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The Title is simply Acts (Πραξεις) in Aleph, Origen, Tertullian, Didymus, Hilary, Eusebius, Epiphanius. The Acts of the Apostles (Πραξεις αποστολων) is the reading of B D (Aleph in subscription) Athanasius, Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Theodoret, Hilary. The Acts of the Holy Apostles (Πραξεις των αγιων αποστολων) is read by A2 E G H A K Chrysostom. It is possible that the book was given no title at all by Luke, for it is plain that usage varied greatly even in the same writers. The long title as found in the Textus Receptus (Authorized Version) is undoubtedly wrong with the adjective "Holy." The reading of B D, "The Acts of the Apostles," may be accepted as probably correct.
The former treatise (τον μεν πρωτον). Literally, the first treatise. The use of the superlative is common enough and by no means implies, though it allows, a third volume. This use of πρωτος where only two are compared is seen between the Baptist and Jesus (John 1:15), John and Peter (John 20:4). The idiom is common in the papyri (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 662, 669). The use of μεν σολιταριυμ here, as Hackett notes, is common in Acts. It is by no means true that μεν requires a following δε by contrast. The word is merely a weakened form of μην=surely, indeed. The reference is to the "first treatise" and merely emphasizes that. The use of λογος (word) for treatise or historical narrative is common in ancient Greek as in Herodotus 6 and 9. Plato (Phaedo, p. 61 B) makes a contrast between μυθος and λογος.
I made (εποιησαμην). Aorist middle indicative, the middle being the usual construction for mental acts with ποιεω.
O Theophilus (Ο Θεοφιλε). The interjection Ο here as is common, though not in Luke 1:3. But the adjective κρατιστε (most excellent) is wanting here. See remarks on Theophilus on Luke 1:3. Hackett thinks that he lived at Rome because of the way Acts ends. He was a man of rank. He may have defrayed the expense of publishing both Luke and Acts. Perhaps by this time Luke may have reached a less ceremonious acquaintance with Theophilus.
Which Jesus began (ων ηρξατο Ιησους). The relative is attracted from the accusative α to the genitive ων because of the antecedent παντων (all). The language of Luke here is not merely pleonastic as Winer held. Jesus "began" "both to do and to teach" (ποιειν τε κα διδασκειν). Note present infinitives, linear action, still going on, and the use of τε--κα binds together the life and teachings of Jesus, as if to say that Jesus is still carrying on from heaven the work and teaching of the disciples which he started while on earth before his ascension. The record which Luke now records is really the Acts of Jesus as much as the Acts of the Apostles. Dr. A. T. Pierson called it "The Acts of the Holy Spirit," and that is true also. The Acts, according to Luke, is a continuation of the doings and teachings of Jesus. "The following writings appear intended to give us, and do, in fact, profess to give us, that which Jesus continued to do and teach after the day in which he was taken up" (Bernard, Progress of Doctrine in the N.T.).
Until the day in which (αχρ ης ημερας). Incorporation of the antecedent into the relative clause and the change of case η (locative) to ης (genitive).
Was received up (ανελημπθη). First aorist passive indicative of αναλαμβανω. Common verb to lift anything up (Acts 10:16) or person as Paul (Acts 20:13). Several times of the Ascension of Jesus to heaven (Mark 16:19; Acts 1:2; Acts 1:11; Acts 1:22; 1 Timothy 3:16) with or without "into heaven" (εις τον ουρανον). This same verb is used of Elijah's translation to heaven in the LXX (2 Kings 2:11). The same idea, though not this word, is in Luke 24:51. See Luke 9:51 for αναλημψις of the Ascension.
Had given commandment (εντειλαμενος). First aorist middle participle of εντελλω (from εν and τελλω, to accomplish), usually in the middle, old verb, to enjoin. This special commandment refers directly to what we call the commission given the apostles before Christ ascended on high (John 20:21-23; Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; 1 Corinthians 15:6; Luke 24:44-49). He had given commands to them when they were first chosen and when they were sent out on the tour of Galilee, but the immediate reference is as above.
Through the Holy Spirit (δια πνευματος αγιου). In his human life Jesus was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This applies to the choice of the apostles (Luke 6:13) and to these special commands before the Ascension.
Whom he had chosen (ους εξελεξατο). Aorist middle indicative, not past perfect. The same verb (εκλεξαμενος) was used by Luke in describing the choice of the twelve by Jesus (Luke 6:13). But the aorist does not stand "for" our English pluperfect as Hackett says. That is explaining Greek by English. The Western text here adds: "And ordered to proclaim the gospel."
To whom also (οις κα). He chose them and then also manifested himself to these very same men that they might have personal witness to give.
Shewed himself alive (παρεστησεν εαυτον ζωντα). To the disciples the first Sunday evening (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25), the second Sunday evening (John 20:26-29), at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-23), on the mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; 1 Corinthians 15:6), to the disciples in Jerusalem and Olivet (Luke 24:44-53; Luke 24:16-19; Acts 1:1-11). Luke uses this verb παριστημ 13 times in the Acts both transitively and intransitively. It is rendered by various English words (present, furnish, provide, assist, commend). The early disciples including Paul never doubted the fact of the Resurrection, once they were convinced by personal experience. At first some doubted like Thomas (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:41; John 20:24; Matthew 28:17). But after that they never wavered in their testimony to their own experience with the Risen Christ, "whereof we are witnesses" Peter said (Acts 3:15). They doubted at first, that we may believe, but at last they risked life itself in defence of this firm faith.
After his passion (μετα το παθειν αυτον). Neat Greek idiom, μετα with the articular infinitive (second aorist active of πασχω) and the accusative of general reference, "after the suffering as to him." For παθειν used absolutely of Christ's suffering see also Acts 17:3; Acts 26:23.
By many proofs (εν πολλοις τεκμηριοις). Literally, "in many proofs." Τεκμηριον is only here in the N.T., though an old and common word in ancient Greek and occurring in the Koine (papyri, etc.). The verb τεκμαιρω, to prove by sure signs, is from τεκμαρ, a sign. Luke does not hesitate to apply the definite word "proofs" to the evidence for the Resurrection of Christ after full investigation on the part of this scientific historian. Aristotle makes a distinction between τεκμηριον (proof) and σημειον (sign) as does Galen the medical writer.
Appearing (οπτανομενος). Present middle participle from late verb οπτανω, late Koine verb from root οπτω seen in οψομαι, ωφθην. In LXX, papyri of second century B.C. (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 83). Only here in the N.T. For οπτασια for vision see Acts 26:19; Luke 1:22; Luke 24:23.
By the space of forty days (δι' ημερων τεσσερακοντα). At intervals (δια, between) during the forty days, ten appearances being known to us. Jesus was not with them continually now in bodily presence. The period of forty days is given here alone. The Ascension was thus ten days before Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came. Moses was in the mount forty days (Exodus 24:18) and Jesus fasted forty days (Matthew 4:2). In the Gospel of Luke 24 this separation of forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension is not drawn.
The things concerning the Kingdom of God (τα περ της βασιλειας του θεου). This phrase appears 33 times in Luke's Gospel, 15 times in Mark, 4 times in Matthew who elsewhere has "the kingdom of heaven," once in John, and 6 times in Acts. No essential distinction is to be drawn between the two for the Jews often used "heaven" rather than "God" to avoid using the Tetragrammaton. But it is noticeable how the word kingdom drops out of Acts. Other words like gospel (ευαγγελιον) take the place of "kingdom." Jesus was fond of the word "kingdom" and Luke is fond of the idiom "the things concerning" (τα περ). Certainly with Jesus the term "kingdom" applies to the present and the future and covers so much that it is not strange that the disciples with their notions of a political Messianic kingdom (Acts 1:6) were slow to comprehend the spiritual nature of the reign of God.
Being assembled together with them (συναλιζομενος). Present passive participle from συναλιζω, an old verb in Herodotus, Xenophon, etc., from sun, with, and αλιζω, from αλης, crowded. The margin of both the Authorized and the Revised Versions has "eating with them" as if from συν and αλς (salt). Salt was the mark of hospitality. There is the verb αλισθητε εν αυτω used by Ignatius Ad Magnes. X, "Be ye salted in him." But it is more than doubtful if that is the idea here though the Vulgate does have convescens illis "eating with them," as if that was the common habit of Jesus during the forty days (Wendt, Feine, etc.). Jesus did on occasion eat with the disciples (Luke 24:41-43; Mark 16:14).
To wait for the promise of the Father (περιμενειν την επαγγελιαν του πατρος). Note present active infinitive, to keep on waiting for (around, περ). In the Great Commission on the mountain in Galilee this item was not given (Matthew 28:16-20). It is the subjective genitive, the promise given by the Father (note this Johannine use of the word), that is the Holy Spirit ("the promise of the Holy Spirit," objective genitive).
