Acts 04

June 12, 2012 | 0

ACTS 27:1-6Acts 4:1-7

 

Key Words:

priests (1) 2409 hiereus – from hieros -sacred. A priest orsacred person serving at God’s altar.It is used to denote the Jewish priests who were descended from Aaron.

commander (1) 4755 strategos – from stratos – anarmy, and ago – to lead. The leader of an army, acommander. Thecommander of the Temple,generally referring to the chief priests and Levites who kept guard in andaround the Temple.

Sadducees (1) 4523 Saddoukaios – the Sadducees; a sect of Jews derived from Zadok, a high priest appointed by Solomon. Sadducees were liberal, accepting only theteaching of Moses, but Pharisees were conservative. They served with Pharisees on the Sanhedrin.

thoroughly grieved (1) 1278 diaponeo – from dia – through,and poneo -labor. To laborthrough something, to be thoroughly grieved or wearied by the continuation ofanything.

teaching (1) 1321 didasko – toteach or instruct by word of mouth.

preaching (1) 2605 kataggello – fromkata -intensive, and aggello– tell, declare, preach. To declare plainly, openly or aloud.

resurrection (1) 386 anastasis – stand up. In the NT it refers to resurrection of thebody.

laid upon (1) 1911 epiballo – from epi – upon , and ballo – put, lay. To put or lay upon.

jail (1) 5084 teresis – from tereo – to keepwatch, in custody, in holding. A prison or jail.

evening (1) 2073 hespera -evening. The night was divided into fourwatches. The first watch was about 6-9pm, and it was followed by 9pm-midnight, 12-3am and 3-6am.

hearing (1) 191 akouo – to hear someone orsomething. To hearwith attention or listen.

word (1) 3056 logos – word as the expression ofintelligence, both the act of speaking and the thing spoken.

believed (1) 4100 pisteuo -faith. To believe, have faith, to trust,to be firmly persuaded.

happened (1) 1096 ginomai – tobecome, come into existence, come to pass, happen.

rulers (1) 758 archon – a ruler, magistrate. For Jews, it was a member of the Sanhedrin.

elders (1) 4245 presbuteros – anelder, an older man. For Jews, it was aman of age and experience, who was called to participate in the management ofpublic affairs.

scribes (1) 1122 grammateus – fromgrapho – towrite. A scribe orwriter. For Jews, it was alawyer, a legal expert of the Mosaic Law and an interpreter of the Scriptures.

assembled (1) 4863 sunago – from sun – with, and ago – lead. To leadtogether, assemble.

high priest/high priestly (2) 749 archiereus – a high priest, chiefpriest. The highpriest of the Jews, who presided over the Sanhedrin. 748 archieratikos – refers to the high priest.

descent (1) 1085 genos – from ginomai – tobecome. Refers tofamily, lineage, descent.

center (1) 3319 mesos – middle,in the midst, in the center.

inquiring (1) 4441 punthanomai – toask, inquire, find out by inquiry and examination.

power (1) 1411 dunamis -ability, power, especially power to achieve or do something.

name (1) 3686 onoma – name,title, character, reputation. Implies personal authority.

standing (1) 2476 histemi – to causeto stand.

Overview: As Peter and John spoke to the crowd, some Jewish authoritiesbecame upset because the resurrection of Jesus was proclaimed. The Jews put these men in jail that evening,but about 5000 men believed their message.The next day Jewish rulers, elders, scribes and high priests assembledin Jerusalem, and they asked Peter and John to report the sourceof their power.

 

Interpretation:

4:1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and thecommander of the Temple and the Sadducees came uponthem,

Peter is identified as the only speaker in Acts3:12-26, but "they," in this verse, implies that John was alsospeaking. The length of the proclamationto the crowd in the Temple area is not known, but itmay have been lengthy with Peter and John saying much more than what isrecorded in Acts. There is no evidenceof a discussion with the crowd, but that is a possibility. As these two apostles addressed the largeaudience, some of the Jewish authorities "came upon them." Their manner was sudden and violent as thenext verse suggests. The"priests" would include descendents of Aaron (1 Chronicles 24) whoserved in the Temple. It is probable that these priests were partof the Sanhedrin, which was the Great Council of the nation. The "commander" of the Temple was one of the chiefofficers of the priests who guarded the Temple area. The Sadducees were from the priestly classwho also served on the Sanhedrin. Thesemen took care to maintain law and order in Jerusalem, and especially near the Temple. Apparently, the preaching of Peter and Johncaused great concern with the authorities, and these religious Jews werereacting to the potential threat they feared from these men.

4:2 being thoroughly grieved because they were teaching thepeople, and preaching in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

The priests, commander and Sadducees are"thoroughly grieved." Thisword is also used in Acts 16:18 to describe total annoyance that results by thecontinuation of something bothersome. Itwould seem that the "teaching" and "preaching" of theseapostles went on for some time before the Jewish authorities finallyreacted. The specific reason for theirreaction is that Peter and John were "preaching in Jesus the resurrectionfrom the dead." The resurrection ofJesus was the heart of their message (Acts 2:24,31,32, 3:15); it was also the primarypoint of contention for the Jews. Theconcern of these proud, religious Jews is great because two uneducatedfishermen from Galilee are teaching the Scriptures to thousands of men in theTemple area; they are interpreting Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy (Acts2:16-36, 3:12-26), and proclaiming that He has risen from the dead.

4:3 And they laid hands upon them, and put (them) in jail untilthe next day, for it was already evening.

The priests, commander of the Temple and Sadducees were so"thoroughly grieved" that they "came upon them" (Acts 4:2)and "laid hands upon them."These Jewish authorities acted quickly and harshly to keep the apostlesfrom "teaching the people and preaching in Jesus" anymore. The continual preaching by Peter and John ofthe resurrection of Jesus was too much for these particular Jews. Later on they will order the two apostles tostop speaking in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18). It is obvious that the Jews "laidhands" on Peter and John to arrest them because "they put them injail until the next day."Literally, the "jail" was a place of watching or keeping, andthis would not be the only time Peter and other apostles are arrested and putin jail (see Acts 5:17-18). The factthat "it was already evening" suggests the first watch of the nighthad begun (6-9pm). If theapostles were going "up to the Temple at the ninth hour" (3pm), when the lame man washealed (Acts 3:1-7), then their "teaching" and "preaching"may have continued for three hours.

4:4 But many of those hearing the word believed, and the numberof men became about five thousand.

