1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
The Holy Spirit commissioned Barnabas and Paul for mission to Gentile areas in Acts 13:1-12. They were to begin in the synagogues of the Jews. The Antioch church became the first congregation to reach Gentiles in its own city (Acts 11:19f). By this point, that same church had become the center for reaching Gentiles in the Roman Empire. The third missionary journey began the third phase of the Great Commission—go into all the world, to the remotest place on earth.
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers:
“Prophets” were those to whom God revealed His will. They were primarily proclaimers rather than foretellers. The Greek word “prophet” means to speak before, or speak forth. The gift of prophecy was essential before the close of the canon or the completion of the writing of Scripture.
The primary usage for a prophet is as a proclaimer, and the second is as a foreteller. Most often, the New Testament depicts the “prophet” as a preacher of the Word for the purpose of edification of the church. The prophet as a foreteller was rendered inoperative with the closing of the canon of Scripture (1 Co 13:8). Only the proclaimer role continued beyond the writing of the Word of God.
“Teachers” were those who expounded God’s revelation as revealed in Scripture, emphasizing doctrine and application of truth to experience (Ro 12:6; 1 Co 12:10, 28; Eph 4:11). The pastor’s primary role is as a pastor-teacher.
Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
This verse lists Barnabas and “Saul” or Paul as prophets and teachers. It also records three others from the Antioch church. Manaen had a political background in the court of Herod the tetrarch. “Niger” means black. Simeon, called Niger, was probably from Africa. Manaen was a convert from the court of Herod the tetrarch. The Antioch of Syria church was an integrated church. It was a cosmopolitan assembly of Jew, Greek, Roman, and Syrian.
Effective leaders are at the foundation of flourishing churches.
The Antioch church had the vision to reach the Roman world. Luke referred to Antioch 14 times in the book of Acts. That assembly became the world center for evangelism and the base for Christian leadership. By AD 400, 100,000 Christians lived in Antioch of Syria.
Strong churches always have influential leaders: The more effective leaders a church possesses, the greater the dynamic of the church. God expects the local church to select its leaders carefully (Acts 6:3).
The primary role of the pastor is to “teach” God’s Word to his congregation (Eph 4:11). God emphasizes the teaching role throughout the pastoral books of the Bible (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus).