What does Acts 14:22 mean?
ESV: strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
NIV: strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. 'We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,' they said.
NASB: strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, 'It is through many tribulations that we must enter the kingdom of God.'
CSB: strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, "It is necessary to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."
NLT: where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.
KJV: Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
NKJV: strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
Verse Commentary:
Paul and Barnabas are making their way back home to Syrian Antioch. From Derbe, they could have crossed the Tarsus mountain range and taken a short boat ride. Instead, they backtrack through the cities where they have established churches to give more instruction and select leaders (Acts 14:23).

The locals in Pisidian Antioch had run the pair out of town (Acts 13:50). In Iconium, a mob almost stoned them (Acts 14:5–6). In Lystra, they did stone Paul, leaving him for dead (Acts 14:19). Jesus had warned Paul that he would suffer for Christ's name (Acts 9:16). Later, Paul will say, "I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church" (Colossians 1:24). Jesus' suffering on the cross is all the work we need for salvation; Paul's suffering is necessary to spread the message of salvation to those who need it.

So, when Paul and Barnabas warn the new Jesus-followers that they will suffer, they can speak from experience. Today, Jesus-followers don't always suffer for their faith; some nations and circumstances are tolerant or even supportive of Christianity. Still, Paul knows that those who suffer for Christ will be glorified with him (Romans 8:17), and the believers of the early church did suffer greatly, both in degree and variety (James 1:2) for their faith.

The "kingdom of God" (sometimes "kingdom of Heaven") is any place or situation where God's majesty and sovereignty is present. When the members of the early church suffered, the Holy Spirit gave them strength, resolve, and hope of eternity with God. Stephen literally experienced Paul's promise when he saw a vision of Jesus standing at God's right hand while the mob stoned him (Acts 7:54–60). Prior to his own conversion, Paul witnessed Stephen's murder, and approved (Acts 8:1–3). It's possible that experience influences his teaching to these new believers, many of whom, like Paul himself, will also be martyred for Christ.
Verse Context:
Acts 14:21–28 tracks Paul and Barnabas' journey home from Derbe, the farthest point they reach in Paul's first missionary journey. Instead of taking the quick route south, they return west, building up the churches in cities they had fled due to persecution. They then travel south to the Mediterranean and preach about Jesus in Perga before catching a ship to take them east, back home to Syrian Antioch. Their experiences will prove vital for the leadership of the church in Jerusalem who must decide how to properly integrate Gentiles in Jesus' church (Acts 15:1–35).
Chapter Summary:
Acts 14 describes the last half of Paul's first missionary journey. He and Barnabas leave Pisidian Antioch, near central modern-day Asia Minor, and travel southeast to Iconium where they establish a new church. In Lystra, Paul heals a man born crippled. The amazed people insist Barnabas is the Greek deity Zeus, and Paul is Hermes. They attempt to offer sacrifices to them, much to the horror of the two evangelists. When antagonists from Pisidian Antioch and Iconium arrive, Paul is stoned but survives. The pair travel to Derbe, then retrace their steps, encouraging the new churches before sailing back to Syrian Antioch.
Chapter Context:
Paul's first missionary journey, recorded in Acts 13—14, gives a glimpse of issues that the church will face throughout its entire existence. When presented with Jesus's story, some will accept Him while others will not. Opposition is sometimes violent. Some integrate into church life easily, but for centuries the church has struggled with how to integrate those from vastly different cultures. This raises the crucial question of which aspects of faith and worship are biblical, making them universal, and which are cultural, and therefore optional? In Acts 15, the church leadership will start a discussion on that subject which continues even today.
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 5/24/2024 10:16:41 PM
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