The Jews who arrested Peter and John did believe intheir message, but "many of those hearing the word believed." "The word" (logos) encompasses everything the apostles had been teaching andpreaching about Jesus. Obviously, theimpact of the miracle captured the interest of Jews in the Temple area (Acts 3:11), and the gospel of Jesusconvicted their hearts. The preaching ofPeter in Acts 2:14-36 "pierced to theheart" his listening audience (Acts 2:37) and produced a harvest of3000 believers in Christ (Acts 2:41). A similar response occurs here when thepreaching of Peter in Acts 3:12-26 produces a harvest of5000 men ("men" does not imply that women were not present; it isoften used generically for both men and women).It is likely that this is a combined total from the "3000 souls"mentioned in Acts 2:41. This large numberof believers is testimony that the effect of God’s word is powerful.

4:5 And it happened on the next day, for their rulers and eldersand scribes to be assembled in Jerusalem,

The events recorded in Acts 3:1 – 4:4 were suddenwith a dramatic miracle followed by a message that touched the lives of manypeople. No specific events are recordedfrom the time of arrest to "the next day." There is no indication that a riot broke outbetween the Jewish believers, now numbering at least 5000, and the Jewishauthorities that arrested Peter and John.It may be assumed that the religious leaders have maintained law andorder in the Temple area because theirinfluence on the people was profound.Also, the fledgling church would not be in a position to challenge theauthorities at this time. The listing of"rulers and elders and scribes" along with the "priests and thecommander of the Temple and the Sadducees"(Acts 4:1) shows how united the Jewish leadership is their opposition to thepreaching of two fishermen from Galilee. Thislist is comprehensive, including leaders among Jews from the Sanhedrin ondown. They fear Peter and John as theyfeared Jesus because of their influence over the people. The Jewish authorities will not lose controlover the Jewish people because their commitment is to remain in power.

4:6 and Annas, the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander and as many as were ofhigh priestly descent.

The general list of "rulers and elders andscribes" from the previous verse is followed by a specific list ofindividuals. Annaswas the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was actuallythe high priest that year (John 18:13); however, Annas had been a previous high priest, and so he retainedthe title for that office. Annas had questioned Jesus before handing Him over to Caiaphas for judgment (John 18:19-24). Caiaphas, the highpriest who presided over the Sanhedrin, found Jesus guilty of blasphemy, andthe Council found Him deserving of death (Mark 14:64). Nothing is known of John and Alexander exceptthe record here that indicates they were also "of high priestlydescent." The list of Jewishauthorities serving on the Sanhedrin is comprehensive to show how unified anddistressed these men were concerning the message and influence of Peter andJohn. The Sanhedrin found Jesus guiltyof blasphemy, and condemned Him to death, but the Apostles have exposed theirsin (Acts 3:14-15), and now these Jews are angry and probablyafraid, too.

4:7 Andstanding them in the center, they were inquiring, "In what power, or inwhat name did you (do) this?"

It is the "next day" (Acts 4:5) when theJewish authorities assemble to question Peter and John. The two apostles are made to stand "inthe center" of this gathering of the most powerful men in Judaism. The Jews ask a simple question get to theroot of the problem. A miracle hasoccurred which these Jews cannot deny (Acts 4:16), and the source of"power" or the "name" through which the miracle wasperformed must be determined. Jesus wasasked a similar question by some of the same men in Matthew 21:23. It seems strange for them to ask thisquestion because the answer is obvious in Acts 4:2, and it was proclaimedearlier by Peter in Acts 2:22,32,36,38, 3:6,13,16,20. The answer is Jesus.

 

Application: To be prepared to answer questions from those who may oppose myfaith.

Acts 4:8-12

 

Key Words:

filled (1) 4130 pimplemi – tofill, make full.

Holy (1) 40 hagios – set apart, holy, sanctified, consecrated, anymatter of religious awe.

Spirit (1) 4151 pneuma – breath, wind, spirit: the spirit breathed by Godinto man.

rulers (1) 758 archon – a ruler, magistrate. For Jews, it was a member of the Sanhedrin.

elders (1) 4245 presbuteros – anelder, an older man. For Jews, it was aman of age and experience, who was called to participate in the management ofpublic affairs.

examined (1) 350 anakrino – from ana – emphatic,and krino -judge. To discern, judge, examineaccurately and carefully.

good work (1) 2108 euergesia – from eu – good, ergon – work. Good work, benefit.

without strength (1) 772 asthenes – from a – not, and stenos – strength. Without strength.

delivered/saved (2) 4982 sozo – save,deliver, make whole physically and/or spiritually.

known (1) 1110 gnostos – to knowby acquaintance with someone or something.

name (2) 3686 onoma – name,title, character, reputation. Implies personal authority.

crucified (1) 4717 stauroo – tocrucify, affix, or nail to a cross.

raised (1) 1453 egeiro – to riseas if from sleep or the posture of sleep.

stood here (1) 3936 paristano – from para – beside,near, and histemi– to place, stand. Cause to stand near,to place beside.

whole (1) 5199 hugies – sound,whole.

stone (1) 3037 lithos – astone. Refers tovarious stones to include building stones.

despised (1) 1848 exoutheneo – fromek -intensive, and outheneo– to bring to nothing, treat with scorn, to despise.

builders (1) 3618 oikodomeo – tobuild a house, a builder.

head (1) 2776 kephale – thehead, top, that which is uppermost in relation to something.

corner (1) 1137 gonia– an angle,corner. A corner of abuilding.

salvation (1) 4991 soteria – safety,deliverance, preservation from danger or destruction.

heaven (1) 3772 ouranos – heaven,sky, air.

Overview: Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit, and he tells the rulersand elders how the man was delivered. Hetells them, and all Israel, that the man was madewhole in the name of Jesus, whom they crucified, but God raised. Peter says that Jesus is the corner stone,whom they despised; His name is the only name that gives salvation to mankind.

Interpretation:

4:8 ThenPeter, being filled with (the) Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of thepeople and elders,

The Sanhedrin called a meeting to question Peter andJohn about the "power" or "name" that healed the lame man(Acts 4:5-7). The meeting was probablyconducted early in the morning, as soon as the Sanhedrin was able to convene,because the matter is of great concern.Only the response of Peter is recorded here, as has been the casethroughout Acts thus far, but it is certain that John spoke before (Acts4:1-2), and perhaps here also. Peter is"filled with the Holy Spirit" before opening his mouth. This is the Spirit of God who filled Peterand the others on Pentecost (Acts 2:4).No doubt, Peter was also filled by the Spirit to preach the first sermon(Acts 2:14-37), to heal the lame man (Acts 3:4-7) and topreach the second sermon (Acts 3:12-26). Peter is the instrument through whom Godworks, and now he addresses the Sanhedrin with respect ("rulers…..andelders") in order to answer their question.

