Chapter 1: Waiting For The Promise
1. A New Book V. 1-2
1. "Treatise" = word; anything reported in speech; a narration; a continuous account of things done.
2. "Former" = refers to the book of Luke which was written before this time; thought to be written about three years before.
3. The author is believed to be Luke although not mentioned by name. Little is known of Luke. In Col. 4:11,14, he seems to be classed as a Gentile which if so would make him as far as is known, the only Gentile writer of the Bible. He is recognized as a man of culture, highly educated and by profession, a physician. It seems that Luke joined Paul at Troas, stayed at Philippi for six years, then rejoined Paul and stayed with him to the end. (Acts 16:8,10,40; 20:6; they, we, they, we)
4. Luke's gospel had recorded what "Jesus began both to do and teach."
5. Acts resumes the historical account at Christ's ascension.
6. Luke tells of His ministry while on earth in a physical body while Acts tells of His ministry from heaven through His spiritual Body, the Church, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, whom our Lord said He would send upon His return to heaven. (John 14:16‑18)
7. The events in Acts cover a period of approximately 34 years. It records the dramatic growth of the early church and the beginning of the missionary movement, which would eventually extend "unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
8. The title "Acts of the Apostles" is given to this book because it primarily records the acts of Peter and Paul.
9. One thing a person needs to keep in mind is that this book is classified as history; therefore, one's doctrine must not be established upon this book alone. Every group that has done so is in error. One's doctrine must be established upon the epistles and then Acts will not contradict in any way.
10. "Theophilus" = a Roman official of high rank (note: title in Luke 1:3); it is not known who he was; may have been one of Luke's converts, in Philippi or Antioch who bore the expense of copying Luke's two books for many churches. This word is made up of two Greek words which means "friend" and "God"; therefore, the name means "friend of God." This book is written then to those who are a friend of God.
1. "Until the day" = fortieth day after the resurrection. (verse 3)
2. "Taken up" = ascended to heaven; He was taken up after He "had given commandments" = having given command; refers to our Lord giving the great commission to the apostles whom He had chosen (the eleven). This command is given in Acts 1:8 and was done "through the Holy Ghost" = during His ministry in His human life Jesus was under the guidance of the Holy Ghost (Spirit; one and the same). (Luke 4:18)
2. A New Experience V. 3-8
1. "To whom" = refers to the apostles He chose; He not only chose them but "also" shewed (to stand beside) Himself alive, a resurrected Lord.
2. "Passion" = suffering; refers to His death at the consummation of His sufferings; the cross.
3. "Infallible proofs" = one word in the Greek; means that from which something is surely and plainly known; evidence that Jesus was alive which could not be mistaken; the disciples had seen and heard Him at intervals during the forty days, eleven appearances being mentioned. (Mary Magdalene, the other women, two on the road to Emmaus, Peter, James, 500 brethren, and five times to the apostles as a group; I Cor. 15:5‑8)
4. The early disciples, including Paul, never doubted the fact of the resurrection, once they were convinced by personal experience. They doubted at first but at the last they risked their lives in defense of the faith. (I John 1:1; tense = perfect)
5. "Kingdom of God" = refers to the spiritual kingdom which is made up of the "born again" ones (John 3:3,5); applies to the present and the future; Jesus gave instructions concerning the preaching of the gospel (Mat. 28:19‑20) and their actions at the present time. (verses 4‑8)
1. This was the last time that Jesus appeared to His disciples. The place was in Jerusalem. Later He lead them to an area on the Mount of Olives overlooking the city of Jerusalem. (Luke 24:50)
2. "Assembled together" = has the idea of eating together.
3. "Commanded" = charge.
4. The disciples were scattered after His death, but He assembled them together for the purpose of giving them a charge concerning their conduct when He ascended.
5. "Wait" = to stay around; the tense indicated for them to "keep on waiting for the promise"; stay put, do not depart until the promise comes. Many of these disciples were from Galilee and would have probably returned home had not Jesus told them to stay put.
6. "Promise" = an announcement; a legal term denoting a summons to do or give something; refers to the fulfillment of the promise concerning the descent of the Holy Spirit made by the Father.
7. "Which ye have heard of me" = referring to the conversation to the apostles on the last night of His earthly life. (John 14:16‑18,26; 15:26; 16:7‑14)
1. "Truly" = indeed.
2. "Baptized" = to immerse.
3. "With" = in; the thing in which one is immersed; the water does not do the baptizing; "with" may imply sprinkling.
4. Jesus is referring to what John said concerning baptism in Mat. 3:11.
5. "Not many days hence" = refers to Pentecost, which occurred ten days later.
1. "Restore" = bring back; put into its former situation.
2. "Kingdom" = the dominion; the empire; the reign.
3. Judaea was formerly governed by its own kings and laws but now it was subject to the Romans. This bondage was grievous, and the nation sighed for deliverance.
4. The disciples, being influenced by Jewish thinking, expected Christ to establish His kingdom while He was on earth. (Luke 24:21) Their hopes were destroyed by His death, but as He had instructed them for forty days concerning the kingdom, they did not doubt that He would restore the kingdom but they did not know when, thus the question.
5. "Asked" = tense indicates they repeatedly asked before the Lord answered.
6. "Lord" = not just a title of respect but referring to Jesus as their Lord and Master.
1. "Know" = to know by experience.
2. "Times" = has reference to duration.
3. "Seasons" = has reference to opportunity.
4. "Power" = authority.
5. Some events the Father has fixed by His own authority. They are not for man to know and understand as to their exact timing. He will bring them about in His own time and way. (Mat. 24:36)
1. "Power" = not same word for power in verse 7; means strength, ability, force; refers to the power of Christ invisibly present and operative by the aid of the Holy Ghost in a local church, which enables them to do the work the Lord would have them do; enabling power.
2. "Witnesses unto me" = my witnesses; His by a direct personal relationship.
3. "Witnesses" = one who testifies (give a first hand detailed account) from what he has seen or experienced.
4. "Both = implies the witness of the church is too reach all four places at the same time.
5. "In Jerusalem" = the capital of the nation; applies to our church home area.
6. "In all Judaea" = the southern division of Palestine (Holy Land) which includes Jerusalem as the capital; applies to a region similar to our state or surrounding area. (See map 1 below)
7. "In Samaria" = middle portion of Palestine; the people of this area were a mixture of Jews and Assyrians and were despised by the Jews; applies to the people our nature and culture rejects.
8. "Unto the uttermost part of the earth" = refers to the remotest part of the earth, the extremity of the earth; applies to every nation then and now.
9. Once the apostles had been commanded to avoid Samaria (Mat. 10:5) but now it is included in the world wide program as already outlined on the mountain in Galilee in Mat. 28:19.
3. A New Assurance V. 9-11
1. "Beheld" = to perceive by the use of the eyes; they had their eyes glued upon Jesus.
2. "Received" = took under Him; He seemed to be supported by the cloud.
3. Paul adds in I Tim. 3:16 "in (into) glory."
1. "Looked stedfastly" = one word in the Greek; to fix one's eyes on; to gaze upon; indicates not only their eyes fixed on Him but their minds as well; denotes the intense gaze when we are deeply interested, and wish to see clearly and distinctly.
2. "Two men" = angels with a message from God.
3. "Behold" = a word used to describe the amazement of the disciple as these two angels appear on the scene.
1. "This same Jesus" = this Jesus, not another is going to come back. (I Thess. 1:10)
2. "Like manner" = in the same way; since He was received up in clouds, He will come again with clouds. (Rev. 1:7; Mat. 24:30‑31)
4. A New Apostle V.12-26
1. "Mount called Olivet" = the Mount of Olives.
2. "Sabbath day's journey" = the distance a Jew was allowed to travel on a Sabbath day, which some sources say equals approximately 4,854 ft. (tradition); this wording does not necessarily mean this day was a Sabbath.
3. Luke 24:52 states "they returned with great joy" because now they possess a promise from the one who cannot lie = God, who said Jesus would come again.
1. "Upper room" = upper chamber; may have been same place where Jesus observed the Passover feast.
2. "Both" = does not mean just two but applies to all mentioned.
3. This list is of the eleven apostles. (Mark 3:16‑19)
4. "Judas the brother of James" = the Greek has it Judas of James; whether a brother or a son of James we know not; this designation is used so as not to get him confused with Judas Iscariot; Mark records his name as "Thaddeaus" in Mark 3:18.
1. "One accord" = having same mind and spirit; not only the eleven but all that were present.
2. "Prayer" = word used of general prayer restricted to God.
3. "Supplication" = refers chiefly to prayer for particular benefits.
4. "Continued" = to give constant attention to a thing; they "stuck to" praying for the promise of the Father till the answer came.
5. Luke lists Mary, the mother of Jesus by name. This is a delicate touch that shows Mary with her crown of glory at last. She no doubt kept on her mind the prophecy of Simeon in Luke 2:25‑35, and also the event that occurred when Jesus was twelve years of age. (Luke 2:41‑51) Now she had the angels' promise; therefore, she had come out of the shadow of death with a song in her heart.
6. "With his brethren" = brothers; half‑brothers by today's standards. He had four (Mark 6:3) and they did not believe on Him. (John 7:5) But because of the attitude and death of Jesus, they got saved and joined the early church for prayer in the upper room.
1. "In those days" = on one of the days between the ascension and the day of Pentecost.
2. Peter was the one who had spoken up as the leader of the New Testament church, already in existence at this time, for 120 were gathered or assembled together. The word for "church" means an assembly. (Mat. 18:20)
1. "Men" = Peter addressed the men even though women were present; the word used for "men" here means a male; sometimes another word translated "men" is used and means mankind in general, thus referring to women as well as men.
2. "Brethren" = from the same womb; this word can apply to women.
3. "Must needs" = necessary.
4. Peter refers to Psa. 41:9.
5. Notice Peter says that the Holy Ghost spake by the mouth of David. (II Peter 1:21)
1. "Obtained part" = received his portion.
2. Judas was chosen by the Lord just like the other eleven. The Lord chose him and gave him his opportunity.
1. "This man purchased" = a man is often said to do a thing when he furnishes the means for doing it; the money which was given for betraying the Lord Jesus was thrown down in the temple, and the field was purchased with it by Jewish priests. (Mat. 27:5‑10)
2. "The reward of iniquity" = the price which he was paid; thirty pieces of silver.
3. "Headlong" = fell forward on his face.
4. "Burst asunder" to crack open.
5. "Gushed out" = to pour out
6. "In the midst" = refers to the field; Judas hung himself from a tree on a rocky hillside. The rope broke and he fell headfirst on the rocks and burst open so that his insides poured out along with his blood. Tradition says that he hung himself and no one would take him down. He rotted and fell down and burst asunder. (This may or may not be true.)
1. "Known" = well known.
2. "Tongue" = the language peculiar to any people; Aramaic.
3. "Aceldama" = an Aramaic word meaning the field of blood. It was called this name for two possible reasons according to tradition:
A. Because the field was purchased with the money which Judas flung down as the price of the blood of Jesus.
B. Because Judas poured out his blood there. Both views can be true from the meaning of this word.
1. Peter quotes portions of two of David's Psalms in this verse. (Psa. 69:25; 109:8)
2. "It is written" = the tense is perfect meaning that the scripture was penned down and stands on record today.
3. "Habitation" = dwelling.
4. "Desolate" = deserted; uninhabited.
5. "Bishoprick" = office of apostle.
1. Peter states the qualifications necessary to be an apostle, that of being a personal witness of the earthly ministry of Jesus which began when He was baptized by John and ended at His ascension.
2. "Have companied" = to go with one; to accompany; there were other disciples besides the apostles that followed Jesus.
3. "Ordained" = does not refer to a special ceremony as we know today; means simply that one should be designated or appointed for the purpose of filling the vacant office of the apostleship.
4. "Witness" = one who testifies from what he has seen or experienced.
5. The one chosen should be a personal witness who can speak from his own experience of the ministry, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus.
6. The office of apostleship soon came to an end because this qualification could only be met by a few.
1. "Appointed" = proposed; we would say nominated.
2. We know very little about these men but they were probably so nearly equal in qualifications that they could not determine which was best fitted for the office.
3. "Matthias" = means a gift of Jehovah.
1. They sought the mind of God concerning the matter.
2. "Knowest the hearts" = one word in the Greek and means a heart knower.
3. "Shew" = indicate which of the two Thou has chosen.
1. "Apostleship" = the office of an apostle.
2. "By transgression fell" = speaks of one who abandons his position; this is not speaking of "falling from grace" as some refer to losing salvation; Judas fell from his office of an apostle.
3. "His own place" = a bold description of the destiny of Judas; refers to hell which was only prepared for the devil and his angels. (Mat. 25:41)
1. "Gave forth their lots" = may refer to a pebble or a piece of wood on which their name was inscribed and placed in a vase, which was then shaken, and the lot or pebble which fell out upon the ground was considered the one the Lord chose; also may have used a black stone and a white stone and the one drawing the white stone was chosen. We do not know exactly how this was done but the outcome was considered the Lord's doing.
2. Casting a lot to the Jews did not suggest gambling, but "the O.T. method of learning the will of Jehovah".
3. "Numbered" = to assign one place among; some Bible students believe that this business meeting was not in order but you find God never said it was not right and Matthias shared with the other apostles in the toils, the persecutions, and the honour of preaching the gospel to mankind.
Chapter 2: The Day Of Pentecost
1. The Miracles V. 1-13
1. "Pentecost" = the word signifies the fiftieth part of a thing or the fiftieth in order; also called the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Harvest; one of three feasts every male was required to attend (Deut. 16:16-17); occurred fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits which represents the resurrection of Christ. (Lev. 23:15-16) This feast always occurred on the first day of the week (morrow after the Sabbath. (Lev. 23:16)
2. "Fully come" = speaks of time, the day of Pentecost had arrived, but had not ended; means the interval of time between the Firstfruits and Pentecost had been completed.
3. The 120 were still in one accord in the upper room at this time, even after ten days.
1. "Suddenly" = unawares, unexpectedly; this word shows that even though the 120 were waiting for the promise of the Spirit, they did not expect the promise to be fulfilled in this manner.
2. "A sound" = a loud noise.
3. "From heaven" = come from above.
4. "As of a rushing mighty wind" = as of a violent blast rushing along like a tempest.
5. Notice "as of" which means there was only a sound but no actual wind appeared. It was invisible yet mighty thus representing the agency of the Holy Spirit.
6. "It filled" = refers to the sound completely filling the house.
7. This occurred at the house (private dwelling) where they had been gathered in the upper room for ten days.
1. "Appeared" = means they saw this; first they heard, then they saw.
2. "Cloven tongues" = divided tongues, separated tongues.
3. "Like as of fire" = not literal fire but described by the writer "like as of fire". The idea being that the fire‑like appearance presented itself at first, as it were, in a single body, and then suddenly parted in this direction and that; so that a portion of it rested on each of those present.
4. "Each of them" = this occurred to all present, not just the apostles but also on the weakest one present.
5. This is a fulfillment of part of John the Baptist's prophecy in Mat. 3:11 and what Jesus had told them a few days earlier in Acts 1:5. This occurrence was where they were baptized in the Holy Ghost. The baptism of fire mentioned in Mat. 3:11 refers to tribulation and persecution of which Jesus said all saints would receive. (Mat. 20:21‑23; II Tim. 3:12; Acts 14:22)
6. Fire has always been used as a symbol of Divine presence; therefore, these tongues "like as of fire" picture divine power to speak for God.
7. This baptism of the Spirit, like Pentecost, occurred only once and shall not be repeated, but every believer is baptized with the Spirit when he is saved. (I Cor. 12:13; Rom. 8:9)
8. This incident did not begin the church but empowered the church already in existence.
1. "Filled" = wholly take possession of; these disciples were entirely under the influence of the Holy Ghost.
2. "Other tongues" = other languages than their native tongue.
3. "Utterance'" = to speak out, speak forth, pronounce; implies to articulate plainly.
4. These disciples begin to praise God in languages they did not naturally know, which was for the purpose of witnessing to the Jews present in Jerusalem from every nation on the face of the earth.
1. "Dwelling" = word usually means to have a fixed and permanent habitation but there is an exception here since the same word is used in verse 9; these Jews were living in Jerusalem temporarily while the feast days were being observed.
2. "Jews" = Jews by birth; also of Jewish descent and religion; means belonging to Judah but also a term that applies to the descendants of all Israel; first called Jews in II Kings 16:6 which was referring to Judah and was about the time the Northern Kingdom went into captivity.
3. "Devout men" = men of cautious and circumspect lives; men who lived in a prudent manner; the term applied to men who were cautious about offending God; those who were careful to observe His commandments.
4 "Out of" = from; these Jews were from every nation on earth.
1. "Noised abroad" = refers to the rumor of this remarkable transaction being spread, as it naturally would be.
2. "Were confounded" = to throw into disorder; to astonish; to throw into deep perplexity; the reason for this was because every one that came heard somebody speaking in their native tongue and they understood distinctly.
1. "Amazed" = to put out of wits; to stand out of themselves; wide open astonishment.
2. "Marvelled" = to wonder.
3. "Galileans" = inhabitants of Galilee; there were only a few disciples out of Jerusalem at this time; most of Jesus' ministry was spent in Galilee, therefore most of His disciples were from there.
4. The Galileans accent was peculiar and well known. They were regarded as rude, ignorant, and uncivilized so that even the term "Galileans" was used as an expression of deepest reproach and contempt. Yet, here they were speaking the languages of all that were present with remarkable accuracy.
1. There is not even a hint of an "unknown tongue" here.
2. Every man from every nation heard the disciples witness in his own tongue as he had learned it upon his mother's knee.
1. There are fifteen countries or providences listed which represented the known world at that time. (See Map 2 below)
2. Jews were scattered over the known world due in their captivity-‑first the Northern Kingdom being taken captive by the Assyrians and then the Southern Kingdom being taken captive by Babylon approximately 135 years later. When the captivity ended, the majority chose to remain abroad rather than face the hardships of pioneering in the Promised Land. With their newly discovered commercial skills, the Jews migrated to country after country and settled down to run much of the business of the world. The devout men came to Jerusalem to observe the feasts required by Jewish law.
3. "Strangers" = to be a sojourner, a foreign resident; refers to the Jews who had homes in Rome.
4. "Proselytes" = converts; one who has come over from a Gentile religion to Judaism; it is interesting to note there were proselytes in the great capital of the heathen world, Rome.
5. "Wonderful works" = mighty works of God; the glorious perfections of God and His marvelous doings; in the gift of His Son, in raising Him from the dead, in His miracles, His ascension, etc.
1. "In doubt" = to be entirely at a loss; to be in perplexity.
2. They did not understand it or know how to explain it.
1. "Mocking" = to deride, jeer; these were men incapable of serious and devout appreciation of the work of the Holy Spirit.
2. "New wine" = one word in the Greek; means sweet wine; this is the only place this word is used in the NT; the Greek construction implies that this wine had an intoxicating effect about it because of the mockers statement.
3. "Full" = to fill full; implies that these were drunk.
2. The Message V. 14-41
A. Introduction V. 14-21
1. Peter rose to defend the apostles and really Christ Himself from the injurious charge of being drunk.
2. "With the eleven" = Matthias stood with them.
3. "Lifted up his voice" = refers to loud speaking because the size of the crowd gathered for curiosity, demanded loud speaking.
4. The language of our English Bible reveals Peter doing the speaking here. It is not easy to determine exactly what occurred at this time. All of the twelve could have spoken each taking their turn and speaking in a different language or Peter only could have spoken with God giving a hearing miracle by allowing men from fifteen nations to hear in their own language. However it happened, it was a miracle of God without any confusion.
5. Peter (I'll use Peter as the speaker) addresses two groups of people:
A. "Men of Judea" = men who are Jews, that is Jews by birth; this phrase does not mean that these men were permanent dwellers in Judea but that they were Jews, of Jewish families, whatever country they may have been from.
B. "All ye that dwell at Jerusalem" = all others beside native born Jews, whether proselytes or strangers, who were under the sound of his voice.
6. "Be this known" = well known; this which had just occurred and caused such a stir among the people was not a doubtful matter but one that could be explained.
7. "Hearken" = to give ear to; receive into the ear; listen; remember what Jesus said in Mat. 13:9.
1. "Suppose" = assume.
2. "Third hour of the day" = 9:00 AM.
3. No Jew would eat or drink anything before 9:00 AM on a feast day. This fact was well known to the Jews.
1. Peter's message first refuted the accusation of the mockers and then showed that this unusual experience was in accordance with the predictions in their own scriptures.
2. "This is that" = prophecy being fulfilled.
3. The prophet Joel spoke about this in Joel 2:28‑29 which is quoted (not verbatim but in substance) in verses 17‑18 by Peter.
1. "It shall come to pass" = it shall happen or shall occur.
2. "Last days" = an expression of time which covers the period of time between the first advent of Christ and His second advent; Heb. 1:1‑2 reveals two natural Biblical dispensations:
A. "Time past" = from Adam till first advent of Christ.
B. "Last days" = from first advent of Christ till His second advent.
3. "Pour out" = same word as shed abroad in Rom 5:5; conveys the idea of giving largely or freely: refers to the abundant bestowal of the Holy Spirit.
4. "My Spirit" = denotes the third person of the Trinity, promised by the Saviour, and sent to finish our Lord's work.
5. "All flesh" = means every class or rank of men, not every individual; refers to Gentiles as well as Jews with the classes mentioned in verses 17‑18: sons, daughters, young and old men, servants, and handmaidens.
6. God is still pouring out His spirit on those who are saved even though it is not in the same magnitude. God never duplicates Himself. (Rom. 5:5; Titus 3:5‑6)
7. "Prophesy" = to foretell events; the early church had prophets who foretold what God was going to do; the gift of foretelling ended with John writing the book of Revelation because we have the completed Canon of scripture; this word also means to speak under Divine influence which is what it means in this verse and is specially applied to the power of speaking in a foreign language which the women (daughters) present did as well as the men. The women were not preaching.
8. "Visions" = an appearance divinely granted in an ecstasy (a state of being overpowered with emotion, especially joy); during this condition the appearance of objects or events would pass before the mind.
9. "Dreams" = a vision while one is asleep, a time when the mind wanders unrestrained and unchecked by the will. Peter is an example of this in Acts 10:9‑17.
10. The will of God was made known by visions and dreams before the Bible was complete. Any vision or dream one has today will not violate the Word of God.
11. It is interesting to note Jer. 23:28 where the Lord compared dreams to chaff while comparing the Word of God to wheat!
1. "My servants" = bondslave; one which is in a permanent relation of servitude to another with his will altogether consumed in the will of the other.
2. "My handmaidens" = female slaves; this verse basically repeats verse 17 in showing that His Spirit would be poured out without respect of person.
3. "Those days" = latter days.
4. "Prophesy" = in the times of the gospel, those who were brought under its influence would be remarkably endowed with ability to declare the will of God.
1. Peter also states the prophecy of Joel 2:30‑31 in verses 19‑20 which occurs in the last days, not on the day of Pentecost, but just before the second coming of Christ.
2. "Wonders" = something so strange that causes it to be watched and observed.
3. "Signs" = fingerpost of God; an usual occurrence surpassing the common course of nature, warning of remarkable events soon to happen.
4. "Blood" = commonly used as an emblem of slaughter or of battle.
5. "Fire" = image of war; it was customary in war to burn the towns of enemies and to render them as helpless as possible, thus "vapour of smoke" = rising columns or pillars of smoke.
1. "The sun be turned into darkness" = another sign; may be darkened by reason of the smoke of cities burning from the calamities of war and may be a divine act of God as it was when Jesus was crucified.
2. "The moon into blood" = another sign; not literal blood; may be a divine act of God or may mean that obscure color which the moon has when the atmosphere is filled with smoke and vapor due to calamities of war and earthquakes. (Rev. 6:12)
3. What ever the meaning, by using the sun and the moon, it denotes that the condition will be world wide, because the sun shines on one side of the earth while the moon shines on the other.
4. "Day of the Lord" = the period of time when God pours out His wrath (trumpets, thunders, and vials of Revelation) upon this earth and unrepentant man; this is immediately after the rapture of God's saints; this day is called:
A. "Great" = intense; speaks of this time of wrath as being more intense than it ever had been before, even in Noah's day.
B. "Notable" = conspicuous, manifest, illustrious; called terrible in Joel 2:31.
5. This is what our Lord spoke about in Luke 21:25‑28.
1. "It shall come to pass" = Peter is quoting Joel 2:32, which refers to the day of grace which is the last days; during this time man would not be under the law and have to go through an earthly priest to get to God but could go to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. "Shall call on" = to call for oneself in need; word has an indication that the person calling recognizes his need which can only be revealed to him by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:3b; John 3:27; 16:8‑11)
3. "Name of the Lord" = same as the Lord Himself; means He is to be Master, Owner, and controller of one's life.
4. "Saved" = delivered; justified; delivered from the penalty of sin.
5. This verse is not talking about calling with the mouth but with the heart in saving faith (Rom. 10:9) during this day of grace. (II Cor. 6:2)
B. The Explanation V. 22-36
Peter now proves to the Jews that Christ is alive by using five very convincing arguments:
1) Christ's Person and life demand that He be raised from the dead. V. 22-24
1. "Ye men of Israel" = title includes both the Jews of Judea and all those of the dispersion of whatever tribe they belonged.
2. "Hear these words" = the tense indicates, "do it now".
3. "Approved" = declared; to show what kind of a person Jesus is; the miracles proved that God's approval was upon Him (John 3:2); Peter had heard the voice of God the father state such in Mat. 17:5.
4. "Miracles" = exhibition of divine power; mighty works.
5. "Wonders" = the unusual or remarkable events which attended Jesus and caused wonder or amazement.
6. "Signs" = finger post of God; proofs that Jesus was from God.
7. "Which God did by him" = God did these works by Jesus Christ in such a way to show that Jesus was truly sent by Him.
8. "Midst of you" = in your own land.
9. "Know" = absolute positive knowledge; it is possible that many of the people present had been witnesses of Jesus' miracles.
10. This verse is preparation for the announcement of that mighty power, wonder, and sign which he was about to proclaim to them, that of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead. He who raised others could not remain dead Himself.
1. "Delivered" = given over.
2. "Determinate" = to mark out the boundaries or limits.
3. "Counsel" = purpose; refers to the purpose of God concerning the salvation of men through Christ.
4. "Foreknowledge" = forethought; pre‑arrangement.
5. God's counsel was determined and defined in respect of time and manner and the instruments used for carrying it out. This counsel or purpose is coupled with God's foreknowledge.
6. God knew that man would sin; that His holiness would demand full payment for that sin; that His love would provide a free pardon for that sin; that in the fullness of time the Father would send the Son to be robed in a human body; that in the end, man would murder Him; therefore, Jesus could be described in Rev. 13:8 as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
7. "Taken" = to take by force.
8. "Wicked" = lawless; not subject to law.
9. "Crucified" = fastened to a cross.
10. "Slain" = kill; take out of way.
11. Note: Peter says that the Jews did this; they were just instruments in the hand of God to carry out His will.
12. This is the same Peter who just 53 days earlier had denied knowing the Lord but now he charges the people to their faces with the death of Jesus. He had boldness due to being under the power of the Holy Ghost.
1. This may be the first public proclamation of the fact of the resurrection of Jesus.
2. "Loosed" = to free or liberate.
3. "Pains" = cord or bands.
4. Death is represented as being like a band that confined men and prevented escaped, but death could not hold Jesus because God loosed the bands of death and raised Him up.
5. "It was not possible" = not powerful or capable.
6. "Holden" = to continue to hold, to retain; death did not have the power nor was it capable to continue holding down the Lord Jesus.
2) The Psalmist predicted the resurrection. V. 25-31
1. Peter quotes the Psalmist David from Psa. 16:8‑11 in verses 25‑28.
2. "Foresaw" = to keep before one's eyes; to be mindful of one always; this is reinforced by the repetition, "before my face".
3. David's glimpse of the resurrected Christ had fortified David's soul and made him strong.
4. "Moved' = to waver; to shake; to overthrow; to cast down from one's secure and happy state. David would never be moved because the Lord could never be moved.
5. Christ's resurrection was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Psa. 16 and was a stunning blow to Peter's listeners.
1. "Therefore" = in view of the fact that Christ has risen.
2. "Heart" = the faculty and seat of intelligence; the mind.
3. "Rejoice" = to be glad; to be merry; the fact of the resurrection put David in a good frame of mind.
4. "Glad" = denotes excessive or ecstatic joy and delight; David couldn't keep from telling and singing about what he had seen. (Psa. 40:3)
5. "Moreover also" = in addition to this.
6. "My flesh" = my body.
7. "Shall rest" = shall tabernacle, pitch a tent, make one's abode, shall dwell.
8. "Hope" = desire of something good with the expectation of obtaining it; refers to a confident expectation of a resurrection of his own body.
9. Christ's resurrection is the guarantee of ours. (Rom. 8:11)
1. "Soul" = the immortal part of man; the real individual.
2. "Hell" = hades (Greek); sheol (Hebrew); the unseen world; the region of departed spirits of the lost but included the saints before the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, at which time He led "captivity captive" (Eph. 4:8‑10), thus moving paradise from hades into the third heaven. (II Cor. 12:2‑4)
3. "Wilt not leave" = wilt not give me over to it, to be held under its power. David knew he would be resurrected one day.
4. "Suffer" = permit; allow.
5. "Holy One" = denotes one who is tenderly and piously devoted to another; speaking of the Lord Jesus.
6. "See" = to experience; be acquainted with; to be made partakers.
7. "Corruption" = means putrefaction and decay in the grave.
1. "Made known" = one word in the Greek; refers to divinely communicated things.
2. "The ways of life" = the path of life; means "thou wilt restore me to life".
3. "Full" = to bestow abundantly.
4. "Joy" = gladness.
5. "With they countenance" = in thy presence; denotes the future happiness provided when admitted to the presence of God.
1. "Men and brethren" = Peter addresses the group who had gathered in a respectful manner even though some of them had accused the disciples of being drunk.
2. "Freely" = speaking without interruption all upon his heart, with boldness.
3. "Patriarch" = the head or ruler of a family; a title of dignity signifying the head of a house.
4. The OT recorded the fact that David was dead and buried and there had been no attempt to claim he had risen; therefore, this Psalm could not apply to him.
5. They might have argued with Peter but they could not argue with Scripture.
1. "Prophet" = one who foretold future events.
2. "And knowing" = knowing what God had said to him concerning his descendants.
3. "Had sworn with an oath" = II Sam. 7:16; Psa. 89:3‑4, 35‑36.
4. "The fruit of his loins" = his descendants.
5. "According to the flesh" = as far as the human nature of the Messiah was concerned, Christ would be descended from David.
6. "To sit on his throne" = to be his successor in his kingdom.
1. David as a prophet spoke that Christ would be resurrected.
2. Peter bases what he says upon scripture that these lost Jews knew. They could not refute what Peter was saying. He is herding his listeners into a corner.
3. This verse is a definite statement by Peter, that David knew that in Psalm 16 he was describing the resurrection of the Messiah, the one they had rejected, crucified, and slain.
3) The apostles were witnesses. V. 32
1. "This Jesus" = the Jesus; many men were named "Jesus" but Peter means the one already spoken of as "Jesus of Nazareth" (vs. 22) and foretold as the Messiah in Psa. 16 and raised from the dead by God in proof that He is the Messiah. (vs. 24)
2. "Witnesses" = one who can give a firsthand detailed account of what he had seen and heard.
3. "We" = refers to the twelve apostles who were standing before the multitude Peter was speaking to; may also indicate the entire 120 disciples who were also witnesses of Jesus' resurrection.
4) The coming of the Spirit--proof He is alive. V. 33
1. "By the right hand" = the right hand among the Hebrews was often used to denote power, thus this phrase means that Jesus was exalted by the power of God; it is also true that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father but in this verse "right hand" applies to the power of God.
2. "Exalted" = to elevate; to be raised to honor.
