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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

- Acts

by Johann Peter Lange

Ordinary Professor Of Theology, And Superintendent At Leipsic
Superintendent At Stuttgard


Professor Of Theology In The Thelogical Seminary Of The Evangelical Lutheran Church At Philadelphia



The American Translator of Prof. Lechler’s Commentary on The Acts of the Apostles, which constitutes a volume of Dr. Lange’s “Bibelwerk,” is at liberty to refer to the Preface of Dr. Schaff, in Vol. I., for a general description of the whole work.—The Exegetical and Critical notes, and the Doctrinal and Ethical views, presented in the present volume, were furnished by Dr. G. V. Lechler. Professor of Theology, and Superintendent, at Leipsic; the Homiletical and Practical remarks were contributed by the Rev. Charles Gerok, Superintendent of ecclesiastical affairs in the city of Stuttgard (Württemberg).

Prof. Lechler had long been favorably known as the author of a “History of English Deism,” of various valuable dissertations, and, specially, of a work entitled: “The Apostolic and post-Apostolic Age, etc.”, (second edition, 1857), which has obtained a wide circulation in Europe; it exhibits the results of his profound study of The Acts, and of the extensive “literature” clustering around that book, which he uninterruptedly continued during a period of fifteen years. His thorough acquaintance with the character and spirit of that book, and his eminent attainments, fitted him, in a peculiar manner, for the task of preparing the present volume, which Dr. Lange, with admirable judgment, requested him to assume. At his own request, his friend, the Rev. C. Gerok of Stuttgard, one of the most distinguished and popular pulpit orators of Germany, consented to prepare the Homiletical matter. It may be here remarked, that, in addition to the contributions which each of these eminent men has made to the theological literature of Germany, Gerok has also taken a high rank as a poet. A collection of his religious poems, entitled “Palmblätter” (Palm-leaves), is so highly prized, that it has already reached a tenth edition.—As Gerok connects with his own matter many sketches of sermons, etc. derived from other sources (Starke, Lisco, etc.), the reader will perceive that the views presented in the Homiletical and Practical remarks, diverge, in a few cases of minor importance, from those which Lechler adopts in the Exegetical and Critical notes.—As a general rule, the reader who specially consults the Exegetical notes, will frequently find additional exegetical matter in the Doctrinal and Ethical departments.

The first edition of the present work, in the original language, appeared in 1860 (Bielefeld, Prussia), and was received with unusual favor; two years afterwards, the second edition, of which the present volume is a translation, made its appearance, with extensive additions and improvements.
Prof. Lechler has, in accordance with the general plan of the “Bibelwerk,” devoted considerable attention to the lectiones variæ of the text, without, however, specifying the authorities, except in a few cases. It was not the intention of Dr. Lange and his coadjutors to introduce all the various readings furnished by professed critical editions of the New Testament, and thus supersede the latter. Lechler has, accordingly, selected chiefly those readings only which he adopted in his translation, in preference to the respective readings of the textus receptus. The Translator has made considerable additions to this part of the work. Stier and Theile had, in the New Testament, or last volume of their “Polyglotten-Bibel,” (many copies of which are now imported from Europe), exhibited the variations from the textus receptus in the several editions of Griesbach, Knapp, Scholz, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Hahn, and Theile; these were collated with great judgment and fidelity, although here, too, the authorities were not usually stated. (Mere orthographical variations, such as Lachmann’s λήμψεσθαι, ζητεῖν,, etc., were not noticed.)

The Translator has performed a twofold work in this department. First, in addition to the various readings which Lechler has introduced, the Translator now exhibits all or nearly all those furnished by Stier and Theile. He adopted this course, as either the sources from which these readings proceed (manuscripts, versions, fathers, recensions), or their intrinsic character, have given them an importance not claimed by the great mass of the various readings. He has, secondly, presented a full statement of those uncial manuscripts which exhibit the readings of the textus receptus, and also of those which furnish the readings preferred by later editors or critics.