4:9 if weare being examined today about a good work (to) a man without strength, in howthis man has been delivered,

First, Peter clarifies the reason why they (Peter,John and maybe the man, too) "are being examined" (judgedcarefully). He rightly assumes thatexamination by the Sanhedrin is "about a good work" that has beendone to "a man without strength."Peter answered this question already when he addressed the peopleearlier in the Temple area (Acts 3:11-16). It is likely that members of the Sanhedrinwere present at that time, too, but this inquiry is formal, and Peter is readyto tell "how this man has been delivered (sozo)." This same word (sozo) is translated"saved" in Acts 4:12. It canrefer to deliverance or salvation that is either physical or spiritual innature; the context determines the meaning.Peter knows that the Sanhedrin is wondering how the man was healedphysically, but God’s ultimate purpose in healing is always spiritual (John 9:24-38).

4:10 let itbe known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of JesusChrist the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, in this(name) this man has stood here before you whole.

Peter answers their question (Acts 4:7) in theimperative mood ("let it be known to you"). This apostle takes charge as he responds witha command to the Sanhedrin, "and to all the people of Israel." His answer is not for a few, but for all;Peter has already addressed "Israel" twice before in hisfirst (Acts 2:22) and second sermon (Acts 3:11). This fulfills the command of Christ whocalled His apostles to "go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew10:5-6). The Holy Spirit has filledPeter to give this message (Acts 4:8) to "all the people of Israel;" it is the message ofthe Father and the Son (John 12:49-50). The "name ofJesus Christ the Nazarene" refers to the person of Jesus Himself, andPeter wastes no time informing the Sanhedrin that the "power" and"name" (Acts 4:7) is Jesus.The message proclaimed is the gospel of Jesus Christ; it always includesHis death, as a result of sin ("you crucified"), and Hisresurrection, as a demonstration of God’s power ("God raised from thedead"). Peter preached the gospelin his first (Acts 2:23-24) and second sermon (Acts3:15); it is the reason why the lame man has been made"whole."

4:11 This is the stone being despised byyou, the builders, that came to be the head of the corner.

The Apostle Peter does not stop with a simple answerto the question asked in Acts 4:7, but he continues to preach a third sermon,this time to the Jewish authorities.There is no evidence of fear in Peter, but the power of God moves him topreach the gospel again, and to call his audience to repentance. Peter quoted Scripture before to get theattention of other listeners (Acts 2:17-21, 25-28, 30-31, 34-35, 3:22,25), andnow he quotes again, this time from Psalm 118:22. The ancient Jews applied this particularverse to David, but Jesus interpreted the verse with reference to Himself inthree gospels (Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17), and Peter agrees. Jesus is "the stone….that came to bethe head of the corner." Cornerstone may refer to the first and/or the last stone in a building. According to Ephesians2:20-22, Jesus is the corner stone upon which the church is built, and thechurch is the building constructed of living stones (1 Peter 2:4-7). For those who believe, Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, but for those who do not believe, He becomes a "stone of stumblingand rock of offense" (Isaiah 8:14, 1 Peter 2:8). He "is the stone being despised byyou" (the Sanhedrin). These Jewswere the "builders" of the Jewish religion, but they "denied theholy and just one" (Acts 3:14). Peter is forceful in his words to theSanhedrin, but the opportunity for repentance is extended to them in thisstatement.

4:12 And the salvation is not in any other,for there is no other name under heaven, having been given among men, in whichwe must be saved."

Even as Peter leads the Sanhedrin to repentance fromsin, he also leads them to salvation.The gospel has been presented (Acts 4:10), the opportunity forrepentance was extended (Acts 4;11) and now the hopeof salvation is offered. This samegospel "formula" is in Peter’s first (Acts 2:23-24,38)and second sermon (Acts 3:15,19). Salvation is always preceded by the gospelthat leads people to repentance and faith.The legalistic religion of the Sanhedrin is incredibly challenged whenPeter says, "salvation is not in any other, thereis no other name under heaven…..in which we must be saved." Only Jesus saves.

 

Application: To allow the Holy Spirit to empower me to share the gospelfearlessly.

Acts 4:13-18

 

Key Words:

observing (1) 2334 theoreo – togaze, to look with interest and for a purpose, usually indicating the carefulobservation of details.

boldness (1) 3954 parresia – from pas – all, and rhesis– the act of speaking. Freedom or frankness inspeaking, to speak with boldness and confidence.

comprehending (1) 2638 katalambano -from kata -an intensive, and lambano– to take. To apprehend, attain, obtain,find. Figuratively, toseize with the mind, to comprehend.

uneducated (1) 62 agrammatos – from a – without, and gramma – a letter, learning. Unlearned, illiterate,uneducated.

ordinary (1) 2399 idiotes – aordinary person as opposed to one of rank and education.

wondering (1) 2296 thaumazo – towonder, marvel, be struck with awe and astonishment.

recognizing (1) 1921 epiginosko – fromepi – upon,and ginosko– know. To know fully.

seeing (1) 991 blepo – to see with theeyes. The faculty ofsight.

healed (1) 2323 therapeuo – towait upon, minister to render service, heal, cure.

standing (1) 2476 histemi – tostand, to place, establish, confirm.

say (1) 471 antepo – from anti – against, and epo – to say. To say against, contradict.

ordered (1) 2753 keleuo – set inmotion, urge on. Inthe NT, an order or command.

Sanhedrin (1) 4892 sunedrion – anassembly, council. In the NT,spoken only of Jewish Councils.The Sanhedrin (Supreme Jewish Council) was composed of 70 members plusthe high priest. Members were selectedfrom the former high priests, elders and scribes.

conferring (1) 4820 sumballo – from sun – with, and ballo – cast. Cast with, confer.

 

known (1) 1110 gnostos – from ginosko – toknow, known.

sign (1) 4592 semeion – sign,mark, token, miracle with a spiritual end and purpose.

apparent (1) 5318 phaneros – from phaino – shine. Causeto appear. Apparent,manifest.

deny (1) 720 arneomai – to deny, refuse,reject.

 

spread (1) 1268 dianemo – from dia – through,and nemo -give. Give throughout, spread.

threaten (1) 546 apeileo – to threaten, menace,reproach.

name (2) 3686 onoma – name,title, character, reputation. Implies personal authority.

calling (1) 2564 kaleo – tocall. To call tosomeone in order that they may go somewhere.

charged (1) 3853 paraggello – frompara -beside, and aggello– to tell, declare. To pass on anannouncement, advance an order, charge or command.

speak (1) 5350 phtheggomai – tosound a tone, speak, utter a word.

teach (1) 1321 didasko – toteach, instruct by word of mouth.