3. The promise mentioned in Acts 1:4 had now come true.
4. "Therefore being" = being therefore; applies to Jesus being exalted by the power of God and promise of the Holy Ghost and as a result "he (God) hath shed forth this".
5. "Shed forth" = "pour out" in Acts 2:17; means to pour forth; convey the idea of giving largely or freely.
6. "This, which you now see and hear" = refers to the power of speaking different languages and declaring the truth of the gospel.
5) Psalm 110:1 promised His resurrection. V. 34-36
1. Peter again appeals to the Scriptures, and to words which could not have received a fulfillment in the case of David. (Psa. 110:1)
2. "LORD" = word means master, one who has power over another; when all caps, word refers to Jehovah, the title of God in the OT.
3. "Lord" = word means the same as "LORD" but refers to the Son of God, Jesus the Christ.
4. No Hebrew father would call his son "Lord", but David did. David acknowledged that the One who would be born in his royal line would be his sovereign Lord.
1. What was the sovereign Lord of David doing now that He was seated on the very pinnacle of power? = waiting for God to make His foes His footstool.
2. "Make" = to place.
3. "Foes" = adversaries; enemies.
4. "Footstool" = place where one placed his feet.
5. This verse means to make subject, to reduce under one's power. It is a metaphor taken from the practice of conquerors who placed their feet on the necks of their conquered enemies. (Josh. 10:24) It is a sign of victory.
1. Peter's closing sentence drives home the point of his sermon.
2. "Let know" = to know by experience.
3. "Assuredly" = surety, without any doubt; thoroughly convinced.
4. Peter, in essence, is saying, "Convinced by the prophecies, by our testimony, and by the remarkable scenes exhibited on the day of Pentecost, let all be convinced that the Messiah (Christ) has come and has been exalted to heaven."
5. "House of Israel" = family of Israel; refers to all the nation of the Jews.
6. "Hath made" = appointed or constituted.
7. "That same Jesus" = the very person who had suffered and died on the cross.
8. "Ye" = strongly emphatic; Peter with boldness points out that the Jews were the ones who crucified Jesus and God had exalted Him to be the king that had been looked for so long.
9. They had crucified the Messiah, the hope of their nation.
10. Peter's message was to the point and under such demonstration of power that those Jews present were pricked in their hearts.
C. The Application V. 37-41
1. "When they heard this" = refers to the entire message but especially to the fact that they were the ones who crucified the Messiah.
2. "Were pricked" = to pierce thoroughly; to sting sharply; to stun; to smite; to agitate violently; to be convicted; grieved deeply; this was caused by Godly sorrow.
3. "Heart" = the center of man's inward life; the real individual.
4. The Greek construction implies the idea of sudden and acute grief. They were suddenly and deeply affected with anguish and alarm at what Peter said, thus the question, "What shall we do?"
5. "Men and brethren" = an expression denoting affectionate earnestness; they had just mocked the disciples and charged them with being drunk but now they treated them with respect and confidence. Sinners' views are greatly changed when they are under the conviction of sin.
6. Their question could be expanded to say, "What shall we do to avoid the wrath of the crucified and exalted Messiah."
1. "Repent" = to change one's mind for the better with abhorrence of one's past sins; regret accompanied by a true change of heart; change of mind, attitude, and heart; turning from sin, self, and the world to take up sides with God against self.
2. Repent is an action verb but one cannot act to repent until repentance is worked. Repent is man's part; repentance is God's part; repentance is only worked by Godly sorrow which was working in the hearts of these men Peter was speaking to. (II Cor. 7:10)
3. This is the same message that John the Baptist preached, that Jesus preached, and that Paul preached. (Mat. 3:2, 4:17; Luke 24:47; Acts 20:21)
4. The element of faith cannot be separated from repentance, and neither can repentance be separated from faith. Paul did not leave out repentance in Acts 16:30‑32.
5. "Baptized" = to make fully wet; immersed in water; pictures the gospel and pictures what happens in a person when he is saved or when he repents = that he died to self, was buried with Christ, and raised to walk in newness of life; baptism is a public profession whereby others can evidence your repentance and faith. (James 2:20)
6. "In the name of Jesus Christ" = the name of Jesus Christ is the distinctive one in Christian baptism and really involves the Father and the Spirit because "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." (Col. 2:9) The full name of the Trinity does not occur in Acts but Jesus Himself included all three in the great commission in Mat. 28:19.
7. Luke does not give the form of words used in baptism by the Apostles, but merely states the fact that they baptized those who acknowledged Jesus as Messiah or as Lord. They only baptized those who had fruit meet for repentance. (Mat. 3:7‑8)
8. "Remission" = forgiveness of sins; pardon of sins; the letting sins go, as if they had not be committed.
9. "Sins" = general term for sin; means missing the mark, as a spearman throws at a target and it falls short.
10. "For" = because of; Peter is urging baptism on each of them who had already turned (repented) and for it to be done in the name of Jesus Christ on the basis of the forgiveness of sins which they had already received.
11. "Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" = this clause is dependant upon the action verb "repent", when one is saved (repents) he receives the "Holy Ghost" = Holy Spirit, one and the same.
12. "Gift" = refers to the free gift of the Holy Ghost Himself at the instant one is saved; does not refer to a "second blessing" of speaking in an unknown tongue.
13. In this short verse we have the summary of Christian doctrine with regards to man's part and God's part; man's part = repent and believe; God's part = justification (forgiveness of sins) and giving of the Holy Ghost.
14. Remember Acts is history and must be interpreted in view of the epistles. (II Peter 1:20) All scripture must agree. Acts 2:38 agrees with the epistles when rightly divided.
15. No where in the Bible does it teach that one must be baptized to be saved or to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Nor does the Bible teach one must have the words "in Jesus name" quoted over them as they are baptized before they are saved.
1. "Promise" = the promise made by Jesus (1:4) and foretold by Joel. (verse 18)
2. "Unto you" = you Jews standing here even though some of you were guilty of shouting to Pilate, "Let Him be crucified!" (Mat. 27:23)
3. "To your children" = your descendants, sons and daughters, even though some of you have cried, "Let His blood be on us and on our children". (Mat. 27:25)
4. "To all that are afar off" = means those in the distance; basically refers to the Gentiles. (Eph. 2:13,17) Peter did not fully understand what he had just said because he had trouble with this very matter on the house top in Joppa.
5. "Shall call" = refers to the effectual (capable of producing the desired effect) call of Rom. 8:30; the Lord only calls those whom the Holy Ghost has made ready to accept the call. The Holy Ghost makes ready all who will not reject light (truth).
1. "Many other words" = means much more was spoken than what Luke recorded; more words were spoken so that those present may receive the gift of faith whereby they might be saved. (Rom. 10:17)
2. "Testify" = to bear witness to; to make solemn attestation; Peter bore witness to :
A. The promises of Christianity.
B. The truths pertaining to the danger of sinners.
C. The truth respecting the character of that generation.
3. "Exhort" = to urge earnestly by advice, warning, etc.; the tense indicates a continuous action, he kept on exhorting them.
4. "Save yourselves" = How? By coming to the Lord and Saviour; expression denotes for one to preserve themselves from the influence, opinions, and fate of this generation; it implies that they were to use diligence and effort to deliver themselves (Luke 13:24), unless they put forth their own strength, they will never be saved; when they are saved they will give God the praise for having influenced them to seek him, and for the grace whereby they are saved; this is active waiting.
5. "This generation" = this age or race of men.
6. "Untoward" = crooked, perverse, wicked, warped; not easily guided or taught.
1. "Gladly" = with pleasure.
2. "Received" = to accept what is offered; saving faith was present allowing these individuals to believe.
3. "Baptized" = water baptism, which pictures the gospel and what happened in each believer; door into the local church.
4. "Added" = to add to; three thousand souls were added to the local church already in existence because it was started during Jesus' earthly ministry. (Mat. 16:18)
5. There was a mighty moving of the Holy Spirit on Peter's audience that day, the day the church was empowered.
6. Note: These individuals were baptized after they were saved (received His word) and were not baptized to be saved.
3. The Multitude V. 42-47
1. "Continued stedfastly" = to give constant attention to a thing; to be earnest towards.
2. Four things they gave constant attention to:
A. "Doctrine" = teaching; instruction; word means a collection and arrangement of abstract views supposed to be contained in the Bible; by calling it the apostles' doctrine simply means that the believers adhered to or attended on the apostles teachings because they were true. One evidence of conversion is a desire to be instructed in the teaching of God's word and a willingness to pay attention to the preaching of the gospel. (I Peter 2:2; John 8:31)
B. "Fellowship" = shares in common interest; joint participation; used of the intimate bond of fellowship which unites Christians. (Heb. 10:25)
C. "Breaking of bread" = seems to have application to a fellowship meal with observing the Lord's supper afterward since Paul recorded in I Cor. 11:24‑25 what Jesus said concerning the bread and cup, "Do in remembrance of me."
D. "Prayers" = general prayer restricted to God; refers to services where they prayed; sixteen times in Acts the scripture says they "prayed" and each time afterward there was a demonstration of God's power.
1. "Fear" = great reverence or awe.
2. "Came" = to come into existence; refers to a condition of reverence that was upon all, which had not been upon them before, even on those who where not converted; this was due to the great move of God's power and presence.
3. "Wonders" = miracles regarded as startling and amazing.
4. "Signs" = the fingerpost of God; miracles done to vindicate the apostles' ministry, that it was from God.
1. "All that believed" = believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the distinguished point by which they were known.
2. "Were together and had all things common" = this refers to a voluntary coming together of like‑minded believers caring for and nourishing one another, in love with the Lord, in love with each other, and in love with lost souls.
1. "Sold their possessions and goods" = sold as much as was necessary in order to secure the means of providing for the needs of each other; John seemed to have kept his own home during his ministry. (John 19:27)
2. "Parted" = to distribute.
3. "Need" = necessity; requirement; word indicates destitution.
4. Communism tries to use this verse to back up their motto, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". The difference is that the early church's sharing was spontaneous and motivated by Holy Spirit love not a totalitarian system clamped on people against their will. This was love, not law; compassion, not compulsion.
1. "Continuing" = same word as continued stedfastly in verse 42; to give constant attention to something.
2. "One accord" = having same mind and spirit.
3. "In the temple" = the public place of worship; the disciples did not leave the place where their fathers had worshipped God; this does not mean they were in the temple 24 hours a day but they attended the customary hours of prayer, at 9:00 in the morning, at 12:00 noon, and at 3:00 in the afternoon.
4. "Meat" = nourishment; meal; this joined with the term "breaking bread" applies to the church meeting in homes (there were no church buildings at this time) reclining around the tables eating, fellowshipping and learning more about our Lord.
5. "Gladness" = exultation; rejoicing; applies to the heart, the inner being.
6. "Singleness of heart" = means with a sincere and pure heart.
1. "Praising" = extol, to praise highly; word could apply to singing praises in honor of God.
2. "Favour" = good will; loving kindness.
3. "Added" = tense indicates a continuous action, they kept on adding. Note: "The Lord added" not the preacher or self.
4. "Church" = local assembly.
5. "Daily such as should be saved" = "those that were being saved daily"; refers to those saved from time to time; it was a continuous revival, day by day.
6. "Saved" = to deliver; in context refers to being delivered from the penalty of sin.
Chapter 3: The Miracle And The Sermon
1. Power V. 1-11
1. "Went up" = tense indicates they were on the way to the temple; they were ascending the steps to the court of the temple.
2. "The hour of prayer" = one of the times for prayers for the Jews.
3. "Ninth hour" = Jewish time, 3:00 pm.
1. "Certain" = an indefinite pronoun meaning someone; this was not some fairy tale; this was one of the miracles spoken of in 2:43 chosen by Luke to give a detailed account of.
2. "Lame" = unable to walk since he was born; had to be carried by someone else and placed at the gate so he could beg; this man was well known by the Jews, no doubt prepared for such a time as this.
3. "Gate called Beautiful" = don't know much about this gate; must have been large and splendid.
4. "Alms" = speaks of charity; a donation to the poor; the lame man was begging for anything to help sustain him.
1. "Ask" = begin to ask; this was his chance as they were about to pass by.
2. There is no evidence that this man knew who Peter and John were.
1. "Fastening" = to look intently, or with fixed attention.
2. "Look on us" = spoken to call the attention of the man distinctly to him and to what he was about to do.
1. "Gave heed" = to hold to; he held his eyes right on Peter and John with great eagerness.
2. "Expecting" = to anticipate.
1. Peter's first words may have dashed his hopes but they also assured him of his willingness to aid him if he had possessed money.
2. "Such as I have" = such as in power intrusted to me.
3. "In the name" = by His authority; in virtue of power derived from Him.
4. "Of Nazareth" = the name by which Jesus was commonly known.
5. "Rise up and walk" = tense indicates rise up, begin to walk, and then go on walking; the man knew that he could not walk.
1. "Took" = to squeeze; an offer of aid indicating that Peter was sincere, and this act encouraged the man to make an effort; this illustrates God's outstretched hand to sinners He commands to repent and believe; He does not leave them alone but extends help and aids their effort.
2. "Lifted" = raised; Peter had to pull him up to his feet before he would try to walk.
3. "Immediately" = instantly; this was no gradual cure.
4. "Received strength" = one word in the Greek; means to make solid; make strong; Luke's medical knowledge discerns the cause of lameness = a weakness in the ankle‑bones.
1. "Leaping up" = to spring forth; the tense indicates the man leaped again and again; this was a natural expression of joy.
2. "Walked" = indicates this was a definite miracle, because the art of walking is one that is acquired by long practice; children learn slowly; those who have been bedfast for a time have difficulty walking, but this man walked immediately.
3. "Praising" = extol; to praise highly; note who he praised: God; he did not even express his gratitude to Peter and John, because they had given credit to the Lord Jesus (verse 6). All healing come from God and not man.
1. "All the people" = the people who had been accustomed to seeing him sit in a public place.
2. This miracle was performed, not only to relieve the man's agony, but to prove to the Jews that the work Jesus had begun was to continue by the Holy Spirit.
3. This man was not ashamed of what the Lord had done.
1. "Knew" = to know by experience; the people knew that this man was not an imposter, pretending to have lameness, but had been crippled for over forty years. (Acts 4:22)
2. "Filled" = wholly taken possession of.
3. "Wonder" = bewildered by surprise.
4. "Amazement" = a displacement of the mind; the state of one thrown into a condition of blended fear and wonder; these two words used together indicate a very strong emotion of awe.
1. "Held" = to hold fast by the hand; this may indicate his being thankful for the human instrumentalities whom God chose to use in this miracle.
2. "Greatly wondering" = one word in the Greek; wondering out of measure; utterly astounded.
2. Preaching V. 12-26
1. "When Peter saw it" = saw the people assembling in such multitudes and wondering at the miracle.
2. "Answered" = even though a question had not been asked, Peter answered their amazement because they looked as if they were filled with questions, yet too amazed to ask even one.
3. "Ye men of Israel" = Jews.
4. "Marvel" = to wonder at.
5. "Look earnestly" = one word in the Greek; to fix the eyes on; gaze upon.
6. "Power" = strength; ability.
7. "Holiness" = godliness; devotion to religious duty.
8. The people would have given Peter and John honour but they refused all such personal honour and ascribed it all to the Lord Jesus.
1. "The God of Abraham" = He is called the God of Abraham because Abraham acknowledged Him as his God; the same holds true for Isaac, Jacob and their fathers.
2. "Hath glorified" = to render glorious; to ascribe glory to; refers to God exalting and restoring Christ to a state of glory in heaven.
3. "Son" = a child; Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost thus God's Son.
4. "Delivered up" = delivered Him to the Romans to be put to death.
5. "Ye" = emphatic, placing the guilt squarely upon the Jews.
6. "Denied" = to refuse; to reject; the Jews were unwilling to own Him as their long‑expected King; therefore, they denied that He was the Messiah. (John 19:15)
7. "Was determined" = resolve; decree; to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong. (Luke 23:15‑16)
8. "Let him go" = to release; to set at liberty.
1. "But ye" = in contrast with Pilate.