Which ye heard from me (ην ηκουσατε μου). Change from indirect discourse (command), infinitives χωριζεσθα and περιμενειν after παρηγγειλεν to direct discourse without any εφη (said he) as the English (Italics). Luke often does this (oratior ariata). Note also the ablative case of μου (from me). Luke continues in verse Acts 1:5 with the direct discourse giving the words of Jesus.
Baptized with water (εβαπτισεν υδατ)
and with the Holy Ghost (εν πνευματ βαπτισθησεσθε αγιω). The margin has "in the Holy Ghost" (Spirit, it should be). The American Standard Version renders "in" both with "water" and "Holy Spirit" as do Goodspeed (American Translation) and Mrs. Montgomery (Centenary Translation). John's own words (Matthew 3:11) to which Jesus apparently refers use εν (in) both with water and Spirit. There is a so-called instrumental use of εν where we in English have to say "with" (Revelation 13:10 εν μαχαιρη, like μαχαιρη, Acts 12:2). That is to say εν with the locative presents the act as located in a certain instrument like a sword (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 589f.). But the instrumental case is more common without εν (the locative and instrumental cases having the same form). So it is often a matter of indifference which idiom is used as in John 21:8 we have τω πλοιαριω (locative without εν). They came
in (locative case without εν) the boat. So in John 1:31 εν υδατ βαπτιζων baptizing in water. No distinction therefore can be insisted on here between the construction υδατ and εν πνευματ (both being in the locative case, one without, one with εν). Note unusual position of the verb βαπτισθησεσθε (future passive indicative) between πνευματ and αγιω. This baptism of the Holy Spirit was predicted by John (Matthew 3:11) as the characteristic of the Messiah's work. Now the Messiah himself in his last message before his Ascension proclaims that in a few days the fulfilment of that prophecy will come to pass. The Codex Bezae adds here "which ye are about to receive" and "until the Pentecost" to verse Acts 1:5.
Not many days hence (ου μετα πολλας ταυτας ημερας). A neat Greek idiom difficult to render smoothly into English: "Not after many days these." The litotes (not many=few) is common in Luke (Luke 7:6; Luke 15:13; Acts 17:27; Acts 19:11; Acts 20:12; Acts 21:39; Acts 28:14; Acts 28:2). The predicate use of ταυτας (without article) is to be noted. "These" really means as a starting point, "from these" (Robertson, Grammar, p. 702). It was ten days hence. This idiom occurs several times in Luke (Luke 24:21; Acts 24:21), as elsewhere (John 4:18; 2 Peter 3:1). In Luke 2:12 the copula is easily supplied as it exists in Luke 1:36; Luke 2:2.
They therefore (ο μεν ουν). Demonstrative use of ο with μεν ουν without any corresponding δε just as in Acts 1:1 μεν occurs alone. The combination μεν ουν is common in Acts (27 times). Cf. Luke 3:18. The ουν is resumptive and refers to the introductory verses (Acts 1:1-5), which served to connect the Acts with the preceding Gospel. The narrative now begins.
Asked (ηρωτων). Imperfect active, repeatedly asked before Jesus answered.
Lord (κυριε). Here not in the sense of "sir" (Matthew 21:30), but to Jesus as Lord and Master as often in Acts (Acts 19:5; Acts 19:10, etc.) and in prayer to Jesus (Acts 7:59).
Dost thou restore (ε αποκαθιστανεις). The use of ε in an indirect question is common. We have already seen its use in direct questions (Matthew 12:10; Luke 13:23 which see for discussion), possibly in imitation of the Hebrew (frequent in the LXX) or as a partial condition without conclusion. See also Acts 7:1; Acts 19:2; Acts 21:37; Acts 22:25. The form of the verb αποκαθιστανω is late (also αποκαθισταω) omega form for the old and common αποκαθιστημ, double compound, to restore to its former state. As a matter of fact the Messianic kingdom for which they are asking is a political kingdom that would throw off the hated Roman yoke. It is a futuristic present and they are uneasy that Jesus may yet fail to fulfil their hopes. Surely here is proof that the eleven apostles needed the promise of the Father before they began to spread the message of the Risen Christ. They still yearn for a political kingdom for Israel even after faith and hope have come back. They need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14-16) and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4).