For the term: Textus Receptus, we are indebted to the Elzevirs, the celebrated printers of Amsterdam and Leyden. Their first edition of the Greek New Testament appeared in 1624; the text was long supposed to be that of the editio regia of Rob. Stephanus (or, Estienne, of Paris), with various alterations. But it is now ascertained that the text was, with the exception of a few passages, that of Beza’s first edition with a Latin translation, of the year 1565. The name of the critic, or, rather, of the editor, is not known: some have conjectured that D. Heinsius superintended the work; others have proposed the name of Ant. Thysius. The editor, whose name cannot now be ascertained, remarked, with a certain degree of boldness, in the Preface of the second Elzevir edition, of the year Acts 1633: “Textum ergo habes nunc ab omnibus receptum, in quo nihil immutatum aut corruptum damus, etc.” The typographical accuracy and elegance, and the comparative cheapness of the Elzevir editions, gave them unusual popularity, and secured the favor of eminent scholars. The later editions (seven altogether, not eight, in number) appeared in 1641, 1656, 1662, 1670, 1678. The text of the fourth, fifth, and sixth editions was the same; the other editions exhibited some variations in the text, and few of those which other printers issued, professedly as copies of the “Textus Receptus,” exhibited absolutely the same text, but occasionally introduced readings which varied from other printed texts. Although manuscripts of eminent value were subsequently collated, the expression of this unknown editor, viz. “Textum … receptum,” gave a sanction to the present text of the Greek Testament, in its general features, which, for a long period, was not called in question. (Reuss: Gesch. d. Heil. Schriften N. T. § 406. p. 413. Fourth edit. 1864.)1

When Dr. Lechler published the last or second edition of this Commentary, he was not yet enabled to consult either of the two editions of the Codex Sinaiticus,2 which Tischendorf has since presented to the theological world. He was, however, made acquainted with the readings of that manuscript in several important passages, partly, by Tischendorf’s Notitia editionis codicis Bibliorum Sinaitici, which appeared in 1860, and, partly, by a direct application for information made by his colleague to Tischendorf. Several important passages, however, remained, as to which he failed to obtain the readings of Cod. Sin.

In consequence of the importance of this Codex Sinaiticus (“the brightest pearl,” says Reuss, § 392, note, “which Tischendorf, the happy finder, brought home from the East”), the Translator has inserted the readings which it exhibits, in all the cases in which either he himself or Lechler has introduced a various reading. The enterprising publishers of the “Polyglotten-Bibel” of Stier and Theile appended to the fourth edition of the New Testament (1863), a “Collatio textus Græci editionis Polyglottæ cum Novo Testamento Sinaitico,” as an appendix. Tischendorf himself prefixed to it a Latin testimonial, in which he states that, with his concurrence, the preparation of this Appendix had been intrusted to two “viri doctissimi,” whom he names. One of them collated the text heretofore adopted in the Four Gospels, with that of the Sinaitic manuscript; the other collated The Acts, and the remainder of the New Testament. Tischendorf remarks that the work of the latter is more thoroughly performed than that of the former. He does not, however, seem to be entirely satisfied with the general results of their labors. The Translator of this volume found that their collation was unsatisfactory in several respects. After having translated and enlarged the critical notes appended to the several sections of the text of the first eight or nine chapters, he found himself compelled to lay this “Collatio” entirely aside, as far as textual criticism was concerned, and procure a copy of Tischendorf’s own edition (1863) of the Codex Sinaiticus. The title is given on p. 565 of Vol. I. of this work. He was thus enabled to revise the critical notes already.prepared, and to exhibit the exact readings of that manuscript in all the cases to which Lechler or he himself called attention. The marginal notes and renderings of the authorized English version have all been noticed, and the “Former Translations,” (Wiclif, 1380; Tyndale, 1534; Cranmer, 1539; Geneva, 1557; Rheims, 1580), have usually been mentioned in the critical notes appended to the text.

It was the Translator’s main object to reproduce Lechler’s Commentary in an English form, without alterations, or omissions (with the exception of a few sentences, exclusively in the Homiletical department, which contained repetitions, verses of German church hymns, etc.), or any extensive additions. A large portion of the best materials in Meyer’s Commentary had already been incorporated by the author with his own matter. The Translator has occasionally inserted philological, geographical and other notes, derived chiefly from Meyer, Alford, Hackett, J. A. Alexander, and ConybeareandHowson; to Gerok’s part of the work, he has occasionally appended brief homiletical sketches. All his additions are invariably enclosed in brackets. He had originally intended to enrich the present volume by inserting extracts from Dr. Schaff’s “History of the Apostolic Church.” This production of the eminent church-historian sheds so much light on many questions connected with the Book of The Acts, that it may justly be regarded as indispensable to the student of the New Testament. He found, however, the work of condensation so difficult, as the matter presented by Dr. Schaff is exceedingly rich, and saw so plainly that brief extracts would be alike unsatisfactory to the reader, and unjust to that “History,” that he was compelled to omit Dr. Schaff’s matter entirely, (except in the Chronological chart); he now refers in general to the “History of the Apostolic Church,” as a source whence very important information may be derived, on nearly all the points of interest which are introduced and discussed in this Commentary.—The variations from the authorized English Version, inserted in the text in brackets, present Lechler’s views, not necessarily those of the Translator, who is responsible for them only in so far as they correctly exhibit Lechler’s own decisions respecting the readings or the translation.

