And there they preached the gospel– Acts 14:7

“They” refers to Paul and Barnabas, who had been sent out by the Holy Spirit with the support of the church at Antioch. But what they were doing was not something that requires a special calling or gifting by the Holy Spirit: it is not the work only of apostles, or of pastors, or of extroverts.

The Greek word translated with the phrase “preached the gospel” is the same root from which we get our English word “evangelism,” and it simply means to be a messenger of good news, to declare glad tidings. It is the same thing that every member of the Jerusalem church did as they fled the persecution of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 8:4).

But the word that is perhaps most striking in this small verse is the word “there” — there they preached the gospel. We immediately ask ourselves, “Where? What place is referred to?” But the answer comes back, from Acts 13 and 14, that it didn’t really matter to these men where “there” was, because they proclaimed the good news everywhere they went.

For the sake of the gospel, Paul and Barnabas were forcibly expelled from Antioch in Pisidia (13:50), and they left Iconium running for their lives (14:5). Yet, when they came to Lystra and Derbe, what did they do? There they preached the gospel!

The inescapable picture is of an inexorable desire to proclaim the good news. No matter where they were, Paul and Barnabas announced the glad tidings of Jesus Christ in every city, in ever place they had opportunity.

May you, like these early Christian saints, proclaim the good news there, also, no matter where “there” might be for you right now.