Times or seasons (χρονους η καιρους). "Periods" and "points" of time sometimes and probably so here, but such a distinction is not always maintained. See Acts 17:26 for καιρους in the same sense as χρονους for long periods of time. But here some distinction seems to be called for. It is curious how eager people have always been to fix definite dates about the second coming of Christ as the apostles were about the political Messianic kingdom which they were expecting.
Hath set (εθετο). Second aorist middle indicative, emphasizing the sovereignty of the Father in keeping all such matters to himself, a gentle hint to people today about the limits of curiosity. Note also "his own" (ιδια) "authority" (εξουσια).
Power (δυναμιν). Not the "power" about which they were concerned (political organization and equipments for empire on the order of Rome). Their very question was ample proof of their need of this new "power" (δυναμιν), to enable them (from δυναμα, to be able), to grapple with the spread of the gospel in the world.
When the Holy Ghost is come upon you (επελθοντος του αγιου πνευματος εφ' υμας). Genitive absolute and is simultaneous in time with the preceding verb "shall receive" (λημψεσθε). The Holy Spirit will give them the "power" as he comes upon them. This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit referred to in verse Acts 1:5.
My witnesses (μου μαρτυρες). Correct text. "Royal words of magnificent and Divine assurance" (Furneaux). Our word martyrs is this word μαρτυρες. In Luke 24:48 Jesus calls the disciples "witnesses to these things" (μαρτυρες τουτων, objective genitive). In Acts 1:22 an apostle has to be a "witness to the Resurrection" of Christ and in Acts 10:39 to the life and work of Jesus. Hence there could be no "apostles" in this sense after the first generation. But here the apostles are called "my witnesses." "His by a direct personal relationship" (Knowling). The expanding sphere of their witness when the Holy Spirit comes upon them is "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (εως εσχατου της γης). Once they had been commanded to avoid Samaria (Matthew 10:5), but now it is included in the world program as already outlined on the mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15). Jesus is on Olivet as he points to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost (last, εσχατου) part of the earth. The program still beckons us on to world conquest for Christ. "The Acts themselves form the best commentary on these words, and the words themselves might be given as the best summary of the Acts" (Page). The events follow this outline (Jerusalem till the end of chapter 7, with the martyrdom of Stephen, the scattering of the saints through Judea and Samaria in chapter 8, the conversion of Saul, chapter 9, the spread of the gospel to Romans in Caesarea by Peter (chapter 10), to Greeks in Antioch (chapter 11), finally Paul's world tours and arrest and arrival in Rome (chapters 11 to 28).
As they were looking (βλεποντων αυτων). Genitive absolute. The present participle accents the fact that they were looking directly at Jesus.
He was taken up (eprth). First aorist passive indicative of επαιρω, old and common verb meaning to lift up. In Luke 24:51 we have "he was borne up" (ανεφερετο) and in Acts 1:2; Acts 1:11; 1 Timothy 3:6 "was received up" (ανελημπθη).
Received (υπελαβεν). Second aorist active indicative of υπολαμβανω, literally here "took under him." He seemed to be supported by the cloud. "In glory" Paul adds in 1 Timothy 3:16.
Out of their sight (απο των οφθαλμων αυτων). From their eyes (απο with ablative case).
Were looking steadfastly (ατενιζοντες ησαν). Periphrastic imperfect active of ατενιζω, a late intensive verb (intensive α and τεινω, to stretch). Common in Acts and also in Luke 4:20; Luke 22:56 as well as Acts 10:4, which see.
As he went (πορευομενου αυτου). Genitive absolute of present middle participle. They saw him slipping away from their eyes as the cloud bore him away.
Stood by them (παρειστηκεισαν αυτοις). Past perfect active indicative of παριστημ and intransitive (note in B instead of ε for augment, mere itacism).
Who also (ο κα). Common use of κα pleonastic to show that the two events were parallel. This is the simplest way from Homer on to narrate two parallel events.
Why? (τ). Jesus had told them of his coming Ascension (John 6:62; John 20:17) so that they should have been prepared.
This Jesus (ουτος ο Ιησους). Qui vobis fuit eritque semper Jesus, id est, Salvator (Corn. a Lapide). The personal name assures them that Jesus will always be in heaven a personal friend and divine Saviour (Knowling).
So in like manner (ουτως ον τροπον). Same idea twice. "So in which manner" (incorporation of antecedent and accusative of general reference). The fact of his second coming and the manner of it also described by this emphatic repetition.