2. "Holy One" = denotes one who is tenderly and piously devoted to another; speaking of the Lord Jesus.
3. "Just" = upright; righteous; virtuous; keeping the commands of God; denotes innocency, or one who was free from crime; refers to one whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God and needs no correcting in heart or life; in this sense, this can be applied only to our Lord. (John 8:29)
4. "Desired" = asked for.
5. "A murderer" = the Greek has it = "a man a murderer"; refers to Barabbas.
6. "To be granted" = to grant as a favor.
1. "Prince" = author; Peter pictures Jesus as the source of all life; a remarkable title given to our Lord, to bring out the contrast between him whom they preferred and Him whom they rejected.
2. Peter boldly the second time claims that all of the 120 had seen the risen Christ and there was no denial of that claim. (Acts 2:32)
1. The repetition of "his name" makes the point clear that Peter was not the one who healed this man. It was "Jesus Christ of Nazareth" as spoken by Peter in verse 6.
2. "Made strong" = one word in the Greek; to make solid, make firm, strengthen.
3. "Whom ye see and know" = the man was well‑known and there could be no mistake about his healing.
4. "Faith which is by him" = refers to the fact that faith (for whatever purpose it may be for) is wrought or produced by Him, referring to the Lord.
5. "Perfect soundness" = one word in the Greek; a medical term which means perfect in all parts, complete, whole; the man was completely restored to the use of his limbs and this was done in the presence of those to whom Peter was speaking.
1. "I wot" = old English for "I know".
2. "Ignorance" = lack of knowledge.
3. "Your rulers" = refers to the Pharisees; if they had known what they were doing, they would not have knowingly crucified the Messiah. (I Cor. 2:7‑8; Luke 23:34)
4. Peter is not saying they were innocent of their wrong‑doing, just ignorant of what they did.
1. "Before had shewed" = to announce fully beforehand; refers to the prophecies spoken by the OT prophets concerning the suffering of Christ on the cross.
2. "Hath so fulfilled" = performed fully; their crime, though real, was carrying out God's determinate counsel and fore‑knowledge. (Acts 2:23)
1. "Repent" = to change one's mind for the better with a hatred of one's past sins; regret accompanied by a true change of heart; change of mind, attitude, and heart; turning from sin, self, and the world to take up sides with God against self.
2. "Therefore" = in view of the fact that they denied the Holy One and killed the Prince of life; their guilt does not shut them out if they will repent.
3. "Be converted" = turn again; double emphasis; definitely turn to God in conduct as well as in mind.
4. "Blotted out" = erased; obliterated; to wipe out; rub off; means sins would be forgiven.
5. "When" = that; repentance is required if there is to be a time of refreshing.
6. "Times of refreshing" = refers to OT prophecies that promised that before the return of Christ there would be an outpouring of the Spirit and that many Jews would repent and turn to God in preparation for the millennial kingdom. (Deut. 30:1‑3)
7. "Presence" = personal appearance; refers to the Second Coming.
1. "He shall send Jesus Christ" = "He shall send the Messiah (Christ), Jesus" = this identifies Jesus as the Messiah, referring to His first coming; this will be a reality only to those who "repent" (verse 19).
2. "Before was preached" = one word in the Greek; to herald in advance; to announce beforehand; it had been announced for a long time that the Messiah would come.
1. "Whom" = Christ.
2. "The heaven must receive" = it is necessary, fit and proper that Jesus ascend to heaven; the common belief of the Jews was that the Messiah would reign on the earth forever.
3. "Until" = this word implies that He would return to the earth.
4. "Restitution" = restoration; to fulfill; to establish.
5. This verse tells us that the Lord Jesus will remain in heaven until the time comes for the fulfillment of all that God has spoken through His prophets. This refers to all that has been prophesied concerning the time prior to the Lord's return (second coming) and will be fulfilled with 100% accuracy.
6. Mal. 4:5‑6 gives some insight as the words "shall turn" means to restore or movement back to the point of departure.
7. This message is clearly to the Jews who had rejected their Messiah. Their hearts will be turned toward the Messiah, by Elijah just before our Lord returns (second coming).
1. Peter quotes Moses whose authority among the Jews was absolute and final. (Deut. 18:15‑18)
2. "Unto the fathers" = to their ancestors or the founders of the nation.
3. "Prophet" = one who foretells future events; refers to the Lord Jesus.
4. "Of your brethren" = among yourselves; of your own countrymen; so that you shall not be dependent on foreigners, or on teachers of other nations.
5. "Like unto me" = as me; Moses claims that God raised him up as a prophet and that another and greater one will come, the Messiah. Both were raised up by God to communicate God's will to the Jewish people. Moses was a great prophet but Jesus was greater. (Deut. 34:10)
6. "Shall hear" = to hear with the ear of the mind so as to obey; to receive His instruction as a communication from God.
1. "It shall come to pass" = it shall be; shall occur; conveys the notion of obligation.
2. Peter has not quoted the passage in Deut. literally but he has given the sense.
3. "Soul" = person or individual; "soul" is often put for the whole man by the Hebrews.
4. " Will not hear that prophet" = implies that the Hebrews did not hear (obey) Moses.
5. "Shall be destroyed" = to destroy utterly; to pull up by the roots; to demolish.
6. The Jews of Jesus day treated Him in a far worse way than their fathers had treated Moses but they were going to be destroyed.
7. Israel was cut off as a nation and every individual that refuses to hear (obey) the voice of that prophet will be cast in the lake of fire. (Rom. 11:17‑21)
1. Samuel was the next prophet after Moses who spoke concerning the Messiah.
2. "As many as have spoken" = not all the prophets were writing prophets in the sense that Isaiah and Amos were, but they spoke things concerning the Messiah.
3. Peter was speaking to an audience who was thoroughly familiar with the messianic prophecies; therefore, he did not need to pile up quotations to prove his point.
4. The Jews should listen to the voice of their prophets.
1. "Children" = descendants but not literally; they were their disciples, pupils, and followers; teachers among the Jews were often spoken of as "fathers" and the disciples as "sons" or "children".
2. "Covenant" = a compact or agreement between equals; when applied to God and man, it denotes a firm promise on the part of God and is called a covenant only to designate its sacredness and the certainty of its fulfillment. There was an enlargement of this covenant as Abraham moved in faith.(Gen. 12:1‑2,7; 13:14‑16; 15:1‑5; 17:19; 22:15‑18)
3. The Jews were children of the covenant in that they were the physical descendants of Abraham.
4. "Seed" = is singular and refers to Christ who was a physical descendent of Abraham. (Gal. 3:16)
5. "All the kindreds" = refers to all nations.
6. "Be blessed" = be made happy; spiritually prosperous; this can only be fulfilled by faith. (Rom. 4:13)
1. "Unto you first" = refers to the Jews who were first in privilege and it was through the Jews that the Messiah was to come. (Luke 24:47; Rom. 1:16)
2. "Having raised up" = this does not refer to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead but used in the sense as in verse 22, where God promised that He would raise up a prophet and send Him to teach the people.
3. "To bless you" = to make you happy; to fulfil the promises of Abraham.
4. "In turning away" = refers to repentance.
5. "Iniquities" = evil purposes and desires; wicked ways; sins; deliverance from sin is the chief blessing Christ bestows upon His people.
6. The design of Peter in these remarks was to show the Jews that the Messiah had come, and that now they might look for happiness, pardon, and mercy through Him.
Chapter 4: The First Persecution
1. The Arrest V. 1-4
1. "They" = refers to Peter and John even though Peter seems to be doing most of the speaking.
2. "The people" = the multitude of Jews who had gathered after the miracle of chapter 3 was preformed.
3. "The priests" = Levities who had charge of ministering in the temple.
4. "The captain of the temple" = the commander of one of the 24 bands of Levities who guarded the temple and watched the gates; the captain was an important Jewish official outranked only by the chief priest himself.
5. "Sadducees" = a key Jewish sect in NT times; they were wealthy, aristocratic, influential, and dominated the Sanhedrin; in theology, they denied the supernatural, the existence of spirits, and the resurrection of the dead.
6. "Come upon them" = this expression implies that they came in a sudden and violent manner.
7. These temple authorities had been watching the growing crowd with increasing concern and had caught bits and pieces of Peter's sermon with growing alarm. It was time to put a stop to it.
8. The lead was taken by the priest because of "where" Peter was preaching and the Sadducees because of "what" Peter was preaching.
1. "Being grieved" = implies more than sorrow; it was sorrow with a mingled emotion of indignation and anger; this was because it interfered with their authority and opposed their doctrine.
2. "That they taught the people" = they were offended that unlearned Galileans in no way connected with the priestly office, and unauthorized by them, could presume to set themselves up as religious teachers.
3. "Through" = "in"; Jesus is not the instrumental One who does the raising from the dead, it is the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11); "in" Him we will be resurrected. (Rom. 6:3‑5)
4. The Sadducees were in a spot with the people because the resurrection of Christ had publicly disproved their liberal theology. Rather than admit they were wrong, they led in the persecution of the apostles.
1. "Put them in hold" = one word in the Greek; they took them in custody or safekeeping and put them in ward, probably in one of the chambers of the temple.
2. "Eventide" = evening; sometime after 6:00 pm; no trial could take place before the next day because Jewish law forbid it; this law was violated in the case of Jesus.
3. The persecution that Jesus promised the apostles in John 15:18‑21, 16:1‑4 was now taking place.
1. "Howbeit" = but; the word reveals a contrast; the arrest of Peter and John did not stop the Holy Spirit from going on with the work.
2. "Men" = word for men only, does not include women.
3. Five thousand believed, which is proof of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
2. The Trial V. 5-22
1. This was a gathering of the Sanhedrin which consisted of 24 priests, 24 elders, and 22 scribes.
2. "Rulers" = chief priests who were Sadducees.
3. "Elders" = members of the Sanhedrin.
4. "Scribes" = a copier of the law and other parts of the scriptures; also interpreters and teachers; they were usually Pharisees.
1. Annas was an ex high priest but still maintained his title due to the influence he had upon his son‑in‑law, Caiaphas, who was high priest at the present time. The Romans had placed Caiaphas in office but the Jews may still looked to Annas as their high priest.
2. Nothing is known of John and Alexander, except they may have been kin to Annas.
3. The repetition of the word "and" in verse 5 and 6 draws attention to "each and every one" of the group who had gathered together to press the case against Peter and John.
1. "In the midst" = the Sanhedrin sat in a semicircle.
2. "Asked" = inquired; questioned; the tense indicates they began to inquire and continued to do so.
3. "Power" = force.
4. "By what name" = by whose authority.
5. The miracle might have been wrought, as it seemed to them, by Beelzebub, or by magic, as well as by Divine power and in the Name of God. They asked which it was.
6. "Ye" = is empathic thus placing emphasis equal to "such as you," unlearned and contemptible men.
7. The Sanhedrin claimed the right of regulating the religious affairs of the nation. Thus they assumed that all power to instruct the people should originate with them.
1. Peter could not have been asked a better question to give him opportunity to proclaim truth.
2. "Filled" = to influence; wholly take possession; tense indicates "point" action, thus there are many fillings but only one Baptism.
3. Note: this filling of the Holy Spirit did not cause Peter to speak with "unknown" tongues but to speak with boldness, a fulfillment of Mat. 10:18‑20.
4. Peter addresses them with proper respect, thus setting an example for us to follow. (Rom. 13:7; I Peter 2:13‑17)
1. "If" = since; a conditional clause determined as fulfilled.
2. "Be examined" = "are examined" = to scrutinize, investigate, interrogate.
3. "We" = empathetic (emphasis) in response to the empathic "ye" in verse 7.
4. "Good deed" = the act of benevolence. Peter assumes that it was undeniable that the deed had been done.
5. "Impotent" = strengthless; refers to his being unable to walk.
6. "By what means" = this is the real point of the inquiry; the fact that he had been healed (made whole) was not denied.
1. "Be it known" = well known; Peter might have evaded the question or made excuses but instead seized the opportunity to vindicate the honor of his Lord and Master.
2. "By the name" = by the authority or power.
3. "Jesus Christ" = the union of these two names was offensive to the Sanhedrin because they denied that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah, but by the use of the word "Christ," Peter affirmed that He was the Messiah.
4. "Nazareth" = Peter specified that he is referring to the despised Nazarene; he didn't want anyone to misunderstand who he was speaking about.
5. "Whom ye crucified" = there is emphasis on all the expressions Peter used; he had charged the people before with the crime of having put Christ to death, (2:23; 3:14‑15) but now he had the opportunity to charge the rulers themselves.
6. "Whom God raised from the dead" = this is God's answer to their act of crucifixion; this statement would anger the Sadducees, who did not believe in a resurrection from the dead.
7. "From" = out from within.
8. "Even by him" = repetition to emphasize the point he was making.
9. "Before you" = they could not deny that this man was standing before them.
10. "Whole" = healthy; different word from verse 9.
1. "The stone" = a symbol for the Messiah (Christ); Peter quotes Psa. 118:22, which the Jews knew well as a Messianic prophecy.
2. "Set at nought" = to despise utterly; count as nothing; rejected; cast aside.
3. "You builders" = Peter identifies the Jews as the builders referred to in the prophecy of Psa. 118:22; Jesus had already made this clear to them in Mat. 21:42‑45.
4. The experts, the architects, had rejected Jesus for their building but God made Him the "head of the corner" = corner‑stone in the cornice; capstone; He is also the chief foundation stone. (Eph. 2:20)
1."Salvation" = deliverance from the penalty of sin and eternal death; that is what He came for. (Luke 19:10)
2. "There is none other name" = name here is used to denote the person Himself. There is no other being or person who can save but Jesus Christ; the name of Confucius, Buddha, Allah, Abraham, or Moses can't save. (John 1:12)
3. "Under heaven" = words express with emphasis that salvation is to be obtained in Christ alone, and not in any patriarch, or prophet, or teacher, or king, or in any false Messiah.
4. "Whereby we must be saved" = by which it is fit, or proper that we should be saved.
1. "Boldness" = openness; confidence in speaking; means in spite of danger and opposition, they spoke openly their doctrine without any attempt to conceal or disguise themselves.
2. John's name mentioned with Peter's in this verse, indicates that he also spoke, even though Luke recorded only that Peter spoke.
3. "Perceived" = "had perceived" = to grasp strongly with the mind; to comprehend.
4. "Unlearned" = not acquainted with letters; without training in the professional Jewish schools; they had earlier stated something similar concerning Jesus in John 7:15.
5. "Ignorant" = a private person, as opposed to one who engaged in public life or in office; word used to denote those who are rude and illiterate.
6. "Marvelled" = wonder; the tense indicates that they begin to wonder and they kept it up.
7. "Took knowledge" = to recognize; the tense indicates that they begin to recognize them as men that had been with Jesus.
1. "Beholding" = seeing; looking.
2. "They could say nothing against it" = tense reveals that they continually had nothing to say against it; the lame man was standing there before their eyes as proof of what Peter had said.
1. "To go aside" = to go off; depart.
2. "Council" = the Sanhedrin.
3. "Conferred" = converse, deliberate among themselves; they compared notes and reasoned concerning their predicament; the tense indicates a continuous action, thus it took some time before they reached an agreement as to what they should do.
1. "Indeed" = truly.
2. "Notable" = well known undeniable miracle.
3. "Is manifest" = to render apparent; to make clear.
4. "We cannot deny it" = it will not do any good to deny it.
1. "That it spread no further" = that the knowledge of the miracle may not spread any further.
2. "Straitly threaten" = "threaten with a threat" = warning of an intention to hurt them.
3. "Henceforth" = no further.
4. "This name" = name of Jesus Christ; the Jews didn't even want to say the name of Jesus Christ.
5. The great concern of the Sanhedrin was not to get to the truth but to stop the truth from spreading.
1. "Commanded" = to transmit a message; to charge.
2. The Jews may have used the name Jesus here or it could have been written by Luke since this is not a direct quote. The Jews may have said, "Don't speak or teach in this name by which you say the miracle was done."
1. The apostles did not accept the verdict, for their loyalty to Christ meant more than any form of government.
2. "To hearken" = to hear; denotes to obey.
