1 Some priests, the officer in charge of the temple guards, and some Sadducees approached Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 These religious authorities were greatly annoyed. Peter and John were teaching the people and spreading the message that the dead will come back to life through Jesus. 3 So the temple guards arrested them. Since it was already evening, they put Peter and John in jail until the next day. 4 But many of those who had heard the message became believers, so the number of men who believed grew to about 5,000. 5 The next day the Jewish rulers, leaders, and scribes met in Jerusalem. 6 The chief priest Annas, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and the rest of the chief priest's family were present. 7 They made Peter and John stand in front of them and then asked, "By what power or in whose name did you do this?" 8 Then Peter, because he was filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and leaders of the people, 9 today you are cross-examining us about the good we did for a crippled man. You want to know how he was made well. 10 You and all the people of Israel must understand that this man stands in your presence with a healthy body because of the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You crucified Jesus Christ, but God has brought him back to life. 11 He is the stone that the builders rejected, the stone that has become the cornerstone. 12 No one else can save us. Indeed, we can be saved only by the power of the one named Jesus and not by any other person." 13 After they found out that Peter and John had no education or special training, they were surprised to see how boldly they spoke. They realized that these men had been with Jesus. 14 When they saw the man who was healed standing with Peter and John, they couldn't say anything against the two apostles. 15 So they ordered Peter and John to leave the council room and began to discuss the matter among themselves. 16 They said, "What should we do to these men? Clearly, they've performed a miracle that everyone in Jerusalem knows about. We can't deny that. 17 So let's threaten them. Let's tell them that they must never speak to anyone about the one named Jesus. Then the news about the miracle that they have performed will not spread any further among the people." 18 They called Peter and John and ordered them never to teach about Jesus or even mention his name. 19 Peter and John answered them, "Decide for yourselves whether God wants people to listen to you rather than to him. 20 We cannot stop talking about what we've seen and heard." 21 The authorities threatened them even more and then let them go. Since all the people were praising God for what had happened, the authorities couldn't find any way to punish Peter and John. 22 (The man who was healed by this miracle was over 40 years old.) 23 When Peter and John were released, they went to the other apostles and told them everything the chief priests and leaders had said. 24 When the apostles heard this, they were united and loudly prayed to God, "Master, you made the sky, the land, the sea, and everything in them. 25 You said through the Holy Spirit, who spoke through your servant David (our ancestor), 'Why do the nations act arrogantly? Why do their people devise useless plots? 26 Kings take their stand. Rulers make plans together against the Lord and against his Messiah.' 27 "In this city Herod and Pontius Pilate made plans together with non-Jewish people and the people of Israel. They made their plans against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 Through your will and power, they did everything that you had already decided should be done. 29 "Lord, pay attention to their threats now, and allow us to speak your word boldly. 30 Show your power by healing, performing miracles, and doing amazing things through the power and the name of your holy servant Jesus." 31 When the apostles had finished praying, their meeting place shook. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God boldly. 32 The whole group of believers lived in harmony. No one called any of his possessions his own. Instead, they shared everything. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify that the Lord Jesus had come back to life. [God's] abundant good will was with all of them. 34 None of them needed anything. From time to time, people sold land or houses and brought the money 35 to the apostles. Then the money was distributed to anyone who needed it. 36 Joseph, a descendant of Levi, had been born on the island of Cyprus. The apostles called him Barnabas, which means "a person who encourages." 37 He had some land. He sold it and turned the money over to the apostles.
1 A man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold some property. 2 They agreed to hold back some of the money [they had pledged] and turned only part of it over to the apostles. 3 Peter asked, "Ananias, why did you let Satan fill you with the idea that you could deceive the Holy Spirit? You've held back some of the money you received for the land. 4 While you had the land, it was your own. After it was sold, you could have done as you pleased with the money. So how could you do a thing like this? You didn't lie to people but to God!" 5 When Ananias heard Peter say this, he dropped dead. Everyone who heard about his death was terrified. 6 Some young men got up, wrapped his body in a sheet, carried him outside, and buried him. 7 About three hours later Ananias' wife arrived. She didn't know what had happened. 8 So Peter asked her, "Tell me, did you sell the land for that price?" She answered, "Yes, that was the price." 9 Then Peter said to her, "How could you and your husband agree to test the Lord's Spirit? Those who buried your husband are standing at the door, and they will carry you outside for burial." 10 Immediately, she dropped dead in front of Peter. When the young men came back, they found Sapphira dead. So they carried her outside and buried her next to her husband. 11 The whole church and everyone else who heard about what had happened were terrified. 12 The people saw the apostles perform many miracles and do amazing things. The believers had a common faith in Jesus as they met on Solomon's Porch. 13 None of the other people dared to join them, although everyone spoke highly of them. 14 More men and women than ever began to believe in the Lord. 15 As a result, people carried their sick into the streets. They placed them on stretchers and cots so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some sick people as he went by. 16 Crowds from the cities around Jerusalem would gather. They would bring their sick and those who were troubled by evil spirits, and each person was cured. 17 The chief priest and the whole party of the Sadducees who were with him were extremely jealous. So they took action 18 by arresting the apostles and putting them in the city jail. 19 But at night an angel from the Lord opened the doors to their cell and led them out of the prison. 20 The angel told them, "Stand in the temple courtyard, and tell the people everything about life [in Christ]." 21 Early in the morning, after they had listened to the angel, the apostles went into the temple courtyard and began to teach. The chief priest and those who were with him called together the Jewish council, that is, all the leaders of Israel. They also sent men to the prison to get the apostles. 22 When the temple guards arrived at the prison, they didn't find the apostles. The guards came back and reported, 23 "We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors. However, when we opened the doors, we found no one inside." 24 When the officer of the temple guards and the chief priests heard this, they were puzzled about what could have happened. 25 Then someone told them, "The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courtyard. They're teaching the people." 26 Then the officer of the temple guards went with some of his men to bring back the apostles without using force. After all, the officer and his guards were afraid that the people would stone them to death for using force. 27 When they brought back the apostles, they made them stand in front of the council. The chief priest questioned them. 28 He said, "We gave you strict orders not to mention Jesus' name when you teach. Yet, you've filled Jerusalem with your teachings. You want to take revenge on us for putting that man to death." 29 Peter and the other apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than people. 30 You murdered Jesus by hanging him on a cross. But the God of our ancestors brought him back to life. 31 God used his power to give Jesus the highest position as leader and savior. He did this to lead the people of Israel to him, to change the way they think and act, and to forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." 33 When the men on the council heard this, they became furious and wanted to execute the apostles. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel stood up. He was a highly respected expert in Moses' Teachings. He ordered that the apostles should be taken outside for a little while. 35 Then he said to the council, "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you do with these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared. He claimed that he was important, and about four hundred men joined him. He was killed, and all his followers were scattered. The whole movement was a failure. 37 "After that man, at the time of the census, Judas from Galilee appeared and led people in a revolt. He, too, died, and all his followers were scattered. 38 "We should keep away from these men for now. We should leave them alone. I can guarantee that if the plan they put into action is of human origin, it will fail. 39 However, if it's from God, you won't be able to stop them. You may even discover that you're fighting against God." 40 The council took his advice. They called the apostles, beat them, ordered them not to speak about the one named Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the council room. They were happy to have been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for speaking about Jesus. 42 Every day in the temple courtyard and from house to house, they refused to stop teaching and telling the Good News that Jesus is the Messiah.
1 At that time, as the number of disciples grew, Greek-speaking Jews complained about the Hebrew-speaking Jews. The Greek-speaking Jews claimed that the widows among them were neglected every day when food and other assistance was distributed. 2 The twelve apostles called all the disciples together and told them, "It's not right for us to give up God's word in order to distribute food. 3 So, brothers and sisters, choose seven men whom the people know are spiritually wise. We will put them in charge of this problem. 4 However, we will devote ourselves to praying and to serving in ways that are related to the word." 5 The suggestion pleased the whole group. So they chose Stephen, who was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and they chose Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, who had converted to Judaism in the city of Antioch. 6 The disciples had these men stand in front of the apostles, who prayed and placed their hands on these seven men. 7 The word of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem grew very large. A large number of priests accepted the faith. 8 Stephen was a man filled with God's favor and power. He did amazing things and performed miracles. 9 [One day] some men from the cities of Cyrene and Alexandria and the provinces of Cilicia and Asia started an argument with Stephen. They belonged to a synagogue called Freedmen's Synagogue. 10 They couldn't argue with Stephen because he spoke with the wisdom that the Spirit had given him. 11 Then they bribed some men to lie. These men said, "We heard him slander Moses and God." 12 The liars stirred up trouble among the people, the leaders, and the scribes. So they went to Stephen, took him by force, and brought him in front of the Jewish council. 13 Some witnesses stood up and lied about Stephen. They said, "This man never stops saying bad things about the holy place and Moses' Teachings. 14 We heard him say that Jesus from Nazareth will destroy the temple and change the customs that Moses gave us." 15 Everyone who sat in the council stared at him and saw that his face looked like an angel's face.