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Bible Commentaries
Acts 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

The First Church Persecution After Pentecost, V. 1-4

1) "And as they spake unto the people," (lalounton de auton pros ton laon) "While they (Peter and John) were even or still speaking to the mass of people," in Solomon’s Porch, where the former lame man had detained them, Acts 3:11.

2) "The priests and the captain of the temple," (hoi hiereis kai ho strategos tou hierou) "The priests and the captain, rulers or (commandant) of the temple proper; This refers to those priests officiating at that time, with the captain, ruler or commandant of the temple, who kept order, Luke 22:52. The temple captain, was second in command to the High Priest in all officiating matters about the temple.

3) "And the Sadducees," (kai hoi Saddoukaioi)"And(as well as) the Sadducees:- The materialists, skeptics, and religious materialists of the Jewish religious order that denied the existence of 1) angels, 2) Spirits, and 3) the literal resurrection of bodies of men, Acts 23:8. They seem to have had an aristocratic control of the office of High Priest at this time.

4) "Came upon them," (epestesan autois) "Came upon (to confront) them;” The idea is that they came suddenly upon them in a hostile manner, as they had done to Jesus, Luke 22:52-54; and as they did upon Stephen, Acts 6:12; and as they did Jason, Acts 17:5.

Verse 2

1) "Being grieved," (diaponoumenoi) "Being greatly troubled or emotionally disturbed," angry, vexed, indignant, or sore troubled, with mental anguish; So why? The answer is that with witnessing power they were exposing the fallacy of the doctrine of Sadduceeism, Acts 23:8.

2) "That they taught the people," (dia to cliclaskein autous ton laon) "Because they repeatedly taught them," the masses of people on Solomon’s Porch, as they obeyed the Lord in witnessing to them, Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20; John 20:21. The officers objected to the disturbing presence of Peter, John and their learning audience, and the Sadducees were furious because of their resurrection and Holy Spirit doctrine.

3) "And preached through Jesus," (kai katangellein en to lesou) "To announce that by or in Jesus," there existed, had occurred or been confirmed in the resurrection of Jesus that the "no resurrection" and "no Spirit" doctrines of the Sadducees were held by them in error and in ignorance, Acts 23:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19; Romans 10:1-4.

4) "The resurrection from the dead," (ten anastasin ten ek nekron) "The resurrection out of the physically dead corpse state or condition." Peter and John emphatically declared that the resurrection of Jesus attested by so many living witnesses, and the gift of the Holy Spirit He had sent, was proof or incontestable evidence, that they too would one day be raised from the dead. This was an open rebuke to all Sadduceeism. Why, if it were so, the High Priests and all these temple employees would lose their jobs, they reasoned in the flesh, Matthew 6:33; Matthew 26:31-32; Matthew 18:1; Matthew 18:5-8; Romans 8:11; Revelation 1:18.

Let it be noted that liquor profits, prostitutes, pimps, illegal narcotics dealers, etc. are grieved when sobriety and moral ethics prevail by restraining laws against their illegal trades. If it be true that "the wicked f lee when no man pursueth," they run faster when the law does pursue, Proverbs 28:1.

Verse 3

1) "And they laid hands on them," (kai epebalon autois tas cheiras) "And they laid their hands on them," the "they" who seized them refers to 1) priests, 2) captain of the temple, and 3) Sadducees, a trinity of an unholy alliance against Jesus Christ and His church, as Paul also did later, Luke 22:52-54, Acts 22:4. Peter and John were here publicly arrested and then imprisoned for preaching the resurrection gospel of the Son of God, Matthew 5:11-12.

2) "And put them in hold," (kai ethento eis teresin) "And placed them in (the) guardhouse," to hold in detained confinement as criminals, to hold them in custody to be held up as common criminals, objects of public shame, as in Judges 9:46; Judges 9:49; As Paul also persecuted the church later, Acts 22:4.

3) "Unto the next day:” (eis ten aurion) "Until the day following," or until the next day, before deciding in collusion (as an unholy alliance), what to do with them. It was too late for a judicial hearing since eventime had come, or 6 p.m. had arrived and it was considered unlawful to hold a night time trial, Jeremiah 21:12.

4) "For it was now eventide," (hen gar espera ede) "For at the moment it was evening," or six o’clock in the evening, three hours after Peter and John had come to enter into the temple to pray and teach the people and had healed the lame or paralytic man, Acts 3:11; and public teaching and gatherings concluded at evening, Luke 24:29; Acts 28:23.

Verse 4

1) "Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed;” (polloi de ton akousanton ton logon episteusan) "However many of those who were hearing (giving heed to) the word believed," or trusted in Jesus Christ, in spite of the arrest or detainment of Peter and John. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God," without regards to or in spite of human circumstances, Romans 10:17; It is much like Paul’s address at Mars Hill when 1) some believed, 2) some mocked, and 3) some procrastinated, Acts 17:32-34.

2) "And the number of men," (kai egenthe arithmos ton anthropon) "And the number of responsible persons, perhaps men and women, came to be, increased up to, or was at the end of that day, or as a final result of that occasion; God’s word does not return void, nor do His witnesses lose their reward for faithfulness, in spite of some rejection, Isaiah 55:10-11; Ecclesiastes 11:1-2.

3) "Was about five thousand," (hos chiliades pente) "(was) approximately five thousand," This passage does not convey the idea that five thousand believers were added that day, but that the church’s size had grown "to be" about five thousand in number. From the number (together) of men and women, Acts 1:15 to Acts 2:41.

Verse 5

Peter’s Address before the Sanhedrin Defense of the Gospel, V. 5-12.

1) "And it came to pass on the morrow," (egeneto de epi ten aurion) "Now it came to pass (occurred) on the morrow;” It happened on the following day, the day following the evening arrest of Peter and John in Solomon’s Porch, Acts 3:11; Acts 4:1-3.