Overview: The Sanhedrin recognizes that Peter and John were with Jesuswhen they observe the boldness of these ordinary men, and they can say nothingagainst the apostles when they see the healed man standing with them. The Sanhedrin cannot deny that a sign hasappeared to all Jerusalem through Peter and John;therefore, they order the apostles not to speak or teach in the name of Jesusanymore.

Interpretation:

4:13 And observing the boldness of Peter andJohn, and comprehending that they are uneducated and ordinary (men), they werewondering, and were recognizing them, that they were with Jesus.

The Sanhedrin was "observing (to look withinterest and purpose) the boldness" (to speak openly and frankly) whenPeter responded directly to their question (Acts 4:7-12). It is reasonable to assume that some of theSanhedrin observed the bold preaching Peter to the crowds previously (Acts 2:14-36, 3:12-26). The fact that John is included with Peterhere indicates that he was speaking with boldness also. The religious authorities, who are welleducated and sophisticated, were "wondering" (amazed, awed) becausethese two men are uneducated and unsophisticated; they are ordinary fishermenfrom Galilee, certainly not the type ofmen to speak about God with power and authority in the Temple area. (Jews from Jerusalem regarded Galileans as rudeand uncultured.) The Sanhedrin was fullyaware ("recognizing") of the fact that Peter and John were with Jesusbecause the apostles spoke with the power and authority of Christ, and perhapsbecause these men were seen with Jesus previously. The words of Jesus are being fulfilled justas He said (Acts 2:8).

4:14 And seeing the man who had been healedstanding with them, they could say nothing against (them).

The bold preaching and teaching of Peter and John issupported by the healing power of God.The ministry of Jesus to preach, teach and heal (Matthew 9:35) is reproduced in theapostles by the power of Christ (Luke 9:1-2).The Sanhedrin is speechless, with nothing to say against Peter and Johnbecause the man who was lame since birth (Acts 3:2) stands with theapostles. The miraculous power of God isvisible to the Jewish authorities now, even as Jesus made it visible to thembefore (John 18:19-21). The preaching, teaching and healing of Jesuswas a public ministry that has been reproduced through the apostles. It is interesting to note that, since Acts3:1, the only words uttered by anyone other than Peter was a simple questionasked by the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:7). Theauthorities knew that something or someone made the lame man walk, and theywanted to know the source of power.Peter answered their question thoroughly (Acts 4:8-12), but theSanhedrin seems to be unwilling to believe.The fact that they could say nothing against these three men does notimply they said anything in favor of them.Their rejection will become evident.

4:15 And having ordered them to go outsidethe Sanhedrin, they were conferring with one another,

Peter and John are ordered "outside," awayfrom the Sanhedrin, so that this Great Council of Jews may discuss together thematter at hand. There are indications inthe gospels that some members of the Pharisees, and perhaps even the Sanhedrin,were secret followers of Christ (John 9:16, 19:38-39). However, the Jewish authorities, at-large,were opposed to the ministry and person of Jesus (John 11:57), and they wouldexcommunicate those who confessed Him to be the Christ (John 9:22). Even some of the Jewish rulers believed inJesus as the Christ, but they would not confess Him publicly for fear ofexcommunication (John 12:42). It is possible that some members of theSanhedrin, who are present in this conference, were persuaded by Peter’sstatement in Acts 4:8-12, but they remain silent. Unwillingness to confess Jesus publiclybrings judgment from God (Matthew 10:32-33).

4:16 saying, "What may we do to these men? For the fact that a knownsign has happened through them is apparent to all those inhabiting Jerusalem, and wecannot deny.

The Sanhedrin confers to decide what to do withPeter and John, but instead of arriving at an answer, they raise aquestion. They have no legal cause toprosecute the two apostles, and are left wondering, "What may wedo…?" The verb, "do,"occurs in the subjunctive mood to express conditional or uncertain actions;therefore, it is translated with "may." The Sanhedrin may take no clear action bylaw, and their question reveals their dilemma.This council of Jewish authorities faced a similar problem with Jesus inJohn 11:47-48. They agreed that He was"performing many signs" then, and now they acknowledge "the factthat a known sign has happened through (the apostles)." The evidence ("sign") is not onlyobvious to the Sanhedrin, but it is also "apparent (manifested, revealed)to all those inhabiting Jerusalem." It seems that everyone knew about the"sign" because the miracle was witnessed by a large crowd in the Temple area (Acts 3:11), and these Jewish leaders"cannot deny (reject)" this fact.It appears that the Sanhedrin has two possible courses of action, eitheraccept the obvious (God has worked a miracle to declare salvation through JesusChrist – Acts 4:8-12), or reject the obvious.Their choice will reveal their motives.

4:17 But in order that it may not be spreadany further to the people, let us threaten them to speak no more to any man inthis name."

When the Sanhedrin was faced with this questionregarding Jesus (John 11:47), they "plannedtogether to kill Him" (John 11:53). Although their response here is not nearly asdrastic, their motives remain the same; they are unwilling to accept the truththat is so obvious to everyone. TheSanhedrin felt threatened by the power and popularity of Jesus enough to plotHis death. They feared their existenceas a nation would be in jeopardy if Jesus was allowed to minister freely (John 11:48). Those same fears appear to be present nowwith the ministry of Jesus continuing through the apostles. Sadly, the Sanhedrin will not humblethemselves to acknowledge their sin of rejecting the true Messiah (Acts 4:11), and receive salvation inHis name (Acts 4:12). Apparently, their pride keeps them fromrepentance and faith. These men wouldrisk much in the flesh if they confessed Jesus as Lord (excommunication fromthe synagogue – John 12:42), but they would gain morein the spirit (eternal life – John 3:16). Unfortunately, "the spirit is willing,but the flesh is weak" (Mark 14:38), and the Jewish leaders donot repent. Instead, they decide toorder Peter and John "to speak no more to any man in this name (Jesus)"so that "it (the gospel) may not be spread any further." The Sanhedrin has no legal cause to arrestand charge the apostles, but they will do as much as they are allowed in orderto silence them.

4:18 And calling them, they charged (them)not to speak at all nor to teach in the name of Jesus.

The decision of the Sanhedrin made in private (Acts 4:15) is made public beforePeter and John, and perhaps the man who was healed, too. The charge is clear and simple: they must not"speak" (utter a word) or "teach (give instruction) in the nameof Jesus." It is important to knowthat Peter and John are not the issue, Jesus is the issue. The Sanhedrin has been informed that thepower to heal came "in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 4:10); they crucified Jesus tosilence Him, but He continues preaching, teaching and healing through Hisfollowers. These Jews have the authorityto issue this command because of their position in the community; the apostleswill have to decide how they will answer.

