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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 1

Verse 1

The former [τον πρωτον] . Lit., the first. Luke refers to his Gospel. Treatise [λογον] . Or narrative.

Began [ηρξατο] . This is interpreted in two ways. Either, (1), as a simple historical statement equivalent to "all that Jesus did and taught." In favor of this is the fact that the synoptists often record that which is done or said according to its moment of commencement, thus giving vividness to the account. See Matthew 11:20; Matthew 26:22, Matthew 26:37; Mark 6:7; Mark 14:19; Luke 8:38, etc. According to this explanation the word serves "to recall to the recollection from the Gospel all the several incidents and events, up to the ascension, in which Jesus had appeared as doer and teacher" (Meyer). Or, (2), as indicating that the Gospel contains the beginning, and the Acts of the Apostles the continuation, of the doings and teachings of Jesus. "The earthly life of Jesus, concluded with the ascension, has its fruit and continued efficacy; and his heavenly life, commencing with the ascension, has its manifestation and proof in the acts and experiences of the apostles and first churches. The history of the Church was under the immediate control of the exalted Redeemer, and may justly be considered as the continuation in heaven of the work which he had begun on earth" (Baumgarten and Gloag).

While the truth and importance of this statement are admitted, it is objected that such an intention on Luke's part would have been more clearly intimated, and not left to be inferred from a single doubtful phrase. As regards Luke's intention, I think the first explanation is more likely to be correct. The second, however, states a truth, the value and importance of which cannot be overestimated, and which should be kept in mind constantly in the study of the book of Acts. This is well put by Bernard (" Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament, "Lect. 4) :" Thus the history which follows is linked to, or (may I not rather say) welded with, the past; and the founding of the Church in the earth is presented as one continuous work, begun by the Lord in person, and perfected by the same Lord through the ministry of men.... 'The former treatise ' delivered to us, not all that Jesus did and taught, but 'all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day when he was taken up. ' 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. "

Verse 2

Had given commandment [εντειλαμενος] . Special injunctions or charges. Compare Matthew 4:6; Mark 13:34; Hebrews 11:22.

Through the Holy Ghost. Construe with had given commandment : by means of the Holy Spirit, which inspired him. Not, as some interpreters, with whom he had chosen.

Verse 3

Shewed himself [παρεστησεν] . This verb is rendered in a variety of ways in the New Testament, as give or furnish, present, provide, assist, commend. The original meaning is to place beside, and so commend to the attention. Hence, to set before the mind; present, shew.

Infallible proofs [τεκμηριοις] . The word is akin to tekmar a fixed boundary, goal, end; and hence a fixed or sure sign or token. The Rev. omits infallible, probably, assuming that a proof implies certainty. Being seen [οπτανομενος] . Only here in New Testament. Rev., appearing.

Forty days [δι ημερων τεσσερακοντα] . Lit., "through forty days." Rev., by the space of. The only passage where the interval between the resurrection and the ascension is given.

Verse 4

Being assembled together [συναλιζομενος] . From sun, together, and aJlhv thronged or crowded. Both the A. V. and Rev. give eating together in margin, following the derivation from sun, together, and alv salt : eating salt together, and hence generally of association at table. Commanded [παρηγγειλεν] . Originally to pass on or transmit; hence, as a military term, of passing a watchword or command; and so generally to command To wait for [περιμενειν] . Only here in New Testament.

The promise [επαγγελιαν] . Signifying a free promise, given without solicitation. This is the invariable sense of the word throughout the New Testament, and this and its kindred and compound words are the only words for promise in the New Testament. 'Upiscneomai, meaning to promise in response to a request, does not occur; and oJmologew, Matthew 14:7, of Herod promising Salome, really means to acknowledge his obligation for her lascivious performance. See note there.

Not many days hence [ου μετα πολλας ταυτας ημερας] . Lit., not after many of these days. Not after many, but after a few.

Verse 6

Asked [επηρωτων] . The imperfect, denoting the repetition and urging of the question.

Verse 7

The times - the seasons [χρονους - καιρους] . Rev. properly omits the article. The former of these words, time absolutely, without regard to circumstances; the latter, definite periods, with the idea of fitness. His own [τη ιδια] . Stronger than the simple possessive pronoun. The adjective means private, personal. Often used adverbially in the phrase kat' ijdian, apart, privately. See Matthew 17:1; Matthew 24:3.

Verse 8

Unto me [μοι] . The best texts read mou, of me; or, as Rev., my witnesses.

Samaria. Formerly they had been commanded not to enter the cities of the Samaritans (Matthew 10:5).

Verse 10

Looked steadfastly [ατενιζοντες ησαν] . See on Luke 4:20.

Verse 12

A Sabbath - day's journey [σαββατου εχον οδον] . Lit., having a Sabbath 's way. The way conceived as belonging to the mountain; connected with it in reference to the neighborhood of Jerusalem. A Sabbath - day's journey, according to Jewish tradition, was about three - quarters of a mile. It was the supposed distance between the camp and the tabernacle in the wilderness (Joshua 3:4.)