2) "That their rulers, and elders, and scribes," (auton tous archontas kai tous presbuterius kai tous grammateis) "That their rulers, elders, and scribes," the Jewish religious hierarchy, controlled by the non-resurrection, no Spirit, no angel believing Sadducees, Acts 23:8. These were known as the Sanhedrin, including priests and elders, heads of families; The Scribes were both copyists and teachers of the law of Moses, Acts 5:21.

Verse 6

1) "And Annas the high priest," (kai Annas ho archiereus) "And Annas the high, chief, or ruling priest," the father-in-law of Caiphas who was the active presiding High Priest, John 1:8; John 13:14; Luke 3:2.

2) "And Caiphas, and John, and Alexander," (kai Kaaphas kai loannes kai Aleksandros) "And Caiphas, John, and Alexander;” This John was perhaps the son of Annas the high priest; and Alexander is thought to be the brother of Philo, the famous Jewish historian, a man of substantial wealth, Antiquities of Josephus 18:8; Matthew 26:3; John 11:49; John 18:14; John 18:28-32.

3) "And as many as were of the kindred of the high priest," (kai hosoi esan ek genous archieratikou) "And as many as were of the family-race (kindred) of the high priest.

4) "Were gathered together at Jerusalem," (sunachthenai en lerousalem) "Were assembled in Jerusalem," for this special trial, the indictment and condemnation of Peter and John and the church that was assembling with them.

Those who came "to be assembled" in Jerusalem that day were not of his blood-relations only, but also those of the pontifical race, rulers in Israel; They had come for the "hides" of Peter and John especially, Acts 4:3, Jesus had assured that such times should come to His witnesses, yet not without blessings, Matthew 5:11-12; John 15:20-21; Galatians 6:9.

They came together, flocked together for council or collusion regarding the healing of the lame man and the subsequent preaching of Peter in Solomon’s Porch. This doctrine of resurrection, Holy Spirit gifts, the existence of angels, and testimony of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus sorely vexed the Sadducees and Sanhedrin for it identified them as enemies against God, ignorant, and living off of tithes of the people of God, while rejecting his manifestation of himself in Jesus Christ, John 1:11-12; Romans 10:1-4; Ephesians 4:18; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

Verse 7

1) "And when they had set them in the midst," (kai stesantes autous en to meso) "And when they had stood them up, caused them to stand up, in the midst of the gathered assembly," of the Sanhedrin that normally satin a semi-circle, Acts 4:5-6; John 8:3.

2) "They asked," (epunthaonto) "They inquired," cross-questioned, or prodded them with questions, such as they asked Jesus concerning the woman taken in adultery, John 8:1-12.

3) "By what power, or by what name," (en poia dunamei e en poio, onomati) "By what power (dynamic backing or support) or in what name, what authority;” authority is primary in lawfully administering public matters. So the question was a proper one, similar to that posed to our Lord, Matthew 21:23-32; Luke 12:14; Acts 7:27.

4) “Have ye done this?" (epoiesate touto humeis) "Have you all done this kind of thing?" In healing the lame man. Whatever one does today is to be done "in the name," by the authority, or in the name of the law of Moses, Hammurabi, Zoraster, etc. Colossians 3:17.

Verse 8

1) "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost," (Petros plestheis pneumatos hagiou) "Peter being filled of or controlled by the Holy Spirit," that same empowering Spirit, which came upon him and the church at Pentecost, Acts 2:4 John 16:12-15.

2) "Said unto them," (eipen pros autos) "Responded to them" their questions, probing, and inquiries, being raised above human fear and taught or had given to him at that hour what to say, Luke 12:11-12. A child of God, one who is a baptized believer, a member of the Lord’s church has the presence and power of that same Holy Spirit available to him, in the church today, John 14:16-17; John 15:16; John 15:27; Ephesians 4:1-4; Ephesians 5:15-19.

3) "Ye rulers of the people," (archontes tou laou) "Ye rulers of the People," adjudicators of moral, ethical, and doctrinal matters of daily life, as it is interpreted by you, based on the law of Moses and traditions of the elders, Mark 7:1-23.

4) "And elders of Israel," (kai presbuteroi) "And elders," mature leaders in Israel; This was an excellent introduction to his crucifixion message he was about to deliver to this august body of elite, knowledgeable (yet ignorant) Israelites, on the law of Moses. They had received the law but did not themselves keep it, Exodus 20:1; Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2.

Verse 9

1) "If we this day," (ei hemeis semeron) "if we today," at this time, on this day- -The "we" refers to Peter and John who had gone up to the temple to teach, witness, and pray, Acts 3:1; Acts 4:1-2.

2) "Be examined of the good deed," (anakrinometha epi euergesia) "Are being judged (examined) upon (the basis of) a good deed," and they were, Matthew 12:35; Titus 2:7; Titus 2:14. It was a good deed though they were being derided and harassed for having done it in the name of this Jesus of Nazareth, which they too witnessed with Holy Spirit power, affirming that He had been raised from the dead, and that they had seen Him, Acts 1:8.

3) "Done to the impotent man," (anthropou asthenous) "That has been done to an infirm man," Acts 3:2; Acts 3:11-12. He had been lame, or impotent, (without power to walk) from his mother’s womb, (from birth) for "forty years," Acts 4:22.

4) "By what means he is made whole;” (en tini houtos sesostai) "by what means (power, or authority, or name) this man has been healed;” They gave these rulers no double-talk, but witnessed plainly, that it was thru or by the name, authority, or power of the Holy Spirit which God, thru Christ, had sent them since the resurrection and ascension of their Lord, as aforeprophesied and promised specifically to them, Acts 3:6; Acts 3:12-18.

