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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Acts of Apostles 13:1-52

13  Now in Antioch there were prophets and teachers in the local congregation:+ Barʹna·bas,+ Symʹe·on who was called Niʹger, Lucius of Cy·reʹne, Manʹa·en who was educated with Herod+ the district ruler, and Saul.  As they were ministering to Jehovah and fasting, the holy spirit said: “Set aside for me Barʹna·bas and Saul+ for the work to which I have called them.”+  Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off.  So these men, sent out by the holy spirit, went down to Se·leuʹcia, and from there they sailed away to Cyʹprus.  When they arrived in Salʹa·mis, they began proclaiming the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as an attendant.*+  When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paʹphos, they met up with a Jewish man named Bar-Jeʹsus, who was a sorcerer and a false prophet.  He was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. Calling Barʹna·bas and Saul to him, this man was eager to hear the word of God.  But Elʹy·mas the sorcerer (for that is how his name is translated) began opposing them, trying to turn the proconsul away from the faith.  Then Saul, also called Paul, becoming filled with holy spirit, looked at him intently 10  and said: “O man full of every sort of fraud and every sort of villainy, you son of the Devil,+ you enemy of everything righteous, will you not quit distorting the right ways of Jehovah? 11  Look! Jehovah’s hand is upon you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sunlight for a time.” Instantly a thick mist and darkness fell on him, and he went around trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12  Then the proconsul, on seeing what had happened, became a believer, for he was astounded at the teaching of Jehovah. 13  Now Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paʹphos and arrived at Perga+ in Pam·phylʹi·a. But John+ left them and returned to Jerusalem.+ 14  However, they went on from Perga and came to Antioch+ in Pi·sidʹi·a. And going into the synagogue+ on the Sabbath day, they took a seat. 15  After the public reading of the Law and the Prophets,+ the presiding officers of the synagogue sent word to them, saying: “Men, brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, tell it.” 16  So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand, he said: “Men, Israelites and you others who fear God, listen. 17  The God of this people Israel chose our forefathers, and he exalted the people while they lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt and brought them out of it with an uplifted arm.+ 18  And for a period of about 40 years, he put up with them in the wilderness.+ 19  After destroying seven nations in the land of Caʹnaan, he assigned their land as an inheritance.+ 20  All of that was during about 450 years. “After this he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.+ 21  But afterward they demanded a king,+ and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin,+ for 40 years. 22  After removing him, he raised up for them David as king,+ about whom he bore witness and said: ‘I have found David the son of Jesʹse+ a man agreeable to my heart;+ he will do all the things I desire.’ 23  According to his promise, from the offspring of this man, God has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.+ 24  Before the arrival of that one, John had preached publicly to all the people of Israel baptism in symbol of repentance.+ 25  But as John was finishing his course, he would say: ‘What do you suppose I am? I am not he.*+ But look! One is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’+ 26  “Men, brothers, you descendants of Abraham’s family and those others among you who fear God, the word of this salvation has been sent to us.+ 27  For the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize this one, but when acting as judges, they fulfilled the things spoken by the Prophets,+ which are read aloud every sabbath. 28  Even though they found no cause for death,+ they demanded of Pilate to have him executed.+ 29  And when they had accomplished all the things written about him, they took him down from the stake and laid him in a tomb.+ 30  But God raised him up from the dead,+ 31  and for many days he became visible to those who had gone with him from Galʹi·lee up to Jerusalem. These are now his witnesses to the people.+ 32  “So we are declaring to you the good news about the promise made to the forefathers. 33  God has completely fulfilled it to us, their children, by resurrecting Jesus;+ just as it is written in the second psalm: ‘You are my son; today I have become your father.’+ 34  And the fact that He resurrected him from the dead never again to return to corruption, He has stated in this way: ‘I will give you the expressions of loyal love promised to David, which are faithful.’*+ 35  So it also says in another psalm: ‘You will not allow your loyal one to see corruption.’+ 36  David, on the one hand, rendered service to God in his own generation, fell asleep in death, was laid with his forefathers, and did see corruption.+ 37  On the other hand, the one whom God raised up did not see corruption.+ 38  “Let it therefore be known to you, brothers, that through this one a forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you,+ 39  and that from all the things from which you could not be declared guiltless by means of the Law of Moses,+ everyone who believes is declared guiltless by means of this one.+ 40  Therefore, watch out that what is said in the Prophets does not come upon you: 41  ‘Look at it, you scorners, and be amazed, and perish, for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will never believe even if anyone relates it to you in detail.’”+ 42  Now when they were going out, the people pleaded with them to speak about these matters on the following Sabbath. 43  So after the synagogue assembly was dismissed, many of the Jews and the proselytes who worshipped God followed Paul and Barʹna·bas, who, as they spoke to them, urged them to remain in the undeserved kindness of God.+ 44  The next Sabbath nearly all the city gathered together to hear the word of Jehovah. 45  When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began blasphemously contradicting the things Paul was saying.+ 46  Then Paul and Barʹna·bas boldly said to them: “It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken first to you.+ Since you are rejecting it and do not judge yourselves worthy of everlasting life, look! we turn to the nations.+ 47  For Jehovah has commanded us in these words: ‘I have appointed you as a light of nations, for you to be a salvation to the ends of the earth.’”+ 48  When those of the nations heard this, they began to rejoice and to glorify the word of Jehovah, and all those who were rightly disposed for everlasting life became believers. 49  Furthermore, the word of Jehovah was being spread throughout the whole country. 50  But the Jews incited the prominent women who were God-fearing and the principal men of the city, and they stirred up persecution+ against Paul and Barʹna·bas and threw them outside their boundaries. 51  So they shook the dust off their feet against them and went to I·coʹni·um.+ 52  And the disciples continued to be filled with joy+ and holy spirit.

