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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on The Acts of the Apostles

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11.1–18 : Peter's defense.

The Jerusalem church requires an explanation for the baptism of Gentiles.

1 :

News of the new development reaches Jerusalem, cf. 8.14; 11.22 .

2 :

Up to this point all believers were circumcised (see note b; at 10.45 the text says “circumcised believers,” but the meaning is the same, as v. 18 makes clear).

3 :

The question is framed in terms of association with Gentiles, not their entry into the church; cf. Gal 2.12 .

4–17 :

Peter answers by retelling 10.1–48 in abbreviated fashion.

12 :

Not to make a distinction, clarifies “go … without hesitation” in 10.20 . Six, replaces “some” in 10.23 .

14 :

Unlike 10.33 , here it is made clear that Cornelius is expecting a message of salvation ( 4.12 ).

16 :

See 1.5n.

17–18 :

The “Gentile Pentecost” (v. 15; 10.47; 15.8 ) was an act of God. Although the issue of Gentile inclusion seems to be decisively settled, controversy will resurface in ch 15 .

11.19–26 : Mission to the Greeks in Antioch.

The narrative now rejoins the mission initiated by the persecution following Stephen's death ( 8.1,4 ).

19 :

Antioch on the Orontes River, capital of the Roman province of Syria, which included Galilee and Judea, and according to Josephus (War 3.29 ), the third largest city (after Rome and Alexandria) in the Roman Empire. Antioch was a popular city name in Syria and Asia Minor, reflecting the rule of Antiochus I (whose cult2010;name was “savior”), son of Seleucus I, one of the successors of Alexander the Great.

20 :

Cyrene, a great North African city ( 2.10; 6.9; 13.1; Lk 23.26 ), had a large Jewish colony. Hellenists (unlike 6.1 and 9.29 ) here apparently refers to non‐Jewish, Greek‐speaking residents of Antioch.

22–24 :

Barnabas came from Cyprus ( 4.36 ), and there were Cypriots in Antioch (v. 20 ). He investigates and expresses approval over the latest developments on behalf of Jerusalem (cf. 8.14–17; 11.1–18 ). Compare his description (v. 24 ) with that of Stephen ( 6.5 ).

25–26 :

Saul was in Tarsus (9.30), cf. Gal 1.21 . An extended collaboration with Barnabas is initiated (see Gal 2.1,9,13; 1 Cor 9.6 ). Christians, a Latin word meaning “partisans of Christ,” perhaps at first a term of reproach. It occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only at 26.28 and 1 Pet 4.16 .

11.27–30 : Antioch aids Jerusalem.

27 :

Prophets ( 13.1; 15.32 ) were numerous in the early church and in Acts characterize the last days ( 2.17–18 ). Here they predict the future (see 21.10 ). According to 1 Cor 14.3–4,31 they teach and build up the church.

28 :

Agabus, 21.10–11 . The famine … during the reign of Claudius ( 41–54 CE) probably occurred in 47 CE; it was not worldwide (see Josephus, Ant. 20.51–53,101 ).

29 :

The relief operation resembles the arrangements for Paul's collection ( 20.4n.; 1 Cor 16.2; 2 Cor 9.7 ); the days of selling all ( 2.44–45; 4.32–35 ) are gone.

30 :

Elders, as leaders are first mentioned here (“old men” in 2.17 translates the same Gk word); their emergence may reflect synagogue practice. According to Gal 2.1–10 , Paul's second visit to Jerusalem coincided with the discussion portrayed in Acts 15.1–29 .

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