Acts 14:23


King James Version (KJV)

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

American King James Version (AKJV)

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

American Standard Version (ASV)

And when they had appointed for them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

And when they had made selection of some to be rulers in every church, and had given themselves to prayer and kept themselves from food, they put them into the care of the Lord in whom they had faith.

Webster's Revision

And when they had ordained for them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

World English Bible

When they had appointed elders for them in every assembly, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed.

English Revised Version (ERV)

And when they had appointed for them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed.

Definitions for Acts 14:23

Church - Assembly of "called out" ones.

Clarke's Acts 14:23 Bible Commentary

When they had ordained them elders - Elder seems to be here the name of an office. These were all young or new converts, and yet among them the apostles constitute elders. They appointed persons the most experienced, and the most advanced in the Divine life, to watch over and instruct the rest. But what is the meaning of the word χειροτονησαντες, which we translate ordained? The word ordain we use in an ecclesiastical sense, and signify by it the appointment of a person to an office in the Church, by the imposition of the hands of those who are rulers in that Church. But χειροτονια a signifies the holding up or stretching out the hand, as approving of the choice of any person to a particular work: whereas χειροθεσια signifies the imposition of hands. "Zonaras gives he proper meaning of the word in the text, in his Scholia upon the first canon of the apostles, Νυν μεν χειροτονια καλειται, κ. τ. λ. 'Nowadays, a course of prayers and invocation on the Holy Spirit, when one is initiated into the priesthood, and receives consecration, is called χειροτονια, cheirotonia, so termed because the bishop extends his hand over him whom he blesses, when he is chosen into holy orders. Anciently, the choice or suffrage was called cheirotonia; for, when it was lawful for the multitude in their cities to choose their priests or bishops, they met together, and some chose one man, some another; but, that it might appear whose suffrage won, they say the electors did use εκτεινειν τας χειρας, to stretch forth their hands, and by their hands so stretched forth, or up, they were numbered who chose the one, and who the other; and him who was elected by the most suffrages they placed in the high priesthood. And from hence was the name cheirotonia taken, which the fathers of the councils are found to have used, calling their suffrage cheirotonia.' St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 8:19, intimates that St. Luke was thus appointed to travel with him χειροτονηθεις ὑπο των εκκλησιων, who was chosen of the Churches. Ignatius, in his epistle to the Philadelphians, uses the same term, πρεπον εϚιν ὑμιν, ὡς εκκλησια Θεου, χειροτονησαι επισκοπον, ye ought, as a Church of God, to choose your bishop." Much more on this subject may be seen in Sir Norton Knatchbull, who contends that cheirotonia implies simply appointment or election, but not what he calls ordination by the imposition of hands. I believe the simple truth to be this, that in ancient times the people chose by the cheirotonia (lifting up of hands) their spiritual pastor; and the rulers of the Church, whether apostles or others, appointed that person to his office by the cheirothesia, or imposition of hands; and perhaps each of these was thought to be equally necessary: the Church agreeing in the election of the person; and the rulers of the Church appointing, by imposition of hands, the person thus elected. See the note on Acts 6:6.

And had prayed with fasting - This was to implore God's special assistance; as they well knew that, without his influence, even their appointment could avail nothing.

Commended them to the Lord - To his especial care and protection.

Barnes's Acts 14:23 Bible Commentary

And widen they had ordained - χειροτονήσαντες cheirotonēsantes. The word "ordain" we now use in an ecclesiastical sense, to denote "a setting apart to an office by the imposition of hands." But it is evident that the word here is not employed in that sense. That imposition of hands might have occurred in setting apart afterward to this office is certainly possible, but it is not implied in the word employed here, and did not take place in the transaction to which this word refers. The word occurs in only one other place in the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 8:19, where it is applied to Luke, and translated, "who was also chosen of the church (that is, appointed or elected by suffrage by the churches) to travel with us, etc." The verb properly denotes "to stretch out the hand"; and as it was customary to elect to office, or to vote, by stretching out or elevating the hand, so the word simply means "to elect, appoint, or designate to any office." The word here refers simply to an "election" or "appointment" of the elders. It is said, indeed, that Paul and Barnabas did this. But probably all that is meant by it is that they presided in the assembly when the choice was made. It does not mean that they appointed them without consulting the church; but it evidently means that they appointed them in the usual way of appointing officers, by the suffrages of the people. See Schleusner, and the notes of Doddridge and Calvin.

Ordained them - Appointed for the disciples, or for the church. It is not meant that the elders were ordained for the apostles.

Elders - Greek: presbyters. Literally, this word refers to the aged. See the notes on Acts 11:30. But it may also be a word relating to office, denoting those who were more experienced than others, and who were chosen to preside over and to instruct the rest. What was the nature of this office, and what was the design of the appointment, is not intimated in this word. All that seems to be implied is, that they were to take the charge of the churches during the absence of the apostles. The apostles were about to leave them. They were just organized into churches: they were inexperienced; they needed counsel and direction; they were exposed to dangers; and it was necessary, therefore, that persons should be designated to watch over the spiritual interests of the brethren. The probability is, that they performed all the functions that were required in the infant and feeble churches; in exhorting, instructing; governing, etc. The more experienced and able would be most likely to be active in exhorting and instructing the brethren; and all would be useful in counseling and guiding the flock. The same thing occurred in the church at Ephesus. See the notes on Acts 20:17-28. It is not improbable that the business of instructing, or teaching, would be gradually confined to the more talented and able of the elders, and that the others would be concerned mainly in governing and directing the general affairs of the church.

In every church - It is implied here that there were elders in each church; that is, that in each church there was more than one. See Acts 15:21, where a similar phraseology occurs, and where it is evident that there was more than one reader of the Law of Moses in each city. Compare Titus 1:5, "I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldst ...ordain elders in every city"; Acts 20:17, "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church." It could not mean, therefore, that they appointed a single minister or pastor to each church, but they committed the whole affairs of the church to a bench of elders.

And had prayed with fasting - With the church. They were about to leave them. They had entrusted the interests of the church to a body of men chosen for this purpose; and they now commended the church and its elders together to God. Probably they had no prospect of seeing them again, and they parted as ministers and people should part, and as Christian friends should part, with humble prayer, commending themselves to the protecting care of God.

They commended them ... - They committed the infant church to the guardianship of the Lord. They were feeble, inexperienced, and exposed to dangers; but in his hands they were safe.

To the Lord ... - The Lord Jesus. The connection shows that he is particularly referred to. In his hands the redeemed are secure. When we part with Christian friends, we may, with confidence, leave them in his holy care and keeping.

Wesley's Acts 14:23 Bible Commentary

14:23 When they had ordained them presbyters in every Church - Out of those who were themselves but newly converted. So soon can God enable even a babe in Christ to build up others in the common faith: they commended them to the Lord - An expression implying faith in Christ, as well as love to the brethren.

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