by Aquila
and Priscilla at Ephesus. When the mob sought him at their
house they offered to „lay down their own necks” that their
guest might escape (Rom. 16:3).
This tour, in its preaching, and particularly in the four
great letters, I and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans,
settled forever the systematic theology of salvation by grace
through faith, and furnished all subsequent ages with the
storehouse of arguments for justification by faith, and vi_
carious expiation. Out of these letters came both the in_
spiration and power of the reformation. No man questions
their authority. They constitute Paul’s Gospel.
A summary of the events condensed in Acts 20:1_6 is as
follows: While yet at Ephesus, Paul, on varied information,
had written I Corinthians, in which he had promised to visit
them. But Timothy’s report made him hesitate. He then
sent Titus, intending to go to Corinth first, after leaving
Ephesus, if Titus brought back a good report in time. But
as Titus had not returned up to the time he left Ephesus,
he went to Troas expecting there to meet Titus with such a
report as would justify going to Corinth from that point.
While waiting there he preached effectually and established
a church, but though God opened him a door of success, he
was consumed with anxiety about matters in Corinth, and as
Titus did not come with news, he closed his meeting and
passed over into Macedonia to visit the churches at Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea. In Macedonia, Titus joined him
with good news in the main from Corinth, and so from Mace_
donia he wrote the second letter to the Corinthians, again
promising to be with them speedily (2 Cor. 1:1 to 2:13).
Passing through Macedonia, confirming the churches, he
came to Corinth at last (Acts 20:1_3), and spent the winter
there. It was during this winter’s sojourn at Corinth that
he wrote the letters, Galatians and Romans. From Corinth
he had expected to sail direct for Syria. Finding out a plot
of the Jews to entrap and slay him at the seaport Cenchrea,
he returned by land to Macedonia. And from Philippi he
sent ahead to Troas, the brethren named in Acts 20:4, and
then after the Passover he, with Luke and maybe others, fol_
lowed them to Troas. The time in Europe was nearly a year.

The incidents at Troas are these: After a space of five days,
he arrived at Troas and stayed a week, and on the first day
of the week they all came together to partake of the Lord’s
Supper. The Lord’s Supper was administered probably by
the church at Troas, and all the context shows that these
visiting brethren from sister churches participated in all par_
ticulars of that supper. Luke says they assembled to break
bread. Dr. J. R. Graves took the position that only the
members of a local church, celebrating the supper, should
participate in its observance. He once asked me what I
thought of his position. I told him that as a matter of right,
only the church could administer the supper, and only the
members of that church could claim as a right to participate,
but inasmuch as visiting brethren and sisters are of like faith
and order, that on invitation they might participate. Then
we had it on this case at Troas, and on the uniform Baptist
custom. Notice that whenever they go to observe the Lord’s
Supper the preacher says, „Any brethren or sisters of sister
churches of like faith and order, knowing themselves to be
in good order [not disorder], are invited to participate with
us.” That is what is called inter_church communion, but not
a very good name for it. I always invite the visiting breth_

ren and sisters, but I specify very particularly who is in_
Another incident occurred that interrupted the preaching a
little. Paul, knowing that he had to leave the next day,
preached a sermon that night. He was in the third story
preaching. It was hot in that country over there, so they had
all the windows open for air, and a boy, Eutychus, bad the
best place in the house, right in the back window, and as
Paul went on preaching until midnight (he did not deliver
fifteen_minute essays – he preached a sermon) Eutychus’ eyes
got heavy, and he went to sleep. Something perhaps disturbed
him, maybe a fly lighted on him, anyhow he fell out of the
window – fell from the third story and was killed instantly.
Therefore don’t get sleepy in church. Paul went down and
brought him back to life by the exercise of miraculous power,
and went right back and resumed his sermon. When he got
through they celebrated the Lord’s Supper. Some Campbellite
brothers and sisters say it should be administered only on
the first day of the week, and every first day of the week, and
cite this case here at Troas when they came together on the
first day of the week to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. It was
a splendid day of the week to celebrate the Lord’s Supper,
but Paul’s sermon was so long that it was next day before
he even got through that sermon. They did not partake
of the Supper until Monday.
When we get a three years’ sample of a man’s preaching
we can have some idea, especially if he is preaching every
day and every night in that three years, as to the matter,
the scope, and the manner of his preaching. Of course, if he
hasn’t got much to preach, he could not preach three years
right straight along – he would run out of material – but Paul
was brimful, and the scope of his preaching is expressed in
two ways: (1) That he had withheld nothing that was profit_
able. (2) That he had not shunned to teach the whole counsel
of God. That would have been a fine seminary course if
we could have been there three years; could have taken that
three years in the Bible by the greatest expounder since the
Master went to heaven. He preached at every town, and par_
ticularly in preaching to the unconverted, he says, „Is testi_
fied both to the Jews and to the Greeks) repentance toward
God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Some preachers go
around and leave out repentance. He ought to preach the
gospel, and he should preach repentance as he preaches faith,
and he needs to preach it in the order – repentance toward
God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As to the manner
of his preaching, notice the address itself, how he describes
it. He says, „Why, brethren, you know that I was with
you in humility. By the space of three years, publicly and
privately, from house to house, day and night, with tears, I
ministered unto you.”
If we should put together all we have suffered, it would
not be as much as that man suffered in that three years. We
have not made half as many sacrifices as he did. We have
never come as near laying a whole burnt offering upon the
altar of God. In analyzing this address, observe that there
are three prophecies in it: (1) He says, „After I am gone,
wolves are going to come and ruin the flock.” (2) „After
I am gone many of your own selves, right on the inside of
the church, will rise up and mar the work that has been done.
(3) And he says, „Brethren, you will never see me again.”
This is his farewell discourse. Those are the three prophecies.
The events of this tour testify to the first day of the week
as the Christian sabbath. We have the record of this as_
sembly on the first day of the week, and in a letter on this
tour he says, „On the first day of the week [and this applies
to the churches generally] lay by in store, that there may
be no collections when I come.” In other words, he says,
„Every week, just according to your ability, give what you
give liberally, cheerfully, and lay it by in store, so when I
come you will have the collection ready.”
1. What the seventh adversary?
2. How did this one stir up the eighth adversary?
3. How was the ninth adversary stirred up?
4. How was the tenth adversary stirred up?
5. What was the outcome of it all?
6. What are the excellencies of the town clerk’s speech?
7. Analyze the „great door and effectual,” opened to Paul.
8. What the expressions in the chapter which show the marvelous
development of the work?
9. Who were the great converts of this meeting?
10. What the character and hard condition of Paul’8 ministry in Ephesus?
11. How was Paul supported there?
12. What designation was given to the gospel there, and what the
preceding and subsequent references thereto?
13. What great special service rendered to Paul by Aquila and
Priscilla at Ephesus?
14. What the full significance of this missionary tour?
15. Give a summary of the events condensed in Acts 20:1_6, and the
time covered by them.
16. What the incidents and lessons of the stay at Troas, and what the
bearing of the observance of the Lord’s Supper there on interchurch
17. Who was a great advocate of the non_interchurch communion,
and what his main argument?
18. Analyze the address to the Ephesian elders, showing particularly
the matter, scope, and manner of Paul’s ministry.
19. What the testimony of the events of this tour to the first day
of the week aa the Christian sabbath?

Acts 21:1_36.

The scripture for this chapter is Acts 21, and the theme is
„From Ephesus to Jerusalem.” The party that journeyed
from Ephesus to Jerusalem was Paul, Luke, and Trophimus,
and doubtless others. They saw at Rhodes one of the seven
wonders of the world. The entrance to the harbor at Rhodes
was narrow, and straddled across that entrance was the
Colossus of Rhodes, a gigantic bronze image in the shape
of a man – an image designed to represent the sun. Vessels
sailed between its legs, but at the time of Paul this image
by an earthquake had been broken in its legs, had fallen over
on the ground, and was lying there. It remained there on
the ground for many centuries after Paul. Finally a Jew
bought it, and it took nine hundred camels to carry the bronze

In Acts 26 Paul says that he had preached on all the coast
of Judea, and Philip, the evangelist, having his headquarters
at Caesarea, could very easily have planted a church at
Tyre. Our Saviour himself visited Tyre once, and there
occurred an instance of salvation to a Gentile, granting of the
prayer of the Syrophoenician woman. We learn from Acts
11 that there were people in Tyre who had been converted in
Jerusalem, and dispersed by the persecution of Saul, and
through these men that church at Tyre may have been es_
There are two notable events in the week’s stay of Paul’s
party there, to which I think it necessary to call attention.
One is that the prophets there distinctly made known to
Paul by the Holy Spirit that he should not go to Jerusalem.
The other event is the exceedingly touching farewell of the
body of Christians there when they followed Paul – men,
women and children – all of them, down to the beach, and
had a prayer on the beach just before he left them.
Combining the statement in this section (v. 4), about what
the prophet said to Paul, that he should not go to Jerusalem,
and the full statement in this same chapter when Agabus
came down from Judea and in an emblematic way showed
what would happen to Paul if he did not go to Jerusalem, and
the passage in the next chapter (22:17_21), where Paul re_
lates an experience of his that took place on his first visit to
Jerusalem after his conversion, in which Christ had appeared
unto him and told him that the Jews there would never re_
ceive his testimony, and to get away and go far hence to the
Gentiles, I do not think that Paul was justifiable in going to
He went against the expressed declaration of the Spirit of
God speaking through the prophets; and the explanation of
his going is that the man’s love for home mission work, and
his intense desire to save the Jerusalem Jews, always kept
him looking back toward Jerusalem. In the letter to the
Romans he says that he could wish himself accursed from
Christ for his brethren’s sake according to the flesh. And
there is no doubt that his going to Jerusalem at this time was
wholly unnecessary. The purpose of the going was to carry
the big contribution that had been collected, and the repre_
sentatives of the churches were right there with him, and
were carrying the money.
It is a fact that his going at that time kept him shut up
in prison four years – two years of the time at Caesarea, in
which we have no history of him. If there were any letters
written they were not preserved. The other two years of the
time he was at Rome, where he was carried. There we have

Borne great work done by him, but I can’t persuade myself
that it was the will of God for him to go to Jerusalem at that
time. It puts the greatest worker in the world out of com_
mission for four years, except as I think, it is quite probable
that when he was at Caesarea that two years, he helped
Luke write his Gospel, and later gave us his prison letters
from Rome.

