The Trials and Triumphs of the Early Church
Acts 4:1 – 6:8
Acts 4:1 – 6:8
1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 being distressed on account of their teaching the people and preaching by Jesus the resurrection from among the dead; 3 and they laid hands on them, and put them in ward till the morrow; for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed; and the number of the men had become about five thousand. 5 And it came to pass on the morrow that their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together at Jerusalem, 6 and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the high priestly family; 7 and having placed them in the midst they inquired, In what power or in what name have “ye” done this?
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, 9 if “we” this day are called upon to answer as to the good deed done to the infirm man, how “he” has been healed, 10 be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean, whom “ye” have crucified, whom God has raised from among the dead, by “him” this man stands here before you sound in body. 11 “He” is the stone which has been set at nought by you the builders, which is become the corner stone. 12 And salvation is in none other, for neither is there another name under heaven which is given among men by which we must be saved.
13 But seeing the boldness of Peter and John, and perceiving that they were unlettered and uninstructed men, they wondered; and they recognised them that they were with Jesus. 14 And beholding the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to reply; 15 but having commanded them to go out of the council they conferred with one another, 16 saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed an evident sign has come to pass through their means is manifest to all that inhabit Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But that it be not further spread among the people, let us threaten them severely no longer to speak to any man in this name. 18 And having called them, they charged them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answering said to them, If it be righteous before God to listen to you rather than to God, judge ye; 20 for as for us “we” cannot refrain from speaking of the things which we have seen and heard. 21 But they, having further threatened them, let them go, finding no way how they might punish them, on account of the people, because all glorified God for what had taken place; 22 for the man on whom this sign of healing had taken place was above forty years old.
23 And having been let go, they came to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 And they, having heard it, lifted up their voice with one accord to God, and said, Lord, “thou” art the God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them; 25 who hast said by the mouth of thy servant David, Why have the nations raged haughtily and the peoples meditated vain things? 26 The kings of the earth were there, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ. 27 For in truth against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou hadst anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the nations, and peoples of Israel, have been gathered together in this city 28 to do whatever thy hand and thy counsel had determined before should come to pass. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threatenings, and give to thy bondmen with all boldness to speak thy word, 30 in that thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and that signs and wonders take place through the name of thy holy servant Jesus.
Answer to Prayer (4:31-37)
31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the word of God with boldness. 32 And the heart and soul of the multitude of those that had believed were one, and not one said that anything of what he possessed was his own, but all things were common to them; 33 and with great power did the apostles give witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 For neither was there any one in want among them; for as many as were owners of lands or houses, selling them, brought the price of what was sold 35 and laid it at the feet of the apostles; and distribution was made to each according as any one might have need. 36 And Joseph, who had been surnamed Barnabas by the apostles (which is, being interpreted, Son of consolation), a Levite, Cyprian by birth, 37 being possessed of land, having sold it, brought the money and laid it at the feet of the apostles.
Sin and Discipline (5:1-16)
1 But a certain man, Ananias by name, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 and put aside for himself part of the price, his wife also being privy to it; and having brought a certain part, laid it at the feet of the apostles. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled thy heart that thou shouldest lie to the Holy Spirit, and put aside for thyself a part of the price of the estate? 4 While it remained did it not remain to “thee”? and sold, was it not in thine own power? Why is it that thou hast purposed this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied to men, but to God. 5 And Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and expired. And great fear came upon all who heard it. 6 And the young men, rising up, swathed him up for burial, and having carried him out, buried him. 7 And it came to pass about three hours afterwards, that his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in. 8 And Peter answered her, Tell me if ye gave the estate for so much? And she said, Yes, for so much. 9 And Peter said to her, Why is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Lo, the feet of those that have buried thy husband are at the door, and they shall carry thee out. 10 And she fell down immediately at his feet and expired. And when the young men came in they found her dead; and, having carried her out, they buried her by her husband. 11 And great fear came upon all the assembly, and upon all who heard these things. 12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders done among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch, 13 but of the rest durst no man join them, but the people magnified them; 14 and believers were more than ever added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women;) 15 so that they brought out the sick into the streets and put them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter, when he came, might overshadow some one of them. 16 And the multitude also of the cities round about came together to Jerusalem, bringing sick persons and persons beset by unclean spirits, who were all healed.
Persecution Again (5:17-42)
17 And the high priest rising up, and all they that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees, were filled with wrath, 18 and laid hands on the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But an angel of the Lord during the night opened the doors of the prison, and leading them out, said, 20 Go ye and stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 21 And when they heard it, they entered very early into the temple and taught. And when the high priest was come, and they that were with him, they called together the council and all the elderhood of the sons of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 And when the officers were come, they did not find them in the prison; and returned and reported 23 saying, We found the prison shut with all security, and the keepers standing at the doors; but when we had opened them, within we found no one. 24 And when they heard these words, both the priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests were in perplexity as to them, what this would come to. 25 And some one coming reported to them, Lo, the men whom ye put in the prison are in the temple, standing and teaching the people. 26 Then the captain, having gone with the officers, brought them, not with violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And they bring them and set them in the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, We strictly enjoined you not to teach in this name: and lo, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and purpose to bring upon us the blood of this man. 29 But Peter answering, and the apostles, said, God must be obeyed rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers has raised up Jesus, whom “ye” have slain, having hanged on a cross. 31 Him has God exalted by his right hand as leader and saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. 32 And “we” are his witnesses of these things, and the Holy Spirit also, which God has given to those that obey him. 33 But they, when they heard these things, were cut to the heart, and took counsel to kill them. 34 But a certain man, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, held in honour of all the people, rose up in the council, and commanded to put the men out for a short while, 35 and said to them, Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves as regards these men what ye are going to do; 36 for before these days Theudas rose up, alleging himself to be somebody, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, were joined; who was slain, and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him rose Judas the Galilean in the days of the census, and drew away a number of people after him; and “he” perished, and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered abroad. 38 And now I say to you, Withdraw from these men and let them alone, for if this counsel or this work have its origin from men, it will be destroyed; 39 but if it be from God, ye will not be able to put them down, lest ye be found also fighters against God. 40 And they listened to his advice; and having called the apostles, they beat them, and enjoined them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. 41 They therefore went their way from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be dishonoured for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and in the houses, they ceased not teaching and announcing the glad tidings that Jesus was the Christ.
Internal Disagreements (6:1-8)
1 But in those days, the disciples multiplying in number, there arose a murmuring of the Hellenists against the Hebrews because their widows were overlooked in the daily ministration. 2 And the twelve, having called the multitude of the disciples to them, said, It is not right that we, leaving the word of God, should serve tables. 3 Look out therefore, brethren, from among yourselves seven men, well reported of, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we will establish over this business: 4 but “we” will give ourselves up to prayer and the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and, having prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem was very greatly multiplied, and a great crowd of the priests obeyed the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, wrought wonders and great signs among the people.