Application: To allow God to produce boldness in my faith so people may knowthat I have been with Jesus.

Acts 4:19-23

 

Key Words:

answering (1) 611 apokrinomai – from apo – from, and krino – toseparate, discern, judge. To answer orreturn answer which ought to be done with discretion.

right (1) 1342 dikaios -righteous, just. That which is right,pertaining to what is right.

hear (1) 191 akouo – to hear someone orsomething.

judge (1) 2919 krino – toseparate, distinguish, discriminate, judge between good and evil.

 

able (1) 1410 dunamai – to beable, to have power.

speak (1) 2980 laleo – to talkat random, as contrasted with lego, which involves reason.

saw (1) 1492 eido – to see;not merely the act of seeing, but the perception of something.

heard (1) 191 akouo – to hear someone orsomething.

threatened more (1) 4324 prosapeileo -from pros – beside (more), and apeileo -threaten, menace, reproach. To threatenmore, further.

released (2) 630 apoluo – from apo– from, and luo– to loose. To let loose from, release.

finding (1) 2147 heurisko – to find, either by a previous searchor without a search.

punish (1) 2849 kolazo – toprune, such as tree. In the NT, it meansto discipline, punish.

glorifying (1) 1392 doxazo – toglorify, honor, praise, dignify, give esteem.

happened (2) 1096 ginomai – tobegin to be, to come into existence.

sign (1) 4592 semeion – sign,mark, token, miracle with a spiritual end and purpose.

healing (1) 2392 iasis – tocure. The process oract of curing or healing someone.

declared (1) 518 apaggello – from apo – from, and aggello – totell, declare. To tellor declare a message from any person or place.

high priests (1) 749 archiereus – a high priest, chiefpriest. The highpriest of the Jews, who presided over the Sanhedrin, or those who had served inthat position previously.

 

elders (1) 4245 presbuteros – anelder, an older man. For Jews, it was aman of age and experience, who was called to participate in the management ofpublic affairs.

Overview: Peter and John tell the Sanhedrin to make their own judgment,but the apostles must speak what they have seen and heard. The Sanhedrin threatens the two men again,but let them go because they have no cause for punishment, and because all thepeople were glorifying God on account of the forty year old man who washealed. After Peter and John arereleased, they declare everything that happened to their people.

Interpretation:

4:19 And answering, Peter and John said tothem, "If it is right before God to hear you rather than God, you judge,

The Sanhedrin asked a specific question (Acts 4:7);Peter responded (Acts 4:8-12) with a detailed answer that clearly stated Jesusas the name and power for healing and salvation. The Jewish leaders are amazed by the boldwitness of Peter and John, and they fear the spreading of their message (thegospel) among the people (Acts 4:13,17). Therefore, the Jewish leaders forbid the twoapostles to speak or teach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18); they have no grounds topunish, and so this is their only course of action. Peter and John reply (this is the first timein Acts where John is included with Peter in a verbal response) with an appealto their judges about whether the command is justified. The two apostles respect the authority of theSanhedrin, as they should (Romans 13:1), but the judgment of this council isplaced in perspective. God is theultimate judge, as both the Sanhedrin and apostles would agree, but Peter andJohn show an inconsistency. God hascalled them to bear witness of Jesus (Acts 1:8), but the Sanhedrin hasforbidden them to say anything in the name of Jesus. Therefore, Peter and John invite the Jewishauthorities to "judge" (decide) for themselves whether the apostlesshould listen ("hear") to them or to God.

4:20 for we are not able, not to speak what we saw and heard."

After giving the Sanhedrin the opportunity to maketheir own choice, the apostles make their decision very clear; Peter and Johnwill continue to "speak what we saw and heard" with reference toJesus. Their motivation "tospeak" is most important: they cannot help it ("for we are notable"). The verb, "able,"is in the passive voice, so the action is not happening by the apostles, but tothe apostles. According to Peter andJohn, God is speaking through them His gospel of salvation in Jesus. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts2:4) to proclaim the gospel, as Jesus predicted (Acts 1:8); therefore, they"are not able" to stop what God is doing through them.

4:21 And having threatened more, theyreleased them, finding no reason they might punish them because of the people,for all were glorifying God on the (thing) having happened;

The Sanhedrin already threatened Peter and John, andperhaps the man who was healed (Acts 4:16), but now they threatenthem "more." This is the onlylegal course of action available to the Jewish authorities, and they are forcedto release the men because there is "no reason they might punish them." The lack of evidence against the apostles topress charges is clear, but there is another reason why the Sanhedrin does notconsider more severe measures, it is "because of the people." "The people" refers to the 5000souls who have heard the gospel and now believe (Acts 4:4). This growing number of people was"glorifying God" because the Lord healed the lame man. The infant church is already so large thatthe Jewish authorities fear them. Evenas the "scribes and the high priests……. feared the people"because of Jesus (Luke 20:19), the Sanhedrin fears thepeople because of the apostles.

4:22 for the man was more (than) forty years (old), on whom this signof healing had happened.

"The thing having happened" (Acts 4:21) is specified: a man, morethan forty years old, was healed.Perhaps his age is given merely to show how long he had been lame. This man was lame from his mother’s womb(Acts 3:2), and so the miracle is that much more impressive. He may have been set at the gate of the Temple for most of his lifebecause they recognized this man when he walked (Acts 3:10). Nobody doubts the fact that an awesomemiracle has occurred (Acts 4:16), but it is unfortunatethat the Jewish leaders will not accept this healing as a work of God throughChrist.

4:23 And being released, they went to theirown, and declared all that the high priests and elders said to them.

When Peter and John arereleased, "they went to their own" people. This would certainly include all theapostles, probably the 120 (Acts 1:15) and perhaps others aswell. It is unlikely that they would beallowed to share their experience openly to large numbers of people. Open preaching of the gospel to thousands inthe Temple area, after the first two sermons of Peter, is notrecorded in the NT. Since the Sanhedrinwas allowed by Rome to exercise religiousauthority in Jerusalem, one should expect them toprevent the public preaching of Jesus to crowds in the future. Their threat to the apostles, to speak nomore in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18), would certainly beextended to everyone in Jerusalem. However, those who hear their report aremoved to prayer and more faith (Acts 4:24-31).

Application: To be so filled by the Holy Spirit that I am compelled to sharethe gospel in any situation, no matter how threatening or intimidating it mayseem.

