The Meaning of Acts 15:14 Explained

Acts 15:14

KJV: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

YLT: Simeon did declare how at first God did look after to take out of the nations a people for His name,

Darby: Simon has related how God first visited to take out of the nations a people for his name.

ASV: Symeon hath rehearsed how first God visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

What does Acts 15:14 Mean?

Study Notes

at the first
Lit. for the first time, i.e. in the house of Cornelius. Acts 15:8-11 ; Acts 10:34-48 ; Acts 11:12-18 .

Context Summary

Acts 15:12-21 - A Generous Conclusion
When their turn came to speak, Paul and Barnabas contented themselves with emphasizing the signs and wonders by which God had set His seal on their words and methods. Would He have done so if they had followed a wrong course? Notice the two prepositions that they used in describing their work. They first told of what God had done in co-operation with them and then of what He had done through or by them, Acts 14:27; Acts 15:4; Acts 15:12. Consider also that remarkable phrase about God bearing witness, Acts 15:8. See also Acts 14:3 and Hebrews 2:1-4.
James had a prominent position in the Jerusalem church, because he was the Lord's brother and a man of remarkable holiness and prayerfulness. He laid emphasis on the divine program, which moved forward from Jew to Gentile, from the rebuilding of the ruined Tabernacle of David to the seeking of the Lord by the residue of men. The implication was that though Jehovah dwelt in a special manner with His Chosen People, yet the Gentiles would come seeking Him directly and without becoming incorporated with the Jews. [source]

Chapter Summary: Acts 15

1  Great dissensions arise regarding circumcision
5  The apostles consult about it,
22  and send their determination by letters to the churches
36  Paul and Barnabas, thinking to visit the brothers together,
39  disagree, and travel different ways

Greek Commentary for Acts 15:14

Hearken unto me [ακουσατε μου]
Usual appeal for attention. James was termed James the Just and was considered a representative of the Hebraic as opposed to the Hellenistic wing of the Jewish Christians (Acts 6:1). The Judaizers had doubtless counted on him as a champion of their view and did later wrongfully make use of his name against Peter at Antioch (Galatians 2:12). There was instant attention when James began to speak. [source]
Symeon [Συμεων]
The Aramaic form of Simon as in 2 Peter 2:1. This little touch would show his affinities with the Jewish Christians (not the Judaizers). This Aramaic form is used also in Luke 2:25, Luke 2:34 of the old prophet in the temple. Possibly both forms (Symeon, Aramaic, and Simon, Greek) were current in Jerusalem. How (κατως — kathōs). Strictly, “according as,” here like ος — hos in indirect discourse somewhat like the epexegetic or explanatory use in 3 Jo Luke 1:3. First Told by Peter in Acts 15:7. James notes, as Peter did, that this experience of Barnabas and Paul is not the beginning of work among the Gentiles. Did visit (επεσκεπσατο — epeskepsato). First aorist middle indicative of επισκεπτομαι — episkeptomai old verb to look upon, to look after, provide for. This same verb occurs in James 1:27 and is one of various points of similarity between this speech of James in Acts and the Epistle of James as shown by Mayor in his Commentary on James. Somehow Luke may have obtained notes of these various addresses. To take from the Gentiles a people for his name Bengel calls this egregium paradoxon, a chosen people This is what is really involved in what took place at Caesarea at the hands of Peter and the campaign of Barnabas and Paul from Antioch. But such a claim of God‘s purpose called for proof from Scripture to convince Jews and this is precisely what James undertakes to give. This new Israel from among the Gentiles is one of Paul‘s great doctrines as set forth in Galatians 3; Romans 9-11. Note the use of God‘s “name” here for “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). [source]
How [κατως]
Strictly, “according as,” here like ος — hos in indirect discourse somewhat like the epexegetic or explanatory use in 3 Jo Luke 1:3. [source]
First [πρωτον]
Told by Peter in Acts 15:7. James notes, as Peter did, that this experience of Barnabas and Paul is not the beginning of work among the Gentiles. Did visit (επεσκεπσατο — epeskepsato). First aorist middle indicative of επισκεπτομαι — episkeptomai old verb to look upon, to look after, provide for. This same verb occurs in James 1:27 and is one of various points of similarity between this speech of James in Acts and the Epistle of James as shown by Mayor in his Commentary on James. Somehow Luke may have obtained notes of these various addresses. To take from the Gentiles a people for his name Bengel calls this egregium paradoxon, a chosen people This is what is really involved in what took place at Caesarea at the hands of Peter and the campaign of Barnabas and Paul from Antioch. But such a claim of God‘s purpose called for proof from Scripture to convince Jews and this is precisely what James undertakes to give. This new Israel from among the Gentiles is one of Paul‘s great doctrines as set forth in Galatians 3; Romans 9-11. Note the use of God‘s “name” here for “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). [source]
Did visit [επεσκεπσατο]
First aorist middle indicative of επισκεπτομαι — episkeptomai old verb to look upon, to look after, provide for. This same verb occurs in James 1:27 and is one of various points of similarity between this speech of James in Acts and the Epistle of James as shown by Mayor in his Commentary on James. Somehow Luke may have obtained notes of these various addresses. [source]
To take from the Gentiles a people for his name [λαβειν εχ ετνων λαον τωι ονοματι αυτου]
Bengel calls this egregium paradoxon, a chosen people This is what is really involved in what took place at Caesarea at the hands of Peter and the campaign of Barnabas and Paul from Antioch. But such a claim of God‘s purpose called for proof from Scripture to convince Jews and this is precisely what James undertakes to give. This new Israel from among the Gentiles is one of Paul‘s great doctrines as set forth in Galatians 3; Romans 9-11. Note the use of God‘s “name” here for “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Acts 15:14