The Translator had very nearly completed his work, when he received the Edinburgh translation of Lechler’s Commentary on The Acts of the Apostles, by Rev. Paton J. Gloag. An examination of this production satisfied the American Translator that, even if he had been able to consult it at an earlier period, it would have afforded him no aid. Mr. Gloag has not made any additions to the author’s critical notes on the original text, by inserting the names of the manuscripts from which readings are taken, nor elsewhere added new matter to the original. The work was evidently performed with considerable haste, without a careful consultation of the best German Dictionaries, which, as it is obvious from the results, that translator should have in nocase neglected. He has corrected scarcely any of the typographical errors occurring in the original in the Scriptural references. He reproduces the author’s statements of distances by simply transferring the figures of the latter, which represent German miles. In addition to a few other features which are not satisfactory to the reader, it may be remarked that both Lechler and Gerok are occasionally represented as expressing thoughts that materially differ from those which they really express in the original.

The Chronology of the Acts is, confessedly, a very intricate subject; the author has furnished very few dates, and abstains almost entirely from chronological investigations. To the Translator the absence of dates seemed to be the only defect of this noble work, which, however, the liberality of the American publisher has now enabled him, to a certain extent, to supply. Dr. H. A. W. Meyer had prefixed to the third edition of his Commentary on The Acts (1861), a large chronological chart, presenting a very full synopsis of the dates which he himself recognized, and also of those which the most eminent chronologists and commentators had, respectively, adopted. As he exhibits the results in such a convenient form, and gives a complete list of his authorities, the Translator has transferred the whole to the present volume, and added two columns—the one exhibiting the dates preferred by the author of this Commentary, the other, those exhibited in the “Chronological Table” appended to Dr. Schaff’s “History of the Apostolic Church.”

The text of the English Version here presented, including orthography, punctuation, etc., is that of the (standard) edition of the American Bible Society, 1861, Minion, Ref. 16mo.
Philadelphia, July 2d, 1866.

C. F. S.



In the catalogue of the writings which compose the New Testament, this book occupies a position which is peculiarly its own. The history of the life of Jesus is presented in four Gospels, which refer mainly to a brief period of three years; the book of the Acts is the only one in the Bible which continues the sacred narrative after the close of the terrestrial life of the Redeemer, comprehending a period of at least thirty years (about 30–64, A. D.), and exhibiting the intimate connexion which subsisted between the subsequent events and the life of Jesus. The statement is made in the book itself (Acts 1:1), that it is the second part of the Gospel of Luke, so that these historical accounts of the Apostles are simply the continuation of the history of the life of the Lord himself. This connection between the Gospel and the book before us, has a deep significance, and is very instructive; for it teaches us that the course of action and the experiences of the Apostles and the earliest congregations, are both the fruit or continued operation of the terrestrial life of Jesus, which closed with his ascension, and also the revelation or demonstration of the celestial life of Christ, which commenced with his ascension. And, on the other hand, the varied experience of the disciples and the primitive congregations will then only appear in a true and sacred light, when it is viewed as the result of the operations of the exalted Lord and of the Spirit who was promised and sent by him. Besides, if the Gospel of Luke, as contradistinguished from the other three Gospels, is characterized, in particular, by the enlarged and lofty views of Christian philanthropy which pervade it, the book of the Acts, which is its continuation, fully accords with it in this respect. For the prophecies, the intimations, the types and images of the former, are presented in the latter, when it sets forth the deeds of the Apostles, as the actual fulfilment, as facts that have occurred, as real history. If the former, for instance, describes the Samaritan who expressed his fervent gratitude to the Saviour, and presents the parable of the Good Samaritan, the latter relates events of still greater importance which occurred in the presence of the Apostles, when many persons were converted in Samaria, and received the Gospel with lively gratitude and joy. And if the Gospel of Luke records various discourses of Jesus, which refer to the conversion of the Gentiles, and to their entrance into the kingdom of God, the book of the Acts, on the other hand, describes the mode in which the word of God was gradually and successfully made known to the Gentiles, and the process by which they were admitted to all the privileges of citizens of the kingdom of God.