Acts 4:24-30

 

Key Words:

heard (1) 191 akouo – to hear. Hear with attention; listen to someone orsomething.

lifted (1) 142 airo – to lift up, take up,raise, elevate.

voice (1) 5456 phone – a sound or tone made or givenforth.

one mind (1) 3661 homothumadon -from homo – one, and thumos -mind. One mind, unanimous consent, inone accord, all together.

master (1) 1203 despotes -master, one who possesses supreme authority, despot.

child (3) 3816 pais – a child inrelation to descent; a boy or girl in relation to age.

nations (2) 1484 ethnos – nation, race, ethnicgroup. In the NT, it refers to theGentiles.

rage (1) 5433 phruasso – tooverflow, pour forth. Tomake a noise, as in a horse snorting.To be tumultuous, to rage.

peoples (2) 2992 laos – a people joined togetherby the common bonds of society.

devise (1) 3191 meletao – toconsider, ponder something so as to perform well.

emptyness (1) 2756 kenos – empty, hollow, meaningless,aimless.

kings (1) 935 basileus – a king, monarch.

rulers (1) 758 archon – a ruler, chief, prince,magistrate.

assembled (2) 4863 sunago – from sun – with, and ago – lead, assemble, gather together.

Lord (2) 2962 kurios – from kuros – might, power.Lord, master, owner. In the NT,it is equivalent to the Hebrew word, Jehovah.

Christ (1) 5547 Christos – from chrio – to anoint.Anointed, a term used in the OT that applied to those anointed with theholy oil. Equivalentto the Hebrew word, Messiah.

truth (1) 225 aletheia – truth, reality; theveritable essense of matter.

holy (2) 40 hagios – holy, set apart,sanctified, consecrated, saint.

anointed (1) 5548 chrio – to daub,smear, anoint with oil or ointment.

purpose (1) 1012 boule – will,purpose, intention as the result of reflection.

predestined (1) 4309 proorizo – from pro – before, and horizo – determine. To determine or decreebeforehand, to predestine.

happen (2) 1096 ginomai – tobegin to be, to come into existence, to become, to happen.

threats (1) 547 apeile – from apeileo – to threaten. A threat, menace, reproach.

grant (1) 1325 didomi – to give,bestow upon, grant something to someone.

bondservants (1) 1401 doulos – a slave,bonservant.Someone in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his/her will being completely consumed in the will of the other.

word (1) 3056 logos – to speak intelligently. The act of speaking and thething spoken of.

boldness (1) 3954 parresia – from pas – all, and rhesis – the act ofspeaking. Freedom orfrankness in speaking. To speak with boldness, confidence.

stretches out (1) 1614 ekteino – from ek – out, and teino – tostretch. To stretchout.

heal (1) 2392 iasis – from iaomai – tocure. The process oract of curing or healing.

signs (1) 4592 semeion – a sign,mark, token, miracle with a spiritual end and purpose.

wonders (1) 5059 teras – a wonderor omen. It is often associated with semeion – a sign.

 

Overview: After hearing them, the believers lift their voices to God,acknowledging His power, and His prophecy through David: The nations raged, andthe rulers of earth assembled against the Lord and His Christ. Even Herod, Pontius Pilate and all of Israel assembled in the cityagainst Jesus to do what God predestined.The believers ask the Lord to give them boldness to speak His word,remembering that He has performed signs and wonders in the name of Jesusalready.

Interpretation:

4:24 And having heard, they lifted theirvoice to God with one mind and they said, "Master, You are the (One)having made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,

After Peter and John are released, they return totheir own people to report everything the Sanhedrin said to them (Acts 4:23). When the apostles, and probably otherbelievers, hear the report, they "lifted their voice to God with onemind." The immediate response isunified ("one mind") worship that honors God with respect("Master" – Despotes). This is not the usual word ("Lord"- Kurios)used to address God. "Master"refers to one who rules over others, and was applied to the highestauthority. The implication may be thatthe believers are acknowledging the authority of God over man (Sanhedrin). God is the "Master," the Creatorwho "made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything inthem." Peter and John have beencharged by the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:18) not to speak or teach inthe name of Jesus; the threats of these men are serious (Acts 4:17,21). However, instead of showing fear, thebelievers demonstrate faith in their God, who is the Creator of everything(Genesis 1).

4:25 who through the Holy Spirit, (by) the mouth of our father David,Your child, having said, ‘Why (did) the nations rage, and the peoples devise emptyness?

After acknowledging the universal power andauthority of God, the believers quote the word of God revealed through David,their father (in the faith). Even asDavid was a man who turned his heart to God (1 Kings 11:4), and found comfortin His word during times of trouble (Psalm 34:4, 130:5), so these believersturn to God’s word. They know that"the Holy Spirit," who is the Spirit of God, spoke through David, His"child" (a title of endearment).This prophecy (Psalm 2:1-2) is an exact quotation from the Septuagint(Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible), and it was understood as a Messianicprophecy by the Jews of this time. Psalm2 was a royal psalm composed for a coronation, and the opening verse identifiesa plot against the king by the enemies of Israel. "Nations" and "peoples"are words that typically refer to Gentiles, non-Jewish people. The question, "Why did the nations rage (makenoise), and the peoples devise emptyness (plan vainthings)?" reveals how futile it was for the enemies of God to plot againstthe king of Israel, who was appointed byGod. In the same way, the believersrecognize the futility of their enemies (Sanhedrin) to plot against Jesus, alsoappointed by God (Acts 3:20).

4:26 The kings of the earth came, and therulers were assembled together against the Lord, and against His Christ.’

Psalm 2:1 (Acts 4:25) is followed by Psalm 2:2 toidentify the authorities ("kings" and "rulers") of the"nations" and "peoples" who opposed Israel and theirking. Not only are the Gentile nationsin opposition to God, but their kings are in opposition also. The fact that they "were assembledtogether" illustrates the tremendous forces that oppose both "theLord" (God), and "His Christ."In the Hebrew Bible, "Christ" is "Messiah," a termidentical to "Anointed;" it was one of the titles for the kings of Israel. The royal psalm shows that all of the ungodlypowers of the world stand against God, and the king of Israel, who was appointed byGod. In the same way, all the powers ofJewish religion, enforced by the Sanhedrin, had come against God and Jesus, theChrist. The question asked in Psalm 2:1/ Acts 4:25 reveals the utter futility of such acontest because neither Gentile nor Jewish authorities can oppose God andwin. This hope of King David, onethousand years earlier, becomes the hope of those who follow Jesus Christ now.