3. "More" = rather.
4. "Judge" = to determine, decide; Peter calls upon the Sanhedrin to determine what was right in the sight of God. If He disapproved it, it was wrong. God comes first and when our government is in direct opposition to God we need to obey God. (Mat. 22:21)
1. "For" = because; gives the reason why they should obey God rather then man.
2. "Cannot but" = to have no choice but to.
3. "Seen" = to know with an absolute, positive knowledge.
1. "Further threatened" = one word in the Greek; means to rise up so as to approach, rise up towards; additional warning.
2. "Finding nothing how they might punish them" = refers to their not being able to devise any way of punishing them without causing an uproar among the people.
3. "All men" = refers to the great multitude of people who had gathered.
4. "Glorified" = to ascribe glory to; to praise; the people praised God for the miracle which was done, which implies they believed it was genuine.
1. The age of the man is mentioned to show the certainty and greatness of the miracle.
2. All hope of being healed by ordinary means had to have been abandoned by the time he was forty years old.
3. The Victory V. 23-31
1. "Their own company" = refers not only to the apostles but to all of Christ's disciples.
2. "Reported" = announce; they had been commanded not to preach in the name of Jesus; therefore, they may have sought the counsel of the brethren and looked to God for direction concerning their course of duty.
1. "Lifted up their voice to God" = a phrase denoting an address to God; simply means they prayed to God.
2. "With one accord" = unitedly; with one mind or purpose.
3. "Lord" = an absolute ruler; not the usual word translated "Lord"; denotes authority, power, and absoluteness in ruling.
4. "Thou art God" = this ascription of praise seems to have been designed to denote their sense of His power to deliver them, and of His right to do with them as He pleased; He is God; therefore, He has a right to do with us as He pleases.
5. They acknowledged Him as the Divine Creator. They had no thought of evolution on their minds.
1. "By the mouth of thy servant David" = proof that David was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write Psalm 2. (Psa. 2:1‑2)
2. "Heathen" = nations which were not Jews.
3. "Rage" = to snort or neigh like a horse; to prance or stomp the ground; to put on lofty airs; refers to the excitement of a heated and disorderly conduct of a mob.
4. "The people" = expression used to denote the same as the term "heathen"; the Hebrews had a habit in their writings of expressing the same idea with parallel words of different variations.
5. "Imagine" = revolve in the mind; the word conveys the idea of meditating, thinking, and purposing; mean that they made use of thought, plan, and purpose, in opposing the Messiah.
6. "Vain" = empty; indicates the hollowness of their thinking.
1. "Stood" = the Greek implies that they set themselves in array.
2. "Were gathered together" = consulted together; were united in a consultation; the Greek implies that they were assembled for the purpose of consultation which was against the Lord and His Christ.
3. "Lord" = Jehovah in the Hebrew in Psa. 2:2. (Note: all caps in Psalm)
4. "Christ" = Messiah; translates anointed in Psa. 2:2.
5. These verses prove that God was not taken by surprise by Calvary because David, as well as many others, foretold it.
1. Their prayer not only affirmed that God was omnipotent, creator of all things, but also that He was omniscient, aware of all that would happen to His Son Jesus on earth.
2. "Of a truth" = truly; in reality.
3. "Holy Child Jesus" = God's set‑apart only begotten Son.
4. "Thou hast anointed" = showing that Jesus is the Christ named in the quotation just made of Psa. 2:2.
5. Luke lists those gathered together to crucify Jesus which includes the Jews (people of Israel) and the Romans (Gentiles).
1. They thought they were carrying out their own will but really they were gathered to fulfill the purpose of God.
2. "Counsel" = purpose.
3. "Determined before" = to limit in advance; to predetermine; those who crucified Jesus were just instruments in the hand of God to carry out His purpose.
1. "And now" = and as to the now things, the present situation.
2. "Behold" = look upon; the Greek implies, "look upon their threatenings in such a way to grant us deliverance."
3. "Grant" = to give; the tense indicates a sense of urgency, "do it now."
4. "Boldness" = freedom of frankness in speaking; tense indicates a continuous action.
5. They did not purpose to abandon their undertaking. They determined to persevere in doing their duty to God. They expected this purpose would involve them in danger; therefore, they asked God for boldness to speak and that additional proof might be granted of the presence and power of God to confirm the truth of their message, as the next verse brings out.
1. "Stretching forth" = to extend; allow their testimony to be accompanied by signs and wonders.
2. "Signs" = finger post of God; miracles done to vindicate the apostles' ministry, that it was from God.
3. "Wonders" = miracles regarded as startling and amazing.
4. Included in this prayer may be a request for a visible sign or proof that God had heard this prayer for courage to be faithful even unto death.
1. "Shaken" = to agitate; possibly an earthquake of such magnitude and locality that only the group assembled felt it; whatever it was, it was a token of God's presence and power.
2. "Filled" = wholly take possession of; these disciples were entirely under the influence of the Holy Ghost. Note: They did not speak with "unknown" tongues, but spoke the word of God with boldness, with the tense indicating a continuous action.
3. They had a direct and immediate answer to their prayer.
4. Christians ought to imitate their praying, for they tied their praying to the Word of God. (John 15:7)
4. The Condition Of The Church V. 32-37
1. "The multitude of them that believed" = includes the 5000 saved, recorded in verse 4, and may include many more which may have been saved as a result of the moving of God's power in verse 31.
2. "Of one heart and one soul" = refers to harmony among the believers in thought and affection; it is not possible to make a distinction between heart and soul in this verse.
3. "Ought" = anything.
4. "Any of them" = not even one of them; they did not regard the things as their own, but desired them to be used for the benefit of the whole church.
5. "Common" = available to all.
1. "Power" = ability; strength; this power or ability was an answer to their prayer in verse 29 and is described as being great.
2. "Witness" = bore testimony to; the tense of "gave" reveals a continuous action, they kept on giving their witness.
3. "Grace" = favor; refers to the success that attended their preaching; could mean that the favor of God was remarkably shown to them or that they had great favor in the sight of the people or could mean both.
1. "Lacked" = to be deficient in; to be in need; want of necessity.
2. "Possessors" = owners.
3. The wording does not mean that everyone saved, sold all of his property at once, but it implies that this was done when it was necessary; they parted with whatever property was needful to supply the needs of their poor brethren.
1. "Laid them down" = committed the money received for their property to the disposal of the apostles, to distribute it as was necessary among the poor.
2. "Distribution" = to give throughout the congregation.
3. "Unto every man according as he has need" = the Greek construction gives the notion of a customary repetition, not a one time occurrence.
1. "Joses" = Joseph.
2. "Surnamed" = to put another name upon.
3. "Consolation" = comfort; exhortation.
4. The practice of giving surnames was not uncommon and these names expressed the character of the individual.
5. "Cyprus" = a very fertile island of the Mediterranean sea, west of Syria.
6. Barnabas became Paul's partner on his first missionary journey, thus we see by this unselfish act that he gave himself, his property, his all, to the service of the Lord Jesus, and went forth to preach the gospel.
Chapter 5: Opposition
1. Opposition From Within V. 1-16
A. The Deception V. 1-2
1. The church had been marching forward in victory. Satan was unable to conquer it, so he tried to corrupt it from within.
2. "Certain" = indicates this story is not made up but really happened.
3. "With Sapphira his wife" = indicates this was done with her consent; it was a matter of agreement between them.
4. "A possession'" = word used could indicate anything of value, but verse 3 points out it was a piece of land.
5. Ananias was trying to duplicate in appearance what Barnabas had done, but his heart was full of greed and he possibly wanted a little glory for himself.
1. "Kept back part" = means that they secretly kept back a part, while professing to devote all of it to God.
2. "Privy" = to know with another; his wife knew what Ananias was doing and agreed with him to deceive the church.
3. "Laid it at the apostles' feet" = an act professing that all was devoted to God.
4. The praise of Barnabas was too much for Ananias, but he was not willing to turn over all. He wanted praise for giving all and yet he took care of himself by keeping back some.
B. The Discovery V. 3-4
1. "But" = contrast; Ananias tried to deceive but Peter was a man with Spirit‑given discernment.
2. "Filled" = controlled; influenced; Satan had tempted Ananias to commit this sin; Satan is the adversary of God and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
3. "To lie to" = to attempt to deceive by falsehood.
4. A lie to the apostle was a lie to the Holy Ghost under whose guidance and by whose power the apostle acted.
1. "Whiles it remained" = as long as it remained unsold.
2. "Power" = authority; right; even after he sold the property he was under no constraint to give his money to the Lord's work; he was free to keep it all, give part of it, or give it all.
3. His sin was not stealing money from God, but "hypocrisy" = trying to appear more spiritual than he actually was.
4. "Conceived" = to propose to one's self something; Satan had tempted Ananias but he did not make Ananias carry the act out; therefore, Ananias is wholly responsible for his action.
5. In trying to deceive man, Ananias in reality was trying to deceive God.
C. The Deaths V. 5-11
1. "Hearing these words" = he had not expected to be exposed, but seeing that his guilt was known and being charged with the sin of attempting to deceive God, he fell down and died.
2. "Gave up the ghost" = an expression meaning he expired or he died.
3. The announcement by Peter was more than Ananias could physically take. He may have had a heart attack and died, but remember the Lord has the keys of death. (Rev. 1:18)
4. Do not blame Peter for his death, because Ananias brought the end upon himself. It was the judgment of God, probably what is called a sin unto death, which a saved person commits willfully. Truly, what Ananias did was a willful sin and the outcome is proof that God does not allow his children to continue in sin without His intervening. (Heb. 12:6‑8; I John 5:16; Heb. 10:26‑29)
5. "Fear" = respect and reverence for the Lord; this fear was described as being "great".
6. "Came" = to come into existence; refers to a state or condition of the multitude (all that heard) that had not previously existed.
1. "Young men" = those whose business it was to attend to the congregation; possibly ushers.
2. "Wound" = wrap around with bandages; to enshroud; it was the usual custom with the Jews to wind the body in many folds of linen before it was buried, commonly also with spices, to preserve it from putrefaction.
3. They buried him quickly because the time allowed for burial was short in Jerusalem for sanitary reasons and to avoid ceremonial defilement.
1. "Space" = interval.
2. Ananias' death did not interrupt the worship service, neither did anyone leave to go tell Ananias' wife what had happened to her husband.
1. "Peter answered" = begin to speak; his question gave her the opportunity of confessing her fault.
2. "For so much" = refers to the sum which Ananias laid at the feet of the apostles; Ananias could have given one‑half with his wife giving the other half of what they had agreed to give, representing the price, they said the land sold for.
1. "Agreed together" = conspired and laid a plan together.
2. "To tempt" = to test, to try; to endeavor to impose on, or to deceive; that is, to act as if the Spirit of God could not detect the crime.
3. "At the door" = near at hand; they were on their way back from burying Ananias, whose grave had to be outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem.
1. "Straightway" = immediately.
2. "Yielded up the ghost" = to expire; to die.
1. "Fear" = respect and reverence for the Lord; came upon the church and all who heard what had happened.
2. "Church" = ekklesia; a called out assembly; a group of called out baptized believers who meet together to worship and glorify God and transact business between heaven and earth. (Mat. 16:18‑19)
D. The Testimony V. 12-16
1. "By the hands of the apostles" = refers to the apostles being the human instrumentality through which the Lord wrought many signs and wonders.
2. "Signs" = finger post of God; miracles done to vindicate the apostles' ministry, that it was from God.
3. "Wonders" = miracles regarded as startling and amazing.
4. "Wrought" = performed; to come into a particular state or condition not existed in previously; tense indicates that miracles were wrought from time to time.
5. "One accord" = having same spirit; with one mind, or intention.
6. "Solomon's porch" = reveals the location where they were gathered together for the purpose of worship; this does not mean they were there constantly.
1. "Of the rest" = seems to refer to the rich men, or the men of authority and influence among the Jews, of whom Ananias was one.
2. "Durst" = to dare; to venture.
3. "Join" = become united to, or associated with; cleave like glue; none joined out of mere curiosity or with an idle purpose.
4. "The people" = the mass of the people; the body of the nation as opposed to the rich and influential.
5. "Magnified" = honored them; regarded them with reverence and fear.
1. "Believers" = the saved; the name by which Christians were designated.
2. "Were the more added" = the effect of all these things was to increase the number of converts; tense indicates they kept on being added.
3. "Multitudes" = a great number; in the plural; Luke refers to men and women here where in Acts 4:4 he referred only to the men.
1. "Insomuch" = so that; this is connected to the first phrase in verse 12; notice that the last part of verse 12 and verses 13‑14 are in parenthesis which indicates an interjection of thought.
2. "Beds" = this word denotes usually the soft and valuable beds on which the rich commonly lay.
3. "Couches" = this word refers to the coarse and hard pallets on which the poor used to lie on; these two words used together suggest that the rich as well as the poor were laid in the path of Peter and the other apostles.
4. "Might overshadow" = to cast a shadow upon.
5. They were not able to approach him because of the size of the crowd so they laid the sick where Peter's shadow would pass over them. The sun may have been near setting, which would cause a lengthened shadow that would fall across many people. There is no virtue or power in Peter's shadow and the writer does not say that they were healed in this way, nor that they were commanded to do this.
1. "Sick" = strengthless; refers not to just those with a disease but to the lame, deaf, dumb, and blind as well.
2. "Vexed" = troubled, afflicted, or tormented.
3. "Unclean spirits" = demons, called unclean because they prompted to sin and impurity of life.
4. "Healed" = restored to health; the tense indicates they were healed one at a time with repetition or continuous action.
5. The tense of "came" reveals that the people came and kept on coming.
2. Opposition From Without V. 17-42
1. "Rose up" = word indicates that they resolved to do something about what was going on.
2. "Sect" = party; our word "heresy" comes from this word and implies error.
3. "Indignation" = jealousy; an envious and contentious rivalry; includes envy and wrath.
1. This is the second open persecution recorded on the early church as the Jewish leaders arrested the apostles the second time.
2. "Common prison" = the public prison where the common and notorious offenders were kept.
1. "The angel" = an angel; there is not a definite article in front of the word in the Greek; means messenger; God's ministering spirits. (Mat. 18:10; Heb. 1:14)
2. This was a clear case of divine intervention, thus, a miracle showing forth proof that the apostles were sent from God.
1. "Stand" = take a stand; a bold and pictorial command.
2. "In the temple" = in a public and conspicuous place; in this way there would be a striking exhibition of their boldness, a proof that God had delivered them, and a manifestation of their purpose to obey God rather than man.
3. "Words of this life" = doctrine pertaining to life, the eternal life, which they taught through the "gospel of Christ" = the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (I Cor. 15:1-4)
1. "Early in the morning" = at the break of day.
2. "Taught" = tense reveals they began to teach.
3. "Council" = the Sanhedrin; calling the Sanhedrin together was for the purpose of trying the apostles for disregarding their command.
4. "All the senate" = the eldership; probably not a part of the Sanhedrin, but were men of age and experience who were to be present for the sake of counsel and advice in case they were needed.
5. The council did not know that the prisoners had escaped by the hand of God.
1. "The officers" = those who executed the orders of the Sanhedrin.
2. "Truly" = indeed.
3. "Shut" = shut tight; it had not been broken open.
4. "Safety" = security; the officers no doubt examined the locks, the guards, and the premises carefully to see if there was any logical explanation.
5. "Keepers standing without before the doors" = a graphic picture of the guards at the prison doors; the guards were as surprised at the prisoners being gone as the officers were.
1. "Doubted of them" = to be entirely at a loss; to be in perplexity; they did not know what to do concerning the apostles, who they could not find.
2. "Whereunto this would grow" = what would be the result or outcome of these events.
1. "Standing" = implies the calm fearless attitude of the apostles.
2. "Teaching" = to shape the will of the one taught by the communication of knowledge.
1. "Without violence" = not by force; not by binding them.
2. "Feared" = frighten; alarmed; they handled the apostles gently for fear of being stoned by the people.
1. "Straitly command" = to command with a threat. (Acts 4:17‑18, 21)
2. "In this name" = in the name of Jesus; they would not so much as name the name of Jesus.
