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Acts 13:43-46

Context
13:43 When the meeting of the synagogue 1  had broken up, 2  many of the Jews and God-fearing proselytes 3  followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and were persuading 4  them 5  to continue 6  in the grace of God.

13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city assembled together to hear the word of the Lord. 7  13:45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, 8  and they began to contradict 9  what Paul was saying 10  by reviling him. 11  13:46 Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, 12  “It was necessary to speak the word of God 13  to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy 14  of eternal life, we 15  are turning to the Gentiles. 16 

1 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.

2 tn BDAG 607 s.v. λύω 3 has “λυθείσης τ. συναγωγῆς when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up Ac 13:43.”

3 tn Normally the phrase σεβόμενοι τὸν θεόν (sebomenoi ton qeon) refers to Gentiles (“God-fearers”) who believed in God, attended the synagogue, and followed the Mosaic law to some extent, but stopped short of undergoing circumcision. BDAG 918 s.v. σέβω 1.b lists in this category references in Acts 16:14; 18:7; with σεβόμενοι alone, Acts 13:50; 17:4, 17; the phrase is also found in Josephus, Ant. 14.7.2 (14.110). Unique to this particular verse is the combination σεβόμενοι προσηλύτων (sebomenoi proshlutwn). Later rabbinic discussion suggests that to be regarded as a proper proselyte, a Gentile male had to submit to circumcision. If that is the case here, these Gentiles in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch should be regarded as full proselytes who had converted completely to Judaism and undergone circumcision. It is probably more likely, however, that προσηλύτων is used here in a somewhat looser sense (note the use of σεβομένας [sebomena"] alone to refer to women in Acts 13:50) and that these Gentiles were still in the category commonly called “God-fearers” without being full, technical proselytes to Judaism. See further K. G. Kuhn, TDNT 6:732-34, 743-44. Regardless, the point is that many Gentiles, as well as Jews, came to faith.

4 tn This is the meaning given for ἔπειθον (epeiqon) in this verse by BDAG 791 s.v. πείθω 1.b.

5 tn Grk “who, as they were speaking with them, were persuading them.”

6 tn The verb προμένειν (promenein) is similar in force to the use of μένω (menw, “to reside/remain”) in the Gospel and Epistles of John.

7 tc Most mss (B* C E Ψ Ï sy bo) read θεοῦ (qeou, “of God”) here instead of κυρίου (kuriou, “of the Lord”). Other mss, among them some important early witnesses (Ì74 א A B2 33 81 323 945 1175 1739 al sa), read κυρίου. The external evidence favors κυρίου, though not decisively. Internally, the mention of “God” in v. 43, and especially “the word of God” in v. 46, would provide some temptation for scribes to assimilate the wording in v. 44 to these texts.

sn The word of the Lord is a technical expression in OT literature, often referring to a divine prophetic utterance (e.g., Gen 15:1, Isa 1:10, Jonah 1:1). In the NT it occurs 15 times: 3 times as ῥῆμα τοῦ κυρίου (rJhma tou kuriou; Luke 22:61, Acts 11:16, 1 Pet 1:25) and 12 times as λόγος τοῦ κυρίου (logo" tou kuriou; here and in vv. 48 and 49; Acts 8:25; 15:35, 36; 16:32; 19:10, 20; 1 Thess 1:8, 4:15; 2 Thess 3:1). As in the OT, this phrase focuses on the prophetic nature and divine origin of what has been said.

8 sn They were filled with jealousy. Their foolish response to the gospel is noted again (see Acts 5:17). The same verb is used in Acts 7:9; 17:5.

9 tn The imperfect verb ἀντέλεγον (antelegon) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect in the logical sequence of events: After they were filled with jealousy, the Jewish opponents began to contradict what Paul said.

10 tn Grk “the things being said by Paul.” For smoothness and simplicity of English style, the passive construction has been converted to active voice in the translation.

11 tn The participle βλασφημοῦντες (blasfhmounte") has been regarded as indicating the means of the action of the main verb. It could also be translated as a finite verb (“and reviled him”) in keeping with contemporary English style. The direct object (“him”) is implied rather than expressed and could be impersonal (“it,” referring to what Paul was saying rather than Paul himself), but the verb occurs more often in contexts involving defamation or slander against personal beings (not always God). For a very similar context to this one, compare Acts 18:6. The translation “blaspheme” is not used because in contemporary English its meaning is more narrowly defined and normally refers to blasphemy against God (not what Paul’s opponents were doing here). The modern term “slandering” comes close to what was being done to Paul here.

12 tn Grk “Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out courageously and said.” The redundancy is removed in the translation and the verb “replied” is used in keeping with the logical sequence of events. The theme of boldness reappears: Acts 4:24-30; 9:27-28.

13 tn Grk “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken.” For smoothness and simplicity of English style, the passive construction has been converted to active voice in the translation.

14 tn Or “and consider yourselves unworthy.”

15 tn Grk “behold, we.” In this context ἰδού (idou) is not easily translated into English.

16 sn This turning to the Gentiles would be a shocking rebuke to 1st century Jews who thought they alone were the recipients of the promise.



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