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ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

CHAPTER FOUR

"Persecution Percolating"
Key Verse = Acts 4:20

  1. Peter and John arrested
  2. Peter and John before the Sanhedrin
  3. Released, they pray for boldness
  4. Sharing among believers


PETER  AND  JOHN  ARRESTED

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Acts 4:1
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(1)  Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,

And while they were speaking these words to the people, the priests and the Sadducees and the leaders of the temple rose up against them,


As they spoke
Peter and John speaking to the crowd on Solomon's Porch at the temple (3:11-26) after healing the lame man at the gate Beautiful (3:1-10).

The Priests
It is probable that these priests were a part of the Sanhedrin, or Great Council of the nation.  It is evident that they claimed some authority for preventing the preaching of the apostles.  These were the most relentless of the enemies of Christ from the beginning.

Captain of the temple
This man was not a Roman functionary.  He is referred to in rabbinical literature as the chief  “sagan,” or “segen,”  and sometimes as  “’ish har ha-bayith”  (the man of the mountain of the house).

He belonged to one of the chief-priestly families (from which the chief priests were chosen),  and in the temple he ranked next to the high priest.  The temple guard which he commanded was a picked body of Levites.

This was the commander of the guard stationed chiefly in the tower Antonia,  especially during the great feasts;  and it was his duty to preserve order and prevent any tumult.  It was he and his soldiers that arrested Jesus.

Sadducees
The Sadducees seemed to be the chief opponents of Christ from here on,  instead of the Pharisees.  They did not believe in the resurrection (Acts 23:8),  so their whole system of religion was in danger by the preaching of the apostles whose main theme was the resurrection of Jesus.

Came upon them
This expression implies that they came in a sudden, hostile and violent manner.

His (Peter's) message produced two opposite results:
(1) Some 2,000 Jews believed the Word and were converted.
(2) The religious leaders of the nation rejected the message and tried to silence the Apostles.
We have here the beginning of the persecution about which Jesus had already warned His followers 
(Matthew 10:17-18Luke 21:12-15).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(1)  And while they [Peter and John] were talking to the people, the high priests and the military commander of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them,

Acts 4:2
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(2)  being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Being infuriated that they taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.


Greatly disturbed
Not sad,  or mourning.  This is from the Greek word diaponeo - “exasperated” or “fed up” – also troubled.

The word implies more than simple sorrow;  it was a mingled emotion of indignation and anger.  They did not grieve because they thought it a public calamity,  but because it interfered with their authority and opposed their doctrine.  It means that it was painful to them,  or they could not bear it.  It is often the case that bigots,  and people in authority,  have this kind of grief,  at the zeal of people in spreading the truth,  and thus undermining their influence and authority.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

That they taught the people
The ground of their grief was as much the fact that they should presume to instruct the people as the matter which they taught them.  They were offended that unlearned Galileans,  in no way connected with the priestly office,  and unauthorized by them,  should presume to set themselves up as religious teachers.  They claimed the right to watch over the interests of the people,  and to declare who was authorized to instruct the nation.

It has been no unusual thing for men in ecclesiastical stations to take exceptions to the ministry of those who have not been commissioned by themselves.  Such men easily fancy that all power to instruct others is lodged in their hands,  and they oppose others simply from the fact that they have not derived their authority from them.  The true question in this case was whether these Galileans gave proof that they were sent by God.  The working of the miracle in this case should have been satisfactory.

Preached in Jesus the resurrection
The Sadducees would be particularly opposed to this.  They denied the doctrine of the resurrection,  and they were troubled that the apostles adduced proof of it as strong as the resurrection of Jesus.  It was perceived that this doctrine was becoming established among the people;  multitudes believed that he had risen;  and if he had been raised up,  it followed also that others would rise.

The Sadducees,  therefore,  felt that their cause was in danger,  and they joined with the priests in endeavoring to arrest its spread among the people.
This is the account of the first opposition that was made to the gospel as it was preached by the apostles.
It is worthy of remark that it excited so much and so speedily the enmity of those in power,  and that the apostles were so soon called to test the sincerity of their attachment to their Master.

They,  who but a few days before had fled at the approach of danger,  were now called to meet this opposition and to show their attachment to a risen Redeemer;  and they did it without shrinking.  They showed now that they were indeed the true friends of the crucified Savior,  and this remarkable change in their conduct is one of the many proofs that they were influenced from above.

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 the Sadducees are the most violent opponents of the apostles
The reason of this seems to be,
In the Gospels Jesus Christ came in direct collision with the Pharisees, by unmasking their hypocrisies and endangering their influence among the people.
In the Acts 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").
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(2)  Being vexed and indignant through and through because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in [the case of] Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 4:3 & 4
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(3)  And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

And they arrested them and detained them until the next day, for it was now eventide.

(4)  However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

Howbeit many of them who heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.


For it was already evening
It was not convenient to assemble the council at night.  This was,  moreover,  the time for the evening prayer or sacrifice,  and it was not usual to assemble the Sanhedrin at that hour.  By this time it was, at the latest, 3:00 PM.
Therefore, no trial could take place that day - a regulation they ignored when Jesus was arrested.

However, many...believed
This was one of the instances,  which has since been so often repeated,  in which persecution is seen to have a tendency to extend and establish the faith which it was designed to destroy.  It finally came to be a proverb that  "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church";  and there is no lesson which men have been so slow to learn as that to oppose and persecute men is the very way to confirm them in their opinions and to spread their doctrines.

It was supposed here that the disciples were few;  that they were without power,  wealth,  and influence;  and that it was easy to crush them at once.  But God made their persecution the means of extending,  in a signal manner,  the truths of the gospel and the triumphs of his word.  And so in all ages it has been,  and so it ever will be.

And the number
It seems probable that in this number of 5,000 there were included
the 120 persons who are mentioned in Acts 1:15
the 3,000 people who were converted on the day of Pentecost,  Acts 2:41
This would mean that almost 2,000 people were converted at this time, even though Peter and John were arrested for the message they preached.