We account for disciples at Ptolemais just as we account for
them at Tyre. Paul came from Tyre to Ptolemais by ship.
There are two historic events for which Ptolemais is noted.
First, for the most heroic daring events by Richard the Lion_
Hearted during the Crusades, when he took this impregnable
place by storm, and second, the vain attempt of Napoleon
to take it by storm or siege.
There is a relation between Paul and Philip. When Paul
got to Caesarea, Philip, the evangelist, entertained him. It
will be remembered that Philip was one of the seven deacons,
and that when Paul’s persecution drove him from Jerusalem
he became Philip the Evangelist, and he is the next man after
Stephen to enlarge the thought of the spread of the gospel
among other nations, which Paul himself ultimately carried
to its greatest expansion. This is the first time that they
had met since Paul’s persecution drove him out of Jerusalem.
How delightful must have been their conversation upon the
great growth of the idea that the gospel was meant for all
An Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled in the case of
Philip’s four daughters, which has a bearing on woman’s
work in the gospel. The Old Testament prophecy was a proph_
ecy of Joel quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentecost that
the Spirit would come upon women as well as men, and upon
girls, or handmaidens. This shows that the women were to
have an active part and an influential part in the kingdom of
God, and they have always had. There is another Old Testa_
ment prophecy, the famous song_story of Deborah. They
always were good at publishing news, and when it is good
news, one woman can tell it to as many people as ten men
can, especially if she has a telephone.
Here the question arises about the sphere of her prophesy_
ing. In I Corinthians 11:5, 13, Paul says that when she
does prophesy she should prophesy with her head covered,
and in I Corinthians 14:31, 34 he says that it is not her
province to prophesy before mixed audiences in the churches,
but that leaves a very wide margin for her work.
From the history here (w. 10_11), I suppose that Agabus
had heard of Paul’s arrival at Caesarea, and of his purpose to
go to Jerusalem, and came expressly to warn against his
going there. Caesarea was not a great distance from Jeru_
salem. Paul was at Caesarea two weeks. Men of his repu_
tation, and with travelers going to and fro, it is likely that
Agabus heard of his being there (Agabus the same prophet we
have heard of before in Acts II), and under the promptings of
the Spirit comes down there and shows Paul what will hap_
pen if he goes.
Those enormous contributions that had been gathered from
all over Macedonia and Achaia, and possibly the contribu_
tions of the Galatians were added, though there is no record
of it, but certainly all Macedonia and Achaia had part in
it. Considering verse 16, we see that it was necessary to
take with him from Caesarea a Jerusalem host to entertain
him when he got to Jerusalem. Mnason was the man who
went. He was an early disciple, and he went with Paul from
Caesarea in order to entertain him when he got to Jerusalem,
since this was the interval between the Passover and Pente_
cost. Paul at first tried to get there for the Passover, and
finding that impossible, he stopped at Philip’s for the Pass_
over, and was now hurrying to get there for Pentecost, which
is fifty days after, and during these great feasts Jerusalem had
a million strangers in it, and if one didn’t know beforehand
where he was going to stay all night, he couldn’t find out
after he got there. In a marvelous modern book by a Bap_
tist, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Mnason of this section and
Gains of 2 John are made the types of Christian hosts and
of hospitality. When he was taking his pilgrim from earth
to heaven he made him stay one night with Brother Mnason
and another night with Brother Gaius on the way, since
they are so noted in the New Testament history for their
hospitality. The brethren of verse 17 were of the Jerusalem
church, being the brethren of the house of Brother Mnason.
Next day they met the Jerusalem brethren and apostles.
Paul took his companions with him because they were
messengers from the churches that had contributed, and the
elders were present because they were to receive and dis_
burse these contributions. We learn in Acts II that when
Paul and Barabbas went to Jerusalem to carry a contribution
to the Christian brethren in Judea, they delivered it to the
elders. The Gentile that he took with him was Trophimus,
the Ephesian, and in Acts 15 we learn that he took Titus with
him for a special reason; so he takes Trophimus on this jour_
ney for a special reason, is. e., as if to say, „Here is a Gen_
tile. And he has a bag of money for your people. Are your
Jewish prejudiced brethren going to receive this money
brought by this Gentile brother?”
Though Luke does not here refer by name to the business
part of this meeting, we see from a subsequent statement
that he knew it, and did not mean to suppress the evidence
of it. The passage is Acts 24:17, which Luke wrote, and
which shows that the purpose of going to Jerusalem at this
time was to deliver this money.
Paul was apprehensive that this business might not be well
received. Romans 15:25_31 says, „But now, I say, I go
unto Jerusalem, ministering unto the saints. For it hath
been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a
certain contribution for the poor among the saints that are
at Jerusalem. Yea, it hath been their good pleasure; and
their debtors they are. For, if the Gentiles have been made
partakers of their spiritual things, they owe it to them, also
to minister unto them in carnal things. When, therefore,
I have accomplished this, and have sealed to them this
fruit, I will go on by you unto Spain. And I know that,
when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the
blessing of Christ. Now I beseech you, brethren, by our
Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that ye
strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that
I may be delivered from them that are disobedient in Judea,
and that my ministration which I have for Jerusalem may
be acceptable to the saints.”
We see from this that Paul was a little uneasy on this
question, and that he wrote to these Romans to ask them
to pray that it might work out all right. It is a little singu_
lar that when he set out after that decision, given in Acts
15, that they charge him to remember the poor saints in
Judea, since he always did that very thing, and yet he knew
how intense was the prejudice there. He not only worked
to get a good contribution, and from the right motives, and
was anxious that it might be rightly distributed, but he
prayed for it after he got it, that it might get there and ac_
complish its office.
One of the most remarkable prayers of that kind occurred
in connection with the history of Brown University, the first
Baptist college in the United States. It was very small
when it started, and the day they took the first contribution
for it, eleven men put up a dollar apiece with which to start
it, and they got down around that little pile of money and
prayed and prayed that God, who multiplied the loaves and
fishes, would let it eventuate in a great institution of learn_
ing. I preached a sermon once on the thought: „After mak_
ing a great contribution, what then?”
Having gotten through with the money part of this meet_
ing, Paul rehearsed the events of this tour. I can imagine
that scene there, and all those Jerusalem preachers sitting
there, Trophimus, the Gentile, standing by, when he re_
hearsed one by one every marvelous triumph of God in the
salvation of the Gentiles. When they heard it they glorified
God, and it is to their everlasting credit that they did. What
took place immediately after would indicate that they didn’t
glorify him much, but they did glorify God, and Paul thus
secured from James and from the Jerusalem brethren, praise
that God was saving the Gentiles. That was a fine point
Let us expound verses 20_26, showing first how James and
the Jerusalem church understood a Jewish Christian’s .rela_
tion to the Mosaic law; second, a Gentile’s relation thereto;
third, the difference between them and Paul; fourth, the
motive prompting the suggestion that they made to Paul;
fifth, the reason for Paul’s adopting the suggestion; sixth,
the good that it did. They said to him (for his presence was
embarrassing), „You see, brother, how many thousands of
Jews there are here in Jerusalem who are believers, and
every one of them is zealous for the law. They all observe
every Levitical custom, and they have been informed that
you are teaching the Jews all over the world to forsake
Moses, not to circumcise their children, and not to observe
the customs. Now, in order to convince these people that
you yourself correct errors and do observe these customs,
we suggest, as four men have taken the Nazirite vow, that
you take them and be at the charges necessary for the ac_
complishment of their vow, footing the bill, and go with
them to the Temple; and that will prove to these thousands
of Jewish Christians that you are all right as regards the
law.” Those are the facts as stated in that suggestion. The
suggestion was closed this way: „This doesn’t apply to
Brother Trophimus here. He is a Gentile, and we have al_
ready decided in the council that we held that the Gentiles
shall have no burden put upon them but to refrain from
eating blood, and from fornication and from idols.” So we
see that James and that whole crowd, while truly Christians,
yet made their Christianity simply a sect of the Jews, and
they kept up all the Mosaic customs. We see that they did
not now hold that a Gentile, in order to be a Christian, must
do that. The difference between them and Paul was this: It
was just as plain to Paul as sunlight that the whole Jewish
economy was about to pass away, in fact, as it had already
done in divine order. He had said that circumcision and un_
circumcision, neither availeth anything; that a man was not
a Jew who was simply a Jew outwardly, but one who was
a Jew inwardly; that all these things were shadows. The
substance was in Christ, and when the substance came it was
foolishness to go back and take up the weak and beggarly
elements of the world. That is what he taught and believed,
and therein he differed from them. Just twelve years from
the day that this event occurred, Jerusalem and the Jewish
nation were wiped off the map by the destruction of Jerusa_
lem under Titus, and after that nobody thought about going
up to the Temple and observing the days and the services
and the customs of a shadowy covenant that had passed
away forever.
The motive that prompted their suggestion to Paul was
very probably a kind one. He had shown such signal gen_
erosity in devoting four years to raising this fund, getting
the churches to send messengers, always going by and show_
ing the utmost courtesy and deference to the Jerusalem
Christians, and to the other apostles, that they didn’t want
the rabid members on their side to raise a row with Paul.
I think that was the motive, and so far as the history goes,
the Jewish Christians didn’t raise any row with him at this
time at all.

How do you account for Paul’s adoption of the sugges_
tion? I have no doubt that it seemed to him just like a
grown_up man riding corn_stalk horses, as if to say, „When
I was a child I thought as a child, I spake as a child, but
when I became a man I put away childish things, and these
things have served their purpose.” After showing that noth_
ing could induce him to circumcise a Gentile in order to his
salvation, he would be a Jew to gain a Jew, and he would be
under the law to gain those under the law, and in matters
of expediency, when no great principle was involved, and when
it was merely his giving up a privilege of his, he was willing
to give it up, and thus Paul did concede in this case. And he
said that he did it in order to put himself in saving touch
with those under the law, though he himself was not under
the law.
Did it do any good? Not a bit in the world. It was the
most unwise thing that could possibly have been done, for it
put Paul conspicuously in the Temple for a week. It required
seven days to consummate this vow, and Jerusalem was full
of Jews who were not Christians, from all over the world,
and somebody from some of the places where he had been
would be sure to recognize him, and they hated him worse,
than they did the devil. Indeed, they called on the devil to
help them hate him, and that very thing happened. The Jews
from Ephesus saw him, and one of them had noticed him on
the streets walking with this Gentile, Trophimus; so when
they recognized him in the Temple they raised the row that
led to his four years of imprisonment. They rushed up and
grabbed him and dragged him down the steps in order to get
him out of the holy precincts and then kill him. They meant
to kill him, and nothing but the interposition of a third party
kept them from killing him. And the cry went over Jerusa_
lem ; it was like touching a powder magazine with a spark of
fire; the streets were soon thronged with people. The tower of
Antonio overlooking the Temple, was held by a strong band
of soldiers. There were two garrisoned places, one, the Prae_
torian, and the other, the Tower of Antonio. The centurions
held the tower, and the chiliarchs, captains of thousands, held
the Praetorian, and when they saw a tumult and a man about
to be killed, the centurion notified the chiliarch (Roman le_
gions were divided into ten parts of a thousand men. Each
thousand was divided into ten companies of one hundred men
each; a centurion commanded a company of one hundred and
a chiliarch was a captain of a thousand, a cohort, a band)
and they rushed in and rescued Paul from his murderers.
Similar recent occurrences had prepared the Roman guards
for such an emergency as this. It is a matter of fact that
from the crucifixion of Christ until the destruction of Jeru_
salem by Titus, a little less than forty years later, Jerusalem
was like a volcano preparing for an eruption, and occasionally
breaking out. In A.D. 44, when Cuspus Fadus was made the
procurator on the death of that Agrippa (Herod Agrippa men_
tioned in Acts 12), he declared that the crown of Herod and
the gorgeous robes of; the high priest (those were the two
highest symbols of authority) should be carried into the tower
of Antonio and kept so that the Romans holding the crown
of the ruler and the robe of the high priest, could fill both
offices as they wished.
When the Jews learned that these sacred things were defiled
by being put in charge of the Roman soldiers, they raised an
awful row – just such a tumult as occurred here – and they
raised such a big fuss that the Emperor Claudius had to re_
voke the order. He saw it meant war, and how much blood_
shed the war would occasion, it was hard to tell. It put him
to the expense of sending seven or eight legions over there
and revoking the order. Then, in A.D. 49, when Gumanus was
procurator, one of the soldiers on the Tower of Antonio, look_
ing down and watching the Jews, what they were doing around
the Temple, and becoming disgusted at them, made a most
insulting gesture, and the Jews took up rocks and began to
stone him, stormed the tower itself, and raised such a mob that
it called out the entire Roman force there and from ten to
twenty thousand Jews perished. A great many of them were
just trampled to death in the crowd.
Then a little later, while Cumanus was procurator, a bandit
highwayman, by the pass from Jericho to Jerusalem, to which
our Saviour referred when a man fell among thieves on that
trip, robbed a Roman messenger, and the Romans held the
neighboring villages responsible, and in burning those villages
one soldier came across an Old Testament, the Old Bible, and
he burned it openly in sight of the Jews and blasphemed as
he burned it. That made such a row that the Romans them_
selves had to execute that soldier.
Then again in A.D. 54 (four years after that time), the
Samaritans, who had refused to entertain Christ because he
was going toward Jerusalem, killed a party of pilgrims on
their way to the feast at Jerusalem, whereupon Eleazar, a
patriotic bandit like Barabbas, gathered a squad and killed
a large number of the Samaritans. The Samaritans; appeal_
ing to Cumanus with a bribe, he decided against the Jews,
and the Jews fought him. One of the leading Jews of the
family of Annas went to Rome and a female slave named
Pellas at that time had a great deal of influence through a
Jewess that was a favorite of the Emperor, and they secured
a decision in favor of the Jews on condition that the Jews
would then petition that Felix, the brother of the slave, Pel_
las, should be procurator; and so Felix comes, and when this
Felix came to be procurator, he stirred up things greatly. He
entrapped that bandit chief, Eleazar, and sent him in chains
to Rome. He, through a machination of the very Simon Magus
that Peter denounced, seduces Drusilla, the wife of a king,
who was the sister of Agrippa. Then, because Jonathan pro_
tested, he hired assassins to stab Jonathan, and thus, from
A.D. 57 (within a year of the time Paul was there), everybody
employed assassins.
It was just about as bad as it was when Caesar Borgia was
pope of Rome. He was the worst assassin, except Philip II
of Spain) that the world ever saw. Seven weeks before Paul
came to Jerusalem, an Egyptian came and claimed to be the
Messiah according to the Jewish idea, and he said if they
wanted to have proof that he was, and would follow him out_
side of the city he would stand there and look and the walls
would fall down, and the Roman power would be overcome.
About 30,000 Jews followed him. The Romans charged them,
killed about 400, captured a few thousand, and that Egyptian
escaped, and what became of him nobody ever found out, but
that is what is meant by Claudius Lysias, the chiliarch, when
he said to Paul, „Are you not that Egyptian that led out the
four thousand assassins?” It happened just seven weeks be_
fore. And it was not long until Jerusalem fell as a result of
another such uprising, when Titus came and took the city
and many thousands perished with the Temple and the holy

