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REASONS why it would be hard for Agrippa to become a Christian. Even if we do not take the authorized version of ver. 28, yet we may speak of the ALMOST CHRISTIAN. One who was trained as Agrippa was in religion, knew the facts about Christ, and accepted the Bible as true, but was not persuaded.
Illustrations. (1) Sailors, after a long voyage, wrecked within sight of home. (2) A ship was sailing along the coast of South America, and was short of water. The crew were almost perishing for want of water to drink. They hailed another ship and begged for water. The reply was, “ There is fresh water all around you, for you are in the mouth of the Amazon; the surface of the sea there is fresh water. You have been suffering, and might have died of thirst, with water so near that you had only to let down your buckets and draw it up."
Note Paul's desire that all should be like him. In what respects he had the advantage of that brilliant audience. Such is the Christian's wish for all, “ like me, except these bonds of sin and imperfection."
IV. Paul VINDICATED (vers. 30-32). Providential guidance in his not being set at liberty.
LESSON XIII. — MARCH 29.
GOLDEN TEXT. – But none of these things move me, neither count / my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God. -- ACTS 20: 24.
TIME. — The lessons of this quarter extend over three years and two months of Paul's life, from May 28, A.D. 57, to Aug., A.D. 60. Paul was 55 to 58 years of age. The Gospel had been preached for 30 years, from the day of Pentecost, May, A.D. 30.
TERRITORY. - The Gospel had been preached in the larger portion of the Roman empire east of Rome. It had a foothold in Europe, Asia, and Africa. There were churches in the leading cities.
PERSONS. — Paul and his companions, especially Luke, Timothy, and Trophimus, Agabus the prophet, Philip the evangelist, and his daughters, James the apostle, Eutychus the sleepy hearer, Felix, Claudius, Lysias, Festus, and Agrippa.
MISSIONARY JOURNEYS. -- Paul has now completed his three great missionary journeys. (1) From Antioch through Asia Minor and return, A.D. 48-50, two years. (2) From Antioch through Asia Minor, into Macedonia and Greece, and return through Jerusalem to Antioch, A.D. 51-54, three or four years. (3) From Antioch through Asia Minor, three years in Ephesus, to Macedonia and Greece, and return to Jerusalem, A.D. 54-58, four years.
THE RETURN OF THE MISSIONARY. - This quarter begins with Paul completing his third missionary journey. He had just been driven from Ephesus, where he had had a most successful ministry of three years. He proceeds through Macedonia to Greece. After three months at Corinth he returns towards Jerusalem, where he arrives in May, A.D. 58.
EVENTS. — These may be called up by the places noted on the return journey, Eutychus at Troas, the address at Miletus, the warning at Tyre, the prophecy at Cesarea, the mob at Jerusalem, followed by the rescue, addresses, plot, and escape to Cesarea.
PAUL'S REVIEW OF HIS CONVERSION is twice given in this quarter, and may be used for practical instruction. One scholar might tell the story.
PAUL'S REVIEW OF HIS MINISTRY, as related to the elders of Ephesus, The characteristics of Paul, his earnestness, faithfulness, tenderness, hopes, unselfishness. desire for the salvation of men, are all shown here, and give many practical lessons.
LESSONS. - Let the scholars suggest (1) the truths that seem to them most clearly taught by these lessons; (2) the duties enforced.
From April 5 to June 28, 1885.
Studies in the Acts and Epistles.
LESSON I. — APRIL 5.
PAUL'S VOYAGE. — ACTS 27:1, 2, 14-26. GOLDEN TEXT. — 1 believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. — Acts 27:25.
TIME. — Autumn of A.D. 60; from Aug. 21 to Nov. 1. - Lewin.
PAUL. -- Aged about 58; now about to realize, in a strange way, his long-cherished hope of preaching the Gospel in Rome.
RULERS. — Nero, emperor of Rome (7th year); Herod Agrippa II., king of Trachonitis, and the lands east of the Sea of Galilee (7th year); Festus, governor of Judea (ist year).
JOURNAL OF PAUL'S VOYAGE (according to Lewin). Aug. 21, A.D. 60, set sail from Cesarea, Sept. 26, reached Fairhavens, in Crete, where northward to Sidon, 67 miles.
the vessel·lay wind-bound till Aug. 22, touched at Sidon; sailed north-west Oct. 10, when they discussed plans, and de
along eastern coast of Cyprus, and thence | cided to go to Phenice. west along the coast of Asia Minor to Oct. 18, started for Phenice. Myra, in Lycia, where they changed ves- Oct. 19, overtaken by the typhoon, and sels.
undergird the ship. Sept. II, reached Cnidus, south-west corner Oct. 20, throw cargo overboard.
of Asia Minor; thence south-west to Crete. Oct. 21, throw over the tackle of the ship. Sept. 23, the fast, or great Day of Atonement. Nov. 1, wrecked on the coast of Malta.
