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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Acts 4



Other Authors
Verse 1

Captain of the temple

It was the duty of the Levites to keep guard at the gates of the temple, in order to prevent the unclean from entering. To them the duties of the temple-police were entrusted, under the command of an official known in the New Testament as “the captain of the temple,” but in Jewish writings chiefly as “the man of the temple mount.” Josephus speaks of him as a person of such consequence as to be sent, along with the high-priest, prisoner to Rome.

Came upon ( ἐπέστησαν )

Or stood by them, suddenly. Compare Luke 24:4; Acts 22:20; Acts 23:11. Of dreams orvisions, to appear to.

Verse 2

Being grieved ( διαπονούμενοι )

Only here and Acts 16:18. The Rev. renders the force of διά by “sore troubled;” vexed through and through.

The resurrection

The Sadducees denied both the resurrection and a future state. “In the Gospels the Pharisees are represented as the great opponents of Christ; in the Acts it is the Sadducees who are the most violent opponents of the apostles. The reason of this seems to be, that in the Gospels Jesus Christ came in direct collision with the Pharisees, by unmasking their hypocrisies and endangering their influence among the people; whereas the apostles, in testifying to the resurrection of Christ, opposed the creed of the Sadducees. Perhaps, also, in attacking the apostles, who taught the resurrection of that Jesus whom the Pharisees had persecuted and crucified, the Sadducees aimed an indirect blow at the favorite dogma of their rival sect” (Gloag, “Commentary on Acts”).

Verse 3

In hold ( εἰς τήρησιν )

A somewhat antiquated rendering. Better, as Rev., in ward. See on 1 Peter 1:4.

Verse 4

The number was about five thousand

Translate ἐγενήθη as Rev., came to be; indicating the addition to the original number of the many that believed.

Verse 7

What power - what name

Lit., what sort of power; what kind of name.

Have ye done

The ye closes the sentence in the Greek with a contemptuous emphasis: you people.

Verse 12

Salvation ( ἡ σωτηρία )

Note the article: the salvation; the Messianic deliverance.

Verse 13


See on freely, Acts 2:29.

Perceived ( καταλαβόμενοι )

The word, meaning originally to seize upon or lay hold of, occurs frequently in the New Testament in different phases of this original sense. Thus, to apprehend or grasp, Ephesians 3:18; Philemon 3:12, Philemon 3:13; Romans 9:30: of seizure by a demon, Mark 9:18: of something coming upon or overtaking, John 12:35; 1 Thessalonians 5:4: of comprehending, grasping mentally, as here, Acts 10:34; Acts 25:25.

Unlearned ( ἀγράμματοι )

Or, very literally, unlettered. With special reference to Rabbinic culture, the absence of which was conspicuous in Peter's address.

Ignorant ( ἰδιῶται )

Originally, one in a private station, as opposed to one in office or in public affairs. Therefore one without professional knowledge, a layman; thence, generally, ignorant, ill-informed; sometimes plebeian, common. In the absence of certainty it is as well to retain the meaning given by the A. V., perhaps with a slight emphasis on the want of professional knowledge. Compare 1 Corinthians 14:16, 1 Corinthians 14:23, 1 Corinthians 14:24; 2 Corinthians 11:6.

Took knowledge ( ἐπεγίνωσκον )

Or recognized. See on Acts 3:10.

Verse 15

Conferred ( συνέβαλον )

See on pondered, Luke 2:19.

Verse 17

It spread ( διανεμηθῇ )

Only here in New Testament. Lit., be distributed. In 2 Timothy 2:17, “their word will eat as a canker,” is, literally, will have distribution or spreading ( νομὴν ἕξει ). Bengel, however, goes too far when he represents the members of the council as speaking in the figure of a canker. “They regard the whole as a canker.”

Verse 18

To speak ( φθέγγεσθαι )

See on 2 Peter 2:16.

Verse 21

Punish ( κολάσωνται )

Originally, to curtail or dock; to prune as trees: thence to check, keep in bounds, punish.

Verse 24

Lord ( δέσποτα )

See on 2 Peter 2:1.

Verse 25

Servant ( παιδός )

See on Acts 3:13.

Rage ( ἐφρύαξαν )

Only here in New Testament. Originally, to neigh or snort like a horse. Of men, to give one's self haughty airs, and to act and speak insolently. Philo describes a proud man as “walking on tiptoe, and bridling ( φρυαττόμενος )with neck erect like a horse.”

Verse 27

Didst anoint ( ἔχρισας )

See on Christ, Matthew 1:1.

Verse 28

Thy hand

Thy disposing power.

Verse 32

Heart and soul

See on Mark 12:30.

Verse 33

Gave ( ἀπεδίδουν )

Lit., gave back ( ἀπό ); as something which they were in duty bound to give.

Verse 37

The money ( τὸ χρῆμα )

The sum of money.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 4:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 23rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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