1. Who constituted the party of this part of the tour?
2. What one of the seven wonders of the world did they see at
Rhodes, what its history and purpose, what its state then, and what
became of it?
3. How may we account for the disciples at Tyre, and what the re_
corded instance of its touch with Christ and his gospel?
4. What notable events in the week’s stay of Paul’s party there?
5. Was Paul justifiable in going to Jerusalem on this trip, and
what the proof?
6. How may we account for the disciples at Ptolemais?
7. For what two historical events is Ptolemais noted?
8. What the relation between Paul and Philip, and what the rea_
sonable supposition of the matter of their conversation for nearly two

9. What Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled in the case of Philip’s
four daughters, what its bearing on woman’s work in the gospel, and
according to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, what her sphere of prophe_
10. What the purpose of the coming of Agabus to Caesarea to see
Paul, and what the proof?
11. What the most valuable part of that baggage which they carried
to Jerusalem?
12. Why was it necessary for Paul to take from Caesarea a host to
entertain him at Jerusalem, and who was the man?
13. In what great modern book are Mnason and Gains made the
type of Christian hosts and of hospitality?
14. Were the brethren of verse 17 of the Jerusalem church?
15. Why should Paul’s companions go with him to see James, what
Gentile was among them, on what other occasion had Paul taken a
Gentile with him, and why the elders all present at the interview?
16. Prove from a subsequent statement that Luke knew of the busi_
ness part of this meeting, and did not mean to suppress the evidence
of it.
17. What striking proof that Paul was apprehensive that this busi_
ness might not be well received?
18. What followed the business part of this meeting, and what the
moral effect of it?
19. Expound verses 20_26 in six distinct items.
20. What similar recent occurrences had prepared the Roman guards
for such emergency as this?

Acts 21:37 to 23:30.

The scripture for this chapter is Acts 22_23, and the general
theme for the rest of the book of Acts is, „Paul in the hands
of his enemies and under the protecting care of his Lord.”
The distinct forces to be considered) each from its viewpoint,
in their interplay on the results at Jerusalem, are as follows:
(1) The believing Jews or Christians at Jerusalem; (2) the
unbelieving Jews at Jerusalem, coming in from the dispersion
to the feasts; (3) Lysias, the representative of the Roman
military government in Jerusalem; (4) Paul’s kinsman; (5)
Paul himself; (6) Paul’s Lord.
The Jewish Christians at Jerusalem forced upon Paul the
observance of a custom that he didn’t consider binding, but
he was willing for expediency’s sake to observe it, and thus
put him in the Temple where he would be in full view of the
millions of Jews gathered in Jerusalem. After putting him in
that position and seeing that it was the cause of an assault
upon his life by the unbelieving Jews, and of his arrest by the
Romans, there is no record then or later of their coming in to
testify in Paul’s behalf or bringing any influence whatever to
bear to enable him to escape from the difficulty. Action moved
so fast in the assault on him, and in the arrest and his being
sent away from Jerusalem, that you might excuse their silence
there, but when they knew he was taken to Caesarea, although
some time elapsed before his trial there, and the enemies had
ample notice and time to get there to testify against him, they
sent no representatives.

The impression made on my mind is that they acted in an
ungrateful, „scaly” sort of way. As he had come there to
bring them a big collection that had taken him four years to
gather together, and for their benefit, and as they had spe_
cifically endorsed his work among the Gentiles, and as they
knew he was in that Temple at their instance, and also knew
that the charge was false that he had introduced a Gentile
into the sacred precincts, it is to me an amazing thing that
they did nothing to help him.
As was shown in the former chapter, the whole unbelieving
Jewish population, whether at Jerusalem or in the lands of
the dispersion, was a seething, boiling pot, and feeling that
the last thing that they had to hold to was this Temple and
Moses, they were jealous to madness of anything that re_
flected upon the sanctity of that Temple or upon the customs
of Moses. Of all men living they hated Paul most, because
they regarded him as an apostate from the Jewish faith. They
recognized him in the Temple, and couldn’t have touched him
except upon one ground, and that was, that he had introduced
into the sacred precincts a Gentile. The Romans did not al_
low the Jews generally to have jurisdiction over life and death,
but out of deference to their intense jealousy to guard the
sacred precincts of the Temple from intrusion, the Romans
did allow them to kill any man found in those sacred pre_
cincts that was not a Jew.
That enables you to understand why they brought the ac_
cusation against him that he had introduced a Gentile into
the sacred precincts. If they could do that they could kill
him right there under the eyes of the Roman guard, and escape
Roman prosecution. Their hate was uniform in its persistence,
and multiform in its method. They manifested their intense
rancor, not only by the manner in which the high priest com_
manded him to be smitten in the mouth when he appeared
before the Sanhedrin, but because a number of avowed assas_
sins, forty in number, came and apprised them of what they
wanted to do, viz.: to kill Paul, and asked the Sanhedrin to
enter into the plot this far, that it would urge that Paul be
brought before the Sanhedrin again as if to gain further in_
formation. When they agreed to that they became guilty of
the whole diabolical conspiracy.
Let us consider the case of Lysias, the chiliarch, who had
charge of the Roman soldiers in Jerusalem. The procurator,
Felix, was at Caesarea, and hence Lysias, the chiliarch, had
command of all the Roman forces in Jerusalem, and was re_
sponsible on this point, that he should keep down all tumult.
So that he was in the full discharge of his duty when he
witnessed a tumult right under the Tower of Antonio and sent
his soldiers to disperse that crowd, and found out what was
the matter. He was in the full discharge of his duty when he
saw all of them holding the one whom the Jews were trying
to kill, for he supposed that it must be that Egyptian who
had been the cause of such a slaughter of the Jews. He was
following the Roman custom when, not being able to under_
stand what the grievance was from what the crowd was shout_
ing all around him, he ordered Paul to be examined by torture.
It was a very cruel proceeding, but the Roman law allowed
him to practice it always; that is, they stretched a man out
with thongs, and put him to the torture to make him tell what
was the cause of the assault against him. Lysias wanted to
know what it was, and he couldn’t gather from what the Jews
said; so he wanted to force the person accused to state the
cause. „What devilment have you been into that makes the
people want to kill you?” But when Paul avowed his Roman
citizenship, Lysias followed the law in instantly countermand_
ing the order to put him to the torture. And Lysias followed
the Roman custom of inquiring into a case before he judged
of the case, in having Paul brought before the Sanhedrin in
order that in that open court he might ascertain what the gist
of the matter was. And he recognized at a glance what it was.
Then when a vow was made to kill Paul, he showed himself
to be able in tactics and in administrative capacity to put
Paul beyond the power of assassination, by sending him to his
chief, the procurator at Caesarea. No man can read the ac_
tion of Lysias in this whole matter without receiving a very
favorable impression of this Roman officer.
But Paul had some kinsfolk there, and as there were forty
men who had conspired to assassinate Paul, and as they car_
ried their plot to the whole Sanhedrin (such a secret as that
couldn’t be kept), so Paul’s kinsfolk found out about it, and
the nephew came with a warning. It isn’t said that he was a
Christian. That is probable, yet it is strange that James and
the elders couldn’t find out anything and couldn’t offer any
service, but this boy did find out, and took a very active and
noble part.
So far as Paul is concerned, he is entirely innocent. He
had done nothing to justify an assault upon him in the Tem_
ple. It was an outrageous thing against the Temple for any
violent man to come into it and lay hold upon a man who
was carrying out the Temple regulations. And when he was
rescued by the Romans, we see that he didn’t lose his self_
possession. The crowd came so near killing him that the
soldiers had to pick him up and rush with him in their arms
to get up that stairway out of danger, but before his feet hit the
ground he wanted to say something. He wasn’t going to allow
his life to be disposed of, and the cause to be put in jeopardy,
without doing all he could. So he says to Lysias, „May I speak
to you?” addressing him in Greek. „Why, do you speak
Greek?” says Lysias, „Is supposed you to be that Egyptian.”
„No,” says Paul, „I am a Jew, a citizen of Tarsus, no mean
city.” „Well,” answers Lysias, „What do you want?” „Why,
I want to speak to that mob there.” Lysias is very anxious
to find out all the facts he can, and he permits it. So Paul
stands there on the stairway and delivers that inimitable ad_
dress that we will consider later, and as Paul spoke in He_
brew, Lysias couldn’t get any light on the subject, and when
he proposes to bring Paul before the court to torture him,
Paul still has his wits about him and says, „I am a Roman.
You can’t torture me.” Then when Paul is brought before the
council, he boldly affirms in his first sentence that from his
youth up he had lived conscientiously, no matter which side
he was on; that he thought he was doing God’s service when
he did it.
When the high priest commanded him to be smitten in the
mouth, Paul’s anger flashed out: „God will smite thee, thou
whited wall! You attempt to try me by the law, and contrary
to the law command me to be smitten in the mouth?” But
when somebody said, „You are reviling the high priest,” quick
as a flash he turned, saying, „Brethren, I knew not that he
was the high priest. I remember the law says that there should
be reverence toward rulers.” He possessed quick self_control,
and then when he saw there was no chance to get a verdict
before that crowd, with his will as quick as lightning, recog_
nizing Pharisees and Sadducees there, he adopted the old Latin
proverb, „Divide your enemies in order to conquer them,”
and instantly avows that he is under charge on account of his
belief in the resurrection of the dead.
The Pharisees, of course, sided with Paul on that, and the
Sadducees against him, and they turned to fighting each other,
and Paul escaped. It shows the most nimble wit in hazard.
And then when his nephew brings him the information about
the plot you see how his wisdom is running all the while. He
says, „You go show these facts to Lysias.” Throughout the
whole proceeding he commends himself to us in not getting
scared, and in not losing his head; in seizing every oppor_
tunity for self_defense and for setting forth the cause. That
is Paul’s part.
The tact of Paul’s speech on the stairway is almost infinite:
1. In that he spoke it in Hebrew. If anything in the world
would appeal to that crowd it was to hear their own mother
tongue. When such a great multitude of the Jews had lost
the power to speak Hebrew, or even to read it, it was an in_
stant appeal to them that this man would speak to them in
the mother tongue.
2. While everything he said had been said before, yet it is
the way in which he makes what he says meet that case. He
applies it to this point: First, „I was once Just such a zealot
as you are about your law. Your high priest knows it. You
all know that I went to any length to put down Christianity.
But, brethren, I met the Lord. The light in which I met him
was so bright it blinded me. By the power of God I am a
changed man. There has been an internal experience to justi_
fy my change from one crowd to another crowd, and the recog_
nition of my change was by as devout a Jew as you are – one
Ananias – and the Lord met him and sent him to authenticate
what had been done. And to show that my heart is toward
you as it ever has been, when I was in Jerusalem at the time
of the conference here in the church I went to the Temple, and
there the same Lord that converted me and that impressed
Ananias to baptize me, told me to go to the Gentiles. You
have nothing against me beyond my going to the Gentiles,
and yet I have gone in obedience to your Messiah – gone after
an experience of conversion to prove to me that my former
zeal against the church was wrong, and authenticated by a
Jew just as zealous as you are.” It was impossible for an
orator to state a case with any greater simplicity and with
any more tactfulness. But when he said „Gentiles,” why that
was like waving a red flag before a mad bull. Then they went
to howling at once.
Here we have the expression, „Wash away thy sins.” We
have already considered that in Acts 2:38, but I will restate
it now, since here Paul is commanded to wash away his sins.
Since he is commanded to wash away his sins in baptism,
that proves that it wasn’t real cleansing from sin, but a figura_
tive one, because God alone can remit sin, and there is no
virtue in baptism to take it away. Therefore, what is meant
is that Paul himself, not God, could symbolically wash away
his sins in baptism. Baptism could symbolize the cleansing
from sin, though it couldn’t actually remove it.
Lysias ordered Paul’s examination by torture in order to
find out what the grievance of the Jews was against this man,
and Paul escaped it, as I have already shown, by claiming
to be a Roman citizen; and that leads to the next expedient
of Lysias. As a Roman he is bound to find out in some way
what the grievance is, so the next expedient is to order the
Sanhedrin to come together, and he said, „You are not to mob
this man. He is my prisoner, and I want to know what is
against him,” and the expedient was very successful from his
point of view. It demonstrated to him that there were no
charges against Paul that could come under the jurisdiction
of a Roman. So he won out on this expedient. He saw that
they didn’t agree themselves, and that it was only a matter
upon which Pharisees and Sadducees differed – a matter of
their own law – and he never had any doubt about the case
any more.
Paul’s saying, „Is wist not that he was the high priest,” is
hard to explain. I will give what some commentators have
said, viz.:
First, that Ananias had usurped the office of high priest
during a vacancy, and therefore was not recognized by Paul.
There is no evidence that that office was vacant.
Second, that Paul, having been long absent, was really un_
acquainted with the person of the high priest. That cuts no
figure, because Paul would recognize the man that was wearing
the full official dress of the priest, as the priest.
Third, that the words are ironical: „I couldn’t be supposed
to know that you, a man that would command me to be smit_
ten in the mouth as you did, was high priest.”
Fourth, that Paul on account of his nearsightedness, his
imperfect sight, couldn’t discern that dress. That is Farrar’s
explanation, and it is a very plausible one. too.
Fifth, that „Is wist not, brethren,” means, „I didn’t give it
a thought; I just spoke fast, and when he commanded me to
be smitten in the mouth I spoke without giving a thought to
the fact that the one who said it was high priest.” That is
not very plausible.
Of all these explanations the most plausible one to me is
Farrar’s. A near_sighted man may come right into a room
and unless he comes right up close to a person he will not
recognize him.
[Is most heartily agree here with Canon Farrar and Dr.
Carroll on their explanation of Paul’s failure to recognize the
high priest. It is almost tragical that there is so little al_
lowance made for the man who has an infirmity of vision. I
have suffered for nearly thirty years with what I suppose to
be the same eye trouble that so harassed and afflicted Paul.
Many times I do not recognize my best friends, even when
they are but a few feet away. It has been one of the greatest
of all my crosses, and I am sure that in this incident Paul did
not have sufficient vision with which to recognize the high
priest, and that this is a full explanation of the matter. – Edi_
Before this, Paul had set forth the Christian’s duty toward
rulers in Romans 13:1_7: „Let every soul be in subjection
to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and
the powers that be are ordained of God. Therefore he that
resisteth the power, withstandeth the ordinance of God: and
they that withstand shall receive to themselves judgment. For
rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And
wouldest thou have no fear of the power? Do that which is
good, and thou shall have praise from the same; for he is a
minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which
is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he
is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth
evil. Wherefore, ye must needs be in subjection, not only
because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For, for
this cause ye pay tribute also; for they are ministers of God’s
service attending continually upon this very thing. Render to
all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom
custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”
The explanation of the three classes of Paul’s military escort
is that the Roman legion was divided. The main dependence
of the Roman legion was what is called the heavy_armed
soldiers. They carried the shields and that deadly short sword.
They carried also an immensely long lance. When they drove
that lance into the ground and drew on their short swords,
they turned the battle. Right ahead of them was a line of
spearmen, that before they got in touch with the enemy could
throw their javelins, and fall back behind the heavy part.
The third part was the light troops – cavalry. Every legion
had those three classes of soldiers, so when Lysias sent a
guard of 200 soldiers, tremendously heavily armed troops, 200
spearmen, light armed troops, and 70 cavalrymen, that made
a body that could adapt itself to any kind of an enemy –
that would attack them on the way – and it was exceedingly
formidable, for Lysias recognized the power of the malice of
the Jews.
A very favorable impression is made on the mind by this
account. The world never saw such military discipline as the
Romans had. Whenever they camped for just one night they
would do work enough to build a town. They would dig a
ditch and throw up a wall around their camp. They knew
exactly where to put the baggage wagons. Every cavalryman
knew where his place was. Every spearman knew where his
place was. It was a citadel of fortifications, if they just
camped one night, and over all Europe, where the Romans
marched, could be seen their camps at night. Frederick the
Great came near having a military discipline equal to the
Romans. As to the administration of justice, we are compelled
to bow before it. Take this man Lysias, or Gallic, or any other
case that came up, and how careful they are! They would
say, „It is not our custom to try a man until we hear him.
We will hear both sides of it. We want to know the facts,
and if what he is accused of doesn’t come under the Roman
jurisdiction, we dismiss the case.” And the only time when
there is a „slip_up” in Roman justice is where the man ap_
pointed to power, like Pilate or like that slave, Felix, to whom
we will come later, has itching palms or fears, then justice
goes awry. The Roman code, together with the code of Moses,
is the foundation of the law that rules the civilized world
today. The Romans had good roads. They had good disci_
pline. They had fine administration of justice. A „slip_up”
would come only in some special cases, as I have mentioned.
There are three styles in this section – the inimitable his_
torical prose style of Luke, the epistolary style of Lysias,
and the oratorical style of Paul in making a speech. When I
read it over I can feel the touch of each one of them as I come
to it.
When a school boy I read the twenty_seven novels of Wal_
ter Scott, and I had read quite a number of his historical
books before I came to his epistolatory ones, and I was per_
fectly delighted when I came to Gauntlet, a story in the form
of letters written from one to another. Scott enhanced the
literary excellence of his stories by changing the style.
Lysias’ letter is a genuine letter. Paul’s speech is a great
speech. Luke is a true historian. There is nothing stilted.
There is one touch of human nature in the letter of Lysias.
He knows how to write: „Claudius Lysias unto the most ex_
cellent governor, Felix, greeting: This man was seized of the
Jews, and was about to be slain of them, when I came upon
them with the soldiers, and rescued him, having learned that
he was a Roman. And desiring to know the cause whereof
they accused him, I brought him down unto their council:
whom I found to be accused about questions of their law,
but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of
bonds. And when it was shown to me that there would be a
plot against the man, I sent him to thee forthwith, charging
his accusers also, to speak against him before thee.”
So the one touch of human nature in that letter is this:
„This man was taken of the Jews and would have been killed
of them: Then I came with an army and rescued him.” Now,
he didn’t know that Paul was a Roman when he first inter_
fered. He found that out afterward, but as he stated it, it
certainly put him in a more favorable light to make Felix
think that he understood it that way – that be was endeavor_
ing to take care of the Roman people. Every man is the hero
of the story he tells.
I knew a man to run into our camps on the frontier once,
gasping for breath and his tongue out, telling about the In_
dians only two miles off, and how they had crowded him, bow
he had saved his horses, and how he had come across to give
information to the camp (it was all made up to scare us) and
John Meriwether says, „I was a fool to believe you at first,
but I was wise in believing you afterwards, because there was
such a natural twang in the way you made yourself the hero,
that I thought you were telling the truth.”

