Acts 1


1 The first account I [a]composed, 1Theophilus, about all that Jesus 2began to do and teach,
2 until the day when He 3was taken up to heaven, after He 4had [b]by the Holy Spirit given orders to 5the apostles whom He had 6chosen.
3 To [c]these 7He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of 8the things concerning the kingdom of God.
4 [d]Gathering them together, He commanded them 9not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for [e]10what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me;
5 for 11John baptized with water, but you will be baptized [f]with the Holy Spirit [g]12not many days from now *."
6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, 13is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"
7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which 14the Father has fixed by His own authority;
8 but you will receive power 15when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be 16My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and 17Samaria, and even to 18the remotest part of the earth."

The Ascension

9 And after He had said these things, 19He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10 And as they were gazing intently into [h]the sky while He was going, behold, 20two men in white clothing stood beside them.
11 They also said, "21Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into [i]the sky? This Jesus, who 22has been taken up from you into heaven, will 23come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

The Upper Room

12 Then they 24returned to Jerusalem from the [j]25mount called [k]Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a [l]Sabbath day's journey away.
13 When they had entered the city, they went up to 26the upper room where they were staying; 27that is, Peter and John and [m]James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, [n]James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and 28Judas the [o]son of [p]James.
14 These all with one mind 29were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with 30the women, and Mary the 31mother of Jesus, and with His 32brothers.
15 [q]At this time Peter stood up in the midst of 33the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty [r]persons was there together * * ), and said,
16 "Brethren *, 34the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, 35who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.
17 "For he was 36counted among us and received his share in 37this ministry."
18 (Now this man 38acquired a field with 39the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.
19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in 40their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms, '41LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT'; and, '42LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS [s]OFFICE.'
21 "Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that 43the Lord Jesus went in and out [t]among us-
22 44beginning [u]with the baptism of John until the day that He 45was taken up from us-one of these must become a 46witness with us of His resurrection."
23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus ), and 47Matthias.
24 And they 48prayed and said, "You, Lord, 49who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen
25 to [v]occupy 50this ministry and 51apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place."
26 And they [w]52drew lots for them, and the lot fell [x]to 53Matthias; and he was [y]added to 54the eleven apostles.

Images for Acts 1

Acts 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

This book unites the Gospels to the Epistles. It contains many particulars concerning the apostles Peter and Paul, and of the Christian church from the ascension of our Saviour to the arrival of St. Paul at Rome, a space of about thirty years. St. Luke was the writer of this book; he was present at many of the events he relates, and attended Paul to Rome. But the narrative does not afford a complete history of the church during the time to which it refers, nor even of St. Paul's life. The object of the book has been considered to be, 1. To relate in what manner the gifts of the Holy Spirit were communicated on the day of Pentecost, and the miracles performed by the apostles, to confirm the truth of Christianity, as showing that Christ's declarations were really fulfilled. 2. To prove the claim of the Gentiles to be admitted into the church of Christ. This is shown by much of the contents of the book. A large portion of the Acts is occupied by the discourses or sermons of various persons, the language and manner of which differ, and all of which will be found according to the persons by whom they were delivered, and the occasions on which they were spoken. It seems that most of these discourses are only the substance of what was actually delivered. They relate nevertheless fully to Jesus as the Christ, the anointed Messiah.

Proofs of Christ's resurrection. (1-5) Christ's ascension. (6-11) The apostles unite in prayer. (12-14) Matthias chosen in the place of Judas. (15-26)

Verses 1-5 Our Lord told the disciples the work they were to do. The apostles met together at Jerusalem; Christ having ordered them not to depart thence, but to wait for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. This would be a baptism by the Holy Ghost, giving them power to work miracles, and enlightening and sanctifying their souls. This confirms the Divine promise, and encourages us to depend upon it, that we have heard it from Christ; for in Him all the promises of God are yea and amen.

Verses 6-11 They were earnest in asking about that which their Master never had directed or encouraged them to seek. Our Lord knew that his ascension and the teaching of the Holy Spirit would soon end these expectations, and therefore only gave them a rebuke; but it is a caution to his church in all ages, to take heed of a desire of forbidden knowledge. He had given his disciples instructions for the discharge of their duty, both before his death and since his resurrection, and this knowledge is enough for a Christian. It is enough that He has engaged to give believers strength equal to their trials and services; that under the influence of the Holy Spirit they may, in one way or other, be witnesses for Christ on earth, while in heaven he manages their concerns with perfect wisdom, truth, and love. When we stand gazing and trifling, the thoughts of our Master's second coming should quicken and awaken us: when we stand gazing and trembling, they should comfort and encourage us. May our expectation of it be stedfast and joyful, giving diligence to be found of him blameless.

Verses 12-14 God can find hiding-places for his people. They made supplication. All God's people are praying people. It was now a time of trouble and danger with the disciples of Christ; but if any is afflicted, let him pray; that will silence cares and fears. They had now a great work to do, and before they entered upon it, they were earnest in prayer to God for his presence. They were waiting for the descent of the Spirit, and abounded in prayer. Those are in the best frame to receive spiritual blessings, who are in a praying frame. Christ had promised shortly to send the Holy Ghost; that promise was not to do away prayer, but to quicken and encourage it. A little company united in love, exemplary in their conduct, fervent in prayer, and wisely zealous to promote the cause of Christ, are likely to increase rapidly.

