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The Church at Antioch Commissions Barnabas and Saul

13 Now there were these prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch:[a] Barnabas, Simeon called Niger,[b] Lucius the Cyrenian,[c] Manaen (a close friend of Herod[d] the tetrarch[e] from childhood[f]) and Saul. While they were serving[g] the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart[h] for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

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  1. Acts 13:1 sn Antioch was a city in Syria (not Antioch in Pisidia).
  2. Acts 13:1 sn Simeon may well have been from North Africa, since the Latin loanword Niger refers to someone as “dark-complexioned.”
  3. Acts 13:1 sn The Cyrenian refers to a native of the city of Cyrene, on the coast of northern Africa west of Egypt.
  4. Acts 13:1 sn Herod is generally taken as a reference to Herod Antipas, who governed Galilee from 4 b.c. to a.d. 39, who had John the Baptist beheaded, and who is mentioned a number of times in the gospels.
  5. Acts 13:1 tn Or “the governor.”sn A tetrarch was a ruler with rank and authority lower than a king, who ruled only with the approval of the Roman authorities. This was roughly equivalent to being governor of a region. Several times in the NT, Herod tetrarch of Galilee is called a king (Matt 14:9, Mark 6:14-29), reflecting popular usage.
  6. Acts 13:1 tn Or “(a foster brother of Herod the tetrarch).” The meaning “close friend from childhood” is given by L&N 34.15, but the word can also mean “foster brother” (L&N 10.51). BDAG 976 s.v. σύντροφας states, “pert. to being brought up with someone, either as a foster-brother or as a companion/friend,” which covers both alternatives. Context does not given enough information to be certain which is the case here, although many modern translations prefer the meaning “close friend from childhood.”
  7. Acts 13:2 tn This term is frequently used in the LXX of the service performed by priests and Levites in the tabernacle (Exod 28:35, 43; 29:30; 30:20; 35:19; 39:26; Num 1:50; 3:6, 31) and the temple (2 Chr 31:2; 35:3; Joel 1:9, 13; 2:17, and many more examples). According to BDAG 591 s.v. λειτουργέω 1.b it is used “of other expression of religious devotion.” Since the previous verse described the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch, it is probable that the term here describes two of them (Barnabas and Saul) as they were serving in that capacity. Since they were not in Jerusalem where the temple was located, general religious service is referred to here.
  8. Acts 13:2 tn Or “Appoint.”

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