1. What the scripture for this chapter, and the general theme for all
the remainder of Acts?
2. What distinct forces must be considered, each from its viewpoint,
in their interplay on the results at Jerusalem?
3. State the case from the viewpoint of the Jewish Christians at
Jerusalem, and your judgment of their performance.
4. What the case of the unbelieving Jews there?
5. What the case of Lysias, the chiliarch, who had charge of the Roman soldiers in Jerusalem?
6. What the case of Paul’s kinsman?
7. What the case of Paul himself?
8. Analyze Paul’s speech on the stairway, and give the substance of
this speech in paraphrase.

9. What the explanation and force of „wash away thy sins”?
10. Why did Lysias order Paul’s examination by torture, and how
did he escape?
11. What the next expedient of Lysias, and what the result?
12. What the explanation of Paul’s saying, “Is wist not that he was
the high priest”? What the remarks on this incident of the editor of
13. Where before had Paul set forth the Christian’s duty toward
rulers and what is the substance of his statement?
14. How do you explain the three classes of Paul’s military escort?
15. What impression is made on the mind by this account of Roman
military discipline and administration of justice?
16 When was there injustice practiced under the Roman law, and
what illustrations cited?
17 What the literary excellence of this section <
18. What one touch of human nature in the letter of Lysias? Illus_

Acts 23:31 to 24:27.

There are strange contrasts in this section which awaken
certain lines of thought. The first contrast is between Felix
and Paul. The one an intensely religious and moral man,
and with the greatest possible integrity, the highest moral
courage – an innocent man. The other, the one who is acting
as judge, one of the greatest rascals that ever went unhung.
He had been a slave, and was too vile to talk about. His
whole life was offensive to God and man. How great the con_
trast with a man innocent of all offense, tried before such a
judge! The next contrast is brought out in the case of Felix
before Paul. God's judgment was different from man's judg_
ment. The lines of thought awakened by this contrast are
these: Look at these people to whom Paul was brought to be
judged, also Christ in his ministry. Pilate, Herod the Great
(that Herod who died and was eaten of worms as related in
Acts 12), Felix, Festus, Gallic, and Nero, and just think of
that Agrippa the Second, Bernice, and Drusilla, all of them
coming in the limelight of personal contact with either the
Lord or some of his closest followers, going into history simply
because they came into the orbit of that light for a little while.

There is a certain force of the compound Greek word,
diakousornai (v. 35), rendered, "I will hear thee fully,"
and there is a special reason for the employment of that par_
ticular word. The use of the preposition, dia, with akouo
gives an intensity to the verb. The verb means "to hear"; put_

ting in the preposition dia implies a degree of hearing much
stronger than the other: "I will hear thee fully." That is
the force of the word. The reason for the employment of
that word is that a Roman officer who stood in judgment
on a person who had been commended in a letter that had
been sent, was required by Roman law to give a full hear_
ing. Paul reached Felix commended by a letter from Lysias,
who stated that he was a Roman citizen, and that there
was nothing in the charges against him. That is called a
eviogium by the Roman officer that sent him to the judge.
The Roman law was, that if the judge gets a eulogium
from the officer that passed the person to him, he must hear
the case fully. He must not do it slightingly. That is why
Felix uses the expression: "I will hear thee fully." He did
not tell the truth when he said it, but the law required him
to say it.
The place of Paul's confinement was called "Herod's pal_
ace," or praetorium, i. e., judgment hall. Herod the Great,
in order to please the emperor Augustus, built the whole city
of Caesarea. He made a magnificent harbor. He built the
most stately palaces and buildings, and in the palace that
Caesar was to occupy, if he ever came there, was a prae_
torium, the judgment office in which he might hear cases.
There is no Caesarea now – nothing but the ruin of ruins.

The value of this section is that it gives most graphically
the method of Roman trial. We have the judge, the prose_
cution, the counsel of the prisoner, the case formally stated
by the prosecution, and the defense fairly stated by Paul.
The value of it is in giving us a look into a Roman court
The speeches of Tertullus and Paul appear here in con_
trast. Tertullus was employed by the Jews. He was prose_

