GALATIA : FACING TROUBLES
Acts 13:1-14:28 July 20 2008
At the Spirit’s direction , the Antioch church
commissioned Barnabas and Paul as missionaries
(Acts13:1-3).with Mark, they traveled to Seleucia and
sailed to Cyprus. In Salamis, on the island’s east coast,
they proclaimed the gospel in Jewish synagogues
(Acts 13:4-5). The party traveled to Paphos on Cyprus’s
west coast. The proconsul there wanted to hear the gospel,
but a sorcerer opposed the missionaries. When the
sorcerer was struck blind, the proconsul became a
believer (Acts 13:6-12).
In Iconium the pattern continued: initial success
followed by Jewish opposition. When an attempt was
made to stone the missionaries, they went to Lystra and
Derbe (Acts 14:1-7). In Lystra, Paul healed a lame man.
The people thought the missionaries were gods and
attempted to worship them , But Paul and Barnabas
stopped them and preached the gospel (Acts 14:8-18).
Jews from Antioch and Iconium incited a crowd to stone
Paul. He survived and left with Barnabas for Derbe
From Derbe , Paul and Barnabas retraced their route,
encouraging Christians and appointing elders. The
missionaries returned to Antioch in Syria and reported to
the church (Acts 14:21-28).
1. Rejection and Dependence (Acts 14:1-4)
Acts 14:1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual
into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively
that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 14:2
But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles
and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 14:3 So Paul
and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly
for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by
enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. 14:4
The people of the city were divided; some sided with the
Jews, others with the apostles.
Great Number . At first there was good success, then
bitter opposition from the Jews (Acts 14:2). But these
evidently failed in their initial attempt, for Paul and
Barnabas remained there a considerable time (Acts 14:3).
A second wave of persecution was planned, involving
violence (Acts 14:5). Confirmed . . . by. . . Miracuous Signs .
A major purpose of miracles was to confirm the truth of
the words and the approval of God. Apostles . Both Paul
and Barnabas are called apostles (Acts 14:14; Mark 6:30).
The term is used here not of the Twelve but in the broader
sense to refer to persons sent on a mission, missionaries
2. Misconception and Explanation (Acts 14:11-15a,18 )
Acts 14:11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they
shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come
down to us in human form!” 14:12 Barnabas they called
Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief
speaker. 14:13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just
outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates
because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14:14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of
this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd,
shouting: 14:15a “Men, why are you doing this? We too are
only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news,
telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living
God,14:18 Even with these words, they had difficulty
keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
Zeus . . . Hermes . Zeus was the patron god of the city,
and his temple was there. People who came to bring
sacrifices to Zeus apparently decided to make an offering
to Paul and Barnabas instead. The identification of Zeus
with Barnabas may indicate that his appearance was more
imposing, and Paul was identified as the god Hermes (the
Roman Mercury) because he was the spokesman (Acts 28:6).
This incident may have been occasioned by an ancient
legend that told of a supposed visit to the same general
area by Zeus and Hermes. They were, however, not
recognized by anyone except an old couple. So the people
of Lystra were determined not to allow such an oversight
to happen again. City Gates . The Greek for this expression
can refer to the temple gates, the city gates or house gates.
Tore their clothes . A Jewish way of expressing great
anguish (Gen 37:29). Worthless things . Used in the OT to
denote false gods (1Sa 12:21).
3. Persecution and Faithfulness (Acts 14:19-21)
Acts 14:19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and
Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and
dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 14:20
But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up
and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas
left for Derbe. 14:21 They preached the good news in that
city and won a large number of disciples. Then they
returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,
They stoned Paul . Within the city rather than at the usual
place of execution outside the walls (2Co 12:2). Disciples
had gathered around Him . Young Timothy may have been
present (2Ti 3:10-11). Derbe . A border town in the
southeastern part of the Lycaonian region of Galatia
(Acts 14:6). An inscription naming the city has been
discovered about 30 miles east of what was previously
thought to be the city site.
4. Recognition and Acceptance (Acts 14:22-23)
Acts 14:22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging
them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many
hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 14:23
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church
and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord,
in whom they had put their trust.
Appoined . The Greek for this word (2Co 8:19) can mean
(1) to stretch out the hand, (2) to appoint by show of hands
or (3) to appoint or elect without regard to the method. In
(Acts 6:6) the appointment of the Seven included selection
by the church and presentation to the apostles, who prayed
and laid their hands on them. Because these were new
churches, at least partly pagan in background, Paul and
Barnabas may have both selected and appointed the elders.
Pisdia . A district about 120 miles long and 50 miles wide,
north of Pamphylia (Acts 13:13-14). Bandits frequented the
region (2Co 11:26). Pamphylia . A district 80 miles long and
20 miles at the widest part, on the southern coast of Asia
Minor. After A.D. 74 Pisidia was included in the Roman
province of Pamphylia (Acts13:13).
Galatia was a roman province in Asia Minor. The
word Galatia comes from the area’s original in habitants ,
the Gauls or Celts, who first occupied the central part of
Asia Minor and then spread north in 275 B.C. They settled on
part of the central plateau. The Romans assumed control in
25 B.C. and added Lycaonia and other areas to the territory
On their missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas
traveled in the southern part of this province, Galatia. This
occurred in about A.D. 47-48.
Paul wrote the Letter to the Galatians, but
Interpreters debate its precise destination. He later
traveled "through the region of Phrygia and Galatia
" (Acts 16:6), which some view as Northern Galatia. Thus
Galatians could have been sent to Northern Galatia or to
Southern Galatia. Based on parallels in Galatians to Luke’s
account of the first missionary journey in (Acts 13-14),
the latter destination seems most likely.