Acts 1

1 In the former treatise (Deare frende Theophilus) I have written of all that Iesus beganne to do and teache
2 vntyll the daye in the which he was taken vp after that he thorowe the holy goost had geven commaundementes vnto the Apostles which he had chosen:
3 to whom also he shewed him selfe alyve after his passion by many tokens apperynge vnto them fourty dayes and speakynge of the kyngdome of god
4 and gaddered them togeder and commaunded the that they shuld not departe from Ierusalem: but to wayte for ye promys of the father whereof ye have herde of me.
5 For Iohn baptised wt water: but ye shalbe baptised with the holy goost and that with in this feawe dayes.
6 When they were come togeder they axed of him sayinge: Lorde wilt thou at this tyme restore agayne ye kyngdome to Israel?
7 And he sayde vnto them: It is not for you to knowe the tymes or the seasons which ye father hath put in his awne power:
8 but ye shall receave power of the holy goost which shall come on you. And ye shall be witnesses vnto me in Ierusalem and in all Iewrye and in Samary and even vnto the worldes ende.
9 And when he had spoken these thinges whyll they behelde he was take vp and a cloude receaved him vp out of their sight.
10 And while they looked stedfastly vp to heaven as he went beholde two men stode by them in white apparell
11 which also sayde: ye men of Galile why stonde ye gasinge vp into heave? This same Iesus which is taken vp fro you in to heaven shall so come even as ye haue sene him goo into heaven.
12 Then returned they vnto Ierusalem from mount olivete which is nye to Ierusalem coteyninge a Saboth dayes iorney.
13 And when they were come in they went vp into a parler where abode both Peter and Iames Iohn and Andrew Philip and Thomas Bartlemew and Mathew Iames the sonne of Alpheus and Simo Zelotes and Iudas Iames sonne.
14 These all cotinued with one acorde in prayer and supplicacion with the wemen and Mary the mother of Iesu and with his brethren.
15 And in those dayes Peter stode vp in the myddes of the disciples and sayde (the noumbre of names that were to gether were aboute an hondred and twenty)
16 Ye men and brethren this scripture must have nedes ben fulfilled which the holy goost thorow ye mouth of David spake before of Iudas which was gyde to them that tooke Iesus.
17 For he was noubred with vs and had obtayned fellouship in this ministracion.
18 And the same hath now possessed a plot of grounde with the rewarde of iniquite and when he was hanged brast a sondre in ye myddes and all his bowels gusshed oute.
19 And it is knowe vnto all the inhabiters of Ierusalem: in so moche that that felde is called in their mother tonge Acheldama that is to saye the bloud felde.
20 It is written in the boke of Psalmes: His habitacio be voyde and no man be dwellinge therin: and his bisshoprycke let another take.
21 Wherfore of these me which have copanyed with vs all ye tyme that the Lorde Iesus wet in and out amonge vs
22 begynninge at the baptyme of Iohn vnto that same daye that he was taken vp from vs must one be ordeyned to be are witnes with vs of his resurreccion.
23 And they appoynted two Ioseph called Barsabas (whose syr name was Iustus) and Mathias.
24 And they prayed sayinge: thou Lorde which knowest the hertes of all me shewe whether of these two thou hast chosen
25 that the one maye take the roume of this ministracion and apostleshippe from the which Iudas by transgression fell that he myght go to his awne place.
26 And they gave forthe their lottes and the lot fell on Mathias and he was counted with the eleven Apostles.

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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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ACTS

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