Excerpts from The Bible Exposition Commentary
The best defense of the truth of the Christian faith is a changed life.  The healed beggar was  "Exhibit A"  in Peter's defense of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In his evangelistic ministries,  the Methodist preacher Samuel Chadwick used to pray for  "a Lazarus"  in every campaign,  some  "great sinner"  whose conversion would shock the community.  He got the idea from John 12:9-11.  God answered his prayers in meeting after meeting as infamous wicked men trusted Christ and became witnesses through their changed lives.
Whenever God blesses,  Satan shows up to oppose the work and silence the witness;  and often he uses religious people to do his work.  The same crowd that opposed the ministry of Jesus Christ also opposed the work of the Apostles,  and they will oppose our ministry today.
Expect it - but don't let it stop you!
The important thing is not that we are comfortable,  but that the name of the Lord is glorified through the preaching of the Gospel.
God has promised to bless and use His Word,  so let's be faithful to witness.  Jesus even prayed that our witness would have success (John 17:20),  so we have every reason to be encouraged.
There is power in the name of Jesus, so we need not fear to witness and call sinners to repent.
The name of Jesus Christ still has power!
We can ask in His name as we pray (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-26).  When we ask the Father for something  "in the name of Jesus Christ,"  it is as though Jesus Himself were asking it.
Yes, the name of Jesus Christ still has authority and power.
Let's go forth in His name and conquer!
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(3)  So they laid hands on them (arrested them) and put them in prison until the following day, for it was already evening.
(4)  But many of those who heard the message believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus as the Christ). And their number grew and came to about 5,000.



PETER  AND  JOHN  BEFORE  THE  SANHEDRIN

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Acts 4:5 & 6
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(5)  And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,

And the next day, the leaders and the elders and the scribes gathered together;

(6)  as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

And also Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander and those who were of the family of the high priest.


Their rulers
The rulers of the Jews;  doubtless the members of the Sanhedrin,  or Great Council of the nation.
The expression  their rulers  makes it look as if this book was written for a Gentile, or Luke would have said our rulers or the rulers

Elders
Presbyters or those who were chosen from among the people to sit in the Sanhedrin.  It is probable that the rulers were those who held also some other office,  but were also authorized to sit in the Great Council.

Scribes
From gramma,  "a writing,"  denotes  "a scribe, a man of letters, a teacher of the law";  the "scribes" are mentioned frequently in the Synoptists -
Especially in connection with the Pharisees,  with whom they virtually formed one party (see Luke 5:21),
Sometimes with the chief priests, e. g., Matthew 2:4; Mark 8:31; 10:33; 11:18,27; Luke 9:22.
They were considered naturally qualified to teach in the synagogues, Mark 1:22.
They were ambitious of honor, e. g., Matthew 23:5-11, which they demanded especially from their pupils, and which was readily granted them, as well as by the people generally.
Like Ezra Ezra 7:12, the "scribes" were found originally among the priests and Levites.  The priests being the official interpreters of the Law,  the "scribes" ere long became an independent company;  though they never held political power,  they became leaders of the people.
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

The three classes composing the Sanhedrin
rulers chief priests who were Sadducees 24 priests
scribes usually Pharisees 22 scribes
elders not in either class 24 elders
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Annas
It is by no means certain that Annas was at that time the high priest,  but he had been,  and doubtless retained the title.  He was father-in-law to Caiaphas,  the high priest;  and from this fact,  together with his former dignity,  he is mentioned first.

Caiaphas
Son-in-law of Annas, Caiaphas was now exercising the office of the high priest, John 18:13.

John
Dr. Lightfoot supposes that he was Johanan Ben [son of] Laccai, a famous Rabbi of that time.

Alexander
Probably Alexander Lysimachus,  one of the richest Jews of his time who made great presents to the temple,  and was highly esteemed by King Agrippa.

Family of the High Priest
Or rather, as Dr. Pearce renders it,  "of the race of the high priests,  i.e.  of the family out of which the high priests were chosen."  It may,  however,  refer to those who belonged to the families of Annas and Caiaphas,  and all who were connected with the sacerdotal family.  Luke distinctly mentions all these,  to show how formidable the enemies were against whom the infant Church of Christ had to contend.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

At Jerusalem
This was the usual place of assembling the Sanhedrin.  But the Jewish writers (see Lightfoot on this place) say that 40 years before the destruction of the city,  on account of the great increase of crime, etc.,  the Sanhedrin was removed from place to place.  The declaration of Luke that they were now assembled in Jerusalem seems to imply that they sometimes met in other places.  It is probable that the members of the Sanhedrin were not in the city at the time mentioned in Acts 4:3 and this was the reason why the trial was deferred to the next day.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(5)  Then on the following day, their magistrates and elders and scribes were assembled in Jerusalem,
(6)  Including Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander and all others who belonged to the high priestly relationship.

Acts 4:7
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(7)  And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?"

And when they had made them to stand in the midst, they asked, By what power or by what name have you done this?


Set them in the midst
In the presence of the Great Council.
For such an occasion as this the apostles had already received instructions from their Master: “Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;  for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.” (Luke 21:14,15)   They now proved the truth of this assurance,  and in words inspired by the Holy Spirit,  Peter made his reply.

By what power
Power = dunamis
A similar question was put to Christ in the temple, Matt 21:23.

By what name
That is,  by whose authority.
It is very probable that they expected to intimidate the apostles by this question.
They claimed the right of regulating the religious affairs of the nation.
They had vast power with the people.
They assumed that all power to instruct the people should originate with them.
And they expected that the apostles would be confounded,  as having violated the established usage of the nation.

It did not seem to occur to them to enter into an investigation of the question whether this acknowledged miracle did not prove that they were sent by God,  but they assumed that they were impostors,  and attempted to silence them by authority.  It has been usual with the enemies of religion to attempt to intimidate its friends,  and when argument fails,  to attempt to silence Christians by appealing to their fears.

From the Amplified Bible
(7)  And they set the men in their midst and repeatedly demanded, By what sort of power or by what kind of authority did [such people as] you do this [healing]?

Acts 4:8
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(8)  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

Then Simon Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, Leaders of the people and elders of the house of Israel, listen:


Filled with the Holy Spirit
This is why Peter was free from the fear of man compared to the last time he was in the hall of Caiaphas when he denied the Lord through fear of a servant girl (Matthew 26:69-75).  The prophecy of Jesus was now being fulfilled about being brought before rulers (Matthew 10:18-20).
(Dake's Annotated Reverence Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, Lawrenceville, GA)

Rulers...Elders
Peter addressed the Sanhedrin with perfect respect.  He did not call in question their authority to propose this question.  He seemed to regard this as a favorable opportunity to declare the truth and state the evidence of the Christian religion.  In this he acted on the principle of the injunction which he himself afterward gave (1 Peter 3:15 "Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.").

