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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Acts 3

 

 

Verses 1-10

Acts 3:1-10. Example of the Works of the Apostles.—The cure of lame persons is frequently spoken of in the Synoptic Gospels, as a mark of the Messianic age; but no such cure is there recorded. Paul deals with a similar case at Lystra (Acts 14:8). The apostles generally, but not invariably, go in pairs, as Luke 10:1 prescribes. So Peter and John here (cf. Acts 8:14) go for their devotions to the Temple at 3 P.M., the hour of the evening sacrifice. In the following narrative it is Peter only who acts and speaks. At the gate called Beautiful, possibly the same as Nicanor's gate on the E. side of the Temple, and the favourite entrance, they find a man congenitally lame. He asks alms: they ask his whole attention, which he gives them. Peter cannot give him money but has a greater gift for him. "In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean" (as if the full title had to be used for such a work; cf. Actus Petri cum Simone, xi. 13, 16)—"walk." The power of the Name (Genesis 32:29*, 1 Corinthians 5:3-5*) at once appears; as Jesus takes the hand of Peter's wife's mother to help her to rise (Mark 1:31), so Peter takes the lame man's right hand, and the cure is accomplished. The man leaps up and enters the Temple with the apostles, not merely walking but leaping (Isaiah 35:6) and praising God. The effect on the crowd is an example of the fear spoken of in Acts 2:43.


Verse 11

Acts 3:11. There is an interesting variant in D: "But when Peter and John were going out, he went with them holding them, and they stood astonished in the porch which is called Solomon's." The scribe who wrote this knew that Solomon's Porch was outside the Temple, the writer of the text translated in RV was unaware of the fact; he makes the apostles enter the Temple with the lame man and here places them in Solomon's Porch without saying that they had left the Temple. We shall meet with other instances of the local knowledge of the scribe of D.


Verses 12-26

Acts 3:12-26. Speech of Peter.

Acts 3:12-16. The Facts.—The idea and arrangement of the speech closely resemble that of Acts 2:14-36; it exhibits the style of controversy with the Jews. The hearers are addressed as "men of Israel"; appeal is made to their history and beliefs as such. The apostles have not performed the cure by any power of their own nor merited it by their piety; the cure is due to the new act of God which has taken place in the old religion. God is spoken of by an elaborate title (Exodus 3:6, 1 Kings 18:36, Mark 12:26); it was through Abraham and Isaac and Jacob that He declared His mercy to the Jewish race, and it is the same merciful God who has given glory (John 17:1) to His Servant (Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 52:13, Matthew 12:18, Acts 4:27) and so caused a new stream of blessings to descend on the world (Acts 2:33). The guilt of Christ's death is charged, as in Acts 2:23, against the Jews; Pilate would not of himself have sentenced Him to death (Luke 23:4; Luke 23:6 f., Luke 23:20-23). "Holy and Righteous"—"murderers"—"killed the Prince of Life"—"whom God raised from the dead"—is an effective series of terms; but the Resurrection is more adequately dealt with in Acts 2:24 ff. It is what the apostles stand to witness. The cure is due to faith, but in the first place the faith of the apostles, whose faith in the name of Christ is its primary condition. It is the name that has effected the cure, through the apostles' belief in its efficiency. The faith spoken of in Acts 3:16 b may be the faith of the person cured, and be reminiscent of the phrases, "Thy faith hath cured thee" and "Lord, I believe." "Through him" must mean that Christ is the inspirer of this faith as well as its rewarder. That is how the man's recovery has come about.

Acts 3:17-26. The Appeal.—Though Christ's death is charged against the Jews the speaker is appealing to the Jews and must in some way approach them. They acted in ignorance; and God used their ignorance that the prediction made by all the prophets (on the "all" see Luke 24:25, Revelation 1:2, etc.; it is Pauline doctrine) of Messiah's suffering might be fulfilled. If they will recognise that their blindness has proved the instrument of a higher good, they will the more readily listen to the appeal now made, i.e. repent and turn, to the obliteration of their sins. Baptism is not mentioned, nor is the suffering of Messiah said to be the means of the obliteration of sins; but His sufferings prove Him to be the person spoken of in the prophets; and the sin of ignorance is one which may be more readily forgiven. What will happen if the Jews repent is that their sins will no longer stand against them, and the Lord (here=God) will cause times of refreshing, i.e. relief after the pangs endured, to come to them; and He will send the Christ appointed for them, i.e. Jesus, who cannot appear as Christ but must remain in heaven till the times of restoration arrive (cf. Matthew 19:28, Acts 1:6, Mark 9:12), the full restoration, the details of which are predicted by the holy prophets from ancient times (so Luke 1:70). The Scripture proof begins with Moses (Acts 3:22), most ancient of all; the quotation (Deuteronomy 18:15) appears also in the speech of Stephen (Acts 7:37) and may be alluded to in John 1:21. Leviticus 23:29 is added to reinforce the call to repentance. Samuel is the father of the prophets (Hebrews 11:32); all of them had before their eyes the days of the speaker (1 Corinthians 10:11). The audience are the children of the prophets (Acts 3:25), since the prophecies are addressed to them (cf. "children of the kingdom," Matthew 8:12), and of the covenant, which directly concerns them. Genesis 22:18 is quoted also in Galatians 3:8; cf. Galatians 3:16; cf. Galatians 3:29. The promise is not to the Jews only, but it is to them first (Acts 2:39; Romans 1:16). They are the first to know the blessings God causes to descend through His Servant whom He has raised up.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Acts 3:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/acts-3.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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