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Bible Commentaries
Acts 3

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1 Act 3:1. The ninth hour was 3 o'clock in the afternoon. There is no ordinance in either Old or New Testament that designates any certain time as the hour of prayer. Some pious Jews formed a practice of praying daily at regular hours (Psa 55:17; Dan 6:10), but it was a voluntary service. The "daily sacrifice" was required by the law of Moses (Num 28:3-6), and this called for two lambs each day. The second one was offered "at even," and the margin words it, "between the two evenings," which was the same as our 3 o'clock, called the ninth hour in the present verse. The Jews formed the practice of going into the temple and engaging in a prayer service at that time, while the priests were out at the altar performing the sacrifice. The apostles were going up to the temple at that time because they knew they would have opportunity of meeting the people, to whom they could preach the Gospel.

Verse 2

2 Act 3:2. As the apostles approached the temple the following events took place. An "object of charity" was lying just outside of the temple, where the people coming and going would see him and perhaps bestow upon him a gift of money. This man was forty years old and had been a cripple from birth. The Old Testament does not give the special name of beautiful to any gate of the temple. The passage says it was called that, which indicates that the people had come to speak of it in that way, which probably was because of its appearance after Herod had remodeled and adorned the building (Luk 21:5). Robinson has the following to say of this gate: "Supposed by some to have been the large gate leading from the court of the Gentiles to the court of the Israelites, over against the eastern side of the building, called by the Rabbins the gate of Nicanor, and described by Josephus as covered with plates of gold and silver, and very splendid and massive."

Verse 3

3 Act 3:3. The original word for alms means generally any favor or mercy or pity bestowed upon an unfortunate person, but its most specific definition is, "a donation for the poor," and this is what the lame man asked of Peter and John.

Verse 4

4 Act 3:4. When Peter told the lame man to look on us, he should have concluded that some kind of favor was in store for him other than a gift of money, for such an action would not have required that he look at them.

Verse 5

5 Act 3:5. But the lame man had never been treated to anything but the kindness of those who carried him to the place daily, and the alms that people bestowed on him. Hence he did not form the conclusion here suggested, but instead he gave the apostles an earnest look, expecting to receive some money.

Verse 6

6 Act 3:6. Silver and gold have I none. We are not to suppose that the apostles were paupers, but they had no occasion for carrying supplies of money around with them, for Jesus had assured them that the necessities of life would be given them. In the present case however, if Peter had possessed an abundance of money, it would not have benefited the lame man physically as to his infirmity. He told the man to rise up and walk, but preceded the order with a statement as to the source of the power. We should understand that not only did Peter derive his ability to heal the man from the Lord, but he wished him also to know upon whom he was to trust for his recovery.

Verse 7

7 Act 3:7. Miraculous cures may be performed with or without any outward cooperation on the part of the patient. Jesus required the blind man to go wash the clay off his eyes, but He previously had put the anointment on the eyes of the patient. Peter commanded the lame man to rise up and walk, but he encouraged him by taking the initiative and grasping his hand and helping him to arise. This verse tells us in what way the man was lame; it was a weakness in his feet. The mere act of taking him by the hand did not heal him, for any other person could have done that; there had to be some miraculous power exerted by the apostle. It is stated that the healing was immediate, which was always the case with genuine miraculous cures. Professed divine healers of today always require "time and patience" for their cases, which proves they are frauds.

Verse 8

8 Act 3:8. A lame man might use enough will power to come to his feet, but he would not be able to show much energy in the enforced action. This man leaped up, and he did not stop with that; he walked and leaped alternately, and continued his movements along with the apostles, so that he entered with them into the temple. While doing all this he was praising God. Why did he do that, when it was Peter who had lifted him up? The answer is in the statement of the apostle that he was to arise in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The man had been carried each day and laid by the gate. He knew that in that act those men had used more physical force upon him than Peter did, as far as the outward performance was concerned, and yet no improvement in his condition had ever been experienced. The only conclusion he could reach was that it was God working through Peter, and that caused him to give his praise to the right one.

Verse 9

9 Act 3:9. The whole event was so evident and public that all the people saw it, and that means there were a great many who witnessed it, for it was in a prominent spot, and there were thousands of Jews in the city at that time.

Verse 10

0 Act 3:10. They knew it was the man who had been seen at the gate of the temple, for he had appeared there daily for a long time, and it was easy to recognize him. The natural effect upon the people was that they were filled with wonder and amazement. They knew it was not their own imagination that was affecting them, nor could it have been a forced action on the part of the lame man, for they were too well acquainted with the nature of his case to allow such a conclusion.

Verse 11

1 Act 3:11. Held is from KRATEO, and Robinson defines it in this place, "So to hold one fast, i. e., to hold fast to him, to cleave to him." Thayer defines it in the same way then gives the explanation, "To hold one fast in order not to be sent away." This action was perfectly natural. The man had been a cripple since his birth, and had to depend upon alms for a living. Now he was healed and had become an able-bodied man so that he could be on his own. However, since the condition was another one that might be described by the familiar phrase "too good to be true," he had a feeling of dependency that made him afraid to leave the apostles. Another thing that should be considered about his action, it emphasized the part the apostles had in the recovery. When the people saw this man clinging so firmly to the apostles, it announced publicly that they were the actors in the deed, and that the former lame man knew it. Another result that was natural was the gathering of all the people near the scene, for it was an extraordinary thing that had happened. Solomon's porch was a convenient and comfortable place for the crowd to gather; a description of this porch is given at Joh 10:23.

Verse 12

2 Act 3:12. Peter was able to speak with inspiration, but ordinary reasoning would have brought the conclusion indicated here. The people could see the lame man holding fast to the apostles, and as they were greatly wondering, it was because they thought these men had caused the patient to be cured through some mysterious virtue of their own. It would have been easy for them to obtain a following from this multitude because of the frame of mind that possessed them. But Peter was the faithful apostle of Christ, and humbly told the crowd that it was not in them (the apostles) that the lame man had found his recovery.

Verse 13

3 Act 3:13. The circumstance gave Peter another opportunity for preaching Christ to the people. The crowd was composed of Jews, and they were the people who were responsible for the condemnation of Jesus. They were acquainted with the Old Testament (Joh 5:39), and knew about the promise that was made to the fathers that a descendant of theirs was to come into the world to bless the nations of the earth. Now Peter connected that promise with the very man they of this audience had caused to die. Peter showed them as being worse even than Pilate, who would have been willing to let Jesus go. The apostle told them that God had glorified that very man in spite of their intended destruction of his great plans. Glorified is from DOXAZO, which Thayer defines in this passage, "To exalt to a glorious rank or condition." It was a stinging rebuke to these people, not only to accuse them of condemning Jesus, but to be told that God had over-ruled their malicious attempt and had exalted their victim to a rank in glory.

Verse 14

4 Act 3:14. This verse names two distinct crimes the Jews committed, either of which would have entitled them to the serverest condemnation. It refers to the time when they were to name the prisoner to be released under a custom of that season (Luk 23:16-21). They denied freedom to a holy and just person against whom no charge had been sustained. In their choice of prisoners they did not name one who was even an ordinary evildoer, but called for a man who was a murderer and a member of a seditious gang.

Verse 15

5 Act 3:15. The Jews could not lawfully put any man to death, and did not personally put Jesus on the cross. But Peter told them they had killed Him, and it was because they were the ones who caused it to be done. Prince is from a word that means the author or leader in an important movement. That is true of Christ as announced by John, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men" (Joh 1:4). The apostles almost invariably mentioned the resurrection of Jesus when ever they told of his death. Many persons have been killed by the people who were objectionable to them for some reason, but none of them ever lived again until the event of Christ. He not only came back to life, but God did the raising of him, thereby defeating the plans of the Jews who pretended to believe in Him, while disbelieving in his Son. Peter was not relating this to the multitude on some mere hearsay, but declared we are witnesses.

Verse 16

6 Act 3:16. Through faith in his name. The name and power of Jesus would not have caused this man to be healed, had he not manifested faith in that name by making what attempt he could to arise. The faith which is by him. Not only was the lame man required to have faith in the name of Jesus, but Peter could perform the miracle only because he also had faith in the name of Jesus.

