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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 5

Verse 2

Kept back [ενοσφισατο] . Only here, ver. 3, and Titus 2:10, where it is rendered purloining. From nosfi, aloof, apart. The verb means to set apart for one's self; hence to appropriate wrongfully.

Verse 3

To lie to [ψευσασθαι] . Rather, to deceive. The design of Satan was to deceive the Holy Ghost. To lie to would require a different case in the noun, which occurs in ver. 4, where the same verb is properly rendered lie (unto God). Satan fills the heart to deceive. The result of the attempt is merely to lie.

Verse 4

Whiles it remained, was it not thine own [ουχι μενον σοι εμενε] . A play on the words. Lit., remaining, did it not remain to thee? Rev., very happily, whiles it remained, did it not remain thine own?

Conceived [εθου] . Lit., put or fixed. Wherefore didst thou fix this deed in thy heart ? - ie, resolve upon it.

Verse 5

Gave up the ghost [εξεψυξε] . Used by Luke only. A rare word, occurring in the Septuagint, and in medical writers. See Ezekiel 21:7, "Every spirit shall faint." See, also, on failing, Luke 21:26.

Verse 6

Wound him up [συνεστειλαν] . Better, as Rev., wrapped him round. The verb means to draw together, or draw in; hence used for shortening sail, reducing expenses, lowering or humbling a person. In 1 Corinthians 7:29, it occurs in the phrase, "the time is short (sunestalmenov Rev., properly, shortened);" i e., drawn together, contracted. In the sense of wrapping up it is found in Aristophanes, of wrapping cloaks or garments about one; also of tucking up the garments about the loins, as a preparation for service. In the sense of shrouding for burial, it occurs in Euripides (" Troades, "382) :" They were not shrouded [συνεπεσταλησαν] by the hands of a wife. " In medical language, of bandaging a limb; of the contraction of tumors, and of organs of the body, etc. Some, however, as Meyer, refer the word here to the pressing together of the dead man's limbs.

Verse 8

Answered. "The woman, whose entrance into the assembly of the saints was like a speech" (Bengel).

For so much [τοσουτου] . Perhaps pointing to the money still lying at his feet.

Verse 9

Ye have agreed together [συνεφωνηθη υμιν] . The verb is passive. Lit., was it agreed by you. The figure in the word is that of concord of sounds. Your souls were attuned to each other respecting this deceit. See on music, Luke 14:25.

To tempt [πειρασαι] . To put it to the proof whether the Holy Spirit, ruling in the apostles, could be deceived. See on ver. 3.

The feet. Graphic. The steps of the young men returning from the burial are heard at the door.

Verse 12

Were wrought [εγενετο] . The best texts read ejgineto, the imperfect, were being wrought from time to time.

All. The whole body of believers.

Verse 13

The rest. Unbelievers, deterred by the fate of Ananias from uniting themselves to the church under false pretenses.

Join himself [κολλασθαι] . See on Luke 14:15; Luke 10:11. In all but two instances (Romans 12:9; 1 Corinthians 6:17), the word implies a forced, unnatural, or unexpected union. Thus Philip would not, without a special command, have "joined himself" to the chariot of the Ethiopian prince (Acts 8:29). Saul 's attempt to join himself to the apostles was regarded by them with suspicion (Acts 9:26); and the fact that certain persons "clave to" Paul in Athens is expressly contrasted with the attitude of the citizens at large. The sense of an unnatural union comes out clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:16.

Verse 14

Were added [προσετιθεντο] . Imperfect : kept being added.

Verse 15

Couches [κραββατων] . See on Mark 2:4.

The shadow of Peter passing by. But the proper rendering is, as Peter passed by, his shadow might, etc. 13

Verse 18

In the common prison [εν τηρησει δημοσια] . Incorrect. Thrhsiv is not used in the sense of prison, but is an abstract term meaning ward or keeping, as in ch. 4 3. There is no article, moreover. Note, too, that another word is used for the prison in the next verse [της φυλακης] . Rev., therefore, correctly, in public ward.

Verse 19

By night [δια της νυκτος] . More correctly, during this night : dia in the course of. Compare ch. 16 9.

Verse 20

Stand. Compare ch. 2 14; and see on Luke 18:11; Luke 19:8.

Of this life. The eternal life which Christ revealed. It is a peculiar use of the phrase, which is commonly employed in contrast with the life to come, as 1 Corinthians 14:19. Compare John 6:63, John 6:68. Not equivalent to these words of life.

Verse 21

Early in the morning [υπο τον ορθρον] . 'Upo, beneath, is often used in the sense of just about, or near. Orqron is from ornumi, to cause to arise : the dawn. See on Luke 24:1. Render as Rev., about daybreak.

Taught [εδιδασκον] . Imperfect : began teaching.

