Coachlight Bible Study - Acts Chapter 11


I. Peter’s vindication (v. 1-18).


The preaching of the gospel to Cornelius was a world changing event - Now not only the Jews who were dispersed into the Gentile countries, and the Gentiles who were proselyted to the Jewish religion, but that the Gentiles also themselves, with whom it had before been thought unlawful to hold common conversation, were taken into the church. This event is a great surprise to the believing as well as the unbelieving Jews.

In this chapter the Word of the Lord is sent to Antioch where many are added to the church and Paul and Barnabus set up ministry for a year. Showing the Lord sending apostles, teachers and prophets to his people and his people giving to the needy.


A. Word was brought to the church in Jerusalem that the Gentiles had received The Word of God. 

1. They received the gospel of Christ, which is not only a word of God, but The Word of God - logos - The center of all God's revelation.


3056 logov logos log’-os  from 3004; TDNT-4:69,505; n m

AV-word 218, saying 50, account 8, speech 8, Word (Christ) 7, thing 5, not tr 2, misc 32; 330

1) of speech

1a) a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

1b) what someone has said

1b1) a word

1b2) the sayings of God

1b3) decree, mandate or order

1b4) of the moral precepts given by God

1b5) Old Testament prophecy given by the prophets

1b6) what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim

1c) discourse

1c1) the act of speaking, speech

1c2) the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking

1c3) a kind or style of speaking

1c4) a continuous speaking discourse-instruction

1d) doctrine, teaching

1e) anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative

1f) matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law

1g) the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed

2) its use as respect to the MIND alone

2a) reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating

2b) account, i.e. regard, consideration

2c) account, i.e. reckoning, score

2d) account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment

2e) relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation

2e1) reason would

2f) reason, cause, ground

3) In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds. John 1:1-5, 14


2. They received Christ - His name is called The Word of God

Revelation 19:11-16

11  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

12  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.


B. The Apostle Paul tells us that the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, and the bringing of those who had been strangers and foreigners to be fellow-citizens with the saints, was such a mystery to the apostles themselves, and such a surprise:


Ephesians 3:1- 6

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

2  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

3  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

4  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

5  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

6  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel

C. Those Jewish converts that regarded circumcision, contended with Peter.

1. They charged him as with a crime that he ate with the uncircumcised - They did not think of Peter as the Pope

2.They were of the same mind as Jonah, who was angry when the Nenevites received the Word of God.

D. Peter gave such a full and fair account of the matter of fact as was sufficient, without any further argument or apology, both to justify himself, and to satisfy them (Vs. 4)

1.Peter knows that if they had rightly understood how the matter was they would not have contended with him - a good to keep in mind when we judge each other.

2. Peter does not insist on being the chief of the Apostles.

3. Here is something added in what the angel said to Cornelius; before it was, Send for Peter, and he shall speak to thee, he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do (ch. 10:6, 32); but here it is, "He shall tell thee words whereby thou and thy house shall be saved (v. 14).

4. They saw their pride and stopped contending - the prophecy fulfilled

Zephaniah 3:11

In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain.

5. Oikos Evangelism:

Luke 19:7-10


7  And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

8  And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

9  And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

10  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.


6. Other Examples of Oikos Evangelism

1. Luke 5:27-32

2. Luke 8:39

3. John 1:40-42

4. John 1:44-45

5. Acts 16:25-34

II. Planting and watering of a church at Antioch (v. 19-21)

A. Antioch, the chief city of Syria, reckoned afterwards the third most considerable city of the empire, only Rome and Alexandria being preferred before it, next to whose patriarch that of Antioch took place. It stood where Hamath or Riblah did, which we read of in the Old Testament.

B. It is thought that Luke, the author of Acts, as well as Theophilus, to whom he writes, was of Antioch, which may be the reason why he takes more notice of the the gospel at Antioch.

C. Paul began to be famous here - the story leads to Paul

D. The first preachers of the gospel in Antioch were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution, which arose five or six years ago (as some compute), at the time of Stephen’s death (v. 19):

E. They travelled as far as Phenice and other places preaching the word

1. Those that fled from persecution did not flee from their work.

2. When they had preached successfully in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, they got out of the borders of the land of Canaan, and traveled into Phoenicia, into the island of Cyprus, and into Syria and prospered.- many added to the faith

3. They did not realise that the Gentiles were to be fellow heirs- they  preached the word to none but to the Jews only.


III. The good work that was begun by the ministry of Barnabas first, and then of Paul with him, and the name of Christian first given to the disciples there (v. 22-26).

A. Barnabas was sent to Antioch to exort them


3870 parakalew parakaleo par-ak-al-eh’-o

from 3844 and 2564; TDNT-5:773,778; v

AV-beseech 43, comfort 23, exhort 21, desire 8, pray 6, intreat 3, misc 4, vr besought 1; 109


1) to call to one’s side, call for, summon

2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.

2a) to admonish, exhort

2b) to beg, entreat, beseech

2b1) to strive to appease by entreaty

2c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort

2c1) to receive consolation, be comforted

2d) to encourage, strengthen

2e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging

2f) to instruct, teach


 B. He exhorted them - parekaleo. It is the same word with that by which the name of Barnabas is interpreted  hyios parakleseos - a son of exhortation; Or, being a son of consolation (for so we render the word), he comforted or encouraged them with purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord.

C. Preaching is not only for the conviction and conversion of those that are lost, but for the instruction and edification of those that are within. The church must have teachers.


Acts 4:36

 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,


D. Barnabas went to get Saul - to join the work

1. The last we heard of him that his life was sought in Jerusalem

2. he was sent away to Tarsus, the city where he was born

3.  He would bring Saul to Antioch, who, being a chief speaker (Acts 14:12), and probably a more popular teacher, would probably show him up, by outshining him; but Barnabas is very willing to be eclipsed when it is for the work of the Lord. (Vs. 24)


E. Called Christians first at Antioch - The prophecy fulfilled

Isaiah 62:2

 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.


Isaiah 65:15

And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:


IV. Prophecy of a famine, and the contribution that was made among the Gentile converts for the relief of saints in Judea(v. 27-30).

A. Barnabas came to exhort them, and they now have prophets sent them to show them things to come, as Christ had promised, Jn. 16:13.

B. Prediction of a famine approaching, delivered by the prophet, Agabus - we read of him again prophesying Paul’s imprisonment, Acts 21:10-11.

C. They used their money to help those in need


Psalms 41:1

Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

Psalms 37:17-21

17  For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

18  The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

19  They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

20  But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

21 ¶ The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.