PRONUNCIATIONS.-- Adrămýt'třům; Aristär'chús (ch-k); A'siă; Augūs'tus; Câu' dă; Ce săr; Cili'ciă (c=s); Clâu'dă; Cni'dús (ni'dūs); Crête; Eură'quilo; Eūroc'lõdõn; Ju'liús;. Lăse'ă; Lý'ciă; Macédo'niă (c=s); My'ră; Phěnilcē; Sýrtis; Théssăloni'că.
In our last regular lesson we left Paul still in prison at Cesarea, but cleared from all imputation of crime by the great assembly which had given him a hearing. Still, as he had appealed to Cesar, he must be sent to Rome, though with no severe charges against him. Some twenty days were probably occupied in preparations for the voyage, when our lesson for to-day begins.
But why should an inspired writer occupy a whole chapter of the Bible in the details of geography, and navigation, and a shipwreck? (I) Everything is religious if it is filled with the religious spirit. (2) It is the Bible way to teach us by the history of God's people. (3) This chapter is a part of a great plan of God. It is a history of God's providence. (4) Many people in all ages suffer troubles, and shipwreck, and it is well to see how a good man acts under such circumstances. There are comfort, and help, and instruction in it.
1. And when it was determined that we should saill And when it was deter: 1
mined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other pris
for Italy, they delivered Paul oners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' and certain other prisoners to
a centurion named Julius, of band.
the Augustan band. And em- 2 2. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we
barking in a ship of Adra
myttium, which was about to launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one sail unto the places on the
coast of Asia, we put to sea, Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with Aristarchus, a Macedonian of
Thessalonica, being with us.
EXPLANATORY. I. The Embarkation for Rome. — Vers. 1, 2. 1. And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy. The emphasis is on sail. It had been settled before this that they should go to Italy; now it was determined how and when they should go. They decided to send the prisoners immediately, and by sea, rather than by land. That we. The use of the first person shows that Luke was Paul's companion on this voyage. He had, in all probability, remained in Palestine, and in the neighborhood of Paul, during his two years imprisonment, perhaps being variously occupied in Gospel work under Paul's direction. And certain other prisoners. In addition to Paul's company. - Alford. Wordsworth and Meyer point to êtépous (not åxnovs) as indicating a different class of prisoners. A motley crowd, probably such as no modern convict-ship could present. Like his Lord, Paul was numbered among the transgressors. — Hackett. One named Julius, a centurion. It has been conjectured that this Julius was a freedman of the Julian or imperial family. — Gloag. The Julian house, like the Cornelian (10:1), was an illustrious one in Italy. As to this Julius personally, we presently feel that we know a good deal of him through his character and his treatment of St. Paul. He commands our respect. We should especially compare the case of Cornelius in his connection with St. Peter (Acts 10). - Schaff Of Augustus' band. Or cohort, consisting of six centuries, or one-tenth of a legion. A century contained, originally, 100 men, but subsequently from 50 to 100. A cohort, therefore, numbered from 300 to 600 men. “ Augustus'', should read “ Augustan." Most of the Roman troops at Cesarea were from Syria, but one cohort was from Italy. (1) The most approved opinion is that this was an independent cohort assigned to that particular service, and known as the Augustan or imperial, because, with reference to its relation to the procurator, it corresponded in some sense to the emperor's life-guard at Rome. It may have taken the place of the Italian cohort, which was mentioned in 10:1, or very possibly, as Meyer suggests, may have been identical with it. Augustan may have been the honorary appellation of the cohort, while it was called Italian by the people because it consisted chiefly of Italians or Romans.- Abbott. Or (2) Alford, however, thinks that there was a band of picked men called by this name and stationed at Rome for the special bodyguard of the emperor. To this Julius seems to have belonged, — to have been sent on some service into Asia, and now to have been returning to Rome. — Alford.
2. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium. A vessel belonging to Adramyttium, and destined for that port, which was a seaport of Mysia, opposite Lesbos, on the western coast of the present Asia Minor. Paul's voyage to Italy was accomplished in three ships. The first was probably a coasting vessel, carrying passengers and cargo, and touching at various ports. The course of this vessel was in the direction of Italy; and in some of the harbors at which it would touch in its way, Julius might expect to find another westernbound ship in which he and his prisoners could pursue their voyage. - Rev. Com. The opportunity which they expected presented itself at Myra (ver. 6). Possibly it was at first intended that the prisoners should go to Adramyttium, cross to Greece, and then proceed by land. — Plumptre. Meaning to sail (i.e., the ship was about to sail) by (unto or along) the coasts of Asia. That is, touch at them here and there on the way to their port, — Hackett. Asia is, of course, not Asia Minor, but the proconsular province so called, of which Ephesus was the capital. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. This is the Aristarchus named in 19: 29; 20:4. Our English translators speak of him, very strangely, as "one Aristarchus," as if he were otherwise unknown. That he accompanied Paul to Rome appears also from Philem. 24; Col. 4: 10, which Epistles the apostle wrote while in that city. In the latter passage he terms Aristarchus fellow-prisoner, which, if taken literally, would lead us to suppose that he too had been apprehended and was now sent as a prisoner to Rome. But in Philem. 24 he is called merely fellow-laborer, and hence it is more probable that he went with the apostle of his own accord, and that he