Bruce, F.F. The Book of Acts Revised. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988. Kindle Electronic Edition. “IV. Church Extension from Antioch and Apostolic Decree at Jerusalem (12:25-15:35)” “D. Iconium, Lystra, Derbe (14:1-28)” pp. 269-281.
Acts 14 opens with Paul and his companions in Iconium. They initially visited the synagogue and, as usual, many believed. However, the Jewish leaders were not receptive. They worked to turn popular opinion against the Christians (Bruce 1988, 270). For a time, the opposition was ineffective. Eventually, as described in verses 4-5, a plot to stone the apostles was developed (Bruce 1988, 271). The apostles left but there was a Christian community now in Iconium.
Paul and Barnabas went on to Lystar and Derbe. Bruce provides some historical and geographical notes indicating that Iconium was not considered part of Lycaonia at this time, though it was in an earlier time period (Bruce 1988, 272).
In Lystra, after healing a lame man, Paul and Barnabas wished to give glory to God. However, the local people, who probably spoke an unfamiliar dialect, took Paul and Barnabas by surprise, recognizing them as divine (Bruce 1988, 274). Bruce notes several mythic accounts which would lead people to recognize Zeus and Hermes (Bruce 1988, 275). Paul and Barnabas identified the worship and protested, declaring that there was only one God. Bruce notes that declarations such as these wee typically made to turn people from idolatry to God (Bruce 1988, 277).
Verses 19 and following bring a new challenge to Paul and Barnabas. Jews from Antioch and Iconium came to stir up opposition to Paul and Barnabas. The people of Lystra were moved to stone Paul (Bruce 1988, 279). After what appears to be a niraculous recovery, Paul and Baranabas returned to some of the places they had been before, encouraging the Christians. Bruce emphasizes that the Christians, having seen the persecution of Paul, were probably reassured by his presence (Bruce 1988, 280). Part of the encouragement was the appointment of elders. Bruce notes there is some scholarly dissent about the practice at this time, but that it is clear that even early Christianity did appoint elders (Bruce 1988, 280). The journey is described in some detail. Here Bruce considers we see the end of a missionary journey (Bruce 1988, 281).