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Acts 13:1-4

Context
The Church at Antioch Commissions Barnabas and Saul

13:1 Now there were these prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch: 1  Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, 2  Lucius the Cyrenian, 3  Manaen (a close friend of Herod 4  the tetrarch 5  from childhood 6 ) and Saul. 13:2 While they were serving 7  the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart 8  for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 13:3 Then, after they had fasted 9  and 10  prayed and placed their hands 11  on them, they sent them off.

Paul and Barnabas Preach in Cyprus

13:4 So Barnabas and Saul, 12  sent out by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia, 13  and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 14 

1 sn Antioch was a city in Syria (not Antioch in Pisidia).

map For location see JP1 F2; JP2 F2; JP3 F2; JP4 F2.

2 sn Simeon may well have been from North Africa, since the Latin loanword Niger refers to someone as “dark-complexioned.”

3 sn The Cyrenian refers to a native of the city of Cyrene, on the coast of northern Africa west of Egypt.

4 sn Herod is generally taken as a reference to Herod Antipas, who governed Galilee from 4 b.c. to a.d. 39, who had John the Baptist beheaded, and who is mentioned a number of times in the gospels.

5 tn Or “the governor.”

sn A tetrarch was a ruler with rank and authority lower than a king, who ruled only with the approval of the Roman authorities. This was roughly equivalent to being governor of a region. Several times in the NT, Herod tetrarch of Galilee is called a king (Matt 14:9, Mark 6:14-29), reflecting popular usage.

6 tn Or “(a foster brother of Herod the tetrarch).” The meaning “close friend from childhood” is given by L&N 34.15, but the word can also mean “foster brother” (L&N 10.51). BDAG 976 s.v. σύντροφας states, “pert. to being brought up with someone, either as a foster-brother or as a companion/friend,” which covers both alternatives. Context does not given enough information to be certain which is the case here, although many modern translations prefer the meaning “close friend from childhood.”

7 tn This term is frequently used in the LXX of the service performed by priests and Levites in the tabernacle (Exod 28:35, 43; 29:30; 30:20; 35:19; 39:26; Num 1:50; 3:6, 31) and the temple (2 Chr 31:2; 35:3; Joel 1:9, 13; 2:17, and many more examples). According to BDAG 591 s.v. λειτουργέω 1.b it is used “of other expression of religious devotion.” Since the previous verse described the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch, it is probable that the term here describes two of them (Barnabas and Saul) as they were serving in that capacity. Since they were not in Jerusalem where the temple was located, general religious service is referred to here.

8 tn Or “Appoint.”

9 tn The three aorist participles νηστεύσαντες (nhsteusante"), προσευξάμενοι (proseuxamenoi), and ἐπιθέντες (epiqente") are translated as temporal participles. Although they could indicate contemporaneous time when used with an aorist main verb, logically here they are antecedent. On fasting and prayer, see Matt 6:5, 16; Luke 2:37; 5:33; Acts 14:23.

10 tn Normally English style, which uses a coordinating conjunction between only the last two elements of a series of three or more, would call for omission of “and” here. However, since the terms “fasting and prayer” are something of a unit, often linked together, the conjunction has been retained here.

11 sn The placing of hands on Barnabas and Saul (traditionally known as “the laying on of hands”) refers to an act picturing the commission of God and the church for the task at hand.

12 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Barnabas and Saul) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

13 sn Seleucia was the port city of Antioch in Syria.

14 sn Cyprus was a large island in the Mediterranean off the south coast of Asia Minor.



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