3. "Doctrine" = teaching.
4. "Intend" = desire.
5. "To bring this man's blood upon us" = a phrase signifying to hold or to prove them guilty of murdering the innocent; the high priest thought that the apostles were trying to convince the people of this, and thus to enrage them against the Sanhedrin. They had already asked for His blood to be on them. (Mat. 27:25)
6. The apostles never charged them with murder before the multitude but only in front of those who were accessory to the crime of the rulers. (Acts 2:23,36; 3:15)
1. "Other apostles" = indicates that all twelve apostles may have been arrested; Peter is the spokesman but all were in agreement.
2. "Ought" = must; it is necessary; moral necessity left them no choice.
3. "Obey" = to obey a ruler; Peter does not deny having received the prohibition, but pleads the superior force of the command of God as the one they must obey.
1. "The God of our fathers" = observe how carefully Peter preserves his own brotherhood with the Jews.
2. "Raised up" = from the dead; out from within the dead; speaks of the resurrection of Jesus.
3. "Ye slew" = to take in hand; lay violent hands upon; manhandle; kill.
4. "Hanged on a tree" = refers to being crucified on the cross.
1. "Exalted" = to elevate; to be raised to honor.
2. "With his right hand" = by His mighty power, as the instrument of Christ's exaltation.
3. "Prince" = a chief ruler, it means that Jesus Christ is actually exercising the office of a prince or a king, at the right hand of His Father.
4. "Saviour" = deliverer.
5. "Repentance" = change of one's mind, attitude, heart, and direction.
6. "Israel" = referring to the Jews to whom he was speaking; there was still time for repentance for these to whom he was speaking but time was running out.
7. "Forgiveness" = pardon; forgiveness of sins is an act that can be performed by God only.
1. "Witnesses" = those who testify from what they has seen or experienced.
2. "Of these things" = the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and of the events that had followed it.
3. "So is also the Holy Ghost" = Peter claims the witness of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God's Son, by the Father.
4. "Obey" = to obey a ruler; to obey, one must repent and believe the gospel message; when one obeys, he is saved, at which point the Holy Ghost is given to him.
1. "Cut to the heart" = to saw in two; to cut asunder. They were cut by the word made sharp by the Holy Ghost (Heb. 4:12) and their hearts were violently agitated and rent with rage.
2. "Took counsel" = were minded; implies that their minds were made up to do it, but the formal decree was not passed to slay (to put out of the way; kill) them.
1. "Pharisee" = opposed the Sadducees on the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead; Luke is careful to note he was a Pharisee; the Sadducees were the ones most active in opposing the apostles at this time.
2. "Gamaliel" = name very common among the Jews; he was Paul's teacher. (Acts 22:3)
3. "A doctor of the law" = teacher of the Jewish law; one whose duty was to interpret the laws of Moses.
4. "Had in reputation among all the people" = honored by all the people; his advice was likely to be respected.
5. "To put the apostles forth a little space" = to put out of hearing distance; it was customary, when they discussed matters at hand, to command those accused to be dismissed from their presence.
1. "Take heed" = hold your mind; to be cautious about; Gamaliel was as much a Christ‑rejector as the rest of them, but he was not about to commit a rash act in the heat of passion. His chief concern was to cool the hot tempers that were now controlling the Sanhedrin.
2. "As touching" = in regard.
1. Gamaliel used two examples of men in the past who had a following, but their work came to an end. Thus he reasons if the work of the apostles was not of God, it too, will come to an end.
2. "Theudas" = a common Israelite name; we do not have a historical record of this event except here, but this is the inspired Word of God, therefore, this event happened and must have been well known to Gamaliel and the others.
3. "Rose up" = means he commenced or excited an insurrection against governmental authority.
4. "Boasting himself to be somebody" = probably claiming to be a prophet or the Messiah.
5. "Joined themselves" = to glue to; loyal followers.
6. "As many as obeyed him" = as many as believed on him, or gave credit to his pretensions.
7. "Scattered" = to dissolve utterly; farther described as "brought to nought" = means not even one left, which may be the reason not much is known of this insurrection.
1. More is known about Judas of Galilee from recorded history. He led a revolt against Rome in AD 6 at the time when the Romans reduced Judea to the status of a Roman province. The rallying call of Judas was that, God was Israel's King, therefore it would be high treason to pay tribute to Caesar.
2. "Taxing" = an enrollment or registration in the public records of persons together with their property and income, as the basis of a census or valuation for the purpose of determining how much tax should be levied upon each one.
3. "Drew away" = to excite a revolt.
4. "Perished" = to destroy fully; to die; no record of his death other than here.
5. "Obeyed" = to be persuaded; believed.
6. "Dispersed" = scattered abroad; not crushed, because the movement lived on in the party of the Zealots.
1. "Refrain" = cease to oppose them or to threaten them.
2. "Counsel" = plan or purpose.
3. "Come to nought" = to render vain (fruitless); will be deprived of success; Gamaliel had inferred that the two instances he spoke of had been suppressed without interference of the Sanhedrin; therefore, this would also die away if it was of men.
1. "If it be of God" = Gamaliel supposed that it was at least possible that what was happening concerning the apostles was divine.
2. "Overthrow" = demolish; to render fruitless one's desires and endeavors.
3. "Lest haply" = lest at any time; means at some future time, when it is too late to retract their doing.
4. "Be found" = it shall appear; be discovered; come to light.
5. "To fight against God" = one word in the Greek; an opponent of deity; means to oppose God. The tense reveals a continuous action.
1. "Agreed" = same word as "obeyed" in verse 37; to be persuaded; they agreed not to put them to death but they did not comply with his advice to let them entirely alone.
2. "Beaten" = to flay; scourge; a common mode of punishing minor offenses among the Jews; usually 39 lashes were inflicted upon the offender. (II Cor. 11:24) In Mat. 10:17, our Lord foretold this would happen.
3. "Commanded" = transmit a message; charge.
4. "Should not speak" = the Sanhedrin repeated the prohibition of Acts 4:18 which the apostles had steadily refused to obey.
5. "Let them go" = to free fully.
1. "Rejoicing" = to be cheerful; related to the Hebrew word meaning a young sheep or lamb that skips and frisks about for joy.
2. "Counted worthy" = one word in the Greek; esteemed to be deserving; refers to the Jewish council judging them worthy or fit to suffer shame for this cause.
3. "Suffer shame" = to be dishonored or disgraced; a public whipping was disgraceful to most men; the Sanhedrin thought that the apostles would be so disgraced and ashamed that they would never appear in public again, thus ceasing to preach the gospel; but instead they rejoiced because:
A. They were permitted to imitate the example of their Lord.
B. They had been told to expect this.
C. They were engaged in a cause of truth and were innocent of any wrong doing. (I Peter 3:17; 4:13‑16)
4. "For his name" = because of attachment to Him; for His cause.
5. Just as Jesus was their example, these apostles should be our example. (Rom
1. "Daily" = every day; all through every day.
2. "Temple" = Jewish place of prayer; it was a distinct triumph to go back to the temple where they had been arrested. (vs. 25)
3. "Every house" = the meaning is the house or houses where the disciples met from day to day for worship and instruction.
4. "They ceased not" = they did not stop speaking in Jesus name as they had been commanded by the Sanhedrin.
5. "Teach" = to shape the will of the one taught by the communication of the knowledge.
6. "Preach" = to announce good news (the gospel; the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ).
CHAPTER 6: THE FIRST DEACONS
1. A Church Difficulty V. 1-7
1. "Was multiplied" = was multiplying; the tense indicates action going on; the growth of the early church was no longer a matter of addition, it was multiplication.
2. "Arose" = to come into a condition that did not previously exist; the words "one accord" best describe the church up to this time.
3. "Murmuring" = a grumbling; secret displeasure, not declared openly.
4. "Grecians" = Hellenists; a Jew who spoke Greek and imitated some of the Greek customs; these were Jews of the dispersion, those scattered in Greek countries after captivity.
5. "Hebrews" = Jews who remained in Palestine and used the Hebrew language.
6. Both the Grecians and the Hebrews referred to here were believers and members of the early church.
7. "Neglected" = to overlook or disregard.
8. "Ministration" = service; applies to the daily distribution of the charities that had been given for the needs of the poor in the church.
9. This murmuring was because the widows were neglected by the Hebrews who had charge of distribution, not because the widows were fussing as we have generally been taught. The widows who confessed Christ could no longer go to the Temple fund for their needs, because they were cast out from Temple worship and charities. (John 9:22)
1. "The twelve" = the apostles.
2. This calling together of the disciples is the local church meeting at Jerusalem.
3. "Reason" = fit; pleasing.
4. "Should leave" = abandon; to leave behind; tense indicates point action; in other words God would not be pleased with the apostles if they laid down their Bibles and begin using all their time serving the widows. As large as the church had grown they would have had a full time job serving the widows, therefore, no time for study.
5. "Serve" = to be an attendant; wait upon; to take care of the daily needs of a family; this word is the same root word translated "deacons" in I Tim. 3:8, thus making a deacon a servant as well as the pastor.
6. "Tables" = tables used in the common daily distribution of the food or money brought by the believers to share with the poor. (An example is Barnabas in Acts 4:36-37.)
1. "Look ye out" = to inspect; examine closely; to see if there are men who meet the qualifications stated by the apostles.
2. "Honest report" = to be well reported of; to have a good testimony borne to one; to be of a good reputation.
3. "Full of Holy Ghost" = refers to one who is controlled and motivated by the Holy Ghost.
4. "Wisdom" = skill, to make a wise and equable distribution.
5. "Appoint" = set; place in charge.
6. "Over this business" = over the distribution of the alms of the church, not to govern the church.
1. "But we" = in contrast to the work given the seven.
2. "Will give continually" = one word in the Greek; means to be earnest towards; denotes intense and persevering application to a thing, or unwearied effort in it.
3. The apostles knew their number one priority was two‑fold; that of prayer and the ministry of the word. We would see more accomplished for the cause of Christ if churches would realize this principle and pastors would practice it.
1. "Pleased" = to be in agreement.
2. "Chose" = to pick out for oneself.
3. All seven had Greek names; therefore, they must have been Hellenist.
4. Stephen is said to be a man full (abundant) in faith (living) and of the Holy Ghost. All were to meet the requirement of being full of the Holy Ghost. This may have been said of him because he was to demonstrate that very shortly. He became the first martyr of the church in chapter 7.
5. Philip, to be distinguished from the apostle Philip, became the first evangelist of the church in chapter 8.
6. Nothing is known or written concerning the next four.
7. "Proselyte" = one who was not born a Jew, but had come to the Jews from the Greek world; Luke adds that Nicolas was from Antioch.
1. "Set" = to stand; means to be placed.
2. "Before" = in the presence of.
3. "Prayed" = speaks of prayer directed to God with a definite aim.
4. The laying on of hands was a common Jewish practice; when an Israelite brought a sacrifice to the altar, he was required to identify himself with his offering by laying his hands on its head. (Lev. 1:4) In this familiar way the apostles formally identified themselves with these men. In doing so they imparted no special gift, unction, or ability, but simply gave them public accreditation to function on their behalf and on behalf of the whole church. The seven already had been given all they needed for their work.
1. "Increased" = to grow; enlarge; tense indicates it kept on growing because the apostles were now relieved from the daily ministration of the food.
2. "Multiplied" = kept on multiplying.
3. "Greatly" = exceedingly.
4. "Company" = refers to a class of people; in this case priests who were of the tribe of Levi and usually Sadducees; this company is described as being "great" = much; many; not just one or two or even a few!
5. "Priests" = a sacred person serving at God's altar in the Temple; some of these may have been the ones who walked in the holy place right after Jesus' death on the cross and witnessed the veil rent.
6. "Were obedient" = obey the requirements of the gospel which are to repent and believe; refers to the manifestation of faith as revealed in the humble acceptance of the gospel message; the tense indicates repetition, one after another.
7. "The faith" = the gospel; the whole body of God's revealed truth; does not refers to individual trust in Christ as Lord and Saviour.
8. You can see how God blessed, when the church faced their problem honestly and dealt with it properly.
2. A Faithful Deacon V. 8-15
1. "Full of faith" = full of confidence in God, or trusting entirely on His promises.
2. "Power" = strength; ability; power beyond his own natural strength which was manifested in working miracles.
3. "Wonders" = a miracles regarded as startling; described as "great" = big; intense.
4. "Miracles" = a supernatural happening by which God authenticates the men sent by Him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God's.
1. "They arose" = they stood up against him; they opposed him.
2. "Synagogue" = an assembly of Jews formally gathered together to offer prayer and listen to the reading and exposition of the Holy Scriptures.
3. Stephen had no doubt followed his Lord as an example (Luke 4:16) and went to the various synagogues in Jerusalem to speak the truth concerning the Messiah. History says that there were 480 synagogues in Jerusalem at this time.
4. The custom of the synagogue allowed for a skilled speaker to read and speak. Also interruptions were common allowing the one interrupting an opportunity to reply. We would call this a debate.
5. Whether there were five synagogues mentioned here or two or one, (don't know for certain, but I am inclined to believe five, one for each group of people who came to Jerusalem or were already there) the message that Stephen preached stirred up the unsaved Jews.
6. "Libertines" = a Roman freedman; once slaves of Rome but now set free and settled in Jerusalem.
7. "Cyrenians" = an inhabitant of Cyrene, the chief city in North Africa, in the country now known as Libya.
8. "Alexandrians" = inhabitants of Alexandria, a large city in Egypt.
9. "Clicia" = a province of Asia Minor, on the North Mediterranean Sea coast; Tarsus was the capital; the native place of Paul.
10. "Asia" = referring to the area of the known world west of those countries mentioned; the mention of these various groups of Jews shows not only how they had been scattered but also that they came back to Jerusalem and had a synagogue to worship in while at Jerusalem.
11. "Disputing" = to question together; all these mentioned had joined forces to question Stephen; it is interesting to note that these mentioned were Grecians and so was Stephen; he had gone to his own people, those who he understood. (Mark 5:19)
1. "Were not able" = did not have the strength or ability.
2. "To resist" = withstand; they were unable to answer his arguments.
3. "Wisdom" = his skill and knowledge of the scriptures.
4. "Spirit" = refers to the Holy Spirit, who (not which; the Holy Spirit is a person) aided and energized him.
5. "Spake" = tense indicates he kept on speaking; he had holy boldness.
1. "Suborned" = to instigate by illegal methods; to procure a person to take such a false oath as constitutes perjury; probably hired informers.
2. "Blasphemous" = speaking evil; slanderous; reproachful; railing; abusive.
3. "Against Moses" = Moses was regarded with profound reverence, and his laws were held to be unchangeable; therefore, any suggestion that there was a greater law giver than he, or that his institutions were mere shadows or types and no longer binding would be regarded as blasphemy.
4. "Against God" = God was justly regarded by the Jews as the giver of their law and the author of their institutions, but the Jews, not knowing that these laws and institutions were a shadow of good things to come, and were therefore to pass away, regarded all suggestion of such a change as blasphemy against God; they were blinded; they didn't recognize Jesus as God.
1. "Stirred up" = to throw into commotion; excite; they excited the people or alarmed their fears, as had been done before when they sought to put the Lord Jesus to death. (Mat. 27:20)
2. "The people" = the unbelieving Jews.
3. "The elders" = the members of the Sanhedrin.
4. "The scribes" = learned men; men skilled in the law; they kept the public records of the courts of justice and copied the OT scripture.
5. "Came upon" = indicates they rushed at him.
6. "Caught" = to seize by force; Greek construction speaks as if they caught him after pursuit.
7. "The council" = the Sanhedrin which claimed jurisdiction in the matters of religion.
1. "False witnesses" = so labeled by Luke because what they said Stephen said was false (erroneous, untrue).
2. "Ceaseth not" = does not stop.
3. "Blasphemous" = slanderous; reproachful; railing; abusive; the penalty of blasphemy was to be stoned to death.
4. "This holy place" = the temple.
5. "The law" = the law of Moses.
