The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Acts 5

Act 5:2

KEPT BACK...: "Kept back" is, literally, to hide away, ie, "embezzle". Sw "steal" in Tit 2:10. It is used also of Achan (Jos 7:1, LXX). Cp the incident of Elisha/Gehazi (2Ki 5:25). We have sold our "old man" and laid the proceeds at Christ's feet. Did we keep back part of the price?

"If the current of our mind is not continuously in God, then our profession is hypocrisy, and our performance is sham. It is just a sometime thing. It is not solid and permanent and real. If we truly have the Truth, it will possess us totally. It will be a continuous ringing in our minds and fire in our bones. Don't be a half anything -- and certainly not in things pertaining to God and eternity. Be total. Go all the way. Give it everything. In the other way lies frustration and unhappiness, and -- at last -- dreadful, inescapable remorse. Why jeopardize eternity with half-ways?" (GVG). Indeed, why barter away eternal life for 30 pieces of silver?

Act 5:3

SATAN... FILLED YOUR HEART: "Sin hath reigned unto death" (Rom 5:21). Who is the "satan" here? Is it Sapphira (v 9)?

Or, more generally, "Satan" = an adverse state of mind. "What made YOU think?" (v 4; cp Jam 1:14,15). In their selfishness they conceived of a plan to deceive the apostles and God. "Satan" in their heart = human lusts (v 9).

Act 5:4

Cp Elisha, who reads mind of Gehazi: 2Ki 5:25.

Cp also Luk 16:6: is this a similar incident?

NOT... BUT: Heb idiom: Not only, but also. Thus the judgment was from God, not from Peter.

YOU HAVE NOT LIED TO MEN BUT TO GOD: "Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come": Mat 12:32.

Act 5:5

The judgment was not from Peter, but from God. Cp, generally, 1Ti 5:24; Rev 21:27; 22:15.

Act 5:6

Ananias and Sapphira got "carried away" in their greed! Cp Lev 10:4,5: as Nadab and Abihu were carried out of the sanctuary.

YOUNG MEN: Gr "neos": a technical term for a class of ecclesial officers (Luk 22:26; 1Pe 5:5; 1Ti 5:1; Tit 2:2,6; 1Jo 2:13,14).

Act 5:8

Peter offers her an opportunity for repentance.

Act 5:9

Earlier, Peter had not known the hearts of men: Act 1:24-26.

Act 5:10

AND BURIED HER BESIDE HER HUSBAND: What a strange example of unity in marriage! One in Jewish faith, one in marriage, one in conversion, one in stealing, one in lying, one in death, and one in a common grave.

Act 5:11

Apparently, no investigation was made by Jewish authorities. Prob through fear that such would confirm and exalt the reputation of the apostles.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Mat 6:33).

Act 5:12

SOLOMON'S COLONNADE: Where Peter healed lame man (Act 3:11).

Act 5:13

Vv 13,14: The incident of Ananias and Sapphira would have deterred unbelievers from joining the ecclesia under false pretenses. (Were Ananias and Sapphira "spies" or "infiltrators"?)

Others may have been afraid of their own leaders (cp John 9:22).

Act 5:15

PEOPLE BROUGHT THE SICK INTO THE STREETS: ...But not into the ecclesial meetings.

PETER'S SHADOW: "The shadow of a ROCK in a dry land" (Isa 32:1,2).

Act 5:16

TOWNS AROUND JERUSALEM: First intimation of believers from other than Jerusalem.

Act 5:17

HIGH PRIEST: Prob Annas (Act 4:6).

Act 5:18

THE APOSTLES: Prob all 12 (cp v 29).

Act 5:19

AN ANGEL: The Sadducees denied the existence of angels!

Open doors: for restored communion (2Ch 29:3); deliverance from prison (Act 5:19); surrender (Rev 3:20); service (1Co 16:9); and opportunity (Rev 3:8). Shut doors: for safety (Gen 7:16); privacy and communion (Mat 6:6); faith and prayer (2Ki 4:5,21,33); self-sufficiency (Rev 3:20); and separation and rejection (Mat 25:10).