Verse 10

1) Be it known unto you all,"(gnoston esto pasin humin) "Let it be known (or realized) to you all," to all of you and each of you of the Sanhedrin, the intellect of the world of ceremonial Judaism, the chief priests, rulers, and elders of Israel, Acts 4:11; Luke 22:52-54.

2) "And to all the people of Israel," (kai panti to lao Israel) "Even to all the people of Israel," who had thru willful ignorance rejected Jesus Christ, John 1:11-12; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; Romans 10:1-4; Ephesians 4:18; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. These were both ignorant and blind in spiritual matters though publicly religious, popular, and pious.

3) "That by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth," (hoti en to onomati lesoi Christou tou Nazoraiou) "That in (by) the name (authority) of the Nazarene, Jesus Christ," who was "to save His people from their sins," Matthew 1:21; Acts 3:6; Romans 1:16.

4) "Whom ye crucified," (hon humeis estaurosate) "Whom you all crucified," nailed to a tree; that is you all of Israel, the Jews caused Him to be nailed to a tree, though the Romans, the lawful executors drove the nails, Acts 3:14-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15.

5) "Whom God raised from the dead," (hon ho theos egeiren ek nekron) "Whom God raised out from among the dead," from the grave, from among the dead corpses of the deceased, Acts 2:22-24; Acts 3:15; Acts 10:40.

6) "Even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole," (en touto houtos paresteken enopion humon hugies) "In this very name (Jesus of Nazareth) does this one lame man stand to present himself before you all made whole or healed," Acts 2:32-33; Acts 2:36; Peter had performed the miracle on the lame man by publicly exhorting "in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk," and the lame man had done it and stayed whole; so he was not about to change his witness, Acts 3:6; Colossians 3:17; He was a faithful, empowered witness, giving glory to God, 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Verse 11

1) "This is the stone," (houtos estin ho lithos) "This one is (exists as) the stone," this one stone being the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, a despised name among them, but exalted of God, whom Peter had preached on Pentecost of a recent day, Psalms 118:22; Matthew 21:42; John 1:11-12. The builders were Israel of the house that Moses built, Hebrews 3:2-5.

2) "Which was set at naught of you builders," (ho eksouthenetheir hulp’ humen ton oikodomon) "The one which was despised of those building," those continually building. Jesus confronted them with their defiance of this very Old Testament prophecy as it applied directly to them, Isaiah 28:16-18; Matthew 21:42-46. To Israel He was an unacceptable building stone; too "rough," they saw Him through blinded eyes, of Nazareth of Galilee, not of Judea, John 1:46.

3) "Which is become the head of the corner," (ho genomenos eis kephale gnoias) "The one now become (existing as) the head of the corner," the chief corner stone, chief support, Ephesians 2:20, the foundation on which salvation, all truth, and the church is built, Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11; John 14:6; Matthew 16:18; 1 Timothy 3:15.

Verse 12

1) "Neither is there salvation in any other:” (kai ouk estin en allo oudeni he soteria) "And there does not exist salvation in another, (among men) not even one," or salvation does not exist in any other person, place, source, or thing. For "Salvation (deliverance) is of the Lord,’ Jonah 3:9; of which none should be ashamed, Romans 1:16; 1 Timothy 2:5-6.

2) "For there is none other name under heaven," (oude gar onoma estin heteron hupo ton ouranon)’ there is not any other kind, order, rank, (of) name under the highest heaven," that can keep men from dying in sin and going to hell, John 8:24; Colossians 3:17; Acts 10:43.

3) "Given among men," (to dedomenon en anthropois) "That has been given among men," conferred as rank or order of honor among men for regal honor, or religious position existing among the ranks of humanity, Matthew 1:21; Isaiah 9:6-7.

4) "Whereby we must be saved," (en ho dei eothenai hemas) "By which it behooves (becomes) us to be saved," John 3:16. He is the only perfect human being who has ever lived and died, who came to seek and to save the lost, Luke 19:10; who bore their sins in His body on the tree, 1 Peter 2:24, and who intercedes and advocates for sins of the redeemed at the Father’s right hand today, Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2.

THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST

Christ is a rare jewel, but men know not His value; a sun which ever shines, but men perceive not His brightness, nor walk in His light. He is a garden full of sweets, a hive of honey, a sun without a spot, a star ever bright, a fountain ever full, a brook which ever flows, a rose which ever blooms, a foundation which never yields, a guide who never errs, a friend who never forsakes. No mind can fully grasp His glory; His beauty, His worth, His importance, no tongue can fully declare. He is the source of all good, the fountain of every excellency, the mirror of perfection, the light of heaven, the wonder of earth, time’s masterpiece, and eternity’s glory; the sun of bliss, the way of life, and life’s fair way. "He is altogether lovely," says the saint; a morning without clouds, a day without night, a rose without thorns; His lips drop like honeycomb, His eyes beam tenderness, His heart gushes love. The Christian is fed by His hands, carried in His heart, supported by His arm, nursed in His bosom, guided by His eye, instructed by His lips, warmed by His love, His wounds are His life, His smile the light of His path, the health of His soul, His rest and heaven below. - Balfern.

Verse 13

Preaching In Jesus’ Name Forbidden, Challenged, V. 13-22

1) "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, "(theorountes de ten tou Petrou parresian kai losnnu) "And observing or scrutinizing the boldness of Peter and John," 1 Corinthians 1:27. This boldness was from the empowering spirit and grace of God, Hebrews 4:15-16. Peter and John reflected the boldness of their Lord, Mark 8:32; Mark 8:34.

2) "And perceived that," (kai katalabomenoi hoti) "And perceiving (knowing) or assuming that," with their spiritual ignorance and blindness, in their lost state; 1 John 4:13. They looked upon the apostles, disciples, and church of our Lord as if they were offspring of abstract ignorance, yet it is they who in their rebellious pride shall be abased, Luke 18:14.