John 1:18 Hath declared [ἐξηγήσατο]
Or, rendering the aorist strictly, He declared. From ἐκ , forth, and ἡγέομαι , to lead the way. Originally, to lead or govern. Hence, like the Latin praeire verbis, to go before with words, to prescribe or dictate a form of words. To draw out in narrative, to recount or rehearse (see Acts 15:14, and on Luke 24:35). To relate in full; to interpret, or translate. Therefore ἐξήγησις , exegesis, is interpretation or explanation. The word ἐξηγητής was used by the Greeks of an expounder of oracles, dreams, omens, or sacred rites. Thus Croesus, finding the suburbs of Sardis alive with serpents, sent to the soothsayers ( ἐξηγητὰς ) of Telmessus (Herodotus, i. 78). The word thus comes to mean a spiritual director. Plato calls Apollo the tutelary director ( πατρῷος ἐξηγητής ) of religion (“Republic,” 427), and says, “Let the priests be interpreters for life” (“Laws,” 759). In the Septuagint the word is used of the magicians of Pharaoh's court (Genesis 41:8, Genesis 41:24), and the kindred verb of teaching or interpreting concerning leprosy (Leviticus 14:57). John's meaning is that the Word revealed or manifested and interpreted the Father to men. The word occurs only here in John's writings. Wyc. renders, He hath told out. These words conclude the Prologue. The Historical Narrative now begins, and falls into two general divisions:-DIVIDER-
I. The Self-Revelation of Christ to the World (1:19-12:50)-DIVIDER-
II. The Self-Revelation of Christ to the Disciples (13:1-21:23)sa120 [source]

