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Bible Commentaries
Acts 1

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


In my first book. That is, in the Gospel of Luke. The name “Theophilus” means one who loves God. No record of him exists other than Luke’s mention of his name.

Verse 2


He gave instructions. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47-49). By the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was given the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34). The Spirit was “ANOTHER Helper” (John 14:16), and Jesus gave them a pledge of the Spirit (John 20:22), with the promise they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:5).

Verse 3


He showed himself to them. Jesus is LIVING SAVIOR! If his body “still slept on a Judean hill,” he would be no different from Socrates, Buddha, Muhammad, or any other sage. He was seen by them. See note on Matthew 28:9 Scripture records eleven times that he was seen after raising from death, but the language implies more times. [The event of Matthew 27:52-53 can be taken to imply that he was also seen by the people and the Jewish leaders during the forty days time.] About the Kingdom of God. The church (messianic community) which would be officially set up on Pentecost.

Verse 4


Do not leave Jerusalem. It was “poetic justice” that the church of Christ would begin right in the same city where the enemies of Christ lived. A false religion would have begun hundreds of years later and thousands of miles distant. See note on Acts 2:36-37. But also, Isaiah had prophesied that Jerusalem would be the place where the Good News was first preached (Isaiah 2:3). But wait for the gift. Note it is the Father who promised the gift. The terms of citizenship in the Kingdom must be spoken by the Spirit. [Note the command to “wait” applied only to this time of setting up of Christ’s church.]

Verse 5


John baptized with water. Water was the only element in the baptism of John. They had received John’s baptism [some think John 4:1-2 implies that they (and John’s disciples) had been re-baptized as Christ’s disciples], and now they are going to receive “baptism with the Holy Spirit.” This took place just ten days after Jesus told them this. [For a more complete discussion of John’s baptism and “Christian baptism,” see notes on Acts 19:1-7.

Verse 6


Lord, will you at this time? They still held to their former ideas about a “golden age of Israel,” with a political Messiah. Their only question was: “Will you give it now?” Not until the Holy Spirit was given, and they understood “all the truth” (John 16:12-15), would they give up this delusion and see that Christ’s Kingdom is not “of this world.”

Verse 7


And it is not for you to know. That is, “it’s none of your business!” The “times and occasions” are not revealed (see Revelation 10:3-4).

Verse 8


But you will be filled with power. Not the political power they dreamed of having, but spiritual power! And you will be witnesses for me. A “witness” is one who gives evidence or testimony, based upon personal knowledge or belief. The apostles are “prime witnesses” about things in which they participated themselves (1 John 1:1-4). Every Christian can be a “witness” in a secondary sense, based upon the facts which he accepts as being true. In Jerusalem. Beginning in the religious capital of Judaism, and spreading out over the whole world (see note on Colossians 1:23).

Verse 9


He was taken up to heaven. See Luke 24:51-53 and notes there.

Verse 10


They still had their eyes fixed on the sky. In surprise at what has just happened! As they stand there, two men dressed in white (angels) suddenly are standing beside them.

Verse 11


This Jesus . . . will come back in the same way. A cloud hid him from their sight as he was taken up. He will come back with clouds (Revelation 1:7 : Daniel 7:13; Matthew 24:30). [The nucleus of disciples were Galileans, Acts 2:7.]

Verse 12


Then the apostles went back. Jesus was taken up from the Mount of Olives. [A shrine is built on the supposed spot.] Now they return to the city to wait.

Verse 13


And went up to the room. A room on the second floor. They both lived there, and used it for a meeting place. All the apostles are named except Judas Iscariot (see notes on Matthew 10:1-4).

Verse 14


To pray as a group. They were waiting for the Father’s gift. Ten days time passed between Jesus being taken up, and the events of Pentecost. They spent much of this time in prayer. With the women. Especially those who had been with Jesus on his teaching tour (Luke 8:1-3) Mary. This is the last time Scripture speaks of her. Traditional history says she lived almost to the time Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. And his brothers. These are the natural sons of Mary and Joseph. Just six months before this, they had been unbelievers (John 7:5), but now they were among the nucleus of disciples. One of them was the James of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; 1 Corinthians 15:7), the writer of the Letter from James. [Brothers: see note on John 2:12.]

Verse 15


About one hundred and twenty in all. This is how many were at Jerusalem, but there were other disciples (1 Corinthians 15:6). With the attitude of the apostles themselves (Acts 1:6), it could be that many of the disciples of Jesus were indifferent until after the events of Pentecost.

Verse 16


The scripture had to come true. The scripture recorded David’s prediction about what Judas would do of his own free will. (see Acts 1:20.)

Verse 17


A member of our group. It was a paradox that one who shared in the work of Christ would be the one to betray him.

Verse 18


He bought a field. The priests bought it in his name. Everyone here would understand that, See note on Matthew 27:7. Where he fell to his death. We are to “lump together” Matthew’s account and this. Traditional history says Judas hanged himself on a tree overhanging the cliffs of the Valley of Hinnom, and either the rope or the tree limb breaking, fell with such force that his body burst open on the jagged rocks below.

Verse 19


Field of Blood. Both because of his bloody death, and being paid for the “blood money.”

Verse 20


In the book of Psalms. The spirit, rather than the exact words, is quoted. The first quotation is from Psalms 69:25; the second from Psalms 109:8.

Verses 21-22


Someone must join us. A twelfth apostle must be chosen. He must be one who had been a disciple of John, left him to follow Jesus, had stayed with Jesus all during his teaching ministry, and had seen Jesus after he was raised from death. He must be an “eye witness” of all this, so he can join his voice to theirs as they declare the Good News.

Verse 23


So they proposed two men. The whole group did this. The two men are mentioned only here.

Verse 24


Then they prayed. Likely one of the apostles led in prayer. They were asking God to show them the right thing to do. This is a good example.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/acts-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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