Acts 13 Paul's First Preaching Journey
Summary

The story of the spread of the gospel now moves to Antioch (in Syria) and on to Cyprus and the cities of central Asia Minor. Paul led three major evangelistic journeys. Chapters 13 and 14 record some of the events on the first of these travels. Barnabas and Saul are called to this work while ministering to the Lord alongside other prophets and teachers in Antioch. They will travel first to Salamis (in Cyprus) and then to another town named for Antiochus (in Pisidia, in a region of Galatia in Asia Minor). They preach first in the synagogue at Antioch. Paul spoke about Jewish history and how God’s promises pointed to Jesus. Many wanted to hear more, but the envious Jews opposed Paul and Barnabas and expelled them.

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

13Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,[1] Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Question 1

What three things did the brethren do before sending Barnabas and Saul away?

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

4So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Question 2

What did Paul do to Elymas that brought Sergius Paulus to believe?

Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia

13Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After 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.” 16So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:

“Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17The 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. 18And for about forty years he put up with[2] them in the wilderness. 19And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22And 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.’ 23Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25And 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.’

Question 3

What specific Old Testament promise is at the center of Paul’s message to them?

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. 27For 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. 28And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead, 31and 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. 32And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33this 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.’

34And 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.’

35Therefore he says also in another psalm,

“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’

36For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39and by him everyone who believes is freed[3] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

Question 4

How would you relate what Paul said in vss. 36-37 to what Peter said in Acts 2:24-31?

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.’”

42As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43And 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.

Question 5

How did the differing groups of people react when they heard Paul preach the gospel?

44The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

People
  • Barnabas, Simeon (Niger), Lucius, Manaen, and Saul
  • Prophets and teachers at Antioch

  • Barnabas and Saul
  • Sent out to preach

  • John Mark
  • Assisting them on Cyprus, departed from them at Perga

  • Bar-Jesus(Elymas)
  • A socerer at Paphos

  • Sergius Paulus
  • Proconsul at Paphos (Cyprus)

Places
  • Antioch in Syria
  • Prophets and teachers there. Paul and Barnabas sent out

  • Salamis
  • City on Cyprus

  • Paphos
  • Port location on Cyprus

  • Perga
  • In Pamphilia, southern Asia Minor

  • Antioch in Pisidia
  • In central Asia Minor

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

13Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,[1] Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Acts 13:1

Antioch was an important Syrian city on the northeast side of the Mediterranean, sixteen miles inland from Seleucia. The church later became one of five centers that led to the development of Roman Catholicism in early centuries (with Jerusalem, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome).


Acts 13:1

Prophets received direct revelation from God.


Acts 13:3

“Fasting and prayer” are mentioned occasionally in Scripture (Jeremiah 14:12; Nehemiah 1:4; Matthew 6:5,16).

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

4So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Acts 13:4

The journey to Cyprus via Seleucia is approx. 60 miles. The disciples traveled about 900 miles on this trip; probably about 15 miles avg. per day by foot. Cyprus is 140 miles long and 60 miles wide. InActs 11:19, we read that the church had already been established on Cyprus.


Acts 13:5

Salamis was on the east coast of Cyprus and was a commercial and Jewish center on the island.


Acts 13:6

Paphos was about 90 miles to the west of Salamis on the southwest coast of the island.


Acts 13:6

It is ironic that the first opponent of Paul and Barnabas has the name “Son of Jesus.” His other name is Elymas (v. 8) which means “wise.” He was a “sorcerer” (magician) and a “false prophet.”


Acts 13:7

Sergius Paulus was proconsul; i.e. the Roman magistrate who headed the government in a senatorial province (like Cyprus) where no troops were generally required.


Acts 13:8

Elymas was an unscrupulous (v 10) Jew and tried to prohibit the proconsul from believing.

Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia

13Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After 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.” 16So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:

“Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17The 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. 18And for about forty years he put up with[2] them in the wilderness. 19And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22And 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.’ 23Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25And 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.’

Acts 13:13

Pamphilia is a region in the south-central part of Asia Minor about 400 miles from Jerusalem.

Perga was about 12 miles inland from the coast of Pamphilia and about 112 miles from Paphos.


Acts 13:14

From Perga to Antioch in Pisidia was another 100 miles. This was one of at least 16 Antiochs.

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. 27For 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. 28And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead, 31and 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. 32And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33this 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.’

34And 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.’

Acts 13:34

This comes from Isaiah 55:3. Verse 35 comes from Psalm 16:10. Vs. 41 comes from Habakkuk 5:1.

35Therefore he says also in another psalm,

“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’

36For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39and by him everyone who believes is freed[3] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40Beware, 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.’”

42As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43And 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.

44The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Acts 13:47

The reference here is to “light” in Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 9:2.

48And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13:51

Iconium is ninety miles southeast of Antioch in Phrygia.

Perspectives

God Himself superintended the spread of the gospel; the Holy Spirit called these men.

The apostles were enabled to do miracles which established the truth of what they said.

The history of the Old Testament Jews is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.