3) "They were unlearned and ignorant men," (anthropoi agrammatooi eisin kai idiotai) "They were (existed) unlettered, or had been without formal education, and laymen," idiotic men in the minds of the proud scribes, elders, rulers, and Sanhedrin; yet the reverse situation was true, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 4:18. They were unlearned only in Rabbinical law.

4) "They marveled," (ethaumazon) "They marveled," were spell-bound. For they had once seen them in despond, near cowed, and humbled at the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, but now they were full of boldness and joy in the risen Lord, John 18:15-18.

5) "And took knowledge of them," (epeginoskon) "And recognized them," as having been with Jesus, therefore really neither unlearned nor idiotic. For our Lord had furnished them unto every good work by His Spirit and Word, 2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 13:34-35.

6) "That they had been with Jesus," (hoti sun to lesou esan) "That they had been in colleague or close affinity with Jesus," with the master Teacher of the ages, and none is either ignorant or unlearned today who has received the words of Jesus, His teachings; Psalms 119:105; Psalms 119:130; Psalms 119:160; Matthew 11:25-26.

Verse 14

1) "And beholding the man," (ton anthropon blepontes) "Then beholding or noticing the man," the one who had been healed and had detained Peter and John in Solomon’s Porch, Acts 3:6-11. He had not run away or refused to appear in the hall of justice because of gratitude in his heart.

2) "Which was healed standing with them,"(sun autois estota ton tetherapeumenon) "Who was having been healed standing in colleague with them," with Peter and John, standing up for, defending what the Lord had done for him, thru them Acts 4:5; Acts 4:7. It appears that this former lame man, then healed and standing with and for Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, may have been imprisoned, with hope of the ruling elders, that he might be a material witness against Peter and John.

3) "They could say nothing against it," (ouden eichon anteipein) "They had not one thing to say against what had been done;” Tho the prosecutors and accusers could say nothing against what had been done in the healing of the lame man of forty years, they were troubled at the haunting prospects that they were murderers of the Messiah, Acts 4:21-22.

This conduct of the ruling Sanhedrin was much like that of Pilate who "Found no fault" with Jesus, John 18:38; John 19:4; John 19:6-13.

Three times Pilate declared that he could find no fault in Jesus, yet for pride of his position, fear of being charged as not being a friend of Caesar, though he knew it was not so, yet he gave his consent for the crucifixion of Jesus.

In spite of truth men still act far too often for reasons of prejudice, position, and selfishness - - - for covetous reasons, Luke 12:15.

Verse 15

1) "But when they had commanded them," (keleusantes de autous) "Yet when they had commanded them," Peter and John, and the lame man who had been healed, Acts 4:7; Acts 4:13-14.

2) "To go aside out of the council," (ekso tou sunedriou apelthein) "Togo outside the council, to leave the council meeting, out of earshot of the semi-circle of the Sanhedrin hearing, where they had been called, ordered to stand and answer questions or be examined for their conduct in the temple area and in Jerusalem, Acts 4:7. They were given a recess from questioning while their prosecutors and accusers tried to put their act together.

3) "They conferred among themselves," (suneballon pros allelous) "They discussed the matter with one another," they engaged in an exchange of opinions about the apostles, the lame man who had been healed, and the testimony of the apostles regarding the resurrected Lord, as well perhaps as what had happened on the recent day of Pentecost. These men of the Sanhedrin law council were learned men, though not Spiritual men. They recognized, and later yielded to the axiom (rule) that in the midst of council there is wisdom, Proverbs 11:14.

Verse 16

1) "Saying, what shall we doto these men?"(Iegontesti poiesomen tois anthropois toutois) "Saying repeatedly, what may we do (should we do) to or toward these men?" They were agitated, vexed, disturbed, fearful within their own souls, as they sought each other’s uncertain opinion on that to do with Peter and John, God’s men of the hour. They feared for loss of their position, felt they must be punished, John 11:47-48.

2) "For that indeed a notable miracle," (hoti men gar gnoton semeion) "Because that certainly a notable miracle," or physical sign of instantaneous Divine nature, had occurred, such as formerly convinced Nicodemus and the Sanhedrin that Jesus was from God, John 3:1-2.

3) "Hath been done by them," (grgonen di auton) "Has become (happened) through them," as Holy Spirit empowered witnessing apostles, whose witness had been confirmed with the healing of the lame man, Hebrews 2:4.

4) "Is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem;” (pasin katoikousin lerousalem phaneron) "To all those continually living in Jerusalem it is manifest;” This simply means that the former paralyzed man whose impotent condition had long been known in Jerusalem, was now so visibly healed in body and soul that all the residents in Jerusalem had been made aware of the miraculous healing, Acts 4:10.

5) "And we cannot deny it," (kai ou dunamentha areisthai) "And we are not able to deny it," to contest the truthfulness of the matter, it was so widely known and factually evident, Acts 3:9-10; Acts 4:10.

Verse 17

1) "But that it spread no further among the people," (all’ hina me epi pleion diamemethe eiston laon) "But in order that it spread no more abroad to the people," among the masses. Satan tries to hinder the spread of the gospel by threats, by bribes, and by false testimony.

2) "Let us straitly threaten them," (apeilsometha autois) "Let us threaten them," give out threats against them, emotional threats of punishment, unless they cease their witnessing; How similar this was to threats made against Daniel and the three Hebrew children for their praying to the living God, Daniel 3:14-18; Daniel 6:7-10.

3) "That they speak henceforth," (meketi lalein) "To the effect that they speak no more hereafter," that they witness no more thereafter. Their convictions were that they should obey God, rather than men, Acts 1:8; Acts 5:29.

