Acts 28 Commentary


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Chart from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

THE EXPANDING WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT-EMPOWERED CHURCH


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John Hannah's Outline for Third  Missionary Journey (see map)

  • The third missionary journey of Paul  (Acts 18:23-21:16)
    1. The ministry in Galatia and Phrygia  (Acts 18:23)
    2. The ministry in Ephesus  (Acts 18:24-19:41)
      1. Instruction of Apollos  (Acts 18:24-28)
      2. Instruction of some of John's followers  (Acts 19:1-7)
      3. Instruction of the Ephesians  (Acts 19:8-20)
      4. Instructions concerning his plans  (Acts 19:21-22)
      5. The riots in Ephesus  (Acts 19:23-41)
    3. The ministry in Macedonia and Achaia  (Acts 20:1-5)
    4. The ministry in Troas  (Acts 20:6-12)
    5. The ministry in Miletus  (Acts 20:13-38)
      1. His journey to Miletus  (Acts 20:13-16)
      2. His message to the Ephesian elders  (Acts 20:17-35)
        1. Concerning his ministry  (Acts 20:17-27)
        2. Concerning the church  (Acts 20:28-35)
      3. His farewell to the Ephesians  (Acts 20:36-38)
    6. The  ministry at Tyre  (Acts 21:1-6)
      1. His journey to Tyre  (Acts 21:1-3)
      2. His ministry in Tyre  (Acts 21:4-6)
    7. The ministry in Caesarea  (Acts 21:7-16)
      1. Agabus' prediction  (Acts 21:7-12)
      2. Paul's reply  (Acts 21:13-14)
      3. The journey toward Jerusalem  (Acts 21:15-16)
  • The journey of Paul to Rome  (Acts 21:17-28:31)
    1. His witness in Jerusalem  (Acts 21:17-23:35)
      1. Paul's report to the elders  (Acts 21:17-26)
      2. Paul's arrest  (Acts 21:27-36)
      3. Paul's defense  (Acts 21:37-23:10)
        1. His first defense  (Acts 21:37-22:23)
          1. The background  (Acts 21:37-40)
          2. The content  (Acts 22:1-21)
          3. The result  (Acts 22:22-23)
        2. His second defense  (Acts 22:24-23:10)
          1. The background  (Acts 22:24-29)
          2. The council  (Acts 22:30)
          3. The content  (Acts 23:1-9)
          4. The conflict  (Acts 23:10)
      4. Paul's deliverance  (Acts 23:11-35)
        1. The encouragement  (Acts 23:11)
        2. The plot  (Acts 23:12-16)
        3. The counterplot  (Acts 23:17-24)
        4. The letter to Felix  (Acts 23:25-30)
        5. The deliverance to Felix  (Acts 23:31-35)
    2. His witness in Caesarea  (Acts 24:1-26:32)
      1. Paul's defense before Felix  (Acts 24:1-27)
        1. The setting  (Acts 24:1)
        2. The accusations of Tertullus  (Acts 24:2-9)
        3. The reply of Paul  (Acts 24:10-21)
        4. The consequences  (Acts 24:22-27)
      2. Paul's defense before Festus  (Acts 25:1-12)
        1. The setting  (Acts 25:1-5)
        2. The trial  (Acts 25:6-11)
        3. The result  (Acts 25:12)
      3. Paul's defense before Agrippa  (Acts 25:13-26:32)
        1. The arrival of Agrippa  (Acts 25:13)
        2. Festus' presentation of Paul's case  (Acts 25:14-22)
        3. Festus' presentation of Paul  (Acts 25:23-27)
        4. Paul's defense before Agrippa  (Acts 26:1-23)
        5. Paul's answer to Festus  (Acts 26:24-26)
        6. Paul's interaction with Agrippa  (Acts 26:27-29)
        7. The conclusion  (Acts 26:30-32)
    3. His witness on the way to Rome  (Acts 27:1-28:15)
      1. His witness aboard ship  (Acts 27:1-44)
      2. His witness on Malta  (Acts 28:1-15)
        1. Paul's miraculous preservation  (Acts 28:1-6)
        2. Paul's healing of Publius' father  (Acts 28:7-10)
        3. Paul's continued journey toward Rome  (Acts 28:11-15)
    4. His witness in Rome  (Acts 28:16-31)
      1. The occasion for his witness  (Acts 28:16-22)
      2. The content of his witness  (Acts 28:23-28)
      3. The result of his witness  (Acts 28:29)
      4. The summary of Paul's witness in Rome  (Acts 28:30-31)
  • Hannah's Bible Outlines - Recommended Resource

PAUL'S JOURNEY TO ROME
Acts 27:1-28:16
DEPARTURE > DESTINATION MILES
Jerusalem to Caesarea 65
Caesarea to Sidon 70
Sidon to Myra 500
Myra to Cnidus 130
Cnidus to Salmone 130
Salmone to Fair Havens 80
Fair Havens to Phoenix 40
Phoenix to Cauda 50
Cauda to Malta 500+
Malta to Syracuse 85
Syracuse to Rhegium 85
Rhegium to Puteoli 200
Puteoli to Forum of Appius 100
Forum of Appius to Three Taverns 10
Three Taverns to Rome 35
Approximate Distance Traveled 2,130

Note click names of the places above that have active links to go to verse and the related map. 

Note regarding map below (click map to enlarge) - This excellent map is from the Holman Bible Atlas which is available for purchase in digital book and Hardcover/Paperback versions and is copyright © 1998 B&H Publishing Group, and is used by permission with all rights reserved. The Holman Bible Atlas is one of the best resources for Bible maps as all of the maps also include helpful short descriptions of the events portrayed. Please do not download for use on another website. Thank you.

Acts 28:1 When they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta.

NET  Acts 28:1 After we had safely reached shore, we learned that the island was called Malta.

GNT  Acts 28:1 Καὶ διασωθέντες τότε ἐπέγνωμεν ὅτι Μελίτη ἡ νῆσος καλεῖται.

NLT  Acts 28:1 Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta.

KJV  Acts 28:1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.

ESV  Acts 28:1 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta.

CSB  Acts 28:1 Once ashore, we then learned that the island was called Malta.

NIV  Acts 28:1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.

NKJ  Acts 28:1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.

NRS  Acts 28:1 After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta.

YLT  Acts 28:1 And having been saved, then they knew that the island is called Melita,

NAB  Acts 28:1 Once we had reached safety we learned that the island was called Malta.

NJB  Acts 28:1 Once we had come safely through, we discovered that the island was called Malta.

GWN  Acts 28:1 When we were safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.

BBE  Acts 28:1 And when we were safe, we made the discovery that the island was named Melita.


MYRA > MALTA
Click to Enlarge

THOROUGHLY RESCUED
FROM DANGER

When they had been brought safely through - Note the passive voice of brought safely through, this voice being referred to as the Divine Passive. In other words, they were brought safely through not by applying their nautical skills per se, but ultimately because of the sovereignty of God Who through His angel had promised

‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ (PAUL SPEAKS) “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. 26 “But we must run aground on a certain island.”  (Acts 27:24-26+)

Brought safely through (1295)(diasozo from dia = through + sozo = to save) means literally to save all the way through, i.e. completely deliver from danger and into safety (note the force of the prefix, dia); literally, "to save all the way across" to bring someone through danger and into a safe condition ("thoroughly rescued"). And so to bring to safety through danger or sickness, as in transporting someone through an ordeal to safety on the other side, a very apt picture in this passage. In Acts, Luke employed diasōzō of Paul’s “safe passage” from Jerusalem to Felix the governor (Acts 23:24). In Acts 27:43-45 diasōzō describes the “safe arrival” on land of Paul’s shipwrecked captors and companions who “escaped” the clutches of the sea (Acts 27:43,44; Acts 28:1,4). 


Malta - Click to Enlarge

Then we found out that the island was called Malta - We indicates Luke is present. As a physician myself, one has to wonder how Dr Luke reacted when he saw this serpent hanging from Paul's hand in Acts 28:3? Found out is the verb epiginosko (same verb Luke used in Acts 27:39+) which means they ascertained this specific information from the natives. 

Malta (only NT use)(3194) (Melite) is the island of Malta (the modern name) which some translations render by the old name Melita. Malta is located about 174 miles from Italy and about 56 miles due south of Sicily. Because of its many harbors, Malta was a base for east-west commerce in the Mediterranean Sea and was frequently used by ancient ships as a place to spend the winter, the time when the Mediterranean could not be navigated safely. Because of its central position in the Mediterranean Sea, the Romans made it an important naval station. The Romans took Malta from the Carthaginians in 218 b.c and it had been under Roman rule since that time.

Related Resource:

Acts 28:2  The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.

NET  Acts 28:2 The local inhabitants showed us extraordinary kindness, for they built a fire and welcomed us all because it had started to rain and was cold.

GNT  Acts 28:2 οἵ τε βάρβαροι παρεῖχον οὐ τὴν τυχοῦσαν φιλανθρωπίαν ἡμῖν, ἅψαντες γὰρ πυρὰν προσελάβοντο πάντας ἡμᾶς διὰ τὸν ὑετὸν τὸν ἐφεστῶτα καὶ διὰ τὸ ψῦχος.

NLT  Acts 28:2 The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us.

KJV  Acts 28:2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

ESV  Acts 28:2 The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.

CSB  Acts 28:2 The local people showed us extraordinary kindness, for they lit a fire and took us all in, since it was raining and cold.

NIV  Acts 28:2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

NKJ  Acts 28:2 And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.

NRS  Acts 28:2 The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us around it.

YLT  Acts 28:2 and the foreigners were shewing us no ordinary kindness, for having kindled a fire, they received us all, because of the pressing rain, and because of the cold;

NAB  Acts 28:2 The natives showed us extraordinary hospitality; they lit a fire and welcomed all of us because it had begun to rain and was cold.

NJB  Acts 28:2 The inhabitants treated us with unusual kindness. They made us all welcome by lighting a huge fire because it had started to rain and the weather was cold.

GWN  Acts 28:2 The people who lived on the island were unusually kind to us. They made a fire and welcomed all of us around it because of the rain and the cold.

BBE  Acts 28:2 And the simple people living there were uncommonly kind to us, for they made a fire for us, and took us in, because it was raining and cold.

  • natives - Ac 28:4 Ro 1:14 1Co 14:11 Col 3:11 
  • showed - Ac 27:3 Lev 19:18,34 Pr 24:11,12 Mt 10:42 Lu 10:30-37 Ro 2:14,15,27 Heb 13:2 
  • because - Ezra 10:9 Joh 18:18 2Co 11:27 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

The natives showed us extraordinary kindness - Showed is in the imperfect tense which vividly depicts these "barbarians" as repeatedly showing the 276 shipwrecked souls kind hospitality, doing so over and over, again and again. So much for the idea that a barbarian was one who was perceived to be either uncivilized or primitive. Our English word barbarian has that nuance of someone who is uncouth, uncivilized, but as explained below that is not necessarily the meaning Luke intends (a few writers differ). Again we see the providence of God bringing about the shipwreck on a isalen with kind, hospitable inhabitants! If these "barbarians" had been unfriendly their fate may have been quite different!

For (gar) - Term of explanation. In this case Paul explains the warm, unexpected hospitality of the natives. 

Because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold - The rain that had set in is in the perfect tense and more literally reads "the rain that stood upon them" which would describe a veritable downpour (it had begun in past as was continuing, it was not as if rain was impending). Remember that it is early winter, the winds are undoubtedly blowing at high speeds and they are wet from the sea and now the rain, so the wind chill factor would have been significant. 

James Smith comments that "These meteorological remarks prove that the wind was to the north of east, for if it had been a Sirocco wind (S.E.), as Bryant and others contend, it would have been hot and sultry, for such is the character of that wind in the Mediterranean even so late as the month of November. I may add, that the Sirocco seldom or never lasts more than three days." (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul)

They kindled a fire and received us all - Once again the providence of God protects and provides. Oh, to have 20/20 spiritual vision to see the manifold occurrences of His providence in our day to day life! The natives recognized the dire straits of their "accidental guests." And so the natives provided heat and hospitality. 

Natives (NIV = islanders)(915)(barbaros) originally referred to someone who was not Greek and with no negative connotation. The inhabitants spoke primarily Punic (Carthaginian), an extinct variety of the Phoenician language, a Canaanite language of the Semitic family spoken in Northwest Africa and several Mediterranean islands . Kitto writes "it merely meant “people who make noises like ‘bar bar’ instead of talking Greek." (Ro 1:14) So originally barbaros had to do with language rather than behavior, although conduct did later enter the picture (cf. the verb barbarizō). The uses in Acts (Acts 28:2, 4) clearly have no negative sense, for the natives were kind. They simply could not speak Greek. Paul alludes to the association with language writing "If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me." (1 Cor 14:11). There may be some negative overtones in Col 3:11, some suggesting here the name suggests a pattern of behavior associated with a low cultural level, however even here the primary emphasis is upon contrast to one who is Greek. 

TDNT says 

1. The basic meaning is “stammering,” “stuttering.”

2. This gives the sense “of a strange speech,” i.e., other than Greek.

3. The next development is “of a strange race,” i.e., non-Greek, Alexander’s conquests, however, helped to remove the ethnic distinction with extensive Hellenization, and hence to give the term more of a cultural nuance.

4. We thus find a further sense “wild,” “crude,” “fierce,” “uncivilized.”

5. The term takes on a positive sense when used of some barbarians (rulers and philosophers) who are highly estimated (cf. the use in the Apologists).

BDAG - (1)  focus on strangeness of language: pert. to using a language that is unintelligible to outsiders, foreign-speaking, of foreign tongue.  (2) with focus on non-Hellenic association: pertaining to not speaking Greek or participating in Greek. culture

Zodhiates adds that "The inhabitants of Melita (Malta) were called barbarians because they spoke a dialect of the Phoenician language (Acts 28:2, 4)....The Greeks generally called the Romans and Jews barbarians. The Egyptians also referred to non-Egyptians as Berbers.

Barbaros - 6x in 5v barbarian(3), barbarians(1), natives(2). - 

Acts 28:2; Acts 28:4; Rom. 1:14; 1 Co. 14:11; Col. 3:11.

Septuagint (Lxx) - Ps 113:9, Ezek 21:31.

Vincent on Barbaros From the Roman point of view, regarding all as barbarians who spoke neither Greek nor Latin. Not necessarily uncivilized. It is equivalent to foreigners. Compare Romans 1:14; 1 Corinthians 14:11. The inhabitants of Malta were of Carthaginian descent. "Even in the present day the natives of Malta have a peculiar language, termed the Maltese, which has been proved to be essentially an Arabic dialect, with an admixture of Italian" (Gloag).

Larkin adds that Malta "had been settled from Phoenician Carthage in the sixth century B.C. Though Rome had captured it from Carthage in 216 B.C. and Augustus had settled veterans and their families on it, those who met Paul at this remote bay were of the original settlers' stock. (Acts 28:1-31 Ministry at Malta and Rome)

Showed (furnished)(3930)(parecho from para = near, beside + echo = hold) literally means to have close beside, i.e. to give (offer) in a "up-close-and-personal" way. To hold out toward someone in the sense of to offer. Parecho means to "personally exert pressure to bring something forward" in a positive or negative way (in this context clearly a positive way).

Extraordinary (5177)(tugchano/tynchano) means to hit the mark, fall in line with and is used here as as a litotes, that is what one does not expect to experience or meet up with every day and thus it is used to describe of miracles as extraordinary or uncommon in Acts 19:11+ and here in Acts 28:2 tugchano is used to describe that which is unusual or unexpected hospitality.  

Kindness (5363)(philanthropia from phílos = friend or phileō = to have affection for + anthropos = man; English = philanthropy) means "a friend of humanity," a person warmly loving others, treating them with respect and in this case showing benevolence or a friendly disposition toward the shipwrecked passengers. The only other use of philanthropia is in Titus 3:4+ describing God's "love for mankind" which motivated Him to send His only begotten Son that we might believe in Him and be saved (Titus 3:5+). Luke earlier used the adverbial form philanthropos to describe the "consideration" the Roman Centurion Julius had shown to Paul in allowing him to leave the ship at Sidon and receive care from his friends. (Acts 27:3+).

Kindled (681)(hapto/haptomai) most often means to touch but can mean lighting a fire (Lk 22:55+) or lighting a lamp (Lk 8:16+, Lk 11:33+).  BDAG - to cause illumination or burning to take place. 

Fire (4443)(pura from pur = fire) refers to a pile of combustible material or the fire itself. L-N says "a pile or heap of burning material." Ony other NT is Acts 28:3 with no uses in the Septuagint. 

Liddell-Scott - any place where fire is kindled,  1. a funeral-pyre,  2. a mound raised on the place of the pyre, 3. an altar for burnt sacrifice :-also the fire burning thereon

Received (4355)(proslambano from prós = toward + lambáno= to take) literally means to take to oneself with strong personal interest. In the present context it means the native accepted the presence of the shipwreck victims with friendliness, welcoming them with hospitably. (cf Ro 14:1, 3, Ro 15:7, Philemon 1:17). 


FROM ANECDOTES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE NT - Africaner, the Banditti Chief - "And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness"—Acts 28:2
When Moffat was on his way to the kraal of Africaner—the kraal of the most dreaded outlaw and "banditti chief 'on the colonial border, the farmers at whose houses he was entertained en route assured him that Africaner would no more think of taking his life than he would of slaying a zebra or an antelope. One said the outlaw chieftain would set him up for a mark for his young men to shoot their arrows at; another, that he would strip off his skin and make a drum of it to dance to; another, that he would strike his head from his body, and use his skull for a drinking-cup; and one motherly old lady, wiping the tears from her eyes as she bade him farewell, said," Had you been an old man it would have been nothing, for you would soon have died, whether or no, but you are young, and are going to be eaten by that monster!"
Undeterred, however, by these reports, at length Moffat arrived, and found that though the appearance of things was somewhat discouraging, the chief was not so formidable as he had been pictured by the fears of the planters.
Before very long the chieftain Africaner became devotedly attached to the young missionary. He was regular as the sun at the daily service, and would sometimes spend the whole day sitting alone in the shadow of some great rock reading the Dutch New Testament. Many nights until dawn he sat conversing with the missionary. Brother Titus also became a friend and a silent hearer of the Gospel. But Titus had two wives, neither of whom he was minded to part with, and as Moffat's monogamist views were more strict than those of Colenso, his baptism did not take place. "Yet he admitted," said Moffat, "that a man with two wives is not a man to be envied." The elder brother nursed Mr. Moffat through a dangerous illness with his own hands, and the outlaw became not only a consistent but an eminent Christian. Dr. Moffat with subtle modesty ascribes Africaner's conversion to a dream—a dream of a hot precipice belching fire and of a Saving One who stood on a green mound. Of the reality and effect of this dream we cannot doubt, but deem it to have been suggested by some of the long, loving talks between the two of which the "Pilgrim's Progress" was the theme. When Moffat asked Africaner what was his interpretation of the dream, he said, with great simplicity: "I thought the path was the narrow road leading from destruction to safety, from hell to heaven; the stranger I supposed to be that Saviour of whom I had heard, and long were my thoughts occupied in trying to discover when and how I was to pass along the burning path;" then, with tears in his eyes, he added, "Thank God, I have passed."

Acts 28:3  But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.

NET  Acts 28:3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.

GNT  Acts 28:3 συστρέψαντος δὲ τοῦ Παύλου φρυγάνων τι πλῆθος καὶ ἐπιθέντος ἐπὶ τὴν πυράν, ἔχιδνα ἀπὸ τῆς θέρμης ἐξελθοῦσα καθῆψεν τῆς χειρὸς αὐτοῦ.

NLT  Acts 28:3 As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand.

KJV  Acts 28:3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

ESV  Acts 28:3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.

CSB  Acts 28:3 As Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself to his hand.

NIV  Acts 28:3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.

NKJ  Acts 28:3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

NRS  Acts 28:3 Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, when a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.

YLT  Acts 28:3 but Paul having gathered together a quantity of sticks, and having laid them upon the fire, a viper -- out of the heat having come -- did fasten on his hand.

NAB  Acts 28:3 Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire when a viper, escaping from the heat, fastened on his hand.

NJB  Acts 28:3 Paul had collected a bundle of sticks and was putting them on the fire when a viper brought out by the heat attached itself to his hand.

GWN  Acts 28:3 Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire. The heat forced a poisonous snake out of the brushwood. The snake bit Paul's hand and wouldn't let go.

BBE  Acts 28:3 But when Paul had got some sticks together and put them on the fire, a snake came out, because of the heat, and gave him a bite on the hand.

  • came - Job 20:16 Isa 30:6 41:24 59:5 Mt 3:7 12:34 23:33 
  • fastened - Ac 28:4 Am 5:19 2Co 6:9 11:23 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

VENOMOUS
SNAKE BITE

But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire - Notice Paul humbly and willingly pitches in and the word bundle (plethos) means a great number, no just one or two twigs! This would allow a small viper to easily be camouflaged as a dry branch. Sticks (phruganon) refers to dry branches or broken shrubs suitable for firewood. As the great spiritual example he was, he never asked others to do what he himself was not willing to do. And here he shows us his servant's heart. As noted above the word for fire (pura) refers to a pile of combustible material. Apparently the viper was in the bundle Paul placed on the fire. 

Larkin Jesus and Paul modeled the "character of authority as service" (Lk 22:25-27+)...No act of service for the health and well-being of others was too menial for him or his Master, nor should it be for us. (Acts 28:1-31 Ministry at Malta and Rome

THOUGHT - Is there any service at your church you consider to be "below you," too menial for you to "roll up your sleeves?" If so (and we probably all have a few things on this list), then consider the Master's words For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Of course, we cannot be a ransom for anyone (Ps 49:7), but we can be a servant to everyone!

A viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand - It is interesting that skeptics object to the veracity of this description because modern Malta has little wood and no vipers! However Lewin as late as 1853 believes that he saw a viper near St. Paul's Bay. One reason there may be no vipers today is that Malta is one of the most densely populated regions in the world which would give snakes little chance of survival. Wikipedia says "With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 122 sq mi, Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country." 

Lawrence of Arabia relates a similar experience writing that "When the fire grew hot a long black snake wound slowly out into our group; we must have gathered it, torpid, with the twigs" (Lawrence 1927:107).

Viper (2191)(echidna) was literally an adder or other poisonous snake and this is the only passage it is used of a literal snake. The other 4 NT uses of echidna figuratively describe the Pharisees (Mt. 3:7; Mt. 12:34; Mt. 23:33; Lk. 3:7) because their incisive words delivered deadly venom, especially from a spiritual perspective.  Echidna referred to small poisonous snakes (small size explains why Paul would not have immediately seen it intermixed with the large bundle of twigs and branches). In fact because these vipers looked like a dried twig when they were still, a person collecting wood for a fire could easily often pick one up inadvertently and be bitten. Clearly this viper was not a "garden snake" but a snake whose bite the natives knew had the potential to usually kill a man. This also helps us understand why Jesus and John the Baptizer referred to the Pharisees as "vipers," for they too were not only deceitful (camouflaged or "disguised" as "righteous" men) but their words were like a viper's deadly venom, for they were falsely teaching a works based righteousness which would kill a man's soul and take them to eternal hell fires

NOTE - In Greek mythology, Echidna was a monster, half-woman and half-snake, who lived alone in a cave. She was the mate of the fearsome monster Typhon and was the mother of monsters, including many of the most famous monsters of Greek myth. It is incredible that the intelligent Greeks would so reject the natural revelation of the Creator that they would concoct the most fanciful, absurd machinations of so-called deities that they would then bow down to and worship. This is a frightening thought because it shows what happens when God gives men over to their own depraved desires, men who knew Him but refused to honor Him as described by Paul.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who (ACTIVELY, INTENTIONALLY, WILLFULLY) suppress the truth (ABOUT GOD) in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations (GREEK MYTHOLOGY!), and their foolish heart was darkened (DIVINE DARKENING! RETRIBUTIVE DIVINE JUSTICE!). 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, (ALLOWED BY GOD!) 23 and (ACTIVELY, VOLITIONALLY) exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image (LOOK AT THIS HORRID IMAGE OF "ECHIDNA" HALF HUMAN, HALF SERPENT!") in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.  24 Therefore God gave them over (TO GIVE INTO THE POWER OF ANOTHER!) in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. (Ro 1:18-24+)

Robertson notes that "Ramsay thinks that the small constrictor (Coronella Austriaca) which still exists in the island may be the "viper," though it has no poison fangs, but clings and bites. The natives thought that it was a poisonous viper."

Comment - I will favor the impression of first hand witnesses over Ramsay writing over 1800 years later! Notice the reaction of the natives in Acts 28:4 which leaves little doubt (in my mind) that this viper was venomous! James Smith (The Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul ) adds "My lamented friend, the late Rev. Dr. Landsborough, in his interesting excursions in Arran, has repeatedly noticed the gradual disappearance of the viper from that island since it has become more frequented....Perhaps there is nowhere a surface of equal extent in so artificial a state as that of Malta is at the present day, and nowhere has the aboriginal forest been more completely cleared; but it by no means follows that this was the case when St. Luke wrote. Indeed, there are traditions and other indications of former woods in the island. We need not, therefore, be surprised that with the disappearance of the woods, the noxious reptiles which infested them should also have disappeared." 

Fastened (2510)(kathapto from kata = intensifies +  hapto = touch) means to take hold of, to seize, fasten on (hostilely), to sink the fangs into one's skin! In short it described a vicious bite and was so used in medical terminology. 

Gilbrant comments "The viper is a poisonous snake, and many writers take notice of the fact that there are no vipers on Malta today. Some even try to imply that the Bible must be wrong here. However, Malta is a small island and the people eventually got rid of the vipers after Paul's day. The historical facts in the Bible have been vindicated and confirmed so many times that it has been proven the mistakes are in the critics, not in the Bible. Even when there seems to be no answer to the allegations of the critics, the best thing is to hold steady. Time is the best judge." (Complete Biblical Library – Acts)

Acts 28:4  When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, "Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live."