If the Gospel of Luke is distinguished from the others by the peculiar spirit of Christian philanthropy which it breathes, the same enlarged views, which embrace the whole human species, may also be recognized in his history of the acts of the Apostles. It was, in reality, composed originally for the benefit of a Gentile-Christian, that is, the same Theophilus to whom the Gospel was dedicated; and by far the largest part of it is occupied with the history of Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles. Still, the conversion of the Gentiles, or, Gentile-Christianity, is not the leading, much less the exclusive subject of this book—such limited views characterize it as little as they do the Scriptures in general. Luke manifests an equal interest in the conversion of the Jews to their Messiah and Saviour, that is, in the Judæo-Christian Church. And, indeed, the central thought of the Acts is the combination of both parts as one whole, or the oneness of the church of Christ, whether in Israel or among the Gentiles—the union of the Apostles, whatever names (Peter, Paul, etc.) they may bear. The leading theme of the book is found in the words addressed by the Lord to his apostles: “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The testimony of the Apostles (who received the unction of the Holy Spirit, and produced rich and abundant fruits), or historical accounts of the progress of the Church of Christ, which went forth from the Jews, and extended to the Gentiles, may, accordingly, be said to constitute the contents of the book. And yet it is a sacred book and worthy of the Bible, solely for the reason that it not only describes the deeds and experiences of men, or furnishes a human history, but also presents a divine and divinehuman narrative, since it sets forth the controlling influence and authority of Christ, and the witness of his Spirit, in the deeds, the discourses and the experience of his apostles and his Church. Since it describes the origin, the establishment, the development, and the early progress and guidance of the church of Christ, it necessarily sets forth, at the same time, the eternal, fundamental principles of the church in every respect, “delineating, alike, the individual, the congregational, and the ecclesiastical life of the Christian.” This book is, therefore, as Starke says, “a witness of apostolic doctrine and primitive Christianity; a rule and guide for the government, the discipline and the order of the church; an armory which furnishes the church with weapons in its conflict with Antichrist; a repository that offers a remedy for every soul-destroying disease engendered by errors in the faith and offences in the life and conduct of men; a store-house which abundantly nourishes faith, patience and hope; a mirror and a stimulus, promoting love and its appropriate works; a treasury, abounding in learning and sound doctrine.”

§ 2. The Composition of The Acts

The proofs of the genuineness and ecclesiastical authority of the present book, do not, it is true, ascend to so remote a period as those which may be produced in the case of many other portions of the New Testament. For the language of the apostolic fathers, in which allusions to certain passages of the acts may indeed be found, is, nevertheless, not of such a character as to produce entire conviction. But the testimonies which are furnished at the close of the second, and the commencement of the third century, or at the time when the canon of the New Testament became more firmly established, are so numerous, so weighty, and so decided, that not a doubt can remain respecting the ancient and general recognition of the Acts as a sacred book, written by the apostolic man named Luke. Hence Eusebius did not hesitate to enumerate this book among those writings of the New Testament canon, which were universally acknowledged as genuine (Hist. Eccl. III. 25). The opposition of certain heretical parties, such as the Ebionites, Marcionites, Severians and Manicheans, who rejected the book solely for the reason that its statements were inconsistent with their doctrines, is not of such a nature as to impair our confidence in a fact supported by the ancient and universal testimony of the church. The statement found in a certain passage in Photius, to the effect that some persons supposed the book to have been written, not by Luke, but either by Clemens of Rome, or by Barnabas, cannot create any embarrassment, since it may be readily explained by the fact to which Chrysostom bears witness in his Homilies on the acts: “There are many,” he says, “who do not even know that this book is in existence, or who can state the name of the author.” It may, besides, be easily conceived that the Gospels, and also the apostolical epistles were far more generally read than the Acts (which may possibly still be the case, even in the most recent times); under such circumstances, some uncertainty respecting the name of the author, may have existed in the minds of many persons.

In the most recent times, when doubting has assumed the character of a regular profession, one point, at least, connected with the Acts, has not been called in question, viz.: that the third Gospel and the Acts proceed from the same author. That this author was Luke, the companion of the apostle Paul, has, it is true, been repeatedly denied, but this denial is supported by arguments which cannot be said to possess very great weight.3

The date of the composition of the Acts cannot be stated with entire precision. The circumstance that the book does not speak of the death of the apostle Paul, does not fully authorize us to infer that it was written previously to that event. The silence which it observes on this point, may be easily ascribed to other causes. We may rather assume that not only the death of the apostle Paul, but also the destruction of Jerusalem had already occurred, when the book was written; and, indeed, Irenæus states that Luke had written his Gospel (the composition of which, as the first part, unquestionably preceded that of the Acts), after the death of Peter and Paul. The book cannot, however, on the other hand, have been written at a much later period. We may therefore assign the date of the book to the period intervening between A. D. 70 and 80.

3. Theological and Homiletical Works on the Acts

For catalogues of special works on the Acts, or treatises on peculiar sections, see Heidegger, Enchir. Biblicum, c.7, p. 810 ff.; Danz, Universal-Wörterb. d. theol. Lit. pp. 70–73; Lilienthal, Bibl. Archivarius, 1745, pp. 358–420; J. G. Walch, Bibliotheca Theologica, T. 4, 1765, pp. 654–662.

Among the monographs, the following claim special mention: The fifty-five Homilies of Chrysostom; the commentaries of Theophylact and Œcumenius; and, in a more recent period, the commentary of Limborch, Rotterdam, 1711; J. E. C. Walch’s Dissertatones in Acta Revelation , 3 vols., Jena, 1756 ff.; the version and commentary of Morus, edited by Dindorf, Leipsic, 1794; Hildebrand: The History of the Apostles of Jesus, presented in an exegetico-hermeneutical form, 1824; Stier: The Discourses of the Apostles, 1829; 2d ed. 1861; Schrader: The Apostle Paul, 1830 ff.; Neander: History of the Planting and Guidance of the Christian Church, by the Apostles. [An English translation of the third edition of the original work, by Ryland, was published in Philadelphia and New York in 1844, with the title: History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church, etc.]. Baur: The Apostle Paul, 1845; Baumgarten: the Acts of the Apostles, or, The Course of the Development of the Church, from Jerusalem to Rome Halle, 1852: 2d ed. 1859 [translated into English by Morrison, and published in Edinburgh, 1855, in Clark’s Foreign Theol. Library, 3 vols.]; Lange: The Apostolic Age, 2 vols., 1854. [P. Schaff: History of the Apostolic Church, 2d ed., Leipsic, 1854. Translated into English by Yeomans, New York and Edinburgh; H. W. S. Thiersch: The Church during the Apostolic Age, Frankf. and Erlangen, 1852.]; H. Ewald: History of the People of Israel, 6th vol., also with the title: History of the Apostolic Age, to the Destruction of Jerusalem. 1858;4 Hackett: Commentary on the Original Text of the Acts of the Apostles. Boston. 1851. [New edition, 1863; J. A. Alexander: the Acts of the Apostles Explained. 2 vols. New York, 1857. Third edition, 1864.—Tr.].

Works combining practical and homiletical matter:—Menken: Views of the Life of the Apostle Paul, and of the Primitive Christian Congregations, derived from several chapters of the Acts, Bremen, 1828; Brandt: “Apostolisches Pastorale,” or, the Acts, exhibited as a guide for the evangelical preacher and pastor in fulfilling the duties of his office with the Divine blessing, 1848; Williger: “Bible-hours,” on the Acts, 1850; Langbein: Sermons on the Acts, Grimma, 1852; Leonhardi and Spiegelhauer: Homiletical Manual for Sermons on the Acts, 1855; Da Costa: the Acts, interpreted for Pastors and the Church, translated [from the Dutch into German] by Reifert, Bremen, 1860; Besser: the Acts, Explained in Bible-hours for the Church, 1860.


The theme of the book is the following:—The apostles of the Lord, appearing as his witnesses, both in Jerusalem, and all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth [Acts 1:8]——the Church of Christ, described with respect to its founding, its guidance, and its extension, in Israel and among Gentiles, from Jerusalem even unto Rome. This theme of the Acts comprehends a very large number of special facts, discourses and occurrences, which, at the same time, prefigure and sketch out the whole subsequent history of the Church.




A reference to the Gospel of Luke, as the first division of the whole work written by him (Acts 1:1-3)

Section I. Antecedents of the founding of the Church (Acts 1:4-26)

A. The Ascension of Jesus and the last instructions, commandments and promises addressed by him to the Apostles (Acts 1:4-11; comp. Mark 16:19 ff.; Luke 24:49 ff).

B. The return of the Apostles to Jerusalem; their continued intimate union; the completion of the apostolic number Twelve, by the appointment of Matthias as an Apostle (Acts 1:12-26).

Section II. The founding of the Church, as the Church of all nations, by the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, by the testimony of Peter, who had an unction from the Spirit, and whom the divine blessing attended, by the conversion of three thousand persons, and by the devout fellowship of the believers (Acts 2:1-47).

A. The Pentecostal miracle itself; its external features, and its internal operation, by which the assembled believers were filled with the Holy Ghost and enabled to speak with other tongues (Acts 2:1-4).

B. The different impressions which were made by the event on Jews who came from foreign countries, especially when the disciples, filled with the Spirit, spake with other tongues Acts 2:5-13).

C. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:14-36).

D. The effect produced by this address, and the exhortations which followed it, namely, the conversion of three thousand souls, who were added by Baptism to the disciples (Acts 2:37-41).

E. The holy, devout, and blessed state of the primitive Church (Acts 2:42-47).

Part II

The Church of Christ in Jerusalem; its Development and Guidance; Its Conflicts and Victories, acts, and Sufferings (Acts 3-7).

Section I. The healing of the lame man, an apostolical miracle wrought in the power of Jesus Christ; its effects: first, Peter’s testimony concerning Jesus Christ, delivered in the presence of the people; secondly, the arrest of Peter and John; they are, however, released, after energetically vindicating themselves before the great Council. All these events tended to encourage, and to strengthen the faith of the Church; the oneness of spirit and brotherly love of the believers (Acts 3:4).