Footnotes

Or “an assistant.”
Or “What you suppose I am, I am not.”
Or “trustworthy; reliable; dependable.”

Study Notes

district ruler: Lit., “tetrarch” (meaning “ruler over one fourth” of a province), a term applied to a minor district ruler or territorial prince ruling only with the approval of the Roman authorities. The tetrarchy of Herod Antipas consisted of Galilee and Perea.​—Compare study note on Mr 6:14.

Herod: That is, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great.​—See Glossary.

Herod the district ruler: See study note on Mt 14:1.

holy service: Or “public service.” The Greek word lei·tour·giʹa, used here, and the related words lei·tour·geʹo (to render public service) and lei·tour·gosʹ (public servant, or worker) were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to refer to work or service for the State or for civil authorities and done for the benefit of the people. For example, at Ro 13:6, the secular authorities are called God’s “public servants” (plural form of lei·tour·gosʹ) in the sense that they provide beneficial services for the people. The term as used here by Luke reflects the usage found in the Septuagint, where the verb and noun forms of this expression frequently refer to the temple service of the priests and Levites. (Ex 28:35; Nu 8:22) Service performed at the temple included the idea of a public service for the benefit of the people. However, it also included holiness, since the Levitical priests taught God’s Law and offered sacrifices that covered the sins of the people.—2Ch 15:3; Mal 2:7.