Innocence is willing to be questioned;  and a believer in the truth will rejoice in any opportunity to state the evidence of what is believed.  It is remarkable,  also,  that this was before the Great Council of the nation - the body that was clothed with the highest authority.  Peter could not have forgotten that before this very council,  and these very men,  his Master had been arraigned and condemned;  nor could he have forgotten that in the very room where this same council was convened to try his Lord,  he had himself shrunk from an honest avowal of attachment to him,  and shamefully and profanely denied him.

Before the same council,  in the same city,  and in the presence. of the same people,  it is not an unnatural supposition that Peter rejoiced that he might have opportunity to bear his testimony to the divine mission of the Savior whom he had before denied.  By using the customary language of respect applied to the Great Council,  Peter also has shown us that it is proper to evince respect for office and for those in power.  Religion requires us to render this homage,  and to treat men in office with deference, Matt 22:21; Rom 13:7; 1 Peter 2:13-17.
1 Peter 2:13-17
Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme,  or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men — as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.  Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.     (NKJV)

From the Amplified Bible
(8)  Then Peter, [because he was] filled with [and controlled by] the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and members of the council (the Sanhedrin),

Acts 4:9 & 10
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(9)  If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

If we are convicted today by you, concerning the good which has been done to a sick man, on the ground of by what means he was healed;

(10)  let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

Then let it be known to you and to all the people of Israel, By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, and whom God raised from the dead, behold this man stands before you, healed.


Judged
Greek word (anakrino) which suggests a judicial hearing.

A helpless man
To this man who was infirm or lame.  The man was then present, Acts 4:10, 14.
He may have been arrested with the apostles;  or he may have been present as a spectator; or, as Neander supposes,  he may have been summoned as a witness.

By what means
This was the real point of the inquiry.  The fact that he had been made whole was not denied.  The only question was whether it had been done by the authority and power of Jesus of Nazareth,  as Peter declared it to be.

Let it be it known
Peter might have evaded the question,  or he might have resorted to many excuses and subterfuges (Calvin),  if he had been desirous of avoiding this inquiry.  But it was a noble opportunity for vindicating the honor of his Lord and Master.  It was a noble opportunity also for repairing the evil which he had done by his guilty denial of his Lord.  Although,  therefore,  this frank and open avowal was attended with danger,  and although it was in the presence of the great and the mighty,  yet he chose to state fully and clearly his conviction of the truth.

Never was there an instance of greater boldness,  and never could there be a more striking illustration of the fitness of the name which the Lord Jesus gave him,  that of a rock,  John 1:42;  Matt 16:17-18.  The timid,  trembling,  yielding,  and vacillating Simon;  he who just before was terrified by a servant-girl,  and who on the lake was afraid of sinking,  is now transformed into the manly,  decided,  and firm Cephas,  fearless before the Great Council of the nation,  and in an unwavering tone asserting the authority of him whom he had just before denied,  and whom they had just before put to death.

Note:  How the Spirit moves them from the defensive to the offense,  and places the accusers in the position of the accused.

It is not possible to account for this change except on the supposition that this religion is true.  Peter had no worldly motive to actuate him.  He had no prospect of wealth or fame by this.  Even the hopes of honor and preferment which the apostles had cherished before the death of Jesus,  and which might have been supposed to influence them then,  were now abandoned by them.  Their Master had died,  and all their hopes of human honor and power had been buried in his grave.  Nothing but the conviction of the truth could have made this change,  and transformed this timid disciple to a bold and uncompromising apostle.

By the name
By the authority or power, Acts 3:6.

Of Jesus Christ
The union of these two names would be particularly offensive to the Sanhedrin.  They denied that Jesus was the Christ,  or the Messiah;  Peter , by the use of the word  "Christ,"  affirmed that he was.  In the language then used,  it would be,  "By the name of Jesus, the Messiah."

Of Nazareth
Lest there should be any mistake about his meaning,  he specified that he referred to the despised Nazarene;  to him who had just been put to death,  as they supposed,  covered with infamy.

Whom ye crucified
There is emphasis in all the expressions that Peter uses.
He had before charged the people with the crime of having put him to death,  Acts 2:23; 3:14-15.  But he now had the opportunity,  contrary to all expectation,  of urging the charge with still greater force on the rulers themselves,  on the very council which had condemned him and delivered him to Pilate.  It was a remarkable providence that an opportunity was thus afforded of urging this charge in the presence of the Sanhedrin,  and of proclaiming to them the necessity of repentance.

Little did they imagine,  when they condemned the Lord Jesus that this charge would be so soon urged.  This is one of the instances in which God takes the wise in their own craftiness, Job 5:13 (He catches the wise in their own craftiness, And the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them.).  They had arraigned the apostles;  they demanded their authority for what they had done;  and thus they had directly opened the way,  and invited them to the serious and solemn charge which Peter here urges against them.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Peter respectfully began with an explanation of how the miracle occurred.  Certainly the members of the Sanhedrin had seen the crippled beggar many times,  and perhaps they had even given alms to turn and piously prayed for him.  How was this well-known man healed?  "By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!"  Those words must have pierced the hearts of the members of the council!  They thought they had finished with the Prophet from Nazareth,  and now His followers were telling everybody that Jesus was alive!  Since the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead,  Peter's statement was almost a declaration of war!
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(9 ) If we are being put on trial [here] today and examined concerning a good deed done to benefit a feeble (helpless) cripple, by what means this man has been restored to health,
(10)  Let it be known and understood by all of you, and by the whole house of Israel, that in the name and through the power and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, [but] Whom God raised from the dead, in Him and by means of Him this man is standing here before you well and sound in body.

Acts 4:11 & 12
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(11)  This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'

This is the stone which you builders have rejected, which is become the corner-stone.

(12)  Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

There is no salvation by any other man; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.


