The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Acts 4

Act 4:1

CAPTAIN OF THE TEMPLE GUARD: Responsible for barring unclean from the Temple.

SADDUCEES: This sect gave the major opposition to the gospel at this time, as had the Pharisees in Christ's days of preaching.

WHILE THEY WERE SPEAKING TO THE PEOPLE: Paul continued to preach for about 3 hours (cp Act 3:1 with Act 4:3).

Act 4:2

See VL, Christ's resurrection, reality.

Act 4:3

THEY SEIZED PETER AND JOHN: And the lame man (v 10).

THEM: Including the healed man: vv 9,10,14.

JAIL: "Custody" (RSV). Gr "teresis": only here; Acts 5:18; and 1Co 7:19.

Act 4:4

See sequence: Act 5:14; 6:1,7.

Notice sequence in Joshua: an army of "about three thousand" (Jos 7:4); another army of "about five thousand" (Jos 8:12); and a king "hanged on a tree" (Jos 8:29). Cp sequence in Acts: 3,000 converts (Act 2:41); 5,000 converts (Act 4:4); and "Jesus, whom you killed by hanging on a tree" (Act 5:30; 10:39).

FIVE THOUSAND: Prob the 3,000 from Pentecost, plus another 2,000.

5,000 fed out of 12 "full baskets" (the apostles): Mat 14:13-23; Mark 6:30-46; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15. (The arrest of Peter and John had done nothing to stem the tide.)

Act 4:5

An assembly of the full Sanhedrin.

Act 4:6

John was known to the High Priest; it is prob for this reason that the latter 2 are here named. They are not mentioned by Josephus (Xd 89:144).

The entire family of Caiaphas were Sadducees (v 1), who opposed doctrine of resurrection on general principles. An august company well-calculated to overawe the humble Galileans (v 13).

Act 4:7

...As if to say, 'What we did to Jesus we can do to you too!'

Act 4:8

"They will deliver you up to councils": Mat 10:17-20; Mark 13:11; Luk 12:11; 21:15.

Act 4:9

Notice that Peter and John, like Jesus before them, are the real masters of the situation.

CALLED TO ACCOUNT: "Put on trial"; "examined" (RSV).

AN ACT OF KINDNESS: 'Just why do you continue to object to GOOD works?!' (cp Luk 6:6; 13:11).

CRIPPLE: "Asthenes" = one without strength.

Act 4:10

See VL, Christ's resurrection, reality.

THIS MAN: The healed man was standing there before them, along with Peter and John.

WHOM GOD RAISED FROM THE DEAD: Jesus was raised by God: Acts 2:24; 3:15. On the third day: Mat 16:21; 17:22,23; Mark 9:31; 1Co 15:4; Acts 10:39,40.

Act 4:11

Psa 118:22 had been so applied by Christ in parable of the wicked husbandmen (Mat 21:42). When Christ had quoted this same passage to them, he had concluded with: "The kingdom is taken away from you."

REJECTED: "Exouthenio" = to treat with contempt.

CORNERSTONE: The foundation stone for a new "temple" to supplant their own! Peter (sig stone) was another of the living stones in God's spiritual temple (1Pe 2:4,7).

"The power of this single, apparently throwaway line is enormous; and yet it seems to go over the heads of the listeners. Maybe they were not too well versed in their scriptures this time, or were so busy trying to trip the apostles up that they missed this direct recrimination" (PC).

Act 4:12

NO ONE ELSE: But only through Jesus: v 10; Acts 8:12.

THERE IS NO OTHER NAME: His was a Name exalted above all others: Phi 2:9-11; Eph 1:21.

UNDER HEAVEN: A phrase suggesting the universality of Yahweh's judgment: Gen 6:17; Exo 17:14; Deu 7:24; 9:14; 25:19; 29:20; 2Ki 14:27. The two NT references (Acts 4:12; Col 1:23) expand the theme to show that the Father is indeed concerned with salvation for all mankind.

GIVEN TO MEN: To mankind at large, not just to Israel.

BY WHICH WE MUST BE SAVED: Thus effectively declaring their "Day of Atonement" a total futility!