were ministering: Or “were publicly ministering.” The Greek word lei·tour·geʹo used here and the related words lei·tour·giʹa (public service, or ministry) and lei·tour·gosʹ (public servant, or worker) were used by the ancient Greeks to refer to work or service performed for the State or for civil authorities and to the benefit of the people. For example, at Ro 13:6, the secular authorities are called God’s “public servants” (plural form of lei·tour·gosʹ) in the sense that they provide beneficial services for the people. At Lu 1:23 (see study note), the term lei·tour·giʹa is rendered “holy service” (or, “public service”) regarding the ministry of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. In that verse, the use of the word lei·tour·giʹa reflects how it and related terms are used in the Septuagint in connection with the service performed by priests and Levites at the tabernacle (Ex 28:35; Nu 1:50; 3:31; 8:22) and at the temple (2Ch 31:2; 35:3; Joe 1:9, 13; 2:17). Such service included the idea of a ministry for the benefit of the people. However, the idea of holiness was included in some contexts because the Levitical priests taught God’s Law (2Ch 15:3; Mal 2:7) and offered sacrifices that covered the sins of the people (Le 1:3-5; De 18:1-5). At Ac 13:2, the Greek word lei·tour·geʹo is used in a more general sense, describing the ministering by Christian prophets and teachers in the congregation in Antioch of Syria. The word refers to the different expressions of devotion and service to God, including such aspects of the Christian ministry as prayer, preaching, and teaching. The ministry performed by these prophets and teachers no doubt included preaching to the public.—Ac 13:3.

ministering to Jehovah: The Greek word lei·tour·geʹo (to minister; to serve) used in this verse often appears in Hebrew Scripture passages where the divine name is found in the original Hebrew text. For example, at 2Ch 13:10, the same Greek expression found at Ac 13:2 is used in the Septuagint to render the Hebrew phrase “ministering to Jehovah.” At 2Ch 35:3, the same Greek words are used to render the phrase “serve Jehovah.”​—1Sa 2:11; 3:1; Eze 45:4; Joe 2:17; see App. C.

Seleucia: A fortified Mediterranean port town serving Syrian Antioch and located about 20 km (12 mi) SW of that city. The two sites were connected by road and by the navigable Orontes River, which flowed past Antioch and emptied into the Mediterranean Sea a short distance S of Seleucia. Seleucus I (Nicator), one of the generals of Alexander the Great, founded the city and named it after himself. Accompanied by Barnabas, Paul sailed from Seleucia at the start of his first missionary journey, in about 47 C.E. Seleucia was just N of Süveydiye, or Samandag, in modern-day Turkey. Silt from the Orontes has converted ancient Seleucia’s harbor into a marsh.—See App. B13.

they sailed away to Cyprus: A journey of about 200 km (125 mi). If winds were favorable, a first-century ship could travel about 150 km (93 mi) in a day. In unfavorable conditions, such a journey could take much longer. Cyprus was Barnabas’ home.

Mark: From the Latin name Marcus. Mark was the Roman surname of the “John” mentioned at Ac 12:12. His mother was Mary, an early disciple who lived in Jerusalem. John Mark was “the cousin of Barnabas” (Col 4:​10), with whom he traveled. Mark also traveled with Paul and other early Christian missionaries. (Ac 12:25; 13:​5, 13; 2Ti 4:​11) Although the Gospel nowhere specifies who wrote it, writers of the second and third centuries C.E. ascribe this Gospel to Mark.

Salamis: Located on the E side of the island of Cyprus, Salamis was a sensible choice to start the preaching tour in Cyprus, although Paphos, located on the W coast, was the Roman capital. Salamis was closer to the missionaries’ starting point near Syrian Antioch, and it was the cultural, educational, and commercial center of the island. There was also a sizable population of Jews in Salamis, a city that had more than one synagogue. Barnabas, a native of Cyprus, no doubt served as an able guide for the group. Depending on the route taken, the men may have walked at least 150 km (about 100 mi) as they preached throughout the island.

John: That is, John Mark, one of Jesus’ disciples, “the cousin of Barnabas” (Col 4:10), and the writer of the Gospel of Mark. (See study note on Mark Title.) He is also called John at Ac 13:13, but the other three verses in Acts where he is mentioned add “who was [or, “the one also”] called Mark,” his Roman surname. (Ac 12:12, 25; 15:37) John is the English equivalent of the Hebrew name Jehohanan or Johanan, which means “Jehovah Has Shown Favor; Jehovah Has Been Gracious.” Elsewhere in the Christian Greek Scriptures, he is referred to as “Mark.”—Col 4:10; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 24; 1Pe 5:13.

proconsul: The title of the governor of a province administered by the Roman Senate. Some Roman provinces, such as Judea, were imperial provinces under the direct rule of the emperor, who appointed a governor. Because Cyprus became a senatorial province in 22 B.C.E., it was governed by a proconsul. A coin from Cyprus has been found with the head and title of Roman Emperor Claudius (in Latin) on one side and “Under Cominius Proclus, Proconsul of the Cyprians” (in Greek) on the other side.—See Glossary.