The council [συνεδριον] . The Sanhedrim.

The senate [γερουσιαν] . From gerwn, an old man, like the Latin senatus, from senex, old. Taking on very early an official sense, the notion of age being merged in that of dignity. Thus in Homer gerontev are the chiefs who form the king's council. Compare the Latin patres, fathers, the title used in addressing the Roman senate. The word in this passage is the name of the Spartan assembly, Gerousia, the assembly of elders, consisting of thirty members, with the two kings. "The well - known term," as Meyer remarks, "is fittingly transferred from the college of the Greek gerontes to that of the Jewish presbyters." They summoned, not only those elders of the people who were likewise members of the Sanhedrim, but the whole council (all the senate) of the representatives of the people. Prison [δεσμωτηριον] . Still another word for prison. Compare vv. 18, 19. Rev., prison - house. The different words emphasize different aspects of confinement. Thrhsiv is keeping, as the result of guarding. See on ver.

Acts 5:18Fulakh emphasizes the being put under guard, and desmwthrion the being put in bonds.

Verse 22

Officers [υπηρεται] See on Matthew 5:25.

Verse 24

They doubted [διηπορουν] . See on Luke 9:5. Rev., were much perplexed, giving the force of dia, thoroughly at a loss. Compare Luke 24:4. Luke 24:1 Luke 24:4

Verse 28

Did not. The best texts omit ouj, not, and the question.

We straitly charged. So Rev. [παραγγελια πατηγγειλαμεν] . Lit., we charged you with a charge. See on Luke 22:15, with desire I have desired. Intend [βουλεσθε] . Or ye want. See on willing, Matthew 1:19.

This man's. The phrase is remarkable as furnishing the first instance of that avoidance of the name of Christ which makes the Talmud, in the very same terms, refer to him most frequently as Peloni, "so and so."

Verse 29

We ought [δει] . Stronger, we must.

To obey [πειθαρχειν] . Not often used in the New Testament to express obedience, the most common word being uJpakouw. Sometimes peiqw is used. But this word, in itself, is the only one of the several in use which expresses the conception of obedience exclusively. 'Upakouein is to obey as the result of listening to another : peiqesqai is to obey as the result of persuasion. This is the special term for the obedience which one owes to authority [αρχη] . It occurs four times in the New Testament : Acts 5:29, Acts 5:32; Acts 27:21; Titus 3:1; and in every case, of obedience to established authority, either of God or of magistrates. In Acts 27:21, where it is used of the ship 's officers hearkening to Paul 's admonition not to loose from Crete, Paul speaks of his admonition as divinely inspired; compare Acts 27:10. In ch. 4 19, Peter and John say hearken [ακουειν] . That is a mere listening to or considering the proposition made to them. This is a deliberate course of action.

Verse 30

Ye slew [διεχειρισασθε] . Only here and ch. 26 21. To slay with one's own hands.

Tree. See on Luke 23:31.

Verse 31

Prince. See on ch. Acts 3:15.

Repentance - remission. See on Matthew 3:2; James 5:15; Luke 3:3.

Verse 32

Witnesses. See on Acts 1:22.

Obey. See on ver. 29.

Verse 33

They were cut to the heart [διεπριοντο] . Only here and ch. 7 54. The verb means, originally, to saw asunder. A strong figure for exasperation.

To slay. See on Luke 23:32.

Verse 34

The apostles. The best texts substitute touv ajnqrwpouv, the men. A little space [βραχυ] . Better as Rev., a little while.

Verse 36

Joined themselves [προσεκολληθη] . The best texts read prosekliqh, were inclined; i e., leaned to, or took sides with.

Verse 37

Obeyed. Note the word for obeyed [επειθοντο] , implying the persuasive power of Theudas' boasting. See on ver. 29.

Taxing [απογραφης] . See on Luke 2:1, Luke 2:2.

Much people. The best texts omit much.

Were dispersed [διεσκορπισθησαν] . See on Matthew 25:24.

Verse 38

Refrain [αποστητε] . Lit., stand off.

Of men [εξ ανθρωπων] . Out of men, proceeding out of their devices. It will come to naught [καταλυθησεται] . Lit., be loosened down. Used of the dilapidation of the temple (Luke 21:6), and of the dissolution of the body under the figure of striking a tent (2 Corinthians 5:1). See on Mark 13:2.

Verse 39

To fight against God [θεομαχοι] . Lit., to be God - fighters.

Verse 41

They were counted worthy to suffer shame [κατηξιωθησαν ατιμασθηναι] . This is an instance of what rhetoricians style an oxymoron, from ojxuv, sharp, and mwrov, foolish; a pointedly foolish saying, which is witty or impressive through sheer contradiction or paradox, as laborious idleness, sublime indifference. In this case the apostles are described as dignified by indignity.

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.