Acts 4

Acts 4:4

But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

Five thousand. Hosea prophecied that the wayway sons of Israel would return and seek the Lord their God and “come trembling to the Lord and to his goodness in the last days” (Hos. 3:5). The last days began when Jesus began his earthly ministry (see entry for Heb. 1:2), and Hosea’s prophecy began coming to pass immediately after Pentecost. Many thousands of Jews came to Jesus (Acts 5:14, 26, 6:1). Note that the sons of Israel do not come crawling on their knees begging for forgiveness, but they come trembling in awe of the Lord’s goodness. Hosea is describing the new covenant of grace. He’s talking about the awesome goodness of God that leads men to repentance (Rom. 2:4).

Acts 4:5

On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem;

(a) Rulers. The 70 man council that governed Israel was known as the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin had the authority to put people to death for religious crimes (see entry Acts 7:58).

(b) Elders; see entry for Matt. 16:21.

(c) Scribes; see entry for Matt. 5:20

Acts 4:6

and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.

(a) Annas the high priest. Old Annas was a former high priest who retained his title and considerable influence within the Sanhedrin (see entry for John 18:13).

(b) Caiaphas was the high priest at the time of Christ’s death and in period immediately following (John 18:24). Annas was his father-in-law (John 18:13).

(c) John and Alexander were members of the Sanhedrin or Ruling Council. Like other influential members of that nepotistic assembly, they were related to Annas, the former high priest.

Acts 4:8

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,

(a)The Holy Spirit. Peter’s memorable speech to the Sanhedrin was not planned. Following the Lord’s instructions (see Mark 13:11), he spoke in the moment as led by the Holy Spirit.

(b) Rulers and elders; see entry for Acts 4:5.

Acts 4:9

if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,

Made well can also be translated made whole. The original word (sozo) is usually translated as save (e.g., Matt. 1:21), but it also implies healing. When Jesus healed the sick, he sozo ed them; he healed them (Mark 5:23), delivered them (Luke 8:36) and made them whole (Matt. 9:21). To be saved literally means to be made whole. See entry for Salvation.

Acts 4:10

let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.

Jesus the Nazarene. A Nazarene was someone from Nazareth, a Galilean town of little consequence. In Judea, Jesus was known as a Nazarene in fulfilment of prophecy (see entry for Matt. 2:23).

Acts 4:11


(a) Stone. Jesus, the stone the Jews rejected, became the foundation stone for God’s new covenant habitation (Ps. 118:22–23, Eph. 2:20).

(b) The builders. The Jews were as proud of their temple as they were of their religion. In their minds, they had built something that would impress the Lord. But they had no place for Jesus. The Living Stone not cut with human hands (1 Pet. 2:4, Dan. 2:34) did not fit in their manmade edifice.

(d) Chief corner stone. The corner stone is the first stone laid in a new structure. As such, it sets a mark for the rest of the building. Jesus is the corner stone on which God’s house is being built (Eph. 2:20).

Acts 4:12

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

(a) There is salvation in no one else. The original word for salvation means deliverance or rescue. Jesus is the great Deliverer who rescues us from our enemies (Luke 1:71). Christ alone is the author of our salvation (Heb. 5:9). See entry for Salvation.

(b) We must be saved. The apostles preached for a verdict. Like Jesus who encouraged people to repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15), they encouraged their listeners to repent, believe the good news, and be saved (Acts 17:30, 1 Tim. 2:4, 1 John 3:23).

Acts 4:23

When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.

(a) The chief priests; see entry for Matt. 2:4.

(b) Elders; see entry for Matt. 16:21.

Acts 4:27

“For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

(a) Your Holy Servant Jesus; see entry for Mark 1:24.

(b) Herod Antipas was tetrarch of Galilee at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. He was responsible for the murder of John the Baptist (Luke 9:9) and had tried to kill Jesus (Luke 13:31). See entry for Luke 3:1.

(c) Pontius Pilate was the governor or prefect in charge of the Roman province of Judea at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. See entry for Luke 3:1.

Acts 4:31

And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

(a) They were all filled. The Holy Spirit shook the room and the company of disciples, both male and female, became fearless preachers who spoke the word of God boldly. In Acts 2, both male and female believers began to prophesy (Acts 2:18). Then in Acts 4, they began to preach. When the Holy Spirit moves in power, who can stay silent? “The lion has roared… who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8).

(b) The word of God is the good news of Jesus, a.k.a. the gospel of grace. It is the divine revelation of God the Father that comes to us through his Son. This revelation is typically conveyed via words and preaching (1 Pet. 1:25).

The word of God is synonymous with the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17), the word of life (1 John 1:1) and the word made flesh (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is the Word or the Message or the Revelation of God (Rev. 19:13). Just as we reveal ourselves by what we say, God reveals himself in Jesus (Heb. 1:3).

Since Jesus came full of grace (John 1:14) from One who sits on a throne of grace (Heb. 4:16), the word of God is also synonymous with the word or gospel of his grace (Acts 14:3, 20:32).

See entry for Word of God.

Acts 4:36

Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement),

Barnabas; see entry for Acts 9:27.

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