Saul: Meaning “Asked [of God]; Inquired [of God].” Saul, also known by his Roman name Paul, was “of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born from Hebrews.” (Php 3:5) Since Saul was born a Roman citizen (Ac 22:28), it is logical that his Jewish parents may have given him the Roman name Paulus, or Paul, meaning “Little; Small.” From childhood, he likely had both names. His parents may have named him Saul for a number of reasons. Saul was a traditional name of importance among Benjaminites because the first king over all Israel, a Benjaminite, was named Saul. (1Sa 9:2; 10:1; Ac 13:21) Or his parents might have given him the name because of its meaning. Another possibility is that his father’s name was Saul, and according to custom, the son was named after the father. (Compare Lu 1:59.) Whatever the reason, when among fellow Jews—and especially when studying to be a Pharisee and living as one—he would have used his Hebrew name, Saul. (Ac 22:3) And for over a decade after becoming a Christian, he seemed to have been known mostly by his Hebrew name.—Ac 11:25, 30; 12:25; 13:1, 2, 9.

Saul, also called Paul: From this point on, Saul is referred to as Paul. The apostle was born a Hebrew with Roman citizenship. (Ac 22:27, 28; Php 3:5) It is therefore likely that from childhood, he had both the Hebrew name Saul and the Roman name Paul. It was not unusual for Jews of that time, particularly among those living outside Israel, to have two names. (Ac 12:12; 13:1) Some of Paul’s relatives likewise had Roman and Greek names. (Ro 16:7, 21) As “an apostle to the nations,” Paul was commissioned to declare the good news to non-Jews. (Ro 11:13) He apparently decided to use his Roman name; he might have felt that it would be more acceptable. (Ac 9:15; Ga 2:7, 8) Some have suggested that he adopted the Roman name in honor of Sergius Paulus, which seems unlikely, since Paul retained the name even after leaving Cyprus. Others have suggested that Paul avoided using his Hebrew name because its Greek pronunciation sounded similar to a Greek word that referred to a person (or an animal) who swaggered when walking.—See study note on Ac 7:58.

Paul: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the name Pauʹlos, from Latin Paulus, meaning “Little; Small,” is used 157 times when referring to the apostle Paul and once when referring to the proconsul of Cyprus named Sergius Paulus.—Ac 13:7.

ways of Jehovah: Peter’s reply to the Jewish sorcerer Bar-Jesus (recorded in verses 10 and 11) contains several expressions that have a background in the Hebrew Scriptures. Some examples are: The Greek phrase here rendered “distorting . . . ways” is found at Pr 10:9 (“making his ways crooked”) in the Septuagint. The Greek words that appear in the phrase “the right ways of Jehovah” also appear in the Septuagint rendering of Hos 14:9. In that verse, the original Hebrew text uses the divine name (“For the ways of Jehovah are upright”).—See App. C.

hand of Jehovah: This phrase, as well as “Jehovah’s hand,” is often found in the Hebrew Scriptures as a combination of the Hebrew word for “hand” and the Tetragrammaton. (Some examples are found at Ex 9:3; Nu 11:23; Jg 2:15; Ru 1:13; 1Sa 5:6, 9; 7:13; 12:15; 1Ki 18:46; Ezr 7:6; Job 12:9; Isa 19:16; 40:2; Eze 1:3.) In the Bible, the term “hand” is often used figuratively for “power.” Since the hand applies the power of the arm, “hand” may also convey the idea of “applied power.” The Greek expression rendered “the hand of Jehovah” (or, “Jehovah’s hand”) also occurs at Lu 1:66 and Ac 13:11.—See study notes on Lu 1:6, 66 and App. C.

Jehovah’s hand: See study note on Ac 11:21.

the teaching of Jehovah: The expression “the teaching of Jehovah” is synonymous with “the word of God,” used at Ac 13:5. That verse says that when Paul and his companions arrived in Cyprus, they “began proclaiming the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.” As a result, the proconsul Sergius Paulus was “eager to hear the word of God.” (Ac 13:7) After witnessing what Paul said and did, Sergius Paulus was astounded at what he learned about Jehovah God and the teaching originating from Him.​—See App. C.

Antioch in Pisidia: A city in the Roman province of Galatia. This city was situated on the border of the regions of Phrygia and Pisidia, so at different times in history it might have been considered part of one of these regions. The ruins of the city are located near Yalvaç in modern-day Turkey. Pisidian Antioch is referred to here and at Ac 14:19, 21. Anyone traveling from Perga, a city near the Mediterranean Coast, to Pisidian Antioch faced a difficult trek; this city was about 1,100 m (3,600 ft) above sea level (see App. B13), and bandits roamed the treacherous mountain passages. “Antioch in Pisidia” is not to be confused with Antioch in Syria. (Ac 6:5; 11:19; 13:1; 14:26; 15:22; 18:22) In fact, most of the occurrences of the name Antioch in Acts refer, not to Pisidian Antioch, but to Syrian Antioch.

stood up to read: Scholars note that this is the earliest known description of a synagogue service. According to Jewish tradition, the service usually began with private prayers as the congregants entered the building, after which the words of De 6:4-9 and 11:13-21 were recited. Public prayers followed, after which a portion of the Pentateuch was read aloud according to a schedule. Ac 15:21 states that in the first century C.E., such reading was done “on every Sabbath.” The next portion of the service, which seems to be the focus of this verse, was a reading from the prophets along with a lesson based on the reading. The reader customarily stood, and he may have had some freedom to choose his prophetic passage.

the public reading of the Law and the Prophets: In the first century C.E., this public reading was done “on every Sabbath.” (Ac 15:21) One feature of synagogue worship was the reciting of the Shema, or what amounted to the Jewish confession of faith. (De 6:4-9; 11:13-21) The Shema received its name from the first word of the first scripture used, “Listen [Shemaʽʹ], O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” (De 6:4) The most important part of the service was the reading of the Torah, or Pentateuch. In many synagogues, the entire Law was scheduled to be read in the course of one year; in others, the program took three years. Portions of the Prophets were also read and explained. At the conclusion of the public reading, a discourse was given. It was after the public reading in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch that Paul was invited to speak words of encouragement to those assembled.—See study note on Lu 4:16.

during about 450 years: Paul’s discussion of Israelite history begins with a significant event, namely, when God “chose our forefathers.” (Ac 13:17) Paul apparently had in mind the time when Isaac was actually born as the promised offspring. (Ge 17:19; 21:1-3; 22:17, 18) Isaac’s birth definitely settled the question as to whom God would recognize as this offspring, an issue that had been in doubt because of Sarai’s (Sarah’s) barrenness. (Ge 11:30) From this starting point, Paul recounts God’s acts in behalf of His chosen nation down to the time when He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. The period of “about 450 years,” therefore, apparently spans from Isaac’s birth in 1918 B.C.E. to the year 1467 B.C.E. This period extends 46 years after the start of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, in 1513 B.C.E. This end point is appropriate because the Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness and 6 years conquering the land of Canaan.—Nu 9:1; 13:1, 2, 6; De 2:7; Jos 14:6, 7, 10.

offspring: Or “descendants.” Lit., “seed.”—See App. A2.

