Acts 4

Listen to Acts 4

Peter and John Before the Council

1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and 1the captain of the temple and 2the Sadducees came upon them,
2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming 3in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
3 And they arrested them and 4put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and 5the number of the men came to about five thousand.
5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem,
6 with 6Annas the high priest and 7Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family.
7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, 8"By what power or 9by what name did you do this?"
8 Then Peter, 10filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders,
9 if we are being examined today 11concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed,
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that 12by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, 13whom God raised from the dead--by him this man is standing before you well.
11 14This Jesus[a] is the stone that was 15rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.[b]
12 And there is 16salvation 17in no one else, for 18there is no other 19name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
13 20Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
14 But seeing the man who was healed 21standing beside them, 22they had nothing to say in opposition.
15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another,
16 saying, 23"What shall we do with these men? For that 24a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.
17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them 25to speak no more to anyone in this name."
18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John answered them, 26"Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,
20 for 27we cannot but speak of what 28we have seen and heard."
21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, 29because of the people, for all were praising God 30for what had happened.
22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

The Believers Pray for Boldness

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices 31together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, 32who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,
25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,[c] said by the Holy Spirit, 33"'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and 34the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his 35Anointed'[d]--
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your 36holy servant Jesus, 37whom you anointed, both 38Herod and 39Pontius Pilate, along 40with the Gentiles and 41the peoples of Israel,
28 42to do whatever your hand and 43your plan had predestined to take place.
29 And now, Lord, 44look upon their threats and grant to your servants[e] to continue to speak your word with all 45boldness,
30 while 46you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed 47through the name of your 48holy servant Jesus."
31 And when they had prayed, 49the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and 50they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and 51continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

They Had Everything in Common

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of 52one heart and 53soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but 54they had everything in common.
33 And with great 55power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and 56great grace was upon them all.
34 57There was not a needy person among them, for 58as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold
35 and 59laid it at the apostles' feet, and 60it was distributed to each as any had need.
36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means 61son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus,
37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and 62laid it at the apostles' feet.

Images for Acts 4

Acts 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Peter and John imprisoned. (1-4) The apostles boldly testify to Christ. (5-14) Peter and John refuse to be silenced. (15-22) The believers unite in prayer and praise. (23-31) The holy charity of the Christians. (32-37)

Verses 1-4 The apostles preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. It includes all the happiness of the future state; this they preached through Jesus Christ, to be had through him only. Miserable is their case, to whom the glory of Christ's kingdom is a grief; for since the glory of that kingdom is everlasting, their grief will be everlasting also. The harmless and useful servants of Christ, like the apostles, have often been troubled for their work of faith and labour of love, when wicked men have escaped. And to this day instances are not wanting, in which reading the Scriptures, social prayer, and religious conversation meet with frowns and checks. But if we obey the precepts of Christ, he will support us.

Verses 5-14 Peter being filled with the Holy Ghost, would have all to understand, that the miracle had been wrought by the name, or power, of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, whom they had crucified; and this confirmed their testimony to his resurrection from the dead, which proved him to be the Messiah. These rulers must either be saved by that Jesus whom they had crucified, or they must perish for ever. The name of Jesus is given to men of every age and nation, as that whereby alone believers are saved from the wrath to come. But when covetousness, pride, or any corrupt passion, rules within, men shut their eyes, and close their hearts, in enmity against the light; considering all as ignorant and unlearned, who desire to know nothing in comparison with Christ crucified. And the followers of Christ should act so that all who converse with them, may take knowledge that they have been with Jesus. That makes them holy, heavenly, spiritual, and cheerful, and raises them above this world.

Verses 15-22 All the care of the rulers is, that the doctrine of Christ spread not among the people, yet they cannot say it is false or dangerous, or of any ill tendency; and they are ashamed to own the true reason; that it testifies against their hypocrisy, wickedness, and tyranny. Those who know how to put a just value upon Christ's promises, know how to put just contempt upon the world's threatenings. The apostles look with concern on perishing souls, and know they cannot escape eternal ruin but by Jesus Christ, therefore they are faithful in warning, and showing the right way. None will enjoy peace of mind, nor act uprightly, till they have learned to guide their conduct by the fixed standard of truth, and not by the shifting opinions and fancies of men. Especially beware of a vain attempt to serve two masters, God and the world; the end will be, you can serve neither fully.

Verses 23-31 Christ's followers do best in company, provided it is their own company. It encourages God's servants, both in doing work, and suffering work, that they serve the God who made all things, and therefore has the disposal of all events; and the Scriptures must be fulfilled. Jesus was anointed to be a Saviour, therefore it was determined he should be a sacrifice, to make atonement for sin. But sin is not the less evil for God's bringing good out of it. In threatening times, our care should not be so much that troubles may be prevented, as that we may go on with cheerfulness and courage in our work and duty. They do not pray, Lord let us go away from our work, now that it is become dangerous, but, Lord, give us thy grace to go on stedfastly in our work, and not to fear the face of man. Those who desire Divine aid and encouragement, may depend upon having them, and they ought to go forth, and go on, in the strength of the Lord God. God gave a sign of acceptance of their prayers. The place was shaken, that their faith might be established and unshaken. God gave them greater degrees of his Spirit; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than ever; by which they were not only encouraged, but enabled to speak the word of God with boldness. When they find the Lord God help them by his Spirit, they know they shall not be confounded, ( Isaiah 1.7 ) .