4:27 For in truth, they were assembled inthe city against Your Holy Child, Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod andPontius Pilate with the nations and the peoples of Israel,

The believers interpret Psalm 2:1-2 with respect tothe situation presented by Peter and John."In truth" indicates that these faithful ones are sure aboutthe ultimate meaning of the prophecy."They" refers to the Sanhedrin, as "they were assembledin the city" of Jerusalem (Acts 4:5). This Great Council of Jews was"against….Jesus" (Acts 4:10-12), the Christ (anointedby God). Herod, the Jewish governor of Galilee, ridiculed Jesus (Luke 23:11), and Pontius Pilate, theRoman governor of Jerusalem, crucified Christ (Luke 23:24). These men, who represent the "kings ofthe earth…and the rulers," came "against the Lord,and against His Christ" (Acts 4:26). They are joined with the "nations"(Gentiles) and "the peoples of Israel" (Jews) who would"rage" and "devise emptiness" (Acts 4:25) against Jesus. The fulfillment of this prophecy surelystrengthened the faith of the young church.

4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Yourpurpose predestined to happen.

Instead of worrying about the Sanhedrin’s threatsagainst Peter and John, the believers turn to their sovereign God who is alwaysin control. They have faith in the Godof creation (Acts 4:24) who"predestined" all of these things "to happen." To predestine something is to "determinebefore" what will happen later.Literally, this verse means, "to do what His counsel (purpose)determined to be done by His hand."The determined purpose of God, from the very beginning (Genesis 3:15), was redemption throughChrist (Ephesians 1:14). God "predestined" the death ofJesus to bring hope for eternal life to the world (John 3:16). This fact was articulated by Peter in hisfirst sermon when he told the crowd that Jesus was "given over by thedetermined will and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). If the Father allowed the Son to die for thesake of the world, then He will certainly help His church for the sake of Hisname.

4:29 And now, Lord, look on their threats,and grant Your bondservants to speak Your word with boldness,

Remembering that God is sovereign gives thebelievers greater faith, and leads them to pray for their circumstance. They address God, in the usual way, as"Lord" (Kurios),and ask Him to "look on their threats." These are the threats imposed on Peter andJohn by the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:17,21), and later reported to thebelievers (Acts 4:23). Instead of focusing their attention on thethreats, the believers call upon God to give His attention ("look")to this problem. They are trusting Godwith the matter, and requesting Him to "grant (give) Yourbondservants (slaves) to speak Your word (logos)with boldness." It is noteworthythat they do not tell God to destroy their enemies, but to give power for abold witness. This request is certainlythe will of God in Christ (Acts 1:8), and the work of God in Peter and John(Acts 4:13). Although theboldness of the apostles led to threats by the Sanhedrin, the believers areasking God to give them the same "boldness" to speak the same"word." Since they are"bondservants" of the Lord, they will leave the threats with God, andattend to the will of God: to bear witness to the world the gospel of Jesus.

4:30 in that Your hand stretches out toheal, and signs and wonders happen through the name of Your Holy Child,Jesus."

The believers have confidence to make their requestto speak boldly because they have witnessed the power of God. They know that God’s "hand stretches outto heal" because the lame man was empowered to walk "in the name ofJesus" (Acts 3:6-9). They also knowthat "signs and wonders happen" because of the miracle at Pentecost(Acts 2:19), because of the miracles performed by God throughJesus (Acts 2:22) and because of the miracles performed by Godthrough the apostles (Acts 2:43). The mighty works of God increased the faithof these believers and led them to pray for boldness to bear witness in themanner of Peter and John. Although theenemies of God were assembled against the "Holy Child, Jesus" (Acts 4:27), the children of God willassemble together in the name of the "Holy Child, Jesus." It is through His name that the power of Godis manifested.

Application: To always remember that God is sovereign, trusting Him to dealwith His opponents while asking Him for power to speak boldly in the name ofJesus.

Acts 4:31-37

 

Key Words:

prayed (1) 1189 deomai – from dei – want, need. To make a need known, tobeg, to pray.

shaken (1) 4531 saleuo – toshake, waver, agitate, move back and forth.

assembled (2) 4863 sunago – from sun – with, and ago – lead, assemble, gather together.

filled (1) 4130 pimplemi – tofill, make full.

word (1) 3056 logos – to speak intelligently. The act of speaking and thething spoken of.

boldness (1) 3954 parresia – from pas – all, and rhesis – the act ofspeaking. Freedom orfrankness in speaking. To speak with boldness, confidence.

multitude (1) 4128 plethos – amultitude, the whole number.

believed (1) 4100 pisteuo – to believe, to be persuaded of, to placeconfidence in.

heart (1) 2588 kardia -heart. The chief organof physical life. It came torepresent the entiremental and moral activity of human life, both rational and emotionalelements.

soul (1) 5590 psuche – thebreath of life, both natural and supernatural.The immaterial part of human life held in common with animals.

claiming (1) 3004 lego – to laybefore, to say, speak.

possessions (1) 5224 huparchonta -things which someone has, goods, possessions.

common (1) 2839 koinos – commonor belonging to several, that which is shared.

great (2) 3173 megas – great insize, measure, intensity.

power (1) 1411 dunamis – power,ability to do something, power to achieve something.

witness (1) 3142 martureo – tobear witness, to testify of what one has seen and heard.

resurrection (1) 386 anastasis – from ana – up, and histemi – tostand. To stand orrise up. In the NT, anastasis alwaysrefers to resurrected life.

Lord (1) 2962 kurios – from kuros – might, power.Lord, master, owner. In the NT,it is equivalent to the Hebrew word, Jehovah.

grace (1) 5485 charis – joy,favor, acceptance, a kindness granted, a benefit. A favor without expectationof anything in return.

in need (1) 1729 endees – from en – in, and deo – lack, want. To be in need of something.

owners (1) 2935 ktetor – one whoowns or possesses.

selling/sold (2) 4453 poleo – toexchange, barter, sell.

price (1) 5092 time – to honor, respect, value, price,money paid or received.

being sold (1) 4097 piprasko – froman earlier form of perao– to carry across the sea for the purpose of selling or to export.

placing/placed (2) 5087 tithemi – to set,lay, put, place a person or a thing.

distributing (1) 1239 diadidomi – from dia – through,and didomi– to give. To deliver through, disperseor distribute.

need (1) 5532 chreia – use,usage, need, necessity, want.

also called (1) 1941 epikaleo – from epi – upon, and kaleo -call. To call upon.

translated (1) 3177 methermeneuo -from meta – with, and hermeneuo – tointerpret. Totranslate from one language into another, to interpret.

encouragement (1) 3874 paraklesis – frompara -beside, and kaleo– call. To call beside, to encourage,exhort, comfort.

lineage (1) 1085 genos – from ginomai – tobecome. Offspring,posterity, family, lineage.

field (1) 68 agros – an area of cultivatedground, a field.

money (1) 5536 chrema -something useful or capable of being used, money.