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time [τεον ουδεις εωρακεν πωποτε]
“God no one has ever seen.” Perfect active indicative of οραω — horaō Seen with the human physical eye, John means. God is invisible (Exodus 33:20; Deuteronomy 4:12). Paul calls God αορατος — aoratos (Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17). John repeats the idea in John 5:37; John 6:46. And yet in John 14:7 Jesus claims that the one who sees him has seen the Father as here. The only begotten Son This is the reading of the Textus Receptus and is intelligible after ως μονογενους παρα πατρος — hōs monogenous para patros in John 1:14. But the best old Greek manuscripts (Aleph B C L) read μονογενης τεος — monogenēs theos (God only begotten) which is undoubtedly the true text. Probably some scribe changed it to ο μονογενης υιος — ho monogenēs huios to obviate the blunt statement of the deity of Christ and to make it like John 3:16. But there is an inner harmony in the reading of the old uncials. The Logos is plainly called τεος — theos in John 1:1. The Incarnation is stated in John 1:14, where he is also termed μονογενης — monogenēs He was that before the Incarnation. So he is “God only begotten,” “the Eternal Generation of the Son” of Origen‘s phrase. Which is in the bosom of the Father The eternal relation of the Son with the Father like προς τον τεον — pros ton theon in John 1:1. In John 3:13 there is some evidence for ο ων εν τωι ουρανωι — ho ōn en tōi ouranōi used by Christ of himself while still on earth. The mystic sense here is that the Son is qualified to reveal the Father as Logos (both the Father in Idea and Expression) by reason of the continual fellowship with the Father. He Emphatic pronoun referring to the Son. Hath declared him First aorist (effective) middle indicative of εχηγεομαι — exēgeomai old verb to lead out, to draw out in narrative, to recount. Here only in John, though once in Luke‘s Gospel (Luke 24:35) and four times in Acts (Acts 10:8; Acts 15:12, Acts 15:14; Acts 21:19). This word fitly closes the Prologue in which the Logos is pictured in marvellous fashion as the Word of God in human flesh, the Son of God with the Glory of God in him, showing men who God is and what he is. [source]
Acts 15:12 Hearkened [ηκουον]
Imperfect active of ακουω — akouō descriptive of the rapt attention, were listening. Unto Barnabas and Paul (αρναβα και Παυλου — Barnaba kai Paulou). Note placing Barnabas before Paul as in Acts 15:25, possibly because in Jerusalem Barnabas was still better known than Paul. Rehearsing Present middle participle of εχηγεομαι — exēgeomai old verb, to go through or lead out a narrative of events as in Luke 24:35; Acts 10:8 which see. Three times (Acts 14:27; Acts 15:4, Acts 15:12) Paul is described as telling the facts about their mission work, facts more eloquent than argument (Page). One of the crying needs in the churches is fuller knowledge of the facts of mission work and progress with enough detail to give life and interest. The signs and wonders which God had wrought among the Gentiles set the seal of approval on the work done through This same verb (εχηγησατο — exēgēsato) is used by James in Acts 15:14 referring to Peter‘s speech. [source]
Acts 15:12 Rehearsing [εχηγουμενων]
Present middle participle of εχηγεομαι — exēgeomai old verb, to go through or lead out a narrative of events as in Luke 24:35; Acts 10:8 which see. Three times (Acts 14:27; Acts 15:4, Acts 15:12) Paul is described as telling the facts about their mission work, facts more eloquent than argument (Page). One of the crying needs in the churches is fuller knowledge of the facts of mission work and progress with enough detail to give life and interest. The signs and wonders which God had wrought among the Gentiles set the seal of approval on the work done through This same verb (εχηγησατο — exēgēsato) is used by James in Acts 15:14 referring to Peter‘s speech. [source]
James 1:1 Jesus Christ []
Only here and in James 2:1; nowhere in the speeches of James (Acts 15:14, Acts 15:15; Acts 21:20sq.). Had he used Jesus' name it might have been supposed to arise from vanity, because he was the Lord's brother. In all the addresses of epistles the full name, Jesus Christ, is given. [source]
2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter []
Note the addition of Simon, and see on 1 Peter 1:1. The best-attested orthography is Symeon, which is the form of his name in Acts 15:14, where the account probably came from him. This also is the Hebraic form of the name found in the Septuagint, Revelation href="/desk/?q=re+7:7&sr=1">Revelation 7:7; Luke 2:25, Luke 2:34; Luke 3:30; Acts 13:1. The combined name, Simon Peter, is found Luke 5:8; John 13:6; John 20:2; John 21:15, and elsewhere, though in these instances it is given as Simon; Symeon occurring only in Acts 15:14. While his name is given with greater familiarity than in the first epistle, his official title, servant and apostle, is fuller. This combination, servant and apostle, occurs in no other apostolic salutation. The nearest approach to it is Titus 1:1. [source]
2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter [Σιμων Πετρος]
Aleph A K L P have Σψμεων — Symeōn as in Acts 15:14, while B has Σιμων — Simōn The two forms occur indifferently in 1 Macc. 2:3, 65 for the same man. [source]

What do the individual words in Acts 15:14 mean?

Simeon has related how first - God visited to take out of [the] Gentiles a people for the name of Him
Συμεὼν ἐξηγήσατο καθὼς πρῶτον Θεὸς ἐπεσκέψατο λαβεῖν ἐξ ἐθνῶν λαὸν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ

Συμεὼν  Simeon 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Συμεών  
Sense: the second son of Jacob by Leah.
ἐξηγήσατο  has  related 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐξηγέομαι  
Sense: to lead out, be leader, go before.
καθὼς  how 
Parse: Adverb
Root: καθώς  
Sense: according as.
πρῶτον  first 
Parse: Adverb, Superlative
Root: πρῶτον 
Sense: first in time or place.
  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεὸς  God 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
ἐπεσκέψατο  visited 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐπισκέπτομαι  
Sense: to look upon or after, to inspect, examine with the eyes.
λαβεῖν  to  take 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: λαμβάνω  
Sense: to take.
ἐξ  out  of 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐκ 
Sense: out of, from, by, away from.
ἐθνῶν  [the]  Gentiles 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: ἔθνος  
Sense: a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together.
λαὸν  a  people 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: λαός  
Sense: a people, people group, tribe, nation, all those who are of the same stock and language.
τῷ  for  the 
Parse: Article, Dative Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ὀνόματι  name 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: ὄνομα  
Sense: name: univ.
αὐτοῦ  of  Him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.