a stake: Or “a tree.” The Greek word xyʹlon (lit., “wood”) is here used as a synonym for the Greek word stau·rosʹ (rendered “torture stake”) and describes the instrument of execution to which Jesus was nailed. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, Luke, Paul, and Peter used the word xyʹlon in this sense five times altogether. (Ac 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Ga 3:13; 1Pe 2:24) In the Septuagint, xyʹlon is used at De 21:22, 23 to translate the corresponding Hebrew word ʽets (meaning “tree; wood; piece of wood”) in the sentence “and you have hung him on a stake.” When Paul quotes this scripture at Ga 3:13, xyʹlon is used in the sentence: “Accursed is every man hung upon a stake.” This Greek word is also used in the Septuagint at Ezr 6:11 (1 Esdras 6:​31, LXX) to translate the Aramaic word ʼaʽ, corresponding to the Hebrew term ʽets. There it is said regarding violators of a Persian king’s decree: “A timber will be pulled out of his house and he will be lifted up and fastened to it.” The fact that Bible writers used xyʹlon as a synonym for stau·rosʹ provides added evidence that Jesus was executed on an upright stake without a crossbeam, for that is what xyʹlon in this special sense means.

the stake: Or “the tree.”—See study note on Ac 5:30.

tomb: Or “memorial tomb.”—See Glossary, “Memorial tomb.”

all the counsel of God: Or “the whole purpose (will) of God.” Here referring to all that God has purposed to do by means of his Kingdom, including everything that he has decided is essential for salvation. (Ac 20:25) The Greek word bou·leʹ is rendered “counsel [or, “direction; guidance,” ftn.]” at Lu 7:30 and “purpose” at Heb 6:17.

rendered service to God: Or “served the will (purpose) of God.”—See study note on Ac 20:27.

who were God-fearing: Or “who worshipped God.” The Greek word seʹbo·mai may also be rendered “to revere; to venerate.” The Syriac Peshitta renders the expression “who feared God.” Some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J7, 8, 10, 18 in App. C4) use the divine name here, and the expression can be rendered “who feared Jehovah.”

who worshipped God: The Greek word seʹbo·mai, here rendered “who worshipped God,” means “to worship; to revere; to venerate.” It could also be rendered “God-fearing; devout.” (See study note on Ac 13:50.) The Syriac Peshitta renders it “who feared God.” One translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J18 in App. C4) uses the divine name here and the whole expression can be rendered “who feared Jehovah.”

the undeserved kindness of God: In view of Paul’s background as a resister of Jesus and his followers (Ac 9:3-5), Paul had every reason to emphasize Jehovah’s undeserved kindness. (See Glossary, “Undeserved kindness.”) Paul realized that it was only by God’s undeserved kindness that he was able to carry out his ministry. (1Co 15:10; 1Ti 1:13, 14) When meeting with the elders from Ephesus, he speaks of this quality twice. (Ac 20:24, 32) In his 14 letters, Paul mentions “undeserved kindness” some 90 times, far more than any other Bible writer. For example, he refers to the undeserved kindness of God or of Jesus in the opening salutations of all his letters except his letter to the Hebrews, and he uses the expression in the closing remarks of every letter.

the word of Jehovah: This expression has its background in the Hebrew Scriptures, where it appears as a combination of a Hebrew term for “word” and the divine name. Together with the expression “Jehovah’s word,” it occurs in some 200 verses. (Some examples are found at 2Sa 12:9; 24:11; 2Ki 7:1; 20:16; 24:2; Isa 1:10; 2:3; 28:14; 38:4; Jer 1:4; 2:4; Eze 1:3; 6:1; Hos 1:1; Mic 1:1; Zec 9:1.) When this expression occurs at Zec 9:1 in an early copy of the Septuagint found at Nahal Hever, Israel, in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea, the Greek word loʹgos is followed by the divine name written in ancient Hebrew characters (). This parchment scroll is dated between 50 B.C.E. and 50 C.E. The reasons why the New World Translation uses the expression “the word of Jehovah” in the main text, although many Greek manuscripts of Ac 8:​25 read “the word of the Lord,” are explained in App. C.