Verses 32-37 The disciples loved one another. This was the blessed fruit of Christ's dying precept to his disciples, and his dying prayer for them. Thus it was then, and it will be so again, when the Spirit shall be poured upon us from on high. The doctrine preached was the resurrection of Christ; a matter of fact, which being duly explained, was a summary of all the duties, privileges, and comforts of Christians. There were evident fruits of Christ's grace in all they said and did. They were dead to this world. This was a great evidence of the grace of God in them. They did not take away others' property, but they were indifferent to it. They did not call it their own; because they had, in affection, forsaken all for Christ, and were expecting to be stripped of all for cleaving to him. No marvel that they were of one heart and soul, when they sat so loose to the wealth of this world. In effect, they had all things common; for there was not any among them who lacked, care was taken for their supply. The money was laid at the apostles' feet. Great care ought to be taken in the distribution of public charity, that it be given to such as have need, such as are not able to procure a maintenance for themselves; those who are reduced to want for well-doing, and for the testimony of a good conscience, ought to be provided for. Here is one in particular mentioned, remarkable for this generous charity; it was Barnabas. As one designed to be a preacher of the gospel, he disentangled himself from the affairs of this life. When such dispositions prevail, and are exercised according to the circumstances of the times, the testimony will have very great power upon others.

Cross References 62

  • 1. Acts 5:24, 26; Luke 22:4, 52; [1 Chronicles 9:11; Nehemiah 11:11]
  • 2. See Matthew 22:23
  • 3. Acts 17:18; [Acts 3:15]
  • 4. See Luke 21:12
  • 5. [Acts 2:41]
  • 6. Luke 3:2; John 18:13, 24
  • 7. See Matthew 26:3
  • 8. [Matthew 21:23]
  • 9. [ver. 10]
  • 10. See Matthew 10:20
  • 11. Acts 3:7, 8
  • 12. Acts 3:6
  • 13. See Acts 2:24
  • 14. See Psalms 118:22
  • 15. Mark 9:12; Luke 23:11
  • 16. Acts 13:26; Acts 28:28; John 4:22; Hebrews 2:3; Jude 3
  • 17. [1 Timothy 2:5]
  • 18. [Galatians 1:7]
  • 19. Acts 10:43; Luke 24:47; John 20:31
  • 20. [John 7:15]
  • 21. Acts 3:11
  • 22. [Luke 21:15]
  • 23. [John 11:47; John 12:19]
  • 24. ver. 21; Acts 3:9, 10
  • 25. Acts 5:28, 40
  • 26. Acts 5:29
  • 27. [Amos 3:8; John 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:16]
  • 28. Acts 22:15; 1 John 1:1, 3
  • 29. Acts 5:13, 26; [Matthew 21:26, 46; Mark 11:32; Luke 20:6, 19; Luke 22:2]
  • 30. Acts 3:7, 8
  • 31. See Acts 1:14
  • 32. Exodus 20:11; 2 Chronicles 2:12; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalms 102:25; Psalms 124:8; Psalms 134:3; Psalms 146:6
  • 33. Cited from Psalms 2:1, 2
  • 34. ver. 5
  • 35. Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18; Hebrews 1:9; [Daniel 9:24; Revelation 11:15]
  • 36. ver. 30
  • 37. ver. 26
  • 38. Luke 23:7-11
  • 39. Matthew 27:2
  • 40. See Matthew 20:19
  • 41. Matthew 26:3
  • 42. [Isaiah 46:10]
  • 43. See Acts 2:23
  • 44. [2 Kings 19:16]
  • 45. ver. 13, 31; Acts 9:27, 29; Acts 13:46; Acts 14:3; Acts 18:26; Acts 19:8; Acts 28:31; Ephesians 6:19
  • 46. [Psalms 138:7; Proverbs 31:20; Isaiah 1:25; Zephaniah 1:4]
  • 47. Acts 3:6; [Matthew 7:22; Mark 9:39; Mark 16:17]
  • 48. ver. 27
  • 49. [Acts 2:2; Acts 16:26; Psalms 77:18]
  • 50. See Acts 2:4
  • 51. [Philippians 1:14]
  • 52. 2 Chronicles 30:12; Ezekiel 11:19
  • 53. Philippians 1:27
  • 54. Acts 2:44
  • 55. See Acts 1:8, 22
  • 56. [Acts 11:23]
  • 57. [2 Corinthians 8:14, 15]
  • 58. Acts 2:45
  • 59. ver. 37; Acts 5:2
  • 60. [Acts 6:1]
  • 61. [Mark 3:17]
  • 62. ver. 35

Footnotes 5

Acts 4 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.