1. Stephen would never have made either one of these statements.
2. Jesus was accused of making the first statement (Mat. 26:61) which was a perverted statement of John 2:19.
3. The second charge was taken from what Stephen preached but more than likely not a direct quote because even the apostles were slow to be convinced that the customs were to be changed. (Acts 10:9‑14)
4. "Customs" = a usage prescribed by habit or law; the ceremonial rites and observances of sacrifices, festivals, and etc. as appointed by Moses.
5. "This Jesus of Nazareth" = spoken with contempt.
1. "Looking stedfastly" = fixing their eyes intently on him.
2. "The face of an angel" = an expression denoting that he manifested evidence of sincerity, gravity, fearlessness, and confidence in God; used to denote peculiar majesty and glory, as if it were the face of God. (Example: Moses; Exo. 34:29‑30)
Chapter 7: The First Christian Martyr
1. God's Covenant With Abraham V. 1-8
1. The high priest speaks as leader of the council.
2. "Are these things so?" = refers to the threefold charge against him of blasphemy against God, the temple, and the law of Moses (6:11,13); this is a formal question like our, "Do you plead guilty or not guilty?"
1. Stephen was not concerned with an acquittal. He knew he was a marked man. His concern was to unravel the false from the truth and to show the true nature of Christianity. This he does by reviewing the history of Israel and pointing out that the nation had rejected God's chosen leaders for them.
2. "Men, brethren" = "men who are also my brethren"; Stephen was addressing them as a Jew.
3. "Fathers" = a title of respect shown to the elders and the more dignified portion of the Sanhedrin.
4. "Hearken" = Greek gives the sense of, "Give me your attention, now."
5. "The God of Glory" = this is a Hebrew form of expression denoting the "glorious" God; it denotes His majesty, or splendour, or magnificence; phrase identifies God with the God whose visible glory was seen by the patriarchs (Gen 12:7; 18:1) By these words Stephen refutes the charge of blasphemy against God in Acts 6:11.
6. "Appeared" = in what manner He appeared is not said, but in such a manner that Abraham never had any doubt that it was God.
7. "Our father Abraham" = this identifies Stephen with his judges whom he had just called "brethren."
8. "Mesopotamia" = word properly denotes the region between the rivers of the Euphrates and the Tigris, which is in the country of Iraq now; the specific location was the city of Ur of the Chaldees. (Gen 11:31; See Map 3, below)
9. "Charran" = Greek form of the Hebrew "Haran".
10. "Dwelt" = to house permanently; Abraham stayed in Haran for several years, the exact time we do not know (could have been as little as 5 years or as much as 32 years).
1. This verse states what the Lord spoke to Abraham in the land of Mesopotamia. It is basically the same as what is recorded in Gen. 12:1‑3. Note: "The Lord had said."
2. "Get thee out" = go out from.
3. "Country" = land; region where he then resided.
4. "Kindred" = relatives; family connection; Abraham was suppose to leave his family behind but Terah, his father, and Lot, his nephew came along.
5. "Come into the land which I shall shew thee" = Greek construction means that the Lord would show him as he goes.
1. "Then came he out" = requires faith as Heb. 11:8 verifies; he did not have saving faith at this point as Romans 4:3 and Gen 15:1,6 bears out; the faith that he possessed was "intellectual" faith (Heb. 11:6) which produced "seeking" faith, which eventually produced "saving" faith; faith, whatever kind it may be, works. (James 2:17)
2. "Dwelt" = to house permanently.
3. "He removed" = God transferred him; God caused him to move into another land; the death of his father, when he was 75 years old and a possible fresh call of the same substance of Gen. 12:1‑3 caused him to leave Haran.
4. "This land" = land of Canaan.
5. "Wherein ye now dwell" = the Jews to whom Stephen spoke were dwelling (to house permanently) in Canaan as a nation.
1. "He (God) gave him none inheritance in it" = Abraham led a wandering life; this passage means that he did not himself receive a permanent possession or residence in that land; the only land he owned was the field he purchased for a burial place. (Gen. 23:19‑20)
2. "Not so much as to set his foot on" = an expression denoting in an emphatic manner that he had no land.
3. "He promised" = God promised; God announced; the Lord promised it to him to be fulfilled in his seed (offspring) even though he had none at the time. (Gen. 12:7; 13:14‑17)
1. "On this wise" = in this manner; Stephen is referring to Gen. 15:13‑14.
2. "Sojourn" = a stranger; a temporary dweller not having a settled habitation in the place where he was located.
3. "Strange land" = another's land; not one's own; refers to Egypt.
4. "Bring them into bondage" = to make a slave out of.
5. "Entreat them evil" = to injure; to treat ill; oppress.
6. "Four hundred years" = a rounded number which was a common custom to do; the exact time was 430 years as Moses recorded in Exo. 12:40‑41, although he rounded the number in Gen. 15:13; Paul verified this in Gal. 3:17 giving the time to include from the time of giving the promise to Abraham to giving the law in Mt. Sinai; the children of Israel were not entreated evil the duration of this time but only from the time a Pharaoh was instituted who knew not Joseph until the deliverance by Moses. (Exo. 1:8‑11) The exact time we can't verify, but 144 years passed from Joseph's death to the Exodus (deliverance by Moses).
1. "Nation" = Egypt.
2. "Judge" = to punish; God did this with the 12 plagues He visited on them, and in their overthrow in the Red Sea.
3. "Shall serve me" = "shall worship me and be regarded as my people."
4. "In this place" = Canaan, where God made this promise to Abraham.
1. "Covenant" = denotes a compact or agreement between two or more persons, usually attended with seals, pledges, or sanctions.
2. "Circumcision" = cutting off the foreskin; appointed as the mark or indication that Abraham and those designated were the persons included in God's promise. (Gen. 17:9‑14)
3. The covenant with Abraham was simply a promise to give him the land and to make him a great nation, and circumcision was the sign of that covenant. (Rom. 4:13)
4. "Begat" = give birth to; refers to Abraham fathering Isaac.
5. "Patriarchs" = denotes the father and ruler of a family; refers to the 12 sons of Jacob who were the head of the 12 tribes of Israel.
2. Israel's Rejection of Joseph V. 9-16
1. "Moved with envy" = heated with hatred or anger; this was due to their being dissatisfied with the favour which their father Jacob showed Joseph, and envious at the dreams which indicated that he was to be raised to honor above his parents and brethren. (Gen. 37:3‑11)
2. "Sold Joseph into Egypt" = sold him to Midianite merchantmen that he might be taken into Egypt; this was done at the advise of Judah so that he might not be put to death by his brethren. (Gen. 37:20‑28)
3. "But God was with him" = God protected him, and overruled all these wicked doings, so that he was raised to extraordinary honors.
4. Stephen is laying the ground work for a severe rebuke of the Jews for having dealt in a similar manner with their Messiah.
1. "Afflictions" = grievous affliction or distress; pressure or burden upon the spirit; this included the pit, the passion of an ungodly woman, and the prison. (Gen. Chapters 39-41)
2. "Favour" = graciousness; unearned or unmerited favor; same word also translated grace.
3. "Wisdom" = insight; refers to the act of interpreting Pharaoh's dreams and giving wise advice (Gen. Chapter 41); the favor was a result of his wisdom.
4. "Sight" = presence.
5. "Pharaoh" = not a name but a title.
6. "Made" = appointed.
7. "Governor" = command with official authority; this position was second in command. (Gen. 41:41‑43)
8. "All his house" = all the family, or all the court and government of the nation.
1. "Dearth" = famine; a scarcity of food; this was the fulfillment of Pharaoh's dreams.
2. "Chanaan" = the early name of Palestine; Canaan, where Jacob lived.
3. "Our fathers" = refers to the patriarchs with the exception of Joseph.
4. "No sustenance" = no food; no means of living.
1. "Corn" = general word for grain; could be wheat, barley, or corn.
2. "Our fathers" = ten sons; Benjamin did not go and Joseph was already there.
3. "First" = the first time; means they made more than one trip to Egypt.
1. "Made known" = his true identity was revealed to his brethren.
2. "Kindred" = family; relatives.
3. "Made known" = different word from the first one in this verse; means it became manifest, apparent, publicly known that Joseph was a Hebrew; this was mentioned in Gen. 41:12 but now it was made clear to him.
1. Joseph sent his brothers back to get Jacob and their families with wagons and provisions enough for the journey.
2. "Threescore and fifteen souls" = 75 individuals; Gen. 46:26 records 66 not counting Jacob, Joseph or his two sons; these were included in Gen. 46:27 as 70 are recorded; why 75 is recorded in this verse we do not know for certain; Stephen was quoting from the Septuagint which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew text which recorded 75 in Gen. 46:27.
3. Some seem to think that the Septuagint counted Joseph's grandsons in the number since they were in his loins at the time. We do not know the exact reason why the difference in number but what may be unexplainable to us may be entirely apparent to the Jews in the time of Stephen.
1. Jacob went down to Egypt at Joseph's invitation.
2. This verse reveals that Jacob and all his 12 sons including Joseph died in Egypt.
1. "Sychem" = Shechem and Sichen in OT; refers only to Joseph's bones being buried there (Josh. 24:32) for he had the children of Israel to make an oath that they would not bury him in Egypt. (Gen. 50:24‑26) Jacob was buried in the field of Machpelah in Canaan. (Gen. 50:13) We do not know for sure where the rest of the children of Jacob were buried. Tradition says it was in Shechem. Exo. 14:11 states that there were no graves in Egypt. We know they were in Egypt for 215 years and several had to die. Whether they were carried back to Canaan and buried or whether this refers only to the fathers, we know not.
2. "Sepulchre" = tomb.
3. "Emmor" = Hamor; Josh. 24:32 states Jacob not Abraham bought a parcel of land from Hamor the father of Shechem.
4. The only place the Bible records that Abraham bought a piece of land was the field of Machpelah. (Gen 23:18‑20) He could have bought land in Shechem because he was there in Gen. 12:6. Also "Abraham" could have been placed in this verse instead of "Jacob" by some early transcriber by mistake. God's Word in the original Hebrew and Greek was inspired and infallible but translations are not. One example that brings this out very clear is found in II Sam. 24:13 and I Chron. 21:12 where one place it says seven and the other says three years of famine. God's Word is without error but the translations must be "rightly divided" and the saints can do so because they have something better than the original, they have the originator of the Word, the Holy Ghost, living inside them!!
3. Israel's Rejection Of Moses V. 17-41
1. "The time of the promise" = the time of the fulfillment of the promise; God has a time and He is right on time, not one second early or one second late.
2. "Had sworn" = to affirm, promise.
3. "Grew and multiplied" = to increase and enlarge; the 70 had increased to almost 600,000 men (number when they came out of Egypt; we do not know how many there were at the time of Moses birth) not counting the women and children.
1. "Another" = another of a different kind, of a different spirit; one who knew not of the works of Joseph. (Exo. 1:8)
2. "Knew not" = had not absolute positive knowledge of the facts of the past; what he did know was that the children of Israel were multiplying faster than the Egyptians.
1. "The same" = refers to the new king who knew not Joseph.
2. "Dealt subtilly" = to deal craftily against; to use fraud, craft, and deceit.
3. "Evil entreated" = to oppress, afflict, harm and mistreat. (Exo. 1:14)
4. "Cast out" = expose to death. (Exo. 1:15‑22)
1. "In which time" = during the time the boy babies were supposed to be killed.
2. "Exceeding fair" = Greek has it fair (handsome) to God as He looked at him. Heb. 11:23 refers to him as a "proper" child; proper is same word as fair.
3. "Nourished up" = brought up; reared.
1. "Cast out" = to expose; to place or set out; speaks of Moses being placed in the ark of bulrushes and placed in the river. (Exo. 2:1‑3)
2. "Took him up" = to adopt; to take up for ones self as their own.
3. "Nourished" = to nurse; she hired Moses' own mother for this job in the beginning (Exo. 2:8‑9) and by this she provided the nourishment for his growth; tradition says that she designed Moses for the throne as Pharaoh had no son.
1. "Was learned" = to educate; to instruct; word means to train up a child.
2. "Wisdom" = broad and full intelligence; refers to the science and instructions of the Egyptians; history states that Moses was instructed and became skilled in music, geometry, arithmetic, and the whole circles of arts and sciences.
3. "Mighty" = powerful; capable.
4. "In words" = refers to his words carrying weight and power; in context this refers to him during his first forty years while in Egypt; this could be applied to his communications to Pharaoh through Aaron while trying to secure the release of the children of Israel; (Exo. 4:10‑16; 5:1) Also this is evident in his writings, the first five books of the Bible.
5. "Deeds" = anything accomplished by one's hand; again in context this refers to Moses first forty years in Egypt during which time history says that Moses led a campaign against the Ethiopians; this could be applied to the miracles that were performed while trying to secure the release of the children of Israel.
1. "Full forty years old" = when he was forty years old.
2. "It came" = to spring up, as of thoughts coming into his heart. (Heb. 11:24‑26)
3. "Heart" = the faculty and seat of intelligence; used for the mind, the understanding, the will, the memory, the intention, the affection or desire, and the conscience.
4. "To visit" = to inspect; examine closely; to go to see for oneself, with his own eyes, and to help if possible; probably with a view of delivering them from their bondage.
5. "His brethren" = reveals that Moses knew he was a Jew, how or when he learned this we know not; it is possible that the training his mother was able to give him while she was nursing him laid the foundation that God could use in him forty years later. (Pro. 22:6)
1. "Seeing" = to have absolute, positive knowledge of a fact.
2. "Suffer wrong" = suffering without due cause.
3. "Defended" = to keep off; to ward off.
4. "Avenged" = retribution; to repay; Moses took things in his own hands.
5. "Oppressed" = to labor down; wear with toil.
6. Smote" = to kill; to slay. (Exo. 2:11‑12)
1. "Supposed" = thought.
2. "Understood" = to perceive; to recognize; put it all together and make sense out of it.
3. "By his hand" = human instrumentality of God.
1. "He shewed himself" = he appeared in a sudden and unexpected manner to them.
2. "Strove" = to war; they were engaged in a hand to hand struggle.
3. "Have set them at one again" = he tried to reconcile them; tried to urge them to be at peace again.
4. "One again" = peace.
5. "Sirs" = men.
6. "Ye are brethren" = belong not only to the same nation, but brethren and companions in afflictions.
7. "Do wrong" = act unjustly toward one another.
1. Intent on his purpose and filled with rage and passion, the one in the wrong rejected all interference and all attempts at peace.
2. "His neighbor" = the Hebrew with whom he was struggling.
3. "Thrust away" = to push off.
4. "Made" = to appoint.
5. "Ruler" = first in rank or power; leader.
6. "Judge" = arbitrator; umpire.
1. "Wilt thou kill me?" do you wish or desire to kill me also.
2. It is not recorded how this man knew Moses killed the Egyptian. It may have been told by the man who was rescued from the Egyptian's hand. (Exo. 2:13‑14)
1. "Fled" = to run away for fear of his own life; Moses had taken things in his own hands to fulfill the calling of his heart and as a result he got ahead of God; his timing was not right.
2. "Stranger" = a temporary dweller not having a settled habitation in the place he was even though he stayed forty years.
3. "Land" = region.
4. "Madian" = Midian (Exo. 2:15); a desert region in an area known today as the Sinai Peninsula; the people of this area were nomadic (one who had no permanent home but moving constantly in search of pasture for their flocks); this is considered an unknown land and there Moses expected to be safe from Pharaoh.
5. "Begat" = to give birth to; refers to Moses fathering two sons.
1. "Were expired" = completed; refers to forty more years of Moses's life passed; he is now eighty years old.
2. "Wilderness" = desert; uninhabited region.
3. "Sina" = Sinai; a mountain peak on the mountain range of Horeb. (Exo. 3:1)
4. "An angel" = messenger; really the Angel of Jehovah = the Messiah yet to come, the I AM appearing to take the people of Israel under His own charge and direction.
5. "Bush" = a brier shrub; wild acacia; this was a literal flame yet the bush was not consumed. (Exo. 3:2‑14)
1. "Wondered" = moved with a curiosity involved; what attracted his attention was the fact that the bush was not consumed.
2. "Behold" = to consider attentively, fix ones eyes or mind upon.