4) "To no man in this name," (epi to onomati teuto medeni anthropon) ’No not to anyone among men upon authority or as if by authority of this one," the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet it was in the name and by or thru the name of Jesus they had been saved, Matthew 1:21; Acts 4:12; By His name they had been commissioned to witness and labor, John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:18-20; and do whatever they did in word or deed thru His name, authority, or sanction, Colossians 3:17.

Verse 18

1) "And they called them," (kai kalesantes autous) "And calling them," back into the midst of the council as if to give them a second chance to hear the decision of the council, as Nebuchadnezzar did the three Hebrew children who refused to bow down and worship the image he had set up, Daniel 3:12-18.

2) "And commanded them not to speak at all," (perengellan katholou me phthebesthai) "They charged them not at all to be uttering," or not to speak up "at all” not to witness at all in Jesus’ name. They therefore set up an adversary relationship between themselves and Jesus, concerning which should have priority of authority, Acts 1:8; Acts 5:29.

3) "Nor teach in the name of Jesus," (mede didskein epi to Onomati tou lesou) "Nor even to teach upon the name or authority of Jesus," yet it was He who had had all authority in heaven and earth given to Him of the Father, after which He commanded them to teach in His name, Matthew 28:18-20. It was He who came to save them, Luke 19:10; to them He had given power to become sons of God, John 1:11-12; There was salvation in and thru no other name, Acts 4:12; and they who believe it not, do not accept that Jesus is the Savior, cannot enter heaven, John 8:24; Colossians 3:17.

Verse 19

1) "But Peter and John answered," (ho de Petros kai loannes apokrithentes) "Then Peter and John responded," replied, or gave answer. They followed the axiom that "to sit silent when they should protest makes cowards out of men," and what is more, such makes one an enemy to the cross and church of Jesus Christ, James 4:3; 1 Peter 5:8-9.

2) "And said unto them," (eipon pros autous) "They said to them," to the members of the council. What they said is here recorded for the benefit of witnesses of Christ who are yet challenged by pious religious and prejudiced civil anarchists against Jesus Christ today, 1 Corinthians 10:13; John 15:20.

3) "Whether it be right in the sight of God," (ei dikaion estin enopion tou theou) "Whether or not it is righteous before the face of God," when brought face to face with ones duty to God, to speak or not to speak in the name of Jesus, to defend your Saviour and His honor. If it be right to fight for the honor of ones mother or father’s name, how much more so to speak up and out for the name of Jesus Christ, 1 Timothy 5:8; Proverbs 22:1.

4) "To hearken unto you," (humon akouein) "To hear or give heed to you all," to your recrimination threats and restrictions you would place on us; For men can not obey or serve two conflicting masters, Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13.

5) "More than to God," (mallon e tou theou) "Rather than to hear God," what He directs us to do in spiritual matters. When there appears to be a conflict between the orders, instructions, or mandates of men and the Word of God, which should be followed? Which is right? The answer is follow, obey the Word, always, Matthew 6:33; John 15:14; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

6) "Judge ye," (krinate) "You all judge," you decide, draw your own conclusions, Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 11:31. Whatever judgments men make should be based upon the Word of God interpreted in its contextual setting, for it is that by, which all men shall one day be judged of the Lord for rewards or retribution of punishment, Romans 2:16; Revelation 20:11-12. On religious matters Divine law supersedes any conflicting human law.

Verse 20

1) "For we cannot," (ou dunametha gar hemeis) "For we are not able," can not in good conscience, hold back from obeying our Lord; Read of Paul’s fervor, expressed indebtedness to those in Rome, Romans 1:14-16; of his desire by all means to save some, 1 Corinthians 9:21-23.

2) "But speak the things," (me lalein ha) "But keep on speaking the things," witnessing the things, uttering the story of Jesus; The "redeemed of the Lord" must have liberty to "say so," to speak forth, Psalms 107:2; Matthew 5:15-16; Acts 1:8; "Be ye reconciled to God," must be the cry of the redeemed, wherever they go, 2 Corinthians 5:20; Revelation 22:17.

3) "We have seen and heard," (eidomen kai akousamen) "We saw and heard," of Jesus in His life, death, and resurrection ministry, plus His empowering of our people with the gift of other languages and dialects on Pentecost, His saving three thousand souls on that day, and His healing this once lame man, who was lame for forty years, Acts 4:22. This especially refers to personal duty of the Lord’s children as it relates to doing the work of the Lord thru His church, Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; Ephesians 3:21.

Verse 21

1) "So when they had further threatened them," (hoi de prosapeliesamenoi) "Moreover when they had added (more) threats," further threatened them in response to Peter and John’s response to their instructing them to speak no more at all in the name of Jesus, Acts 4:19-20.

2) "They let them go," (apelusan autous) "They released them," set them at liberty.

3) "Finding nothing how they might punish them," (meden euriskontes to pos kolasontai autous) "Finding not one thing how they might punish them," finding no legal ground for punishing or further detaining them under arrest.

4) "Because of the people:” (dia ton laon) "Because of the people," who served as a double-check against any collusion that might occur in the council of the elders and rulers. If it had not been for the backing of the people they perhaps would not have waited for legal power, Acts 4:1-2.

5) "For all men glorified God," (hoti pantes edoksazon ton theon) "For all men (the masses) glorified God," in acknowledging that by His power the lame man of forty years had been healed, Acts 4:22; Matthew 21:26; Luke 20:6; Luke 20:19.

6) "For that which was done," (epi to gegonoti) "Upon the basis of the thing that had happened," the healing of the lifelong lame man, Acts 3:7-11. And any act on the part of the Sanhedrin would have appeared publicly to set them in direct opposition against God, Acts 3:11.

Verse 22

1) "For the man was above forty years old,"(eton gar en pleionon tessarakonta ho anthropos) "For the man was more than forty (years of age)," who for many years had been laid paralyzed at the gate Beautiful to receive alms of the masses, Acts 3:2.

