The circumcision party (verse 2) was a conservation group in the church at Jerusalem, who insisted on the necessity of circumcision for all. Cf. 15:1, 5.
Peter has to explain to them his action with Cornelius.
- What main point does Peter emphasize when he recounts his meeting with Cornelius? Notice what Peter says about prayer; the vision and action of God; the part played by the angel and the Holy Spirit. What was the result of God’s action on: (a) the Gentiles (verses 14, 17, 18), (b) the circumcision party (verses 18), and (c) Peter (verses 16, 17)?
- Compare 1:5 with 11:16, 17 and Eph. 3:6. Peter had to learn that there was more truth in God’s word than he realized at first, and that he must not keep up social, national and religious barriers when God has removed them. Do you retain any such barriers between yourself and someone else which ought to be removed?
The city of Antioch, capital of the Roman province of Syria, was one of the three largest cities of the Empire. It was famous for its commerce, are and literature, and infamous for its vice and frivolity. It was to become ‘the jumping off point’ for Paul’s missionary journeys
- What was the distinctive feature that from the beginning marked the preaching of the gospel at Antioch, and with what far-reaching results?
- What stages marked the establishment of the church there, and what part did Barnabas play? How can we teach and encourage young Christians?
- Verses 27-30. A young Gentile church helps the older church at Jerusalem. Note the signs of this church’s vitality, influence and Christian spirit. Cf. 2:44, 45; 4:34-37. Does your Christian faith find expression in practical giving like this?