Acts 14:21-25
Acts 14:21 (KJB)
And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
In Derbe they would have free course to preach the Gospel and especially without Jewish opposition because they had thought that they had finally killed Paul and so there would be no reason to continue to pursue them. Then after they made many converts and disciples in Derbe, they had returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, the three places where Paulís life was in grave danger.
Acts 14:22 (KJB)
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Confirming - Strengthen or further support
No doubt the word spread throughout the Christian community that Paul had been stoned to death by the Jews outside of Lystra. An event like that might cause the Christians to go into hiding and not witness or be in fear for their lives. The reason Paul had gone back to these cities was not for the purpose of evangelism or to challenge those who thought they killed him, but for the purpose of strengthening the disciples in their Christian walk. Once they saw Paul and realized he was alive, he could tell them how God raised him and gave him the strength of body to continue. This would have given great encouragement to the Christians in these cities that they were not forgotten and that God would take care of them. This is why Paul wanted to establish them in the faith and strengthen them further. He also told them that tribulation is not something strange to the Gospel and to those who bring the Gospel, but God will see them through. From the time that a person becomes saved, they will encounter much tribulation and opposition from the world until the day of their home going or if the Lord returns first. Peter had also understood this. (1 Pet 4:12 KJV) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
Acts 14:23 (KJB)
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.
Ordained - Having chosen
Commended - Committed
Since the body of Christ was beginning to grow rapidly in these cities, despite the opposition, it was time for them to start bringing some organization to each place. They had chosen them elders to oversee the churches, to carry out the work of evangelism, and to disciple those coming into the church. This way there would be organization to each church instead of just a group getting together. They would be able to appoint deacons, teachers, and whatever else might be needed to run the church orderly. Then as was Paulís normal routine, he would pray with the elders and commit them unto the Lord, on whom they believed. This last part of this verse is very important because how can one be an elder in a church if they are unsaved. An unsaved elder would be one who is a child of Satan trying to instruct a child of God. Unfortunately, this scenario is played out in many modern churches where an unsaved person is made an elder because they own a business or are rich. Neither has anything to do with the spiritual things.
Acts 14:24 (KJB)
And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
Paul and Barnabas then went south from Pisidia to the coastal region of Pamphylia. They probably preached and witnessed as they went along the winding road from Pisidia through to Pamphylia.
Acts 14:25 (KJB)
And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:
Once they arrived in Pamphylia, they went into the city of Perga where they preached the word of God. They had remained there long enough to establish a church. Then once the church was established with proper organization, they went on to the city of Attalia which was the seaport of Perga. This was the last stop on Paulís first missionary journey.