Acts 4

Peter and John Arrested

1 As they were speaking to the people, the priests and 1the captain of the temple guard and 2the Sadducees 3came up to them,
2 being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming 4in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
3 And they laid hands on them and 5put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening.
4 But many of those who had heard the message believed; and 6the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
5 On the next day, their 7rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem;
6 and 8Annas the high priest was there, and 9Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.
7 When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, "By what power, or in what name, have you done this?"
8 Then Peter, 10filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "11Rulers and elders of the people,
9 if we are on trial today for 12a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that 13by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom 14God raised from the dead -by this name this man stands here before you in good health.
12 "And there is salvation in 18no * one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

Threat and Release

13 Now as they observed the 19confidence of 20Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and 21began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply.
15 But when they had ordered them to leave the 22Council, they began to confer with one another,
16 saying, "23What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a 24noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot * deny it.
17 "But so that it will not spread any further * among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man 25in this name."
18 And when they had summoned them, they 26commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19 But 27Peter and John answered and said to them, "28Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;
20 for 29we cannot * stop speaking about what we have seen and heard."
21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) 30on account of the people, because they were all 31glorifying God for what had happened;
22 for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
23 When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, "O Lord, it is You who 32MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM
25 who 33by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, '34WHY * DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS?
27 For truly * in this city there were gathered together against Your holy 37servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both 38Herod and 39Pontius Pilate, along with 40the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
28 to do whatever Your hand and 41Your purpose predestined to occur.
29 "And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may 42speak Your word with all 43confidence,
30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and 44signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy 45servant Jesus."
31 And when they had prayed, the 46place where * they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all 47filled with the Holy Spirit and began to 48speak the word of God with 49boldness.

Sharing among Believers

32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but 50all things were common property to them.
33 And 51with great power the apostles were giving 52testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses 53would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales
35 and 54lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be 55distributed to each as any had need.
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of 56Cyprian birth, who was also called 57Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of 58Encouragement ),
37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and 59laid it at the apostles' feet.

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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 59

Footnotes 28

Acts 4 Commentaries