Bible Study Notes on Acts 4 – 20170123

Bible Study Notes

Acts 4:1  “…priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them”
Not surprising.  Was only a matter of time for either the religious leaders to hear them speak as they were doing it in the temple or to hear of them as so many had been converted.

2  “…greatly disturbed…taught the people…preached in Jesus the resurrection…”
Peter’s message had been the same each time.  Jesus of Nazareth was/is the Messiah.  The leaders conspired to have Him crucified, and the crowd went along with it.  The leaders thought by having Jesus killed they could squash any threat to their religious system.  They certainly didn’t want to hear that they were responsible for killing the Messiah, nor did they want to be confronted with their sin of not following the true teachings of the scripture.  Was bad enough that they didn’t give any credit to Jesus for what He preached and the miracles He did.  They didn’t even follow the scripture to see if He matched the picture of the Messiah.  Nicodemus was the referenced exception.  He tried to live by the scripture so when Jesus appeared, Nicodemus recognized the possibility that He was the Messiah, then he spoke with Him personally to find out and became a follower.

3  “…in custody until the next day…”
Had to spend the night in jail.

4  “…number of the men…about five thousand”
If the number of the men was around five thousand, the true number with women and children would be much higher.  Looking at the possibility of eight to ten thousand.  Definitely a growing movement.

6  “…Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest…”
The way the verse is written and punctuated is confusing.  As I understand it, the Greek has no punctuation such as commas to indicate separation of thought.  Annas was the elder, being the father-in-law of Caiaphas.  He had been high priest at some point, and now Caiaphas was, although I’m sure much respect was still given to him as the former high priest.  Verse could read Annas, the high priest Caiaphas or could just be starting with Annas as he was the eldest.  I wonder if John and Alexander were sons of Caiaphas who might be in line for the high priest position.  No info on them.  Commentaries agree regarding Annas and Caiaphas, but have only speculation on John and Alexander.  Obviously men of some renown and influence for Luke to mention them.

7  “…By what power or by what name have you done this?”
You gotta ask, why would they ask this question.  They speak and act as though they are clueless of all that had happened the last three years, not to mention the last couple of months.  If they knew anything of what the scripture said of the Messiah, surely they should have been able to see something of what was going on.  Of course, they were so blinded they couldn’t even recognize Jesus when He was there bodily so maybe it’s not so surprising.

8-12  Awesome answer by Peter.  He sets up the answer to their question, playing along with their hypocrisy, how this helpless man has been made well.  Refers to Jesus as Jesus Christ of Nazareth, making it specific and including the fact that Jesus is the Messiah.  Reminds them that they crucified Him, but God raised Him from the dead.  He then quotes scripture that they should know, which was fulfilled at that moment.  Concludes with the finality of the argument that Jesus is the Christ, the power of God for salvation.  The words of Jesus are coming to pass.  Peter didn’t have to worry about how he would respond under pressure.  The Spirit gave him power, boldness, and the words to speak.  He’ll do the same for us if we trust Him.

13  “…they saw the boldness of Peter and John…perceived that they were uneducated and untrained…realized that they had been with Jesus”
Such an awesome verse.  Yet another clue to the truth which was wasted on them.  Saw the boldness and that the men had been with Jesus, but drew no connection.  Ironic that they perceived or considered the men uneducated and untrained, by their earthly standards, when in fact Peter and John were the most educated and trained men in the room simply because they had been with Jesus.  That’s not a condemnation of formal education, just a reminder that time spent learning about Jesus can never compare with time spent with Him.

Topics16-17  “…What shall we do…a notable miracle has been done…evident to all…we cannot deny it…so that it spreads no further…speak to no man in this name”
The utter outrageousness and illogic of what is said in these two verses never ceases to amaze me.  Honestly can’t get my mind wrapped around it.  They are the religious elite, the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people.  They should know of the Messiah more so than any others in the nation.  They have spent their lives for this very purpose.  And in one fell swoop, they knowingly completely destroy the reason for their very existence.  Makes you want to just jump in the middle of them and ask what in the world are you saying.  We who have given our lives in the study of the word of God and the hope of the Messiah admit that a miracle of God has occurred by the name of Jesus, who fits the criteria of the Messiah, therefore we must destroy any further mention of His name or the power associated with it.  Talk about a conspiracy to cover up the truth.

19-20  “…Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge…we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

21  “…finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done”
Such sadness.  The people glorified God for what He had done, yet the religious leaders could not.  They said nothing about how great and awesome their God was for performing the miracle which they all admitted had happened.  Their only concern was that they couldn’t punish Peter and John for speaking in the name of Jesus and healing a man.  How warped can you get.

25-26  “…Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?  The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.”
Psalm 2.  They understood the fulfillment.

28  “…whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done”
Recognition of the sovereignty of God.  All things are under His control.  All results of His will be realized regardless of what man does.

31  “…the place where they were assembled together was shaken…”
Affirmation of their request.

32-37  Another mention of the attitude of Christian love and concern for each other with more details.  No one was pressured or obligated to give, they all did it willingly as they saw a need.  Total opposite of Socialism or Communism.  This section is also included to set up the next incident within the church to show the power of God, and how He would deal with sin among the people.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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