cuting this case as a hired lawyer. Let's look at hig speech.
His clients present are Ananias, the high priest, and the
elders. He is going to speak before them and this is his
speech: "Seeing that by thee we enjoy much peace, and
that by thy providence evils are corrected for this nation,
we accept it in all ways, and in all places, most excellent
Felix, with all thankfulness. But, that I be not further
tedious unto thee, I entreat thee to hear us of thy clemency
a few words. For we have found this man a pestilent fellow,
and a mover of insurrections among all the Jews throughout
the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
moreover assayed to profane the temple: on whom also we
laid hold: from whom thou wilt be able, by examining him
thyself, to take knowledge of all these things whereof we ac_
cuse him. And the Jews also joined in the charge, affirming
that these things were so" (Acts 24:1_9).
Let us analyze this speech. It commences in the oratorical
method of attempting to conciliate the judge by saying flat_
tering things, and in saying that he does some steep lying.
Notice what he says: "Seeing that by thee we enjoy much
peace." No man that had ever been put over that country
had stirred up more rows with the people. "And that by thy
providence evils are corrected for this nation." Tacitus, the
Roman historian, and Jogephus, say that his deeds were
infamous. "We accept it in all ways, and in all places, most
excellent Felix, with all thankfulness." They never did accept
anything that he did. They hated him worse than they hated
the devil. But he put all that into his speech. Tacitus says
that everything he did was in the spirit of the slave which he
was, and the Jews, instead of accepting his administration
thankfully, never did stop until they bad him recalled, and
Porcius Festus sent to succeed him.
But anyhow that is the way he commences. That is called
the exordium of the speech, in which he placates his audience
by saying pleasing things to them, either to make them laugh
or tickle their fancy, or gratify their pride. All orators do
Notice what the accusation against the prisoner is. There
are three points in it: (1) He accuses him of sedition, that
is, against the Roman law he created disturbances among
the Jews throughout the world.; (2) heresy, which is against
the Jewish law, only as a ringleader of the sect of the Naza_
renes; (3) his profanation of the Temple, which is against
both Jewish and Roman law. Those are the three points, and
in a very masterly way he presents the accusation. There
is just about as much truth in it as in that flattery in the
exordium, but it is certainly done in an orderly way. The
next point in his speech is that the Jews, under the Roman
law, had a right to try a man for offenses against the Jewish
law, and Paul was such an offender, and he alleges that they
had arrested him and were proceeding to give him a trial
under the Jewish law for offenses that were against the Jew_
ish law, and that a Roman chiliarch came with violence and
took him away, when they were about to try him, and com_
manded them to come and appear before Felix.
That is certainly presented in a masterly way, and equally
false. They were not proceeding to try him according to their
law. They were proceeding to kill him when Lysias inter_
fered. There was no trial about it. There was a mob putting
him to death and they almost succeeded. Notice now what
the object of the speaker is. In the analysis of the address
we must know what the lawyer is trying to get at. From this
address let us see what object he is after – what it is he wants
to get at. "We were trying this man before the Jewish law
[which they were continuing under the Roman jurisdiction],
and the Roman official, Lysias, snatched him away from that
court." What is he after? He wants Felix to say, "Take him
back to Jerusalem and try him under your law." That's the
point, and they had assassins ready to kill him if they ever
got him back there. He wants this procurator to say that
his case is not ready yet to come before his court – that Lysias
was indiscrete in going into a Jewish court when they were
trying him on matters pertinent before their court. "Now
take him back and try him." That is what he wants him to
Let us now analyze Paul's speech: "Forasmuch as I know
that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation,
I cheerfully make my defense [or I do the more cheerfully
answer for myself]." That is his exordium. Just as when
he makes a speech before Agrippa, he says, "I think myself
happy, King Agrippa, that I am to make my defense before
thee this day touching all the things whereof I am accused by
the Jews: especially because thou art expert in the customs
and questions which are among the Jews." It is a fact that
Felix for quite a while had been a judge for the Jewish nation,
so that his exordium is truthful: "Because you have had time
and opportunity to find out these people here that are making
the accusation, and to know something of the merits of the
Christian religion for which I am accused." So that exordium
is certainly true in statement, and a fine way to put it. Never
begin a case by abusing the court. If you can't say good
things, just speak out what is true. That is what Paul does.
Next he says, "Seeing that thou canst take knowledge that
it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship
at Jerusalem." In other words, "Now, you as a judge living
here, knowing the country and hearing this string of accusa_
tions against me, can find out, if you want to, that I have
been in this country but twelve days, going from Caesarea
to Jerusalem, and now I am back here again, and in all that
time it is only twelve days; so it is very easy to get your
facts." "And neither in the temple did they find me disputing
with any man or stirring up a crowd [they accused him of
sedition; now he is replying to it], nor in the synagogues,
nor in the city. Neither can they prove to thee the things
whereof they now accuse me."
He is here answering the Jewish charge. First charge is
that he went about raising disturbances, rousing the people
up. He says, "It has been just twelve days; there are plenty
of witnesses; you can find out all I did in those twelve days,
part of which I consumed in going to Jerusalem and being
brought back here. In that time they cannot prove that I
was even disturbing, either in the synagogue or in the Tem_
ple, or raising any disturbances whatever, and as for pro_
faning the Temple, that is where they arrested me. I was
there conforming to the customs of the Mosaic law." That
is the way he answers the first charge. Now he is going to
answer as to his being a heretic: "But this I confess unto
thee, that after the way which they call a sect so serve I the
God of our fathers, believing all things which are accord_
ing to the law, and which are written in the prophets."
How are they going to make a heretic out of a man that
believes everything that is written, either in the law or the
prophets, or in the Bible? He continues: "And having hope
toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there
shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust. Herein
I also exercise myself to have a conscience void of offense
toward God and man always. Now after some years I came
to bring alms to my nation, and offerings [to create sedi_
tion; I came on a mission of mercy and kindness; I had
worked four years to get up these funds]: amidst which
they found me purified in the Temple, which was no crowd,
nor yet with tumult [not I, but they], but there were certain
Jews from Asia who ought to have been here before thee,
and to make accusation, if they had aught against me." In
other words, he says, "Why are these witnesses not present?
They are the men that raised the row." Then he goes on,
"Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they
lound when I stood before the council, except it be for this
one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the

resurrection of the dead I am called in question before you
this day."
It is one of the most perfect defenses that was ever de_
livered in a courtroom. It sticks to the question; it answers
the accusation; it points to the crowd of Ananias and the
elders that are there: "You can get your witnesses out of
that crowd right there for my prosecution; now all I want
to do is to have them put on the witness stand. The whole
time was twelve days; you can easily find out whether I am
guilty of sedition or not. As to my believing in Christ, that
is true, but that doesn't make me a heretic, because I believe
in the resurrection of the dead; in fact, they had a row over
it when I was tried before this crowd." That's the analysis
of the two speeches. All who intend to be speakers, should
study all cases where great speeches are made to learn how
speeches are to be made.
There is a new term of reproach employed by Tertullus,
destined to become historic, anticipated by previous scrip_
ture, as other names originated by enemies also became his_
toric. The term of reproach is "The sect of the Nazarenes."
From Nazareth! "Did any good thing ever come out of
Nazareth?" The scripture that anticipates it is that statement
in Matthew 2:23, "That the prophecy might be fulfilled, he
shall be called a Nazarene." The other cases where enemies
originated names, are the words "Christian," originated in
Antioch, and "Galilean," used by an apostate emperor,
Julian. When he came to die, after trying so hard to destroy
Christianity, he said, "Thou Galilean hast conquered." "Gali_
lean" means a crude fisherman, and "Nazarene" and "Chris_
tian" were all terms of reproach, and all became historic.
There is a certain basis of fact underlying Tertullus' flat_
tery of Felix. Felix did two things that may have been bene_
ficial. He did suppress the bandits, and he is the man that
whipped the impostor, the Egyptian, but it was at a very
great cost to the Jews in both cases, and they did not thank
him for driving the bandits out, since there were more patriots
driven to desperation than bandits, in the present sense of the
òword. They were very friendly to the Jewish people because
they were people that refused to submit to the injustice of
the tyrants, a good deal like Judas Maccabaeus. Anyhow,
he had done those two things that might be called a basis of
They clamored for the sentence against Paul. The record
says that he, "having more exact knowledge concerning the
way, deferred them." The force of it is this: It means that
Felix, from his residence there, probably living in Gaesare~
when Philip the evangelist was there, and since Paul had
from time to time been there and preached, knew what that
heresy was. The idea is that he had too exact information
on that subject to be fooled by those words of Tertullus, and
therefore he deferred judgment. They thought they would
take Paul back with them, but they did not get him.
F elix very plausibly says, "There is no evidence in this
case; you have made an accusation against Lysias. Lysias
will be here soon and I will just defer it until I hear from
him." That is the ground on which he defers it. He had the
letter of Lysias stating the case, and there was not a bit of
reason that Felix should not have ended that whole matter
and set Paul at liberty right there. They had utterly failed
to establish anything, and he knew it. But the real motive
which prompted him to postpone decision was shekels. He
wanted the prisoner, unknown to him, to bribe him, and he
deferred the case and left it unsettled, hoping that Paul
would pay him some money. Doubtless he had heard of that
big collection that Paul had taken up to Jerusalem, and he
knew how much devoted to Paul his friends were, and if he
would just hold him a while someone would come and pay
him a big sum, or else the other crowd would pay him a
proper sum to send Paul back to Jerusalem. That is what
governed that slave. There is evidence in this section that
Felix was assured of Paul's innocence, viz.: the charge that
he gave the centurion. He was not to be put in the prison,
and his friends were to have free access to him. We know by
this that he was thoroughly convinced of the falsity of the
accusation, but he simply detained him to get shekels. It
was detention under pretense, yet he allowed his friends to
come and see him just as freely as if he were not a prisoner.

The record says, "After certain days, Felix came with
Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and he sent for Paul,
and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus." This
time it is Felix before Paul. The Herod in Acts 12 imagined
himself a god, the angel of the Lord smote him and the worms
ate him up. He was the father of the King Agrippa that he
we will take up in the next chapter, and of the Drusilla that
we will consider in this chapter, and of Berniceùone brother
and two sisters. The older sister was Bernice, and Drusilla
was the younger sister. And she was a Jewess; so they all
were Jews. What is the history of her connection? She had
been married to another man. The Simon Magus that Peter
had turned down, given in Acts 8, had come there and gotten
the ear of Felix, and, paid by Felix, and using his charms
and incantations, he had enticed Drusilla away from her
husband to come to Felix. Of course, there was a divorce,
but it amounted to stealing a man's wife. It did not make
any difference to Drusilla, or any of her kin, how often that
was done; she was ready. There is not known in history any
set of women that were more vile in their relations than
these two women. These people found their immortality in
history by coming in touch with Paul. This Drusilla, when
Felix was driven back to Rome on the importunities of the
Jews, drifted out near Naples, and in that great eruption of
Mount Vesuvius, was buried under its lava. Those excavators
have doubtless come upon the bones of the woman, vile in
her life, and who yet once had the opportunity to hear God's
apostle teach righteousness, chastity, and judgment to come.
But this interview was not intended to be judicial. The
record says that man and his wife came to hear Paul about
the faith of Christ. So it was not a trial. But Paul makes
it so, and reverses the relative positions of himself and
Felix. He takes Felix and Drusilla and brings them before
the great judgment bar of God. He tries them there under
that text of righteousness, chastity, i. e., continence (the text
aays self_control, but it refers to sexual control), and judg_
ment to come. Instead of Paul being tried before Felix,
Felix is being tried before Paul. Paul did not tremble when
he stood before Felix, but Felix trembled when he stood be_
fore Paul.
He knew that Felix and Drusilla were unrighteous from
the crown of their heads to the soles of their feet. He knew
they were unchaste. He knew that they were amenable to
the final and everlasting judgment of God. And they came to
find out about the faith in Christ, and he takes that subject
and discusses it. Was it polite? Not very, but it certainly
was right. Paul was not sent out to be polite – he was sent
out to preach the gospel of God. And if he ever did intend
to preach on righteousness, continence, and judgment to
come, that was the audience for him. The general idea is
that when one preaches he must look over his crowd, and
never wound anybody in that crowd.
There is a story about a deacon that came to a new preach_
er, and the deacon says, "Parson, don't say anything about
the Roman Catholics, for there is quite a number of them
present in the audience; and don't say anything about the
Episcopalians, for the judge is an Episcopalian, and he has
come out to hear you; and don't say anything about the
saloon business, for that man is a wholesale liquor dealer,
and he is very liberal." "Will you please tell me whom I may
say something about?" asked the young preacher. The deacon
said, "There are no Mormons here – give it to them." That
is the idea that some people have about preaching. That
was not Paul. He took a shot at the game in sight. He was
ready for anything, whether they were crouched or on the
wing. He took a shot at the crowd before him.
The trembling of Felix was not worth a cent religiously.
It shows the cowardly apprehension of his peril, but there
was no repentance about it. He trembled as the thief trembles
when he is caught.
There are parallels to this interest of Felix in the case of
Herod and John the Baptist, and Louis XIV and his great
court preachers. Herod was the one that beheaded John the
Baptist, and the one that mocked Christ, and was just such
a rascal as Felix, and there was a bad woman in that case.
He had taken his brother Philip's wife, and he wanted to be
patronizing to the great Judean prophet, John the Baptist,
and sent for him. John shook his finger in his face and said,
"It is not lawful to have your brother's wife." That was not
polite, was it? Herod was very much stirred by John. He
preserved John for a long time, but a woman does not forgive
such things. Man may, but woman never does, and Herod
tried to save John from the woman. I will venture that
Drusilla did not tremble like Felix. Herod frequently sent
for John after that, but at last the woman got his head. And
when it was brought to her on a charger she took a bodkin
and pierced his tongue with it, and said, "You will never say
again, It is not lawful to have your brother's wife.' "
The case of Louis XIV is one of the most shameful cases
in the sight of the moral law. He affected to be the most
pious man in the world, the defender of the faith and the
cross of the Roman Catholics. The preachers that preached
before him were really greater preachers than the Protestants
in their day, and yet, though he heard these great sermons,
he went right along living his life of shame.