Olivet (Ελαιωνος). Genitive singular. Vulgate Olivetum. Made like αμπελων. Here only in the N.T., usually το ορος των Ελαιων (the Mount of Olives), though some MSS. have Olivet in Luke 19:29; Luke 21:37. Josephus (Ant. VII. 9, 2) has it also and the papyri (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 170).
A sabbath day's journey off (Σαββατου εχων οδον). Luke only says here that Olivet is a Sabbath day's journey from Jerusalem, not that Jesus was precisely that distance when he ascended. In the Gospel Luke (Acts 24:50) states that Jesus led them "over against" (εως προς) Bethany (about two miles or fifteen furlongs). The top of Olivet is six furlongs or three-fourths of a mile. The Greek idiom here is "having a journey of a Sabbath" after "which is nigh unto Jerusalem" (ο εστιν εγγυς Ιερουσαλημ), note the periphrastic construction. Why Luke mentions this item for Gentile readers in this form is not known, unless it was in his Jewish source. See Exodus 16:29; Numbers 35:5; Joshua 3:4. But it does not contradict what he says in Luke 24:50, where he does not say that Jesus led them all the way to Bethany.
Into the upper chamber (εις το υπερωιον). The upstairs or upper room (υπερ is upper or over, the adjective υπερωιος), the room upstairs where the women staid in Homer, then a room up under the flat roof for retirement or prayer (Acts 9:37; Acts 9:39), sometimes a large third story room suitable for gatherings (Acts 20:9). It is possible, even probable, that this is the "large upper room" (ανωγεον μεγα) of Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12. The Vulgate has coenaculum for both words. The word is used in the N.T. only in Acts. It was in a private house as in Luke 22:11 and not in the temple as Luke 24:53 might imply, "continually" (δια παντος) these words probably meaning on proper occasions.
They were abiding (ησαν καταμενοντες). Periphrastic imperfect active. Perfective use of κατα, to abide permanently. It is possible that this is the house of Mary the mother of John Mark where the disciples later met for prayer (Acts 12:12). Here alone in the N.T., though old compound. Some MSS. here read παραμενοντες. This could mean constant residence, but most likely frequent resort for prayer during these days, some being on hand all the time as they came and went.
Simon the Zealot (Σιμον ο Ζηλωτης). Called Simon the Cananaean (ο Χαναναιος) in Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18, but Zealot in Luke 6:16 as here giving the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic word because Luke has Gentiles in mind. The epithet (member of the party of Zealots) clung to him after he became an apostle and distinguishes him from Simon Peter. See Vol. I on the Gospel of Matthew for discussion of the four lists of the apostles.
Judas the son of James (Jουδας Ιακωβου). Literally, Judas of James, whether son or brother (cf. Jude 1:1) we do not really know. "Of James" is added to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot (John 14:22). However we take it, he must be identified with the Thaddaeus (=Lebbaeus) of Mark and Matthew to make the list in the third group identical. No name appears in Acts for that of Judas Iscariot.
With one accord (ομοθυμαδον). Old adverb in -δον from adjective ομοθυμος and that from ομος, same, and θυμος, mind or spirit, with the same mind or spirit. Common in ancient Greek and papyri. In the N.T. eleven times in Acts and nowhere else save Romans 15:6. See Matthew 18:19.
Continued (ησαν προσκαρτερουντες). Periphrastic imperfect active of προσκαρτερεω, old verb from προς (perfective use) and καρτερεω from καρτερος, strong, steadfast, like the English "carry on." Already in Mark 3:9 which see and several times in Acts and Paul's Epistles. They "stuck to" the praying (τη προσευχη, note article) for the promise of the Father till the answer came.
With the women (συν γυναιξιν). Associative instrumental case plural of γυνη after συν. As one would expect when praying was the chief work on hand. More women certainly included than in Luke 8:2; Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:55; Luke 23:49; Mark 15:47; Matthew 27:61; Luke 23:55; Mark 16:1; Matthew 28:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; John 20:11-18; Matthew 28:9. There were probably other women also whose testimony was no longer scouted as it had been at first. Codex Bezae adds here "and children."
And Mary the mother of Jesus (κα Μαριαμ τη μητρ του Ιησου). A delicate touch by Luke that shows Mary with her crown of glory at last. She had come out of the shadow of death with the song in her heart and with the realization of the angel's promise and the prophecy of Simeon. It was a blessed time for Mary.