Section II. The miraculous and sudden judgment which visited the sin of Ananias and Sapphira, delivers the Church from a danger that threatened it in its own bosom. The effects produced by this event, and the internal progress of the Church, sustained by miraculous powers granted to the apostles (Acts 5:1-16).

Section III. Another, and a more violent assault, conducted by the Sadducean party, is followed by the imprisonment of all the apostles; the miraculous deliverance of the latter, their bold defence before the Great Council, and the intervention of Gamaliel, ultimately led (after they had suffered shame for the sake of Jesus), to their release (Acts 5:17-42).

Section IV. The complaint of the Hellenists that their widows were neglected when relief was given to the poor, induces the apostles to direct that seven men should be chosen and appointed for this service. The continued growth of the Church (Acts 6:1-7).

Section V. Stephen, one of the Seven, who labored with great power and success, is accused of blasphemy; he vindicates himself in a powerful discourse; in consequence of that discourse he is stoned, but dies with blessed hopes, a conqueror through the name of Jesus (Acts 6:8 to Acts 7:60).

Part III

The Church of Christ throughout Judea and Samaria, and in its Transition to the Gentiles (Acts 8-12)

Section I. The persecution of the Church in Jerusalem, which began with the stoning of Stephen, and in which Saul especially took an active part, occasions the dispersion of the believers throughout Judea and Samaria, but also leads to the promulgation of the Gospel in these regions, and even to the conversion of a proselyte from a distant country (Acts 8:0).

Section II. The conversion of Saul; his labors and experience immediately afterwards (Acts 9:1-30).

Section III. During Peter’s visitation of the congregations in Judea, he is induced by a special revelation from heaven to visit a Gentile named Cornelius, to preach Christ in his house, and to baptize him and those that were in his house; this act of Peter was at first regarded in Jerusalem with disapprobation, but was ultimately, after the explanations which he gave, very gladly commended (Acts 9:31 to Acts 11:18).

A. While the congregations in the Holy Land enjoy repose, and continue to flourish, Peter visits them. During this period he heals Eneas, in Lydda, who was sick of the palsy, and, in Joppa, restores Tabitha to life (Acts 9:31-43).

B. Concurring divine revelations conduct Peter from Joppa to the Roman centurion Cornelius, in Cesarea, to whom he proclaims Christ; and when the gift of the Holy Ghost is imparted to Cornelius and other Gentile hearers, Peter directs that they should be baptized (Acts 10:0).

C. The objections of prejudiced Judæo-Christians to the association with Gentiles which had been commenced, are successfully answered by Peter, who appeals to the obvious interposition of the Lord in the whole transaction; hence, those who had objected, are not only satisfied, but also offer thanks to God for the conversion of the Gentiles (Acts 11:1-18).

Section IV. The establishment of a Gentile-Christian congregation in Antioch. Its communion in faith and love with Jerusalem. Saul and the Antiochian congregation (Acts 11:19-30).

A. The founding of the Church in Antioch, through the agency of Hellenists (Acts 11:19-21).

B. The Church in Jerusalem sends Barnabas to Antioch; he encourages the members of the recently formed congregation, and conducts Saul to them (Acts 11:22-26).

C. The Antiochian congregation gives proof of its fraternal union with the Christians in Judea, by affording relief to the latter during a famine (Acts 11:27-30).

Section V. The persecution of the Church in Jerusalem by Herod, and the execution of James; Peter is miraculously delivered from prison, and withdraws from Jerusalem; the persecution is terminated by a judgment of God, which overtakes the persecutor (Acts 12:0).

Part IV

The Extension of the Church of Christ in Gentile Countries through the Agency of Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles; his three Missionary Journeys, at the Termination of each of which he Returns to Jerusalem, and Diligently Promotes Union between the Gentile-Christians, and the Judæo-Christian Primitive Congregation (Acts 13:1 to Acts 21:16)

Section I. The first missionary journey of Paul, accompanied by Barnabas, to the island of Cyprus, and to Pamphylia and Pisidia, two provinces of Asia Minor (Acts 13:14).

Section II. Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, and Barnabas, are sent from Antioch to Jerusalem, for the purpose of arranging matters that concerned Gentile-Christians; the proceedings in Jerusalem, and their results (Acts 15:1-35).

Section III. The second missionary journey of Paul, accompanied by Silas and Timotheus, to Asia Minor and Europe (Acts 15:36 to Acts 18:22).

Section IV. The third missionary journey of the apostle Paul—to Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece; his return to Jerusalem (Acts 18:23 to Acts 21:16).

