Daily Word

Paul’s history lesson | Acts 13:13-25

13 Now Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia; but John left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14 But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue officials sent word to them, saying, “[d]Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.” 16 Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:

 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and [e]made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it. 18 For a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness. 19 When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance—all of which took about 450 years. 20 After these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 

21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My [f]will.’

23 From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, 24 after John had proclaimed, before [g]His coming, a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And while John was completing his course, he kept saying, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

Acts 13:13-25 (NASB) 中文

First Missionary Journey

Paul and Barnabas are on the first missionary journey of the church, sent out, in obedience, by the church at Antioch. Verse 4 tells us they were ultimately sent out by the Holy Spirit. Some may wonder how Barnabas and Saul knew where to go: they were led by the Spirit (Glatians 5:18). So here they continue to the next stop.

Right out of the gate, John (Mark) left them. Though it doesn’t seem like a big deal, in reality, it really troubled Paul. “As will be clear from Acts 15:36-41, Paul didn’t appreciate the departure of John Mark here, and to some degree he seems to have lost confidence in him as a missionary companion.” (enduringword.com) Thankfully, they reconciled and Paul later regarded Mark as “very useful to me for ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:11).

Paul’s history lesson

At the end of the scripture reading, per synagogue tradition, they asked an educated person to share. Paul fit this bill and was new so they asked him. Wouldn’t you have wanted to be there for this? “Although this is a common event in Paul’s ministry, this is the only time Luke records what Paul would say on these occasions. Thus, this may be taken as a kind of ‘sample’ synagogue sermon of Paul’s as he proclaims Christ.” (TGC.com)

He teaches from the calling of Abraham through King David, the “man after God’s own heart” to the coming of Christ, the promised One. In the next passage Paul switches to preaching – covering His crucifixion and resurrection – and the good news it means for those who believe.


  • Let’s not too quickly skip over the history here. We highlighted that David was “a man after God’s own heart”. Did that catch your attention? Are we men (and women) after God’s own heart? Do we seek to please Him in every way (Colossians 1:10)? Is He our delight (Psalm 37:4)? Do we long for Him as a deer pants for water (Psalm 42:1)?
  • Is our knowledge of scripture and relationship with the Lord such that if we were in that setting, they would ask us to share? “I don’t know the Bible well enough”, you might reply. Well, fix that!
History lesson elementary students. Image from teachingpersonnel.com *

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