Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 36: Acts, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
42. And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles exhorted them that they would speak to them words between the Sabbaths. 827 43. And when the synagogue was dissolved, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, talking with them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44. And when the Sabbath was come, almost the whole city was gathered to hear the word of God. 45. And when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with indignation, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contrarying [contradicting] them, and blaspheming them.
42. When they were gone out of the synagogue. It may be also read, out of the synagogue of the Jews, and peradventure more fitly. For it is likely that they were gone out before the multitude was dispersed; and that is gathered out of the text because Luke saith shortly after, that when the synagogue was dissolved certain of the Jews did follow Paul and Barnabas. Therefore, the sense is, that Paul and Barnabas went out whilst the Jews were yet assembled, and that they were then requested by the Gentiles to take some pains with them in the mean season.
43. And that afterward there came certain of the Jews and proselytes to Paul, being both desirous to learn, and also that they might make profession of their faith. When as the old interpreter and Erasmus did translate it the Sabbath following, they did not understand Luke’s meaning. For seeing that he intreateth in this place of the Gentiles, I do not think that they choose a Sabbath wherein they may hear Paul and Barnabas. For that day was appointed for the Jews, but the Gentiles had no less opportunity upon other days. Therefore, to what end should they defer their desire and prayers until the eighth day? Yea, rather they covet to hear Paul whilst he is at leisure, and is not occupied in teaching the Jews. So that the Lord doth not suffer them to be idle until the Sabbath come, offering unto them matter in the Gentiles, wherein they may exercise themselves.
42 They would speak words. I have translated it as it is in Luke, though the article τα may be taken for τα αυτα, as in some other places. Then the sense should be, that they were requested that they would that week intreat of the same things before the Gentiles. Furthermore, whilst that the Gentiles do snatch greedily at every first opportunity, the Jews being quiet, 828 do neglect that which is set before them; only that certain of them join themselves to Paul and Barnabas. Luke expresseth the proselytes by name, who seeing they had embraced the doctrine of the law, and did worship the God of Israel, were not puffed up with that pride which hindered the Jews, who made boast of their long stock and race.
43. Who speaking. The sense is doubtful. For it may be referred unto the Jews and proselytes, that they exhorted Paul and Barnabas that they should not faint, but stand stoutly in the grace of God. Neither did they want occasion; for they saw combats prepared for them; and that therefore they had need of invincible constancy to suffer and abide the brunts of the contrary faction. Wherefore that might very well agree, that being inflamed with a desire to go forward, they sought to encourage Paul and Barnabas to hold on. If you refer it unto Paul and Barnabas, the sense shall be this, that they did not reject those which came, but they entertained them courteously and gently, and confirmed and strengthened them, that they might persist in the grace which they had received. And this word grace doth first comprehend the faith of the gospel; secondly, those good things which come thence to us; or, that I may speak more briefly, the calling into the hope of eternal salvation.
44. And when the Sabbath came. The great assembly of the people doth prove that Paul and Barnabas loitered not between the Sabbaths, and they did not take pains with the Gentiles in vain; for the studies and desires of the people had been so prepared, that they all desired to know the whole matter more surely, which they did hope would be, if it should be discussed among the Jews. For we may guess that though they were allured with some sweet taste, yet were they not as yet thoroughly persuaded to receive the doctrine of the gospel without doubting, 829 but that they came into the synagogue in a quandary, 830 between hope and desire.
45. They were filled. It is no new matter for the rage of the wicked to be inflamed when the light of the gospel is set somewhat nearer; especially when they see the increase of sound doctrine, they break out with greater violence to resist. And it is to be doubted whether Luke do mean, by the word zeal, that they were moved with a certain wicked indignation, to set themselves against Paul and Barnabas, as ambition is the mother as well of envy as of all contention; or he take zeal for indignation conceived thereupon, because they did lament that the Gentiles were made equal with the people of God. For they counted this a very unmeet thing, that the holy treasure of doctrine, which was the proper inheritance of the children, should he, as it were, at all men’s feet.
Gainsaying and blaspheming. They were so sore set upon resisting, that they brake out at length into blasphemy. And Satan doth for the most part drive the wicked unto such madness, that when they be overcome with reasons and discouraged, they wax harder and harder; and wittingly and willingly they spew out at length blasphemies against God and the truth. Wherefore we must take so much the more heed when as the truth of God is plainly set before us, lest, if we be carried away with a desire to speak against it, we fall straightway into that steep down. 831
“Intermedio Sabbatho,” in the interval between the Sabbaths.
“Fastidio pleni,” being full of disdain.
“Sine controversia,” without controversy.
“In illud praecipitium ruamus,” we rush instantly over that precipice.