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Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

Acts Chapter 15

Acts 15:1

act 15:1


Rather the imperfect, were teaching. They had not merely broached the error, but were inculcating it.

Manner (ἔθει)

Better, custom, as Rev.

Acts 15:2

act 15:2

Question (ζητήματος)

Found only in the Acts, and always of a question in dispute.

Acts 15:3

act 15:3

Being brought on their way (προπεμφθέντες)

Lit., having been sent forth; under escort as a mark of honor.


See on Act 13:41. In the various towns along their route.

Acts 15:4

act 15:4

Were received (ἀπεδέχθησαν)

The word implies a cordial welcome, which they were not altogether sure of receiving.

Acts 15:5

act 15:5


In the assembly.


See on heresies, Pe2 2:1.

Acts 15:7

act 15:7

The word of the gospel (τὸν λόγον τοῦ εὐαγγελίου)

This phrase occurs nowhere else; and εὐαγγε.λιον, gospel, is found only once more in Acts (Act 20:24).

Acts 15:8

act 15:8

Which knoweth the heart (καρδιογνώστης)

Only here and Act 1:24.

Acts 15:10

act 15:10

Were able (ἰσχύσαμεν)

See on Luk 14:30; and Luk 16:3.

Acts 15:12

act 15:12


The imperfect (ἤκουον) denotes attention to a continued narrative.

Declaring (ἐξηγουμένων)

Better, as Rev., rehearsing. See on Luk 24:35.

What miracles, etc

Lit., how many (ὅσα).

Acts 15:13

act 15:13


See Introduction to Catholic Epistles.

Acts 15:18

act 15:18

Known unto God, etc

The best texts join these words with the preceding verse, from which they omit all; rendering, The Lord, who maketh these things known from the beginning of the world.

Acts 15:19

act 15:19

Trouble (παρενοχλεῖν)

Only here in New Testament. See on vexed, Luk 6:18.

Acts 15:20

act 15:20

Write (ἐπιστεῖλαι)

Originally, to send to, as a message; hence, by letter. The kindred noun ἐπιστολή, whence our epistle, means, originally, anything sent by a messenger. Letter is a secondary meaning.

Pollutions (ἀλισγημάτων)

A word not found in classical Greek, and only here in the New Testament. The kindred verb ἀλισγεῖν, to pollute, occurs in the Septuagint, Daniel 1:8; Malachi 1:7, and both times in the sense of defiling by food. Here the word is defined by things sacrificed to idols (Act 15:29); the flesh of idol sacrifices, of which whatever was not eaten by the worshippers at the feasts in the temples, or given to the priests, was sold in the markets and eaten at home. See Co1 10:25-28; and Exo 34:15.


In its literal sense. "The association of fornication with three things in themselves indifferent is to be explained from the then moral corruption of heathenism, by which fornication, regarded from of old with indulgence, and even with favor, nay, practised without shame even by philosophers, and surrounded by poets with all the tinsel of lasciviousness, had become in public opinion a thing really indifferent" (Meyer). See Dllinger, "The Gentile and the Jew," ii., 237 sq.


The flesh of animals killed in snares, and whose blood was not poured forth, was forbidden to the Israelites.

Acts 15:23

act 15:23

Greeting (χαίρειν)

The usual Greek form of salutation. It occurs nowhere else in the salutation of a New Testament epistle save in the Epistle of James (Jam 1:1). See note there. It appears in the letter of Claudius Lysias (Act 23:26).

Acts 15:24

act 15:24

Subverting (ἀνασκευάζοντες)

Only here in New Testament, and not found either in the Septuagint or in the Apocrypha. Originally, it means to pack up baggage, and so to carry away; hence, to dismantle or disfurnish. So Thucydides (iv., 116) relates that Brasidas captured Lecythus, and then pulled it down and dismantled it (ἀνασκευάσας). From this comes the more general meaning to lay waste, or ravage. The idea here is that of turning the minds of the Gentile converts upside down; throwing them into confusion like a dismantled house.

We gave no commandment (οὐ διεστειλάμεθα)

The word originally means to put asunder; hence, to distinguish, and so of a commandment or injunction, to distinguish and emphasize it. Therefore implying express orders, and so always in the New Testament, where it is almost uniformly rendered charge. The idea here is, then, "we gave no express injunction on the points which these Judaizers have raised."

Acts 15:25

act 15:25

Barnabas and Paul

Here, as in Act 15:12, Barnabas is named first, contrary to the practice of Luke since Act 13:9. Barnabas was the elder and better known, and in the church at Jerusalem his name would naturally precede Paul's. The use of the Greek salutation, and this order of the names, are two undesigned coincidences going to attest the genuineness of this first document preserved to us from the Acts of the primitive church.

Acts 15:29

act 15:29


Because in the blood was the animal's life, and it was the blood that was consecrated to make atonement. See Gen 9:6; Lev 17:10-14; Deu 12:23, Deu 12:24. The Gentiles had no scruples about eating blood; on the contrary, it was a special delicacy. Thus Homer:

"At the fire

Already lie the paunches of two goats,

Preparing for our evening meal, and both

Are filled with fat and blood. Whoever shows

Himself the better man in this affray,

And conquers, he shall take the one of these

He chooses."

Odyssey, xviii., 44 sq.

The heathen were accustomed to drink blood mingled with wine at their sacrifices.

Farewell (ἔῤῥωσθε)

Lit., be strong, like the Latin valete. Compare the close of Claudius Lysias' letter to Festus (Act 23:30).

Acts 15:31

act 15:31


See on Act 9:31.

Acts 15:32

act 15:32

Many words

Or, lit., much discourse; adding the spoken to the written consolation.


Or comforted. See on Act 15:31. The latter agrees better with consolation there.


See on Act 14:22.

Acts 15:36

act 15:36

Let us go again and visit (ἐπιστρέψαντες δὴ ἐπισκεψῶμεθα)

Lit., Having returned, let us now visit. The A. V. omits now. See on Act 13:2.

In every city (κατὰ πᾶσαν πόλιν)

Κατά has the force of city by city.

Acts 15:38

act 15:38

Him (τοῦτον)

Lit., that one. It marks him very strongly, and is an emphatic position at the end of the sentence.

Departed (ἀποστάντα)

Rev., withdrew. It furnishes the derivation of our word apostatize.

Acts 15:39

act 15:39

The contention was so sharp (ἐγένετο παροξυσμὸς)

More correctly, there arose a sharp contention. Only here and Heb 10:24. Our word paroxysm is a transcription of παροξυσμὸς. An angry dispute is indicated.


The last mention of him in the Acts.

Acts 15:40

act 15:40


Which was not the case with Barnabas, leading to the inference that the church at Antioch took Paul's side in the dispute.

Next: Acts Chapter 16