What does Acts 13:43 mean?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Acts 13:42–52 details the response to Paul's message in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch. Many Gentiles and some Jews accept the news about Jesus gladly, but the synagogue leaders don't. Since Jews live in community, and the Jewish community leaders feel threatened by Paul's message and popularity, Paul can say "the Jews" reject Jesus' offer of eternal life. Paul turns his attention to the Gentiles until the Jewish leaders join with city leaders to drive Paul and Barnabas out of town.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 13 transitions Luke's account (Acts 1:1) fully into a record of Paul's ministry to spread the news about Jesus. The Holy Spirit calls Paul and Barnabas for their first missionary journey. They teach about Jesus' offer of forgiveness of sins on the island of Cyprus and in the district of Pisidia in modern-day south-central Asia Minor. Along the way, they face opposition, desertion, and persecution: themes that will follow Paul throughout his life. But they also experience the joy of watching the people they'd least expect come to a saving faith in Jesus.
Chapter Context:
The first chapters of Acts, save for a quick account of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1–31), cover the ministry of the apostles, particularly Peter. Those passages also detail the spread of the news about Jesus from His followers. That message goes to the Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 2—7) and Judea (Acts 8:26–40; 9:32–43), the Samaritans (Acts 8:4–25), and God-fearing Gentiles (Acts 10—11). Now, Paul's contribution to the ''end of the earth'' portion of Jesus' commission in Acts 1:8 begins, as he and Barnabas start their first missionary journey. Luke will record two more of Paul's journeys (Acts 15:36—18:22 and 18:23—20:38) before settling in on his return to Jerusalem, arrest, and sea voyage to Rome (Acts 21—28).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 4/22/2024 2:51:34 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.