Acts 13: Mixed Results

Of what importance was the listing of key leaders of the church in Antioch?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:1 The prophets and teachers at the Antioch church included Barnabas and Saul, Simeon who was black, Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, a childhood companion of Herod Antipas.
King James
Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Herod Antipas had died about five years earlier. What might it have been like to be a childhood companion of royalty and later become a follower of Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:1 The prophets and teachers at the Antioch church included Barnabas and Saul, Simeon who was black, Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, a childhood companion of Herod Antipas.
King James
Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

What does the diversity of race and social backgrounds say about the early church?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:1 The prophets and teachers at the Antioch church included Barnabas and Saul, Simeon who was black, Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, a childhood companion of Herod Antipas.
King James
Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

From the time of Jesus’ appearance near Damascus, how many years might have passed before the Holy Spirit sent Saul on his first missionary journey?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:2 While the church leaders were fasting and praying and worshiping the Lord, the Holy Spirit said, “It’s now time for Barnabas and Saul to begin the work I have called them to.”
King James
Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

What do you think was accomplished with fasting and prayer before Saul and Barnabas were released for ministry abroad?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 13:3 After more fasting and prayer, hands were laid upon them, releasing them from Antioch and sending them abroad.
King James
Acts 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Why did Saul select a ship bound for Cyprus and not somewhere else?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 13:4 Commissioned by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went to Seleucia and booked passage on a ship bound for Cyprus.
King James
Acts 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

What could John Mark’s role have been in traveling with Saul?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:5 At Salamis, they preached God’s word in the Jewish synagogues, with John Mark working with them.
King James
Acts 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

Why did they go to the synagogues and not some public meeting place?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:5 At Salamis, they preached God’s word in the Jewish synagogues, with John Mark working with them.
King James
Acts 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

What kind of inconsistency might exist in a Jew functioning as a magician or false prophet?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 13:6 Across the island to Paphos, they met a Jewish magician, a false prophet named Barjesus.
King James
Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus.

Why do you think a Roman governor connected with a Jewish magician want to hear from Saul?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:6 Across the island to Paphos, they met a Jewish magician, a false prophet named Barjesus,
13:7 who was with Sergius Paulus, governor of Cyprus. The governor had sent for Barnabas and Saul, wanting to hear God’s word.
King James
Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
13:7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

What would have motivated the magician to oppose what Saul was saying?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 13:8 The magician, named Elymas in the Greek, opposed their message, seeking to prevent the governor from receiving the truth.
King James
Acts 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

What did the apostle Paul (formerly known as Saul) see by the Holy Spirit, which he would otherwise have to guess?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 13:10 “You child of the devil,” Paul said. “You’re full of hypocrisy and trickery, a hater of righteousness. When will you change your ways and quit opposing the truth of the Lord?”
King James
Acts 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

What was the difference between the magician’s magic and the power of God revealed through Paul?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:11 The hand of the Lord is now upon you, making you blind, and you will not see the light of the sun for a while.” Immediately, Elymas saw only blackness, and he reached out for someone to lead him by the hand.
King James
Acts 13:11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

How might Paul have related God’s judgment upon Elymas to his own experience on the way to Damascus?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:11 The hand of the Lord is now upon you, making you blind, and you will not see the light of the sun for a while.” Immediately, Elymas saw only blackness, and he reached out for someone to lead him by the hand.
King James
Acts 13:11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

In what ways might the community have been affected by its governor being baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:12 In seeing what happened, the governor was amazed. Believing, he became a follower of Jesus’ teaching.
King James
Acts 13:12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

Why do you think John Mark left Paul at Perga and returned to Jerusalem?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:13 Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia. From there, John Mark left for Jerusalem.
King James
Acts 13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

In the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, what do you suppose was the source of interest for the Jews to want to hear from Paul and Barnabas?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:14 Paul and Barnabas went to Antioch in Pisidia, where they sat in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
13:15 After reading from the Law and the prophets, the leaders of the synagogue turned to Paul and Barnabas. “Brothers, if you have an exhortation, please speak to us.”
King James
Acts 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