Part V

The Arrest of the Apostle Paul, The Result of which is, that he not only Finds an Opportunity, in the Providence of God, for Delivering his Testimony Concerning Jesus before his People, the Great Council, Rulers, and Princes, but is also Conducted to Rome, the Capital of the World, and the Residence of the Emperor, in Order to Bear Witness there Concerning Jesus Christ, in the Presence of Jews and Gentiles (Acts 21:17 to Acts 28:31. Conclusion).

Section I. The cause and manner of the arrest of Paul (Acts 21:17-40).

Section II. The imprisonment of the apostle Paul in Jerusalem; his defence before the Israelite people and the Great Council (Acts 22:1 to Acts 23:11).

Section III. Paul is conveyed from Jerusalem to Cesarea, and there speaks in defence of himself before the Roman procurators, Felix and Festus, as well as before King Herod Agrippa II. (Acts 23:12 to Acts 26:32).

Section IV. The apostle’s journey by sea from Cesarea to Rome (Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:15).

Section V. The abode and labors of the apostle Paul in Rome (Acts 28:16-31).

On the arrangement of the details furnished by the Acts, Lange has made some ingenious remarks in his Apostolic Age, I. 2, 48 ff. He observes, for instance, in reference to the section consisting of Acts 3-12, that here periods of external and internal obscuration and of splendor alternate in the Church, and that each period of its obscuration is succeeded by one of splendor, through the operation of the Spirit of Christ. In the section just mentioned, for instance, five periods of external and four of internal obscuration are enumerated. In a similar manner, Lange arranges, p. 162 ff., the journeys of the apostle Paul, Acts 13—21, in two series, which correspond to each other, namely, three missionary journeys, and three journeys from his missionary field to Jerusalem, which regularly alternate. Now, the remark is undoubtedly correct that, after each missionary journey, Paul re-visited Jerusalem, and that he maintained the connection between the Gentile-Christian missionary field and the original congregation. The second visit to the city is, however, indicated in Acts 18:22, in five words only, and is, indeed, so slightly mentioned, that many readers and interpreters have not even noticed it. This circumstance shows, at least, that Luke himself by no means assigned such importance to this visit to Jerusalem, as to describe it specially in his narrative. And with respect to the double series of periods of external and internal obscuration and splendor, it does not appear as if the historian himself, when he wrote the book, had entertained such a view. As to the arrangement of the leading topics of the book, indicated by the matter itself, we believe that we have presented it in the five Parts mentioned above, in a plain but lucid manner, and in correspondence with the word of the Lord in Acts 1:8, in which passage the theme of the whole book of the Acts is furnished.


[1]This author, a Professor in the University of Strasburg (France), and a member of the Theological Faculty, has published several works, either in the German or the French language, both of which he employs with equal elegance. His great work: “Histoire de la Théologie Chrétienne, etc.,” appeared in a second edition in 1860, in two volumes. He has made the History of the Printed Text of the Greek Testament a special study, has already collected between 500 and 600 copies of various editions, and will soon publish a work on this interesting subject, which he has at length completed. He has conclusively shown that the term “Textus Receptus” is not to be taken in a strict and absolute sense, as if all those editions which profess to exhibit that text were verbatim the same. For instance, the text, respectively, of the Erasmian editions, of those of the Estienne (Stephens) family, of those of Beza, and also of the Elzevirian editions, was far from being uniformly the same, although the variations do not appear to be very serious or very numerous. Dr. Mill’s text (1707) is that of the Estienne edition of 1550, with very few variations. It is the text which British and American editors or publishers have usually reproduced (Bagster, Greenfield, etc.). The present Textus Receptus is, as Prof. Reuss remarks, a “mixed text,” i.e., not one which exhibits the text of any existing manuscript without variations; minor variations will occasionally be found in all the numerous editions. This fact explains the circumstance that the English and the German authorized versions exhibit variations in some cases, especially in the punctuation, and that the former varies in a few cases from the Greek text of some editions of the Greek Testament, of which a few instances may be found in the “textual criticism” appended, in this volume, to the several sections into which the Book of The Acts is divided by Lechler.

