Acts 13:46 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 13:46, NIV: "Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: 'We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles."

Acts 13:46, ESV: "And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles."

Acts 13:46, KJV: "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."

Acts 13:46, NASB: "Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, 'It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first. Since you repudiate it and consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles."

Acts 13:46, NLT: "Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, 'It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles."

Acts 13:46, CSB: "Paul and Barnabas boldly replied, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first. Since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles."

What does Acts 13:46 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul and Barnabas are in a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. When Jesus commissioned the apostles, He told them to be His witnesses in "Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). His message is to go to the Jews first and then the Gentiles, so when Paul enters a new town, he starts in the Jewish synagogues. Some of the Jews and many Gentiles have accepted their news that Jesus is the Savior God promised, but the synagogue leaders reject the message because they're jealous of Paul and Barnabas' following (Acts 13:42–45). The people (the Jews), who were supposed to introduce salvation to the world, reject it instead (See Genesis 12:3). Paul sees this reaction throughout his ministry, in nearly every town he visits.

The rejection of the Jewish leadership in this and other cities affected the spread of Christianity in two ways.

  • First, Judaism is a group-focused religion. The blessings and warnings God gives to the Jews in the Old Testament are largely corporate—if the nation will obey, God will bless the nation. When the leadership of the synagogues reject Paul, that means the local body of Jews rejects Paul's message. Fortunately, Christianity provides the church as the community for the individual Jews who accept Him.


  • Second, if the synagogue as a whole had accepted Paul's message, they would have been the core of the church. It would have been their responsibility to make disciples of the Gentiles. Of course, they may have acted like "the circumcision" in Syrian Antioch and put legalistic restrictions on the Gentiles (Acts 15:1), but they would have personally and as a community fulfilled God's promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1–3) instead of just being part of the ethnic group that provided Jesus.


The "word of God" means different things. It can mean the Scriptures as a whole or Jesus (John 1:1). Here, it means the truth about Jesus, that He is the Son of God who was crucified, buried, and raised again to save the world from sin. "Life" is from the Greek root word zoe. It doesn't mean to just be breathing, but to live a full, fulfilled life; Jesus offers us this life for eternity.