Acts 1

1 [Thou] Theophilus, first I made a sermon of all [the] things, that Jesus began to do and teach,
2 [till] into the day of his ascension, in which he commanded by the Holy Ghost to his apostles, whom he had chosen; [till into the day, in which he commanding to the apostles by the Holy Ghost, whom he chose, was taken up;]
3 to whom [and] he showed himself alive after his passion, by many arguments [by many arguments, or provings], appearing to them forty days, and speaking of the realm of God.
4 And he ate with them, and commanded [to them], that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but abide the promise of the Father, which ye heard, he said [he saith], by my mouth;
5 for [soothly] John baptized in water, but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Ghost, after these few days [not after these many days].
6 Therefore they that were come together, asked him, and said, Lord, whether in this time thou shalt restore the kingdom of Israel? [Therefore they that had come together, asked him, saying, Lord, if in this time shalt thou restore the kingdom of Israel?]
7 And he said to them, It is not yours to know the times either moments [to know the times or moments], which the Father hath put in his power;
8 but ye shall take the virtue of the Holy Ghost coming from above into you, and ye shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and Samaria, and to the utmost of the earth [and ye shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost of the earth].
9 And when he had said these things, in their sight he was lifted up, and a cloud received him from their eyes.
10 And when they beheld him going into heaven, lo! two men stood beside them in white clothing, [And when they beheld into heaven him going, lo! two men stood nigh beside them in white clothes,]
11 [which] and said, Men of Galilee, what stand ye beholding into heaven? This Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall come [so], as ye saw him going into heaven.
12 Then they turned again to Jerusalem, from the hill that is called of Olivet, which is beside Jerusalem an holiday's journey. [Then they turned again to Jerusalem, from the hill that is called Olivet, the which is beside Jerusalem, having the journey of a sabbath.]
13 And when they were entered into the house, where they dwelled, they went up into the solar [And when they had entered into the supping place, they went up into the higher things, where they dwelt], Peter and John, and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas of James.
14 All these were lastingly continuing with one will in prayer [All these were dwelling, or lasting, together in prayer], with women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
15 In those days Peter rose up in the middle of the brethren, and said; and there was a company of men together, almost an hundred and twenty;
16 Brethren, it behooveth that the scripture be filled [Men brethren it behooveth the scripture to be fulfilled], which the Holy Ghost before-said by the mouth of David, of Judas that was leader of them that took Jesus;
17 and was numbered among us, and got a part of this service. [+which was numbered among us, and got the part of this ministry.]
18 And this Judas had a field of the hire of wickedness, and he was hanged, and burst apart the middle [And forsooth this wielded a field of the hire of wickedness, and he hanged, burst apart the middle], and all his entrails were shed abroad.
19 And it was made known to all men that dwelt in Jerusalem [And it was made known to all men dwelling in Jerusalem], so that that field was called Aceldama in the language of them [in the tongue of them], that is, the field of blood.
20 And it is written in the book of Psalms, The habitation of them be made desert [The habitation of him be made desert], and be there none that dwell in it, and another take his bishopric.
21 Therefore it behooveth of these men, that be gathered together with us in all the time [in all time], in which the Lord Jesus entered [in], and went out among us,
22 and began from the baptism of John till into the day in which he was taken up from us [beginning from the baptism of John unto the day in which he was taken up from us], that one of these be made a witness of his resurrection with us.
23 And they ordained twain [And they ordained two], Joseph, that was called Barsabas, that was named Justus, and Matthias.
24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, that knowest the hearts of all men, show whom thou hast chosen of these twain [of these two],
25 that one take the place of this service and apostlehood [one to take the place of this ministry and apostlehood], of which Judas trespassed, that he should go into his place.
26 And they gave lots to them, and the lot felled on Matthias; and he was numbered 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


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

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.