Acts 13:16

Nice lady at Vermont Capitol.

Tuesday, 27 December 2022

Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: Acts 13:16

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

Note, the NKJV does not give the proper sense of the verbs. Instead, it more precisely reads, “And Paul, having risen, and having motioned with his hand, said, ‘Men, Israelites, and those fearing God, hearken:’” (CG)

In the previous verse, the rulers of the synagogue had read from the Law and Prophets. Once complete, they addressed Paul and his companions asking if they had any exhortation for the people. With that, it now says, “And Paul, having risen.”

Luke, in his customary way of using participles to show the process of movement as it occurred, indicates that Paul is the one to respond to the address of the rulers. In arising, he is assuming the position for providing instruction as requested. With that, Luke continues, saying, “and having motioned with his hand.”

It is the same word used concerning Peter in Acts 12:17, kataseió. It means to shake the hand up and down to attract attention as if signaling. In this case, Paul is alerting the people that he is not simply getting up to stretch or to go out for some fresh air. He is indicating that he is happy to accommodate and bring a word to those in attendance. He motioned with his hand and then “said, ‘Men, Israelites.’”

It is the same opening made by Peter in his first major discourse in Acts 2:22. It has been seen two more times since then. It is a fraternal address between Israelites asking for attention to what will then be said. With that, Paul also says, “and those fearing God.”

These are not proselytes who had been circumcised and reckoned among Israel. Instead, they are known as proselytes of the gate. It expresses those who were interested in the teachings of Israel and had come to respect and fear the God of Israel, giving up on their own pagan ways in part or in whole. To those gathered, Paul next says, “hearken:”

It is the common word akouó, which is easily identified as the etymological root of our word “acoustics.” It signifies to hear. In this case, the verb is imperative. As such, “hearken” gives the proper sense. “I have words to convey, ‘Listen up!’”

Life application: Not all are skilled in oration and speaking in front of a lot of people can be intimidating, but it is not impossible. If you are asked to speak to others and are a bit reticent to do so, a quick prayer under your breath to the Lord asking for His peace is a good place to start. Also, confidence in your knowledge of the subject to be conveyed is a plus.

Therefore, don’t speak beyond what you know. Just stick with the most important points and maintain a light, happy attitude. This can be practiced. Using a mirror is a good way of getting comfortable with speaking.

Even if you are never asked to speak publicly, you still should be ready to convey the gospel to those you encounter. You may be the only person who ever takes the opportunity to do so.

Finally, as one last fallback, you can always hand out tracts. “I have something to share with you and this can convey it better than I can. Please take the time to read it.”

In the end, be prepared to share the gospel in some manner. You may be the one person who can make an eternity-changing moment in a person’s life.

Lord God, may we not be too timid to share the wonderful news of Jesus. Help us in this. Others have taken the time to share it with us, and this has gone on since the beginning of the church. May we be a responsible part of that unbroken line of faithful people who have carried the good news about Jesus to the world. Amen.