Act 4:13

COURAGE: Outspokenness (sw Act 2:29; 4:29,31). Sw used of Jesus in Mar 8:32; Joh 7:26; 11:14; 16:25,29; 18:20.

UNSCHOOLED: "Agrammatos", lit "ungrammatical". ("Unlearned" in KJV.)

ORDINARY: "Idiotes" = lit "private", ie laymen. ("Ignorant" in KJV.) Cp idea, John 7:41,52; Acts 2:7.

Act 4:14

THERE WAS NOTHING THEY COULD SAY: Prob they feared to reopen the case of Jesus to investigate.

Act 4:16

WE CANNOT DENY IT: They would have suppressed the evidence if they could.

Act 4:17

SPREADING ANY FURTHER: Gr "dianemomai". The gospel is characterized as a contagious disease, or as an uncontrollable forest fire.

IN THIS NAME: Or, by the authority of this man (cp Acts 4:12).

Act 4:18

The triumph of blind bigotry. Truth was not nearly as important as political expediency. But this command was disobeyed immediately (v 31).

Act 4:20

"A declaration of war." Peter seems to have in mind Balaam's words in Num 24:13.

WHAT WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD: Cp Joh 1:14; 1Jo 1:2,3.

Act 4:21

They were, again, afraid of the people.

Act 4:22

OVER 40 YEARS OLD: Lame from birth. Thus his affliction was well-known -- explaining, in part, why the miracle could not be denied.

Act 4:24

The first "thanksgiving"!

LORD... YOU MADE... HEAVEN... EARTH... SEA: The God of the original creation is continuing His work in a new spiritual "creation"! A quotation from Psa 146:6, which speaks also of prisoners being set free (Psa 146:7) and the way of the wicked being frustrated (Psa 146:9)!

Act 4:25

Quoting Psa 2: also cited Act 13:33; Heb 1:5; 5:5; Rev 2:26,27; 12:5; 19:15.

SERVANT: "Pais": Act 3:13n.

Act 4:27

SERVANT: "Pais": Act 3:13n.

Act 4:28

Cp the foreordained purpose of God, described by Peter in Acts 2:23; 10:42; 1Pe 1:2,20.

Act 4:29

A contradiction: "Slaves" (doulos) with boldness/confidence! A slave of God = a ruler of world!

Act 4:30

SERVANT: "Pais": Act 3:13n.

Act 4:31

THE PLACE WHERE THEY WERE MEETING WAS SHAKEN: As the walls of another "Jericho", being thrown down by the power of the Almighty!

Act 4:32

"If the sum total belonged to all, as in the schemes of socialism, there would be no scope for individual character and responsibility, and human character would dwarf to a workhouse level. If nothing were allowed to belong to any, each would take and keep by force what he could get, and the conflict of individual graspings would reduce life to a chaos and the world to a desert. The simple but wise and powerful law that each man shall have the right to possess what he can lawfully acquire, modified by those other laws that require him to consider his neighbor and to contribute to the well-being of the whole, is the sure basis of social order and civilized human life. It only requires to be regulated by infallible and just authority to make the earth an abode of joyful life. This will be realized in the Kingdom of God, and not before" (LM 61).

Act 4:33

See VL, Christ's resurrection, reality.

Act 4:34

The fact that this same thing was done "from time to time" would suggest that it was only the superfluous assets that were so disposed of.

Act 4:35

AND PUT IT AT THE APOSTLES' FEET: Like soldiers surrendering their arms. Cp incident, Acts 19:19; and contrast the incident, Acts 7:58.

Act 4:36

CYPRUS: There were many Jews on Cyprus. They became so numerous there that they held out against Rome after 70 AD. In 117 AD they desolated Salamis and took control of island for a time (Spk).

JOSEPH... CALLED BARNABAS: Is this the same man as "Joseph Bar-sabas" -- change of one letter (Acts 1:23)? (But had he accompanied the apostles from the earliest times? see Acts 1:21.)

SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT: "Paraklesis" = exhortation. That is, the man who did what he was told to do -- the rich young ruler in Mat 19:16-30, who had now sold his property (v 37)!

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