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Bible Commentaries
Acts 4

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


Peter and John were still speaking. Probably both are speaking to separate groups of people, as the priests on duty, the officer of the temple police, and the Sadducees [perhaps the High Priest and his associates] come to them to stop what they are doing.

Verse 2


They were annoyed. While Jesus lived, the Pharisees were his worst enemies. But after his resurrection, the Sadducees became the stronger source of opposition to the messianic community, because they did not believe man survives death! “Christ on the cross” was offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23). But first century preaching strongly emphasized the Risen Jesus and the resurrection of all the dead.

Verses 3-4


But many who heard the message believed. Jailing Peter and John did not change the minds of those who believed what they had said. To about five thousand. This must include those men who were “buried with Christ” on Pentecost (Acts 2:41). Women were not usually counted (compare Matthew 14:21). [J.G. Malphurs thinks Timothy’s mother and grandmother were both “baptized into Christ” on Pentecost, along with his father (who was a Gentile converted to Judaism). He cites the fact that a religious Jewish mother and grandmother did not circumcise Timothy, as evidence pointing toward this.]

Verses 5-6


The next day. This is a meeting of the Jewish Council [the Sanhedrim]. The Jews still considered Annas the High Priest, even though the Romans had put Caiaphas in his place ten years before.

Verse 7


What power do you have? They knew the miracles and wonders were real! But they think it comes through some rite of magic.

Verse 8


Peter, full of the Holy Spirit. See Matthew 10:16-20 and notes.

Verse 9


About the good deed done. They are prisoners on trial for a good deed. Peter uses this to prove the power of the name of Jesus, and to present the Truth of God to them.

Verse 10


Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The very One whom the Council had condemned, is the source of power! Whom you crucified. Now Peter is the “judge,” and they are on trial.

Verse 11


The stone. Jesus quotes this same scripture in Matthew 21:42-46. See notes there.

Verse 12


Through him alone. No other name in all Creation is a SAVING NAME, because God has acted through Jesus Christ. Whoever rejects the Son, has rejected the Father also (1 John 2:22-23). It is not possible, then, to follow God, while rejecting Jesus. [Since Jesus Christ is THE NAME, we do not need the name of angel, Virgin, or saint.]

Verses 13-14


Ordinary men of no education, As all Jews, they had been educated in the synagogue schools, but had not attended the “theological schools” of the teachers of the Law. Companions of Jesus. They had three years of intensive training from Jesus. Plus, they had total recall through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). Because they saw the man. “Facts are stubborn things.”

Verse 15


And started discussing. After they send them out, the Council uses all their wisdom to find a solution.

Verses 16-18


And told them. They threaten them, expecting to put a stop to their preaching.

Verse 19


Or to obey God. This is the “higher law,” which supersedes all other!

Verse 20


For we cannot stop speaking. They are under an obligation They are men with a mission to perform.

Verses 21-22


Because the people. Note the power of public opinion! The man. The man who had been healed was over forty years old, therefore known as a life-long cripple.

Verse 23


Returned to their group. The Christians met together daily (Acts 2:46). Peter and John give their report of all that has happened.

Verse 24


They all Joined together. Someone would lead the prayer. They had been ordered to stop their activities, so they go to God in prayer.

Verses 25-26


Why wen the Gentiles furious? This is quoted from Psalms 2:0.Acts 4:27Acts 4:27 shows how it came true.

Verses 27-28

27–28. They gathered to do everything. God had already decided what would be done, but this does not say that God decreed that Herod, Pilate, etc., would be the ones who would do this. They “volunteered” [unknowingly] to carry out God’s decree.

Verses 29-30


And now, Lord. They do not ask to be saved from pain, persecution, or death. They ask for: (1) boldness in speaking; (2) proof of the power of THE NAME. Their prayer is directed toward the mission Christ has given them.

Verse 31


Was shaken. Evidence that God heard them. They were all filled. Lipscomb thinks only the apostles were filled. Johnson thinks the whole group were filled in a conscious renewal of the miraculous power, just like Pentecost. Compare Acts 10:44, where the Spirit came down on all who were listening.

Verses 32-35


Was one in mind and heart. They formed one community in Christ, with one doctrine, served one Lord, and had one hope of eternal life! Was his own. See note on Acts 2:44-45. It was an emergency, but the group met the need. The language does not imply that everyone sold everything he had.

Verses 36-37


Joseph, a Levite born in Cyprus. He is “Barnabas” from this time on. Sold a field he owned. He did this out of love, of his own free will, and brought the entire sum of money, and turned it over to the apostles. This is important, because it “sets the stage” for the event in the next chapter.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/acts-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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