Acts 13:14-52 – Paul Preaches at the Synagogue in Pisidian Antioch


Acts 13:14-52


Paul is invited to speak when he and his companions attend a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. His speech, which cites Scripture to support the conviction that Jesus is God’s Messiah, creates much excitement and interest but also division in the Jewish community.


In Acts 13:9 Saul becomes known as Paul and assumes his role as a leader and missionary for Jesus Christ. In Antioch of Pisidia he and his companions go to the local synagogue and are invited to speak. Paul provides  an overview of God’s historical dealings with God’s people. Paul associates his present synagogue audience with the ancient Israelite people of God designated to receive God’s promises. He identifies Jesus as the descendent of David who would receive “the holy promises made to David” (v. 34).

Paul’s speech is a great success, emphasizing the continuity of God’s promises and the reliability of Scripture. But this success has a downside.  So many people respond favorably, both Jews and God-fearing Gentiles, that some other Jews become jealous and collude with local leaders to drive Paul and Barnabas away. In v. 47, Paul and Barnabas quote from Isaiah 49:6 (words also said by Simeon in Luke 2:32), which calls Israel to be a “light for the Gentiles.” Accepting this Isaianic vocation, Paul and Barnabas announce that they will now turn to the Gentiles. Although they continue to preach the gospel to fellow Jews, this incident in Pisidian Antioch dramatically accelerates the mission to Gentiles.