Compared to what Paul had said in synagogues, previously, how would you contrast his message to these Jews?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:16 Paul stood and gestured toward them. “People of Israel and all who fear God, listen to me.
13:17 The God of Israel walked with our ancestors and exalted our people when they were foreigners in Egypt, miraculously delivering them from slavery.
13:18 Forty years he patiently cared for the people as they wandered in the wilderness.
13:19 He destroyed seven nations in Canaan and divided their land by lot to the tribes of Israel.
13:20 For the next 450 years, until Samuel the prophet, he appointed judges to govern the people.
13:21 After that, the people wanted a king, so God gave them Saul, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled for forty years.
13:22 King David took his place, of whom God said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do what I want.’
13:23 From this man’s descendants, God has brought the promised Savior to Israel, Jesus Christ.
13:24 When John preached repentance from sin and baptized the people of Israel, he predicted Jesus coming.
13:25 Near the end of his ministry, John said, ‘Do you think I’m the Messiah? I am not. He is coming after me, and I’m not worthy of loosening the ties of his sandals.’
13:26 My friends—descendants of Abraham and all those who fear God—this message has been sent for our salvation.
13:27 The people in Jerusalem, especially the leaders, never recognized the Messiah. By condemning him, they fulfilled the words of the prophets that they read every Sabbath.
13:28 With no legal reason to call for his death, they still demanded of Pilate his execution.
13:29 After all that the prophecies said about the Messiah had been fulfilled, Jesus was taken down from the cross and laid in a tomb,
13:30 but God raised him from the dead.
13:31 From Galilee to Jerusalem, those who knew him saw him again, giving eyewitness testimony of his resurrection.
13:32 So now we bring the good news of the promise made to our ancestors,
13:33 which was fulfilled for us, their descendants, when Jesus came forth from the grave. As it is written in the second Psalm, You are my son. Today I have brought you forth.
13:34 Raised from the dead, saved from bodily decay in the grave, he received the blessing foretold by David,
13:35 as he said in his psalm, You will not abandon me in death nor will you allow your Holy One’s body to decay.
13:36 He served his generation according to God’s will, and then his body was buried with his ancestors and decayed—
13:37 but the body of the one God raised did not decay.
13:38 I want you to know, my friends, that by this man we now proclaim the forgiveness of sin.
13:39 Those who place complete trust in Jesus Christ will know righteousness that the Law of Moses could never provide.
13:40 Watch out, or the prophet’s words might apply to you, saying,
13:41 You among the nations will look and be in awe. You will see me at work in your day, yet you will not believe the evidence.
King James
Acts 13:16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
13:17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
13:18 And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.
13:19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
13:20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
13:21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.
13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
13:23 Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:
13:24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
13:25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
13:26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.
13:27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
13:28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
13:29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.
13:30 But God raised him from the dead:
13:31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
13:32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
13:34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
13:35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
13:37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.
13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
13:40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
13:41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

How important might it have been for Paul to share his Damascus story, either during or after the first meeting?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:3 When he had almost reached the city, a light from above suddenly surrounded him.
9:4 As he fell to his knees, a voice said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
9:5 “Sir, who are you?” Saul said, and the voice said, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. How hard it is for you to resist my prodding.
9:6 Trembling in fear, Saul said, “What do you want me to do?” “Get up,” Jesus said. “Go into the city and you’ll be told what to do.”
King James
Acts 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Since Antioch in Syria was over 500 miles from Jerusalem, how familiar with Jesus’ ministry do you think the Jews in this area were?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 2:8 How are they speaking the language from where we were born?
2:9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. People who live in Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, as well as Judea. From Pontus and Asia.
2:10 Phrygians, Pamphylians, and Egyptians. Residents of Cyrene in Libya and pilgrims from Rome, both natural Jews and converts,
2:11 Cretans and Arabians. We are all hearing of God’s wonderful, mighty works in our languages.”
2:12 Amazed and seeking an explanation, they said to one another, “What in the world does this mean?”
King James
Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
2:12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

