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Acts 13:44-47

Context

13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city assembled together to hear the word of the Lord. 1  13:45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, 2  and they began to contradict 3  what Paul was saying 4  by reviling him. 5  13:46 Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, 6  “It was necessary to speak the word of God 7  to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy 8  of eternal life, we 9  are turning to the Gentiles. 10  13:47 For this 11  is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have appointed 12  you to be a light 13  for the Gentiles, to bring salvation 14  to the ends of the earth.’” 15 

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

6 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.

7 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.

8 tn Or “and consider yourselves unworthy.”

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

10 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.

11 tn Here οὕτως (Joutws) is taken to refer to what follows, the content of the quotation, as given for this verse by BDAG 742 s.v. οὕτω/οὕτως 2.

12 tn BDAG 1004 s.v. τίθημι 3.a has “τιθέναι τινὰ εἴς τι place/appoint someone to or for (to function as) someth….Ac 13:47.” This is a double accusative construction of object (“you”) and complement (“a light”).

13 sn Paul alludes here to the language of the Servant in Isaiah, pointing to Isa 42:6; 49:6. He and Barnabas do the work of the Servant in Isaiah.

14 tn Grk “that you should be for salvation,” but more simply “to bring salvation.”

15 sn An allusion to Isa 42:6 and 49:6. The expression the ends of the earth recalls Luke 3:6 and Acts 1:8. Paul sees himself and Barnabas as carrying out the commission of Luke 24:27. (See 2 Cor 6:2, where servant imagery also appears concerning Paul’s message.)



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