2) "On whom this miracle of healing was shewed," (eph’ hon gegonei to semeion tonto tes iaseos) "On or upon whom this miracle of cure(healing) had happened," or been performed by Peter and John, Acts 3:7-11. Because of his total paralysis (lameness) from birth, and his begging for so long, the cure appeared so much greater.

In this first confrontation of the church with the Sanhedrin the church prevailed, thru the miraculous witnessbearing power exercised by Peter and John, Hebrews 2:4; Matthew 10:19; Mark 13:11.

Verse 23

Church Members Empowered by the Holy Spirit, V. 23-31

1) "And being let go," (apoluthentes de) "Moreover when they were released," let go free from arrest, detainment, questioning and threats by the chief priests, elders and rulers of Israel who composed the Sanhedrin.

2) "They went to their own company," (elthon pros tous idious) "They went of their own will, accord, or choice to their own company or fellowship," to the church brethren, who had grown from a company of 120 to more than 5 thousand, Acts 1:15; Acts 2:41; Acts 4:4.

3) "And reported all that," (kai apaengeilan hosa) "And gave an account or report, reported what things the whole story, experience they had undergone, similar to what their Lord had forewarned, Matthew 5:11-12; John 15:20-21.

4) "The chief priests and elders had said unto them," (pros autous hoi archiereis kai hoi presbuteroi eipan) "That the high, chief, or ruling priests and the elders had said," while they held them in their semi-circle questioning session, and how they responded both to their questions and to their later threats, Acts 4:7; Acts 4:18; Acts 4:20-21.

Verse 24

1) "And when they had heard that," (hoi de akousantes) "Moreover when their company (the church) heard the report," or account of what had happened to them before the council.

2) "They lifted up their voice to God of one accord," (homothumadon eran phenen pros ton theon) "With one mind or disposition (with harmony) they lifted a (testimony) voice to God," they offered prayers of gratitude and hallelujah voices of praise for the goodness of God to them in this first major legal confrontation; The hymn of praise may be compared with that of Hezekiah.

3) "And said, Lord," (kai eipen despota) "And they said, thou Master," a master with despotic judgement power, as used also Luke 2:29. As Lord of all their enemies, they realized were in His hands and on them He could execute vengeance, Romans 3:5; Romans 12:15.

4) "Thou art God, which hast made heaven and earth," (su ho poiesas ton puranon kai ten gen) "Thou (O God) the one who has made (formed) the heaven and the earth; He is sovereign over all creation, Job 5:8; 1 Corinthians 8:6. As such He is also the God of Grace.

5) "And the sea and all that in them is:” (kai ten thalassan kai panta ta en autois) "And the sea and all kinds of things that are in them," that are in the heaven, earth, and sea. He is sovereign Lord of all, 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16.

Verse 25

1) "Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said," (ho stomatos David paidos sou eipon) "Who through the mouth of David your servant are still saying," by revelation hast spoken, and dost keep on speaking, asking of the defiant unbelieving, Psalms 2:1-2.

2) "Why did the heathen rage," (hinati ephrusksan ethne) "Why raged (the) nations?" or heathen peoples. The answer is that they were at enmity with and rebellion against God and holiness; A lunatic rages because he is a lunatic, a lion roars and rages because he is a lion. The roaring and raging are products of the nature of man and beasts, Ephesians 2:2-3; Romans 8:7.

3) "And the people imagine vain things?" (kai laoi emeletesan kena) "And why have people devised (connived in) vain things?" Why have and do heathen enter collusion to do hurtful dilatory, and harmful things to God and His people? The answer is that they have depraved sin-set imaginations, evil from youth, proceeding from a bad heart, blind eyes, and darkened, befuddled understanding of God and holy things, Genesis 6:5; Matthew 15:18; Mark 7:21; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 4:18.

Verse 26

1) "The kings of the earth stood up," (parestesan hoi basileis tes ges) "The kings of the earth came to stand alongside each other," against Jesus Christ and His church; Herod first, then Archelaus, Matthew 2:7; Matthew 2:12; Matthew 2:16; Matthew 2:22; Acts 4:5-6; Acts 4:13-18.

2) "And the rulers were gathered together against the Lord," (kai hoi archontes sunechthesan epi to auto kata tou kuriou) "And the rulers came together in colleague, consort, or collusion against the Lord;” The rulers here refers to the religious rulers, the chief priests, elders, and captains of the temple, who composed the Sanhedrin in executive session, in entrapment collusion against Jesus Christ in His church, Matthew 21:23; Matthew 26:57; Matthew 26:59.

3) "And against His Christ," (kai kata tou Christou a utou) "And against His anointed one," the Christ of Him. To persecute and stand against the church is tantamount to persecuting and standing against the Christ that He promised to be with to the end of the ages, Matthew 26:60-68; Mark 14:55.

Those of the church company who offered this prayer of gratitude, (Acts 4:24-26) saw in their organized opposition no strange thing, but considered it the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and the words of their Lord in His preparation of them for such an experience, Psalms 2:1-2; John 15:20; Matthew 5:11-12.

Verse 27

1) "For of a truth," (ep’ aletheia) "Based upon truth," with ample evidence as follows with citations.

2) "Against the holy child Jesus," (epi ton hagion paida

sou lesoun) "Upon or against thy holy servant-son, Jesus," of whom David was a type, the Sanhedrin assembled in collusion, for entrapment, devious purpose to devise a plan by which they might subtly kill Jesus, Matthew 26:3-4; Luke 22:2.

3) "Whom thou hast anointed," (hon echrisas) "The one whom thou didst anoint," as aforetold by Isaiah and declared to be fulfilled by Jesus, Himself, Isa 611; Luke 4:18.