This is the stone
The image of  "the stone"  was not new to these men who were experts in the Old Testament Scriptures.
They knew that
(1) the  "rock"  was a symbol of God
Deuteronomy 32:4
He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.
Deuteronomy 32:15
But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked...and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
Deuteronomy 32:18
Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful.
2 Samuel 22:2
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.
Psalms 18:2
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.
Psalms 118:22
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
Isaiah 28:16
Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
(2) the Prophet Daniel had used the rock to picture Messiah and the coming of His kingdom on earth
Daniel 2:45
Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold — the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.
The Jews stumbled over the Rock
Romans 9:32-33
For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
1 Corinthians 1:23
but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness
However,  to those who have trusted Him,  Jesus Christ is
(1) the Precious Cornerstone
1 Peter 2:4-7
Coming to Him as to a living stone,  rejected indeed by men,  but chosen by God and precious.
(2) the Chief Cornerstone
Ephesians 2:20
Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,  Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Salvation
soteria (NT:4991) deliverance, preservation, safety

The word  "salvation"  properly denotes
any  "preservation,"
keeping anything in a  "safe"  state
deliverance from any evil of body or mind
deliverance from pain, sickness, danger
But it is in the New Testament applied particularly to the work which the Messiah came to do,  "to seek and to save that which was lost,"  Luke 19:10.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

In any other...no other name
Any other person.  He does not mean to say that God is not able to save,  but that the salvation of the human family is entrusted to the hands of Jesus the Messiah.
Deuteronomy 4:39
Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
Isaiah 45:21
And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me.
Isaiah 45:22
Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!  For I am God, and there is no other.

Salvation is to be had in Christ alone:
(1) We cannot save ourselves
(2) No other human being can save us
(3) No human system save us
(4) Philosophy cannot save us

In the great work of human redemption Christ is absolutely alone
Romans 3:21-26
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed,
being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
even the righteousness of God,
through faith in Jesus Christ,
to all and on all who believe.
For there is no difference;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
being justified freely by His grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood,
through faith,
to demonstrate His righteousness,
because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,  to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness,
that He might be just
and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

From the Amplified Bible
(11)  This [Jesus] is the Stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which has become the Head of the corner [the Cornerstone]. [Psalms 118:22.]
(12)  And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved.

Acts 4:13 & 14
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(13)  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Now when they had heard the speech of Simon Peter and John, which they had spoken boldly, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they recognized them that they had been with Jesus.

14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

And because they saw the lame man who was healed standing with them they could say nothing against them.


Boldness
parrhesia  (NT:3956)  - out-spokenness,  frankness,  bluntness; by implication, assurance
This word properly denotes  "openness"  or "confidence in speaking."  Here it means that,  in spite of danger and opposition,  they avowed their doctrines without any attempt to conceal or disguise them.

Unlearned
agrammatos  (NT:62) , lit.,  "unlettered"
Acts 4:13, is explained by GrimmThayer as meaning  "unversed in the learning of the Jewish schools";  in the papyri,  however,  it occurs very frequently in a formula used by one who signs for another who cannot write,  which suggests that the rulers,  elders and scribes regarded the apostles as  "unlettered" (Moulton and Milligan).
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Ignorant
idiootai  (NT: 2399)  a private person, i.e. (by implication) an ignoramus (compare "idiot")

In Greek usage we find the following senses:
a. "private individual" as distinct from public person
b. "layman" as distinct from expert
c. "outsider" as distinct from member.
(from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged edition, Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)

This word properly denotes  "those who live in private, in contradistinction from those who are engaged in public life or in office."  As this class of persons is commonly also supposed to be less learned,  talented,  and refined than those in office,  it comes to denote  "those who are rude and illiterate."  The idea intended to be conveyed here is, that these men had not had opportunities of education,  and had not been accustomed to public speaking,  and hence,  they were surprised at their boldness.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Had been with Jesus
The rulers already knew that Peter and John were disciples of Jesus,  but they now recalled the fact that Jesus,  too,  although he was unlearned in the scribal traditions  (John 7:15  And the Jews marveled, saying, "How does this Man know letters, having never studied?" ),  had nevertheless amazed the people with the authority with which he spoke (Mark 1:22  And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.).  Something of this same authority was now reflected in his disciples,  and the miracle which had been performed upon the lame man made it difficult to deny the effectiveness of this authority.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

No one can have been with Jesus as a disciple and not show it thereafter in his spirit and action. 
(A. A. Lipscomb, LL. D.)
(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright (c) 2002 AGES and Biblesoft, Inc.)

They could say nothing
The presence of the man that was healed was an unanswerable fact in proof of the truth of what the apostles alleged.
The miracle was so public,  clear,  and decisive;
The man that was healed was so well known;
that there was no evasion or subterfuge by which they could escape the conclusion to which the apostles were conducting them.

From the Amplified Bible
(13)  Now when they saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools [common men with no educational advantages], they marveled; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
(14)  And since they saw the man who had been cured standing there beside them, they could not contradict the fact or say anything in opposition.

Acts 4:15-18
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(15)  But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

But when they had commanded them to be taken aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves.

(16)  saying, "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

Saying, What shall we do to these men? For behold a miracle has openly been performed by them and it is known to all that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

(17)  But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name."

But, so that this news should not spread further among the people, let us threaten  them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

(18)  So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.


The council...conferred among themselves
The council did not seek for truth,  but rather sought for some way to avoid the truth'.  Had they honestly considered the evidence and meekly listened to the message,  they might have been saved,  but their pride and hardness of heart stood in the way.  Some of the chief priests and elders had experienced a similar dilemma during Passover when they had tried to trap Jesus in the temple  (Matthew 21:23-27).
But their response is proof that miracles alone can never convict or convert the lost sinner.
Only the Word of God can do that  (see John 11:45-53; Acts 14:1-20).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Notable miracle

An extraordinary miracle.  All Jerusalem knew
Who was healed The man had been crippled all his life
Where he was healed He had begged daily at the gate Beautiful for some time
How he was healed He was healed through the power of the name of Jesus of Nazareth

That it spread no further
Not the news of the miraculous healing of the lame man,
but the doctrine and influence which these men preach and exert.
More than a thousand people had already professed faith in Christ in consequence of this miracle (Acts 4:4),  and if this teaching should be permitted to go on,  probably accompanied with similar miracles,  they had reason to believe that all Jerusalem should be converted to the religion of Him whom they had lately crucified.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Let us severely threaten them
Greek:  "Let us threaten them with a threat."
This is a  "Hebraism"  expressing intensity,  certainty, etc.  The threat was a command (Acts 4:18) not to teach.  This threat,  however,  was not effectual.  On the next occasion,  which occurred soon after (Acts 5:40),  they added beating to their threats in order to deter them from preaching in the name of Jesus.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The question proposed was,  What shall we do to these men?  If they would have yielded to the convincing commanding power of truth,  it had been easy to say what they should do to these men.  They should have placed them at the head of their council,  and received their doctrine,  and been baptized by them in the name of the Lord Jesus,  and joined in fellowship with them.
They came at last to a resolution, in two things:
(1) That it was not safe to punish the apostles for what they had done.
 
Very willingly would they have done it,  because the people espoused their cause,  and cried up the miracle;  and they stood now in as much awe of them as they had done formerly, when they durst not lay hands of Christ for fear of the people.
They were not only convinced of the truth of the miracle, but all men glorified God for that which was done.
(2) That it was necessary to silence them for the future.
 
They could not prove that they had said or done any thing amiss.  All their care is that the doctrine of Christ spread no further among the people
They charge the apostles never to preach it any more.  Be it enacted by their authority  (which they think every Israelite is bound in conscience to submit to)  that no man speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  We do not find that they give them any reason why the doctrine of Christ must be suppressed;  they cannot say it is false or dangerous,  or of any ill tendency,  and they are ashamed to own the true reason,  that it testifies against their hypocrisy and wickedness,  and shocks their tyranny.
They threaten them if they do,  strictly threaten them:  it is at their peril.
Now these priests not only forbid the preaching of the gospel, but threaten to punish it as a heinous crime.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

He that flatters himself in ignorance,  at length comes to do open wickedness,  and that against his own conscience.
(from Geneva Notes, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(15)  But having ordered [the prisoners] to go aside out of the council [chamber], they conferred (debated) among themselves,
(16)  Saying, What are we to do with these men? For that an extraordinary miracle has been performed by (through) them is plain to all the residents of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.
(17)  But in order that it may not spread further among the people and the nation, let us warn and forbid them with a stern threat to speak any more to anyone in this name [or about this Person].
(18)  [So] they summoned them and imperatively instructed them not to converse in any way or teach at all in or about the name of Jesus.

Acts 4:19 & 20
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(19)  But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

But Simon Peter and John answered, saying to them, Whether it be right before God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

(20)  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

For we cannot stop speaking about the things which we have seen and heard.


Whether it is right in the sight of God
The apostles abated nothing of their boldness when threatened.  They openly appealed to their judges whether their command could be right.  And in doing this,  they expressed their full conviction of the truth of what they had said,  and their deliberate purpose not to regard their command,  but still to proclaim to the people the truth that Jesus was the Messiah.

The grand question was how God would regard it.  If he disapproved it,  it was wrong.  It was not merely a question pertaining to their reputation,  safety,  or life;
it was a question of conscience before God.
It is,  to lay their safety,  reputation,  and life out of view,  and bring everything to the test
WHETHER IT WILL PLEASE GOD.
If it will please God it is right
if it will not please God it is wrong.

You judge
This was an appeal to them directly as judges and as men.
And it may be presumed that it was an appeal which they could not resist.  The Sanhedrin acknowledged itself
to have been appointed by God
to have no authority which was not derived from his appointment.
The abstract principle that it was better to obey God than man they could not call in question.

The only inquiry was whether they had evidence that God had issued any command in the case.
It may be remarked that this is one of the first and most bold appeals on record in favor of the right of private judgment and the liberty of conscience.  It was admitted that the authority of God in all matters was superior to that of man.

The doctrine is still more explicitly stated in Acts 5:29, "We ought to obey God rather than man."
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

For...
This is given as a reason why they should obey God rather than man.  They had had so clear evidence that God had sent the Messiah,  and they had received a direct and solemn command (Mark 16:15) to preach the gospel,  that they could not be restrained.  See 1 Cor 9:16. Compare Jer 20:9; Job 32:18-19.
1 Corinthians 9:16
For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!
Jeremiah 20:9
Then I said,  "I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name."  But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones;  I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.
Job 32:18-20
For I am full of words; the spirit within me compels me.  Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent; it is ready to burst like new wineskins.  I will speak, that I may find relief; I must open my lips and answer.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The things we have seen and heard
Refers to the deeds and words of Jesus,  especially to his resurrection (Acts 4:2).
(from the UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies)

From the Amplified Bible
(19)  But Peter and John replied to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must decide (judge).
(20)  But we [ourselves] cannot help telling what we have seen and heard.

Acts 4:21 & 22
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(21)  So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

So when they had further threatened them, they let them go; for they found no cause to punish them because of the people; for all men praised God for that which was done.

(22)  For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

For the man on whom this miracle of healing had been wrought was more than forty years old.


Threatened them - The 2nd Attempt of Satan to Destroy the Church

Finding no way of punishing them
That is,  not being able to devise any way of punishing them without exciting a tumult among the people,  and endangering their own authority.  The Sanhedrin was frequently influenced by this fear;  and it shows that their own authority was much dependent on the caprice of the multitude.  Compare Matt 21:23-27.

In the case against Jesus, they found false witnesses to testify against Jesus (Mark 14:55-59), but here it came upon the council suddenly.  They did not have opportunity to gather false witnesses, and there was no honest evidence against them.

Glorified God
Glorified God (edoxazon ton Theon)
Imperfect active,  "kept on glorifying God"  while the Sanhedrin were threatening Peter and John.  It was to laugh at the helplessness of the Sanhedrin.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

From the Amplified Bible
(21)  Then when [the rulers and council members] had further threatened them, they let them go, not seeing how they could secure a conviction against them because of the people; for everybody was praising and glorifying God for what had occurred.
(22)  For the man on whom this sign (miracle) of healing was performed was more than forty years old.



RELEASED,  THEY  PRAY  FOR  BOLDNESS

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Acts 4:23 & 24
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(23)  And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

After they were released, they went to their brethren and told them all that the high priests and elders had said.

(24)  So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

And when they heard this, they all together lifted up their voices to God and said, O Lord, thou art the God who hast made heaven and earth and the seas and all that in them is;


They went to their own companions
See the unostentatious conduct of the Apostles
They did not go about boasting
nor were they ambitious of honor
They do all with mildness and with gentleness. "And when they heard that, we read, with one accord they lifted up their voice to God.    (Chrysostom, Homily 11 - Acts 4:23)
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

This was properly the first persecution that had been raised up against the church since the resurrection of Christ;  and as the rest of the disciples must have known that Peter and John had been cast into prison,  and that they were to be examined before the Sanhedrin,  and knowing the evil disposition of the rulers toward their brethren,  they doubtless made joint supplication to God for their safety.  In this employment it is likely Peter and John found them on their return from the council.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Lord
despotes (NT:1203) an absolute ruler

From this word is derived the word "despot."  This is not the usual word employed by which to address God.  The word commonly translated "Lord" is Kurios (NT: 2962).  The word used here denotes "one who rules over others," and was applied to the highest magistrate or officer.  It denotes "authority; power; absoluteness in ruling.  It is applied to God 4 times in the New Testament, and is translated by the NIV as "Sovereign Lord":
Luke 2:29
Simeon, when he held Jesus
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.
Acts 4:24
The believers after Peter & John were released
Sovereign Lord...you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.
Jude 4
Jude to the believers
They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Rev 6:10
Believers who had been killed because of the Word of God and their testimony
How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?