the word of Jehovah: See study note on Ac 8:​25 and App. C.

for removing the veil from the nations: Or “for revelation to the nations.” The Greek term a·po·kaʹly·psis, rendered “removing the veil,” denotes “an uncovering” or “a disclosure” and is often used regarding revelations of spiritual matters or of God’s will and purposes. (Ro 16:25; Eph 3:3; Re 1:1) Aged Simeon here referred to the child Jesus as a light, and he indicated that spiritual enlightenment was also to benefit the non-Jewish nations, not just the natural Jews and proselytes. Simeon’s prophetic words were in agreement with prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures, such as those recorded at Isa 42:6 and 49:6.

to the most distant part of the earth: Or “to the ends (extremity) of the earth.” The same Greek expression is used at Ac 13:47 in a prophecy quoted from Isa 49:6, where the Greek Septuagint also uses the term. Jesus’ statement at Ac 1:8 may echo that prophecy, which foretold that Jehovah’s servant would be “a light of nations” so that salvation would reach “the ends of the earth.” This harmonizes with Jesus’ previous statement that his followers would perform “works greater” than his. (See study note on Joh 14:12.) The statement is also in line with Jesus’ description of the worldwide scope of the Christian preaching work.—See study notes on Mt 24:14; 26:13; 28:19.

Jehovah has commanded us in these words: The quote that follows in this verse is taken from Isa 49:6, where the context of the original Hebrew text clearly identifies Jehovah as the one speaking. (Isa 49:5; compare Isa 42:6.) The fulfillment of the prophecy involves the work that Jehovah’s Servant, Jesus Christ, and his followers would do.​—Isa 42:1; see study note on Lu 2:32 and App. C.

to the ends of the earth: Or “to the most distant part of the earth.” This prophecy is quoted from Isa 49:6, where the same Greek expression appears in the Septuagint. Isaiah foretold that Jehovah’s servant would be “a light of nations” and that salvation from God would “reach the ends of the earth.” When speaking in Pisidian Antioch, Paul and Barnabas indicated that these prophetic words constituted a command from Jehovah that Christ’s followers should serve as a light to the nations. The Greek expression, here rendered “to the ends of the earth,” is also used at Ac 1:8 (see study note) to show the extent to which Jesus’ followers would be witnesses of him.

the word of Jehovah: This expression has its background in the Hebrew Scriptures, where it appears as a combination of a Hebrew term for “word” and the divine name. Together with the expression “Jehovah’s word,” it occurs in some 200 verses. (Some examples are found at 2Sa 12:9; 24:11; 2Ki 7:1; 20:16; 24:2; Isa 1:10; 2:3; 28:14; 38:4; Jer 1:4; 2:4; Eze 1:3; 6:1; Hos 1:1; Mic 1:1; Zec 9:1.) When this expression occurs at Zec 9:1 in an early copy of the Septuagint found at Nahal Hever, Israel, in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea, the Greek word loʹgos is followed by the divine name written in ancient Hebrew characters (). This parchment scroll is dated between 50 B.C.E. and 50 C.E. The reasons why the New World Translation uses the expression “the word of Jehovah” in the main text, although many Greek manuscripts of Ac 8:​25 read “the word of the Lord,” are explained in App. C.

the word of Jehovah: See study note on Ac 8:​25 and App. C.