Paul refers to a psalm that he says was fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ. These verses are typically translated as God saying Jesus had become his son, which we might question since Jesus was always God’s son. The Father identified his Son long before the resurrection. The Hebrew yalad in Psalm 2:7 can also be translated “brought forth” which would have been understood as a direct connection to the resurrection, Thus, Jesus “came forth” from the grave, fulfilling the prophetic words: Today I have brought you forth. How do you think the Jews related the verse in Psalms to Jesus’ resurrection?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 2:7 I’m telling you what the Lord has decreed to me, “You are my son. Today I have brought you forth.”
Matthew 3:17 A voice spoke from heaven: “You are my son, whom I love. I am well pleased with you.”
John 1:1 He was with God, and he was God, in the beginning.
1:14 The Word became human and we have seen the majestic splendor of Jesus Christ, the Word of Life, and the glory of the only son of the Father.
Acts 13:32 So now we bring the good news of the promise made to our ancestors,
13:33 which was fulfilled for us, their descendants, when Jesus came forth from the grave. As it is written in the second Psalm, You are my son. Today I have brought you forth.
King James
Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Acts 13:32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

Many Christians are familiar enough with Scripture to connect David’s words with Jesus’ resurrection, but the Jews hadn’t received our teachings. How likely would the Jews have already associated David’s words with the coming Messiah? What percentage do you think were not aware of the details in David’s psalm?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:34 Raised from the dead, saved from bodily decay in the grave, he received the blessing foretold by David,
13:35 as he said in his psalm, You will not abandon me in death nor will you allow your Holy One’s body to decay.
King James
Acts 13:34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
13:35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

How important do you think it was to explain that David could not have been talking about himself but Jesus whose body suffered no decay.

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:36 He served his generation according to God’s will, and then his body was buried with his ancestors and decayed—
13:37 but the body of the one God raised did not decay.
King James
Acts 13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
13:37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

What was the difference between righteousness by the Law of Moses and forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:38 I want you to know, my friends, that by this man we now proclaim the forgiveness of sin.
13:39 Those who place complete trust in Jesus Christ will know righteousness that the Law of Moses could never provide.
King James
Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

How helpful or harmful might it have been for Paul to challenge the people to believe by quoting the prophet Habakkuk that many would not believe?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Habakkuk 1:5 You among the nations will look and be in awe. You will see me at work in your day, yet you will not believe the evidence.
Acts 13:40 Watch out, or the prophet’s words might apply to you, saying,
13:41 You among the nations will look and be in awe. You will see me at work in your day, yet you will not believe the evidence.
King James
Habakkuk 1:5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
Acts 13:40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
13:41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

What percentage of the people do you think wanted to hear more from Paul and Barnabas?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:42 As everyone was leaving the synagogue, a multitude begged Paul and Barnabas to say more about these things on the next Sabbath.
King James
Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

What might have caused most of the city to want to hear more about Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:43 When the people went their separate ways, many Jews and converts followed Paul and Barnabas and were persuaded to remain in the grace of God.
13:44 The next week, most of the city gathered to hear them speak about Jesus.
King James
Acts 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

When the unbelieving Jews sought to “demonize” Paul, what arguments might they have given?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 13:45 When the Jews saw how many had come, they passionately disputed what Paul was teaching, saying he was in error, and they insulted him.
King James
Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

How did Paul respond to those who refused to believe?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:46 Paul and Barnabas boldly withstood them, saying, “The good news of Jesus Christ needed to be delivered to you first, but since you are rejecting the message and have no interest in eternal life, we will turn to the foreigners.
13:47 For Isaiah gave this command from the Lord, saying, I have called you to be a light to the nations, that my deliverance will reach the most distant places on Earth.
King James
Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

How do you think the believers and nonbelievers felt after being told that the message of Jesus the Messiah would be taken to foreigners?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 13:48 These words pleased those who weren’t Jews, who believed what they heard about Jesus, became his followers, and were appointed to eternal life.
King James
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

No doubt, the excitement among the believers caused the message to spread throughout the area. What positive or negative effect might the opposition have created?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 13:49 So the message about the Lord Jesus Christ spread throughout the area.
King James
Acts 13:49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

What methods could have been used by unbelieving Jews to pressure Paul and Barnabas to leave Antioch?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 13:50 The unbelieving Jews stirred up the respected women and leading men of the city against Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave.
King James
Acts 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

Rather than fight, Paul fled, which was something he didn’t always do. Why might it have been the right choice in this case?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 10:14 When people do not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the offense like dust from your feet and leave that house or town for another.
Acts 13:51 They shook off the offense like dust from their feet and went to Iconium,
13:52 where believers were filled with joy in the Holy Spirit.
King James
Matthew 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Acts 13:51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.
13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.