Act 5:20

// Jer 26:2.

Act 5:24

THE CHIEF PRIESTS: Heads of 24 courses, and former high priests.

Act 5:27

To fulfill Mat 10:17.

Act 5:28

They feared revenge (v 30): "His blood be upon us" (Mat 27:25).

THIS MAN'S...: Note scrupulous avoidance of Jesus' name.

Act 5:29

Notice Peter uses no respectful introduction.

WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN: Cp Mat 4:10; Rom 3:4; Eccl 12:13; 1Co 7:23; Jer 17:5.

Act 5:30

See VL, Christ's resurrection, reality.

RAISED JESUS: AV (and, evidently, the Gr text) does not have "from the dead". Therefore, this v could sig 'from seed of David' (Act 3:22; 13:23). When resurrection is intended, "from dead" is added (Act 3:15; 4:10).

KILLED: Only here and Act 26:21: to slay with one's own hands.

TREE: Cross = tree: cp Act 13:29; 1Pe 2:24. The phrase here is Jewish: ref to hanging (Deu 21:22,23), not crucifixion. To emphasize the Jews' guilt.

...As if to say: 'You killed Jesus, but God raised him from the dead. Which -- you, or God -- do you think we will obey?'

Act 5:32

WITNESSES: "Witnesses in him" (RV mg); ie 'witnesses (on account of our being) in him'.

Act 5:33

FURIOUS: Sw Act 7:54: lit, "to cut in two".

Act 5:34

GAMALIEL: "Reward of El": a Pharisee who believed in the resurrection; a teacher of Paul (Act 22:3). Gamaliel I ("the elder") was the son of Simon and the grandson of the famous Rabbi Hillel. He occupied an important position in the Jewish council and was held in respect (Acts 5:34-40). He was the first to bear the title "rabban" (our master) instead of the more common "rabbi" (my master). On occasion he was counselor to the Herods in legal and religious matters. His importance is seen in the statement: "When Rabbin Gamaliel the Elder died, the glory of the Law ceased and purity and abstinence died."

MEN: "Anthropous", not "apostles" as in AV.

ORDERED THAT THE MEN BE PUT OUTSIDE FOR A LITTLE WHILE: So that they could not hear the liberal advice he was about to give.

Act 5:37

Why did he not cite the similar example of Jesus of Nazareth and his followers?

Act 5:38

Cp Jesus' question: "John's baptism-- was it from heaven, or from men?" (Luk 20:4).

Act 5:40

HIS SPEECH PERSUADED THEM: Is it possible that Gamaliel -- instead of giving foolish advice from his point of view -- knew exactly what he was doing? In other words, he might have been trying to protect the apostles and early church -- without himself openly identifying with their cause. A little like the counsel of Hushai to Absalom (2Sa 17:5-13) -- designed to get David "off the hook". Christian apocryphal literature, seizing on his relatively benign treatment of the Messianic Jews, reports that he came to faith in Jesus, but there is no independent evidence of this.


Act 5:41

REJOICING BECAUSE THEY HAD BEEN COUNTED WORTHY OF SUFFERING DISGRACE FOR THE NAME: They were... "Worthy of disgrace!" "Dignified by indignity!" "Honored by shame!" "Exalted by suffering!" What extraordinary paradoxes.

"The picture of our Lord's humiliation also inspires courage, for if we are unfashionable and poor, and subject to divers kinds of deprivations on account of our making the ancient Gospel and the ancient hope our hobby, we know that we are only having our turn of the experience that embittered the earthly days of the Captain of our salvation; and to take part in such a fellowship makes us bold. Do we not feel like Peter? 'Lord, I am ready to go with Thee unto prison and unto death.' Peter failed in the first trial; but afterwards, he went both to prison and to death for Christ's sake, and was of those who 'rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name' " (SC 168,169).

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal 6:14). "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" (Phi 3:10).

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