[2]On this manuscript Dr. Schaff makes the following remarks (p. 565 of Vol. I. of this work): “The Sinaitic Manuscript of the Bible, which Professor Tischendorf rescued from the obscurity of the Convent of St. Catharine on Mount Sinai,” was “carefully edited in two editions in 1862 and 1863.” … “No critical scholar can ignore this manuscript hereafter, etc.” .. “In the absence of a similar mark agreed upon by critics (the proposed designation by the Hebrew א has not yet been adopted, etc.), I introduce it always as Cod. Sin., etc.”—Dr. Schaff’s estimate of the value of this manuscript, is recognized as correct by all who have examined the subject. One of Tischendorf’s correspondents recently remarked to the latter, that he regarded the “discovery of this manuscript as the most important event of the age.”—For the sake of uniformity, and in accordance with the practice of Meyer in the fifth edition of his Commentary, the Translator has retained this designation in the present volume. The manuscript designated by the letter A., is Codex Alexandrinus, deposited in the British Museum; B. is Cod. Vaticanus, in Rome. The age of these two manuscripts is uncertain; they are assigned by different critics to the sixth or fifth century, while some (e.g., Tischendorf) assign the latter even to the fourth century. C. is Cod. Ephraemi (rescriptus), in Paris (assigned to the fifth century.) The letter D. is applied to two MSS., the one (Cantabrigiensis, or, Bezæ), presented by Beza to the University of Cambridge, containing the Four Gospels, and The Acts, with some lacunæ (assigned to the seventh or sixth cent.); the other, in Paris (Claromontanus), containing the Pauline Epistles (assigned to the eight or seventh cent.).—Letter E. is the designation of three different MSS. no two of which contain the same books: the first is Cod. Basileensis, of the eighth cent., containing the Four Gospels; the second is Cod. Laudianus, in the Bodleian library, Oxford, containing The Acts, with some omissions, and assigned to the seventh or sixth cent.; the third is Cod. Sangermanensis, formerly in Paris, but now in Petersburg, of the eleventh or tenth century. (The letter F. does not appear in this volume as the designation of a manuscript, since no one so named, contains any considerable portion of the Acts.)—One of the three manuscripts designated by the letter G. (Cod. Angelico-Romanus, or, Passionei), of the ninth cent., and now in Rome, contains a large portion of The Acts. Tischendorf now designates it by the letter L.—The several MSS. marked H. respectively contain only parts of the Greek text of the New Testament (Tischendorf). Cod. Mutinensis, of the ninth cent., is a fragmentary copy of The Acts. The omissions are supplied by later hands. It was collated by Scholz, and, afterwards, by Tischendorf.—With these two, G. and H., the textus receptus, in The Acts, usually agrees, as the critical notes appended to the several sections in this volume, will show. Reference is not made in this volume to the other uncial manuscripts as they are chiefly copies of the Gospels or the Epistles, in whole or in part. (See Reuss: Gesch. d. h. Schriften N. T. § 329, p. 393–397, Fourth edition; Horne’s Introduction, I. p. 221 ff.; Tischendorf’s Catalogus Codicum Græcorum, prefixed to his critical editions of the Greek New Testament; Alford’s Prolegomena, Vol. I. Chapt. VII., and, Prolegomena, Vol. II. Chapt. VI.).—The readings of the cursive manuscripts (termed in this volume minuscules, as contradistinguished from the majuscules, i.e., the uncial MSS., Reuss, § 375), and also those found in the Church Fathers, which the critical editions furnish, have not been usually specified in this volume; none of the minuscules are older than A. D. 900.—The indefatigable Tischendorf has, at last, succeeded in obtaining the permission of the Pope to subject the Codex Vaticanus, distinguished by the letter B., to a thorough examination, or one more careful than it has yet received. For this privilege, which has never hitherto been granted in the same degree to any one of the many Protestants who sought it, Tischendorf is indebted to two of the Cardinals, whose influence with the Pope at length induced the latter to comply with the wish of the eminent biblical critic. He will, at an early period, present the results of his comparison of the Cod. Vat. with the Cod. Sin. to the theological world. And if the hope which he now entertains, of being ultimately permitted to edit the Cod. Vat. in the same style in which he has edited the Cod. Sin. should be fulfilled, he will add new lustre to his honored name.

[3]Note by the Editor [Lange]. The highly esteemed author [Lechler] does not here notice the recent attempts of the school of Baur to disprove the historical accuracy and truth of the Acts, probably for two reasons: first, an extended investigation of the subject would have occupied too much space; secondly, those attacks on Luke may now be regarded as already successfully repelled. We simply add the remark here that the works which refer to this special subject, as well as the leading points themselves which are involved in it, are mentioned in our work, entitled: Das Apostolische Zeitalter, I. 5 ff. [The Apostolic Age]. One of the principal works which should be mentioned in this connection, is the author’s monograph, entitled: Das Apostolische und Nachapostolische Zeitalter [The Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Age, by G. V. Lechler]; it received the prize offered by the Teyler [Theological] Society. [This Society had offered a prize for the best essay on the assaults of the Tübingen school on revealed truth. Lechler published a second edition of this valuable work, much enlarged (536 pages), in 1857.—Tr.]

[4]Note by the Editor [Lange].—Wieseler’s Chronology of the Apostolic Age is of special importance with respect to chronological points connected with the Acts.

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