Overview: When the believers prayed, the place shook, the Holy Spiritfilled them, and they spoke the word of God boldly. This gathering was one in heart and soul, andthey shared everything in common. Theapostles proclaimed the gospel with power and grace was upon everyone. Owners sold their property, and placed theincome before the apostles where it was distributed it to those in need. Joseph, called Barnabas, sold his field, andplaced the income before the apostles.

Interpretation:

4:31 Andwhen they had prayed, the place in which they had been assembled was shaken,and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they were speaking the wordof God with boldness.

After hearing the report of Peter and John, thebelievers worship the Lord (Acts 4:24), interpret the Scripturesregarding their circumstance (Acts 4:25-28) and pray for God’spower "to speak Your word with boldness"(Acts 4:29). Theirprayer was clearly in the will of God because the Holy Spirit moved with power immediatelyafter their petition: "Theplace…was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." This display of power parallels the moving ofGod’s Spirit in Acts 2:2-4, another work of God that was preceded by prayer(Acts 1:14). In bothcases, the believers prayed, the Spirit came with power, they were filled withthe Holy Spirit and they spoke God’s word with boldness.

4:32 And the multitude of those havingbelieved was one heart and soul, and not one was claiming any of hispossessions to be (his) own, but all things were common to them.

The "multitude" includes some portion ofthe people responding to Peter’s first sermon, "there were added, in thesame day, about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41), and second sermon,"the number of men became about five thousand" (Acts 4:4). God used the bold witness of Peter to unitethe multitude in "fellowship" (Acts 2:42) and "with oneaccord" (Acts 2:46). Now, God uses the believers to unite themultitude in "one heart and soul."The demonstration of love expressed in selling possessions anddistributing profits to those in need (Acts 2:44-45) occurs again aspersonal possessions become community property: "all things were common tothem." This pure expression ofcommunal living resulted from the inspired preaching of God’s word, first byPeter (Acts 2:14-36), and now by those empowered by the Holy Spiritto preach with boldness.

4:33 And with great power the apostles weregiving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was uponall of them.

The apostles are specifically mentioned inconjunction with "great power."This "power" is "great" because it comes fromGod. Even as "many wonders andsigns were coming through the apostles" (Acts 2:43) previously, "greatpower" is manifested through the apostles now. This power is not necessarily in"wonders and signs," as before, but is certainly in the bold"witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus." Again, the gospel message, proclaimed withboldness, is central. God works miraclesto draw attention to Himself so unbelievers may hear the gospel, repent andbelieve (Acts 3:6-10,19-20). Since this is a multitude of believers, whoare united in Christ already (Acts 4:32), it is likely that thispower is not a wonder or sign to initiate faith, but a powerful witness tostrengthen faith. The believers weretruly edified because "great power" produced "great grace"in everyone. "The resurrection ofthe Lord Jesus" is the greatest grace (favor) of all, the priceless giftof God to the world (John 3:16).

4:34 For not any of them was in need, for asmany as are owners of lands or houses are selling, and were bringing the pricesof the (things) being sold.

The unity of these believers and their ministry isprofound. Motivation for ministry camebecause they were "all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 4:31). As a result of this unique experience,"all things were common to them" (Acts 4:32), and "grace was uponall of them" (Acts 4:33). The word, "all," occurs three timesin these three verses to show the encompassing work of the Holy Spirit in"all" believers, to hold "all" things in common, so thatthey "all" may enjoy the grace of God. The Holy Spirit of God ministered to thebelievers first (Acts 4:31-33), and then through thebelievers to one another. No one was"in need" because "owners of lands or houses" sold theirproperty, and consolidated the profits for distribution to those "inneed." This same spiritual responseoccurred when three thousand believed the gospel (Acts 2:41), and demonstrated theirfaith by "holding all things in common," and "selling theirproperties and their possessions" (Acts 2:44-45). The filling by God’s Spirit is total, and thegiving by God’s people is total. Godgives so others may receive.

4:35 And they were placing (them) at thefeet of the apostles, and were distributing to each, according to any who washaving need.

"The prices (value, money) of the things beingsold" (Acts 4:34) were set before theapostles ("at the feet").There is no place in the NT where the apostles ever demand possessionsand profits to be placed in their trust.On the contrary, the Apostle Paul chose not to be a financial burden tothe church (2 Corinthians 11:9, 12:9), as he worked with his hands to care forhis own needs (Acts 20:34). The believers place their money before theapostles because the Holy Spirit has filled them (Acts 4:31), and compelled them toshare everything (Acts 4:32). Since the apostles are the primarybenefactors of the ministry of Jesus (Acts 1:4-5), and because they wererespected by the early church (Acts 2:42), it is natural for thebelievers to entrust them with these funds.The apostles are not taking the money for themselves, but"distributing to each, according to….need." The same distribution of money to meet needsoccurred in Acts 2:45. The focus in on meeting needs in the community of faith, notincreasing the income of the leadership.

4:36 Now Joseph, the (one) also called Barnabas, by the apostles,which is being translated, Son of Encouragement, a Levite, a Cyprian bylineage,

The "multitude of those having believed"was mentioned in general (Acts 4:32), but now a certainindividual, Joseph, is identified specifically.In fact, the identification of this man is very specific. His first name, Joseph, is followed by asecond name, Barnabas, which was given "by the apostles." It was not uncommon for a second name to begiven for a particular reason (i.e. Jesus gave Simon the name Peter (John 1:42), which means, "arock"). The apostles gave Josephthe name, "Barnabas" (transliterated from Aramaic: bar – son of, and nabas – prophet, consolation),probably because of his gift to preach the word of God and comfort theneedy. He is mentioned specificallybecause his ministry in the life of the early church was very significant;Barnabas was an encouragement to Paul (Acts 9:26-27), and his name ismentioned 24 times in the book of Acts.He is a Levite from Cyprus ("Cyprian bylineage").

4:37 who, having a field, sold (it), brought theprice, and placed (it) at the feet of the apostles.

In the OT, the Levites were appointed by the Law ofMoses to be servants of the priests (Numbers 3:6), as such, they were theproperty of God (Numbers 8:14). Therefore, the Levites neither owned propertynor paid tithes, but they received their needs from tithes given by the othertribes of Israel. These restrictions did not apply in NT times,however, it is interesting to note that this Levite sold his property ("afield"), and placed "the price" before the apostles. In the OT, needs of the Levites were providedby the Jewish people, but now, this particular Levite provides for the needs ofhis brothers and sisters in Christ.

Application: To let Godfill me with His Spirit so that I may speak His word boldly, experience unitywith other believers, and minister to brothers and sisters in need.

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