NET  Acts 28:4 When the local people saw the creature hanging from Paul's hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer! Although he has escaped from the sea, Justice herself has not allowed him to live!"

GNT  Acts 28:4 ὡς δὲ εἶδον οἱ βάρβαροι κρεμάμενον τὸ θηρίον ἐκ τῆς χειρὸς αὐτοῦ, πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἔλεγον, Πάντως φονεύς ἐστιν ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος ὃν διασωθέντα ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης ἡ δίκη ζῆν οὐκ εἴασεν.

NLT  Acts 28:4 The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, "A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live."

KJV  Acts 28:4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

ESV  Acts 28:4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live."

CSB  Acts 28:4 When the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "This man is probably a murderer, and though he has escaped the sea, Justice does not allow him to live!"

NIV  Acts 28:4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live."

NKJ  Acts 28:4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live."

NRS  Acts 28:4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "This man must be a murderer; though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live."

YLT  Acts 28:4 And when the foreigners saw the beast hanging from his hand, they said unto one another, 'Certainly this man is a murderer, whom, having been saved out of the sea, the justice did not suffer to live;'

NAB  Acts 28:4 When the natives saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "This man must certainly be a murderer; though he escaped the sea, Justice has not let him remain alive."

NJB  Acts 28:4 When the inhabitants saw the creature hanging from his hand they said to one another, 'That man must be a murderer; he may have escaped the sea, but divine justice would not let him live.'

GWN  Acts 28:4 When the people who lived on the island saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer! He may have escaped from the sea, but justice won't let him live."

BBE  Acts 28:4 And when the people saw it hanging on his hand, they said to one another, Without doubt this man has put someone to death, and though he has got safely away from the sea, God will not let him go on living.

  • natives - Ac 28:2 
  • creature - Ac 28:5 Ge 3:1 Isa 13:21,22 43:20 Zep 2:15 
  • Undoubtedly - Lu 13:2,4 Joh 7:24 9:1,2 
  • a murderer - Ge 4:8-11 9:5,6 42:21,22 Nu 35:31-34 Pr 28:17 Isa 26:21 Mt 23:35 27:25 Rev 21:8 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

NATIVES CONCLUDE THE GODDESS
"JUSTICE" EXECUTED PAUL

When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand - Image this dramatic scene of a snake dangling from Paul's hand! Clearly they perceived the viper's fangs would have enabled injection of deadly poison. As an aside this event has nothing to do with "they will pick up serpents" (Mark 16:18). Paul did not deliberately pick up this serpent!  Gilbrant adds "Early Christians certainly did not go around picking up snakes. In fact, in Mark's context, the picking up of snakes is presented as something very unlikely."

Larkin comments that "The islanders, steeped in an animistic worldview, thought of the gods as using the forces of nature, especially storm and sea, for retributive justice. They interpreted Paul's snakebite as the work of the goddess "Justice" against Paul, who must be a murderer. In a Greek epigram Statyllius Flaccus (ORIGINAL QUOTE BELOW) tells of a mariner who escaped the whirlwind and fury of the deadly sea, only to be slain by a viper on the Libyan sand (Greek Anthology 7.290)." The islanders were following the conventional wisdom: "bad things happen to bad people." Yet Paul's innocence (Acts 23:29; Acts 26:31) encourages Luke's readers and us to take a second look at the significance of this snakebite. At the very least, it calls into question the adequacy of any worldview that solves the problem of evil in such a mechanistic fashion.(Acts 28:1-31 Ministry at Malta and Rome)

STATYLLIUS FLACCUS - The shipwrecked mariner had escaped the whirlwind and the fury of the deadly sea, and as he was on the Libyan sand not far from the beach, deep in his last sleep, naked and exhausted by the unhappy wreck, a baneful (exceedingly harmful) viper slew him. Whe did he struggle with the waves in vain, escaping then the fate that was his lot on the land" (The Greek Anthology, Volume 2)

Creature (2342) see below for therionAristotle and the medical writers apply the word to venomous serpents, the viper in particular. 

Hanging (2910)(kremannumi) means literally to hang something (in Acts 5:30 implying the Cross as stated in Acts 10:39, also Lk 23:39+). In Mt 18:6 Jesus describes a "heavy millstone...hung around his neck," referring to anyone who cause one of the little ones who believe in Him to stumble. Here of course it describes the poisonous viper "hanging from" Paul's hand (Acts 28:4). 

They began saying to one another - Saying is the vivid imperfect tense which pictures them speaking to each other again and again. The imperfect tense dramatically re-enacts this action as repeated or as prolonged.  The readers can vividly imagine the action in keeping with the context. One can see them pointing at the viper on Paul's hand as they speak, waiting for him to drop dead! "That the snake was indeed poisonous, although it did not behave as expected, should be our conclusion based on the islanders' eyewitness reaction. We should expect them to know their snakes." (Larkin)

Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved (see diasozo above) from the sea - Somehow the natives must have known Paul was a prisoner (did he have chains on? did he have marks from chains?) Undoubtedly (pantos) means certainly, doubtless, by all means and speaks of a strong assumption, in this case Paul was assumed guilty! They saw him as a condemned and now "executed" man who had taken someone's life, and for that crime, lady "Justice" had required his life according to their pagan worldview.

THOUGHT - Note that pagans (today anyone not born again, not a believer in Jesus Christ) although ignorant or rebellious to the fact that God is a God of perfect justice, nevertheless have an inner sense of justice among men! One recalls Paul's description of all pagans (he  refers to them as "Gentiles") in Romans 2 - "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law (AS OPPOSED TO JEWS WHO HAVE THE LAW) do instinctively the things of the Law (LIKE THESE NATIVES ON MALTA WHO THINK PAUL IS GUILTY OF MURDER), these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts (GOD HAS PLACED A "MORAL COMPASS" WITH AN INNATE SENSE OF JUSTICE IN EVERY MAN), their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them," (Ro 2:14-15+)

Murderer (5406)(phoneus from phoneuo = to kill) means one who takes another person's life. It is apparently distinct from the killing of animal or plant life or even the unavoidable or judicial taking of human life. A murderer is one who deliberately takes the life of another human being for personal and evil reasons. This is the word used of Barabbas (Acts 3:14+).

Page comments that "They knew that he was a prisoner being taken to Rome on some grave charge, and inferred that the charge was murder."

Justice has not allowed him to live - They see Paul as a man who is as good as dead! The natives took the snakebite as proof that he was guilty. Robertson says this is "poor philosophy and worse theology!" NET has "Justice herself has not allowed him to live!"

Notice these native residents clearly recognized this viper bite as certain death for Paul, in fact already describing him as dead even though he was still alive! That is how sure they were of what was about to transpire. This was no non-venomous snake in the eyes of these indigenous natives! 

Vincent His death is regarded as fixed by the divine decree.

Justice (1349) (dike) means right, especially referring to a judicial verdict declaring someone approved or disapproved. It was a legal decision and included the penalty or punishment (penal justice). Dike refers to the sentence of eternal punishment handed down by God to unbelievers on the day of judgment. In pagan belief the name Dike referred to the mythological goddess of justice. She is depicted as a young, slender woman carrying a physical balance scale and wearing a laurel wreath (See depiction above). She is represented in the constellation Libra which is named for the Latin name of her symbol (Scales). Thayer writes that dike here is "“the goddess Justice, avenging justice." 

Zodhiates adds that "Originally díkē meant manner, tendency. Gradually it became the designation for the right of established custom or usage. The basic meaning of the word involves the assertion by human society of a certain standard expected by its people which, if not kept, can bring forth ensuing judgment (ED: LIKE THAT WHICH THE NATIVES ASSUMED WOULD BEFALL PAUL). Thus it can be said that díkē is expected behavior or conformity, not according to one's own standard, but according to an imposed standard with prescribed punishment for nonconformity. It refers to legitimate custom." (Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament)

NET Note on Justice says the pagans are referring to "the goddess Justice (who) has not allowed him to live. BDAG states, "Justice personified as a deity in Acts 28:4"; Louw-Nida has "a goddess who personifies justice in seeking out and punishing the guilty - 'the goddess Justice.' 'the goddess Justice would not let him live' Acts 28:4." Although a number of modern English translations have rendered (dike) "justice," preferring to use an abstraction, in the original setting it is almost certainly a reference to a pagan deity. In the NET translation, the noun "justice" was capitalized and the reflexive pronoun "herself" was supplied to make the personification clear. This was considered preferable to supplying a word like 'goddess' in connection with dike.

Gilbrant on the native's "verdict" on Paul - They were like the friends of Job who thought any trouble or misery was always judgment (E.G., READ ELIPHAZ'S ERRONEOUS ANALYSIS - Jon 4:6-9ff, BILDAD'S BAD ANALYSIS Job 8:1-22.

Related Resources:


Swindoll applies this passage - The natives who observed the incident jumped to a conclusion both cruel and inaccurate. Instantly they judged that Paul’s calamity proved his guilt.  Interestingly, even though these barbarians (the actual Greek term) lacked education and refined culture, they possessed an inner standard of justice. They leapt to an instantaneous (albeit incorrect) opinion: “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer.” To them the vicious snakebite represented justice getting her due.  There is something amazingly relevant about this episode. A “punishment” mind-set is not limited to rough islanders in the Mediterranean. Heathen tribespeople aren’t the only ones who jump to the erroneous conclusion that those who suffer are simply getting what they deserve. This “calamity-is-proof- of-guilt” attitude lives on with us today, a blunder as old as time itself. The classic case in Scripture is Job. Here was an upright man who worked hard, dealt honestly with people, reared a fine family, and walked with his God. Then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a whirlwind of multiple tragedies drove the man to his knees. This “calamity-is-proof-of-guilt” attitude lives on with us today . . . It was bad enough to lose his livestock and all other means of income, but on top of that he lost each one of his children, and finally . . . his health. With hardly a moment between these calamities to catch his breath and gain a measure of equilibrium, Job was reduced to a painful hulk of humanity, covered from head to toe with oozing skin ulcers. Exit: compassion. Enter: thoughtless counselors of blame. One man after another pointed a long, bony finger into the face of the sufferer, frowning at him with condemning words and advising him to confess his guilt. In effect, each one said, “You’re getting what you deserve.” The confrontational dialogue contained in the ancient Book of Job is remarkably relevant. Who knows? Maybe it flashed across Paul’s mind when he heard, “Undoubtedly, this man is a murderer. Justice has not allowed him to live!” I wish there were some way for sufferers to be delivered from such unjust and unfair criticism, but I know of none. It is painful enough to endure the severe blows of life, isn’t it? But when words of condemnation based on superstition and prejudice bite into us, the venom is almost more than we can bear.  (Start Where You Are)

Acts 28:5  However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.

NET  Acts 28:5 However, Paul shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.

GNT  Acts 28:5 ὁ μὲν οὖν ἀποτινάξας τὸ θηρίον εἰς τὸ πῦρ ἔπαθεν οὐδὲν κακόν,

NLT  Acts 28:5 But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed.

KJV  Acts 28:5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

ESV  Acts 28:5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

CSB  Acts 28:5 However, he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.

NIV  Acts 28:5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.

NKJ  Acts 28:5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

NRS  Acts 28:5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

YLT  Acts 28:5 he then, indeed, having shaken off the beast into the fire, suffered no evil,

NAB  Acts 28:5 But he shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no harm.

NJB  Acts 28:5 However, he shook the creature off into the fire and came to no harm,

GWN  Acts 28:5 Paul shook the snake into the fire and wasn't harmed.

BBE  Acts 28:5 But shaking off the beast into the fire, he got no damage.

  • suffered no harm - Nu 21:6-9 Ps 91:13 Mk 16:18 Lu 10:19 Joh 3:14,15 Ro 16:20 Rev 9:3,4 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm - Luke records no evidence of Paul's panicking, getting excited or even crying out (the initial bit must have hurt)! Notice that in suffered no harm the word for "no" signifies absolute negation -- Paul experienced absolutely no harmful sequela from the viper's bite. 

Larkin In a very matter-of-fact way Paul shook the snake off and suffered no ill effects. Thus he proved true Jesus' promise to his messengers (Lk 10:19+; compare Ps 91:13). Still, suffering no harm is the exception, not the rule, for Christian disciples in general and for Paul in particular (Acts 14:22+; Acts 9:16+). (Ibid)

No (3762)(oudeis) is composed of three words combined to make one strong affirmation. Ou is the negative adverb used primarily with the indicative, the mood of affirmation and reality and is an unequivocal negative. This ou is combined with the conjunction de  or oude which means “not even” (Mt 6:29) and thirdly the numeral heis which is the lowest possible number "one." Thus this compound negative affirms no one, not even to the number of one. E.g., see oudeis in Mt 6:24. 

Oudeis is used over 200x in the NT - 

Matt. 5:13; 6:24; 8:10; 9:16; 10:26; 11:27; 17:8,20; 20:7; 21:19; 22:16,46; 23:16,18; 24:36; 27:24; Mk. 2:21-22; 3:27; 5:3-4,37; 6:5; 7:12,15,24; 9:8,29,39; 10:18,29; 11:2,13; 12:14,34; 13:32; 15:5; 16:8; Lk. 1:61; 4:2,24,26-27; 5:5,36-37,39; 7:28; 8:16,43; 9:36,62; 10:19,22; 11:33; 12:2; 14:24; 15:16; 16:13; 18:19,29,34; 19:30; 20:40; 22:35; 23:4,9,14-15,22,41,53; Jn. 1:18; 3:2,13,27,32; 4:27; 5:19,22,30; 6:44,63,65; 7:4,13,19,26-27,30,44; 8:10-11,15,20,28,33,54; 9:4,33; 10:18,29,41; 11:49; 12:19; 13:28; 14:6,30; 15:5,13,24; 16:5,22,24; 17:12; 18:9,20,31,38; 19:4,11,41; 21:3,12; Acts 4:12,14; 5:13,23,36; 8:16; 9:8; 15:9; 17:21; 18:10,17; 19:27; 20:20,24,33; 21:24; 23:9; 25:10-11; 26:22,26,31; 27:22,34; 28:5,17; Rom. 8:1; 14:7,14; 1 Co. 1:14; 2:8,11,15; 3:11; 4:4; 6:5; 7:19; 8:4; 9:15; 12:3; 13:2-3; 14:2,10; 2 Co. 5:16; 7:2,5; 11:9; 12:11; Gal. 2:6; 3:11,15; 4:12; 5:2,10; Eph. 5:29; Phil. 1:20; 2:20; 4:15; 1 Tim. 4:4; 6:7,16; 2 Tim. 2:4,14; 4:16; Tit. 1:15; Phlm. 1:14; Heb. 2:8; 6:13; 7:13-14,19; 12:14; Jas. 1:13; 3:8; 1 Jn. 1:5; 4:12; Rev. 2:17; 3:7-8,17; 5:3-4; 7:9; 14:3; 15:8; 18:11; 19:12

Shook off (660) (apotinasso from apo = from + tinasso = to shake) means literally to shake off something in order to get rid of it, speaking of dust in Lk 9:6 and a viper in the only other NT use in this passage. 

Creature (2342)(therion from ther = wild beast) means dangerous animal, venomous, wild beast,  ferocious, dangerous, savage, brutal.  Can include tame species as in Heb 12:20. Figuratively in Titus 1:12 therion means behaving like a wild beast as one does when living solely on the level of sensual appetites and passions. Such people are malicious and often savage and rapacious. In the Septuagint this is never used of sacrificial animals. Notice frequency in Revelation, where it is used repeatedly to refer to the Antichrist. 

Therion - 45x in 38v - beast(38), beasts(2), creature(2), wild beasts(3).

Mk. 1:13; Acts 11:6; Acts 28:4; Acts 28:5; Tit. 1:12; Heb. 12:20; Jas. 3:7; Rev. 6:8; Rev. 11:7; Rev. 13:1; Rev. 13:2; Rev. 13:3; Rev. 13:4; Rev. 13:11; Rev. 13:12; Rev. 13:14; Rev. 13:15; Rev. 13:17; Rev. 13:18; Rev. 14:9; Rev. 14:11; Rev. 15:2; Rev. 16:2; Rev. 16:10; Rev. 16:13; Rev. 17:3; Rev. 17:7; Rev. 17:8; Rev. 17:11; Rev. 17:12; Rev. 17:13; Rev. 17:16; Rev. 17:17; Rev. 19:19; Rev. 19:20; Rev. 20:4; Rev. 20:10

Suffered (3958) (pascho) means to experience a sensation or suffer pain and in this context with the implication of physical suffering. 

Harm (2556)(kakos) in this context means damaging or harmful. Uses in Acts - Acts 9:13; Acts 16:28; Acts 23:9; Acts 28:5. 

Acts 28:6  But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

NET  Acts 28:6 But they were expecting that he was going to swell up or suddenly drop dead. So after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

GNT  Acts 28:6 οἱ δὲ προσεδόκων αὐτὸν μέλλειν πίμπρασθαι ἢ καταπίπτειν ἄφνω νεκρόν. ἐπὶ πολὺ δὲ αὐτῶν προσδοκώντων καὶ θεωρούντων μηδὲν ἄτοπον εἰς αὐτὸν γινόμενον μεταβαλόμενοι ἔλεγον αὐτὸν εἶναι θεόν.

NLT  Acts 28:6 The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn't harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.

KJV  Acts 28:6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

ESV  Acts 28:6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

CSB  Acts 28:6 They expected that he would swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after they waited a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

NIV  Acts 28:6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

NKJ  Acts 28:6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

NRS  Acts 28:6 They were expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after they had waited a long time and saw that nothing unusual had happened to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

YLT  Acts 28:6 and they were expecting him to be about to be inflamed, or to fall down suddenly dead, and they, expecting it a long time, and seeing nothing uncommon happening to him, changing their minds, said he was a god.

NAB  Acts 28:6 They were expecting him to swell up or suddenly to fall down dead but, after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

NJB  Acts 28:6 although they were expecting him at any moment to swell up or drop dead on the spot. After they had waited a long time without seeing anything out of the ordinary happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say he was a god.

GWN  Acts 28:6 The people were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after they had waited a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

BBE  Acts 28:6 But they had the idea that they would see him becoming ill, or suddenly falling down dead; but after waiting a long time, and seeing that no damage came to him, changing their opinion, they said he was a god.

  • to say - Ac 12:22 14:11-13 Mt 21:9 27:22 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FIRST A MURDERER!
NOW A "GOD"!

Talk about the changing tide of opinion! This was a 180 degree about face! Robertson quips "So fickle is popular favour."

But - Term of contrast. 

They were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead "Expecting him to be about (or that he was about) to swell up." Expecting is in the imperfect tense vividly picturing the natives attentively watching him expecting he would soon fall over dead -- one can picture them looking at Paul, then each other, then back at Paul in wonder and amazement. Venomous snake bites can produce an array of symptoms, including localized pain and swelling, convulsions, nausea, paralysis and death. The natives assumed these sequela were about to transpire and in fact take his life!

Expecting (4328)(prosdokao from prós = towards - adds idea of “mental direction + dokáo = look for denoting direction of one's mind toward something) means literally to look forward toward, to wait for, to look for, to anticipate. It means to give thought to something that is in the future and the context indicates whether one does this looking/waiting in a hopeful sense, with a longing, with fear (wait with anxiety, live in suspense), or in a neutral state of mind. It describes the attitude saints should have as anticipating, waiting with watchfulness, being in expectation.

Vincent has an interesting note on prosdokao writing that it was "Frequent in medical writers, to denote expectation of the fatal result of illness."

Swell up (only NT use)(4092)(pimpremi) in passive means to set on fire, and figuratively to become inflamed and become swollen and/or burn with fever. The natives must have seen the dramatic reaction to this viper's bite. In classical Greek pimpremi came to indicate the inflammation of wounds and the swelling associated with them. It was a medical term. The related verb is used in Nu 5:21 where a woman who had been accused of adultery (without proof) was to pronounce a curse on herself and if it was true her "thigh (would) waste away and (her) abdomen (would) swell (Lxx - pimpremi - also used in Nu 5:27 = "abdomen will swell")

Fall down (2667)(katapipto from katá = down + pípto = to fall) to fall down from the effects of the viper's bite. The only other use describes Paul and his party on the way to Damascus prostrating themselves at the vision of "light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with" Paul (Acts 26:14+). In Ps 145:15 we see "The LORD sustains all who fall (Lxx = katapipto)."  The only other use in the Septuagint is Neh 8:11. 

But after they had waited (prosdokao) a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him - KJV = "saw no harm come to him" is more literally "nothing out of place" (meden atopon). Vincent adds that the word (atopos) was "Used by physicians to denote something unusual in the symptoms of disease, and also something fatal or deadly as here." Clearly the natives expected Paul would suffer harm from the viper. Why else would Luke record this statement?

Unusual (824)(atopos from a = without + topos = place) means literally having no place, out of place or out of the ordinary and hence unusual, unexpected, surprising. In this context it means nothing amiss, strange, out of line and thus nothing injurious. Only 4x in NT - Lk. 23:41; Acts 25:5; Acts 28:6; 2 Th 3:2. 

Had seen (2334)(theoreo from theaomai = to look at closely or attentively or contemplatively - even with a sense of wonder from theorós  = spectator, one looks at thing with interest and purpose) indicates the rapt attention like a spectator at an athletic context. Vincent says the idea is "looking steadfastly, as one who has an interest in the object, and with a view to search into and understand it: to look inquiringly and intently." 

They changed their minds and began to say that he was a god - The changing winds of public opinion. The murderer is now a god! No he is not a god, but the truth is once again he was protected by God. 

Bengel "Observe the fickleness of human reasoning. He is either an assassin, say they, or a god."

Larkin The islanders' about-face shows the power of a worldview for interpreting experience—and how a non-Christian worldview often won't "get it right." Those who have a non-Christian worldview and observe a "witness in sign" are likely to misconstrue what is happening unless an interpretation, a "witness in word," is provided. Even then, unless the Lord opens the heart (cf Acts 16:14+) to understand the gospel witness, the miraculous sign will not serve to point unambiguously to the power of Jesus the Savior. The Maltese are not alone in misinterpreting a "witness in sign" (Acts 2:12-13+; Acts 3:12+; Acts 8:18-21+; Acts 14:11-18+; Acts 19:13-16+). And today Luke calls the "signs and wonders" movement to reckon with this ambiguity and aim to make the Spirit-empowered, Spirit-illuminating proclamation of the gospel message central to any "power encounter." (Ibid)

Changed their minds (3328)(metaballo from meta = change of place or condition + bállo = to cast, put) means to throw or turn over as with a plow, to change. In this only NT it is in the middle voice meaning to change oneself, and so think differently than before. Robertson on metaballo - "to turn about or around, turning themselves about, changing their minds. Plato uses this very verb in middle voice for changing the mind."

Metaballo in the Septuagint

Exod. 7:17; Exod. 7:20; Exod. 10:19; Lev. 13:3; Lev. 13:4; Lev. 13:7; Lev. 13:10; Lev. 13:13; Lev. 13:16; Lev. 13:17; Lev. 13:20; Lev. 13:25; Lev. 13:55; Jos. 7:8; Jos. 8:21; Est. 5:1; Job 10:8; Job 10:16; Job 11:19; Isa. 13:8; Isa. 29:22; Isa. 60:5; Hab. 1:11

This scene recalls the virtually opposite reaction of the people in Lystra where Paul was initially given the status of the God Hermes (or Mercury to the Romans) (Acts 14:13+) only be stoned by the same people a few hours later (Acts 14:19+, read full account Acts 14:11-19+). As A T Robertson quipped "So fickle is popular favor!" 

Swindoll applies this change of opinions to our lives - It is quite possible that your situation has been intensified by a similar reversal of opinion. You once knew success. You had the respect of others. You were in demand: a competent, admired, highly honored individual who drank daily from the well of fresh praise. But how things have changed! You now find yourself “shelved” and virtually passed by, perhaps even hated. Your world has suffered a head-on collision, and you’re bloody from smashing through the windshield of reversed reputation. Those who once quoted you now criticize you. “So fickle is popular favor.” Full recovery, I remind you, calls for a healing that takes time—and unfortunately, it cannot occur without leaving some scars. Yet the Holy Spirit, who knows so well the contents of our hearts, can transform even scar tissue into the muscle of faith. (Start Where You Are)

Acts 28:7  Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days.

NET  Acts 28:7 Now in the region around that place were fields belonging to the chief official of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably as guests for three days.

GNT  Acts 28:7 Ἐν δὲ τοῖς περὶ τὸν τόπον ἐκεῖνον ὑπῆρχεν χωρία τῷ πρώτῳ τῆς νήσου ὀνόματι Ποπλίῳ, ὃς ἀναδεξάμενος ἡμᾶς τρεῖς ἡμέρας φιλοφρόνως ἐξένισεν.

NLT  Acts 28:7 Near the shore where we landed was an estate belonging to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us and treated us kindly for three days.

KJV  Acts 28:7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.

ESV  Acts 28:7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days.

CSB  Acts 28:7 Now in the area around that place was an estate belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days.

NIV  Acts 28:7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably.

NKJ  Acts 28:7 In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days.

NRS  Acts 28:7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days.

YLT  Acts 28:7 And in the neighbourhood of that place were lands of the principal man of the island, by name Publius, who, having received us, three days did courteously lodge us;

NAB  Acts 28:7 In the vicinity of that place were lands belonging to a man named Publius, the chief of the island. He welcomed us and received us cordially as his guests for three days.

NJB  Acts 28:7 In that neighbourhood there were estates belonging to the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius. He received us and entertained us hospitably for three days.

GWN  Acts 28:7 A man named Publius, who was the governor of the island, had property around the area. He welcomed us and treated us kindly, and for three days we were his guests.

BBE  Acts 28:7 Now near that place there was some land, the property of the chief man of the island, who was named Publius; who very kindly took us into his house as his guests for three days.

  • the leading man - Ac 13:7 18:12 23:24 
  • who - Ac 28:2 Mt 10:40,41 Lu 19:6-9 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius - Publius (of Latin origin, apparently "popular") was the chief man or the governor of Malta. Literally he was "the principal man of the island."

Gilbrant on Publius' position - There is evidence that he held his office under the governor of Sicily, and as the chief Roman official on the island he would be responsible for any Roman soldiers and their prisoners who might come there.

NET Note on the leading man...PubliusThat is, the chief Roman official. Several inscriptions have confirmed the use of πρῶτος (prōtos) as an administrative title used on the island of Malta for the highest Roman official.

Larkin on the leading man (to prototes nesou) - Chief official of the island: Hemer's (1985:100) analysis of Maltese inscriptions shows that ho protos tes nesou refers not to the Roman procurator, who was over both Gozo and Malta, but to the chief local magistrate of Malta (the principal island of the two). Publius, the official's first name, was used either because of local custom or because of the relationship he developed with the survivors (Longenecker 1981:564). Though some say that us may refer only to Paul and his Christian companions (Polhill 1992:533), the size of the estate, its servant staff and the limited time involved may indicate that the entire group was accommodated (Williams 1985:445). (Ibid)

Robertson on leading man (protos) - An inscription in Malta calls Prudens "Primate of the Maltese" (prōtos Melitaiōn). Here it is plainly a title and not the common use seen in Acts 13:50; Acts 25:2; Acts 28:17.

Who welcomed us (324)(anadechomai from aná = up or emphatic + dechomai = receive kindly, accept deliberately and readily) properly means to receive up to the limit (maximum) and figuratively to welcome with gladness (openness), i.e. full, personal interest (open-heartedly, enthusiastically). Publius received them kindly as one would receive a guest. The only other NT use is Hebrews 11:17 ("received the promises.") Don't  miss the fact that anadechomai is in the middle voice which speaks of the high self-involvement (personal interest) of Publius in welcoming hospitably the shipwreck victims.

Entertained (3579)(xenizo) means he received them as guest and showed them hospitality. 

Courteously three days - Courteously is philophronos (philos - friend + phroneo = to think) is literally, acting from a mind-set of personal affection and thus means in a friendly state of mind, in a friendly manner, affectionately, hospitably. This is clearly far more than would have been either expected or necessary. So once again we see the Providence of God place a man (Publius) in place to take of the needs of Paul and those with him. 

Acts 28:8  And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.

NET  Acts 28:8 The father of Publius lay sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and after praying, placed his hands on him and healed him.

GNT  Acts 28:8 ἐγένετο δὲ τὸν πατέρα τοῦ Ποπλίου πυρετοῖς καὶ δυσεντερίῳ συνεχόμενον κατακεῖσθαι, πρὸς ὃν ὁ Παῦλος εἰσελθὼν καὶ προσευξάμενος ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῷ ἰάσατο αὐτόν.

NLT  Acts 28:8 As it happened, Publius's father was ill with fever and dysentery. Paul went in and prayed for him, and laying his hands on him, he healed him.

KJV  Acts 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

ESV  Acts 28:8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him.

CSB  Acts 28:8 Publius's father was in bed suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went to him, and praying and laying his hands on him, he healed him.

NIV  Acts 28:8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.

NKJ  Acts 28:8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.

NRS  Acts 28:8 It so happened that the father of Publius lay sick in bed with fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and cured him by praying and putting his hands on him.

YLT  Acts 28:8 and it came to pass, the father of Publius with feverish heats and dysentery pressed, was laid, unto whom Paul having entered, and having prayed, having laid his hands on him, healed him;

NAB  Acts 28:8 It so happened that the father of Publius was sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and, after praying, laid his hands on him and healed him.

NJB  Acts 28:8 It happened that Publius' father was in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him, and after a prayer he laid his hands on the man and healed him.

GWN  Acts 28:8 His father happened to be sick in bed. He was suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went to him, prayed, placed his hands on him, and made him well.

BBE  Acts 28:8 And the father of Publius was ill, with a disease of the stomach; to whom Paul went, and put his hands on him, with prayer, and made him well.

  • the father - Mk 1:30,31 
  • prayed - Ac 9:40 1Ki 17:20-22 Jas 5:14-16 
  • laid - Ac 9:17,18 19:11,12 Mt 9:18 Mk 6:5 7:32 16:18 Lu 4:40 13:13 
  • and healed - Mt 10:1,8 Lu 9:1-3 10:8,9 1Co 12:9,28 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Shigella Bacteria (See CDC info)

A MIRACULOUS
HEALING

And it happened that the father of Publius - Compare Jesus' ministry to an older relative in Lk 4:38+ and Peter's ministry to an older person (Acts 9:33-34+).

Was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery - Lying was a common verb for the sick (cf Mk 1:30, Jn 5:6) and here is in the present tense indicating this had been his state for some time. Dr Luke made the diagnosis but would not dispense treatment to cure him. That was left for Paul. So even this man's sickness was in a sense God's providential provision, as it provided an opportunity for Paul to be used by God to bring about a miraculous cure. So now we have 3 miracles (and all 275 passengers would have been aware of all three), the miraculous survival of all 276 (just as Paul had predicted), Paul's survival of the viper bite and here Publius' father experiencing immediate cure. And as we learn below Paul (et al) is on Malta for 3 months. Do you think he had an audience of folks wanting to hear what he had to say? 

Lying (in bed)(2621)(katakeimai from katá = down + keímai = lie outstretched) means to lie down, lie prostrate, often with the implication of some degree of incapacity (Mk 1:30; Mk 2:4; Lk 5:25; Jas 5:3, 6; Acts 9:33; Acts 28:8). Colloquially of a sick person we say they are  “down sick.”  To recline on a couch at a dinner table and thus to dine or eat a meal (Mk 2:15; 14:3; Lk 5:29; 7:37; 1 Cor 8:10). The Greek papyri uses this verb in the following phrases -  “the blows caused me to be laid up with sickness”  “she is laid up.”

Gilbrant on katakeimai In classical Greek as well as in some of the papyri the verb katakeimai frequently pertains to an official matter (a bond or document) as being hid away, stored, lodged, deposited, or publicly registered. The word, in these instances, has technical significance (cf. Moulton-Milligan). Only two canonical occurrences of katakeimai are found in the Septuagint (Proverbs 6:9; 23:34). In both cases the word is translated “to lie (down).” A negative connotation is reflected in both usages. The first is couched in a reprimand to the lazy laborer who prefers sleep to work. The second is framed in a rebuke to the unsound slumber of a drunken reveler (cf. the apocryphal use in Judith 13:15). This picture of idleness is also presented in some classical uses of the verb. In the New Testament katakeimai has two distinct renderings. First, it often refers to those who are ill—those who are “lying down” because of sickness (Mark 1:30; Luke 5:25; John 5:3). Second, the word refers to “reclining” in order to dine. It was generally the custom in Jesus’ day to recline (leaning on the left elbow) on a couch at a table rather than to sit on chairs or benches (Mark 14:3; Luke 5:29; 7:37; 1 Corinthians 8:10).

Katakeimai - 12x in 12v - bedridden*(1), dining(1), lay(1), lying(4), lying sick(1), reclining(4).

Mk. 1:30; Mk. 2:4; Mk. 2:15; Mk. 14:3; Lk. 5:25; Lk. 5:29; Lk. 7:37; Jn. 5:3; Jn. 5:6; Acts 9:33; Acts 28:8; 1 Co. 8:10

Afflicted (distressed) (4912)(sunecho/synecho from sun = with + echo = hold) literally means hold together, to press together. Sunecho in a figurative sense means to be held or gripped by difficult circumstances which is the meaning in this passage (Compare - various diseases - Mt 4:24, fever - Lk 4:38+, fever & dysentery - Acts 28:8, fear - Lk 8:37). Vincent notes that sunecho is joined with fever here and in Lk 4:38+ and was a common medical term in the same sense.

Recurrent fever - No Greek word for "recurrent" but fever is in the plural in the Greek so literally is "fevers" which in the plural was a medical term for successive, intermittent attacks of fever.

Fever (4446)(puretos/pyretos from pur = fire; Eng - pyretic) means fiery heat, then fever ("burning heat"). TDNT says "The word puretos describes the symptom of “fever.” Greek medicine distinguishes types of fever, and ascribes them to natural causes. Popular belief thinks gods or demons can both cause and cure fevers." All 6 NT uses of puretos (Mt. 8:15; Mk. 1:31; Lk. 4:38; Lk. 4:39; Jn. 4:52; Acts 28:8) refer to those who were sick with a fever or sick with some malady accompanied by a fever. Doctor Luke classified the fever in Lk 4:38+ as megas or “great” which was the ancient way of classifying fever - they were referred to by the physicians as either great and little fevers. Remember they had no convenient glass (or today digital) thermometers! Luke does not say Publius' father's fever is megas or great, but does indicate it is recurrent by using the plural of puretos ("fevers"). 

Vincent on fever and dysentery Hippocrates often speaks of the two complaints in combination.

Dysentery (KJV = "Bloody flux")(1420) (dusenterion/dysenterion from dys/dus = difficulty, illness + enteron = bowel [Eng - enteric] from entos = within) is a bacterial infection that primarily involves the gastrointestinal tract and is accompanied by severe abdominal pains and diarrhea. Dysentery is especially associated with shigellosis. While most cases of shigellosis are self-limited, severe cases can result in death. Obviously this is another medical term (of multiple) used by Luke in this section. As an infectious disease doctor, I would be remiss to not include in the the differential diagnosis amebic dysentery.  And I would also add that most commentators think the illness was "probably the "Malta fever" (Micrococcus melitensis) (Brucellosis), which in the nineteenth century was traced to the milk of Malta goats and for which a vaccine was developed in 1887. Untreated, it lasted an average of four months, but in some cases up to two to three years (Longenecker 1981:565)." (Ibid) I suppose that is possible but Brucellosis causes high spiking fevers in the afternoon (cf the Greek way of classifying fever - as great or little - Luke did not say "great.") and it does not usually manifest significant gastroenteritis (although there can be abdominal pain), but is a more systemic (body wide) illness with constitutional symptoms (headache, body ache, night sweats, etc). Perhaps we will learn the true diagnosis in Heaven! 

Gilbrant This term, used since the time of Herodotus, has been transliterated into today’s medical term dysentery. Although it did not originate as a technically medical term, Vine says it is formed from enteron which denotes an intestine (Expository Dictionary, “Dysentery”). Classical Greek clearly associates it with an “affliction,” something one “suffers” from and which is usually accompanied by fever (see Liddell-Scott). There are no occurrences in the Septuagint to describe this ailment; however, its only New Testament appearance is consistent with the classical meaning. In Acts 28:8 Paul prayed and laid hands on the father of Publius while shipwrecked on the island of Melita. He apparently suffered from some form of dysentery. The KJV renders this term “bloody flux” in that same passage.

Gilbrant notes that Luke "could have used his skill if the Holy Spirit had directed him to do so. But with even the best of ancient medical practice, the care and recovery of the father of Publius would have been a long drawn-out process. Something more was needed, especially to bring a witness to the power of the gospel. God often uses a miracle as an entering wedge to open a new door for the proclamation of the good news about Jesus."

This story of healing Publius' father is reminiscent of the account of Jesus' ministry in Capernaum in Luke 4:38-40+ for in both cases, the relative of the healer's host is healed and the blessing is then extended to others.

And Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him - Note the sequence - Paul first sought the Lord, then he acted in accord with the will of the Lord. A good example to imitate - pray before we act! We won't always experience a miracle, but we may indeed experience the leading of the Spirit, especially as we make this our frequent practice. Paul did supernaturally what Luke could not do naturally (or at least he did not attempt to do). Of course Paul was the "conduit" or the "intermediary" but ultimately it was God (Jehovah Rapha) Who did the healing and Who alone was deserving of the glory. 

David PetersonPrayer with the laying on of hands for healing occurs only here in Acts, though the combination is used for commissioning in 6:6; 13:3 (cf. 9:12, 17 for the laying on of hands for healing without any mention of prayer), and prayer may be assumed in 8:18-19; 19:6. Prayer is especially mentioned here to show Paul's reliance on God. (Pillar New Testament Commentary -The Acts of the Apostles)

Prayed (4336)(proseuchomai from pros = toward, before emphasizing the direct approach of the one who prays in seeking God’s face + euchomai = to speak out, express a wish) in the NT is always used of prayer addressed to God (to Him as the object of faith and the One who will answer one’s prayer) and means to speak consciously (with or without vocalization) to Him, with a definite aim (See noun proseuche). Proseuchomai encompasses all the aspects of prayer -- submission, confession, petition, supplication (may concern one's own need), intercession (concerned with the needs of others), praise, and thanksgiving.

Wuest adds that the prefixed preposition pros "gives it the idea of definiteness and directness in prayer, with the consciousness on the part of the one praying that he is talking face to face with God...(thus proseuchomai) speaks also of the consciousness on the part of the one who prays, of the fact of God’s presence and His listening ear." 

Larkin Paul parallels Jesus' and Peter's practice in some ways: he goes to the bedside and lays hands on the man (Lk 4:39-40; Acts 9:34; compare Paul's experience in Acts 9:17). But he makes a significant addition: he prefaces the laying on of hands with prayer, thus showing as explicitly as possible the true source of the healing power (compare Jn 11:41-42). The islanders' misunderstanding of Paul's survival after the snakebite—"He is a god!"—explains his methods here. Publius' father and the Maltese must learn for the first time—and we must never forget—that any restoration of physical health comes from God, whether it be directly or through the practice of medicine. We, like Paul, show that we are convinced of this truth if we ask for healing in prayer. (Ibid)

Healed (cure) (2390)(iaomai) means to cure, to heal, to restore. Iaomai is used literally of deliverance from physical diseases and afflictions and so to make whole, restore to bodily health or heal. To cause someone to achieve health after having been sick. In the passive it means to be healed or cured. Figuratively, iaomai speaks of deliverance from sin and its evil consequences and thus to restore (to spiritual good health), make whole, renew (Mt 13.15). Iaomai refers primarily to physical healing in the NT (although clearly there is overlap because some of these instances involved demonic oppression - Lk 9:42), and much less commonly to spiritual healing or healing (saving) from "moral illnesses" and the consequences of sin. When used in this sense iaomai has much the same meaning as sozo, to save, make whole, restore to spiritual health. Iaomai is the verb used in the Septuagint to describe Jesus as the Great Physician Isaiah writing "He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed (Heb =  rapha; Lxx = iaomai)." (Isa 53:5+)

Iáomai and therapeuo are both used of the miraculous cures of Jesus and therapeuo  is the verb more commonly employed of regular professional cures. 

Iaomai in NT - curing(1), heal(4), healed(16), healing(2), heals(1), perform healing(2).

Matt. 8:8; Matt. 8:13; Matt. 13:15; Matt. 15:28; Mk. 5:29; Lk. 5:17; Lk. 6:18; Lk. 6:19; Lk. 7:7; Lk. 8:47; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 9:11; Lk. 9:42; Lk. 14:4; Lk. 17:15; Lk. 22:51; Jn. 4:47; Jn. 5:13; Jn. 12:40; Acts 9:34; Acts 10:38; Acts 28:8; Acts 28:27; Heb. 12:13; Jas. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:24

Swindoll comments "The word translated “healed” is the Greek term iaomai, which usually refers to instantaneous healing. An on-the-spot miracle, if you please. Of course, Paul was not the source of such power, only the vehicle, the human instrument through whom God supernaturally worked.  I am as impressed with Dr. Luke’s lack of envy as I am with the apostle Paul’s spiritual gift. The physician stepped aside. Although we may be certain his medical training left him little or no room for divine miracles, his theology did! (ED: AS A PHYSICIAN MYSELF, I SAY "AMEN!") Without a moment’s hesitation the professional was willing to stand back and watch God do the unusual.  By the way, that last word is worth repeating for emphasis— an on-the-spot miracle is unusual, an exception to the general rule. For too long people have been led to believe that virtually in every case they can “expect a miracle.” And to make matters worse, when the miracle doesn’t occur, they are told that something is wrong with them, they are harboring sin, they are not strong enough in their faith . . . and on and on.  This idea of “instant healing” confuses multitudes today. Sufferers are promised miracles by many alleged healers— some sincere, some naïve, some professional con artists—and when the miracle fails to materialize, great damage is done. The fallout is always tragic and occasionally irreparable. Let’s understand that there are times when God does indeed heal. Instantly. Miraculously. Inexplicably. But such miracles are rare—unusual exceptions to the rule—and they remind us that the One who made us certainly has the power to mend our physical bodies. (Start Where You Are)

Acts 28:9  After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured.

NET  Acts 28:9 After this had happened, many of the people on the island who were sick also came and were healed.

GNT  Acts 28:9 τούτου δὲ γενομένου καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ οἱ ἐν τῇ νήσῳ ἔχοντες ἀσθενείας προσήρχοντο καὶ ἐθεραπεύοντο,

NLT  Acts 28:9 Then all the other sick people on the island came and were healed.

KJV  Acts 28:9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:

ESV  Acts 28:9 And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.

CSB  Acts 28:9 After this, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.

NIV  Acts 28:9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.

NKJ  Acts 28:9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.

NRS  Acts 28:9 After this happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.

YLT  Acts 28:9 this, therefore, being done, the others also in the island having infirmities were coming and were healed;

NAB  Acts 28:9 After this had taken place, the rest of the sick on the island came to Paul and were cured.

NJB  Acts 28:9 When this happened, the other sick people on the island also came and were cured;

GWN  Acts 28:9 After that had happened, other sick people on the island went to Paul and were made well.

BBE  Acts 28:9 And when this took place, all the others in the island who had diseases came and were made well.

  • The rest of the people - Ac 5:12,15 Mt 4:24 Mk 6:54-56 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE NEWS OF THE
MIRACLE SPREADS

If you have ever lived in a small town where there no secrets and news spreads quickly. Malta was a small island and this news undoubtedly spread throughout the island.

After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured - The imperfect tense is used for both were coming and getting cured, picturing these events as occurring over and over. Robertson says "A regular stream of patients came during these months." I have gone on mission trips and when we provided medical aid for the poor residents in the out of the way villages they were coming one after another which gives a good picture of the scene on the isle of Malta. 

We see a similar use of the imperfect tense in the healings by Jesus and by Peter...

While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing (therapeuo in imperfect tense) them. Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ. (Lk 4:40-41+)

And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number,  to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. (therapeuo in imperfect tense) (Acts 5:14-16+)

Rest (others, remaining) (3062)(loipos from leipo = to leave or to lack) is an adjective which refers to that which remains over - where it refers to people as the rest, those that are left, the remainder. 

Diseases (sicknesses) (769)(astheneia  from a = without + sthénos = strength, bodily vigor) means literally without strength or bodily vigor = want of strength = lacking strength. Literally astheneia refers to bodily diseases or ailments (Lk 5:15, 13:11, 12, Jn 5:5, 11:4, 28:9). This is somewhat surprisingly the only use of astheneia in Acts. 

Notice the irony of Paul the prisoner, in essence "frees" others from their illnesses. 

Getting cured (2323)(therapeuo from therapon = an attendant, servant) means primarily to care for, to wait upon, minister to. It has two main senses in the NT, one speaking of rendering service (Acts 17:25) and the more common use describing medical aspects such as to take care of the sick, to heal, to cure (Mt. 4:24; 12:10; Mk 1:34; Lk 6:7; 10:9), to recover health, to restore. Therapeúō means to heal miraculously in Matt. 4:23, 24; 10:1, 8; Acts 4:14. The first NT use describes Jesus "going about in all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people." (Mt 4:23) So while Luke does not state specifically that Paul was proclaiming the Gospel, there is little doubt that as he cured physically, he addressed their greater need of spiritual healing found only in Jesus.

Swindoll comments on getting cured - As the word of a miracle traveled across the island, the rest of those with ailments flocked to Paul for healing. A cursory reading of the event could leave us with the impression that everyone who came received a similar miracle. Not so. The original term used by Dr. Luke to describe the people’s being “cured” is altogether different from the one he used for Publius’ father. The latter word is therapeuo, from which we get our English word, “therapy.” One reputable source writes: “It might better be translated...were treated. It suggests not miraculous healings but medical treatment, probably at the hands of Luke the physician.Verses 10 and 11 suggest that this medical ministry lasted throughout the three months stay at Malta.” In other words, most of the ill went through a process, a prolonged period of recovery, which lasted perhaps for three months—maybe longer. If Luke were involved with Paul, this would be one of the earliest references in all of Scripture to “overseas medical missionary” work.  Sometimes, healing is instantaneous—iaomai recovery. More often than not, it takes time to heal—therapeuo recovery, under the care and watchful eyes of a competent medical professional.  But both forms of healing are from the hand of the Great Physician!   (Start Where You Are)

Larkin adds "Though Christians may differ on what aspects of Paul's miraculous ministry were unique to him as an apostle and which are possible today, all should agree that the proclamation of the "whole gospel" will involve prayer-saturated witness to and concern for the "whole person" (compare Jas 5:13-18)." (Ibid)

Acts 28:10  They also honored us with many marks of respect; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all we needed.

NET  Acts 28:10 They also bestowed many honors, and when we were preparing to sail, they gave us all the supplies we needed.

GNT  Acts 28:10 οἳ καὶ πολλαῖς τιμαῖς ἐτίμησαν ἡμᾶς καὶ ἀναγομένοις ἐπέθεντο τὰ πρὸς τὰς χρείας.

NLT  Acts 28:10 As a result we were showered with honors, and when the time came to sail, people supplied us with everything we would need for the trip.

KJV  Acts 28:10 Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.

ESV  Acts 28:10 They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.

CSB  Acts 28:10 So they heaped many honors on us, and when we sailed, they gave us what we needed.

NIV  Acts 28:10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

NKJ  Acts 28:10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.

NRS  Acts 28:10 They bestowed many honors on us, and when we were about to sail, they put on board all the provisions we needed.

YLT  Acts 28:10 who also with many honours did honour us, and we setting sail -- they were lading us with the things that were necessary.

NAB  Acts 28:10 They paid us great honor and when we eventually set sail they brought us the provisions we needed.

NJB  Acts 28:10 they honoured us with many marks of respect, and when we sailed they put on board the provisions we needed.

GWN  Acts 28:10 They showed respect for us in many ways, and when we were going to set sail, they put whatever we needed on board.

BBE  Acts 28:10 Then they gave us great honour, and, when we went away, they put into the ship whatever things we were in need of.

  • honored - Mt 15:5,6 1Th 2:6 1Ti 5:3,4,17,18 
  • supplied us - 2Ki 8:9 Ezr 7:27 Mt 6:31-34 10:8-10 2Co 8:2-6 9:5-11 Php 4:11,12,19 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

They also honored us with many marks of respect - Literally an idiom =  "they also honored us with many honors." The meaning is that they honored them greatly. How? Luke does not specifically say but food and clothing for sure, possibly money, given that they had essentially lost everything.

Larkin comments that "Paul experiences what he had instructed the Corinthians about—the dynamic of sowing spiritual things and reaping physical things (1 Cor 9:11; also see Ro 15:27). The islanders honored Paul's party in many ways and furnished them with the supplies...needed. A mercy ministry embraced in truth will not simply amaze or bring physical restoration—it will make one merciful." (Ibid) 

Honored (5091)(timao for time = honor, prize) means to show high regard respect for and so to count as valuable, to esteem, to value, to honor or to revere. To show respect to someone is to recognize their worth as a person (and if they are a parent to recognize the validity of their role and their authority) and implies a considered evaluation or estimation. Therefore, timao means to ascribe worth to someone. To hold in awe. To assign value to something, including people considered as property (slaves). It means to fix a value or price upon something and so to prize it. The idea is to treat as precious! To honor is a social action describing how people within a society should evaluate one another. Honor usually results in people being elevated in the eyes of the community. Honoring involves a proper attitude as well as appropriate behavior.

Robertson has an interested comment on honored us (would include Luke) with many marks of respect or as the KJV renders it honored us with many honors -  The word (honors) was often applied to payment for professional services as we today speak of an honorarium."

Vincent does not agree with Robertson writing "The word (time) was applied to payments for professional services, and that fact may have influenced Luke in selecting it; but it is evidently not used in that sense here."

Marks of respect (5092)(time from tio = accord honor, pay respect) in essence speaks of the worth ascribed to a person or the value described to some thing (Friberg). Price, value; honor, recognition, respect. Originally time referred to a valuing by which the price is fixed, hence the price itself, the thing priced, and so, generally, honor. The idea is properly, perceived value; worth (literally, "price"), especially perceived honor, i.e., what has value in the eyes of the beholder; and figuratively value (weight, honor) willingly assigned to something.

In the active sense when time refers to the recognition of another's worth in the active sense it means honor, reverence, respect (Ro 12:10,  1 Ti 6:1).

In the passive sense time speaks of recognition, esteem or dignity bestowed (Jn 4:44); honor as an element in the assignment of status to a person. Closely related it can speak of a position of honor (Heb 2:9, Heb 5:4).

Time can speak of the tangible acknowledgement of one's worth - honorarium, compensation, payment received for service (1T 5.17). The idea is compensation given for special service with implication this is a way by which honor may be shown.

When time refers to a thing, it can mean the price, value, price received or price paid back (Acts 4:34 = "proceeds"; Acts 5:2, 3 = "the price"; Acts 7:16 "a sum"; Acts 19:19 = "the price of"; 1 Cor. 6:20 = "bought with a price"; 1 Cor 7:23 = "bought with a price"). Figuratively, it conveys the sense of value, benefit or usefulness (Col 2:23 = "of no value"). 

