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Volume 28 - Page 6 of 217 Index | Zoom | |
The Acts of the Apostles.
The First Missionary Journey (13: - 16: 5).
The Light to lighten the Gentiles,
and the Opened Door (13: - 14: 28).
pp. 34 - 39
The Book of the Acts is so full of interesting subject-matter that one has continually to
recall the prime object of these studies, lest the unfolding purposes of grace which it
describes should be obscured by the wealth of archæological and other interests. Much,
for example, that could be said about Antioch, Lystra, and the cities of Galatia visited by
Paul on this momentous journey must be omitted here and left for the interested reader to
discover for himself. One point, however, we will mention in passing. In the previous
sentence we have used the term "Galatia", and this may cause some readers to wonder
whether a mistake has been made. Up till recently, the Galatia visited by Paul was
considered to be the kingdom of that name, shown on maps of Asia Minor, and lying
much further North than Antioch. Sir William Ramsay has, however, established from
monumental inscriptions and ancient writings that the Roman Province of Galatia
extended further South and included the cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe.
We have given the evidence for this in "The Apostle of the Reconciliation". All we can
do here is to give two maps: the first from Dr. Kitto's Cyclopædia of 1847, and the
second from Ramsay's "Historical Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians" of recent
date. The latter shows the political divisions of Asia Minor in A.D.40-63.
Leaving this aspect of our subject, we turn now to the passage itself to seek to
understand its message. What distinctive contribution does it make to our understanding
of God's purposes? In the preceding article, we found that Acts 13: 16-41 formed a
complete member, so that we are left with the remainder of chapter 13:, and the whole
of chapter 14: to complete the record of the first missionary journey. Before attempting
to go into detail, it will be advisable to look at the passage as a whole and to discover its
scope by determining its structure. We observe that in Acts 13: 42-51 we are still at
Antioch of Pisidia, while in Acts 14: 26 we are back again in Antioch of Syria. In the
former, we read the prophetic words: "A Light to lighten the Gentiles"; and in the latter,
the dispensationally important words: "A door of faith opened unto the Gentiles."
Following out the places visited by the apostles, we obtain the following structure: