Sunday Apr 02, 2023


Sunday, 2 April 2023


Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. Acts 15:32


The letter from the council has been read to the congregation at Antioch. Having heard it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. With that, it next says, “Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also.”


These are the two men who had been sent from the council to confirm the words of the letter, having accompanied Barnabas and Paul to Antioch. The term “prophets” in this verse is obviously not given in the sense of the Old Testament prophets that foretold the future or spoke forth a new word of the Lord. That may or may not be something they did at other times, but in this context, calling them prophets is tied to what is stated in the next words. It says they “exhorted and strengthened the brethren.”

The verb form of the word used in the previous verse, paraklésis, which was translated as “encouragement,” is used here, parakaleó. Thus, it is more appropriately rendered “encouraged.” The other word, translated as “strengthened,” was introduced in Acts 14:22. It signifies to support, confirm, make stronger, etc.


In other words, there had been confusion thrown into the congregation by the events that took place. Trust in the words of Barnabas and Paul may have been diminished because of the Judaizers, something that definitely happened to the church in Galatia as Paul records in his epistle to them. These two prophets, rather than foretelling the word of the Lord, forth-told it.


They gave them encouragement that the message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, apart from any works of the law, was correct. They encouraged the church to stand fast in their faith and even built them up with additional words, strengthening them, as it next says, “with many words.”


Rather, the words in the Greek are singular and should read “with much discourse.” They added either instructional lessons as may be seen today in a Bible study, or they may have spoken forth in the form of a sermon or homily, building the believers up in the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.


Life application: Because the council has wisely sent along Judas and Silas, the decision rendered by it would certainly have gone unchallenged by any Judaizer still lurking around the believers in Antioch. Today, we do not have the apostles around any longer to render such a letter and then send along people to confirm what was said.

However, we do have the full, final, and sure word of the apostles and other men who wrote out the word of God for our instruction. There is no need to have Judaizers throw a congregation into upheaval if the congregants are properly instructed in the word of God. Thus, it is imperative to not just give life application sermons and Bible studies that are not based on the Bible.

Rather, the word of God is to be opened, analyzed, and explained in detail. If this is not done, the same confusion in the congregation that arose in Antioch, Galatia, and elsewhere is sure to arise in whatever congregation these false teachers come to. Be firm on what the gospel says. Do not give an inch to such cretinous fellows. Instead, proclaim the freedom and liberty that is found in Jesus Christ, not works of law or man that can never profit. Yes, hold fast to the true and only gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord.


Glorious God Almighty, how thankful we are for the surety of the word. If we simply read it and properly apply it to our lives, we will not be misdirected by false teachers. You have breathed it out to us, and You want it to be known by us. So, Lord, help us as we open it and study it all our days. Thank You for the surety of the word that You have given to us. Amen.


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