Gilbrant Throughout the classical period the noun timē reflected three general meanings. First, there was the idea of “worth” being ascribed to an individual. (The etymological roots of the English word worship, i.e., “worth-ship,” maintain this sense.) This ascribed worth or “honor” was given to Roman senators, kings, and those considered superior (socially or materially). In addition, heathen gods were honored or “esteemed” through hymns of praise and worship. In return, they supposedly “honored” men with wealth, gifts, and a variety of material rewards. This latter aspect of material wealth conveys the second meaning of timē which relates to the concept of “worth, value, price.” It also parallels a third, almost synonymous meaning which has to do with “commendations, awards, rewards.” Some, in fact, believe that the original sense of timē was “compensation” (Schneider, “timē,” Kittel, 8:169). Concerning the early Greek concepts of timē Schneider reports, “Gradually timē detaches itself from real possessions and becomes an abstract concept of honour. That the original elements in the meaning of the word were never wholly lost can be seen in the fact that in the Koine timē can mean both ‘honour’ and ‘price’ ” (Ibid)

W E VineUsage Notes: primarily "a valuing," hence, objectively,

(a) "a price paid or received," e.g., Matt. 27:6, 9; Acts 4:34; Acts 5:2, 3; Acts 7:16, RV, "price" (AV, "sum"); Acts 19:19; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Cor. 7:23;

(b) of "the preciousness of Christ" unto believers, 1 Pet. 2:7, RV, i.e., the honor and inestimable value of Christ as appropriated by believers, who are joined, as living stones, to Him the cornerstone;

(c) in the sense of value, of human ordinances, valueless against the indulgence of the flesh, or, perhaps of no value in attempts at asceticism, Col. 2:23 (see extended note under INDULGENCE, No. 2);

(d) "honor, esteem," (1) used in ascriptions of worship to God, 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 Tim. 6:16; Rev. 4:9, 11; Rev. 5:13; Rev. 7:12; to Christ, Rev. 5:12, 13; (2) bestowed upon Christ by the Father, Heb. 2:9; 2 Pet. 1:17; (3) bestowed upon man, Heb. 2:7; (4) bestowed upon Aaronic priests, Heb. 5:4; (5) to be the reward hereafter of "the proof of faith" on the part of tried saints, 1 Pet. 1:7, RV; (6) used of the believer who as a vessel is "meet for the Master's use," 2 Tim. 2:21; (7) to be the reward of patience in well-doing, Rom. 2:7, and of working good (a perfect life to which man cannot attain, so as to be justified before God thereby), Rom. 2:10; (8) to be given to all to whom it is due, Rom. 13:7 (see 1 Pet. 2:17, under B, No. 1); (9) as an advantage to be given by believers one to another instead of claiming it for self, Rom. 12:10; (10) to be given to elders that rule well ("double honor"), 1 Tim. 5:17 (here the meaning may be an honorarium); (11) to be given by servants to their master, 1 Tim. 6:1; (12) to be given to wives by husbands, 1 Pet. 3:7; (13) said of the husband's use of the wife, in contrast to the exercise of the passion of lust, 1 Thess. 4:4 (some regard the "vessel" here as the believer's body); (14) of that bestowed upon; parts of the body, 1 Cor. 12:23, 24; (15) of that which belongs to the builder of a house in contrast to the house itself, Heb. 3:3; (16) of that which is not enjoyed by a prophet in his own country, John 4:44; (17) of that bestowed by the inhabitants of Melita upon Paul and his fellow-passengers, in gratitude for his benefits of healing, Acts 28:10; (18) of the festive honor to be possessed by nations, and brought into the Holy City, the heavenly Jerusalem, Rev. 21:26 (in some mss., ver. 24); (19) of honor bestowed upon things inanimate, a potters' vessel, Rom. 9:21; 2 Tim. 2:20. (Vine's Expository Dictionary)

Time - 41x in 40v - honor (28), honorable use (1), marks of respect (1), precious value (1), price (7), proceeds (1), sum (1), value (1).

Matt. 27:6; Matt. 27:9; Jn. 4:44; Acts 4:34; Acts 5:2; Acts 5:3; Acts 7:16; Acts 19:19; Acts 28:10; Rom. 2:7; Rom. 2:10; Rom. 9:21; Rom. 12:10; Rom. 13:7; 1 Co. 6:20; 1 Co. 7:23; 1 Co. 12:23; 1 Co. 12:24; Col. 2:23; 1 Thess. 4:4; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Tim. 6:1; 1 Tim. 6:16; 2 Tim. 2:20; 2 Tim. 2:21; Heb. 2:7; Heb. 2:9; Heb. 3:3; Heb. 5:4; 1 Pet. 1:7; 1 Pet. 2:7; 1 Pet. 3:7; 2 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 4:9; Rev. 4:11; Rev. 5:12; Rev. 5:13; Rev. 7:12; Rev. 21:26

Time in the Septuagint

Gen. 20:16; Gen. 44:2; Exod. 28:2; Exod. 28:40; Exod. 34:20; Lev. 5:15; Lev. 5:18; Lev. 6:6; Lev. 27:2; Lev. 27:3; Lev. 27:5; Lev. 27:6; Lev. 27:7; Lev. 27:8; Lev. 27:13; Lev. 27:15; Lev. 27:16; Lev. 27:17; Lev. 27:19; Lev. 27:23; Lev. 27:25; Lev. 27:27; Num. 20:19; 2 Chr. 1:16; 2 Chr. 32:33; Est. 1:20; Job 31:39; Job 34:19; Job 37:22; Job 40:10; Ps. 8:5; Ps. 29:1; Ps. 44:12; Ps. 45:9; Ps. 49:8; Ps. 49:12; Ps. 49:20; Ps. 62:4; Ps. 96:7; Ps. 99:4; Prov. 6:26; Prov. 12:9; Prov. 22:9; Prov. 26:1; Isa. 10:16; Isa. 11:10; Isa. 14:18; Isa. 35:2; Isa. 55:1; Ezek. 22:25; Dan. 1:9; Dan. 2:6; Dan. 2:37; Dan. 4:30; Dan. 4:36; Dan. 5:18; Dan. 5:20; Dan. 7:14;

And when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all we needed - In the next verse, Luke says the set sail after 3 months. Can you imagine a 3 month "crash course" on the Old and NT from the greatest teacher after Jesus Himself! Luke is silent, but I find it difficult to believe that Paul did not continually proclaim the Gospel and teach about Jesus. One wonders how many of the natives on Malta we will meet in Heaven? Won't they have some exciting tales? And while the numerous healings did not save anyone, the healings undoubtedly did open the door for proclamation of the Gospel.

Setting sail (321)(anago from ana = up, again, away + ago = to bring, lead) literally speaks of movement from a lower to a higher point and in the passive voice (as here) was a nautical technical term meaning to put (out) to sea, set sail.(Lk 8:22; Acts 13:13; Acts 16:11; Acts 18:21; Acts 20:3, 13; Acts 21:1, 2; Acts 27:2, 4, 12, 21; Acts 28:10, 11).

Supplied (2007)(epitithemi from epi = upon + tithemi = to place, put) means literally to place one thing upon another. To give something to someone. In the middle voice, it refers to giving to someone what he needs. The idea could also be they "put on board" the ship all they would need which is now the NRSV renders it. Epitithemi is used 3 times in Acts 28 -  first of Paul's laying the twigs on the fire (Acts 28:3), next of laying hands on Publius' ill father (Acts 28:8) and here of supplying or placing upon them all the supplies they would need.

Needed (5532)(chreia from chraomai = to use, make use of or chreos = a debt) means a necessity, what is needed or the occasion of need. It describes that which should be supplied because it is needed. All of Luke's uses of chreia in Acts - Acts 2:45; Acts 4:35; Acts 6:3; Acts 20:34; Acts 28:10. 

Acts 28:11  At the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead.

NET  Acts 28:11 After three months we put out to sea in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island and had the "Heavenly Twins" as its figurehead.

GNT  Acts 28:11 Μετὰ δὲ τρεῖς μῆνας ἀνήχθημεν ἐν πλοίῳ παρακεχειμακότι ἐν τῇ νήσῳ, Ἀλεξανδρίνῳ, παρασήμῳ Διοσκούροις.

NLT  Acts 28:11 It was three months after the shipwreck that we set sail on another ship that had wintered at the island-- an Alexandrian ship with the twin gods as its figurehead.

KJV  Acts 28:11 And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.

ESV  Acts 28:11 After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead.

CSB  Acts 28:11 After three months we set sail in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island, with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead.

NIV  Acts 28:11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.

NKJ  Acts 28:11 After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island.

NRS  Acts 28:11 Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian ship with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead.

YLT  Acts 28:11 And after three months, we set sail in a ship (that had wintered in the isle) of Alexandria, with the sign Dioscuri,

NAB  Acts 28:11 Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the Dioscuri as its figurehead.

NJB  Acts 28:11 At the end of three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island; she came from Alexandria and her figurehead was the Twins.

GWN  Acts 28:11 After three months we sailed on an Alexandrian ship that had spent the winter at the island. The ship had the gods Castor and Pollux carved on its front.

BBE  Acts 28:11 And after three months we went to sea in a ship of Alexandria sailing under the sign of the Dioscuri, which had been at the island for the winter.

  • an Alexandrian ship - Ac 6:9 27:6 
  • which had the Twin Brothers - Isa 45:20 Jon 1:5,16 1Co 8:4 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

CASTOR AND POLLUX
LEAD THE WAY TO ROME

At the end of three months we set sail (put out to sea = anago) on an Alexandrian ship (see Acts 27:6+) which had wintered at the island - Winter was over and it was now safe to sail. Had wintered is perfect tense signifying they had passed the entire winter here. Since this is an Alexandrian ship presumably it is another grain ship (from Egypt, the granary of the Roman Empire) bound for Rome. As an aside, while Luke records no Pauline proclamation of the Gospel (and some commentators thus conclude he did not speak of Christ), I find it inconceivable that Paul did not share Christ with these islanders. Without Christ they were going to Hell. And Paul has repeatedly demonstrated how he redeems the time, so I will not be surprised to see some Malta Islanders in heaven. One commentator writes "'the voyage to Rome is concerned not with missionary preaching but with cooperative relationships that are possible between Christianity and pagan society. In this context pagans are allowed to be pagans." (Tannenhill) I think that is highly unlikely. I am reminded of D L Moody who preached one day in Chicago but that even gave no invitation. That very night was the great Chicago fire and many of Moody's attendees were likely killed in that fire! He never preached a message again without giving an invitation to receive Christ as Savior. I think Paul was of the same mindset. In fact the likelihood that he would ever see any of these islanders again is very remote (except in Heaven!). As Paul wrote to Timothy in some of his last words "Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season!" (2Ti 4:2). Malta may have been "out of season" but the Gospel is always "in season!" 

Robertson Navigation in the Mediterranean usually opened up in February (always by March), spring beginning on Feb. 9 (Page).

And which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead - KJV has "whose sign was Castor and Pollux." This figurehead to as Twin Brothers is also known as Dioscuri or Castor and Pollux. The constellation Gemini ("the Twins") is named after them, and its two brightest stars are called Castor and Pollux. If Gemini, was seen during a storm it was assumed to be an omen of good fortune. The idea of a figurehead in ancient times would be similar to the names given modern ships (e.g., Titanic). In ancient times the figurehead was the image of a god, a man, a beast, or of some other object, sculptured or painted on the prow. The pagans were superstitious and did not know God so the figure of the "guardian deity" was affixed to the stern, as if it could provide any protection! 

Larkin - They were the patron deities of sailors and protectors of innocent seafarers, and their cult had devotees in Egypt as well as Italy (Epictetus Discourses 2.18.29). Euripides presents them as guardians of truth and punishers of perjurers (Electra 1342-55).  It is probably with an intended ironic twist that Luke notes Paul's embarkation on "The Castor and Pollux." For though the unbelieving ancients would have attributed Paul's rescue to "the Twins" and taken it as a token of his innocence, Paul has made clear he belongs to, serves and believes in the one true God, who was his protector and deliverer (Acts 27:23-25). So today, though others tout the gods of non-Christian religion or secular technopolitical ideology as protectors and saviors, the Christian knows who is really in gracious control. (Ibid)

Wikipedia writes " Castor and Pollux (or in Greek Polydeuces) were twin half-brothers in Greek and Roman mythology, known together as the Dioscuri. Their mother was Leda, but they had different fathers; Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta, while Pollux was the divine son of Zeus, who seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini (literally "twins") or Castores, as well as the Tyndaridae or Tyndarids. When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The pair were regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo's fire. They were also associated with horsemanship, in keeping with their origin as the Indo-European horse twins.

NET Note adds "The Alexandrian ship on which Paul and his companions sailed from Malta had a carved emblem or figurehead of these figures, and they would have been the patron deities of the vessel. Castor and Pollux were the “gods of navigation.” To see their stars was considered a good omen (Epictetus, Discourses 2.18.29; Lucian of Samosata, The Ship 9)."

Figurehead (only here in NT)(3902)(parasemos from para = beside, to the side + sema = sign, mark) is a distinguishing mark and of a ship on which a figurehead is mounted. In this case the distinguishing mark was the Twin Brothers. 

Had wintered (3914) (paracheimazo from para = alongside, beside + cheimazo = to be tossed with tempest) to remain in a place during the season of tempestuous (winter) weather. Gilbrant adds "This verb, common in classical Greek from the days of Demosthenes and Hyperides (Fourth Century B.C.), means “spend the winter” at a certain place. It is not found in the Septuagint." 

Paracheimazo - spend the winter(3), wintered(1). 4v - Acts 27:12; Acts 28:11; 1 Co. 16:6; Tit. 3:12

Larkin Pliny (Natural History 2.47) says that sea travel resumed after February 7; Vegetius (Military Institutions of the Romans 4.39) says after March 10 (compare Josephus Jewish War 2.203).

Acts 28:12  After we put in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days.

NET  Acts 28:12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days.

GNT  Acts 28:12 καὶ καταχθέντες εἰς Συρακούσας ἐπεμείναμεν ἡμέρας τρεῖς,

NLT  Acts 28:12 Our first stop was Syracuse, where we stayed three days.

KJV  Acts 28:12 And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.

ESV  Acts 28:12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days.

CSB  Acts 28:12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed three days.

NIV  Acts 28:12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days.

NKJ  Acts 28:12 And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days.

NRS  Acts 28:12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there for three days;

YLT  Acts 28:12 and having landed at Syracuse, we remained three days,

NAB  Acts 28:12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days,

NJB  Acts 28:12 We put in at Syracuse and spent three days there;

GWN  Acts 28:12 We stopped at the city of Syracuse and stayed there for three days.

BBE  Acts 28:12 And going into the harbour at Syracuse, we were waiting there for three days.


MALTA > SYRACUSE
Click to enlarge

After we put in at Syracuse (see picture) we stayed there for three days - They were sailing north, northeast and then straight north to go between Sicily and the toe of Italy's boot. Click map above to see port of Syracuse, the chief city of Sicily  which is located about 85 miles from Malta. In Acts 28:11 the ship "went up from" the land (anago) and here it "goes down" (the prefix kata means down) to land. 

Robertson on Syracuse - Here it was that Alcibiades wrecked the power and glory of Athens. Why the ship spent three days we do not know.

We put in (2609)(katago from kata = down + ago = bring) means bring down from a topographically higher elevation to a lower one (e.g., Acts 9:30) and as in this passage in the passive voice it is a nautical idiom meaning “to put into harbor” (Sidon, Acts 27:3; Luke 5:11

Acts 28:13  From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium, and a day later a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.

NET  Acts 28:13 From there we cast off and arrived at Rhegium, and after one day a south wind sprang up and on the second day we came to Puteoli.

GNT  Acts 28:13 ὅθεν περιελόντες κατηντήσαμεν εἰς Ῥήγιον. καὶ μετὰ μίαν ἡμέραν ἐπιγενομένου νότου δευτεραῖοι ἤλθομεν εἰς Ποτιόλους,

NLT  Acts 28:13 From there we sailed across to Rhegium. A day later a south wind began blowing, so the following day we sailed up the coast to Puteoli.

KJV  Acts 28:13 And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:

ESV  Acts 28:13 And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.

CSB  Acts 28:13 From there, after making a circuit along the coast, we reached Rhegium. After one day a south wind sprang up, and the second day we came to Puteoli.

NIV  Acts 28:13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli.

NKJ  Acts 28:13 From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli,

NRS  Acts 28:13 then we weighed anchor and came to Rhegium. After one day there a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.

YLT  Acts 28:13 thence having gone round, we came to Rhegium, and after one day, a south wind having sprung up, the second day we came to Puteoli;

NAB  Acts 28:13 and from there we sailed round the coast and arrived at Rhegium. After a day, a south wind came up and in two days we reached Puteoli.

NJB  Acts 28:13 from there we followed the coast up to Rhegium. After one day there a south wind sprang up and on the second day we made Puteoli,

GWN  Acts 28:13 We sailed from Syracuse and arrived at the city of Rhegium. The next day a south wind began to blow, and two days later we arrived at the city of Puteoli.

BBE  Acts 28:13 And from there, going about in a curve, we came to Rhegium: and after one day a south wind came up and on the day after we came to Puteoli:


SYRACUSE > RHEGIUM
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From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium - From Syracuse they sailed around about 85 miles to Rhegium is at the tip of the toe of the "boot" of Italy. The name Rhegium is from the Greek verb rhegnumi meaning to "break off" and thus describes the place where the land "breaks off" at the southern entrance to the Strait of Messina


STRAIT OF MESSINA
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Sailed around (4022)(perierchomai from peri = about + erchomai = to come, go) mean to go about, to wander about. Gilbrant points out that "When the ship left Syracuse the wind was not favorable, so they had to "make a circuit," ("sailed around") that is, they had to tack against the wind all the way to Rhegium (the modern Reggio) in the toe of Italy's boot opposite Messina in Sicily." 

And a day later a south wind sprang up - Sprang up is epiginomai (epi = upon + ginomai = to be or come) which means to arise upon, with the implication of existence of a new condition, i.e., the southerly wind, which was perfect, for they were headed north. As Gilbrant states in the note above initially the wind was not favorable as they left Syracuse. God is in control of the south winds and clearly gives Paul and the passengers an uneventful "storm-less" final leg the rest fo the way to Italy. Keep in mind that it is still early in the sailing season and there was always the potential for treacherous weather, but in this case it did not transpire.

THOUGHT - What a difference between the two south winds, the first seemingly favorable but clearly not in the will of God in Acts 27:13+ and this southerly wind also favorable and giving them a speedy voyage in the will of God Who is taking Paul to Rome. So what is the message of the same wind, but two diametrically opposite results? When we are discerning the will of God, we need to be cautious in putting all of our faith in seemingly favorable circumstances if that is our sole criterion. We need to be sure our "voyage" lines up with the Word of God, the Spirit of God and thirdly godly counsel God provides. The circumstances should be secondary and not primary means of assessing the Will of the Lord, lest we end up with a situation that is a veritable "shipwreck!" 

And on the second day we came to Puteoli People travelling to Rome often sailed to this port and traveled the rest of the journey by road. Puteoli is modern day Pozzuoli and this 200 mile trip took only 2 days because of the favorable winds that had sprung up. Puteoli was the chief port on the bay of Naples. Puteoli (Pozzuoli on this map) stood on the north shore of an indentation in the bay and was protected by a massive breakwater (see this picture of the bay which shows the protecting breakwater on the southern side).

Gilbrant on Puteoli Because the coast nearer Rome had no good harbors until an artificial one was made by the emperor Claudius, and because Puteoli was a very safe harbor, the Romans made it their chief seaport. Thus, it became the center of commercial activity and was very prosperous. The grain ships that brought wheat from Egypt made it their home port. Other ships brought goods and spices from the Orient by way of the countries bordering on the eastern Mediterranean. At this time its population was about 100,000. (Ibid)

Malta to Syracuse 85
Syracuse to Rhegium 85
Rhegium to Puteoli 200
Puteoli to Forum of Appius 100
Forum of Appius to Three Taverns 10
Three Taverns to Rome 35
Approximate Distance Traveled 2,130

Acts 28:14  There we found some brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days; and thus we came to Rome.

NET  Acts 28:14 There we found some brothers and were invited to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome.

GNT  Acts 28:14 οὗ εὑρόντες ἀδελφοὺς παρεκλήθημεν παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς ἐπιμεῖναι ἡμέρας ἑπτά· καὶ οὕτως εἰς τὴν Ῥώμην ἤλθαμεν.

NLT  Acts 28:14 There we found some believers, who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.

KJV  Acts 28:14 Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

ESV  Acts 28:14 There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome.

CSB  Acts 28:14 There we found believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome.

NIV  Acts 28:14 There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.

NKJ  Acts 28:14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome.

NRS  Acts 28:14 There we found believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome.

YLT  Acts 28:14 where, having found brethren, we were called upon to remain with them seven days, and thus to Rome we came;

NAB  Acts 28:14 There we found some brothers and were urged to stay with them for seven days. And thus we came to Rome.

NJB  Acts 28:14 where we found some brothers and had the great encouragement of staying a week with them. And so we came to Rome.

GWN  Acts 28:14 In Puteoli we discovered some believers who begged us to spend a week with them. 15 Believers in Rome heard that we were coming, so they came as far as the cities of Appius' Market and Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and felt encouraged. So we finally arrived in the city of Rome.

BBE  Acts 28:14 Where we came across some of the brothers, who kept us with them for seven days; and so we came to Rome.

  • we found - Ac 9:42,43 19:1 21:4,7,8 Ps 119:63 Mt 10:11 
  • and were - Ac 20:6 Ge 7:4 8:10-12 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A "WEEK LONG
PAULINE SEMINAR"

Seven days with the great apostle Paul. One word - priceless! I would imagine they burned some "midnight oil" as in Acts 20:7-11+ when Eutychus had fallen asleep about midnight and then fallen out of the window dead only to be miraculously restored to life by Paul. 

There we found some brethren - This refers to believers, not "Jewish brethren" for Luke (a Gentile) refers to them as his brethren also. This fact demonstrates that the Gospel had spread 145 miles from Rome to this seaport, once again emphasizing that " the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.." (Acts 19:20+, cf Acts 6:7+, Acts 12:24+, Isaiah 55:11, 2 Th 3:1) Recall that there had been some Roman Jews at Pentecost (cf Acts 2:10+) and undoubtedly some of these were born again upon hearing Peter's Gospel sermon and had returned to establish a church at Rome. In turn this church had probably planted this church at Puteoli.

Found (2147)(heurisko) means to find after searching and so to discover. 

Larkin What an attractive picture of the worldwide network of support and encouragement that Christians know! To the cosmopolitan Roman then, and the sophisticated but unconnected urbanite now, Paul's experience of instant but genuine intimacy and full-orbed mutual commitment in the company of brothers at Puteoli is a refreshing picture of what they long for and can have in the gospel (compare Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33-34; Acts 21:7; Acts 27:3). (Ibid)

And were invited to stay with them for seven days - It is intriguing that we do not hear about Julius the Centurion, but surely he must have been with this group because he had not yet brought his prisoner to the final destination. Was he a believer by now? Possibly, but we cannot be sure. One thing is certain -- he trusted Paul to stay with these brethren for seven days.Presumably Julius gave permission as in Acs 27:3. This seven day stay with other believers would surely refresh Paul and again shows the kindness of this Centurion (cf his philanthropos or "consideration" in Acts 27:3+). This recalls Paul's words he had earlier written in his letter to Rome writing "For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine." (Ro 1:11-12+, see also Ro 15:23-29+)

Invited (3870)(parakaleo from para = side of, alongside, beside + kaleo= call) means literally to call one alongside, to call someone to oneself. Parakaleo can include the idea of giving help or aid but the primary sense in the NT is to urge someone to take some action, in this context to stay with the brethren.

PAUL'S TRIUMPHAL
ENTRY INTO ROME!

And thus we came to Rome - Robertson writes "at last. Luke is exultant as Page observes: Paulus Romae captivus: triumphus unicus. ("Paul, the prisoner, the only victory") It is the climax of the book of Acts (Acts 19:21; Acts 23:11), but not the close of Paul's career. Page rightly remarks that a new paragraph should begin with Acts 28:15, for brethren came from Rome and this part of the journey is touched with the flavour of that incident. The great event is that Paul reached Rome, but not as he had once hoped (Romans 15:22-29)."

Larkin The double reference to arrival at Rome (Acts 28:14, Acts 28:16) may be explained either by Luke's desire to set in bold relief Paul's encouraging encounter with the Roman Christians or by his frame of mind—his eagerness to bring the account to a climax (Longenecker 1981:567). Harmonizing the double reference by seeing the first as pointing to a larger geographical area, the "administrative district of Rome" (Ramsay 1896:347), has been consistently rejected (for example, Lake and Cadbury 1979:345; Polhill 1992:536). Simon Kistemaker's "so we started for Rome" (1990:955), while it permits the phrase to function as a title framing the next sequence of events, reduces its effectiveness as a climactic statement of fulfillment. (Ibid)

Acts 28:15  And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

NET  Acts 28:15 The brothers from there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. When he saw them, Paul thanked God and took courage.

GNT  Acts 28:15 κἀκεῖθεν οἱ ἀδελφοὶ ἀκούσαντες τὰ περὶ ἡμῶν ἦλθαν εἰς ἀπάντησιν ἡμῖν ἄχρι Ἀππίου Φόρου καὶ Τριῶν Ταβερνῶν, οὓς ἰδὼν ὁ Παῦλος εὐχαριστήσας τῷ θεῷ ἔλαβε θάρσος.

