Acts chapter 14

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

8In Lystra a man was sitting whose feet were incapacitated. He had been disabled from his mother’s womb, and had never walked. 9This man was listening to Paul as he spoke. Paul looked at him intently and saw that he had faith to be made well, 10and he said with a loud voice, 'Stand upright on your feet!' And the man leaped up and began to walk. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, 'The gods have become like men and have come down to us!' 12And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. 13Moreover, the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 15and saying, 'Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men, of the same nature as you, preaching the gospel to you, to turn from these useless things to a living God, who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND EVERYTHING THAT IS IN THEM. 16In past generations He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; 17yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.' 18And even by saying these things, only with difficulty did they restrain the crowds from offering sacrifices to them.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

What does Acts chapter 14 mean?

Acts 14 records the last half of Paul's first missionary journey. He and Barnabas left their home base in Syrian Antioch with Barnabas' cousin John Mark and sailed to the island of Cyprus, where Barnabas was from. After rescuing the proconsul from a Jewish false prophet, they sailed north to the southern coast of modern-day Asia Minor. John Mark left them there and returned to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas traveled north to Pisidian Antioch and shared how Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophecies of the Jewish Messiah. Surprisingly, a great number of Gentiles believed them while the Jewish leadership and the Gentile city leaders drove them out of town (Acts 13).

Paul and Barnabas head about 90 miles southeast to the trade city of Iconium. They have a similar experience to that in Pisidian Antioch—many Jews and Greeks believe their news about Jesus, but those who don't convince many Paul and Barnabas are false teachers despite the miracles the apostles perform. Paul and Barnabas stay and continue to teach until their antagonists threaten to stone the two, and they flee south to Lystra (Acts 14:1–7).

The small town of Lystra is no less troublesome, but for a different reason. After Paul heals a man born lame, the pagan-influenced populace declare that Barnabas is Zeus and Paul, who has done most of the speaking, is Hermes. This seems to be influenced by a local story where those two deities drowned most of the town due to inhospitality. The two evangelists barely keep the priest of Zeus from leading a sacrifice to them in worship. Just when things are calming down, Jewish leaders from Pisidian Antioch and Iconium arrive. They incite the crowd in Lystra to stone Paul, drag him outside the city, and leave him for dead. Jesus isn't finished with Paul, so the bedraggled apostle survives and the next day he and Barnabas travel east to Derbe (Acts 14:8–20).

In Derbe, Paul and Barnabas' farthest point, they make more disciples. Then, instead of crossing the mountains to Tarsus and then making the relatively short trip back to Syrian Antioch, the two return the way they'd come, encouraging the new churches in Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch. They travel south to Perga where they share Jesus' offer of salvation, then go to the port town of Attalia on the southern coast. From there, they sail home to Syrian Antioch and tell the church how God worked in the hearts of Jews and Gentiles and established new churches (Acts 14:21–28).

The missionary journey of Acts 13—14 is important because people came to a saving relationship with Christ and positioned the church to reach into Europe. But it also sets the stage for the controversy of Acts 15. The church started with Jesus' Jewish followers in Jerusalem, and until now the church has mostly been comprised of Jews. Paul and Barnabas get a glimpse of how Jesus' story will spread to Gentiles. The Jews still see Christianity as a fulfillment of their own religion; what does it mean when Gentiles, who are not under the Mosaic law, follow the Jewish Messiah? Paul and Barnabas will travel back to Jerusalem and give their testimony so Peter, James, and the other church leaders can figure out just what the Holy Spirit has in store.
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: is a ministry of