Monday: Pisidian Antioch – Part 1

From Cyprus, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga, in Pamphylia, on the southern coast of modern Turkey. Before they moved on to Pisidian Antioch, Luke reports two significant incidental changes:

Paul Preaching

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Paul becomes the leading figure (up until here, Barnabas is always mentioned first) and Luke stops using Paul’s Jewish name (“Saul”) and starts referring to him only as “Paul” (Acts 13:9). This is probably because from now on Paul finds himself mostly in a Greco-Roman environment.

Acts 13:13 records John Mark’s going back to Jerusalem. We are not informed in the texts themselves of the reason for John Mark’s desertion. Ellen G. White wrote that, faced with fear and discouraged because of the hardship ahead of them, “Mark was intimidated and, losing all courage, refused to go farther and returned to Jerusalem.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 170. God never promised it would be easy. On the contrary, Paul knew from the very beginning that his service for Jesus would involve much suffering (Acts 9:16), but he learned to rely entirely on God’s power, and in that lay the secret of his strength (2 Cor. 4:7-10).

Read Acts 13:38. What was the essence of Paul’s message in the Antioch synagogue?


Acts 13:16-41 contains the first of Paul’s sermons recorded in the New Testament. It was not, of course, the first sermon Paul gave, and there is no question that it represents only a brief summary of what he said.

The sermon is divided into three main parts. It begins with shared beliefs about God’s election of Israel and the kingship of David (Acts 13:17-23); this part is intended to establish a point of contact with his Jewish audience. Next, it presents Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises of a descendant of David who could bring salvation to Israel (Acts 13:24-37). The concluding part is a warning against rejecting the salvation that is offered through Jesus (Acts 13:38-41).

The climax of the sermon is verses 38, 39, which enclose the core of Paul’s message on justification. Forgiveness and justification are available only through Jesus, not through Moses’ law. This passage does not say that the law has been abrogated. It only highlights its inability to perform what the Jews expected it to do, namely, justification (Rom. 10:1-4). Such prerogative rests solely with Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:16).

What does it mean that salvation is only through Jesus? How do you reconcile the necessity to keep God’s moral law with the fact that the law is unable to justify?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons