Bible Study Notes on Acts 11 – 20170208

Bible Study Notes

Acts 11:1  “…apostles and brethren…heard that the Gentiles had also received…”
Assuming communication had transpired between Peter and the other Apostles during the time Peter was in Caesarea.  Or perhaps between some of his companions and those in Jerusalem.

2  “…those of the circumcision contended with him”
Jewish believers.  They are still thinking a person must first become a Jew before they can be saved.  And they would be following the same man-made traditions Peter mentioned.  Wonder if any of the other Apostles were among the group.

4-10  Exact wording of the vision from the previous chapter.  Luke undoubtedly got his information directly from Peter.

12  “…these six brethren accompanied me…”
So there were six companions who went with him to Caesarea.

14  “who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved”
Slightly different from what was recorded.  Angel supposedly said send for Peter and he will tell you what you must do.  Not a contradiction, but a better understanding of what was meant now that Peter has all the information.  Cornelius probably had no idea what else Peter could have to tell him.  He was already following God according to all that was known.  Praying, fasting, giving alms.  Probably would have offered sacrifices if it was allowed.  Now we know, as Peter realized, the angel was telling Cornelius that Peter would be telling them how to be saved.

15-17  “…as upon us at the beginning…you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit…God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ…”
Peter’s observation of the Spirit overcoming the barrier.  Same gift as He gave us.  God’s timing is perfect.  He waited until Peter and his companions could see.  Now the stage is set for the expansion of the gospel.  Some will try to hold on to their traditions, but the Spirit will overcome those also.

18  “…they became silent…”
God had spoken.  No more argument.

20  “…spoke to the Hellenists…”
Wondered exactly what was meant here.  Jews who spoke Greek or were Gentiles included as well.  English says Hellenists which usually refers to foreign Jews.  Commentaries had a great deal to say, but were consistent in their views.  They consider that Luke was including Gentiles in this statement due to the context and the progression of the Gospel.  Most assume the Gentiles referenced here would be proselytes to the Jewish faith, much like Cornelius, and not completely heathen people following other gods.  Interesting that reference is made back to what happened between Peter and Cornelius and not Philip and the Ethiopian.  That would have been the first Gentile mentioned to receive the Gospel.  Perhaps the exact timeline of events was only realized after the fact.

22  “…sent out Barnabas…”
To encourage and build up.  Reinforcements.

25  “…Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul”
Certainly by the Spirit, but as he was the first to bring Saul into the fold of the family, he recognized what an asset Saul could be to training new converts.

Topics26  “…disciples were first called Christians in Antioch”
Christ like or little Christs.  Behavior, actions, and attitude were such that they were recognized as being Christ’s followers.  Oh that our behavior and actions would show that much to the people around us.

27  “…prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch”
I am under the opinion that the prophets of today, and those mentioned here, aren’t exactly like those found before Christ.  As the writer of Hebrews says, in times past God spoke through His prophets, but has now spoken to us by His Son, Jesus the Christ.  However, that does not mean that God has stopped giving the gift of prophecy to those of His family, as is here shown.  But I am afraid that we of the contemporary family of God have missed that part of the gifts of God.  We don’t give much credence to those who have that gift, and that is both a shame and a failing.  Not only are we dismissing a gift of God, we are also short changing the local church by not allowing those parts to function as they should.  It is no wonder our churches have no power.  I’m sure prophecy is not the only gift we devalue and sometimes completely ignore.

28  “…showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine…”
This is how I see the modern day prophets.  Led by the Spirit and shown by the Spirit the things of Christ and perhaps sometimes what is going to happen.  They aren’t given new revelations of doctrine or truth as those are given to us in His Word and are complete in Christ, but perhaps a deeper understanding or insight into what is already there.

29  “…each according to his ability…”
Like the early disciples in Jerusalem.  As each had something to give, not by compulsion, but willingly.

Note the first time Barnabas and Saul return to Jerusalem, for relief of those there due to the famine.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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