Notice how they put their situation into perspective:
Unlike Peter - when he began to walk on the water (Matthew 14:29, 30), it wasn't until he "saw the wind" that he began to sink.   As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus rather than the storm,  he did not sink.
The believers - they could have focused on the threats of those in power who were responsible of crucifying their Lord, but instead they chose to focus on the power of their God who raised Jesus from the grave.

Who made the heaven and the earth ...
A direct quote from Psalm 146:6.

From the Amplified Bible
(23)  After they were permitted to go, [the apostles] returned to their own [company] and told all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
(24)  And when they heard it, lifted their voices together with one united mind to God and said, O Sovereign Lord, You are He Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them, [Exodus 20:11; Psalms 146:6.]

Acts 4:25 & 26
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(25)  who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:  'Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things?

Thou art the One who spoke through the Holy Spirit by the mouth of thy servant David when he said, Why do the people rage and the nations devise worthless things?

(26)  The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD and against His Christ.'

The kings and the rulers of the earth have revolted and have taken counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed.


The mouth of...David
It is a declaration of the apostles,  made in solemn prayer,  that God himself spoke by the mouth of David.
This is the second part of their prayer.
In the first they acknowledge the right of God to rule
In this they appeal to a prophecy;
they plead that this was a thing foretold
and as God had foreseen it and foretold it, they appealed to him to protect them.

This passage is taken from Psalm 2:1-2,  and is an exact quotation from the Septuagint.

Nations
ethnos - a race; specially, a foreign (non-Jewish) one - Gentiles
The times of tumult and opposition which had been foreseen, as about to attend the introduction of the gospel,  had The nations which were not Jews.  This refers,  doubtless,  to the opposition which would be made to the spread of Christianity,  and not merely to the opposition made to the Messiah himself,  and to the act of putting him to death.

Rage
This word refers to the excitement and tumult of a multitude;  not a settled plan,  but rather the heated and disorderly conduct of a mob.  It means that the progress of the gospel would encounter tumultuous opposition,  and that the excited nations would rush violently to put it down and destroy it.

People
laos - a people - can include Jews
The expression  "the people"  does not refer to a class of people different essentially from the pagan.  The "pagan,"  Hebrew and Greek,  "the nations,"  refer to people as organized into communities;  the expression the people is used to denote the same persons without respect to their being so organized.

Vain things
The word used here kena (NT: 2756) is a literal translation of the Hebrew reeyq (OT: 7386),  and means
usually "empty,"  as a vessel which is not filled;
then "useless," or what amounts to nothing, etc.
Here it means that they devised a plan which turned out to be vain or ineffectual.
They attempted an opposition to the Messiah which could not succeed.
God would establish his kingdom in spite of their plans to oppose it.

Kings
basileus - a king
The Psalmist specifies more particularly that kings and rulers would be opposed to the Messiah.  This had occurred already by the opposition made to the Messiah by the rulers of the Jewish people,  and it would be still more evinced by the opposition of princes and kings as the gospel spread among the nations.

Rulers
archon - a first (in rank or power)
This is another instance of the Hebrew parallelism.  The word does not denote another class of people from kings,  but expresses the same idea in another form,  or in a more general manner,  meaning that all classes of persons in authority would be opposed to the gospel.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Against the LORD
In the Hebrew,  "against Yahweh."  This is the special name which is given in the Scriptures to God.  They rose against his plan of appointing a Messiah,  and against the Messiah whom he had chosen.

Against his Christ
Hebrew,   against his Messiah, or his Anointed.  This is one of the places where the word  "Messiah"  is used in the Old Testament.  The word occurs in about 40 places,  and is commonly translated  "his anointed,"  and is applied to kings.  The direct reference of the word to the Messiah in the Old Testament is not frequent.  This passage implies that opposition to the Messiah is opposition to Yahweh.

From the Amplified Bible
(25)  Who by the mouth of our forefather David, Your servant and child, said through the Holy Spirit, Why did the heathen (Gentiles) become wanton and insolent and rage, and the people imagine and study and plan vain (fruitless) things [that will not succeed]?
(26)  The kings of the earth took their stand in array [for attack] and the rulers were assembled and combined together against the Lord and against His Anointed (Christ, the Messiah). [Psalms 2:1,2.]

Acts 4:27-30
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(27)  "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

For truly, they assembled in this very city, together with both Herod and Pilate and with the Gentiles and with the people of Israel, against your holy Son Jesus,

(28)  to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

To execute whatever they hand and thy will had previously decreed to take place.

(29)  Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

And even now, O Lord, look and see their threatenings; and grant to thy servants that they may freely preach thy word,

(30)  by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."

Just as thy hand is freely stretched out for healing and wonders and thy miracles which are done in the name of thy holy Son Jesus.


Both Herod and Pontius Pilate
Luke alone (Luke 23:12) tells of the reconciliation between Herod and Pilate at the trial of Jesus.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

