Acts 1
Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament


THIS book, wherein Luke records the Acts of the Apostles, especially of Peter and Paul, stands midway between the writers of the Gospels and the writers of the Epistles, and on that account is the central book. It contains not only the recapitulation of the Gospel history, but also the continuation of the history of Christ, the event and issue of His predictions, and in some measure, a supplement by means of those things which He, through the Paraclete, more largely imparted to His disciples, who were heretofore somewhat infirm. See by all means, John 16:12-13. It also contains the seeds and stamina of all things which are explained and set forth in the Epistles. The Gospel books treat concerning Christ the Head: the Acts show that the same things are being carried on in His body, which is quickened and animated by His Spirit, is harassed by the world, and is defended and exalted by God. We have the summary of all this, Ephesians 1:20-22, “Gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church, which is His body.” Moreover, the departure of Christ, and the advent of the Paraclete, cause this book to have a greater similarity to the Epistles than to the Gospel books. Chrysostom testifies, in the beginning of his first homily on this book, that in his time, it was altogether unknown to many. Would that in the present day as much care was bestowed on it as ought to be bestowed. Herein is shown the Christian doctrine, and the method employed in teaching it in respect to the Jews, the Gentiles, and believers; that is, in respect to those requiring to be converted, and those already converted. Also, the obstacles to the same on the part of individual men, classes of men, and various ranks and peoples. Also, the propagation of the Gospel, and that great revolution which took place among Jews and Gentiles. Also, the victory of the Gospel, reaching from one single room of meeting, to temples, houses, streets, marketplaces, plains, inns (lodging-houses), prisons, camps, palaces, chariots, ships, villages, cities, islands: to the Jews, Gentiles, prætors, generals, soldiers, eunuchs, captives, slaves, women, boys, sailors; to the Areopagus, and to Rome, in fine. Also, the vengeance inflicted on hypocrites, wicked imitators (of the miracles), enemies and adversaries. The preservation of the Apostles, and of the Church. The incomparable fruits exhibited in the life and the death. Also, very many of the strong points, and distinctive characteristics, and arguments, for the truth and efficacy of the Christian religion. Also, a specimen of its discipline and economy, and the very idea of the Christian Church, and the evangelical office.

There are seven Parts:—

I.   Pentecost, with the events preceding it, Acts 1, 2.

II.   The acts in JERUSALEM, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, among the CIRCUMCISED, Acts 3-9; Acts 12.

III. The acts in CÆSAREA, and the admission of the GENTILES, Acts 10; Acts 11.

IV. The FIRST journey of Barnabas and Saul among the Gentiles, Acts 13; Acts 14.

V. The deputation sent, and the council of JERUSALEM, as to the Jews and Gentiles being on the SAME footing, Acts 15.

VI. The SECOND journey of Paul, Acts 16-19.

VII. The THIRD journey, as far as to Rome, Acts 19:21 to Acts 28:31.

These several parts are explained more distinctly in the “Order of dates,” ch. 6. How the application of all the parts to our times, ought to be made, is admirably shown by Justus Jonas, in the Dedication to his Annotations on this book, published in the year 1524: “The facts themselves,” saith he, “which are now going forward in our age, render more clear to us, not only this book, but also the remainder of Scripture, inasmuch as we now see clearly, that the truly godly suffer this [the same as the saints are recorded in Acts to have suffered].—Miracles are performed daily, not inferior to what were then performed. For who is there that would not account the sudden change wrought in the world a miracle of the highest kind? Who is there that would not with good reason compare to Paul’s preservation from the conspiracy of the Forty men, and the so many cunning plots of his enemies, Luther, the Gospel preacher in our age, who has been already up to this time assailed by so many of the wise and powerful of this world, and who, notwithstanding, still survives, in the teeth of the Pope’s indignation, in spite of Satan, and in spite of all the gates of hell? Self-indulgent men fancy, that the apostles have so consulted for the ease of posterity, and have so endured to the utmost the chain of the Gospel, as that now the more tranquilly, in consequence, the monks and priests may pamper their bodies with every luxury; as if, indeed, Satan had now no more any existence, or as if the world and the flesh were now at agreement with the Gospel.”

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Acts 1:1. Μὲν, indeed) The Apodosis to the μὲν, viz., as to this second book (treatise), is exhibited by the fact itself, which absorbs the particle δὲ, but [which should follow the μέν].—λόγον, treatise) λόγος, the Latin liber, usually has such a length, as that the eager reader can finish it at one reading. It is therefore of use, at times, to read through at one time one whole book; for instance, the Gospel according to Luke. The authority of either of the two treatises of Luke redounds to the other. The greatest (farthest) limit hitherto, in the economy of Christ, is this time from the resurrection as far as to the Ascension: with it the first book of Luke terminates, and the second begins, which describes, not so much the Acts of the Apostles, as the Acts of the Holy Spirit; even as the former treatise contains the Acts of Jesus Christ.—περὶ πάντων, concerning all things) namely, narrated in a summary manner. John 21:25.—ἤρξατο ποιεῖνἄχρι) began to do—until; that is, did from the beginning: comp. the use of ἀρξάμενος, beginning, in Acts 1:22. Luke has interwoven, in due order throughout the beginnings and endings; i.e. he has introduced all things with due consideration.—ποιεῖν, to do) by His miracles and holy actions.—διδάσκειν, to teach) by His discourses.

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
Acts 1:2. Ἐντειλάμενος, having given commandment) They who depart are wont to give commandment and a commission, as is needed and what is sufficient for the occasion. In Acts 1:3, Luke expresses generally, what the Lord spake to the apostles during those Forty days: but in Acts 1:2; Acts 1:4, et seq., he declares what He said on that remarkable day, viz., that of His Ascension: with this comp. Acts 1:5 at the end, and Acts 1:9 at the beginning [which prove that Acts 1:4-9 refer to the one and the same day, namely, that of the Ascension]. For it was up to that very day that Luke had carried forward his Gospel: and with it he begins the Acts of the Apostles.—τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, unto the apostles) An appellation appropriate to the subject of the whole book: their term of discipleship was now expired.—διὰ, through) Construe this with having given commandment. He Himself who gave commandment had the Holy Spirit, Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me:” and He bestowed that Spirit upon the apostles in giving them His instructions, John 20:22, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost;” intending presently after to bestow it on them most abundantly. Thus before His ascension He gave them an earnest of Pentecost.—ἐξελέξατο) He had chosen out: Luke 6:13; John 6:70. Judas is treated of separately in Acts 1:16-17.—ἀνελήφθη) He was taken up.

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
Acts 1:3. Παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν, He Presented or showed Himself) Noble language. A sweet return backwards [a retrogression]: He was taken up, He presented Himself alive, His Passion.—παθεῖν, His Passion) reaching to His death.—τεκμηρίοις, proofs) by sight, hearing, touch, etc.; by means of which they might know clearly and for certain both that it was He Himself, and that He was alive.—δἰ ἡμέρων τεσσαράκοντα) for forty days, not continuously, but at intervals. On the other hand, only ten, not forty, days elapsed from the Ascension to Pentecost: the period of His death was three days.—ὀπτανόμενος, appearing to [being seen of] them) in appearances of considerable length: John 21:12.—περὶ τῆς βασιλείας, concerning the kingdom) This was the sum of the words of Christ, even before His Passion.

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Acts 1:4. Συναλιζόμενος, having a meeting with them[1]) This is not said of all His appearances, Acts 1:3, but of the last, and that, a meeting attended by a large number, and one of the greatest moment. This reading, which has been assailed by some, and the notion of this verb, are proved by Hesychius, who explains συναλιζόμενος, συναλισθεὶς, by συναχθεὶς, συναθροισθείς.—μὴ χωρίζεσθαι, that they should not depart) They would otherwise have readily (naturally been inclined to have) left Jerusalem, where the Lord had been crucified.—τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν, the promise) Ammonius says that ὑπισχνεῖται is said of one who has undertaken or engaged to give to one who has asked; but ἐπαγγέλλεται of one, who of himself has undertaken or volunteered a promise to give. Which propriety of usage in the Greek verb, when the Divine promises are the subject in hand, is accurately to be observed.—ἠκούσατε, ye have heard) He had used the very expression in Luke 24:49, “Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you.” And this parallelism serves to form the closest bond of connection between both books of Luke. The style passes from the narrative to the recitative, as in ch. Acts 23:22; also as coming alter the verb παρήγγειλεν, He enjoined them.

[1] ABCE and Rec. Text read συναλιζόμενος; but Dd, συναλισκόμενος; Vulg. ‘convescens.’ “Cum conversaretur vescens cum illis” in e.—E. and T

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Acts 1:5. Ὑμεῖς, ye) who are Mine. Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance—but—He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with tire.” This has a widely extended application: Acts 11:16.—βαπτισθήσεσθε, ye shall be baptized) by Me. Matt. l. c.—οὐ μετὰ πολλὰς, not many days hence) The number of days not being defined, kept the faith of the disciples in exercise.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Acts 1:6. Συνελθόντες, having come together) They thought that they would more easily obtain a reply when asking jointly.—τούτῳ) at this interval (period), viz. that which was coming after not many days.—τὴν βασιλείαν, the kingdom) the seat of which is Jerusalem, Acts 1:4, but the full extent of it most comprehensive, Acts 1:8, and the nature and inward character of it more divine than the construction which the interrogators were at the time putting on the words of the Lord; Acts 1:3 at the end. Luke 22:16, “I will not anymore eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”—τῷ Ἰσραὴλ, to Israel) The dative bears the emphasis. The apostles, taking the fact for granted, were asking concerning the time: and in a like manner the reply, which follows immediately after, is framed.

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Acts 1:7. Οὐκ ὑμῶν ἐστιν, not for you is it) He does not say, “It is not for you;” but “not for you (not your part) is it;” in order that the emphasis may be on the ὑμῶν [Engl. Vers. loses this point]. Comp. by all means John 4:38, οὐχ ὑμεῖς,—ἄλλοι, not ye—others have; and “not unto thee (it appertained), but to the priests,” 2 Chronicles 26:18; and οὐχ ἡμῖν καὶ ὑμῖν, “Not to us and to you belongeth the office of building,” etc., Ezra 4:3. It is a kindly repulse, and an impressive description of the Divine Reserve; and yet its aim is not to censure but to teach. He does not say, It is not part of your right and office to ask; but He says, Not yours is it to know. The Father has not ordered that this should he in your power, but has reserved it to His own power, that He should Himself know and do. Comp. Matthew 24:36, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Not yours is it, saith He; from which it is not a legitimate inference, that it will not be the privilege even of others hereafter. The Revelation of the Divine economy has its successive steps: 1 Peter 1:12, “Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported,” etc.; Matthew 11:11; Revelation 1:1.—χρόνους ἢ καιροὺς, the intervals (periods) or times [“the times or the seasons”]) The question of the disciples is corrected, and the general term, χρόνῳ, “at this interval” (period), is determined by another term being added, χρόνους ἢ καιροὺς, the intervals (periods) or times, as we have elsewhere shown. Let it be generally observed in this place, that something longer is meant by χρόνον than by καιρόν: ch. Acts 7:17; Acts 7:20, “As the time (ὁ χρόνος) of the promise drew nigh,” “In which season (καιρῷ) Moses was born.” Justus Jonas writes, “It is enough that you know from the Scriptures that it is about to come to pass that all things shall be restored; but when this is about to be, belongs to GOD.”—οὓς, which) To pry into the times reserved to GOD, is the part of mere curiosity: not to concern one’s self about what has been revealed, is the part of a petty or a drowsy mind: Daniel 9:2; 1 Peter 1:11, “Searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify;” Revelation 13:18. The things which did not as yet belong to the apostles to know, were afterwards signified by the Apocalypse. The more general enunciation of truths does not derogate from the special revelation which follows subsequently. Peter also has it said to him in this place, Thine it is not, altogether as in John 21:22-23, What is that to thee?ὁ Πατὴρ, the Father) Matthew 20:23, “To sit on My right hand is not Mine to give, but—to them for whom it is prepared of My Father;” Matthew 24:36.—ἔθετο, hath put) Therefore the thing itself is sure: otherwise there would be no time of the thing.—ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ, in His own power) At the time of the farther revelation, and especially of the actual fulfilment, even those things which heretofore had rested in the Father’s power, are known.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 1:8. Ἀλλὰ, but) The antithesis is between that which was the part of the disciples, or was not: as also between that which was about to be at that time, and that which was reserved for farther off times.—μάρτυρες, witnesses) by your teaching, and by shedding your blood as martyrs: it is not said. Ye shall be kings of the world; although the kingdom of GOD shall be propagated by that very testimony.—Ἱερουσαλὴμγῆς, Jerusalem—the earth) A gradation or ascending climax. See, for instance, the successive steps, ch. Acts 8:1; Acts 8:4-5; Acts 8:27.—Σαμαρείᾳ, Samaria) They had heretofore been hound [Matthew 10:5-6] not to enter the cities of the Samaritans. Without a doubt this now seemed strange to the apostles.

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Acts 1:9. Νεφέλη, a cloud) Therefore the Lord did not disappear (vanish away) of Himself.

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Acts 1:10. Ἄνδρεςλευκῇ, men—white) Comp. note on Matthew 28:3 [Angels had not before the resurrection appeared in this garb]. A man put for an angel: ch. Acts 10:30; Acts 10:3; Acts 10:22; Luke 24:4, note. But comp. also Luke 9:30. note [Moses and Elias, who were men, appeared like angels at the transfiguration]. [Therefore they were either angels or men.—V. g.]

