Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.
- Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
- Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
- List out all that you are grateful for.
- Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.
- Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
CHAPTER 13 COMMENTARY
v.1: The list of prophets and teachers ‘symbolized the ethnic and cultural diversity of Antioch,’ a city with a ‘cosmopolitan population.’ Barnabas is mentioned first, possibly because he was the leader of the group. He was a Jew from the Jerusalem church but was originally from Cyprus (4:36), an island west of Palestine. Simeon is a Jewish name, but he is called Niger, meaning black. […] Bruce suggests that Niger was a ‘descriptive addition, given to him perhaps because he was an African.’ Lucius was from Cyrene, which was in North Africa (present-day Libya). […] Manaen is a Jewish name. The NIV translates syntrophos as ‘has been brought up with’ Herod the tetrarch, but it means foster brother or close friend from childhood.” 
v.2: “The spirit directed Barnabas and Saul to be set apart for reaching the lost. As we noted above, these were the top leaders of the church, and the young church in Antioch presumably had many needs. But when God calls, we must release even those we consider the most important and valued persons.” 
v.9: “From this point on Saul was called Paul. In those days nearly all Jews had two names. One was a Jewish name, by which they were known in their own circle; the other was a Greek name, by which they were known in the wider world. Sometimes the Greek name translated the Hebrew. So Cephas is the Hebrew and Peter the Greek for a rock; Thomas is the Hebrew and Didymus the Greek for a twin. Sometimes it echoed the sound. So Eliakim in Hebrew becomes Alcimus in Greek and Joshua becomes Jesus. So Saul was also Paul. It may well be that from this time he so fully accepted his mission as the apostle to the Gentiles that he determined to use only his Gentile name. If so, it was the mark that from this time he was launched on the career for which the Holy Spirit had marked him out and that there was to be no turning back.” 
vv.38-43: Following the exposition of the Christ event is an offer of forgiveness (v.38) and justification (v.39). Verse 39 contains ideas that are typical of Paul’s letters: belief, justification, and the inability to be justified by the Law of Moses. Stott adds to these references some others from elsewhere in the speech: death on the tree (v.29), sin (v. 38), and grace (v.43). After pointing out that Paul was addressing Galatians here, Stott observes that theses ideas provided the foundation stone to his letter to the Galatians, which he would write a few months later.” 
vv.44-45: “Evidently the “God-fearing Gentiles” who had heard Paul’s sermon the previous Sabbath had understood that the salvation he proclaimed in Christ included them. The word has spread like wildfire through the Gentile populace, and they were there en masse. The Jews were filled with jealousy and began to speak abusively against the things Paul was saying, perhaps even blaspheming the gospel itself (v.45) The reason for their sudden change in receptivity was evident: their “jealousy” was over the presence of all these Gentiles. It was one thing to proclaim the coming of the Messiah to the Jews. It was quite another to maintain that in the Messiah, God accepted the Gentiles on an equal basis. To them this was little short of blasphemy, and Paul’s witness to them was over.” 
vv.46-48: “Paul and Barnabas responded “boldly” (v.46). […] Paul had to focus his attention on those who were receptive—the Gentiles. Since Jesus was the Messiah who fulfilled God’s promise to the Jews, it was essential to proclaim the gospel to the Jews first (Romans 1:16, 2:9-10). But the Jews in Antioch had rejected the eternal life that is to be found in Jesus, and Paul had to turn to those who were “worthy” (v.46). Paul backed his decision to turn to the Gentiles by quoting Isa 49:6, an Old Testament text that was “programmatic” for the Christian mission in Acts (Acts 1:8;26:23; cf. Luke 24:47). The text of Isaiah, a “servant” passage, originally envisaged Israel’s destiny as being that of a witness to God to all the nations of the world. As Servant-Messiah, Jesus fulfilled this divine destiny. He was to be “a light to the nations.” Now, the messengers of the Messiah are likewise commanded to be “a light for the Gentiles” (v.47). The Jews of Pisidian Antioch could not accept a messiah who embraced the Gentiles. In rejecting Paul’s witness to the Gentiles, they thus rejected their Messiah as well. […]
One could view the present statement as definitive: Paul would no longer turn to the Jews: he would now witness only to the Gentiles. Such was not the case. In the very next city on his missionary itinerary he would again begin his witness in the synagogue (14:1). Again and again he experienced the rejection of the Jews and turned to the Gentiles of that town. But he never gave up on his fellow Jews (cf. 28:17-28).” 
Bible Text: Acts 13:13-43 (ESV)
13 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.” 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:
“Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19 And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’
26 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers,
33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,
“‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you.’
34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,
“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’
35 Therefore he says also in another psalm,
“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’
36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:
41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”
42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
- Read the record of Apostle Paul’s sermon carefully and allow the message to speak to me as if I were in Paul’s audience that day.
- Reflect on the goodness of the gospel promises recorded in vv. 36-39.
- Note the continued presence of persecution in the midst of people being saved through the preaching about Christ; explore why this might be the case. How does this challenge me regarding my response toward persecution and setbacks in ministry?
 Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary, 373.
 Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary, 381.
 Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed.,100.
 Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary, 387.
 Pohill, The New American Commentary: Acts. vol.26, 306-307.
 Pohill, The New American Commentary: Acts. vol.26, 308.