3. "The voice of the Lord" = here the angel of the Lord in verse 30 is termed Jehovah, Himself.
4. He did not see the Lord but merely heard His voice.
1. "Thy fathers" = refers to Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac.
2. "The God of Abraham" = He is called the God of Abraham because Abraham acknowledged Him as his God; the same holds true for Isaac and Jacob.
3. "Trembled" = terrified; Exo. 3:6 states Moses was afraid.
4. "Durst not behold" = dreaded to look; this corresponds to Exo. 3:6 where Moses hid his face and would not look.
1. "Put off thy shoes" = an act of reverence.
2. "Shoes" = something bound under the feet; sandals; not shoes as we know today.
3. "Holy ground" = the place was rended sacred by the symbol of the divine presence.
4. The custom of Easterners was to take off their sandals on entering sacred places. This custom is still observed today.
1. "I have seen" = the repetition of these words are in accordance with the usage of the Hebrew writers when they wish to represent anything emphatically.
2. "Affliction" = to treat evil; to mistreat.
3. "Groaning" = sighing; to utter a deep sound expressing pain.
4. "Am come down" = this is spoken in accordance with human thinking; means that God was about to deliver (release them from bondage in Egypt) them.
5. "I will send thee into Egypt" = this is a mere summary of what is spoken at much greater length in Exo. 3:7‑10.
1. "This Moses" = Stephen uses this phrase (in the Greek) five more times in verses 35‑40; by this repetition Stephen means to draw a parallel between Moses and Jesus. The children of Israel rejected Moses as now the Jews to whom Stephen was speaking had rejected Jesus.
2. "Refused" = reject; disown; renounce; refers to the time when he first presented himself to them.
3. "The same" = this Moses.
4. "Ruler" = a military leader, or a governor in civil matters.
5. "Deliverer" = a redeemer.
6. "By the hand of the angel" = under the direction and by the help of the angel of God (Num. 20:16); when an angel gives a message from God, the words are always given as spoken by God Himself.
1. "Shewed" = accomplish; worked.
2. "Wonders" = miracles; regarded as miracles done to vindicate Moses ministry, that it was from God; these wonders and signs refer to the ten plagues and the overthrow of the Egyptians in the Red Sea.
3. "Signs" = fingerpost of God; miracles done to vindicate Moses' ministry that it was from God; these wonders and signs refer to the ten plagues and the overthrow of the Egyptians in the Red Sea.
4. This verse summarizes also the miracles in the wilderness of providing them with manna, quail, and water during their journey to the promised land which took forty years after The Exodus.
1. Stephen refers to Deut. 18:15, 18 of which the Jews were familiar.
2. "Prophet" = one who has insight into divine things and speaks them forth to others.
3. "Like unto me" = Stephen introduced this to remind them of the promise of a Messiah and shows that Moses was predicting the Messiah to be a prophet like himself who is no other than Jesus, so that these Pharisees are is reality opposing Moses, whom they had great respect.
1. "Church" = the Greek word means an assembly of called out people; the children of Israel were called out of Egypt and assembled together in the wilderness (desert; barren place), but was in no way a church as we know the word today.
2. "The angel which spake" = Exo. 20:1 says "God spoke" while Gal. 3:19 states the law "was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator (Moses)." This is no contradiction because when an angel gives a message from God, the words are always given as spoken by God himself.
3. "Sina" = Sinai.
4. "Our fathers" = refers to the children of Israel who were the forefathers of the Jews to whom Stephen was speaking.
5. "Lively" = living; stands in opposition to that which is dead, or useless.
6. "Oracles" = commands or laws of God; the commands were of such a nature to excite them to act for God, thus living oracles and in opposition to laws (man's) which were powerless, and produced no effect.
1. "Would not obey" = were unwilling to become obedient; Greek construction reveals they had no desire to be obedient.
2. "Thrust" = to push off; reject.
3. "In their hearts turned back again" = they desired to return to the fleshpots and gods of Egypt; they regretted that they had come out of Egypt; their hearts were inclined to the habits and morals of the Egyptians; they forsook God, and imitated the idolatries of the Egyptians.
1. "Make us gods to go before us" = idols to serve as guides and protectors, replacing the pillar of fire and cloud that had gone before them. (Exo. 32:1)
2. "Wot not" = know not; how quickly they had forgotten both God and Moses, while Moses was absent in the Mount of God (Sinai) for only forty days.
3. "Become of him" = happened to him.
1. "Made a calf" = one word in Greek; means to fabricate the image of a bullock; they made this from the earrings and ornaments which they brought out of Egypt. (Exo. 32:2‑4)
2. "Offered sacrifice" = the act of offering something to deity. (Exo. 32:5-6)
3. "Idol" = a false god worshipped in an image; Stephen calls it by the right name, idol.
4. "Rejoiced" = to put in a good frame of mind; to be delighted in a thing; they rejoiced over what they had done, which is what man would do if salvation was of works. (Rom. 4:2; Eph. 2:9)
4. Israel's Rejection Of The Prophets V. 42-50
1. "Then God turned" = to be changed in mind; God turned away from them.
2. "Gave them up" = abandoned them to their own desires; gave them what they wanted but they lost what they could have had; gave them their own will.
3. "Worship" = to render religious service to.
4. "Host of heaven" = the stars or heavenly bodies; astrology today would compare in part; Stephen quotes the prophet Amos to prove his point. (Amos 5:25‑27)
5. "It is written" = perfect tense; written down as a completed act in past time and stands on record today.
6. "O ye house of Israel" = ye people of Israel.
7. "Have ye offered?" = "ye have not offered" = the interrogative form is often an emphatic way of saying that the thing had not been done; we know they offered sacrifices to God in the wilderness but they did not do it with a pure and upright heart.
8. "By the space of forty years" = this phrase may give insight to the phrase "have ye offered?" = even though they offered sacrifices to God from time to time, they did not continuously honor God for forty years but often departed from him, and worshipped idols.
1. "Yea, ye took up" = you bore, or carried with you for the purpose of idolatrous worship.
2. "Tabernacle" = tent; temporary dwelling.
3. "Moloch" = Molech in OT; the god of the Amorites, to which children were offered as live sacrifices; an ox headed image with arms outstretched in which children were placed and hollow underneath so that fire could burn underneath; Moses forbids the Israelites, under penalty of death, to dedicate their children to Moloch, by making them pass through the fire. (Lev. 20:2‑5)
4. "Remphan" = Chiun, Hebrew in Amos 5:26; an Egyptian idol possibly representing the planet (star) Saturn.
5. "Figures which ye made" = images of the god which they made.
6. "Worship" = to bow down to; to make obeisance; different word from verse 42.
7. "I will carry you away" = to transfer as a captive.
8. "Beyond" = upon those parts of; Amos 5:27 says, "beyond Damascus" which is where Babylon is situated, where the children of Israel went into 70 years of captivity.
1. "The tabernacle of witness" = the tent of testimony, so called because it was the visible witness or proof of God's presence with them; the evidence that He to whom it was devoted was their protector and guide.
2. "Appointed" = give order; prescribe; ordain. (Exo. 25:8; 26:30)
3. "Fashion" = the pattern in conformity to which a thing must be made.
1. "Our fathers that came after" = refers to the generation that existed after the generation living when the tabernacle was built; remember that generation all died except Joshua and Caleb.
2. "Brought in" = refers to the tabernacle being brought in.
3. "Jesus" = Joshua; Jesus is the Greek mode of writing the name Joshua; Joshua was the one leading the children of Israel into Canaan land when they brought in the tabernacle.
4. "The possession of the Gentiles" = the promised land then occupied by the Canaanites.
5. "Drave out" = to expel; the Lord said He would drive out the inhabitants of the land. (Exo. 33:2)
6. "Face" = presence.
7. "Unto the days of David" = means that the tabernacle was in the possession of the Hebrews and was the appointed place of worship, until the time of David.
1. "Found favor" = God granted David great prosperity, and delivered him from his enemies.
2. "Desired" = signifies to ask for something to be given; he asked for permission to build a permanent dwelling place for God. (II Sam. 7:2‑3)
3. "To find a tabernacle" = to prepare a permanent dwelling place for the God of Jacob.
4. "Jacob" = Israel.
1. "But" = contrast; David ask to build it but was not permitted because he was a man of war. (I Chron. 22:8)
2. David prepared the principle materials for the temple but Solomon built it.
3. "House" = refers to the temple.
1. "Howbeit" = but; shows contrast; Stephen had been charged with speaking blasphemous words against the temple, (6:13) but he had shown that he had great respect for it by declaring that it had been built by the command of God. But he now adds that God does not need such a temple.
2. "Most High" = God; means the highest. (Luke 1:35) The demons recognize God in this position. (Luke 8:28)
3. "Dwelleth" = to house permanently.
4. "Temples" = refers to the holy place and the holy of holies made with human hands.
5. The prophet Isaiah taught plainly that heaven is God's throne in Isa. 66:1‑2. Solomon understood this when he prayed at the dedication of the temple in I Kings 8:27.
1. "Heaven" = refers to the third heaven, the abode of God.
2. "Footstool" = that on which the feet rest when sitting; when applied to the earth it denotes how lowly and humble an object it is when compared with God.
3. "What house" = what sort or manner of house; means what house or temple can be large or magnificent enough for the dwelling of Him who made all things.
4. "The place of rest" = His home, His abode, His fixed seat or habitation; heaven is the only place of rest. (Psa. 95:11)
1. "Made" = created; all things were created by the Word, Jesus. (John 1:1‑3)
2. Stephen used the prophets who warned the Jews that the temple would not assure them of blessing if their hearts were not right. They rejected the voice of the prophets even persecuting them and killing them. (Mat. 23:29-38) And when The Prophet (Christ) appeared (verse 37), they rejected His words and crucified Him.
5. Israel's Judgement Sealed V. 51-60
1. "Stiffnecked" = stubborn; headstrong; obstinate; unwilling to submit to the restraints of truth; this is the language Moses used in Exo. 33:5 when he conveyed God's rebuke to them.
2. "Uncircumcised in heart" = denotes those who were not willing to acknowledge truth, and submit to it; they prided themselves on their physical circumcision which was useless, but they were without true circumcision, that of the heart; God spoke of this in Lev. 26:41; they had hearts filled with vicious and unsubdued affections and desires; nothing could be more irritating to the Pharisees than to have this said of them.
3. "And ears" = denotes they were unwilling to hear what God says.
4. "Ye always" = looks backward over the history of their forefathers which Stephen had reviewed.
5. "Resist" = to be adverse; oppose; strive against; they opposed the message that was brought to them by the authority of God and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, which was the message brought by Moses, by the prophets, by the Saviour, and by the apostles; they had accused Stephen of reviling the holy place and he accuses them of resisting the Holy Ghost.
6. "As your fathers did, so do ye" = they and their fathers opposed God's message and messenger.
1. "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted" = the interrogative form here is a strong mode of saying that they had persecuted all the prophets. (Mat. 5:11‑12)
2. "Persecuted" = to harass; trouble; molest one.
3. "Have slain" = to kill outright.
4. "Shewed before" = to announce beforehand; they killed the prophets whose main message was that the Messiah was to come.
5. "The coming" = an advent; refers to Christ's first coming to the earth through a virgin's womb.
6. "The Just One" = upright; righteous; refers to the Messiah, the Christ.
7. "Of whom ye have been now" = implies that those to whom Stephen was talking resembled those who rejected and put to death the prophets; in fact they went farther by putting the Messiah Himself to death.
8. "Betrayers" = one who surrenders another into an enemy's hands; Judas was the individual who actually betrayed Jesus but the Jews were just as guilty because the law states, "he who does anything by another is held to have done it himself"; they hired Judas, therefore they were guilty.
9. "Murderers" = they were guilty of murder because they were the ones responsible for the crucifixion of Christ.
10. Stephen speaks with boldness and bluntness with his life hanging in the balance.
1. "The law" = the law of Moses, given on Mount Sinai.
2. "Disposition" = ordinance; arrangement; the word properly means the constituting or arranging of an army; implies that the law was given amidst the attending ranks of angels, as if they were summoned to witness the pomp and ceremony of giving the law to an entire people, and through them to an entire world.
3. "Kept" = to observe, obey.
4. They had accused him of blaspheming the law and he accused them of breaking the law. This aggravated their guilt because they gloried in possessing the law (Rom. 2:23), yet they openly violated it.
1. "Cut to the heart" = to saw in two; to cut asunder; Stephen's words had been sharpened by the Holy Ghost and cut like a saw through their hearts. (Heb. 4:12)
2. "Gnashed" = to grind the teeth; to bite with a loud noise; to grind the teeth together with a rasping sound in pain or rage; an expression of the bitterness and malignity of their feeling.
3. Literally, they began to gnash their teeth at (on) him just like a pack of hungry, snarling wolves. We have stated before that they bit him which may not be the case due to the Greek construction.
1. Stephen knew that these actions meant death for him but he did not compromise his message.
2. "Being full" = he was controlled and motivated by the Holy Ghost.
3. "Looked up stedfastly" = one word in the Greek; means he fixed his eyes intently on heaven. (Psa. 121:1‑2)
4. "Saw the glory of God" = a phrase commonly used to denote the visible symbols of God; means magnificent representation.
5. "Jesus standing" = as if He had risen to cheer the brave Stephen; every place else Jesus is mentioned as sitting at the right hand of God.
6. In a few minutes he would be absent from the body but present with the Lord. (II Cor. 5:8)
1. "I see heavens opened" = a figurative expression, denoting that he was permitted to see into heaven, or to see what was there, as if the firmament was divided, and the eye was permitted to penetrate the eternal world.
2. "Son of man" = one of the many titles of Jesus Christ.
3. Some may try to deny this event as being truth but God can do what He wants, when He wants, and how He wants without our being able to explain it. (Isa. 55:8)
1. "Cried out" = speaks of a loud cry, expressing deep emotion, expressed as being done with "a loud voice"; they had charged him with blasphemy and now they regarded what he had said as full proof of it.
2. "Stopped" = to hold together; they held their ears together with their hands so that they could not hear any more of Stephen's "blasphemy" (according to their thinking).
3. "Ran" = to start forward with great force or violence.
4. "One accord" = unanimously; united, with one mind or purpose.
5. No vote was taken by the Sanhedrin. No question was raised about not having a right to put him to death. This was mob violence, like modern lynching, that took the law into the hands of the Sanhedrin without further formalities.
1. "Cast out" = to eject by force; it was the usual custom to cast one out of the city before stoning him. (Lev. 24:14)
2. "Stoned him" = to kill by throwing stones, the punishment appointed in the case of blasphemy. (Lev. 24:16)
3. "Witnesses" = the false witnesses who bore testimony against him; (6:13) it was directed in the law (Deut. 17:7) that the witnesses in the case should be first in executing the sentence of the law; after they had commenced the process of execution, all the people joined in it.
4. "Laid down their clothes" = the outer garments; men were accustomed to lay these aside when they ran or worked.
5. "Young man's" = one word in the Greek; a term that could be applied to a man between 24 and 40 years of age.
6. This young man's name was Saul who later became Paul the Apostle. He was probably over 30 years of age and already involved in the Sanhedrin and was chosen to take care of their garments. Even though he did not throw stones, it seems that his whole heart was in this persecution of Stephen. (8:1)
1. "Calling" = to call upon for one's self, in one's behalf; Stephen was calling upon the Lord Jesus; God is in italics and is not necessary here even though Jesus is God.
2. "Receive my spirit" = receive it to Thyself; take it to Thine abode in heaven.
1. "He kneeled down" = this seems to have been a voluntary kneeling; placing himself in this position for the purpose of worship and prayer, choosing to die in this position and attitude.
2. "He cried with a loud voice" = not for the Lord's sake but the people's sake.
3. "Lay not this sin to their charge" = forgive them; place not to them or against them this sin; Stephen demonstrated the same spirit that the Lord Jesus did towards His enemies as He was nailed to the cross. (Luke 23:34)
4. "Fell asleep" = to decease; to die; usual description of the death of the saints in the Bible; a picture word of rest and calmness which stands in dramatic contrast to the rage and violence of the scene.