The facts which are brought to view in these verses are among the most remarkable on record.  They are briefly these:
(1) That the Jewish rulers were opposed to the Messiah, and slew him.
(2) That the very people to whom he came, and for whose benefit he labored, joined in the opposition, so that it became the act of a united people.
(3) That the Romans, who were there as a sort of representation of all pagan nations, were easily prevailed on to join in the persecution, and to become the executioners.
(4) That thus opposite factions, and dissimilar and prejudiced people, became united in opposing the Messiah.
(5) That the rulers of the Roman people, the emperors, the statesmen, the philosophers, and the rulers of other nations, united to oppose the gospel, and brought all the power of persecution to stay its progress.
(6) That the people of the empire, the mass of people, were easily prevailed upon to join in the persecution, and to endeavor to arrest its progress.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The greatest concentration of power in Jerusalem that day was in the prayer meeting that followed the trial.  This is one of the truly great prayers recorded in the Bible,  and it is a good example for us to follow.
It was a prayer that was born out of witness and service for the Lord.
Peter and John had just come in  "from the trenches,"  and the church met to pray in order to defeat the enemy.
It was a united prayer meeting as they "lifted up their voice to God with one accord."
Division in the church always hinders prayer and robs the church of spiritual power.
Their praying was based solidly on the Word of God, in this case, Psalms 2.
The Word of God and prayer must always go together.
In His Word, God speaks to us and tells us what He wants to do.
In prayer, we speak to Him and make ourselves available to accomplish His will.
True prayer is not telling God what to do, but asking God to do His will in us and through us (1 John 5:14-15  "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.").
It means getting God's will done on earth,
not man's will done in heaven.
They did not pray to have their circumstances changed
Rather,  they asked God to empower them to make the best use of their circumstances and to accomplish what He had already determined (Acts 4-28).  This was not "fatalism" but faith in the Lord of history who has a perfect plan and is always victorious.
They asked for divine enablement,  not escape
They addressed God as "Sovereign Lord"
The God who is in control of all things.
It is good to know the Sovereign Lord when you are experiencing persecution.
They also approached Him as the Creator
If your Father is  "Lord of heaven and earth,"  what have you to fear?
They did not permit their faith in divine sovereignty to destroy human responsibility
It is when God's people get out of balance and overemphasize either sovereignty or responsibility that the church loses power.  Again,  we are reminded of Augustine's wise words,
"Pray as though everything depends on God, and work as though everything depended on you."
Faith in a sovereign Lord is a tremendous encouragement for God's people to keep serving the Lord when the going is difficult.
They did not ask for protection; they asked for power.
They did not ask for fire from heaven to destroy the enemy, but for power from heaven to preach the Word and heal the sick.
Their great desire was for boldness in the face of opposition.
They wanted to glorify God's Child (Servant) Jesus Christ.
It was His name that gave them power to minister the Word and to perform miracles, and His name alone deserved the glory.
The glory of God, not the needs of men, is the highest purpose of answered prayer.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(27)  For in this city there actually met and plotted together against Your holy Child and Servant Jesus, Whom You consecrated by anointing, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and peoples of Israel, [Psalms 2:1,2.]
(28)  To carry out all that Your hand and Your will and purpose had predestined (predetermined) should occur.
(29)  And now, Lord, observe their threats and grant to Your bond servants [full freedom] to declare Your message fearlessly,
(30)  While You stretch out Your hand to cure and to perform signs and wonders through the authority and by the power of the name of Your holy Child and Servant Jesus.

Acts 4:31
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(31)  And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

And when they had petitioned and made their supplications, the place in which they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the word of God boldly.


And when they had prayed
The event which followed was regarded by them as evidence that God heard their prayer.

The place...was shaken
The word which is translated  "was shaken"  commonly denotes  "violent agitation,"  as the raging of the sea,  the convulsion of an earthquake,  or trees shaken by the wind.   They probably regarded this as an answer to their prayer,  or as evidence that God would be with them:
(1) Because it was sudden and violent,  and was not produced by any natural causes
(2) Because it occurred immediately,  while they were seeking divine direction
(3) Because it was an exhibition of great power,  and was an evidence that God could protect them
(4) Because a convulsion so great,  sudden,  and mighty was suited at that time to awe them with a proof of the presence and power of God

Among the Jews
an earthquake was very properly regarded as a striking and impressive proof of the presence of Yahweh,  Isa 29:6;  Ps 68:8 ("The earth shook; the heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.").
Among the pagan
an earthquake was regarded as proof of the presence and favor of the Deity. (See Virgil, Aeneid, 3:89.)

They were all filled
Their being filled with the Holy Spirit here rather denotes their being inspired with confidence or boldness than being endowed with new powers, as in Acts 2:4.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Though these disciples had received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, yet they were capable of larger communications;
and what they had then received did not preclude the necessity of frequent supplies, on emergent occasions.
Indeed,  one communication of this Spirit always makes way and disposes for another.  Neither apostle nor private Christian can subsist in the divine life without frequent influences from on high.
Had these disciples depended on their Pentecostal grace,  they might have sunk now under the terror and menaces of their combined and powerful foes.
God gives grace for the time being,  but no stock for futurity,  because he will keep all his followers continually dependent on himself.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved)

This shaking of the place was designed
to strike an awe upon them
to awaken and raise their expectations
to give them a sensible token that God was with them of a truth
to put them in mind of that prophecy (Haggai 2:7)
'And I will shake all nations...and I will fill this temple with glory,'  says the LORD of hosts.
to show them what reason they had to fear God more, and then they would fear man less
He that shook this place could make the hearts of those who threatened his servants thus to tremble  for: He shall cut off the spirit of princes : he is terrible to the kings of the earth.  (Psalms 76:12)
that their faith might be established and unshaken
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Spoke
elaloun - Imperfect active indicative,  "began to speak," after being filled.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Boldness
parrhesia - denotes
freedom of speech
unreservedness of utterance
to speak without ambiguity
to speak plainly
the absence of fear in speaking boldly
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

From the Amplified Bible
(31)  And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the Word of God with freedom and boldness and courage.



SHARING  AMONG  THE  BELIEVERS

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Acts 4:32
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(32)  Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

Now the congregation of the believers were of one soul and of one mind; not one of them spoke of the property he possessed as his own; but everything they had was in common.


And the multitude
The number of believers at this time had become large.  In Acts 4:4, it is said that it was five thousand,  and the number was constantly increasing.

One heart
This expression denotes  "tender union."  They felt alike,  or were attached to the same things,  and this preserved them from jars and dissensions.

One soul
This phrase also denotes  "close and tender union."  No expression could denote it more strikingly than to say of friends they have one soul.
Plutarch cites an ancient verse in his life of Cato of Utica with this very expression -
“Two friends, one soul"    (Grotius)
Diogenes Laertius also (5, 1:11) says respecting Aristotle, that
"being asked what was a friend, answered that it was one soul dwelling in two bodies"   (Kuinoel).
The Hebrews spoke of two friends as being
"one man."
There can be no more striking demonstration of union and love than to say of more than five thousand suddenly drawn together that they all had one soul!  And this union they evinced in every way possible -
in their conduct
in their prayers
in their property
How different would have been the aspect of the church if the union had continued to the present time!