There is a striking example in the case of Louis XIV cited in Strong's Systematic Theology. One of these great preachers was discussing in the presence of Louis XIV this text: "But I see another law in my members warring against the law of the mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." While he was discussing that subject, Louis, who always claimed to have special privileges, cried out aloud in the audience, "Oh, sire, I know those two men, the two are in this man!" The preacher looked down at him and said, "Sire, to know is somewhat, but one or the other of them must die; one or the other must conquer." He was a brave preacher and he made Louis XIV tremble. Paul made Felix tremble, and John the Baptist made Herod tremble.
There are some great revival texts in this section: (1) Paul's text: "Righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come." (2) "Felix trembled," or the inadequacy of mere trembling without true repentance to save men. (3) "Go thy way for this time, and when I have a more convenient season I will call thee unto me." How many times has this been preached from! A very fine text, too.
The despicable attitude of Felix is presented in verses 26_27. That says that Felix kept coming to see Paul, hoping he would give him something to let him loose. Now there is the picture of the man holding out one hand to Paul and one to the Jews, say-ing, "I am holding this case in the balance; I do not know how to decide it." He held a pair of scales in each hand; it depended on which of them would put the most money in it. There is a pertin-ent passage from Shakespeare on "the law's delay and the insol-ence of office." This man kept Paul there two years when there was not a thing to do but just pronounce him acquitted. The passage is in. Hamlet's soliloquy (Act III, Scene 1), commencing thus:
To be, or not to be, that is the question: –
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them? – To die, – to sleep, –
No more; – and, by a sleep, to say we end
The heart_ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, – 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die; – to sleep, –
To sleep perchance to dream; – ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give ua pause: There's the respect,
That makes calamity of so long a life:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life;
But that the dread of something after death, –
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will;
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
In the successful administration of justice three things are
fundamental and vital:
(1) That the defendant should be tried where he can have
fair hearing. (Paul could not get it in Jerusalem.); (2) that
the man who is arrested should have a speedy trial; (3) that
in the trial the righteous should be acquitted and the wicked
If we compare Luke's "Felix was succeeded by Porcius Fes_
tus" (v. 27), with Josephus' "Porcius Festus was sent as
successor to Felix" (Antonym, Book XX, chap. 8), it looks
like one copied from the other, but Luke wrote his first, of
course. We may compute Paul's twelve days (v. II) by
referring to the textbook, which shows the twelve days and
what each day was devoted to. (See Goodwin's Harmony of
the Life of Paul, p. 131).
There is just one allusion in Acts to the great collections
by Paul so abundantly discussed in Ins letters, i. e., this
one here: "I came to bring alms to my nation." That is the
only time in Acts that we have any reference to it. Luke's
Gospel was probably written at Caesarea during the two
years there of Paul's imprisonment. The traceable effect of
Paul's Caesarean imprisonment on his later writings is ably
discussed in Conybeare and Howson, in Stalker's Life of
Paul and in some other works. The date of Festus' succeed_
ing Felix was A.D. 60 or 61. Luke and Aristarchus were with
Paul at Caesarea.
Ananias, the high priest, here appearing against Paul, to
whom Paul had said, "God will smite thee, thou whiled wall,"
was killed by the assassins. He is here enticing the assassins
to kill Paul. Vesuvius got Drusilla, the assassins got Anani_
as, and Judea just kept on boiling and boiling over everywhere
against Felix. Charges going all the time to Rome that were
finally successful. At Caesarea, while Paul was a prisoner
there, the streets ran with the blood of the Jews stricken
down by Roman soldiers. Thus ends the sad story of Felix,
the slave.

1. What the scripture and the theme of this chapter?
2. What strange contrasts does" this section present, and what lines
of thought does it awaken?
3. What the force of the compound Greek word diakousornai, and
what the reason for the employment of that particular word?
4. Why was the place of Paul's confinement called Herod's palace or
praetorium, i. e., judgment hall?
5. What the value of the section – Acts 24:1_23?
6. How did Tertullus introduce his speech, and how many and what
lies did he tell in the exordium?
7. What threefold accusation did he make against Paul?
8. What the Roman law with regard to offenses against the Jewish
law, what did Tertullus allege concerning Paul's arrest and trial under
the Jewish law?
9. What was the object of Tertullus in his speech?
10. How does Paul begin his speech, and what the contrast between
his exordium and that of Tertullus?
11. How does Paul answer the threefold charge against him?
12. What can you say of Paul's defense in this case?
13. What new term of reproach employed by Tertullus destined to
become historic, what previous scripture anticipates it, and what other
names originated by enemies also became historic?
14. What basis of fact underlies Tertullus' flattery of Felix?
15. What the force of the phrase, "Having more perfect knowledge
of the Way"?
16. On what alleged ground does Felix defer judgment, and was there
any reason to wait for the testimony of Lysias?
17. What real motive prompted Felix to postpone decision?
18. What evidence in this section Felix was assured of Paul's innocence?
19. What the history of Drusilla's connection with Felix?
20. Was this interview of Felix before Paul intended to be judicial?
21. How does Paul make it so, and reverse the relative positions of
himself and Felix?
22. Was it polite in Paul to discuss such a theme in such a presence,
and if not, how may we justify it?
23. What the religious character and value of the "trembling of Felix"?
24. What parallels to this interest of Felix do we find in the case of Herod and John the Baptist, and Louis XIV and his great court preachers?
25. What striking example in the case of Louis XIV cited in Strong's
Systematic Theology?
26. What great revival texts in this section?
27. What the despicable attitude of Felix as presented in verses 26_27?
28. Cite the pertinent passage from Shakespeare on "The law's de_
lay and the insolence of office."
29. In the successful administration of justice, what things are funda_
mental and vital?
30. Compare verse 27, and Josephus' Antonym Book XX chapter 8,
and tell which wrote first, Luke or Josephus.
31. How may we compute Paul's twelve days?
32. How many allusions in the Acts to the great collections by Paul
so abundantly discussed in his letters?
33. What New Testament book was probably written at Caesarea
during the two years there of Paul's imprisonment?
34. What effect of Paul's Caesarean imprisonment on his later writings?
35. What the date of Festus' succeeding Felix?
36. Who were with Paul at Caesarea?
37. What became of Ananias, the high priest?
38. What transpired in Judea and at Caesarea during Paul's two years
of imprisonment there?

Acts 25_26.

Felix was superseded as procurator of Judea, and on de_
parting he seeks to put the Jews under obligations to him by
leaving Paul bound. He was superseded on account of the
many complaints of his maladministration sent to Rome by
the dissatisfied Jews. Knowing that he would have to give
an account of these matters when he got to Rome, he wanted
to put the Jews under obligation to him by leaving Paul
bound so as to modify their testimony against him when he
was held to account.
We know but little about Festus beyond what our record
tells us, but Josephus discusses him pretty freely, and gives
him a good name as a conscientious ruler. Having been only
three days at the political capital, Caesarea, he went to
Jerusalem to spend ten days studying the situation, as a ruler
ought to do, trying to get acquainted with the character of
the people over whom he was to rule. In Acts 25:1_5, 15_16,
we have an account of a request preferred by Jewish officials
to Festus concerning Paul, and the reply of Festus. These
facts show three things:
1. That this was a great hazard to Paul, because, when a
new procurator arrived, he would quite naturally wish to
conciliate the people by granting their first request. To grant
it meant death to Paul.
2. The fact that after Paul had been in prison for two
years, this Jewish hate, unsleeping and unrelenting, showed
itself Just as soon as a new procurator puts his foot in their
capital, is a demonstration of its intensity.
3. The facts are very highly commendatory to Festus. The
Jews requested first as a favor, as the Greek word says, that
Festus send Paul to Jerusalem to be tried. Festus replied
that it was not a Roman custom to grant as a favor that a
man should be tried not according to law; that there must
be an opportunity for the accused to face his accusers, and
the evidence must be looked into, and inasmuch as Paul was
already there in custody in Caesarea, instead of sending him
to Jerusalem, the ones in authority in Jerusalem could come
up to Caesarea to press their cage, and not try to get a change
of venue. All that is very fine on the part of Festus. We now
come to the

We find three accounts of this trial. The first is Luke's
own account, Acts 25:6_12; then the account given by Festus
himself, Acts 25:13_21; and then the account of Paul, Acts
28:17_19. If we compare this trial with the previous one
before Felix, we find that the only difference is that in this
case the Jews have no orator, or lawyer, or at least there is
nothing said about it. The charges are exactly the same.
They fail in their proof, just as they did before. They con_
vince Festus, Just as they had convinced Felix, that there
was nothing in their accusations for the Roman court to take
cognizance of.
The. instant duty of Festus was to pronounce Paul acquit_
ted and release him. But instead of doing his known duty,
he makes a proposition to Paul. Commencing at verse 9, we
read: "But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, an_
swered Paul and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and
there be judged of these things before me?" It is a little
difficult to know exactly what that proposition means. We
may construe it. "Wilt thou consent to a change of venue, and

let me try the case over again at Jerusalem?" or it may

mean, "Are you willing, if I am present, to let this case be
taken to Jerusalem, and the Sanhedrin try you?" It may
mean either one of those two things, and I think it means the
latter. I judge so from Paul's response.
This proposition was unfair, even if he meant that he would
try the case, because it put the place of trial where animosity
against the prisoner was such that his life would be in danger.
Second, it was judicially unfair to seek to do this on account
of the desire to please the Jews. Why should he please the
Jews any more than he should Paul? What was a judge to
do with things of that kind? Besides being unfair, it re_
versed his former decision. When the Jews asked originally
that Paul be sent to Jerusalem for trial, he refused. Now
in asking Paul if he was willing to go to Jerusalem to be
retried, it reverses the other decision. Furthermore, he mis_
represented his motive in making it. Luke says in verse 9
that Festus made the proposition, desiring to please the Jews.
Festus in telling about it, Acts 25:20, says: "And I, being
perplexed how to enquire concerning these things, asked
whether he would go to Jerusalem and there be judged of
these matters." He gives as his motive that he had some
doubt in his mind about the manner of his question, but
Luke gives his motive as a desire to please the Jews.
This proposition meant great hazard to Paul. He knew
the Jews. He knew, and Lysias knew, and Festua knew, be_
cause he had all the correspondence and testimony previously
taken, that the sole object of the trial was to get an oppor_
tunity to assassinate Paul. Paul recognized this, and said
to Festus, the judge, "You know that I am guilty of no
offense," and now he saw that if Festus wavered, which he
was doing, and sent him to Jerusalem, that meant death to
him. How would he escape that? He escapes by an appeal
to Caesar: "You tried this case; you admit there is nothing

against me; now you propose to send me to Jerusalem to be
tried over again; I appeal to Caesar as a Roman citizen."
This proposition of Festus exhibits him in a less favorable
light than his original reply to the Jews asking that Paul be
brought to Jerusalem. He stands so well in the first case,
and everything he says is so much to the point and judicially
fair! Now, evidently, he is learning something about the
Jewish character, and the power of Jewish hate. He has seen
that the Jews have brought about a recall of Felix, and his
selfishness is appealed to: "Now, must I forget that I am a
fair judge, and look at the case as it will likely affect me if
I get these people mad?" That doesn't present him to us as
half the man that the other does. Thus we may account for
his wavering – his selfishness for the fear that he might get
himself into complications with the Jews.
Here I explain briefly the appeal to Caesar. When Rome
was a republic it elected tribunes. These tribunes had the
power at any time to arrest a case, or in court stop its pro_
ceedings without assigning a reason, and have it tried before
them, and if the case had been tried and adjudicated, these
tribunes had the power to reverse it. When Rome became
an empire, the Emperor assumed all the functions of the
tribunes. In other words, the Emperor had the power and the
authority to stop the proceedings of any court in the empire,
and he had the power of a petit court, and then he had the
power to reverse any decision that had been rendered. An
ordinary man that lived in the province, as the Jews, the
Ephesians, or the Galatians, could not appeal to Caesar.
What the proconsul, the procurator, or the propraetor did
was final. But a Roman citizen living in any of these coun_
tries, just by simply saying, "I appeal to Caesar," could stop
any case, anywhere. They could proceed no further after he
made that appeal. There was not anything left for the Roman
consul, or procurator, to do except just to say what Festus
said: "Thou hast appealed unto Caesar; unto Caesar shalt
thou go." There was only one exception. If the Roman citi_
zen was a bandit or a pirate, and caught in the very act of
robbery or piracy, he could not appeal to Caesar.


