Acts 15,29 Charles Ellicot’s comment about the phrase "Fare ye well"

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  • TheWonderofYou

    This commentary might be helpful as reference although it is very old. It is part of the biblehub comments about Acts 15,29 as well.

    Charles John Ellicott, compiler of and contributor to this renowned Bible Commentary, was one of the most outstanding conservative scholars of the 18th century. He was born at Whitwell near Stamford, England, on April 25, 1819.

    „… not even the most devout believer in the inspiration of the Apostles, or in the authority of primitive antiquity would venture to urge that the two last precepts of the four here enjoined were in any degree binding“, Charles John Ellicott

    Commentary to Acts 15 (29)

    From meats offered to idols.—The specific term takes the place of the more general word which St. James had used. The change, if the two words were not used, as is possible, as altogether equivalent, may be thought of as favouring the Gentiles by narrowing the prohibition to a single point.

    Fare ye well.—The closing salutation was, like the opening, a Greek and not a Hebrew one. It meets us again in Acts 23:30. Both were naturally used in a letter addressed to Greeks, and intended to be read by them and by Hellenistic Jews. It does not occur, however, in any of the Epistles of the New Testament.

    It is natural to ask, at the close of the great encyclical letter, in what relation it really stood to the life of the Apostolic Church. As a concordat between the contending parties it was framed, as has been said, with a sagacity that may well be looked on as inspired. But obviously it was not, and from the nature of the case could not be, more than that. The time had not come for proclaiming to the Church of Jerusalem the full width of St. Paul’s teaching (Galatians 2:2), and accordingly, though something may be read between the lines, the decree seems to treat the precepts of Noah as perpetually binding, places moral and positive obligations on the same footing, and leaves the ground on which they are “necessary” an open question.

    St. Paul, who had accepted it as a satisfactory settlement of the matter in debate, never refers to it, even when he is discussing the chief point with which the decree dealt (1 Corinthians 8-10). In his narrative of what passed on this occasion (Galatians 2:1-10) there is no mention of it.

    The private conference with the three great “pillars” of the Church was for him more than the decree of the synod, and he felt himself able to discuss the whole question again on different grounds, and with a more distinct reference to spiritual and ethical principles.

    It was wrong to eat things sacrificed to idols, not because the act of so eating in itself brought defilement, but because it might involve a participation in the sin of idolatry in the consciousness of the eater, or wound the conscience of the weaker brother who saw him eat.

    It was natural that those who lacked his largeness of view should become slaves to the letter of the rules long after the grounds on which they rested had ceased to exist, and so we find that the prohibition of blood was re-enforced in the so-called Apostolic Canons (c. 62), and in the fourth century by the Council of Gangra (c. 2), and in the seventh by that at Constantinople, known as in Trullo (c. 67), and continues to be the binding rule of the Greek Church still.

    In Africa and in Europe, however, truer views prevailed (August, cont. Faust. xxxii. 13), and not even the most devout believer in the inspiration of the Apostles, or in the authority of primitive antiquity would venture to urge that the two last precepts of the four here enjoined were in any degree binding.

    Hooker (Eccl. Pol. iv., xi., § 5) rightly refers to this decree as a crucial instance proving that commands might be divine and yet given only for a season, binding as long as the conditions to which they applied continued, but no longer.

    It would almost seem, indeed, as if St. Paul felt that the terms of the decree had the effect of placing the sin of impurity on the same level with that of eating things sacrificed to idols, and things strangled, and blood, and so tended to keep men from seeing it in its true hatefulness. Those who claimed a right, which in the abstract St. Paul could not deny, to eat of things strangled or offered to idols, thought themselves free to fall back into the old license of the heathen world, and he needed far stronger motives than the canons of the council to restrain them (1 Corinthians 5:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, and found those motives in the truths that they had been bought with a price, that the will of God was their sanctification, and that their bodies were His temple.

    Look at Page 100 of the original extensive bible commentary Volume VII (Acts to Galatians) to read the original text

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