As Jesus prayed in His intercessory prayer in the Garden (John 17:20-23)
I do not pray for these alone,  but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You;
that they also may be one in Us,
that the world may believe that You sent Me.
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them,
that they may be one just as We are one:
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one,
and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Neither did anyone say
That is,  they did not regard it as their own,  but to be used for the benefit of the whole society. See Acts 2:44.

This must be expressed as direct discourse,  for example,
"No one said, What I own belongs just to me"
                      or
"No one said,  All I have is just for me."
(from the UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies)

From the Amplified Bible
(32)  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

Acts 4:33
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(33)  And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

And the apostles testified with great power concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ; and they were all greatly favored.


And with great power
The word  "power"  here denotes  "efficacy,"  and means that they had  "ability"  given them to bear witness of the resurrection of the Savior.

This power they received from the Holy Spirit,  who enabled them with striking miracles, to give proof of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus;  for this is the point that was particularly to be proved:
that he was slain and buried, all knew
that he rose again from the dead, many knew
but it was necessary to give such proofs as should convince and confound all.
This preaching and these miracles demonstrated this Divine truth:
Jesus died for your sins
He rose again for your justification
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights

Eight "Great" things of the church in Acts:
1. Power (Acts 4:33)
2. Grace (Acts 4:33)
3. Fear (Acts 5:5,11)
4. Company (Acts 6:7)
5. Wonders (Acts 6:8)
6. Miracles (Acts 6:8)
7. Persecution (Acts 8:1)
8. Joy (Acts 8:8; Acts 15:3)

From the Amplified Bible
(33)  And with great strength and ability and power the apostles delivered their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace (loving-kindness and favor and goodwill) rested richly upon them all.

Acts 4:34 & 35
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(34)  Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,

There was not a man among them who was destitute; for those who possessed fields and houses sold them and brought the money for the things that were sold,

(35)  and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

And placed them at the disposal of the disciples; and the proceeds were then given to every man according to his needs.


That lacked
That was in want,  or whose needs were not supplied by the others.

All who were possessors
The word used here is employed in a large,  indefinite sense;  but it would be improper to press it so as to suppose that every individual that became a Christian sold at once all his property.  The sense doubtless is,  that this was done  "when it was necessary:"  they parted with whatever property was needful to supply the needs of their poor brethren.

They felt that they were members of one family,  and they therefore imparted their property cheerfully to their brethren.  Besides this,  they were about to go to other lands to preach the gospel,  and they cheerfully parted with their property that they might go and proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

At the apostles' feet
That is,  they committed the money received for their property to the disposal of the apostles,  to distribute it as was necessary among the poor.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(34)  Nor was there a destitute or needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses proceeded to sell them, and one by one they brought (gave back) the amount received from the sales
(35)  And laid it at the feet of the apostles (special messengers). Then distribution was made according as anyone had need.

Acts 4:36 & 37
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(36)  And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,

Now Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which is, interpreted, the son of consolation), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,

(37)  having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Had a field and he sold it and brought the money and placed it at the disposal of the apostles.


Joses
Many manuscripts,  instead of  "Joses,"  here read  "Joseph."  The reasons why this individual is selected and specified particularly were, doubtless,
because he was from the Diaspora
because he was a Levite
because it was a remarkable instance of liberality
because he subsequently distinguished himself in the work of the ministry
He gave himself,  his property,  his all,  to the service of the Lord Jesus, and went forth to the self-denying labors of the gospel.  He is mentioned elsewhere with honor in the New Testament (Acts 11:24, 30),  and usually as the companion of the apostle Paul.

The fact that  "Joses"  is particularly mentioned shows that it was by no means a universal practice thus to part with all their possessions.  He was  "one"  instance in which it was done. Perhaps there were many other similar instances;  but all that the passage requires us to believe is,  that they parted with whatever was  "needful"  to supply the needs of the poor.  This was an eminent and instructive instance of Christian liberality,  and of the power of the gospel in overcoming one of the strongest passions that ever exist in the human bosom - the love of money.

Also named Barnabas by the apostles
The practice of giving surnames,  as expressive of character,  was not uncommon.  Thus,  Simon was called Peter,  or Cephas,  John 1:42;  and thus James and John were surnamed Boanerges,  Mark 3:17.

His surname,  Barnabas,  may mean either son of consolation or son of encouragement of exhortation.  Such surnames were often given to people to indicate their character.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

A Levite
One of the descendants of Levi employed in the lower services of the temple.
The whole tribe of Levi was set apart to the service of religion.  It was divided into priests and Levites.  The three sons of Levi were Gershom, Kohath, and Merari.  Of the family of  "Kohath"  Aaron was descended,  who was the first high priest.  His oldest son succeeded him,  and the remainders of his sons were "priests."  All the others of the tribe of Levi were called  "Levites,"  and were employed in the work of the temple,  in assisting the priests in performing sacred music, etc., Num 3; Deut 12:18-19; 18:6-8; 1 Chron 23:24.

Very few Levites embraced the faith of Jesus.

Cyprus
Cyprus is the largest island in the Mediterranean;  an island extremely fertile,  abounding in wine,  honey,  oil,  wool,  etc.  It is mentioned in Acts 13:4; 15:39.  The island is near to Cicilia,  and is not far from the Jewish coast.  It is said by Dion Caccius (lib. 68, 69) that the Jews were very numerous in that island.  Barnabas afterward became,  with Paul,  a distinguished preacher to the Gentiles.

The case of Barnabas is that of a man who had property when he entered the ministry,  and who gave up all for the Lord Jesus.  The great mass of ministers,  like very many who have been distinguished in other professions, have been taken from among the poor,  and from humble ranks in life.  But all have not been.  Many have been wealthy,  and have devoted all to Christ. The ministry is a work of self-denial,  and none should enter it who are not prepared to devote all to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
1. He brought Paul to the apostles (Acts 9:25-27)
2. He became a prophet (Acts 13:1)
2. He became an apostle (Acts 14:14)
3. He was a co-worker with Paul (Acts 11:30; Acts 12:25; Acts 13:1-15:35)
4. He was separated from Paul (Acts 15:36-41)
5. He went astray from truth (Galatians 2:13)
6. He was reconciled to Paul (1 Cor. 9:6)

From the Amplified Bible
(36)  Now Joseph, a Levite and native of Cyprus who was surnamed Barnabas by the apostles, which interpreted means Son of Encouragement,
(37)  Sold a field which belonged to him and brought the sum of money and laid it at the feet of the apostles.



(End of Chapter Four)

 

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