The case, now being taken out of the hands of either the
Sanhedrin or of Festus himself, all that this procurator could
do was to send Paul by the first good opportunity to Rome,
and to send all the papers in the case and refer it to Caesar.
But an opportunity did not come every day for sailing ships,
going in the right direction, and while they were waiting for
a ship, Agrippa II, the king of Chalcis, and his sister Ber_
nice, came to pay a complimentary visit to the new procura_
tor, and it occurred to Festus to lay this case before Agrippa.
He had this special object in view: Agrippa had great in_
fluence. Agrippa had charge of all the Temple officers, and
power to appoint a high priest. He was the last king of any
kind that the Jews had except the spiritual king, Jesus.
Festus, having recognized the turbulent character of the Jews,
if he could get a concurrence of judgment on this case from
this king, himself a Jew, it would greatly disarm any oppo_
sition of the Jews on account of Paul.
Luke's account gives a plain, straightforward statement of
the case, commencing at verse 13, and extending to verse 22.
Festus states the whole case to Agrippa, and when we look
at the two, side by side, we discover that Festus' statement
of the case to Agrippa is much more complimentary to him_
self than Luke's statement of the case. That little piece of
human nature, to which I have already referred, comes in.
Robert Burns says, and very much to the point,
Och! Mankind is unco weak,
But little to be trusted,
If self the wavering balance touch,
'Tis rarely right adjusted.

In other words, "Let a fellow state his own case and he is
a hero," "but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him out."
That is what the Bible says about it.

Let us look at the assembly described in verse 23, and the
great opportunities afforded to Paul. (See Conybeare and
Howson, Vol. II, pp. 294_98, and Farrar in his Life of Paul.)
That verse 23 says, "So on the morrow, when Agrippa was
come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and they were entered
into the place of hearing with the chief captains, and the
principal men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul
was brought in."
That was a very imposing assembly. King Agrippa and
Bernice were out in full regal regalia. I suspect every woman
that was permitted to be present went there largely to see how
Bernice was dressed in her court dress, as much as to hear
Paul's case. All the chief captains of the Roman legion were
there. The Roman cohorts – and that was a very imposing
body of distinguished men that had been on a hundred bat_
tiefields – were there. They were the conquerors of a hundred
countries. That word, "pomp," signifies a great deal. "Then
came the chief men of the city," and it was a great city at
that time. A very imposing assembly indeed, and here is a
poor preacher that has an opportunity to speak before this
grand audience. There are people before him that have never
heard a sermon in their lives; some that knew him but little, if
anything, about the religion that was dearer to him than life.
But God's providence had managed it so that he was thus
to stand before kings and testify of the grace of God. We
may live to a good old age without ever having such an op_
portunity. A schoolboy thinks it is a great thing if he is
selected to deliver one of the commencement addresses, or
represent his society in a debate, but this was a bigger thing
than that.

Festus, in introducing the case, throws light on the re_
quirements of the Roman law, and he certainly knew what to
gay. Let us see how he introduces Paul. He is the master of
ceremonies: "And Festus saith, King Agrippa, and all men
who are here present with us, ye behold this man, about
whom all the multitude of the Jews made suit to me, both at
Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any
longer. But I found that he had committed nothing worthy
of death; and as he himself appealed to the emperor, I de_
termined to send him.. Of whom I have no certain thing to
write unto my lord [calls Caesar, 'my lord']. Wherefore I
have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee,
King Agrippa, that, after examination had, I may have some_
what to write. For it seemeth to me unreasonable, in sending
a prisoner, not withal to signify the charges against him."
That is a very admirable statement. The Roman law required
that when a man was sent up to Rome on appeal, all the
papers relating to the case should be sent, and all the testi_
mony that had been taken, and a clear statement made by
one who sent him as to what he was accused of. Now we
come to

Here, as elsewhere, Paul arises to the greatness of the oc_
casion. His speech has always been recognized as a classic.
Many a time as a schoolboy I have spoken it. I know nothing
in literature that I put ahead of it. It was just exactly the
right thing to say under the circumstances. Some people lose
their heads on great occasions; some, like a young hunter
the first time he sees a deer, take what is called a "buck
ague" or what young people claim to be "stage fright," or
what some young bridegrooms know to be "marriage fright."
I have stood up to marry men that were shaking so that the
women had to hold them up. I never saw a woman lose her
self_possession, but I have known men to be scared nearly
into a fit. Paul exhibits the most marvelous self_possession
and voices the clearest ideas – not a superfluous word. Let us
analyze the address:
1. The exordium: "I think myself happy, King Agrippa,
that I am to make my defense before thee this day touching
all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: especially
because thou art expert in all customs and questions which
are among the Jews." Festus was not. He was competent to
try the legal questions in full, but he didn't know anything
about their customs, their laws, their traditions, and their
fanaticism, but Agrippa did; he knew all about them. Paul
said, "I count myself happy to have an opportunity to dis_
cuss it before a competent judge – one who is expert in the
matters that are involved, and before a man who can detect
any false statement in a moment." That is the exordium.
2. The next thing that he sets forth is that he himself is
thoroughly well known to the whole Jewish people, and par_
ticularly this accusing crowd, for he was brought up at Jeru_
salem. They know all his manner of life; they know that ac_
cording to the strictest sect of their religion, he lived a Phari_
see. Agrippa could understand that! so he was not a stranger,
with doubtful antecedents to be met. It was just about like
trying George Washington at Mount Vernon.
3. Next he names, with unerring accuracy, the three real
accusatives that they have against him:
(a) His first crime is that he is judged for the hope of the
resurrection of the dead. Of course, if the Sadducees were
officials of the Sanhedrin, they would have their grievance
against him. He had been going all over their country testi_
fying to a case of the resurrection of the dead. Then he goes
on to show that this doctrine of the resurrection of the dead,
as Agrippa is bound to know, was the thing toward which all
Jews were looking, and was the end of all Israel worship.
That was the great hope of the entire nation, and his first
crime was, that he testified to the resurrection of the dead.
Then he calls attention to the fact that the person who was
risen from the dead, Jesus, was one whom he himself had
exceedingly opposed. That he had not believed in him at all;
that he had persecuted him; but that on the way to Damas_
cus with authority, given him by the Jewish officials, that
were here pressing the case, to persecute, he met Jesus who
was risen, his resurrection proving his claims; that face to
face he met him, and that his experience turned him from
persecution to the preacher of that which he had persecuted.
(b) "And then when Jesus met me he commissioned me to
preach to the Gentiles; that is my next offense, that I
preached to the Gentiles. I did that under the commission
of Jesus, to whose resurrection I bear witness."
(c) "Then my third offense is that I claim that this Jesus
is the Messiah of the Jews. My answer to that is that I have
not said a thing more than the law and the prophets have
said; that the Messiah would suffer and be put to death and
rise again the third day, and that he would be a light to the
Gentiles as well as to the Jews."
Did you ever see anything more clearly to the point? And
those were the three crimes: (1) That he testified to the
resurrection; (2) that he preached salvation to the Gentiles;
(3) that he claimed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.
Take those three things out of the way and there is no griev_
ance against him, and yet in occupying that position he had
the evidence of his own eyewitness and personal experience,
for he saw the risen Lord, and he preached nothing more
than the law and the prophets taught concerning the Mes_
Right at that point (for here the address is properly end_
ed), Festus interrupts: "Paul, Paul, you are mad; you study
so much that you have lost your mind; talk about prophets
and the law and a man risen from the dead!" With the ut_
most courtesy, giving Festus his legal title, he says, "I am
not mad, Most Excellent Festus; but speak forth words of

truth and soberness. King Agrippa, you know it. These things
were not done in a corner; it is not some magical sleight_of_
hand, in a dark room, with only a few people present; these
things all took place in broad daylight before ten thousand
witnesses, and Agrippa knows, everybody knows, the things
to be true. It is not madness with me, it is soberness."
Then he whirls upon King Agrippa, saying, "King Agrippa,
believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest."
Then followed Agrippa's words (A. V.), "Almost thou per_
suadest me to be a Christian." As some people render it,
he spoke ironically, "Would thou with a few words attempt
to make me a Christian?" and that closed the incident.
The effect on Festus was that Paul was a sincere enthusi_
ast; that his mind was unbalanced by hard study. How may
we account for the impression? It is the impression made
upon worldly men, who witness any great enthusiasm of
God's people, just as the reception of the Holy Spirit on
the Day of Pentecost was construed to be intoxication. As
Paul says, the natural man discerneth not the things of God;
they are of spiritual discernment. Thus Paul himself says
that a man may come into the assembly, and conclude from
the way they are going on that they are crazy. That is the
way the Athenians looked at it when Paul got up and talked
about the resurrection of the dead at Athens.
Before we can determine what the effect on Agrippa was
we have to know what Agrippa meant by what he said.
Great hosts of people, and particularly radical higher critics,
and the great modern scholars, say that Agrippa spoke iron_
ically. Conybeare and Howson take this stand. So does Far_
rar. So does Meyer in his Greek Commentary, and an abun_
dance of others. I don't believe that. I do not agree with
them for two reasons. We eannot understand Paul's reply
if that is what he meant. Paul responds, "I would to God that
not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both
almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds." He
knew what Agrippa meant, and you cannot fit that reply of
Paul's into this finical interpretation of the critics, and so I do
not accept that rendering of it. My second reason is that Agrip_
pa showed that the arrow had hit him. He stopped the pro_
ceedings right then and there, and got up and left. When you
shoot a deer, as I have done many a time, the deer that is
hit will separate from the crowd at once. If he is hit hard he
will separate from the crowd and go off into the thicket, and
that is exactly what Agrippa didùhe took his sister and left.
And so I think the effect on Agrippa was this: He looked in
the face of that calm, noble, Spirit_guided man, knowing the
facts of the history thoroughly, heard him tell about that
Christian experience, and thought in his royal heart with
regard to Paul, "Isn't it the greatest thing in the world to be
a Christian?" And I think he ran to get rid of his impression.
There are certain great texts in his address. One is this:
"Why should it be though a thing incredible with you that
God should raise the dead?" It would be incredible if some
man was going to raise the dead, but why should it be thought
a thing unbelievable if God should raise the dead. This is
no harder to do than to create a man out of nothing. What is
a miracle to God? I have preached on that many a time.
God is the explanation of the miracle, of the universe, and
of regeneration. A second great text is, "Almost thou per_
suadest me to be a Christian." Many a time have I preached
from that, as has nearly every other preacher, and he has my
permission to go on preaching it in the way that common
minds will clearly understand it. I do not care who may dif_
fer with me in this interpretation of it. Those King James
revisers were great scholars, and far more orthodox than
some of the later ones. Another great subject is, "What is
madness to the world is truth and soberness if we only con_
sider it from the right point of view."
A great hymn suggested by it is, "Almost Persuaded." I have seen Major W. E. Penn stand up before an audience of three thousand people and with a mighty choir standing before him, sing, "Almost persuaded – Almost, but lost!"
Paul's reply to Agrippa (v. 29) places him far above his judges and auditors: "I would to God that . . . not thou only, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these bonds," and he holds up his chains. In other words, "I do not want them to have any of my sufferings, but I would that every one were not only close to the line but would step over the line this day." I heard a great Washington preacher preach on that text in Waco and his theme was "Paul's Benevolence." He wanted to see people altogether such as he was, but not to have the troubles that were his. But Agrippa closed the hearing right at this point because it got too hot for him – too personal. Yet both Agrippa and Festus solemnly decided that there was not a thing in those accusations against Paul, and he might be set at liberty if he had not appealed to Caesar.
There is a subsequent value to Paul in this verdict. The
value is this, that when Festus sent the account and wrote
what the charges were, he put in such a favorable commenda_
tion of Paul that when he got to Rome he was not subject to
harsh imprisonment. He had an opportunity to preach;
and the value of it is seen in that he had friends visiting him
continuously, and when he was tried he was acquitted.
There is an eternal remembrance lingering in the minds of Festus, Agrippa, and Bernice. They are all now in their eternal home. Memory is a wonderful thing, as Abraham said to the rich man in hell. A remembrance for those three is that marvelous day at Caesarea, when that noble sufferer, that great preacher, stood before them, and tried to entice them across the line of salvation with the power of his life and his benevolence. Just here let us compare, "Felix trembled," "Agrippa almost persu-aded," Luke 10:11: "that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you," and Mark 12:34: "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." From these four scriptures the conclusion is that a man may be pierced with remorse and tremble at the shadows of a coming hell; that a man may be almost persuaded to be a Christian; that a man may see salvation come right up to his very door; that a man may be nigh unto the kingdom of God, and yet
be lost.
Upon this point I give some quotations bearing on the value of one's opportunity, and the danger of its neglect. Shakespeare in Julius Caesar (Act IV, Scene 3), uses this language:
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.
Then there is this quotation from Lowell's book of the Crisis:
Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side.
It came to these men that day; they had the opportunity in
their time to decide for good or evil. There was a tide that
day in their lives. If they had taken that tide at its flood
that dayùat its highest point, its crest – their lives would
have ended in salvation, but omitted, all the voyage of their
lives was bound in shallows and in miseries.

1. What the scripture and the themes of this chapter?
2. Why was Felix superseded as procurator of Judea, and why, on.
departing, does he seek to put the Jews under obligations to him by
leaving Paul bound?
3. What do we know of Festus, his successor?
4. How does Festus commence his administration?
5. What request concerning Paul was made by Jewish officials to Festus?
6. Why was this a great hazard to Paul?
7. How does it exhibit the Jewish hatred of Paul?
8. How does the reply of Festus commend him?
9. How many and what accounts do we have of this trial?
10. Compare this trial with the previous one before Felix.
11. What then the instant duty of Featus?
12. Instead of doing his known duty, what proposition does he make
to Paul, and what the exact force of it?

13. What the judicial unfairness of this proposition?
14. How does it reverse his former decision?
15. How does he misrepesent his motive in making it?
16. What the great hazard to Paul, what his recognition of it, and
his method of escape?
17. How does this proposition of Festus exhibit him in a less favor_
able light than his original reply to the Jews asking that Paul be
brought to Jerusalem?
18. How may we account for his wavering?
19. Explain the appeal to Caesar.
20. In sending Paul to Caesar, what must the procurator send with him, and what their facility of travel at this time from Caeaarea to Rome?
21. Why does Festus relate Paul's case to Agrippa and permit Paul
to speak before him?
22. Compare the Festus statement of the case to Agrippa with Luke's
account of the same matter, and tell what you discover.
23, What does Robert Burns say very much to the point?
24. Was this a judicial investigation before Agrippa, and why?
25. Of what prophecy was it in part a fulfilment?
26. What may we say of the assembly described in verse 23, and the
great opportunities afforded Paul?
27. How does Festus introduce the case, and what light does his in_
troduction throw on the requirements of the Roman law?
28. Does Paul rise to the greatness of the occasion? If so, how?
29. What is Paul's exordium, and what was his purpose in it?
30. How does Paul appeal to Agrippa in this speech?
31. What were the three accusations against him, and how did he
answer them?
32. What was the effect on Festus, and how may we account for it?
33. What the effect on Agrippa, and what the exact force of the
authorized version of Acts 26:28?
34. What great texts in his address, and what uses made of them?
35. What great hymn suggested by Agrippa's answer to Paul?
36. How does Paul's reply to Agrippa (v. 29) place him far above
his judges and auditors?
37. Why did Agrippa close the hearing right at this point?
38. What was the verdict?
39. What subsequent value to Paul in this verdict?
40. What eternal remembrance must linger in the minds of Festus,
Agrippa and Bernice?
41. Comparing the case of Felix, the case of Agrippa, Luke 10:11;
Mark 12:34, what may we conclude?
42. What quotations cited bearing on the value of one's opportunity
and the danger of its neglect?

Acts 27:28.

In all literature there is not such an accurate description
of a voyage as this given by Luke. Indeed, the book of Acts
can be tested as to its accuracy on more points than any other
book in the whole Bible. If it were not a true narrative, in a
thousand places proof would be abundant of its falsehood.
But the fact that on every point it is proven to be exactly
accurate, is the highest demonstration of its historical value.
Virgil, in his Aeneid, in describing the voyage of the Trojan
fleet over a great many of the same places of the Mediter_
ranean Sea, is generally exact in his references to the winds
and to the navigation of that sea. Homer, in his Odyssey,
while giving many important points, is not so accurate as
Virgil. In the corresponding chapters of Conybeare and How_
son on this voyage of Paul will be found about as good a
thing as anybody can say about the journey in these two
chapters, though there are some fine things in Farrar's de_
scription of Paul's voyage.
In the navigation of that day they had no regular passen_
ger ships like we have. We have the great liners that run
from New York to Liverpool, and to Hamburg and other
points. They had no passenger ships. Even the emperors,
when they didn't go in their war galleys, took a merchant
vessel. They had no compass to steer by. The compass has
been invented since that time. They had no charts, and hence
we can understand a number of things in this chapter that
vessels that had no compass and no chart, and indeed no rud_
der such as we now use – only two paddles that they used –
and what conditions these people would be in if they couldn't
see the sun or moon or stars for many days.
While these ships were inferior in build to the ships of
modern times, their merchant vessels were large vessels, and
for a part of this voyage Paul was on one of those big mer_
chant vessels. He was not on the same ship all the voyage.
He was on three different vessels in making this voyage, and
the second one was a big merchant vessel – an Alexandrian
ship carrying wheat. The Romans themselves were no sailors,
and when they fought on sea, they fought as land troops.
The sailing of the sea was mainly in the hands of the Greeks.
Alexandria, the coast of Asia Minor, the Peloponnesus, and
the Aegean Islands, and some of the ancient Phoenicians were
still great in commerce. There was a steady line of trade
from Alexandria to Rome, carrying wheat. Rome was de_
pendent upon the bread or wheat that came from the valley
of the Nile. There was a steady line of commerce that came
over the Isthmus of Suez brought by Arabian ships to that
point, and after crossing the isthmus it was brought across
the Mediterranean in Greek ships. The Greek ships also
brought all of the trade from Middle and Western Asia.
Hence we find that when they start to send these prison_
ers, there being no regular line of passenger ships, they wait
for the merchant ships, and the first. available one wasn't
going on straight across to Rome at all. It was going to
Adramyttium, on the coast of Asia Minor, and they took
that vessel, and when they got nearly to their destination
they found an Alexandria ship going to Rome, and they were
transferred to that ship, and when that ship was wrecked on
the Island of Malta (Melita it is called in our text), a third
ship took them to that point where they went by land to the
city of Rome.

The salient incidents of this voyage are as follows:
1. The first incident is that in taking a merchant vessel
they had to go to the southern coast of Asia Minor in order
to fall in with an Alexandria ship.
2. The second is that as soon as they got on this big
Alexandrian merchantman, the weather became very bad, and
remained so until the ship was wrecked.
3. In the terrible storm, many days and nights no sight of
the sun or stars, Paul had a vision. An angel of God came
to tell him that the ship would be lost, but that he, all the
sailors, the soldiers, and the prisoners would be saved.
4. The next incident is the shipwreck itself. The ship, strik_
ing before it got clear to the coast line, 276 people, every one
of them without exception got safe to land, a thing that
doesn't occur more than once in ten thousand cases.
5 . The inhabitants of that island were very kind to them.
Paul is bitten by a viper, and fulfilling the prophecy given
in the latter part of Mark's Gospel that the bite of deadly
serpents should not harm them, he escaped, and then came
the miracles that he wrought in that island, the great favor
that came to those shipwrecked people where they remained
for three months till the winter passed. Then there was a
ship there, that had wintered there, that took them on to
Rome, and when they got to Puteoli, the brethren there met
him, and at the Appii and the Three Taverns the brethren
out of Rome came and met him, and so they got safely to
On this voyage Paul came to the front. It doesn't make
any difference how he started out – as a prisoner and little
regarded – before he gets there he is going to boss the whole
crew. Long before that journey is over, he is the head man.
It is Paul that saved them; it is Paul that secured them
comfortable quarters in that island, and kept them three
months. It was not Jonah that they had along.

The time consumed in this voyage was several months.
They were three months wintering on the island of Malta.
Many days were consumed in getting there, and more than
a week after that; so it was a long time from Caesarea to
Rome. They got there about A.D. 62. They passed Scylla
and Charybdis, the famous celebrities, proverbial for danger,
after leaving Melita, or Malta. Scylla was a dangerous rock
just under the edge of the water, and off to the side and some_
what in front of or opposite, was Charybdis, a very dangerous
whirlpool in that strait of the Mediterranean between Sicily
and Italy, and hence the old Latin proverb, "He who shuns
Scylla must beware of Charybdis." We must not go out too far
in trying to avoid Scylla or we will come into the dangerous
whirlpool, Charybdis, and we must not go too far away from
Charybdis lest we strike Scylla. During the earthquake in
Sicily in 1909, those two places, both the whirlpool and the
rock, disappeared from the strait, and are no longer there.
A part of the journey was by land. The record says that
they came to Puteoli and met some brethren there, and then
came to the Great Appian Way. This was a way leading to
the Imperial City, Rome, and was the most beautiful street
that earth ever saw. It was laid off for many miles, running
down the Tiber, following the river's course, like a broadway,
and the whole length of that broadway was paved with broad
sidewalks so that footmen would never come in contact with
teams, or chariots; everywhere there were the most finished
works of art all along the side. Sometimes, when Rome de_
creed a triumph to a consul, the great parade would come up
that way. The people in the city would take their evening
walks down that way, and in the moonshine would go miles
down that beautiful way. Great men, world_illustrious, were
buried in imposing sepulchers along that way. An American
city would think that it was next to heaven if it had such a

The Emperor of Rome at this time was Nero, the infamous,
the most bestial man that ever occupied a throne. His perse_
cution had not commenced. It commenced soon after Paul's
imprisonment expired. Indeed, it commenced in A.D. 64, but
Paul is loose and gone by that time. There was what is called
the Ghetto, that is, a suburb set apart for the Jews on one
of the banks of the Tiber, and there were a good many of
them there a little before Paul's time. Ten thousand of them
had signed a petition with reference to some affray that oc_
curred over in Judea. I recommend Jews of the Roman Em_
pire, by Brice, which sets forth clearly the conditions of the
Jews in that great city.
Two years after Paul got there, Nero burned Rome. He
played his harp while it was burning, and then to escape the
indignation of the people, he attributed it to the Christians,
and then came the bloodiest persecution of all time. This is
the way he fixed it up: He laid off a street about like the
Appian Way, and instead of putting statuary all along the
way, he put iron pillars, and to each pillar he chained a living
Christian, and then had oil and tar poured over him and set
him afire, and that constituted the light; then Nero drove up
and down in the light of the burning Christians. Paul had
just gotten away before that came, however.
There are several proofs of Paul's mild imprisonment. We
can see from the fact that the Christians went down that
Appian Way a long ways, two bands of them, to meet him,
that they were under no restraint, and when he got there
that he was allowed to talk in the synagogue, to have an
interview with the Jewish people, and then he lived in his
own hired house, and there was chained to him a soldier, and
the soldiers, one fast succeeding another, so that Paul was
able to preach to nearly all of that famous Praetorian Guard
of 10,000. His friends visited him from every part of the
world. All that goes to show that the letters of Festus and
of Lysias had made their proper impression on the mind of
the emperor. Paul's case might not come up soon, because
from every direction of the world prisoners were being sent in
whose cases Caesar adjudicated, not that Caesar paid any at_
tention to them, but he appointed some delegate of his to
examine all those cases of appeal, and it was two years before
they got to Paul.
The centurion that had charge of Paul had charge of the
Augustan Cohort, and he was certainly a noble fellow.
Whenever we see such expressions as Italian Band or Augus_
tan Cohort, we may know that this detachment is off in some
foreign country. It belongs to that famous Praetorian Guard
– the emperor's body_guard. They could not be sent to a
foreign field except under peculiar circumstances when the
emperor would detach portions of it. Three legions garrisoned
Judea like the five legions in Syria, and the many legions
on the Danube, all of whom would recruit from the natives,
and in a Roman legion might be found men from Britain,
men from the forests of Germany, and Gaul and Jews, and
people from every nation under heaven, but that Praetorian
Guard of 10,000 were all Italians. Now it chanced that a
cohort of this Praetorian Guard was over in Judea, and quite
naturally a centurion of that Judean garrison would take
charge of these prisoners.

1. What the scripture, and the theme of this chapter?
2. What can we say of Luke's description, of this voyage, and what
of navigation at that time?
3. What the salient incidents of this voyage?
4. How does Paul come to the front?
5. What the time consumed in this voyage?
6. What famous celebrities, proverbial for danger, did they pass after leaving Melita, or Malta?
7. What part of the journey was by land?
8. Who was Emperor of Rome at this time, what his character,
what his history, and what of the Jews in Rome?
9. Had the persecution of Christians commenced at this time?
10. What the proofs of Paul's mild imprisonment?
11. What is meant by the "Augustan Band"?

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