were rightly disposed for: This expression describes certain Gentiles in Pisidian Antioch who became believers after hearing Paul and Barnabas preach. The Greek word here rendered “were rightly disposed for” (a form of the verb tasʹso) has a wide range of meaning, including “to set; to position; to arrange; to appoint.” The context helps to determine the intended meaning. Ac 13:46 contrasts certain Jews of Pisidian Antioch with the Gentiles mentioned here in verse 48. On the preceding Sabbath, Paul had given both groups a thorough witness by means of a stirring public discourse. (Ac 13:16-41) According to Paul and Barnabas, the Jews stubbornly rejected “the word of God” and showed by their attitude and actions that they did not “judge [themselves] worthy of everlasting life.” (Ac 13:46) The Gentiles in that city, however, showed a very different attitude. The account says that they began to rejoice and to glorify the word of Jehovah. So in this context, the Greek verb tasʹso conveys the idea that these non-Jews in Antioch “put themselves in a position for” gaining life by showing an attitude, inclination, or disposition that could result in their gaining everlasting life. So the Greek term is appropriately rendered “were rightly disposed for.” Many Bible translations, though, render Ac 13:48 with such expressions as “were destined for; were appointed for,” which could give the impression that these people were predestined by God to gain life. However, neither the immediate context nor the rest of the Bible supports the idea that these Gentiles in Antioch were predestined to gain life, any more than the Jews there were predestined not to gain everlasting life. Paul tried to persuade the Jews to accept the good news, but they made a conscious choice to reject the message. They were not predestined to do so. Jesus explained that some would show by their actions that they are not “well-suited for the Kingdom of God.” (Lu 9:62) By contrast, these Gentiles in Antioch were among those whom Jesus said would show by their attitude that they are “deserving” of the good news.—Mt 10:11, 13.

the word of Jehovah: This expression has its background in the Hebrew Scriptures, where it appears as a combination of a Hebrew term for “word” and the divine name. Together with the expression “Jehovah’s word,” it occurs in some 200 verses. (Some examples are found at 2Sa 12:9; 24:11; 2Ki 7:1; 20:16; 24:2; Isa 1:10; 2:3; 28:14; 38:4; Jer 1:4; 2:4; Eze 1:3; 6:1; Hos 1:1; Mic 1:1; Zec 9:1.) When this expression occurs at Zec 9:1 in an early copy of the Septuagint found at Nahal Hever, Israel, in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea, the Greek word loʹgos is followed by the divine name written in ancient Hebrew characters (). This parchment scroll is dated between 50 B.C.E. and 50 C.E. The reasons why the New World Translation uses the expression “the word of Jehovah” in the main text, although many Greek manuscripts of Ac 8:​25 read “the word of the Lord,” are explained in App. C.

the word of Jehovah: See study note on Ac 8:​25 and App. C.

who were God-fearing: Or “who worshipped God.” The Greek word seʹbo·mai may also be rendered “to revere; to venerate.” The Syriac Peshitta renders the expression “who feared God.” Some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J7, 8, 10, 18 in App. C4) use the divine name here, and the expression can be rendered “who feared Jehovah.”

he shook out his garments: This gesture by Paul indicated that he was free of responsibility for the Jews in Corinth who refused to accept the lifesaving message about the Christ. Paul had fulfilled his obligation and was no longer accountable for their lives. (See study note on Let your blood be on your own heads in this verse.) This type of gesture had a precedent in the Scriptures. When Nehemiah spoke to the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem, he shook out the folds of his garment to signify that a person who did not fulfill a certain promise would be cast off by God. (Ne 5:13) Paul performed a similar gesture in Pisidian Antioch when he “shook the dust off [his] feet” against those who opposed him in that city.—See study notes on Ac 13:51; Lu 9:5.

they shook the dust off their feet against them: Paul and Barnabas here applied Jesus’ instruction recorded at Mt 10:14; Mr 6:11; Lu 9:5. Pious Jews who had traveled through Gentile country would shake what they perceived to be unclean dust off their sandals before reentering Jewish territory. However, Jesus apparently had a different meaning in mind when giving these instructions to his disciples. This gesture signified that the disciples disclaimed responsibility for the consequences that would come from God. When Paul did something similar in Corinth by shaking out his garments, he added the explanatory words: “Let your blood be on your own heads. I am clean.”—See study note on Ac 18:6.

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