Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Acts 1

Verse 1

The former treatise; the Gospel of Luke. (See Luke 1:1-4.)

Verse 3

Passion; suffering, referring here to the Savior's crucifixion.

Verse 4

Promise of the Father; promised gift of the Holy Spirit, which was to be sent from the Father, according to the promise recorded in John 14:16-26.

Verse 5

Baptized with the Holy Ghost; abundantly imbued with its influences.

Verse 6

Restore the kingdom to Israel; as in the days of David and Solomon when Israel was governed by its own kings, instead of being, as in our Savior's time, subject to the rule of a foreign power. This question shows what were still the ideas of the apostles in respect to the nature of the redemption which Christ was to procure.

Verse 13

These are the names of the eleven remaining apostles.

Verse 14

Mary the mother of Jesus. From this time Mary the mother of Jesus disappears from the sacred history.--And with his brethren. On the catalogue of the apostles there are three names, James, and Simon, and Judas, corresponding with three of the names used in and in Mark 6:37 to designate what are there called the brethren of Jesus. These individuals may have been the same, though the statement made in John 7:5, that his brethren did not believe on him, and the manner in which they are spoken of here, as distinct from the apostles, indicate that different individuals were intended in these two cases. The names were very common names among the Jews. A more full account of the state of this question is given in the introductory remarks to the Epistle of James.

Verse 15

Peter stood up. Peter was one of the first called among the apostles, (Matthew 4:18,) and his name is always placed at the head of the catalogue: he was prominent among his brethren during the lifetime of Christ: he was one of the first to believe and to acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah, as recorded Matthew 16:16,--and on that occasion Jesus spoke of him as in some peculiar sense the foundation of the future church; (Matthew 16:17-19;) and now, after the ascension, he appears among the disciples as their acknowledge leader. It is on these grounds that the Roman Catholics maintain that he was constituted by Christ the head of the church, and claim for his supposed successors, the popes of Rome, supreme ecclesiastical jurisdiction throughout the world. But there is no evidence that Peter's preëminence was official. In this case only he does not act; he only proposes action. He does not appoint; he simply recommends an election.

Verse 22

To be a witness with us of his resurrection; an object pertaining exclusively to that time, and showing that the apostolical office was not intended to be a permanent one. Accordingly we do not learn that any subsequent vacancies in the number of the twelve were filled.

Verse 23

And they appointed; that is, the assembly of one hundred and twenty disciples appointed them. It does not appear that the apostles acted as such at all in this case; the election seems to have been made by the disciples generally. And yet, on some subsequent occasions, the apostles appear to exercise a certain official power. (Acts 6:2,3.)--Appointed two; that is, they agreed upon two prominent candidates, but, for some reason or other, it was not clear to the assembly which should be selected; and they agreed, accordingly, to appeal solemnly to the decision of the lot. Had it been their design really to refer the subject of filling the vacant office to the Lord, the lot should obviously have been unrestricted,--as in the cases of Achan, (Joshua 7:14-18,) Saul, (1 Samuel 10:19-21,) and Jonathan, (1 Samuel 14:40-42.)

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Bibliographical Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Acts 1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.