NLT  Acts 28:15 The brothers and sisters in Rome had heard we were coming, and they came to meet us at the Forum on the Appian Way. Others joined us at The Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he was encouraged and thanked God.

KJV  Acts 28:15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.

ESV  Acts 28:15 And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.

CSB  Acts 28:15 Now the believers from there had heard the news about us and had come to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

NIV  Acts 28:15 The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.

NKJ  Acts 28:15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

NRS  Acts 28:15 The believers from there, when they heard of us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.

YLT  Acts 28:15 and thence, the brethren having heard the things concerning us, came forth to meet us, unto Appii Forum, and Three Taverns -- whom Paul having seen, having given thanks to God, took courage.

NAB  Acts 28:15 The brothers from there heard about us and came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage.

NJB  Acts 28:15 When the brothers there heard about us they came to meet us, as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them he thanked God and took courage.

GWN  Acts 28:15 Believers in Rome heard that we were coming, so they came as far as the cities of Appius' Market and Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and felt encouraged. So we finally arrived in the city of Rome.

BBE  Acts 28:15 And the brothers, when they had news of us, came out from town as far as Appii Forum and the Three Taverns to have a meeting with us: and Paul, seeing them, gave praise to God and took heart.

  • Market of Appius- Ac 10:25 21:5 Ex 4:14 Joh 12:13 Ro 15:24 Ga 4:14 Heb 13:3 3Jn 1:6-8 
  • Market of Appius - Appii Forum, now Borgo Longo, was an ancient city of the Volsci, fifty miles S. of Rome.
  • Three Inns  (taverns) - The Three Taverns was a place in the Appian Way, thirty miles from Rome.
  • he thanked God and took courage - Jos 1:6,7,9 1Sa 30:6 Ps 27:14 1Co 12:21,22 2Co 2:14 7:5-7 1Th 3:7 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

APPIUS > THREE INNS > ROME
Click to enlarge
Puteoli to Market of Appius 100
Forum of Appius to Three Inns 10
Three Inns to Rome 35
Total Distance from Caesarea by the Sea 2,130

And the brethren - The Christ followers in Rome. Note that the church in Rome had some 3 years earlier received Paul's letter from Corinth at the hands of Phoebe.

When they heard about us (heard "about our affairs") - How did the brethren hear about them? Recall that Paul had delayed for 7 days in Puteoli but presumably some of the party (originally 276) would have had ample time to arrive at Rome. Was this Aristarchus who went on ahead? We simply do not know. What is interesting is that whoever they were, they sought out other believers, not Roman authorities. 

Came from there - From where? The last geographic notation is Rome in Acts 28:15, so these brothers and sisters in Christ had traveled to 35-45 miles from Rome to meet Paul.  It was a joyous time and Julius would not interfere.

As far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us - From the chart above, note that from Puteoli to Market of Appius was about 100 miles, which in turn was about 45 miles from Rome. The Three Inns was about 10 miles further north from the Market at Appius. So some of the brethren made the full 45 mile trip to meet up at the Market of Appius and others made the 35 mile trip to meet up at Three Inns. 

NET Note on Market of AppiusThe Forum of Appius was a small traveler's stop on the Appian Way about 43 mi (71 km) south of Rome (BDAG 125 s.v. ᾿Αππίου φόρον). It was described by Horace as “crammed with boatmen and stingy tavern keepers” (Satires 1.5.3).

Wikipedia - The Forum Appii (or Appii Forum) is an ancient post station on the Via Appia, 43 miles (69 km) southeast of Rome, founded, no doubt, by the original constructor of the road. Horace mentions it as the usual halt at the end of the first day's journey from Rome, and describes it as full of boatmen and cheating innkeepers. Boatmen were found there because it was the starting-point of a canal which ran parallel to the road through the Pontine Marshes, and was used instead of it at the time of Strabo and Horace (see Appian way). 


APPIAN WAY
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Gilbrant comments - As he trudged along, he may have looked back over the 3 years that had passed since he had written to the Romans, expressing his desire to visit them (Romans 1:10, 11, 15). What a weary 3 years they had been! There had been persecutions and false accusations. The imprisonment at Caesarea had dragged on and on until he had appealed to Caesar. What further severe ordeal awaited him now? But God had a pleasant surprise for Paul. When he reached the Appii Forum ("the marketplace of Appius"), about 40 miles south of Rome, a delegation of people met him. They were Christians who had come out in order to give him a royal welcome. It was not honor that brought Paul joy, however. The sight of Christian brothers who would walk and talk with him caused him to thank God and take courage. Even mature, spiritual believers need the inspiration and strength which can be derived from Christian fellowship with other believers.

To meet (529)(apantesis from apantáo from apó = from + antáo = to come opposite to, to meet especially to meet face to face) describes a meeting especially a meeting of two who are coming from different directions. This is the same word Paul use Paul's description of another great meeting called the Rapture, referred to in 1 Th 4:17+ writing "we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet (apantesis) the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord." Toussiant writes "Like an entourage, believers will go up at the Rapture into the clouds to meet Jesus, their Savior and Lord, coming from heaven to take them to Himself. Paul looked forward to joining that group."

In Greek culture the word had a technical meaning to describe the visits of dignitaries to cities where the visitor would be formally met by the citizens, or a deputation of them, who had gone out from the city for this purpose and would then be ceremonially escorted back into the city. In other words it was used in Greek literature of an entourage coming out of a city to meet an official going to the cit. Apantesis was often used to suggest the meeting of a dignitary or king, a famous person, describing people rushing to meet the one who was coming.

Hiebert has a similar comment on the meaning of apantesis writing that "In Hellenistic Greek the expression had become a kind of technical term denoting "a ceremonial meeting with a person of position. In papyrus usage it was used of an official delegation going forth to meet a newly appointed magistrate, or other dignitary, upon his arrival in their district." Hogg and Vine remark, "Almost invariably the word suggests that those who go out to meet him intend to return to their starting place with the person met." But Thomas feels that "usage of the noun in LXX as well as differing features of the present context (e.g., Christians being snatched away rather than advancing on their own to meet the visitor) is sufficient to remove this passage from the technical Hellenistic sense of the word. A meeting in the air is pointless unless the saints continue on to heaven with the Lord who has come out to meet them (Milligan, p. 61)." (Ibid)

And when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage - To "take courage" (literally "received courage") is an idiomatic way of saying he became confident and/or courageous even in face of real or possible danger in Rome. 

Larkin on he thanked God Why? From his letter to the Romans and from Acts we know that one of Paul's long-standing desires was to bear witness in Rome (Acts 19:21; Rom 1:10-12; 15:22-24, 30-32). Along the way to that goal, he had anticipated and met some significant obstacles. When, with God's help, we achieve divinely appointed goals, the only proper response is thankfulness. (Ibid)

Thanked (2168)(eucharisteo from eucháristos = grateful from  = well + charízomai = to grant; English - Eucharist) means to show that one is under obligation by being thankful. To show oneself as grateful most often to God.

Gilbrant Primarily it means “to give thanks.” The cognate charis (5320B), “grace, attractiveness, favor,” has been incorporated by New Testament writers into Christian thinking and has taken on the special meaning of “grace,” God’s gracious favor toward His own. The verb, occurring as early as the Third Century B.C., has the basic meaning of “to show someone a favor” and hence “oblige” (Moulton-Milligan). And because a favor deserves an obligation of thanks, the verb developed the meaning “to be thankful,” hence “to give thanks, return thanks.”

Courage (only here in NT)(2294)(tharsos related to tharrheo = be of good courage) means boldness, courage to do a thing, grounds of confidence. In Acts 23:11+ the Lord Jesus Himself encouraged Paul telling him "Take courage; (tharseo) for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” Toussaint adds that the related "verb tharseō is used in the Septuagint (Lxx) of people in distress who were then encouraged." (E.g., it often translates the phrase "do not fear" - so in Ex 14:13 tharseo in present imperative = "continually be of good courage", cf Ex 20:20, 1 Ki 17:13)

GilbrantEven mature, spiritual believers need the inspiration and strength which can be derived from Christian fellowship with other believers.

Acts 28:16  When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

NET  Acts 28:16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

GNT  Acts 28:16 Ὅτε δὲ εἰσήλθομεν εἰς Ῥώμην, ἐπετράπη τῷ Παύλῳ μένειν καθ᾽ ἑαυτὸν σὺν τῷ φυλάσσοντι αὐτὸν στρατιώτῃ.

NLT  Acts 28:16 When we arrived in Rome, Paul was permitted to have his own private lodging, though he was guarded by a soldier.

KJV  Acts 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

ESV  Acts 28:16 And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.

CSB  Acts 28:16 When we entered Rome, Paul was permitted to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded him.

NIV  Acts 28:16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

NKJ  Acts 28:16 Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.

NRS  Acts 28:16 When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

YLT  Acts 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered up the prisoners to the captain of the barrack, but Paul was suffered to remain by himself, with the soldier guarding him.

NAB  Acts 28:16 When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

NJB  Acts 28:16 On our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in lodgings of his own with the soldier who guarded him.

GWN  Acts 28:16 After our arrival, Paul was allowed to live by himself, but he had a soldier who guarded him.

BBE  Acts 28:16 And when we came into Rome, they let Paul have a house for himself and the armed man who kept watch over him.

  • When we entered Rome- Ac 2:10 18:2 19:21 23:11 Ro 1:7-15 15:22-29 Rev 17:9,18 
  • but - Ac 28:30,31 24:23 27:3 Ge 39:21-23 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

ANCIENT ROME
Click to enlarge

When we entered Rome - Luke is still with Paul in Rome, but now could no longer stay with Paul who would be "kept company" by a soldier guarding him. Luke could not stay with Paul any longer, but undoubtedly was allowed to visit him, as were many others (Acts 28:30). And this is the last time in this chapter that Luke includes himself (no more "we" or "us"). Luke is mentioned in Paul's epistles to Philemon and to the Colossians (see below), which were written during this period. Even though Nero was emperor at this time, he had not yet shown his true character. Paul was still treated with courtesy and allowed many privileges.

Col 4:14+  Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.

Philemon 1:23-24 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers. 

Larkin What an irony: Paul the imperial prisoner makes a triumphal procession to the capital of the Empire! Thus proceeds the advance of the gospel in fulfillment of Acts 1:8, a demonstration of the truth of its declaration that it would be proclaimed in all nations....As Paul and his companions got to (better "entered") Rome, they were no doubt struck with, as Horace says, "the smoke, the riches and the din of wealthy Rome," the ancient world's largest city, capital and hub of the Empire (Odes 3.29.12). Here Paul experienced a more lenient form of custody, his own rented quarters, where he remained chained at the wrist to one soldier of the Praetorian guard, who served a four-hour shift (Phil 1:13; Josephus Antiquities 18.169). (Ibid)

Paul was allowed to stay by himself - Who allowed this kindness? Was it the Centurion? That is certainly possible had he had treated Paul with consideration on several occasions (cf especially Acts 27:3+). The KJV has a phrase not in the more modern manuscripts writing "the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard." Luke does not describe the fate of the other prisoners, but presumably they were thrown into a prison. As Luke records in Acts 28:30 Paul was able to rent an apartment in a private house and keep it for the 2 years he was in Rome. Luke and Aristarchus clearly remained in Rome to help Paul during this period for Paul makes mention of them in some of the Epistles written during this period. (See Colossians 4:10, 14; Philemon 24.)

Was allowed (given permission)(2010)(epitrepo from epi = upon + trepo = to turn) means to turn to, to entrust, hence to permit or let someone do something. All uses in Acts - Acts 21:39; Acts 21:40; Acts 26:1; Acts 27:3; Acts 28:16. 

With the soldier who was guarding him - Guarding is in the present tense indicating Paul was continually guarded by Roman guards.

Peterson comments that "Two was the customary number of guards for custodia militaris (Digest 48.3.14; cf. Acts 12:6+). This duty would have been rotated in the cohort, which explains why Paul could write to the Philippians about it becoming known throughout 'the whole Praetorian Guard' that his imprisonment was for Christ (Phil. 1:13). Chained by the wrist to his guard (v. 20), Paul doubtless took the opportunity to testify about the Lord Jesus to each one. (Pillar New Testament Commentary – The Acts of the Apostles)

Soldier (4757)(stratiotes  from stratia = an army, cp strateuomai = to make war) in the majority of NT uses refers to a man (or men) engaged in military service; one whose occupation is military; a man enlisted for service in an army; a private, or one in the ranks. 

This soldier was most likely a member of Nero's praetorian guard which is supported by Paul's declaration in his prison epistle to the Philippians writing "that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else." (Php 1:13). Paul was a Spirit energized man who always redeemed the time, whether he was shipwrecked on an island for 3 month or under guard by Roman soldiers for 2 years! O to imitate his faithful pattern! 

Robertson Probably a new soldier every day or night, but always with this soldier chained to his right hand day and night.

Was guarding (5442)(phulasso) means to watch, to carry out the function as a military guard or sentinel (cp Ac 23:35, 28:16), to keep watch, to have one's eye upon lest one escape. 

Phulasso in Acts - Acts 7:53; Acts 12:4; Acts 16:4; Acts 21:24; Acts 21:25; Acts 22:20; Acts 23:35; Acts 28:16

Acts 28:17  After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, "Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

NET  Acts 28:17 After three days Paul called the local Jewish leaders together. When they had assembled, he said to them, "Brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, from Jerusalem I was handed over as a prisoner to the Romans.

GNT  Acts 28:17 Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ ἡμέρας τρεῖς συγκαλέσασθαι αὐτὸν τοὺς ὄντας τῶν Ἰουδαίων πρώτους· συνελθόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ἔλεγεν πρὸς αὐτούς, Ἐγώ, ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί, οὐδὲν ἐναντίον ποιήσας τῷ λαῷ ἢ τοῖς ἔθεσι τοῖς πατρῴοις δέσμιος ἐξ Ἱεροσολύμων παρεδόθην εἰς τὰς χεῖρας τῶν Ῥωμαίων,

NLT  Acts 28:17 Three days after Paul's arrival, he called together the local Jewish leaders. He said to them, "Brothers, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Roman government, even though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors.

KJV  Acts 28:17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

ESV  Acts 28:17 After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, "Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

CSB  Acts 28:17 After three days he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them: "Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

NIV  Acts 28:17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: "My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.

NKJ  Acts 28:17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: "Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans,

NRS  Acts 28:17 Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, "Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.

YLT  Acts 28:17 And it came to pass after three days, Paul called together those who are the principal men of the Jews, and they having come together, he said unto them: 'Men, brethren, I -- having done nothing contrary to the people, or to the customs of the fathers -- a prisoner from Jerusalem, was delivered up to the hands of the Romans;

NAB  Acts 28:17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them, "My brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or our ancestral customs, I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.

NJB  Acts 28:17 After three days he called together the leading Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, 'Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.

GWN  Acts 28:17 After three days Paul invited the most influential Jews in Rome to meet with him. When they assembled, he said to them, "Brothers, I haven't done anything against the Jewish people or violated the customs handed down by our ancestors. Yet, I'm a prisoner from Jerusalem, and I've been handed over to the Roman authorities.

BBE  Acts 28:17 Then after three days he sent for the chief men of the Jews: and when they had come together, he said to them, My brothers, though I had done nothing against the people or the ways of our fathers, I was given, a prisoner from Jerusalem, into the hands of the Romans.

  • though I had done nothing - Ac 23:1-11 Acts 24:10-16 Acts 25:8,10 Ge 40:15 
  • yet I was delivered as a prisoner  - Ac 21:33-40 Acts 23:33 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL ADDRESSES
JEWISH BRETHREN

After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews - Paul continues his strategy of taking the Gospel "to the Jew first." This refers to the local Jewish leaders (including synagogue leaders), not Jewish believers per se. He in essence sends out an "invitation" probably using the believers as envoys. This is an interesting tactic because in his missionary travels, the first place he would go to share the Gospel was to the Jewish synagogues. Now, he cannot go to the synagogues, so he calls the synagogues to come to him! (See Acts 13:5, Acts 13:14; Acts 14:1; Acts 16:13; Acts 17:2, Acts 17:10, Acts 17:17; Acts 18:4; Acts 19:8).

Larkin notes that "The Jewish community at Rome in mid-first century is estimated to have numbered forty to fifty thousand, most being slaves and freedmen. They inhabited "the great section of Rome on the other side of the Tiber" (Philo Legatio ad Gaium 155). The names of ten to thirteen synagogues have been recovered from inscriptions in the catacombs (Dunn 1988:xlvi)....The apostle never finally turned his back on his compatriots. He saw each new audience of Jews as potentially containing some of the elect remnant who would hear and respond to the gospel (Rom 10:9-15; 11:5). And today Paul's initiative teaches us that centuries of Jewish rejection and Gentile anti-Semitism or neglect cannot erase the responsibility that all witnesses have to make sure the gospel goes "to the Jew first." (Ibid)

Paul harbored no ill will or animosity toward the Jews despite all of the abuse, hatred and persecution he had experienced at their. He was a man who could honestly writer for all believers to "Bless those who persecute you. Bless and curse not." (Ro 12:14+). He practiced what he preached. 

Barclay phrased it this way rhetorically asking "Is there any example of undefeatable hope and unconquerable love like this act of Paul when, in Rome too, he preached first to the Jews?"

Gilbrant notes that "Ancient Roman inscriptions show there were several Jewish synagogues in Rome at this time. In fact, the Roman government at the time did more than tolerate the Jews. They favored them by allowing them the privilege of governing themselves and making laws and ordinances for their own community. They even let them send an annual contribution to the temple in Jerusalem." 

Robertson on leading...JewsThis use of prōtos for the leading men of a city or among the Jews we have already had in Acts 13:50; Acts 25:2; Luke 19:47. Literally, "Those that were first among the Jews."...He is anxious that they may understand that this appeal was forced upon him by Festus following Felix and lot because he has come to make an attack on the Jewish people. He was sure that false reports had come to Rome. These non-Christian Jews accepted Paul's invitation.

Called together (4779)(sugkaleo from sun = together + kaleo = call) means in the middle voice (as here in Acts 28:17) means to call to one's self, to summon (cf  Lk 9:1; Lk 15:6 Lk 23:13; Acts 5:21 Acts 10:24; Acts 13:7).The idea of “calling together” a group or a meeting. In classical Greek the word generally suggests “to call to council” or “convene” and occasionally, “to invite” (Liddell-Scott).

Gilbrant Most of these reflect an informal “calling together” of friends in informal occasions or for celebration. In the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin, the finder “calls together” friends and neighbors to celebrate the discovery of what had been lost (Luke 15:6,9). In other contexts the setting is more formal, suggesting a convening of a specific group such as the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:21), the 12 disciples (Luke 9:1), or the mustering of a company of soldiers (Mark 15:16). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Sugkaleo - 8v - Mk. 15:16; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 15:6; Lk. 15:9; Lk. 23:13; Acts 5:21; Acts 10:24; Acts 28:17

Sugkaleo in the Septuagint - Exod. 7:11; Jos. 9:22; Jos. 10:24; Jos. 22:1; Jos. 23:2; Jos. 24:1; Prov. 9:3; Jer. 1:15; Zech. 3:10

And when they came together, he began saying to them - Paul's aim was to prevent or abort any negative, condemning or derogatory report that might have come from his Jewish enemies in Jerusalem. Keep in mind this Paul's sixth and final (albeit brief) defense - Acts 21:27ff.; Acts 22:30ff.; Acts 24:1ff.; Acts 25:1-12; Acts 25:13ff.

Brethren - Literally "men, brothers" (2 words). 

MacArthur - The Sanhedrin had falsely accused him of sedition against Rome, of being the leader of a heretical sect, and of violating the Temple (cf. 24:5-6). Rome's Jewish leaders would not have been too concerned with the first charge, and Paul did not even mention it. (Ibid)

Though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers - Paul declares that he not guilty of anything malicious against his people, the Jews, nor against the traditions of the Jewish patriarchs or forefathers. Paul claimed that he was faithful to the Jewish people and by extension faithful to the God of Israel. In fact Paul was actually in the process of showing his willingness to follow those customs when he was attacked and arrested (he was celebrating the feast. 

Larkin The Jews may charge that Paul is working against "the people" and the customs of our ancestors, as they did when they tried to lynch him and when they accused him at the hearings (Acts 21:28; Acts 24:6; Acts 25:7). But the charges won't stick, because Paul always acted for and not against his people (Acts 26:17, Acts 26:23) and always respected Jewish customs (Acts 21:23-24, Acts 21:26). Further, Paul does not view his nation as at odds with himself (compare Acts 24:17; Acts 26:4). (Ibid)

Nothing (3762)(oudeis) is composed of three words combined to make one strong affirmation. Ou is the negative adverb used primarily with the indicative, the mood of affirmation and reality and is an unequivocal negative. This ou is combined with the conjunction de  or oude which means “not even” (Mt 6:29) and thirdly the numeral heis which is the lowest possible number "one." Thus this compound negative affirms no one, not even to the number of one. E.g., see oudeis in Mt 6:24. 

Custom (habit)(1485ethos) refers to a pattern of behavior more or less fixed by tradition. Custom, usual practice or manner, established by law or otherwise. 

Robertson on was deliveredThis condensed statement does not explain how he "was delivered," for in fact the Jews were trying to kill him when Lysias rescued him from the mob (Acts 22:27-36). The Jews were responsible for his being in the hands of the Romans, though they had hoped to kill him first.

Yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans - As noted above, Paul leaves out the detail that it was in the in hands of the Romans that he was actually protected from the Jews who sought to kill him! 

Peterson A parallel between Paul's experience and that of Jesus is suggested by the phrase 'handed over' (paredothēn eis tas cheiras, 'delivered into the hands), which recalls Jesus' predictions about his own arrest and trials (Lk. 9:44+; Lk 18:32+; cf. Acts 24:7+). (Ibid)

Delivered (3860)(paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another. (compare Lk 22:21; 23:25; Acts 21:11).

Acts 28:18  "And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death.

NET  Acts 28:18 When they had heard my case, they wanted to release me, because there was no basis for a death sentence against me.

GNT  Acts 28:18 οἵτινες ἀνακρίναντές με ἐβούλοντο ἀπολῦσαι διὰ τὸ μηδεμίαν αἰτίαν θανάτου ὑπάρχειν ἐν ἐμοί·

NLT  Acts 28:18 The Romans tried me and wanted to release me, because they found no cause for the death sentence.

KJV  Acts 28:18 Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.

ESV  Acts 28:18 When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case.

CSB  Acts 28:18 After they examined me, they wanted to release me, since I had not committed a capital offense.

NIV  Acts 28:18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.

NKJ  Acts 28:18 "who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death.

NRS  Acts 28:18 When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case.

YLT  Acts 28:18 who, having examined me, were wishing to release me, because of their being no cause of death in me,

NAB  Acts 28:18 After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me, because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.

NJB  Acts 28:18 They examined me and would have set me free, since they found me guilty of nothing involving the death penalty;

GWN  Acts 28:18 The Roman authorities cross-examined me and wanted to let me go because I was accused of nothing for which I deserved to die.

BBE  Acts 28:18 Who, when they had put questions to me, were ready to let me go free, because there was no cause of death in me.

  • Ac 22:24,25,30 24:10,22 25:7,8 26:31 

And when they had examined me - As noted below the Greek word Paul uses indicates that they gave him a thorough examination. He wants to emphasize to his Jewish audience that even after conducted a judicial hearing, they found no evidence of wrongdoing. Who are those who examined and acquitted Paul? First there were the Roman officials, Claudius Lysias (Acts 23:28-29+), governor Felix (Acts 24:22-27+) and governor Festus (Acts 25:18-19+). Then there was one Jewish leader King Herod Agrippa (Acts 26:31-32+). 

Examined (350)(anakrino from aná = again + kríno = judge, distinguish) means to sift up and down, to examine accurately or carefully (re-examine), to make careful and exact research as in legal processes. Anakrinō was the same verb used already in Acts 24:8; Acts 25:6, 26 of the judicial examinations by Felix and Festus. 

All uses of anakrino - Lk. 23:14; Acts 4:9; Acts 12:19; Acts 17:11; Acts 24:8; Acts 28:18; 1 Co. 2:14; 1 Co. 2:15; 1 Co. 4:3; 1 Co. 4:4; 1 Co. 9:3; 1 Co. 10:25; 1 Co. 10:27; 1 Co. 14:24

They were willing to release me - Willing is imperfect tense. The Roman authorities were prepared to give fall a full pardon.  

Willing (1014)(boulomai) refers to a settled desire, one born of or springing from reason and not from emotion. To will, to wish, to will deliberately, to intend, to have a purpose, to be minded. Boulomai underlines the preset determined intention which drives one's planning, wishing, resolving.  In contrast, the verb thelo focuses on the desire ("wishfulness") behind making an offer. 

Release (630)(apoluo from apó = marker of dissociation, implying separation + luo = loose) is used of sending a person away from someone, frequently with the sense of to release from arrest or from another's custody and let go free. Apoluo is used in all four Gospels describing the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus (Jn 18:39, Mt 27:15, 17, 21, etc, cf Acts 16:35) It was used as a legal term, to grant acquittal, set free, release, pardon.

Because there was no ground for putting me to death - In this Paul proved to be an "imitator" of Christ, for the officials found no guilt in Jesus for three times Pilate declared "I find no fault (aitia) in Him." (Jn 18:38, 19:4, 19:6, cf Acts 13:28+). 