Verses 15-26 The great thing the apostles were to attest to the world, was, Christ's resurrection; for that was the great proof of his being the Messiah, and the foundation of our hope in him. The apostles were ordained, not to wordly dignity and dominion, but to preach Christ, and the power of his resurrection. An appeal was made to God; "Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men," which we do not; and better than they know their own. It is fit that God should choose his own servants; and so far as he, by the disposals of his providence, or the gifts of his Spirit, shows whom he was chosen, or what he has chosen for us, we ought to fall in with his will. Let us own his hand in the determining everything which befalls us, especially in those by which any trust may be committed to us.

Cross References 54

  • 1. Luke 1:3
  • 2. Luke 3:23
  • 3. Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9, 11, 22
  • 4. Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; John 20:21; Acts 10:42
  • 5. Mark 6:30
  • 6. John 13:18; Acts 10:41
  • 7. Matthew 28:17; Mark 16:12, 14; Luke 24:34, 36; John 20:19, 26; John 21:1, 14; 1 Corinthians 15:5-7
  • 8. Acts 8:12; Acts 19:8; Acts 28:23, 31
  • 9. Luke 24:49
  • 10. John 14:16, 26; John 15:26; Acts 2:33
  • 11. Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 11:16
  • 12. Acts 2:1-4
  • 13. Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12; Luke 17:20; Luke 19:11
  • 14. Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32
  • 15. Acts 2:1-4
  • 16. Luke 24:48; John 15:27
  • 17. Acts 8:1, 5, 14
  • 18. Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Romans 10:18; Colossians 1:23
  • 19. Luke 24:50, 51; Acts 1:2
  • 20. Luke 24:4; John 20:12
  • 21. Acts 2:7; Acts 13:31
  • 22. Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9, 22
  • 23. Matthew 16:27; Acts 3:21
  • 24. Luke 24:52
  • 25. Matthew 21:1
  • 26. Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12; Acts 9:37, 39; Acts 20:8
  • 27. Acts 1:13: {Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16}
  • 28. John 14:22
  • 29. Acts 2:42; Acts 6:4; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2
  • 30. Luke 8:2
  • 31. Matthew 12:46
  • 32. Matthew 12:46
  • 33. John 21:23; Acts 6:3; Acts 9:30; Acts 10:23; Acts 11:1, 12, 26, 29; Acts 12:17; Acts 14:2; Acts 15:1, 3, 22, 23, 32f, 40; Acts 16:2, 40; Acts 17:6, 10, 14; Acts 18:18, 27; Acts 21:7, 17; Acts 22:5; Acts 28:14; Romans 1:13
  • 34. John 13:18; John 17:12; Acts 1:20
  • 35. Matthew 26:47; Mark 14:43; Luke 22:47; John 18:3
  • 36. John 6:70
  • 37. Acts 1:25; Acts 20:24; Acts 21:19
  • 38. Matthew 27:3-10
  • 39. Matthew 26:14
  • 40. Matthew 27:8; Acts 21:40
  • 41. Psalms 69:25
  • 42. Psalms 109:8
  • 43. Luke 24:3
  • 44. Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:1-4, 9; Luke 3:21
  • 45. Mark 16:19; Acts 1:2
  • 46. Acts 1:8; Acts 2:32
  • 47. Acts 1:26
  • 48. Acts 6:6; Acts 13:3; Acts 14:23
  • 49. 1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10; Acts 15:8; Romans 8:27
  • 50. Acts 1:17
  • 51. Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 9:2; Galatians 2:8
  • 52. Leviticus 16:8; Joshua 14:2; 1 Samuel 14:41; Nehemiah 10:34; Nehemiah 11:1; Proverbs 16:33
  • 53. Acts 1:23
  • 54. Acts 2:14

Footnotes 25

Chapter Summary


This book, in some copies, is called, "The Acts of the holy Apostles". It contains an history of the ministry and miracles of the apostles of Christ, and is a sort of a journal of their actions, from whence it takes its name. It begins at the ascension of Christ, and reaches to the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul at Rome; and is a history of upwards of thirty years: it gives an account of the first Gospel church at Jerusalem, and of the progress of the Gospel there, and in Judea, by the means of all the apostles, and particularly Peter, the minister of the circumcision, and who also first opened the door of faith to the Gentiles: it shows how the Gospel went forth from Jerusalem, and was spread in the Gentile world, especially by the Apostle Paul, whose companion Luke was, that was the writer of this book; for that it was written by him is very evident from the beginning of it, it being dedicated to the same person his Gospel is, and of which he makes mention; and in the Complutensian edition the book is called, "The Acts of the Apostles of Saint Luke the Evangelist"; and so the title of it in the Syriac version is, "the Book of the Acts: that is, the history of the blessed apostles, which my Lord Luke the Evangelist collected for the saints". It was by him written in the Greek language; and we are told {a}, that there was a version of it into the Hebrew language, and which was laid up in the library of the Jews at Tiberias; and is cited by R. Azarias {b} under the name of twlweph, "the Acts": of the authority of this book there has been no doubt, among the ancients, only Cerinthus the heretic endeavoured to discredit it; and it was not received by another sort of heretics called Severiani, from Severus, a disciple of Tatian {c}. It is a most excellent and useful work, showing the first planting of Christianity, and of Christian churches, both among the Jews and Gentiles; the spread and progress of the Gospel in several parts of the world; what sufferings the apostles endured for the sake of it; and with what patience and courage they bore them; and what success attended them; and is a standing proof and confirmation of the Christian religion.

{a} Epiphan. Contr. Haeres. l. 1. Haeres. 30. {b} Meor Enayim, p. 167. {c} Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. c. 29.

Acts 1 Commentaries

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