Wesley's Notes on the Bible
And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
11:4 Peter laid all things before them - So he did not take it ill to be questioned, nor desire to be treated as infallible. And he answers the more mildly because it related to a point which he had not readily believed himself.
I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
11:5 Being in a trance - Which suspends the use of the outward senses.
Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.
And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.
And the spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:
And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
11:14 Saved - With the full Christian salvation, in this world and the world to come.
And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
11:17 To us, when we believed - The sense is, because we believed, not because we were circumcised, was the Holy Ghost given to us. What was I - A mere instrument in God's hand. They had inquired only concerning his eating with the Gentiles. He satisfies them likewise concerning his baptizing them, and shows that he had done right in going to Cornelius, not only by the command of God, but also by the event, the descent of the Holy Ghost. And who are we that we should withstand God? Particularly by laying down rules of Christian communion which exclude any whom he has admitted into the Church of the first born, from worshipping God together. O that all Church governors would consider how bold an usurpation this is on the authority of the supreme Lord of the Church! O that the sin of thus withstanding God may not be laid to the charge of those, who perhaps with a good intention, but in an over fondness for their own forms, have done it, and are continually doing it.
When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
11:18 They glorified God - Being thoroughly satisfied. Repentance unto life - True repentance is a change from spiritual death to spiritual life, and leads to life everlasting.
Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
11:19 They who had been dispersed - St. Luke here resumes the thread of his narration, in the very words wherewith he broke it off, Acts 8:6. As far as Phenicia to the north, Cyprus to the west, and Antioch to the east.
And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
11:20 Some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene - Who were more accustomed to converse with the Gentiles. Who coming into Antioch - Then the capital of Syria, and, next to Rome and Alexandria, the most considerable city of the empire. Spake to the Greeks - As the Greeks were the most celebrated of the Gentile nations near Judea, the Jews called all the Gentiles by that name. Here we have the first account of the preaching the Gospel to the idolatrous Gentiles. All those to whom it had been preached before, did at least worship one God, the God of Israel.
And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
11:21 And the hand of the Lord - That is, the power of his Spirit.
Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
11:26 And the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch - Here it was that they first received this standing appellation. They were before termed Nazarenes and Galileans.
And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
11:28 Agabus rising up - In the congregation. All the world - The word frequently signifies all the Roman empire. And so it is doubtless to be taken here.
Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
11:29 Then - Understanding the distress they would otherwise be in on that account, the disciples determined to send relief to the brethren in Judea - Who herein received a manifest proof of the reality of their conversion.
Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
11:30 Sending it to the elders - Who gave it to the deacons, to be distributed by them, as every one had need.