Acts 13:43 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 13:43, NIV: "When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God."

Acts 13:43, ESV: "And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God."

Acts 13:43, KJV: "Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God."

Acts 13:43, NASB: "Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking to them and urging them to continue in the grace of God."

Acts 13:43, NLT: "Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God."

Acts 13:43, CSB: "After the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and urging them to continue in the grace of God."

What does Acts 13:43 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul and Barnabas are in Pisidian Antioch where Paul's message about Jesus was well-received by some of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. God commissioned Paul to be the apostle to the "Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). The Abrahamic covenant says that God will bless the Gentiles through the Jews (Genesis 12:3). Jesus, whose Jewish name is a reference to salvation, comes via the Jewish people (John 4:22). Therefore, salvation through Jesus is offered to the Jewish people first, with the intent they would share with the Gentiles (Romans 1:16).

At this time, Jews are scattered all over the Roman Empire. Jerusalem, the temple, and the sacrifices are 870 miles away. The Mosaic law calls all males to come to the temple for three yearly festivals, but that's just not possible for most Jews. Even if they did return, Judea is still under Roman control. The diaspora probably understands better than the Judeans how unlikely it is that Jews will be an independent nation again.

The Gentile God-followers, on the other hand, revere and honor God but are not invited to formally worship Him. The Mosaic law defines the Jewish religion but also defines the Jewish people. Assimilation is possible, as with Ruth (Ruth 4:13–17) and Rahab (Joshua 6:25), but there is a traditional sense of "otherness" to those who are not born into Israel. The Gentiles see something about the Jewish God they know they need but are held at arm's length because they are not part of the nation.

So, when Paul explains God's salvation has come through Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, the listeners realize formal worship in Jerusalem isn't needed. God will meet them where they are and be with them without sacrifices or ritual. The Jews don't have to travel 870 miles to sacrifice, and the Gentiles are fully welcomed. Some of the Jews break away from the legalistic leadership of the synagogue and accept Jesus. Many of the Gentiles enthusiastically accept the invitation to be welcomed into God's family. It is this group that becomes the foundation of the church. It's not clear what it means that Paul "urged them to continue in the grace of God." It may be a formal blessing, or Paul may be exhorting them to rely on God's grace and not the Law.