Verse 17

7 Act 3:17. Ignorance does not excuse anyone in wrongdoing, but it may explain how it came about. The word is from AGNOIA, which Thayer defines, "Want of knowledge." The idea is different from being lacking in common intelligence, for then they might not have been held so strictly to account. But the information was available had they made use of it; they did not, and were like Israel of old who did not know, simply because they did not consider (Isa 1:3). Wot is an obsolete word for "know" as the apostle was considering his own frame of mind. As to the rulers, they were the ones in power and who were chiefly responsible for the death of Jesus.

Verse 18

8 Act 3:18. The Jews were condemned for having Jesus slain, because they had an evil motive in the act. But Peter informed them that in doing so, they fulfilled the words of the prophets concerning the fate that was to come upon the Son of God.

Verse 19

9 Act 3:19. The first Gospel discourse is in chapter 2, which consists mainly of the story of Jesus, and closes with an exhortation for the hearers to recognize Him as the Lord. The present passage is the second discourse that is recorded, and consists of the same matter as the first, although the wording is somewhat different. The present verse corresponds with chapter 2:38 in thought. "Repent and be baptized" is equivalent to repent and be converted. "For the remission of sins" is the same as that your sins may be blotted out. "Gift of the Holy Ghost" corresponds with times of refreshing, and of course it all comes from the presence of the Lord.

Verse 20

0 Act 3:20. Peter then deviates slightly in his subject matter, and speaks of the sending of Jesus Christ which refers to His second coming to earth; the same Jesus who was preached (prophesied about) before in the Scriptures.

Verse 21

1 Act 3:21. The next phase of this discourse explains some things that must take place before Jesus comes again. Receive is used in the sense of giving a guest continued hospitality or reception, until it is the desired and proper time for him to leave. In the case of Jesus, that time will not come until certain things that were predicted of him have been fulfilled. Robinson defines the word in the Greek for restitution, "full establishment," and Peter tells us that he refers to the predictions that had been made by the holy prophets, that were to be accomplished by Christ. We understand these things were to be brought to pass through the services of the apostles, while Jesus is still on his Father's right hand it) Heaven.

Verse 22

2 Act 3:22. Peter next specifies one of the predictions that Moses made concerning the prophet who was to come up from among the Jewish people (Deu 18:18-20). That prediction called upon the people to hear the prophet in whatever he said to them.

Verse 23

3 Act 3:23. The fate of all who refused to hear (heed) that prophet was that he be destroyed from among the people. The form of that threat is based on the usages of the times of Moses, when the "law of sin and death" was in force (Rom 8:2). Its meaning under Christ is that all who refuse to hear him, will be condemned as disobedient in this world, and will be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord" when he comes again (2Th 1:9).

Verse 24

4 Act 3:24. Prophets, from Samuel. There were other men before the days of Samuel who made prophetical statements, so there must have been a special sense in which he was regarded as one. The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia says: "Samuel was not only a prophet like others, but he was also the first of the regular succession of prophets." 1Ki 19:16 says God spoke to Elijah as follows: "Elisha the son of Shaphat shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room," which verifies the quotation from the Encyclopedia, and shows there was a succession of national prophets. The mention of Samuel by Peter indicates that he was the first of the prophets in that succession. Other prophets after Samuel spoke of the time when the promise made to the fathers would be fulfilled.

Verse 25

5 Act 3:25. Covenant in this verse is the same as the promise in chapter 2:39. Children of the prophets and of the covenant. How could men be children of a covenant? The word children is from HUIOS, and Thayer explains that one meaning of the word is, "One to whom anything belongs; those to whom the prophetic and covenant promises belong; for whom a thing is destined." Peter meant that the people to whom he was speaking were intended by the Lord as among those who were to be benefited by the covenant. It is the same as the statement in chapter 2:39 that" the promise is unto you and your children."

Verse 26

6 Act 3:26. Unto you first. Peter was speaking to Jews, and he meant to tell them that they were to receive the blessings of the promised seed of Abraham before the Gentiles. (See Act 13:46; Rom 1:16.) Turning away every one of you from his iniquities in this discourse, corresponds with "save yourselves from this untoward generation," in Act 2:40.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Acts 3". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/acts-3.html. 1952.
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