With his brethren (συν τοις αδελφοις αυτου). With his brothers, it should be translated. They had once disbelieved in him (John 7:5). Jesus had appeared to James (1 Corinthians 15:7) and now it is a happy family of believers including the mother and brothers (half-brothers, literally) of Jesus. They continue in prayer for the power from on high.
Brethren (αδελφων). Codex Bezae has "disciples."
Multitude of persons (οχλος ονοματων). Literally, multitude of names. This Hebraistic use of ονομα=person occurs in the LXX (Numbers 1:2; Numbers 18:20; Numbers 3:40; Numbers 3:43; Numbers 26:53) and in Revelation 3:4; Revelation 11:13.
Together (επ το αυτο). The word "gathered" is not in the Greek here, but it does occur in Matthew 22:34 and that is undoubtedly the idea in Luke 17:35 as in Acts 2:1; Acts 2:44; Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 11:20; 1 Corinthians 14:23. So also here. They were in the same place (το αυτο).
About a hundred and twenty (ως εκατον εικοσ). A crowd for "the upper room." No special significance in the number 120, just the number there.
Brethren (ανδρες αδελφο). Literally, men, brethren or brother men. More dignified and respectful than just "brethren." Demosthenes sometimes said Ανδρες Αθηναιο. Cf. our "gentlemen and fellow-citizens." Women are included in this address though ανδρες refers only to men.
It was needful (εδε). Imperfect tense of the impersonal δε with the infinitive clause (first aorist passive) and the accusative of general reference as a loose subject. Peter here assumes that Jesus is the Messiah and finds scripture illustrative of the treachery of Judas. He applies it to Judas and quotes the two passages in verse Acts 1:20 (Psalms 69:25; Psalms 109:8). The Holy Spirit has not yet come upon them, but Peter feels moved to interpret the situation. He feels that his mind is opened by Jesus (Luke 24:45). It is a logical, not a moral, necessity that Peter points out. Peter here claims the Holy Spirit as speaking in the scriptures as he does in 2 Peter 1:21. His description of Judas as "guide" (οδηγου) to those who seized (συλλαβουσιν) Jesus is that of the base traitor that he was. This very verb occurs in Luke 22:54 of the arrest of Jesus.
Was numbered (κατηριθμενος ην). Periphrastic past perfect passive indicative of καταριθμεω, old verb, but here only in the N.T. (perfective use of κατα).
Received his portion (ελαχεν τον κληρον). Second aorist active indicative of λαγχανω, old verb, to obtain by lot as in Luke 1:9; John 19:24, especially by divine appointment as here and 2 Peter 2:1. Κληρος also means lot, an object used in casting lots (Acts 1:26), or what is obtained by lot as here and Acts 8:21, of eternal salvation (Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:12), of persons chosen by divine appointment (1 Peter 5:3). From this latter usage the Latin cleros, clericus, our clergy, one chosen by divine lot. So Peter says that Judas "obtained by lot the lot of this ministry" (διακονιας) which he had when he betrayed Jesus. The Master chose him and gave him his opportunity.
Now this man (Hουτος μεν ουν). Note μεν ουν again without a corresponding δε as in Acts 1:6. Verses Acts 1:18; Acts 1:19 are a long parenthesis of Luke by way of explanation of the fate of Judas. In verse Acts 1:20 Peter resumes and quotes the scripture to which he referred in verse Acts 1:16.
Obtained (εκτησατο). First aorist middle indicative of κταομα, to acquire, only in the middle, to get for oneself. With the covenant money for the betrayal, acquired it indirectly apparently according to Matthew 26:14-16; Matthew 27:3-8 which see.
Falling headlong (πρηνης γενομενος). Attic form usually πρανης. The word means, not "headlong," but "flat on the face" as opposed to υπτιος on the back (Hackett). Hackett observes that the place suits admirably the idea that Judas hung himself (Matthew 27:5) and, the rope breaking, fell flat on his face and
burst asunder in the midst (ελακησεν μεσος). First aorist active indicative of λασκω old verb (here only in the N.T.), to clang, to crack, to crash, like a falling tree. Aristophanes uses it of crashing bones. Μεσος is predicate nominative referring to Judas.
Gushed out (εξεχυθη). First aorist passive indicative of εκχεω, to pour out.
