on Acts 13 :2
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted - On Mondays and Thursdays it was usual with the more pious Jews to attend the public service in their synagogues, and to fast: the former is what we are to understand by ministering to the Lord. On the Sabbaths they attended the service in the synagogue, but did not fast. The Greek word, λειτουργουντων, signifies performing the office of praying, supplicating, rendering thanks, etc.: hence the word λειτουργια, liturgy, the work of prayer, etc., from λιτη, supplication, according to some; or rather from λειτος, common, and εργον, work, the common or public work, in which all the people were engaged.
The Holy Ghost said - A revelation of the Divine will was made to some person then present; probably to either Simeon, or Lucius, or Manaen, mentioned before.
Separate me Barnabas and Saul - Consecrate, or set them apart, for the particular work whereunto I have called them. How this was done, we find in the next verse.
on Acts 13 :2
As they ministered to the Lord - It is probable that this took place on some day set apart for fasting and prayer. The expression "ministered to the Lord" means as they were engaged in prayer to the Lord, or as they were engaged in divine service. The Syriac thus renders the passage.
The Holy Ghost said - Evidently by direct revelation.
Separate me - Set apart to me, or for my service. It does not mean to ordain, but simply to designate, or appoint to this specific work.
For the work whereunto I have called them - Not the apostolic office, for Saul was called to that by the express revelation of Jesus Christ Galatians 1:12, and Barnabas was not an apostle. The "work" to which they were now set apart was that of preaching the gospel in the regions round about Antioch. It was not any permanent office in the church, but was a temporary designation to a missionary enterprise in extending the gospel, especially through Asia Minor, and the adjacent regions. Accordingly, when, in the fulfillment of this appointment, they had traveled through Seleucia, Cyprus, Paphos, Pamphylia, Pisidia, etc., they returned to Antioch, having fulfilled the work to which they were separated. See Acts 14:26-27. "Whereunto I have called them." This proves that they received their commission to this work directly from God the Holy Spirit. Paul and Barnabas had been influenced by the Spirit to engage in this work, but they were to be sent forth by the concurrence and designation of the church.
on Acts 13 :2
13:2 Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them - This was not ordaining them. St. Paul was ordained long before, and that not of men, neither by man: it was only inducting him to the province for which our Lord had appointed him from the beginning, and which was now revealed to the prophets and teachers. In consequence of this they fasted, prayed, and laid their hands on them, a rite which was used not in ordination only, but in blessing, and on many other occasions.