Verse 13

An upper room [το υπερωον] . With the article, denoting some well - known place of resort. It was the name given to the room directly under the flat roof. Such rooms were often set apart as halls for meetings. In such an apartment Paul delivered his farewell address at Troas (Acts 20:8), and the body of Dorcas was laid (Acts 9:37). Used by Luke only. Abode [ησαν καταμενοντες] . The participle and finite verb, denoting continuance or habitual residence. Hence more correctly, as Rev., "where they were abiding."

Verse 14

Continued [ησαν προσκαρτερουντες] . Participle and finite verb as above. The verb is from karterov, strong, stanch, and means originally to persist obstinately in. In this sense here, and in Romans 12:12; Romans 13:6. Hence to adhere firmly to. So in Mark 3:9, "that a small ship should wait on him;" i e., keep near at hand. The idea of steady persistence is supplied by the Rev., steadfastly.

With one accord [ομοθυμαδον] . See on agree, Matthew 18:19 Matthew 18:19. In prayer. The best texts omit and supplication.

Mary. Mentioned here for the last time in the New Testament.

Verse 15

Of the disciples [των μαθητων] . The best texts read aJudelfwn, brethren.

The number of the names together were about, etc. [ην τε οχλος ονοματων επι το αυτο] . Much better as Rev., and there was a multitude of persons gathered together, about, etc. Oclov, multitude, would not be used of a number about to be stated.

Verse 16

Men and brethren [ανδρες αδελφοι] . Lit., men, brothers.

Brother - men. More dignified and solemn than the simple brethren.

This scripture. The best texts substitute the. See on Mark 12:10.

The Holy Ghost [το πνευμα το % αγιον] . Lit., The Spirit, the Holy.

Guide. See on lead, Luke 6:39.

Verse 17

Numbered [κατηριθμημενος] . Only here in New Testament.

With [συν] . The best texts read ejn, among. So Rev.

Obtained [ελαχε] . Strictly, "received by lot." Rev., better, received. Compare Luke 1:9. In classical Greek, of receiving public magistracies. Part [τον κληρον] . The A. V. does not give the force of the article, the lot which was his. So Rev., "his portion :" lit., lot..

Ministry. See on minister, Matthew 20:26. Compare bishopric, ver. 20.

Verse 18

Purchased [εκτησατο] . See on possess, Luke 18:12. Better, as Rev., obtained. Judas did not purchase the field, but the priests did with the money which he returned to them (Matthew 27:7). The expression means merely that the field was purchased with the money of Judas.

Falling headlong [πρηνης γενομενος] . Lit., having become headlong.

He burst asunder [ελακησε] . Only here in New Testament. Lit., to crack, to burst with a noise. So Homer, of the bones cracking beneath a blow (" Iliad, "13, 616). Compare Aristophanes," Clouds, " 410.

Verse 19

Aceldama. Or, more properly, Akeldamach. The word is Aramaic, the language then spoken in Palestine.

Verse 20

Habitation [επαυλις] . Only here in New Testament. The word is used in classical Greek of a place for cattle. So Herodotus (i., 111) : "The herdsman took the child in his arms, and went back the way he had come, till he reached the fold" [επαυλιν] . Also of a farm - building, a country - house..

Bishopric [επισκοπην] . See on 1 Peter 2:12. Rev., better, office, with overseership in margin. Compare Luke 19:44.

Another [ετερος] . And different person. See on ch. Acts 2:4.

Verse 21

Went in and went out. An expression for constant intercourse. Compare Deuteronomy 18:19; Psalms 121:8; John 10:9; Acts 9:28. Among us [εφ ημας] . The margin of Rev., over us, i e., as our head, is a sound rendering, and supported by Matthew 25:21, Matthew 25:23; Luke 9:1. The rendering before, in the presence of, occurs Matthew 10:18; Luke 21:12.

Verse 22

Witness [μαρτυρα] . One who shall bear testimony : not a spectator, a mistake often made on Hebrews 12:1. Compare Acts 2:32.

Verse 23

Barsabas. A patronymic, son of Saba : like Bar Jona, Matthew 16:17.

Verse 24

Which knowest the hearts [καρδιογνωστα] . Only here and ch.

8. Lit, heart - knower.

Verse 25

That he may take part [λαβειν τον κληρον] . Lit., to take the lot. But the best texts read ton topon, the place. Rev., to take the place. By transgression fell [παρεβη] . See on trespasses, Matthew 6:14. The rendering of the A. V. is explanatory. Rev., better, fell away.

His own place. Compare "the place in this ministry." Ton idion, his own, is stronger than the simple possessive pronoun. It is the place which was peculiarly his, as befitting his awful sin - Gehenna.

Verse 26

He was numbered [συγκατεψηφισθη] . Only here in New Testament. See on counteth, Luke 14:28.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/acts-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.