4) "Both Herod and Pontius Pilate," (Herodes te kai Pontios Pilatos) "Indeed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate," at His birth and in His death, Matthew 2:7; Matthew 2:10; Matthew 2:12; Matthew 2:16-18; Matthew 27:1-2; Matthew 27:13; Matthew 27:17-18; Matthew 27:22-26.

5) "With the Gentiles and the people of Israel," (sun ethesin kai laois Israel) "In affinity, company, colleague or collusion with the masses of Gentile (heathen) and peoples of Israel," the heathen Herodians, and Jews, John 10:31; John 10:33; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15; Matthew 22:16; Mark 3:6; Mark 12:13.

6) "Were gathered together," (sunechthesan) "Were gathered together in colleague or covenant," with a perverse intent against Jesus Christ, Mark 3:6; Matthew 23:15-18.

Verse 28

1) "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel," (poiesai hosa he cheir sou kai he boule) "To do (for the purpose of doing) whatever your counsel and hand," or in order to do, Matthew 26:24; Acts 2:23.

The hand and counsel, power and prophetic foreclosure, of things to occur regarding Jesus Christ came forth from His foreknowledge and revelation for men, not by His prefixation decree, Acts 1:24; Revelation 2:23.

2) "Determined before to be done," (proorisen genesthai) "Aforeordained (set in purpose-order) to occur," Acts 3:18. This He did, knowing "what was in man" and man’s natural hate for and antagonism against divine holiness, John 2:25; John 6:64; Matthew 9:4; Mark 2:8.

BENEFIT OF PERSECUTION

As frankincense, when it is put into the fire, giveth the greater perfume; as spice, if it be pounded and beaten, smelleth the sweeter; as the earth, when it is torn up by the plough, becometh more fruitful; the seed in the ground, after frost and snow and winter-storms, springeth the ranker; the nigher the vine is pruned to the stock, the greater grape it yieldeth; the grape, when it is most pressed and beaten, maketh the sweetest wine; linen, when it is washed, wrung and beaten, is so made fairer and whiter; even so the children of God receive great benefit by persecution; for by it God washeth and scoureth, schooleth, and nurtureth them, that so, through many tribulations, they may enter into their rest.

- Crawley

Verse 29

1) "And now, Lord," (kai ta nun kurie) "And now and hereafter, Lord," whatever may occur, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

2) "Behold their threatenings:" (epide epi tas apelias auton) "Look intently upon their threatenings," to see what will result from the threatenings and what help thy servants may need, Philippians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalms 46:1. The threatenings referred to are those made by the Sanhedrin, Acts 4:17; Acts 4:21; Acts 4:23.

3) "And grant unto thy servants," (kai dos tois doulois sou) "And just give to thy servants," or grant to thy bond-slave free servants, Luke 1:74; Ephesians 3:16.

4) "That with boldness they may speak thy word," (meta parresias pases lalein ton logon sou) "Spiritual strength to speak thy word with all boldness possible," Hebrews 4:15-16. They prayed not for security or deliverance from danger but strength to endure it faithfully, which is promised to His very own, 1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 4:19; Hebrews 13:5. Both Barnabas and Paul were granted this boldness, Acts 9:27; Acts 13:46; Acts 19:8; Ephesians 6:19.

Verse 30

1) "By stretching forth thine hand to heal;”- (en to ten cheira ekteinein se eis iasin) "By stretching forth thy hand for to cure," as you did this paralytic, Acts 3:1-7; Romans 15:19.

2) "And that signs and wonders may be done," (kai semeia kai terata ginesthai) "And (cause) signs and wonders to occur or come about," to confirm our testimony with signs following, Acts 2:43; Hebrews 2:4.

3) "By the name of thy holy child Jesus," (dia tou onamatos tou hagiou paidos sou lesou) "Through the name of thy holy servant-child Jesus." He was the servant-child, servant-son of Old Testament promise, Acts 4:27; Luke 4:18; Acts 5:12 declares that "many signs and wonders" were thereafter done by the hands of the apostles. God did grant their prayer-hymn requests.

Verse 31

1) "And when they had prayed," (kai dieethenton auton) "And while they were making request, praying," or petitioning God for His spiritual gift request, in obedience to their Lord’s teaching, Luke 18:1.

2) "The place was shaken," (esaleuthe ho topos) "The place was shaken," caused to vibrate or tremble, a symbol of divine acceptance, Matthew 7:7; Daniel 9:21-23.

3) "Where they were assembled together;- (en ho sunegmanoi) "in which they were having been closely assembled," or gathered together for new covenant (church) purposes in a crowded place, similar to the occurrence when the special empowering came on Pentecost, under similar conditions, as they prayed together of one accord, Acts 2:1-4.

4) "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost," (kai eplethesan hapantes tou hagiou pneumatos) "And all there were filled or controlled of (by) the Holy Spirit," not that each did not have, hold, or possess the Holy Spirit, but they were specially empowered with gifts on certain occasions so that phenomenal things occurred, Acts 16:25-26.

5) "And they spake the word of God with boldness,"(kai elaloun ton logon tou theou meta parresias) "And they spoke the word of God with (Holy Spirit) boldness;” Men of God need boldness of speech, 2 Corinthians 7:4; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 1:20; This boldness comes thru prayer special empowering assurance of the Holy Spirit, John 4:17; 1 Timothy 3:13; Hebrews 10:19.

Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Condition of the Church in Jerusalem

Verse 32

1) "And the multitude of them that believed," (tou de plethous ton pisteusanton) "Now of the multitude of those having believed," those of the church to whom Peter and John went when released or set at liberty from the Sanhedrin imprisonment, Acts 4:23; Their company had grown, enlarged from the 120 company of Acts 1:15; Acts 2:41; Acts 4:4.

