Acts 14 Paul Completes His First Preaching Journey
Summary

This is a summary of events of the first “missionary journey.” Barnabas and Saul (Paul) went to three additional cities in central Asia Minor. In each, they preached the gospel and established a local church. In Iconium, unbelieving Jews poisoned the minds of many Gentiles. Those joined against the Christians and threatened to abuse and stone Barnabas and Saul. Having fled Iconium, they came to Lystra and healed a lame man. That caused townspeople to think of them as gods. They dispelled that notion but soon Jews from the other cities came. Paul was stoned and left for dead. He and Barnabas moved on to Derbe. They finally returned to cities where churches were established and then went home to Antioch.

Paul and Barnabas at Iconium

14Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.[1] 3So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Question 1

Why were the Jews so antagonistic to Paul and Barnabas?

Question 2

What happened to God’s messengers in each town?

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

8Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,[2] 10said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15“Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Question 3

Who were the gods people at Lystra compared Paul and Barnabas to?

Question 4

What do you see as the theme of Paul’s message at Lystra?

Paul Stoned at Lystra

19But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Question 5

Why did Paul and Barnabas return to cities where they had been physically persecuted?

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria

24Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28And they remained no little time with the disciples.

People
  • Saul (Paul) and Barnabas
  • Preaching in Asia Minor

Places
  • Cities of Asia Minor - Iconium, Lystra, Derbe

Paul and Barnabas at Iconium

14Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.[1] 3So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Acts 14:1

Iconium was a culturally diverse city in what is now the Konya province of central Turkey.


Acts 14:3

The preachers are quite resolute in the face of opposition choosing to stay and spread the word.


Acts 14:5

Having devised a plot against them, both Gentiles and Jews attempted to abuse and stone them.

To Jews they were a threat to their traditions and laws; to Gentiles they threatened polytheism

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

8Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,[2] 10said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15“Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Acts 14:8

Lystra was eighteen miles south of Iconium in the province of Lycaonia. It was Timothy’s home.

The people of Lystra had a bad reputation as ignorant, militant and having little regard for law.


Acts 14:8

The lame man was congenitally a cripple. This made the miracle even more amazing to the people


Acts 14:12

They called Barnabas, “Zeus” (Greek – Roman name is Jupiter, chief god of the Pantheon).

They called Paul, “Hermes” (Greek – Roman name is Mercury, messenger god of interpretation). It is interesting that they saw Barnabas as the leader and Paul as the interpreter or messenger.


Acts 14:14

It is not necessary to count Barnabas as one of the “apostles” appointed by Jesus. The word “apostle” sometimes refers to “one sent on a mission.”


Acts 14:15

When the priest brought sacrifices to them, they stopped it. Remember Herod (Acts 12:20-24).

Paul Stoned at Lystra

19But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 14:19

They actually stoned Paul but he survived. It is not clear whether there was a miracle here.


Acts 14:20

Derbe was another 35 miles or so southwest of Lystra.


Acts 14:21

Few details are given except that they preached also at Derbe. They returned to the other three cities where churches were established.


Acts 14:23

We do not know exactly how long it had been but they were able to appoint elders in each church

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria

24Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28And they remained no little time with the disciples.

Acts 14:25

They also came to Perga and preached there before sailing back to Antioch.


Acts 14:27

They reported to the church the things they had done with emphasis upon Gentile converts.


Acts 14:28

We do not know exactly how long they stayed in Antioch before going to Jerusalem.

Perspectives

Even in the face of persecution, the gospel is to be preached.

We must never allow others to deify us by comparing us to gods.

Elders are to be appointed in each church…thus maintaining local autonomy.