13:2 While they were serving 1 the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart 2 for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 13:3 Then, after they had fasted 3 and 4 prayed and placed their hands 5 on them, they sent them off.
1 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.
2 tn Or “Appoint.”
3 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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Barnabas and Saul) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
7 sn Seleucia was the port city of Antioch in Syria.
8 sn Cyprus was a large island in the Mediterranean off the south coast of Asia Minor.