2) "Were of one heart and one soul:" (en kardia kai psuche mia) "There was one heart and soul," an harmony and unity as of one heart and one soul, free of confusion, division, of strife, evidencing the love and presence of the Spirit of Christ, as when they waited for the empowering on Pentecost, Acts 1:14; Acts 21; John 17:21; Ephesians 4:1-3.

3) "Neither said any of them," (kai oude elegan) "And not even one said or claimed," in any selfish or covetous way, 2 Corinthians 13:11.

4) "That ought of the things which he possessed," (eis te ton huparchonton auto) "That even one of the things belonging to him," 1 Peter 3:8.

5) "Was his own:" (idion einai) "To be (exist as) his very own;” Each had come to the concept expressed of David to the Lord, "I am thine and all that I have belongeth to thee." Such is the fact of true, Divine Stewardship, 1 Kings 20:4; 1 Corinthians 12:18.

6) "But they had all things common," (all’ en autois panta koina) "But all things were common to them," were held and used according to their common needs, Acts 2:44; John 13:34-35; Romans 15:5-6; Philippians 1:27; Philippians 2:1-3.

Verse 33

1)"And with great power," (kai dunamei megale) "And with great dynamics," above mere human power, with convincing, persuading power of Holy Spirit help, as Divinely directed, Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:22.

2) "Gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus:” (apedidoun to marturion hoi apostoloi tou kuriou tes anastaseos) "The apostles gave forth the testimony of resurrection of the Lord Jesus," Acts 2:24; Acts 2:31-32; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:2; Acts 4:10.

3) "And great grace was upon them all," (charis te megale en epi pantas autous) "And there was great grace upon them all," Divine favor and blessing was upon and with them all, 1 Timothy 1:14. All who witness in spirit, in truth, and in love for the Lord find "ever-present help" and good reward, Matthew 5:11-12; 1 Timothy 3:12; 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Verse 34

1) "Neither was there any among them that lacked:”(oude gar endeestis hen en autois) "For not even one was needy among them who lacked," anything in the way of material need, food, clothing, shelter or physical care, Acts 2:44-45.

2) "For as many as were possessors," (hossi gar huperchon kterores) "For as many as (were) owners," possessors or title holders. Even eating and drinking are to be done to the glory of God, in respect to ones fellowman, 1 Corinthians 10:31.

3) "Of lands or houses sold them," (chorion e oikon plountes) "Of lands or houses, selling them," or sold them as general need arose, to meet the needs of their brethren, in harmony with the spirit of brotherly love on this occasion of special need, 1 John 3:16-20; James 2:15-17.

4) "And brought the prices of the things that were sold," (epheron tas timas ton piprasdomenon) "Brought the prices (receipts) of the things that were having been sold," and made them available for the needy, of any needy one of their church company in that early post-Pentecost, period, Galatians 6:1-2; They sought to bear one another’s burdens, fulfilling the law of Christ, the law of love, Romans 15:1-2; Galatians 6:10.

Verse 35

1) "And laid them down at the apostles’ feet:" (kai etithoun para tous podas ton apostolon) "And placed it at the feet of the apostles," for their direction in distribution- -even if a figurative expression, the idea expressed still is that the apostles received and administered to the physical needs of the company of believers at this period, till deacons were later selected, Acts 5:2; Acts 6:2-4.

2) "And distribution was made," (diedidoto de) "Then it was distributed," among the needy of the company of believers of the church at Jerusalem, or in the Jerusalem area, Acts 6:1.

3) "Unto every man according as he had need," (hokasto kathoti an tis chreian eichen) "To each as anyone had a need," or according to a need that any person had among them. It was distributed based on actual needs of believers of the household of faith --- not equal division among families, but adequate need for each and all. Galatians 6:2; Galatians 6:6; Galatians 6:10; Philippians 4:19.

Verse 36

1) "And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas," (loseph de ho epikletheis Barnabas) "Moreover Joseph who is surnamed Barnabas," (apo ton apostolon) "From, or by, originating from the apostles," a cousin of John Mark, Colossians 4:10.

2) "(Which is being interpreted," (ho estin methermeneouomenon) "Which is being translated," giving the meaning as:

3) "The son of consolation)," (hurios parakleseos) "Son or heir of consolation," or son of exhortation.

4) "A Levite and of the country of Cyprus," (Levites kuprios to genei) "By race a Levite, a Cypriote," A native Levite Jew of the Island of Cyprus; He later became a teacher at Antioch and a missionary companion of Paul, Acts 11:22; Acts 11:15-16; Acts 11:30; Acts 12:25; Acts 13:1-3.

The country (Island) of Cyprus is sixty miles west of the coast of Lebanon or Syria; The Island is 140 miles long and 50 miles wide; Its chief cities are Salamis and Paphos.

Verse 37

1) "Having land," (huparchontos auto agrou) "Holding or possessing land," perhaps an estate on the island of Cyprus.

2) "Sold it," (poiesas) "Having sold it," dispossessed himself of it by transferring title to another for a fixed, agreed price.

3) "And brought the money," (enegken to chrema) "Brought the proceeds," the money received from the sale of the land or estate, he brought voluntarily, of his own accord or choosing, not by Divine command, but out of love, Acts 5:4; 1 Corinthians 4:2.

4) "And laid it at the apostles’ feet," (kai etheken pros tous podas ton apostolon) "And placed (them) at the feet of the apostles, - the proceeds or monies received for the Cyprus landsale was placed totally and absolutely at the disposal or distribution of the apostles, to help the needy in the church in the Jerusalem area, Acts 4:34-35; Acts 5:1-2. Barnabas seems to have been an early pioneer Christian who disposed of all to follow and serve the Lord, Mark 8:34; Mark 8:37; Galatians 6:6.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Acts 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/acts-4.html. 1985.
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