Ground (156)(aitia from aiteo = to ask or require because an accusation is that for which one is required to appear before a judge to be questioned) in Classical Greek was used to mean cause or reason (the reason or cause for an event or state Acts 28:20, Acts 19:40, Heb 5:9), but the most common nuance in the Greek was charge or accusation. The guilt or fault of the one accused is implied. Friberg - (1) cause, reason, grounds (Mt 19.3); as the grounds in a particular situation case (Mt 19.10); (2) as a legal technical term (formal) charge, ground for accusation (Acts 23.28);  BDAG has (1) that which is responsible for a condition = cause, reason  (2) the actual state of affairs, case, circumstance, relationship (Latinism=causa) (3) a basis for legal action, legal technical term meaning a charge or a ground for complaint (Acts 23:28 = find a basis for a charge; Jn 18:38; 19:4, 6 = Pilate states that he has no ‘case’.  Ac 13:28; Acts 28:18 = reason/grounds for capital punishment . The charge specified Mt 27:37; Mk 15:26) or an accusation (Acts 25:18).

Note that the closely related word aitios is used in Lk. 23:4; Lk. 23:14; Lk. 23:22; Acts 19:40; Heb. 5:9 and it has a similar meaning.

Aitia - 21v - charge(1), charge against(2), charges(2), ground(2), guilt(3), reason(9), relationship(1). 

Matt. 19:3; Matt. 19:10; Matt. 27:37; Mk. 15:26; Lk. 8:47; Jn. 18:38; Jn. 19:4; Jn. 19:6; Acts 10:21; Acts 13:28; Acts 22:24; Acts 23:28; Acts 25:18; Acts 25:27; Acts 28:18; Acts 28:20; 2 Tim. 1:6; 2 Tim. 1:12; Tit. 1:13; Heb. 2:11

Aitia in Septuagint - Ge 4:13, Job 18:14, Pr 28:17

Death (2288)(thanatos) was a legal technical term describing capital punishment (Mt 26.66)

Acts 28:19  "But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation against my nation.

NET  Acts 28:19 But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar– not that I had some charge to bring against my own people.

GNT  Acts 28:19 ἀντιλεγόντων δὲ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἠναγκάσθην ἐπικαλέσασθαι Καίσαρα οὐχ ὡς τοῦ ἔθνους μου ἔχων τι κατηγορεῖν.

NLT  Acts 28:19 But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no desire to press charges against my own people.

KJV  Acts 28:19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.

ESV  Acts 28:19 But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar-- though I had no charge to bring against my nation.

CSB  Acts 28:19 Because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar; it was not as though I had any accusation against my nation.

NIV  Acts 28:19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar--not that I had any charge to bring against my own people.

NKJ  Acts 28:19 "But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation.

NRS  Acts 28:19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor-- even though I had no charge to bring against my nation.

YLT  Acts 28:19 and the Jews having spoken against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar -- not as having anything to accuse my nation of;

NAB  Acts 28:19 But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.

NJB  Acts 28:19 but the Jews lodged an objection, and I was forced to appeal to Caesar, though not because I had any accusation to make against my own nation.

GWN  Acts 28:19 But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal my case to the emperor. That doesn't mean I have any charges to bring against my own people.

BBE  Acts 28:19 But when the Jews made protest against it, I had to put my cause into Caesar's hands; not because I have anything to say against my nation.

  • I was - Ac 25:10-12,21,25 26:32 
  • not - Ro 12:19-21 1Pe 2:22,23 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

But when the Jews objected - They objected to Paul being released and neither Felix nor Festus felt it was politically advisable to release him and then suffer the ire of the Jews. Compare the Jewish objections to Pilate when he sought to release Jesus (Lk 23:18+). 

Objected (483)(antilego from anti = over against + lego = speak) means literally to speak against and so to contradict, to speak in opposition to or to oppose, to gainsay (declare to be untrue or invalid and implies disputing the truth of what another has said), to deny, to refute (to deny the truth or accuracy of). 

Antilego - 9v - Lk. 2:34; Lk. 20:27; Jn. 19:12; Acts 13:45; Acts 28:19; Acts 28:22; Ro 10:21; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:9

Peterson explains why Paul was forced to appeal - Felix actually delayed Paul's release because he hoped the Jews would offer him a bribe (Acts 24:26) and, later, because he wanted to grant a favour to the Jews (Acts 24:27). Festus, who also wanted to do the Jews a favour, proposed sending Paul back to Jerusalem for a further trial (Acts 25:9), and it was this that finally provoked Paul to appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:10-11). (Ibid)

I was forced to appeal to Caesar (Read Acts 25:11-12+) - He was compelled to make this appeal. The verb forced (anagkazo) is an interesting word because it is the same word Paul had used in his attempts to cause the Christians to blaspheme. (Acts 26:11 = " I tried to force [anagkazo] them to blaspheme") Recall that one reason he appealed to Caesar was the fact that if he had been released, it is likely that the angry Jews would have attempted to assassinate him. He leaves this detail out of his explanation so as not to place any blame on the Jewish people. He wanted to present his case to these Jewish leaders as the accused and not as an accuser of the Jews in Jerusalem. He was not lying, but as we see later, he was undoubtedly laying the groundwork for presentation of the Gospel to the leaders and did not want to antagonize them. 

Gilbrant The Jews in Jerusalem, however, had continued to speak against him, opposing him, refusing to accept the decision of the Roman authorities. Therefore, Paul had felt obliged to appeal to Caesar. But his purpose in doing so was not to make any accusation against his nation (his people, the Jews). Rather, he simply wanted the opportunity to defend himself. Thus, he was in Rome as a prisoner, not because he had done anything wrong, but because circumstances had made it a necessity. The fact that Paul did not want to bring any charge against his own people shows how loving and forgiving he was toward them. No matter what they did to him, he could not hold a grudge or keep anything in his heart against them. (Read of his heart to his people the Jews in Romans 9:2-4 where he was willing to give up his own salvation if it might have guaranteed the salvation of the Jews!). 

Forced (315)(anagkazo  from anagke - compelling need requiring immediate action) refers to an inner or an outward compulsion to act in a certain manner (Gal 2:3, 14, 6:12, Acts 26:11), and to do so with a sense of urgency (as a pressing necessity). It conveys the idea of an inward feeling of obligation in Acts 28:19. This word was used in surgery of force to reduce dislocations, etc. (Liddell-Scott).

Not that I had any accusation against my nation - NLT says "I had no desire to press charges against my own people." Paul is not looking for vindication but a open door for proclamation of the Gospel. As Paul wrote the saints at Corinth "I do all things for the sake of the gospel." (1 Cor 9:23) Paul practices what he had preached (so to speak) in his earlier letter to the Romans

Never ("NEVER" IN GREEK MEANS JUST THAT- NEVER!!!) pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Ro 12:17-21+)

Accusation (2723)(kategoreo from kata = against - suggests animosity + agora = assembly, place of public speaking) means to speak against a person before a public tribunal or bring an accusation in court. To accuse formally and before a tribunal, to bring a charge publicly. The idea is to speak openly against, to condemn or accuse mainly in a legal sense. Note that all 7 uses of this verb are in the context of the Jews accusing Paul ( Acts 22:30; Acts 24:2; Acts 24:8; Acts 24:13; Acts 24:19; Acts 25:5; Acts 25:11; Acts 25:16). He will not turn the tables on them at this critical opportunity. 

Acts 28:20  "For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel."

NET  Acts 28:20 So for this reason I have asked to see you and speak with you, for I am bound with this chain because of the hope of Israel."

GNT  Acts 28:20 διὰ ταύτην οὖν τὴν αἰτίαν παρεκάλεσα ὑμᾶς ἰδεῖν καὶ προσλαλῆσαι, ἕνεκεν γὰρ τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ τὴν ἅλυσιν ταύτην περίκειμαι.

NLT  Acts 28:20 I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted and so I could explain to you that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel-- the Messiah-- has already come."

KJV  Acts 28:20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.

ESV  Acts 28:20 For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain."

CSB  Acts 28:20 For this reason I've asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I'm wearing this chain."

NIV  Acts 28:20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain."

NKJ  Acts 28:20 "For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain."

NRS  Acts 28:20 For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain."

YLT  Acts 28:20 for this cause, therefore, I called for you to see and to speak with you, for because of the hope of Israel with this chain I am bound.'

NAB  Acts 28:20 This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains."

NJB  Acts 28:20 That is why I have urged you to see me and have a discussion with me, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear this chain.'

GWN  Acts 28:20 That's why I asked to see you and speak with you. I'm wearing these chains because of what Israel hopes for."

BBE  Acts 28:20 But for this reason I sent for you, to see and have talk with you: for because of the hope of Israel I am in these chains.

  • For this reason - Ac 28:17 10:29,33 
  • for the - Ac 23:6 24:15 26:6,7 
  • this chain -  Eph 6:20; Ac 26:29 Eph 3:1 4:1 6:20 Php 1:13 Col 4:18 2Ti 1:10 2:9 Philemon 1:10,13 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

For this reason, therefore - "Reason" (aitia) is same word he used above in Acts 28:18. 

I requested (parakaleo - appealed, invited) to see you and to speak with you - Speak with is proslaleo (only here and Acts 13:43) which means to speak with in the sense of to address. NLT says "I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted and so I could explain to you that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel-- the Messiah-- has already come."

For (gar) - Term of explanation.

I am wearing this chain (halusis) for the sake of the hope of Israel - The Hope of Israel is not an abstract idea, but a concrete Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, because unless one believes in Him, they have no hope in this short life or throughout eternity. As Paul affirms in 1 Ti 1:1 "Christ Jesus is our hope." 

Hope of Israel is found twice in the Old Testament and both uses clearly refer to not an idea but to the Person Who personifies hope. 

Jeremiah 14:8;  “O Hope of Israel, Its Savior in time of distress, Why are You like a stranger in the land Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night? 

Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD. 

Swindoll - The Roman Jews expressed interest in hearing Paul’s views (28:22). They knew enough about Christianity to recognize his reference to “the hope of Israel” (Acts 2 8:20) as related to Jesus. Again, they claimed ignorance of any specific details, perhaps as a way to avoid conflict.

I am wearing (4029)(perikeimai from peri = around + keimai = to lie) means to lie around, or be placed around, this latter sense describing a persons who "causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, (FOR) it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea." A frightening way to die, emphasizing how serious is the crime! (Mk 9:42, Lk 17:2). In Hebrews 12:1 perikeimai is used figuratively to describe a "great cloud of witnesses surrounding" all believers, not that they are in Heaven looking down at what we do, but that we are on earth looking at what they accomplished by faith in Hebrews 11. In Hebrews 5:2 perikeimai refers to a weakness which hinders and so means to be best by or subject to explaining how Jesus himself beset with weaknesses "can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided."  

Hope (1680)(elpis)  in Scripture is not the world's definition of "I hope so", with a few rare exceptions (e.g., Acts 16:19, Acts 27:20) but is the believer's "hope sure." And so the most common sense of Hope is a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is always an expectation of something good as well as descriptive of something for which we must wait. Hope is the opposite of despair. And the opposite of a "living hope" is a "dead hope."  Hope is the absolute assurance that God will do good to believers in the future! Do you have this hope?

In Acts 23:6+ But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!”

Acts 24:14-15+ But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

In Acts 26:6-7+ Paul declares “And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers, the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews.

Related Resources:

Gilbrant In his prison epistles, Paul never drew attention to the fact that he was a prisoner of Rome (OR THE ROMANS). Rather, he called himself a prisoner of his Lord (Eph 3:1; Eph 4:1).

Toussaint on the hope of Israel - The hope of Israel was more than a resurrection; it meant fulfillment of the Old Testament promises to Israel (cf. Acts 26:6-7). Paul firmly believed Jesus is the Messiah of Israel who will return someday and establish Himself as the King of Israel and Lord of the nations (cf. "restoring the kingdom to Israel" = Acts 1:6+).

John MacArthur sees the hope as specifically related to the resurrection and of course unless Jesus is our hope there would be no resurrection, so the two are clearly related. Regarding the hope of resurrection he writes...

That hope was firmly grounded in the Old Testament. It is expressed in the ancient book of Job: "Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes shall see and not another" (Job 19:26-27). Isaiah prophesied, "Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits" (Isa 26:19). In Daniel 12:2+, Daniel was told, "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)


Charles Roll on the Hope of Israel - The Hope of Israel is definitely a title of Messiah. It is related to the kingdom of God and the salvation of God as predicted by the prophets and preached by Paul (Acts 26:6-8). On account of this very testimony Paul was apprehended by the Jews and arraigned before the governors of the land. "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?"

The dignified, descriptive declaration of Paul's defense before King Agrippa is one of the finest pieces of oratory in all literature. He did not contend with the Jews over their false charge of sedition, but confined his statement to the superlative subject of salvation. He courageously and capably affirmed that the reconciling death and victorious resurrection of Christ fulfilled the predictions of prophets and the pledges of the promises made to the Fathers. This was the apostle's constant theme (see Romans 15:8-13). He did not modify or qualify the fact at any time, but affirmed it clearly and confidently. The resurrection from the dead is bound up inextricably with the Hope of Israel and is affirmed by Abraham, Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel, Hosea, and others of the prophets. Messiah himself avowed, "I am the resurrection and the life." In the light of the almighty omnipotent God, resurrection from the dead is not incredible but inevitable, for He has pledged it, and one word from the Lord God outweighs in worth and wisdom a whole library of human utterances.

The arresting grandeur of Christ's monumental mastery over death, the momentous marvel of His resurrection, and the matchless miracle of His ascension, dim into insignificance all former events in history.

Scientists may speak of a general resurrection as being a grave difficulty, but the word difficulty is not in the dictionary of Deity, nor is impossibility in the vocabulary of the victorious and infinite Christ. We do not flout human science nor do we fear it, but we favor a much higher fount of authority. If the present radio and recording system had been described in a university a century ago, it would have been declared preposterous. When Paul the apostle introduced this subject of the Hope of Israel, he raised eternal issues that were universal in their then present application. In the wonderful message of Romans 15 Paul declares in verses 8 and 9: "Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy. (Names and Titles of Jesus Christ)

Acts 28:21  They said to him, "We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you.

NET  Acts 28:21 They replied, "We have received no letters from Judea about you, nor have any of the brothers come from there and reported or said anything bad about you.

GNT  Acts 28:21 οἱ δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν εἶπαν, Ἡμεῖς οὔτε γράμματα περὶ σοῦ ἐδεξάμεθα ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰουδαίας οὔτε παραγενόμενός τις τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἀπήγγειλεν ἢ ἐλάλησέν τι περὶ σοῦ πονηρόν.

NLT  Acts 28:21 They replied, "We have had no letters from Judea or reports against you from anyone who has come here.

KJV  Acts 28:21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.

ESV  Acts 28:21 And they said to him, "We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you.

CSB  Acts 28:21 Then they said to him, "We haven't received any letters about you from Judea. None of the brothers has come and reported or spoken anything evil about you.

NIV  Acts 28:21 They replied, "We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you.

NKJ  Acts 28:21 Then they said to him, "We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you.

NRS  Acts 28:21 They replied, "We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken anything evil about you.

YLT  Acts 28:21 And they said unto him, 'We did neither receive letters concerning thee from Judea, nor did any one who came of the brethren declare or speak any evil concerning thee,

NAB  Acts 28:21 They answered him, "We have received no letters from Judea about you, nor has any of the brothers arrived with a damaging report or rumor about you.

NJB  Acts 28:21 They answered, 'We have received no letters from Judaea about you, nor has any of the brothers arrived here with any report or story of anything to your discredit.

GWN  Acts 28:21 The Jewish leaders told Paul, "We haven't received any letters from Judea about you, and no Jewish person who has come to Rome has reported or mentioned anything bad about you.

BBE  Acts 28:21 And they said to him, We have not had letters from Judaea about you, and no one of the brothers has come to us here to give an account or say any evil about you.

  • We - Ex 11:7 Isa 41:11 50:8 54:17 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

NO BAD REPORT
ON PAUL

They said to him, "We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you - They knew nothing about Paul. 

Toussiant makes an interesting suppositional statement - One wonders if they were being truthful. How could Jewish leaders be unaware of Jews in Rome who had become Christians and also of the existence of tensions between the church and Judaism in Jerusalem? It is quite possible they had heard nothing of Paul, but they probably knew more than they acknowledged about Christianity. They were interested in hearing Paul's views since they knew that people were talking against his message. (BKC)

Received (1209)(dechomai) in this context conveys the simple meaning of to receive something offered or transmitted by another. This is the same word Paul used describing his pre-conversion activities "From them (high priest and the Council of the elders ) I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished." (Acts 22:5)

Letters (1121)(gramma) that which is drawn or written, i.e. a letter of the Greek alphabet.  Any kind of written document, whether in book or manuscript form, with focus upon the content. 

Bad (4190)(poneros) denotes determined, aggressive, and fervent evil that actively opposes what is good, in this case what the Jewish leaders thought was good from a spiritual perspective. Poneros is not just bad in character (like kakos), but bad in effect (injurious)!

Gilbrant has an interesting note - The Jewish leaders replied that no letters had come from Judea, nor had anyone brought a report of Paul's trial or spoken anything bad concerning him. There is evidence that Roman law punished unsuccessful prosecutors of Roman citizens. So it is possible the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem simply decided it was the better part of wisdom not to oppose Paul in Rome.

Acts 28:22  "But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere."

NET  Acts 28:22 But we would like to hear from you what you think, for regarding this sect we know that people everywhere speak against it."

GNT  Acts 28:22 ἀξιοῦμεν δὲ παρὰ σοῦ ἀκοῦσαι ἃ φρονεῖς, περὶ μὲν γὰρ τῆς αἱρέσεως ταύτης γνωστὸν ἡμῖν ἐστιν ὅτι πανταχοῦ ἀντιλέγεται.

NLT  Acts 28:22 But we want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere."

KJV  Acts 28:22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.

ESV  Acts 28:22 But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against."

CSB  Acts 28:22 But we would like to hear from you what you think. For concerning this sect, we are aware that it is spoken against everywhere."

NIV  Acts 28:22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect."

NKJ  Acts 28:22 "But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere."

NRS  Acts 28:22 But we would like to hear from you what you think, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against."

YLT  Acts 28:22 and we think it good from thee to hear what thou dost think, for, indeed, concerning this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against;'

NAB  Acts 28:22 But we should like to hear you present your views, for we know that this sect is denounced everywhere."

NJB  Acts 28:22 We think it would be as well to hear your own account of your position; all we know about this sect is that it encounters opposition everywhere.'

GWN  Acts 28:22 However, we would like to hear what you think. We know that everywhere people are talking against this sect."

BBE  Acts 28:22 But we have a desire to give hearing to your opinion: for as to this form of religion, we have knowledge that in all places it is attacked.

  • for - Ac 16:20,21 17:6,7 24:5,6,14 Lu 2:34 1Pe 2:12 3:16 4:14-16 
  • sect - Ac 5:17 15:5 26:5 1Co 11:19
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

But we desire to hear from you what your views are - The idea is that they considered it suitable to hear Paul's thoughts. They wanted to know Paul's mind on Christianity. "They think it only fair to hear Paul's side of his case." (Robertson)

Desire (515)(axioo  from axios = of weight) means basically to think meet, proper or right and has several nuances in this context meaning to want or desire. Axioo is used with this meaning in Acts 15:38.

Views (5426)(phroneo from phren = literally the diaphragm and thus that which curbs or restrains. Figuratively, phren is the supposed seat of all mental and emotional activity) refers to the basic orientation, bent, and thought patterns of the mind, rather than to the mind itself. In other words phroneo refers not only to intellectual activity but primarily to the direction and purpose of heart. 

Gilbrant They were not complimentary to the Christians, however, for they called Christianity a sect that everywhere was opposed. Up to this time most of these leaders may have been indifferent to Christianity, knowing only that it was unpopular. Now, at least, their curiosity was aroused.

For concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere - Keep in mind Paul had already written a letter to this "sect" so that clearly a church had been planted in Rome for a number of years. But also just as clearly it was not necessarily popular with these Jewish leaders. 

Sect (139)(hairesis from haireo = to choose, elect, prefer; only in the middle voice = to take for oneself; see word study of hairetikos) denotes a choosing or a choice. It came to mean an opinion chosen or a tenet (a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true) and then came to refer to a sect, party or faction that held tenets distinctive to it. Hairesis is the source of our English words heresy, heretic, heretical, but (with the exception of the "destructive heresies" in 2 Peter 2:1) heresy as we think of it today was not usually the meaning in the NT. In ancient Greece hairesis was used to describe the teaching or the school of a particular philosopher with which a person identified himself by his own choice. A school of philosophy, which gathered around the authoritative figure of its teacher, was defined by dogmas to which the followers assented and by a communal set of rules governing their style of life. Within Judaism there were distinct splinter groups as discussed in the next paragraph.

Hairesis is used in Acts to describe various parties or sects in Acts 5:17+ = Sadducees; Acts 15:5+; Acts 26:5+ = Pharisees; Acts 24:5-14+, Acts 28:22 = Christians. Thus hairesis was applied by the Jews to the Christians (sect) and by the Christians to the Pharisees (sect) and Sadducees (sect). To reiterate hairesis did not originally refer to heresy in the modern sense. As illustrated in Acts, hairesis was used for a school of thought and could designate the particular teaching of such a school (eg, Christian, Pharisee or Sadducee). In other words, there was no inherently evil meaning suggested, but simply a difference in their teaching. Factions became heretical only when they substantially contradicted a clear doctrine of Scripture (cp 2Pe 2:1-note).

Spoken against (483) see note above on antilego. The present tense indicates that this was continually what the leaders had been hearing.

Robertson If the edict of Claudius for the expulsion of the Jews from Rome (Acts 18:2) was due to disturbance over Christ (Chrēstus), then even in Rome the Jews had special reason for hostility towards Christians. The line of cleavage between Jew and Christian was now sharply drawn everywhere.

Acts 28:23  When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.

NET  Acts 28:23 They set a day to meet with him, and they came to him where he was staying in even greater numbers. From morning until evening he explained things to them, testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets.

GNT  Acts 28:23 Ταξάμενοι δὲ αὐτῷ ἡμέραν ἦλθον πρὸς αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν ξενίαν πλείονες οἷς ἐξετίθετο διαμαρτυρόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ, πείθων τε αὐτοὺς περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἀπό τε τοῦ νόμου Μωϋσέως καὶ τῶν προφητῶν, ἀπὸ πρωῒ ἕως ἑσπέρας.

NLT  Acts 28:23 So a time was set, and on that day a large number of people came to Paul's lodging. He explained and testified about the Kingdom of God and tried to persuade them about Jesus from the Scriptures. Using the law of Moses and the books of the prophets, he spoke to them from morning until evening.

KJV  Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

ESV  Acts 28:23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

CSB  Acts 28:23 After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and witnessed about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets.

NIV  Acts 28:23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

NKJ  Acts 28:23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.

NRS  Acts 28:23 After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets.

YLT  Acts 28:23 and having appointed him a day, they came, more of them unto him, to the lodging, to whom he was expounding, testifying fully the reign of God, persuading them also of the things concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses, and the prophets, from morning till evening,

NAB  Acts 28:23 So they arranged a day with him and came to his lodgings in great numbers. From early morning until evening, he expounded his position to them, bearing witness to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and the prophets.

NJB  Acts 28:23 So they arranged a day with him and a large number of them visited him at his lodgings. He put his case to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them about Jesus, arguing from the Law of Moses and the prophets from early morning until evening;

GWN  Acts 28:23 On a designated day a larger number of influential Jews than expected went to the place where Paul was staying. From morning until evening, Paul was explaining the kingdom of God to them. He was trying to convince them about Jesus from Moses' Teachings and the Prophets.

BBE  Acts 28:23 And when a day had been fixed, they came to his house in great numbers; and he gave them teaching, giving witness to the kingdom of God, and having discussions with them about Jesus, from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning till evening.

  • they came to him at his lodging - Phm 1:2 
  • he was explaining - Ac 17:2,3 18:4,28 19:8 26:22,23 
  • both - Ac 26:6,22 Lu 24:26,27,44 
  • from - Ac 20:9-11  John 4:34 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL CAREFULLY, SOLEMNLY
LAYS OUT THE GOSPEL

Paul can't go to the synagogue, so in a sense he invites the "synagogue" to come to him. 

When they had set (tasso) a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers (compare Acts 13:44+) - The word for lodging (xenia) means entertaining of a guest  or providing hospitality and here refers to the place where a Paul is lodged. Little did they know they would be provided "entertainment" by Paul that would change the course many of their lives. Had set (tasso) speaks of a "Formal arrangement as in Matthew 28:16 when Jesus appointed the mountain for his meeting in Galilee." (Robertson) 

And he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God - Explaining is in the imperfect tense which pictures Paul as stating the Biblical true about the Messiah over and over. And was continually doing so (diamarturomai in present tense ) exhorting them with authority concerning these matters of eternal significance. 

See more detailed discussion of the meaning of the kingdom of God in notes on Luke 17:20ff+.

