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Bible Commentaries

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Acts 5


The Deceit Of Ananias And Sapphira Acts Five

Pictured in Acts chapter five is the deceitful action and death of Ananias and Sapphira. They were killed because of a premeditated sin. Their death had nothing to do with not giving the whole price of their property. They lost their lives because they lied. They lied about the amount they were giving. Their desire was to receive praise of the brethren. Their focus should have been on pleasing God. Sincere love for God should have motivated truthfulness and acceptable service to God.

The Spirit of God made Peter aware of the sins of this couple. This sin, like all sin, had its beginning in the heart. Ananias had conceived this thing in his heart. The crime of Ananias was not keeping part of the money. He could have kept any or all of it. Sadly, both this man and his wife were part of this sinful act. The punishment for their sin was a speedy death.

This practice of discipline caused fear among the Christians and others as well. "Great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things." ( Act_5:11 ) The thing that some think will hinder the growth of the church only helped. "Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women." ( Act_5:14 )

Nothing could stop the apostles from preaching the gospel. Threatings and beatings could not stop them. They preached Christ, and Him crucified. They preached the resurrection from the dead. This was the preaching that most offended the priests. Whatever our position in life, we should seek to make Christ known, and to glorify His name. "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." ( Act_5:42 )


The danger of willful sin Act_5:1-11 : Ananias and Sapphira were guilt of a serious, willful sin. A willful sin is a grave, spiritual error for those that want to go to heaven. They agreed to lie about the price that they received for some land. Their desire was to have the praise of men. Ananias' sin was not in keeping the part but in pretending to give the whole.

Ananias was just making a show of charity. None but Satan could have put this lie in Ananias' heart. However, Peter knew of his lies by divine revelation. It was a terrible, premeditated sin. A premeditated sin aggravates the guilt of that sin and the severeity of punishment.

People need to know how God feels about sin and how severe punishment will be. Sin was so repulsive to God that it cost Ananias and Sapphira their lives. They agreed together in this fraud. To agree together in a fraud and a lie is very dreadful. Ananias and Sapphira were united in marriage, religion, sin, death and eternity.

Verses 12-25

The power of a purified church Act_5:12-25 : During this period of progress for the church miracles were worked by the apostles. The people were fearful of the apostles. Amazingly, the result was great growth for the church. "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women." ( Act_5:14 ) Those that were added to the Lord were likewise added to the church. ( Act_2:47 ) They were added to the only church over which Christ is Lord and head.

These events led to a second Jewish persecution. The motive for the second Jewish persecution was the jealousy of the leaders. The Jewish leaders told the apostles not to speak at all in the name of Jesus. God told them to, "Go, Stand and Speak the words of life." The apostles were certainly in a place of danger. However, this place of danger became a place of opportunity for the preaching of the gospel.

The true purpose of every Christian is to "Go, Stand and Speak the words of life." It is the design of the gospel to restore men to a productive life in Christ Jesus. Let us never forget that the will of God is the salvation of men and women. We must do our part to bring salvation to everyone.

Verses 26-32

When truth is opposed Act_5:26-32 : In spite of opposition, Christians must uphold and defend the truth. Even after being put in prison and threatened the apostles continued to preach. They taught openly and publicly, and without fear. They taught the people in the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus is a strong tower to which the believer can run for safety.

The persecutors gave the apostles an up side down compliment and what a compliment it was -- "you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine." The Sanhedrim had forbid them to speak and teach in the name of Christ. In answer to them the apostles said, "We ought to obey God rather than men." The foundation of true liberty is that "We must obey God rather than men." Obedience to God must be constant, unconditional, immediate and unquestioning.

God raised up Jesus as an exalted Prince. He is declared to be both Lord and Christ. Full forgiveness of all sins can be obtained by the precious blood off Jesus. God gives the Holy Ghost to all that obey Him as a witness of Jesus’ incarnation, His crucifixion and death, His resurrection, His exaltation to the right hand of God, and of His offices as Prince and Savior.

Verses 33-42

Truth cuts to the heart Act_5:33-42 : Even those that will not receive truth may be cut to the heart by truth. When the accusers of the apostles heard the resurrection message they wanted to kill the messengers. They did not want to hear that Jesus had been raised from the dead, exalted to God's right hand in heaven, and that He is the Savior of mankind.

Gamaliel advised the council to act wisely in what the intended to do with the apostles. He reminded them of Theudas and Judas of Galilee. They had led away followers and their work had come to nothing because it was not of God. He said, "if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." ( Act_5:38-39 )

They beat the apostles and "commanded they should not speak in the name of Jesus." The apostles had suffering bodies, happy hearts and obedient spirits. Every day, with great constancy, both publicly and privately, "they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Not a day should pass without some effort on our part to spread the gospel. The church grew through daily preaching done publicly and house to house. Christianity has not been overthrown, but has gone on conquering and to conquer.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Acts 5". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". 2014.