Language (διαλεκτω). Not a dialect of the Greek, but a different language, the Aramaic. So also in Acts 2:6; Acts 21:40. Διαλεκτος is from διαλεγομα, to converse, to speak between two (δια).
Akeldama (Hακελδαμαχ). This Aramaic word Peter explains as "the field of blood." Two traditions are preserved: one in Matthew 27:7 which explains that the priests purchased this potter's field with the money which Judas flung down as the price of the blood of Jesus. The other in Acts describes it as the field of blood because Judas poured out his blood there. Hackett and Knowling argue that both views can be true. "The ill-omened name could be used with a double emphasis" (Hackett).
For it is written (γεγραπτα γαρ). Luke here returns to the address of Peter interrupted by verses Acts 1:18; Acts 1:19. Perfect passive indicative, the usual idiom in quoting scripture, stands written. Acts 1:69 is often quoted as Messianic in Matthew and John.
His habitation (η επαυλις αυτου). Only here in the N.T., a country house, cottage, cabin.
His office (την επισκοπην αυτου). Our word bishopric (Authorized Version) is from this word, office of bishop (επισχοπος). Only that is not the idea here, but over-seership (επι, σκοπεω) or office as in 1 Peter 2:12. It means to visit and to inspect, to look over. The ecclesiastical sense comes later (1 Timothy 3:1).
Must (δε). Present necessity corresponding to the old necessity (εδε) about Judas (verse Acts 1:16). This sentence in verses Acts 1:21; Acts 1:22 begins with δε.
That (ω). Locative case of the relative attracted to the case of the antecedent.
Went in and went out (εισηλθεν κα εξηλθεν). Constative aorist active.
With us (εφ' ημας).
Over us , the margin has it. But the full phrase would be εφ' ημας κα αφ' ημων. He came to us and went from us (Knowling).
Beginning (αρξαμενος). Aorist middle participle of αρχω, agreeing (nominative) with ο κυριος Ιησους (the Lord Jesus). The ministry of Jesus began with the ministry of John. Strictly speaking αρξαμενος should be the accusative and agree with μαρτυρα (witness) in verse Acts 1:22, but the construction is a bit free. The ministry of Jesus began with the baptism of John and lasted until the Ascension.
A witness with us of his resurrection (μαρτυρα της αναστασεως αυτου συν ημιν). This Peter considers the essential thing in a successor to Judas. The one chosen should be a personal witness who can speak from his own experience of the ministry, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus. One can easily see that this qualification will soon put an end to those who bear such personal testimony.
They put forward two (εστησαν δυο). First aorist active indicative (transitive) of ιστημ (not intransitive second aorist, though same form in the third person plural). Somebody nominated two names, Justus and Matthias.
Show us the one whom thou hast chosen (αναδειξον ον εξελεξω). First aorist active imperative of αναδεικνυμ, to show up, make plain. First aorist middle indicative second person singular of εκλεγω, to pick out, choose, select. In this prayer they assume that God has made a choice. They only wish to know his will. They call God the
heart-knower (καρδιογνωστα, vocative singular), a late word, here and Acts 15:8 only in the N.T. Modern physicians have delicate apparatus for studying the human heart.
Apostleship (αποστολης). Jesus had called the twelve apostles. An old word for sending away, then for a release, then the office and dignity of an apostle (Acts 1:25; Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 9:2; Galatians 2:8).
To his own place (εις τον τοπον τον ιδιον). A bold and picturesque description of the destiny of Judas worthy of Dante's Inferno. There is no doubt in Peter's mind of the destiny of Judas nor of his own guilt. He made ready his own berth and went to it.
He was numbered (συνκατεψηφισθη). To the Jews the lot did not suggest gambling, but "the O.T. method of learning the will of Jehovah" (Furneaux). The two nominations made a decision necessary and they appealed to God in this way. This double compound συνκαταψηφιζω occurs here alone in the N.T. and elsewhere only in Plutarch (Them. 21) in the middle voice for condemning with others. Συνψηφιζω occurs in the middle voice in Acts 19:19 for counting up money and also in Aristophanes. Ψηφιζω with δαπανην occurs in Luke 14:28 for counting the cost and in Revelation 13:18 for "counting" the number of the beast. The ancients used pebbles (ψηφο) in voting, black for condemning, white (Revelation 2:17) in acquitting. Here it is used in much the same sense as καταριθμεω in verse Acts 1:17.
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Acts 1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12