MacArthur writes that "The kingdom of God encompasses God's rule in the sphere of salvation, not just the future millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Testifying about the kingdom meant preaching the gospel, the good news that God sovereignly calls sinners hopelessly caught in the realm of Satan (ED: SATAN'S "DOMINION" - Acts 26:18+), death, and destruction to enter the realm of salvation, life, and glory. Paul proclaimed the truths concerning Christ, the way of salvation, and righteous living (Ro 14:17+). He pointed the way for them to enter the sphere of salvation (ED: Col 1:13-14+) and enjoy fellowship with God." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Toussaint The term "kingdom of God" includes the death and resurrection of Christ as its basis but also looks ahead to Christ's reign on earth. It is clearly eschatological in significance (cf. Acts 1:3-6; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; Luke 1:33; 4:43; 6:20; 7:28; 8:1, 10; 9:2, 11, 27, 60, 62; 10:9, 11; 11:2, 20; 12:31-32; 13:18, 20, 28-29; 14:15; 16:16; 17:20-21; 18:16-17, 24-25, 29-30; 19:11; 21:31; 22:16, 18, 29-30; 23:42, 51). To the Jews the concept of the Messiah dying for sins as an atonement and the teaching of justification by faith as the way of entering the kingdom sounded strange. (BKC)

Larkin on kingdom of GodMore that just a shorthand way of referring to the gospel message (Acts 1:3; Acts 8:12; Acts 19:8; Acts 20:25; Acts 28:31), the kingdom of God was the eschatological highway into the heart of the pious Jew (Lk 13:28, 29; 14:15; 19:11; 23:42, 51; Acts 1:6). And the good news was that God's reign was in their midst in the victorious life, death and resurrection-exaltation of Messiah Jesus and his salvation blessings. (Ibid)

Explaining (set outside, KJV = "expounded")(1620)(ektithemi from ek = out + tithemi = to place) means literally to place outside, to forth. It was used in this literal sense to describe newborn babies left out to die from exposure. It is used figuratively here to convey information by careful elaboration and thus to explain (cf similar use in Acts 18:26+ where Priscilla and Aquila "explained to him [Apollos] the way of God more accurately). 

Gilbrant comments that "Paul would not treat this opportunity as an academic exercise. He must have spent much time in prayer preparing for this special day. Nor would he be casual in presenting the truth. His earnestness must have brought tears to his eyes as he sought to explain the truth and exhort these fellow countrymen to accept the gospel, the wonderful good news about Jesus and about the grace of God that brings salvation." 

Solemnly testifying (1263)(diamarturomai from diá = intensifies meaning conveying idea of "thoroughly" + marturomai = witness, bear witness) means to thoroughly bear witness (give a thorough testimony), testify earnestly or repeatedly (in this passage in the present tense), to charge as it if before witnesses (here God and Christ Jesus), to exhort earnestly and with authority in matters of extraordinary importance (here the Gospel message proclaimed). It carries the idea of giving a forceful order or directive. Giving full, clear testimony. 

Gary Hill points out that diamarturomai always occurs in the Greek middle voice.  This emphasizes witnessing done with a high level of self-involvement, i.e. with strong personal interest motivating it. (The Discovery Bible).

Diamarturomai

Lk. 16:28; Acts 2:40; Acts 8:25; Acts 10:42; Acts 18:5; Acts 20:21; Acts 20:23; Acts 20:24; Acts 23:11; Acts 28:23; 1 Thess. 4:6; 1 Tim. 5:21; 2 Tim. 2:14; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 2:6

Peterson These two themes—the kingdom of God and Jesus—are interwoven at various points throughout Acts (Acts 1:3; Acts 8:12; Acts 20:24-25; Acts 28:31). (Ibid)

And trying to persuade them concerning Jesus - This was a matter of eternal life and death and Paul held nothing back at this point. And while Luke does not specifically state it, there is little doubt that Paul gave them his own personal testimony. 

Trying to persuade (or trying continually convince - present tense) (3982)(peitho) means to  induce by words to believe (Acts 19:26, Mt 27:20, Ro 14:14). Peitho is a strong verb, carrying the components of confidence, reliance, and hope.  The basic idea which in this context meant to cause the Jewish leaders to come to accept a Biblical point of view concerning the Messiah and the way of righteousness by grace through faith in Him. 

From both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets - This is the common designation of the Old Testament (albeit in Lk 24:44+ Jesus added the Psalms). Once again we see the coming of Jesus should not have been a surprise to the Jews, for they had over 300 OT prophecies describing His coming, including His birth, His work and His death. Paul did not say your should read my great epistle to the Romans, but referenced the OT Scriptures with which these men were very familiar. In Luke 16:19-31+ remember the rich man who was in the hot side of Hades and was asking to be sent back to life to tell his five brothers "lest they also come to this place of torment." And what was the answer? 

But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded (same word Luke uses in Acts 28:23 - peitho) even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Lk 16:29-31+)

In speaking from the OT Scriptures Paul imitated His Lord who spoke to two traveling on the Road to Emmaus...

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Lk 24:27+, cf Lk 24:44+, John 1:45, Acts 26:22+)

THOUGHT - If you had the golden opportunity with a Jewish person who desired to hear from you about Christianity, could you explain and persuade them simply by using the Law of Moses and the Prophets, the Old Testament scriptures? In light of the fact that the Old Testament was sufficient for Jesus and Paul to proclaim the truth about salvation, how tragic it is to hear respected teachers like Andy Stanley says that we need to unhitch from the OT (See Michael Kruger's article - Why We Can't Unhitch from the Old Testament) Wouldn't you like to hear Paul's comments on Stanley's absurd recommendation for this was Paul's pattern throughout Acts for evangelizing Jews (for a sample of one of his sermons, see Acts 13:16ff+).

From morning until evening - This is an opportunity Paul had been waiting for and he was not about to waste it! Paul spent the entire day, proclaiming the way of salvation to them. Once again Paul gives us his example of how to redeemed the time! As I was writing this note my Iphone popped up a message saying why everyone in America is in a frenzy (wild excitement or agitation) about a new breed of dog! O my! Believers need to get filled with the Spirit so that we might boldly tell our fellow Americans (and every tribe, tongue, nation and people) about a new life in Christ. 

Jesus speaks to doing the work of God morning and evening declaring to His disciples when they asked about food “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish (teleioo - bring to its goal, complete, fulfill) His work." (John 4:34) And beloved, this should be our "food."

Larkin adds "Time should never be a factor in witnessing to the truth that leads to eternal life. As long as the audience has the time, the Christian witness should have the inclination (compare Jn 4:31-35)." (Ibid)

Acts 28:24  Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.

NET  Acts 28:24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others refused to believe.

GNT  Acts 28:24 καὶ οἱ μὲν ἐπείθοντο τοῖς λεγομένοις, οἱ δὲ ἠπίστουν·

NLT  Acts 28:24 Some were persuaded by the things he said, but others did not believe.

KJV  Acts 28:24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.

ESV  Acts 28:24 And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.

CSB  Acts 28:24 Some were persuaded by what he said, but others did not believe.

NIV  Acts 28:24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.

NKJ  Acts 28:24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.

NRS  Acts 28:24 Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe.

YLT  Acts 28:24 and, some, indeed, were believing the things spoken, and some were not believing.

NAB  Acts 28:24 Some were convinced by what he had said, while others did not believe.

NJB  Acts 28:24 and some were convinced by what he said, while the rest were sceptical.

GWN  Acts 28:24 Some of them were convinced by what he said, but others continued to disbelieve.

BBE  Acts 28:24 And some were in agreement with what he said, but some had doubts.

  • Acts 13:48-50 Acts 14:4 Acts 17:4,5 Acts 18:6-8 Acts 19:8,9 Ro 3:3 Ro 11:4-6 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE GOSPEL DIVIDES
AROMA OF DEATH OR OF LIFE

Even as the belief of some was not due to Paul's brilliant rhetoric, so too the disbelief of others was not due to Paul. You need to remember that principle when you share the Gospel, and when they reject you, it is not because you were not eloquent enough, but because they reject God. Paul understood this principle writing 

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? (2 Cor 2:14-16)

Paul answered later writing...

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything (ANYTHING OF ETERNAL, SPIRITUAL VALUE!) as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, Who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  (2 Cor 3:5-6+, cf Jn 6:63, Jn 15:5, Jn 15:16)

While the Gospel is truly Good News, Christ rejectors do not see it that way. When we boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to realize that we are not going to win any popularity contest. So if you have self-image issues and worry about what others might think of your for being a "Jesus Freak" then you are not likely frequently share the Gospel (there are other reasons of course, but this one has been a sticking point in my life). 

Some were being persuaded (same word peitho) by the things spoken ("some began to be persuaded") - Note they were not persuaded by Paul's oratorical skills (as good as they may have been) but by the Biblical content of what he had spoken. I once argued with an avowed atheist on my front porch for 5 hours straight until he "finally gave up and gave in," professing to believe in Jesus. Within a few weeks he had gone off to join a nudist colony! So much for my persuasive (not always thoroughly Biblically based) arguments! 

Toussaint comments that "Were being persuaded is in the imperfect tense, indicating which might be rendered "began to be convinced," that is they were not fully convinced." (BKC)

Peitho in Acts - 

Acts 5:36; Acts 5:37; Acts 5:40; Acts 12:20; Acts 13:43; Acts 14:19; Acts 17:4; Acts 18:4; Acts 19:8; Acts 19:26; Acts 21:14; Acts 23:21; Acts 26:26; Acts 26:28; Acts 27:11; Acts 28:23; Acts 28:24;

Gilbrant Some of the Jews who listened to Paul were persuaded. They believed and obeyed Paul's message and exhortation. A faith in Jesus as their Messiah, Lord, and Saviour sprang up in their hearts. They accepted the truth and believed in their hearts that God had raised Jesus from the dead and therefore that Christ's death was effective for the redemption of soul and body (Romans 8:18-23). They also accepted the truth that Christ's resurrection is the believers' guarantee, and that His coming is an encouragement to holy living now as well as an encouragement to have hope for the future. So they became born-again believers, members of the body of Christ, sharers in the blessed hope and the heavenly inheritance that Paul proclaimed (Romans 10:9, 10). Paul no doubt urged them to join in the worship of Christ as part of one of the local assemblies in Rome.

But - Term of contrast, and this is dramatic. This contrast marks a change of direction and in this context a change of destinies from heaven to hell!

The Holy Spirit took Paul's Biblically based words and wrought regeneration in the hearts of some of Jewish hearers on that fateful day (Titus 3:5-6+, John 3:3-8. Why not in all of the Jews present in Paul's lodging? The simple answer is that they refused to believe which is the verb apisteo (see below) and it is in the active voice, signifying their conscious, personal, volitional choice! What is fascinating is that this verb apisteo is in the imperfect tense, indicating that this was their response again and again. One can just hear Paul propounding the truths of Isaiah 7:14+ regarding Messiah's virgin birth, Micah 5:2+ giving Bethlehem as His place of birth, Isaiah 53:1-12+ describing His substitutionary, atoning death for sinners, and with each Biblical salvo, these rejecters would draw themselves up and say "I don't believe that." And they continued from morning to evening in stedfast unbelief to the Word of Truth. This is a tragic scene! 

Related Resource:

Others would not believe (Acts 13:44-45; Acts 14:1-2; Acts 17:4-5) -  Those who were being persuaded were part of the remnant of Jews that God graciously redeemed in every age. Sadly most of the Jews reject the Messiah and will suffer eternal punishment for their rejection. This stark reality should break every believer's heart and motivate them to attempt to share the Gospel with as many Jewish people as possible. 

Robertson on would not believe - "imperfect tense of apisteō, to disbelieve, continued to disbelieve. It is usually so."

Would not believe (569)(apisteo from a = without + pistós = believing, faithful) means literally without believing. They refused to believe and thus they doubted and did not to acknowledge the things spoken by Paul. Ultimately their unbelief was not a failure to respond to Paul but a failure to respond to God's Spirit filled speaker! Only use of apisteo in Acts. 

John MacArthur explains that "Belief in Jesus as the Messiah, Whose atoning sacrifice is the only acceptable payment for sins, coupled with repentance, is man's responsibility. To refuse to do so is to disobey God (cf. John 16:9; Acts 17:31; 2 Cor. 6:1-2; Heb. 3:7-12). As before in Acts, Paul's hearers were divided into those who believed and those who did not (Read Acts 14:4+, Acts 17:4-5+, Acts 18:6-8+, Acts 19:8-9+). (Ibid)

Acts 28:25  And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers,

NET  Acts 28:25 So they began to leave, unable to agree among themselves, after Paul made one last statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke rightly to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah

GNT  Acts 28:25 ἀσύμφωνοι δὲ ὄντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἀπελύοντο εἰπόντος τοῦ Παύλου ῥῆμα ἓν, ὅτι Καλῶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ὑμῶν

NLT  Acts 28:25 And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: "The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,

KJV  Acts 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,

ESV  Acts 28:25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:

CSB  Acts 28:25 Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: "The Holy Spirit correctly spoke through the prophet Isaiah to your ancestors

NIV  Acts 28:25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

NKJ  Acts 28:25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: "The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers,

NRS  Acts 28:25 So they disagreed with each other; and as they were leaving, Paul made one further statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,

YLT  Acts 28:25 And not being agreed with one another, they were going away, Paul having spoken one word -- 'Well did the Holy Spirit speak through Isaiah the prophet unto our fathers,

NAB  Acts 28:25 Without reaching any agreement among themselves they began to leave; then Paul made one final statement. "Well did the holy Spirit speak to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah, saying:

NJB  Acts 28:25 So they disagreed among themselves and, as they went away, Paul had one last thing to say to them, 'How aptly the Holy Spirit spoke when he told your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah:

GWN  Acts 28:25 The Jews, unable to agree among themselves, left after Paul had quoted this particular passage to them: "How well the Holy Spirit spoke to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah!

BBE  Acts 28:25 And they went away, for there was a division among them after Paul had said this one thing: Well did the Holy Spirit say by the prophet Isaiah to your fathers,

  • when they did not agree with one another, - Ac 28:29 
  • Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet - Mt 15:7 Mk 7:6 2Pe 1:21 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL'S FINAL
WORD OF WARNING

 And when they did not agree with one another - Did not agree is asymphonos (only here) and literally means not agreeing in sound and so they were not harmonious. And given the meaning of this word one can only imagine the cacophony that occurred as they were leaving. Jesus warned His disciples of this spiritual "line in the sand" (so to speak) declaring “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division." (Lk 12:51+).

They began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word - Paul will get in the last word (so to speak). One final warning exhortation.

Larkin The prophet speaks of what happens when people perceive saving truth without appropriating it: You will be ever hearing but never understanding (compare Lk 8:10/Isa 6:9). Then in chiastic order, dealing with heart, ear and eyes, the prophet lays bare the cause of this mysterious condition and shows the proper pattern of receptivity to the gospel. There is nothing defective in the message. The defect is in the audience's sinfulness. If they would but see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, God would heal them (note the Targum and Mk 4:12 speak of God's forgiveness). For Jew and Gentile alike, unless outward perception is matched by inner spiritual insight, hearing and seeing will be in vain (Sand 1991:250; Lk 2:50; 8:8, 12, 15; 18:34; 24:25, 45; Acts 2:37; 7:54; 15:7-9; 16:14). (Ibid)

The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers - Notice Who wrote Isaiah -- the Holy Spirit (through Isaiah - cf 2 Pe 1:21+, cf Acts 4:25+). Paul had been speaking from morning to evening from the Scriptures so it was only fitting that he send off these Jewish men with a word from a Jewish Prophet concerning the Jewish People. 

The Spirit also spoke through the prophet Jeremiah who wrote...

Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have sent you all My servants the prophets, daily rising early and sending them. Yet they did not listen to Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck; they did more evil than their fathers.  (Jer 7:25-26)

Acts 28:26  saying, 'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;

NET  Acts 28:26 when he said, 'Go to this people and say, "You will keep on hearing, but will never understand, and you will keep on looking, but will never perceive.

GNT  Acts 28:26 λέγων, Πορεύθητι πρὸς τὸν λαὸν τοῦτον καὶ εἰπόν, Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε·

NLT  Acts 28:26 'Go and say to this people: When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.

KJV  Acts 28:26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:

ESV  Acts 28:26 "'Go to this people, and say, "You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive."

CSB  Acts 28:26 when He said, Go to these people and say: You will listen and listen, yet never understand; and you will look and look, yet never perceive.

NIV  Acts 28:26 " 'Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving."

NKJ  Acts 28:26 "saying,`Go to this people and say: "Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive;

NRS  Acts 28:26 'Go to this people and say, You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive.

YLT  Acts 28:26 saying, Go on unto this people and say, With hearing ye shall hear, and ye shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see, and ye shall not perceive,

NAB  Acts 28:26 'Go to this people and say: You shall indeed hear but not understand. You shall indeed look but never see.

NJB  Acts 28:26 Go and say to this people: Listen and listen but never understand! Look and look but never perceive!

GWN  Acts 28:26 The Spirit said: 'Go to these people and say, "You will hear clearly but never understand. You will see clearly but never comprehend.

BBE  Acts 28:26 Go to this people and say, Though you give ear, you will not get knowledge; and seeing, you will see, but the sense will not be clear to you:

  • Go - Isa 6:9,10 Eze 12:2 Mt 13:14,15 Mk 4:12 Lu 8:10 Joh 12:38-40 Ro 11:8-10 
  • Hearing - De 29:4 Ps 81:11,12 Isa 29:10,14 42:19,20 66:4 Jer 5:21 Eze 3:6,7 12:2 Mk 8:17,18 Lu 24:25,45 2Co 4:4-6 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL QUOTES PROPHECY
FROM ISAIAH 6:9-10

God considers Isaiah 6:9, 10 so significant that they are quoted no less than six times in the NT (Mt 13:14, 15; Mk 4:12; Lk 8:10; Jn 12:40; Acts 28:25-28; Ro 11:8)!

Gilbrant comments that "Paul quoted from Isaiah because he wanted those Jews who were rejecting the gospel to realize they were not merely turning away from him and his message. They were closing their hearts and minds to God and His plan, and in doing so they were coming under judgment just as the Israelites did who rejected Isaiah's message when it was first given over 700 years before." 

So in a very real sense, those Jewish leaders who had heard Paul from morning to evening expounding on the Old Testament Scriptures and still rejected the Word of Truth, were some of the very ones who were fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy! 

Paul quotes from Isaiah 6:9-10 the same passage quoted by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 13 when He began to speak to them in parables which prompted His disciples to ask

"Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled (Mt 13:10-14)

Comment - And then Jesus went on to quote Isaiah 6:9-10.  

Saying, 'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY - Paul quotes two commands which God gave to the prophet Isaiah, both commands in the aorist imperative = Do this now! Do not delay!

YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND - You = in original context, the nation of Israel. In present context = Christ rejecting Jewish leaders.  Literally "With hearing you will hear."  In essence the good news of their Messiah would (so to speak) go in one ear and out the other! In the Greek, "not" is actually two words (ou me), both negative particles which is the strongest way in the Greek to negate a statement. In other words, Isaiah was saying in effect "you ABSOLUTELY will not understand." This is strong language. 

Robertson This very passage is quoted by Jesus (Matthew 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10) in explanation of his use of parables and in John 12:40 the very point made by Paul here, "the disbelief of the Jews in Jesus" (Page)....It is a solemn dirge of the doom of the Jews for their rejection of the Messiah foreseen so long ago by Isaiah.

Understand (4920)(suniemi from sun/syn = with + hiemi = send; noun sunesis) literally means to send together or bring together. The idea is to put together "pieces of the puzzle" (so to speak) and to exhibit quick comprehension. Suniemi is the manifestation of the ability to understand concepts and see relationships between them and thus describes the exercise of the faculty of comprehension, intelligence, acuteness, shrewdness. The noun sunesis was originally used by Homer in the Odyssey to describe the running together or a flowing together of two rivers. The Jews had over 300 Old Testament prophecies of their Messiah and absolutely could not put these pieces together that would allow them to see a perfect picture of the Messiah. 

AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING (blepo) - Literally "seeing you shall see." What would they keep on seeing? Presumably this refers to the Word of God which gives a clear portrait of the Messiah, which the Jews did physically see every time they read the Scriptures, but which they could not understand because spiritual truth can only be spiritually discerned. As Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians "But a natural man (AS ALL OF US INCLUDING JEWS ARE IN OUR UNREGENERATE, UNREDEEMED STATE) does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1 Cor 2:14+).

BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE - The verb for perceive is horao which means to see something or catch sight of something (someone) but doing so with a sense of mental and/or spiritual perception. Again Isaiah modifies the seeing with the strong double negative (ou me) signifying absolute failure to perceive. 

John MacArthur explains that "Israel's willful act of rejection was sovereignly confirmed by God; because of continual unbelief, she became unable to believe as John reiterates in his Gospel...

But though He had performed so many signs before them (ED: THEY SAW AND DID NOT DENY THESE WERE MIRACLES, E.G. Jn 11:47), yet they were not believing in Him (ED: IN SPITE OF SEEING THEY HARDENED THEIR HEARTS AND REFUSED TO BELIEVE). This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? (ED: ANSWER? VERY FEW!) AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?” (ED: QUOTING ISAIAH 53:1+) For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM. (ED: AGAIN QUOTING ISAIAH 6:10 - ISRAEL'S REJECTION OF JESUS HAD BEEN PROPHESIED AND WAS AN ACT OF JUDGMENT ON GOD'S PART)” (John 12:37-40).

Comment - John MacArthur makes a very interesting statement on this passage which I have never heard before writing "The fact of unbelief in the face of such irrefutable and powerful evidence makes clear the limitations of apologetics. While evidences can be given for Gospel truth, the response of the sinner is not limited to the mind and human reason—salvation requires a regenerated heart, the work of the Holy Spirit." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – John)

Acts 28:27  FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM."'

NET  Acts 28:27 For the heart of this people has become dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them."'

GNT  Acts 28:27 ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν· μήποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν, καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.

NLT  Acts 28:27 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes-- so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.'

KJV  Acts 28:27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

ESV  Acts 28:27 For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.'

CSB  Acts 28:27 For the hearts of these people have grown callous, their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted, and I would heal them.

NIV  Acts 28:27 For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'

NKJ  Acts 28:27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them."'

NRS  Acts 28:27 For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them.'

YLT  Acts 28:27 for made gross was the heart of this people, and with the ears they heard heavily, and their eyes they did close, lest they may see with the eyes, and with the heart may understand, and be turned back, and I may heal them.

NAB  Acts 28:27 Gross is the heart of this people; they will not hear with their ears; they have closed their eyes, so they may not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.'

NJB  Acts 28:27 This people's heart is torpid, their ears dulled, they have shut their eyes tight, to avoid using their eyes to see, their ears to hear, using their heart to understand, changing their ways and being healed by me.

GWN  Acts 28:27 These people have become close-minded and hard of hearing. They have shut their eyes so that their eyes never see. Their ears never hear. Their minds never understand. And they never turn to me for healing."'

BBE  Acts 28:27 For the heart of this people has become fat and their ears are slow in hearing and their eyes are shut; for fear that they might see with their eyes and give hearing with their ears and become wise in their hearts and be turned again to me, so that I might make them well.

THE PENALTY FOR
REJECTING GOD'S WORD!

FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL - Here is the root cause of Israel's rejection. Notice the words has become dull are first words in Greek sentence for emphasis. Envision the unbelief of the Jews as like a thick layer of fat  encircling their hearts like making penetration by God's Truth very difficult or even impossible! And what is it that has become dull, calloused, insensitive to spiritual truth in the Word of God? The heart of the problem was their heart.

THOUGHT - Isn't this usually where most (if not all) of our spiritual problems originate. No wonder Solomon wisely admonished "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the springs of life!" (Pr 4:23+) Sadly he did not even follow his own advice (Read 1 King 11:1-12). How are you doing as you read these notes? Are you carefully guarding your heart? Beloved, while we are each personally responsible to guard what we let into our heart, we can only carry out this responsibility in utter, total dependence on the supernatural work of the Spirit in our heart! This is why it is so critical that when we arise from bed each morning, one of the first pleas we make to our Father in Heaven is "Please fill me today with the Spirit of Jesus, for Your glory. In Jesus' Name. Amen" See discussion of Need for Holy Spirit to obey any Biblical command!

Heart (2588)(kardia) does not refer to the physical organ but is used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. No outward obedience is of the slightest value unless the heart turns to God and is empowered by God. See "Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible" (100/100). 

I realize that in this context this people represents unbelievers in Judah whose minds have been deceived and whose hearts have become hardened by continual rebellion against God's warnings. We need to remember that God is no respecter of persons, and He will not hold back His hand of just discipline for continued rebellion. So all of us who are believers beware, lest our hearts should be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (cf Heb 3:13+).

Has become dull (3975)(pachuno from pachus = thick) means to make fat and is used only here and Mt 13:15, both in the passive voice (action or effect coming from without from an unmentioned force, in context assumed to be God = "divine passive") figuratively meaning to be made to become dull or calloused. Calloused means made insensitive or deadened feelings or morals. This verb is used in the Septuagint of Isaiah 6:10 and is the Hebrew verb shamen. Jesus and Paul note that their hearers will not receive their message and understand Isaiah’s words as a prophecy being fulfilled as they speak.

Gilbrant In classical usage pachunō has both literal and metaphoric senses. In literal usage this word can simply mean “to make fat” or “to thicken.” Metaphorically it can mean “to increase” or “to become dull, insensitive.” Thus, it can refer to the dulling of the sun’s light (Liddell-Scott). Pachunō also has a medical sense, “to swell.” In the Septuagint pachunō appears five times with the variety of senses manifested in classical usage. In Deuteronomy 32:15 it is used to describe the state of Jeshurun (Israel, “the upright one”) after the blessing of God: He “waxed fat.” Here the image is not of obesity; rather, Jeshurun is well fed and prosperous. Thus, pachunō could be translated “made prosperous.”...Finally, in Isaiah 6:10 the sense “dull, insensitive” appears. Isaiah notes that Israel’s heart has become dull, insensitive to the pleas of the Lord to repent. The peoples’ hearts (minds, emotions) are thick and calloused and will not receive the Word. (Ibid)

AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR - The Greek word for scarcely is bareos (only here and Mt 13:15 both quoting Isa 6:10) which literally means heavy, and when combined with the verb for hear (akouo) results in an idiom which means literally "they hear heavily with their ears." The picture is one who made a choice (akouo is in the active voice = volitional choice) to be mentally slow to understand and/or mentally dull to comprehend (in context) the truth about the Messiah. They were deliberately unreceptive in their disregard for God and His Word! 

AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES - Closed in kammuo (only here and Mt 13:15 both quoting Isa 6:10) (from kata = down + muo = to shut, especially eyes) is an idiomatic way of saying they are unwilling to learn and to evaluate something (Word concerning the Messiah). They made a choice or volitional choice (kammuo is in the active voice). Simply put they consciously, willfully refuse to learn and/or recognize the truth about Messiah! 

OTHERWISE (mepote) means lest at any time, lest ever, lest perhaps.

THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES  AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART  AND RETURN (epistrepho) AND I WOULD HEAL (iaomai) THEM - The failure of these Jewish leaders to respond to Paul's clear presentation of the Gospel is manifest by a failure to return to God, where He could then provide the necessary spiritual cure. The tragedy is that this consequence was never God's heart for His Chosen People, for even in 2 Peter 3:9+ we read of His heart toward all sinners "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish (eternal punishment) but for all (HOW MANY?) to come to repentance."

Heal (2390)(iaomai) is used in the NT most often of restoring one to health from some physical illness (same verb used of Paul healing the father of Publius in Acts 28:8). However in this context iaomai speaks of "spiritual healing"  

This verse is a classic example of a chiasmus in which there is an inversion in the second set of phrases of the order of similar words in the first section. In other words - heart… ears… eyes… see with their eyes… hear with their ears… understand with their hearts.

Hearts… insensitive… understand - So they cannot understand God's message.

Ears dull… hear - So they cannot hear God's message.

Eyes dim… see - So they cannot perceive God's message.

In this verse God is describing to Isaiah the "fruit" of his proclamation - insensitive hearts, dull ears, and dim eyes! Stated another way, God is telling Isaiah that he would be the instrument of Judah's divinely appointed judicial hardening and spiritual blindness! God's command to preach the truth was in effect His command to harden and blind Judah! And the same result would be produced by Paul's preaching of the truth! Woe!

Here are some comments on the original passage in Isaiah 6:9-10

Vine - The people had so persistently perverted their ways that they had gone beyond the possibility of conversion and healing. A man may so harden himself in evil as to render his condition irremediable, and this by God’s retributive judgment upon him. (Collected writings of W. E. Vine)

Criswell explains that "God in His omniscience knew in advance that the nation would not respond but would remain indifferent and unrepentant, and thus would become hardened. The judgment on the nation Israel did not preclude the repentance of a remnant (cf. Isa 11:11, 12+).

In commenting on Isaiah 6:9-10 John Fish explains the judicial hardening on Israel…

What the hardening is. Sin carries with it its own consequences (READ THAT AGAIN!!!) so that rejection of God itself produces insensitivity to God. It becomes clear that the nation has hardened itself so that they have passed the point of repentance and response to God. Their choice of sin and disobedience was settled and therefore “God gave them up” (Ro 1:24, 26, 28). This generation (THE ONE TO WHOM ISAIAH WAS SPEAKING) is being confirmed in its rebellion and will not be given another chance. God will destroy it (Is 6:11, 12) and therefore judicially blinds them to further light. The thought of Isa 6:9, 10 is complex and must be viewed from different aspects. The main thought is that of the hardness and blindness of the nation. On the one hand this is the fruit of their own depravity. On the other it is the execution of God’s righteous judgment. In addition Isaiah is the agent in achieving this effect.

A final question which needs to be answered is why Isaiah was to preach and call the nation to repentance which was already judicially blind. At least two reasons may be given. One is that the judgment of blindness over the nation as a whole did not preclude the salvation of individuals (SEE DOCTRINE OF THE remnant). Even today while Israel as a nation is blinded (2 Cor. 3:15), God is still saving individuals (Ro 11:1). These individuals who would be saved through Isaiah’s ministry are the basis for the remnant of Isaiah 6:13.

Secondly, if the theocracy was to come to an end, then it must be evident that it no longer had a concern for God. Isaiah was to preach to stony soil in order that it might be apparent that the nation no longer was responsive to God and was ripe for banishment. (The Commission of Isaiah - Emmaus Journal V4:1, Summer, 95)

Acts 28:28  "Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen."

NET  Acts 28:28 "Therefore be advised that this salvation from God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen!"

GNT  Acts 28:28 γνωστὸν οὖν ἔστω ὑμῖν ὅτι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπεστάλη τοῦτο τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ θεοῦ· αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀκούσονται.

NLT  Acts 28:28 So I want you to know that this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles, and they will accept it."

KJV  Acts 28:28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

ESV  Acts 28:28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen."

CSB  Acts 28:28 Therefore, let it be known to you that this saving work of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen!"

NIV  Acts 28:28 "Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!"

NKJ  Acts 28:28 "Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!"

NRS  Acts 28:28 Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen."

YLT  Acts 28:28 'Be it known, therefore, to you, that to the nations was sent the salvation of God, these also will hear it;'

NAB  Acts 28:28 Let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen."

NJB  Acts 28:28 'You must realise, then, that this salvation of God has been sent to the gentiles;they will listen to it.'

GWN  Acts 28:28 "You need to know that God has sent his salvation to people who are not Jews. They will listen."

BBE  Acts 28:28 Be certain, then, that the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles, and they will give hearing.

  • Let it be known - Ac 2:14 4:10 13:38 Eze 36:32 
  • this salvation - Ps 98:2,3 Isa 49:6 52:10 La 3:26 Lu 2:30-32 3:6 
  • has been sent to the Gentiles- Acts 11:18 Acts 13:46,47 Acts 14:27 Acts 15:14,17 Acts 18:6 Acts 22:21 Acts 26:17,18 Mt 21:41-43 Ro 3:29,30 Ro 4:11 Ro 11:11 Ro 15:8-16 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A BITTERSWEET
CONCLUSION

Therefore - Term of conclusion. And what a bittersweet conclusion it is, bitter to the Jews, but sweet to the Gentiles. 

Constable feels (Toussaint agrees - BKC) that "Verse 28 is probably the ultimate climax of Acts. It summarizes the main theme of the book. Having presented the gospel to the Jews in Rome, and having witnessed their rejection of it, Paul now focused his ministry again on the Gentiles (cf. Acts 13:46-52; Acts 18:6; Rom. 1:16). Until "the times of the Gentiles" run their course and Messiah's second advent terminates them, Gentiles will be the primary believers of the gospel (cf. Rom. 11:19-26)."

Let it be known to you - This is not a suggestion but is a commandment in the present imperative. It is as if Paul is saying "Okay, you won't listen but there are Gentiles who will listen!" 

That this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles - The phrase this salvation of God is another way to describe the Gospel. If the Christ rejecters were not already upset, you can rest assured that this declaration would have made them furious! Paul and Barnabas had given a similar rebuke in Antioch Pisidian declaring "It was necessary that the word of God (THE GOSPEL) should be spoken to you (JEWS) first; since you repudiate (apotheomai = rejected, refused to listen to the Gospel = exactly as here in Acts 28) it (THE GOSPEL), and judge (active voice) yourselves (THEY BROUGHT THIS ON THEMSELVES BY THEIR VOLITIONAL CHOICE TO REJECT THE GOSPEL) unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles." (Acts 13:46+) On hearing this pronouncement, the Jews in Antioch Pisidian became so angry that they "instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district." (Acts 13:50+). Fortunately, they could not do much to Paul since he was already in chains! 

Salvation (4992)(soterios/soterion from soter = savior) is an adjective which refers to that which is pertains to the means of salvation = the act of delivering or saving from great danger or peril and of healing, protecting and preserving. Soterios is used only 5x - Lk. 2:30; Lk 3:6; Acts 28:28; Eph. 6:17; Titus 2:11.

They will also listen - NET has "they will listen!" which better shows the Greek's emphasis on the pronoun "they" -- the idea is you did not but THEY will! Page adds they here is "vivid and antithetical." Strictly speaking this is a prophecy and if you are Gentile believer reading this note, you are part of the fulfillment of Paul's prophecy! So not only would the Gospel go to the Gentiles, but the Gentiles would actually listen! This must have been cutting, especially after his description of the Jew's own attitude he just quoted regarding their failure to listen - "with their ears they scarcely hear." 

As Toussaint says "From Jerusalem to Rome most Jews rejected it and in city after city the message was then directed to non-Jews. Now in the capital of the Roman world the same phenomenon occurred; so it will be until the fullness of Gentiles comes

You will say then, “Branches (ISRAEL) were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?  25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”  (Ro 11:19-24, 25, 26+).

Acts 28:29  [When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.]

NET Note on the authenticity of this verse - Some later MSS include 28:29: “When he had said these things, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.” Verse 29 is lacking in ?74vid א A B E Ψ 048 33 81 1175 1739 2464 pc and a number of versions. They are included (with a few minor variations) in ? it and some versions. This verse is almost certainly not a part of the original text of Acts, as it lacks the best credentials. The present translation follows NA27 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.

The ESV, Lexham English Bible, Phillips, TLB, NIV and others do not include this verse at all, simply having nothing for Acts 28:29. And some that do include this verse, place it in brackets as is shown above for the NASB to indicate it is not an accepted inspired text by most modern authorities on textual criticism. The KJV, NKJV and YLT include this verse as they follow the manuscript in the Greek Textus Receptus

When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed,  having a great dispute among themselves. - No additional comments will be made on this verse.

Acts 28:30  And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him,

NET  Acts 28:30 Paul lived there two whole years in his own rented quarters and welcomed all who came to him,

GNT  Acts 28:30 Ἐνέμεινεν δὲ διετίαν ὅλην ἐν ἰδίῳ μισθώματι καὶ ἀπεδέχετο πάντας τοὺς εἰσπορευομένους πρὸς αὐτόν,

NLT  Acts 28:30 For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him,

KJV  Acts 28:30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

ESV  Acts 28:30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him,

CSB  Acts 28:30 Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him,

NIV  Acts 28:30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.

NKJ  Acts 28:30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him,

NRS  Acts 28:30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him,

YLT  Acts 28:30 and Paul remained an entire two years in his own hired house, and was receiving all those coming in unto him,

NAB  Acts 28:30 He remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him,

NJB  Acts 28:30 He spent the whole of the two years in his own rented lodging. He welcomed all who came to visit him,

GWN  Acts 28:30 Paul rented a place to live for two full years and welcomed everyone who came to him.

BBE  Acts 28:30 And for the space of two years, Paul was living in the house of which he had the use, and had talk with all those who went in to see him,

  • he stayed two full years - Ac 28:16 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PAUL'S OPEN
DOOR POLICY

And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters - These prison years were far from wasted, and were filled with evangelism and writing the great "prison epistles." Paul reminds of John Bunyan who was placed in prison and while there wrote Pilgrim's Progress, one the greatest books ever written, other than the Bible. Men like Paul and John Bunyan stand tall before us urging each of us to follow in their steps and redeem the time for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their faithful lives remind me of the great Steve Green song "Find Us Faithful" ... Yes, Lord, by Your Spirit and for Your glory, may You enable us to faithfully run this short race with endurance, always fixing our eyes on our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

We're pilgrims on the journey
of the narrow road,
and those who've gone before us
line the way.
cheering on the faithful,
encouraging the weary,
their lives a stirring testament
to god's sustaining grace.
o may all who come behind us
find us faithful,
may the fire of our devotion
light their way.
may the footprints that we leave,
lead them to believe,
and the lives we live
inspire them to obey.
o may all who come behind us
find us faithful.

Surrounded by so great
a cloud of witnesses,
let us run the race
not only for the prize,
but as those who've gone before us.
let us leave to those behind us,
the heritage of faithfulness
passed on thru godly lives.

After all our hopes and dreams
have come and gone,
and our children sift thru all
we've left behind,
may the clues that they discover,
and the mem'ries they uncover,
become the light that leads them,
to the road we each must find.

MacArthur adds that "Paul carried out an extensive evangelistic campaign (cf. Phil. 1:13; Phil 4:22), aided by some of his dear fellow workers (cf. Col. 4:10-12, 14; Philemon 1:24). He also wrote four New Testament epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

Peterson on his own rented quarters Only the privileged and aristocratic few could afford to purchase or rent private houses, and so it is likely that Paul lived in a room or rooms in one of the many thousands of tenement buildings in Rome. (Ibid)

And was welcoming all who came to him - Now remember where Paul was - in the greatest city in the known world in the midst of the most decadent paganism. What a "mission field" he had and there can be little doubt that word got around about the apostle Paul. Paul had an "open door policy." Welcoming is in the vivid imper tense, indicating one would come and be welcomed, then another and another. What an opportunity the Roman Christians had to sit under the great apostle. I would imagine his "Friday Night Bible Study" was standing room only! Was welcoming is in the imperfect tense indicating Paul was doing so from time to time to time as guests came. 

Was welcoming (588)(apodechomai from apo = from or intensifier +  dechomai = to receive, to welcome) means to receive kindly or hospitably (Luke 8:40; Acts 15:4; 18:27). This same verb is used by Luke in Acts 2:41+ to describe the Jews at Pentecost "who had received his word." Was that not surely Paul's heart that all he welcomed to his lodging would themselves welcome the Word of His Lord. 

All uses of apodechomai in the NT - Lk. 8:40; Lk. 9:11; Acts 2:41; Acts 18:27; Acts 21:17; Acts 24:3; Acts 28:30. 

One question that arises is why was there a 2 year delay? There are several possibilities. Rome had a large number of cases so it could dragged on like cases even in US courts. In addition it is very possible that the trial records sent with Paul were lost at sea and had to be sent for from Caesarea, which would have taken quite some time. Others think that the Roman authorities were waiting for Paul's accusers which is also reasonable because as a Roman citizen, he had the right to face his accusers (cf Acts 25:16+).

This raises the next question of what happened after 2 years? Some believe that Paul was released after  2 years because there was essentially no case against him. In addition in one of his prison epistles Paul writes "At the same time also prepare me a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given to you." (Philemon 22, cf another prison epistle - Php 1:19,25,26; Php 2:24) These two prison epistles show that Paul expected to be released. And keep in mind as Acts ends, Paul is still alive. There is no reason to doubt that upon release he would be able to minister for several more years possibly even making it to Spain as he had desired (Ro 15:24). 

Now take a moment and observe the timeline above from the Ryrie Study Bible. Keep in mind these dates are approximations and not absolute. Note also that Ryrie does not have a designation for Paul's possible second imprisonment, but as discussed above there is evidence that Paul was released after 2 years of house arrest, and this would have been about 62 AD. Ryrie records that after that he penned First Timothy and Titus. The great fire that destroyed Rome occurred in July, 64 AD. The Romans historian Tacitus records how this event impacted Christians...

But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order (THAT IS AN ORDER FROM NERO HIMSELF). Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. . . . Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty [of being Christians]; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much for the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. (Reference)

Many feel that it was because of this fire and Nero's fury against Christians that Paul was rearrested as a ringleader (cf Acts 24:5+) And most scholars believe that he had Paul imprisoned in notorious Mamertine Prison which would explain why his last epistle 2 Timothy written about 67 AD is filled with allusions to imprisonment (2 Ti 1:8, 1:12, 1:16, 2 Ti 2:9). Unlike Paul’s confident hope of release during his first imprisonment (Php 1:19,25,26; Php 2:24; Philemon 1:22), this time he held no such hope, stating "I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come." (2 Ti 4:6–8+). According to tradition Paul was martyred about 67-68 AD. It is interesting that Nero died shortly thereafter in 68 AD. 

John MacArthur adds that "The evidence seems clear that Paul wrote 1 Timothy and Titus shortly after his release from his first Roman imprisonment (ca. A.D. 62–64), and 2 Timothy from prison during his second Roman imprisonment (ca. A.D. 66–67), shortly before his death." (Introduction to 1 Timothy)

Related Resource:  

Acts 28:31  preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.

NET  Acts 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete boldness and without restriction.

GNT  Acts 28:31 κηρύσσων τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ διδάσκων τὰ περὶ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ πάσης παρρησίας ἀκωλύτως.

NLT  Acts 28:31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.

KJV  Acts 28:31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

ESV  Acts 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

CSB  Acts 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.

NIV  Acts 28:31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

NKJ  Acts 28:31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

NRS  Acts 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

YLT  Acts 28:31 preaching the reign of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness -- unforbidden.

NAB  Acts 28:31 and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

NJB  Acts 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete fearlessness and without any hindrance from anyone.

GWN  Acts 28:31 He spread the message about God's kingdom and taught very boldly about the Lord Jesus Christ. No one stopped him.

BBE  Acts 28:31 Preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ without fear, and no orders were given that he was not to do so.

  • preaching the kingdom of God- Ac 28:23 8:12 20:25 Mt 4:23 Mk 1:14 Lu 8:1 
  • teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ - Ac 5:42 23:11 
  • with all openness, unhindered - Ac 4:29,31 Eph 6:19,20 Php 1:14 Col 4:3,4 2Ti 4:17 
  • Acts 28 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

WHAT A WAY TO END!
THE GOSPEL UNBOUND!

Unbound means not restrained or tied down by bonds; set free from restraining bonds or chains; released. Indeed we learn in Revelation that this powerful Gospel will go to the four corners of the world for John writes...

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.  (Rev 5:9+)

Little wonder that Paul could confidently write in some of his very last words...

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith (2 Ti 4:7+)

MacArthur gives a great summary of Acts writing that "Although Acts ends abruptly, it is not incomplete. It reveals the church's source of power—the Holy Spirit; the pattern of blessing for the church—walking in the Spirit; the church's message—the saving gospel of Jesus Christ; the perils to the church—sin from within, false teachers from without; and the church's priorities—teach the Word to those who know Christ, and preach the gospel to those who do not."

Preaching the kingdom of God - Preaching and teaching are both in the present tense and knowing the passion of Paul (who also knew his time was near - 2 Ti 4:6), he was probably preaching and teaching from morning until evening. Is there a more eternally profitable way one can redeem the time? I think not! 

See more detailed discussion of the meaning of the kingdom of God in notes on Luke 17:20ff+.

NET Note says "The word of God is proclaimed triumphantly and boldly in Rome. Acts ends with this note: Despite all the attempts to stop it, the message goes forth."

Preaching (proclaiming) (2784)(kerusso or kerysso from kerux/keryx = herald) means to proclaim (publicly) or to herald or act as a public crier - the town official who would make a proclamation in a public gathering. Kerusso was used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming of an earthly king, even as our gospel is to clearly announce the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16-note)!

Larkin Paul's witness is a combination of continuous preaching and instruction. The distinction is important: preaching appeals to the will, calling for a decision, while teaching informs the mind, requiring growth in knowledge and understanding. But it should not be overemphasized, for as Stott notes, "all Paul's preaching had a doctrinal content, while all his teaching had an evangelistic purpose" (1990:400; Acts 5:42; 15:35; 20:20). Proclaiming the kingdom of God must always be accompanied by teaching about its Sovereign, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his saving work in his death and resurrection. In this way the whole gospel is covered (Lk 24:46-47). (Ibid)

And teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ - Paul's focus was always on the Lord Jesus Christ and ours should be likewise! Spurgeon said "A sermon without Jesus in it is savourless, and worthless to God’s tried, saints, and they soon seek other food." Amen! 

Teaching (1321)(didasko from dáo = know or teach; English = didactic; see study of related noun didaskalia and the adjective didaktikos) means to provide instruction or information in a formal or informal setting.

John MacArthur writes that didasko "refers to the passing on of information-often, but not necessarily, in a formal setting. It focused on content, with the purpose of discovering the truth-contrary to the forums so popular among Greeks, where discussion and the bantering about of various ideas and opinions was the primary concern (see Acts 17:21). Synagogue teaching, as illustrated by that of Jesus, was basically expository. Scripture was read and explained section by section, often verse by verse. (Matthew - Chicago: Moody Press)

With all openness, unhindered - With all boldness. Luke could have said simply with openness or boldness and that would have been sufficient for the Greek word itself literally means "all speech," but he adds "all" (pas) adding extra emphasis regarding both the degree of boldness and the freedom to speak. What a fitting description of a man who was continually filled with the Spirit Who enabled such supernatural boldness. And is not just like the Lord to provide for Paul a platform allowing him to preach and teach in Rome under house arrest and yet without hindrance, prohibition, or impediment. Could there be a more fitting way to conclude the Book of Acts? 

It is also fascinating that in two of Paul's prison epistles, he had asked specifically for prayers for boldness in proclaiming the Gospel and there is no doubt that his Spirit filled boldness was related to the prayers of the saints on his behave. Oh, how we need to imitate this pattern and ask others to pray for us to have opportunities and boldness to present the saving Gospel. Read two of Paul's prayer requests written from his time of imprisonment...then pray!

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me (WHO IS THAT UTTERANCE COMING FROM? THE HOLY SPIRIT!) in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness (parrhesia) the mystery of the Gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly (parrhesiazomai), as I ought to speak.  (Eph 6:18-20+)

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word (THE GOSPEL), so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak (Col 4:2-4+)

Comment - Undoubtedly the saints prayed for open doors and boldness for Paul in prison and just as certainly God answered their prayers and gave him not just boldness but ALL boldness (Does that remind you of any passage? Read Eph 3:20+!) Beloved, we have not because we ask not! (James 4:2b) We need to ask others to pray for us to have boldness! We need to pray for others to have boldness! Why not try this for just one month (with some faithful saint you know will pray daily and you pray for each other) and see what God will do! I think of Jeremiah 33:3+ "Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’"

Openness (3954)(parrhesia from pás = all + rhesis = speech, act of speaking) is literally all speech or speaking all things and thereby conveys the idea of freedom to say all. The basic idea in the word is freedom of speech, when the word flowed freely. It is that attitude of openness that stems from freedom and lack of fear ("shaking" fear - godly, reverential fear is always appropriate). Ultimately this quality of boldness is that is energized by the Spirit, emboldening (Spirit filled) believers to openly declare (with great conviction) all that He births within (cp Acts 4:31+).

Larkin Rather, boldly (literally, "with all boldness") by the power of the Spirit—candidly, clearly, and confidently—he was preaching and teaching (Acts 2:29; 4:13, 29-31; 9:27; 13:46; 14:3; 19:8; 26:26). (Ibid)

Men may bind the preachers,
But the gospel cannot be chained!

Unhindered (used only here in NT)(209)(akolutos from a = without + koluo = to hinder) means not slowed, forbidden, blocked or interfered with. It means to not be prevented and in this context to not be prevented in any way from preaching and teaching the Gospel. This was a a legal term, indicating that there were no official impediments or restraints. Apparently Paul was still in chains (cf Acts 28:20+), but that was no hindrance for Paul's proclamation of Jesus. Recall his words regarding the power of the Gospel in his last letter...

I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. (2 Ti 2:9-10+

Larkin notes unhindered "shows the Roman government's attitude toward Christianity: it did not pose such a threat to either the civil order or the Roman way of life that one of its advocates would have to be muzzled during house arrest. This should strongly commend the faith to Roman inquirers. But more than government tolerance, this term points to a sovereign God whose saving plan—that the gospel will be preached in Jesus' name to all nations—will not be thwarted. Though there may be incarceration, the Word of God is not bound." (Ibid)

I love Dr John MacArthur's concluding comments - 

Because Acts is preeminently a book about evangelism, it is appropriate to conclude by drawing several principles of evangelism from Paul's example.

First, Paul preached the gospel whenever and wherever he had opportunity. Under house arrest (Acts 28:16, 20, 23, 30), he nevertheless continued "preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness" (Acts 28:31).

Second, Paul's message was clothed in humility and graciousness. In Acts 28:17-20, he was tactful, respectful, and conciliatory to the Jewish leaders at Rome.

Third, Paul preached biblically (Acts 28:23) and doctrinally (Acts 28:31).

Fourth, Paul never wasted opportunity. He began his evangelistic outreach only three days after arriving in Rome (Acts 28:17).

Fifth, Paul preached tirelessly (Acts 28:23) and incessantly (Acts 28:30-31).

Sixth, Paul preached to everyone—both Jews (Acts 28:23-27) and Gentiles (Acts 28:28).

Finally, and most important, Paul preached Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, and Messiah (Acts 28:23).

The church in Acts faithfully carried out Christ's charge "Be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8+). The church has passed the baton through many hands down through the centuries to us. Will future generations find that we ran our segment of the race faithfully? (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

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WILLIAM LARKIN

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———. Farewell Addresses in the New Testament. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1990.

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———. "Note XV: The Conversion of Paul and the Events Immediately Following It." In Additional Notes to the Commentary, pp. 188-95. The Beginnings of Christianity. Edited by F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1979b.

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———. "Christ's Resurrection in Acts 13, 13-52." Biblica 60:361-72, 1979a.

———. "Luke's Understanding of Jesus' Resurrection-Ascension-Exaltation." Biblical Theology Bulletin 9:106-14, 1979b.

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———. "Acts 4:12: No Other Name Under Heaven." In Through No Fault of Their Own: The Fate of Those Who Have Never Heard, pp. 107-16. Edited by William V. Crockett and James G. Sigountis. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1991.

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———. "The Polemical Character of the Joseph Episode in Acts 7." Journal of Biblical Literature 98:255-67, 1979.

———. "The Creative Use of Amos by the Author of Acts." Novum Testamentum 24:37-53, 1982.

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———. "Home and Family." In The Jewish People in the First Century: Historical Geography, Political History, Social, Cultural and Religious Life and Institutions, 2:728-92. Edited by Samuel Safrai and Menahem Stern. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976.

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———. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C.-A.D. 135), vol. 2. Revised and edited by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar and Matthew Black. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1979.

———. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C.-A.D. 135), vol. 3/1. Revised and edited by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar and Matthew Black. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1986.

———. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C.-A.D. 135), vol. 3/2. Revised and edited by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar and Matthew Black. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1987.

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———. "The End of the Ge (Acts 1:8): Beginning or End of the Christian Vision?" Journal of Biblical Literature 105:669-76, 1986.

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———. The Spirit, the Church and the World: The Message of Acts. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1990.

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