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Acts 1:11. Γαλιλαῖοι, ye men of Galilee) In apparitions which are vouchsafed to individuals, the angels employed the proper name: instead of which in this place the name of their country is employed, under which they all are included. Out of Galilee seldom, if ever, a prophet had arisen; hut all the apostles had come out of it.—τί, why?) A similar Why occurs in ch. Acts 3:12.—ἐμβλέποντες) gazing earnestly, with a lingering look up into heaven, which now it serves no purpose to look at, since Jesus is no longer to he seen.—οὕτως, ὅν τρόπον, so, in like manner as) A similar phrase occurs, ch. Acts 27:25, “even as it was told me:” 2 Timothy 3:8.—ἐλεύσεται, shall come) It is the Ascension of Christ, rather than His Advent to judgment, which is described in Scripture as His return. He is said to come, not only because He had not previously come to judge, but because His Adwent in glory shall be much more remarkable than His first Advent. The world had not believed that the Son of GOD had come: in respect to believers He is said to return: John 14:3, “I come again (= return) and receive you to Myself.” Then He shall be revealed in His own day. The verb cometh already was employed in the prophecy of Enoch, Jude Acts 1:14. He shall come, in a visible manner, in a cloud, with a trumpet, with an attendant train, and perhaps in the same place, Acts 1:12, “the mount called Olivet.” Add Zechariah 14:4, “His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.” Comp. the annot. of Michaëlis, and the note on Matthew 24:27, “As the lightning cometh out of the East, so shall the coming of the Son of man be” [It is probable that Christ’s coming will be from the East]. Not those who saw Him ascending are said to be about to see Him when He shall come. Between His Ascension and His Coming in glory no event intervenes equal in importance to each of these two events: therefore these two are joined together. Naturally therefore the apostles, before the giving of the Apocalypse, set before them the day of Christ as very near. And it accords with the majesty of Christ, that during the whole period between His Ascension and His Advent, He should without intermission be expected.

Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
Acts 1:12. Ἐλαιῶνος, of Olives) where His agony had taken place.—ἐγγὺς, near to) five furlongs.—Σαββάτου ὁδὸν, a Sabbath day’s journey) As far as a Jew was permitted to journey on the Sabbath day, without fatigue; i.e. as much as two thousand cubits (ells). Chrysostom infers from this, that it was on the Sabbath day that they returned to the city: I am more inclined to think that the exact spot in the whole Mount of Olives, which was that from which the Ascension took place, is marked by this distance from the city.[2]

[2] Lightf. on Luke 24:50, and here, states that the reason why the limit of the Sabbath journey was 2000 cubits beyond the walls of the city or one’s house was, because the innermost tents of the Israelitish camp in the wilderness were that distance from the tabernacle, Joshua 3:4. See Numbers 35:4-5. Epiphanius (Hær. 66, 82) makes the Sabbath journey six Greek stadia or three-fourths of a Roman mile. So Josephus, B. J. v. 2, 3, makes the Mount of Olives six stadia from Jerusalem; and this is here, Acts 1:12, called a Sabbath day’s journey. In Antiq. Acts 20:8; Acts 20:6, Jos. makes it five stadia. Probably it was about five or six, which is below the estimate of 2000 cubits.—E. and T.

And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Acts 1:13. Ὑπερῷον) So the LXX. render עליה; Gregory says, “ὑπερῶα in the Scriptures were places in that part of the house which was farthest removed from the ground, set apart by the Jews for private prayer, looking towards the temple of Solomon or its site; which, on account of their consecration and suitable privacy, were used by the apostles for Christian purposes.”—Obs. ch. 3, where he describes at large ὑπερῷα.—Πέτρος, Peter) Construe this, etc., with ἀνέβησαν.[3] As to the order of the apostles, see on Matthew 10:2.[4] The article is added to Peter, rather than to the rest, as he was the foremost, ch. Acts 3:11, Acts 4:13; Acts 4:19, Acts 8:14; although not always so, ch. Acts 3:4. By means of these few and despised men, without any other human helps, Christ brought the world to the obedience of the faith.

[3] Not with ἦσαν καταμένοντες, as Engl. Vers. The commas should be after εἰσῆλθον, and after καταμένοντες, “when they were come in, Peter, etc., went up into an upper room, where they were abiding, or staying.”—E. and T.

[4] Thomas is in this list put above Bartholomew, below whom he is placed in Matthew, Mark, and Luke; also above Matthew, below whom he is placed in Mark and Luke. In Matthew, owing to the modesty of the Evangelist, Thomas is put before Matthew. The higher place given Thomas in Acts answers to the confirmation of his faith, John 20:27-28, which was subsequent to the time referred to, when the Evangelists mention him in their respective lists.—E. and T.

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Acts 1:14. Ὁμοθυμαδὸν, with one accord) This particle is often employed in the Acts, suitably to the subject of the book: outside of the Acts it does not occur, save once, in the New Testament, viz. Romans 15:6.—τῇ προσευχῇ καὶ τῇ δεήσει) As to the difference between these words, see 1 Timothy 2:1, note [δέησις, from δεῖ, is an imploring of the Divine grace in some special need: προσευχὴ, prayer, is any presenting of our wishes and desires before God].—σὺν γυναιξὶ, with the women) Luke 24:10, at the sepulchre, “Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women;” 1 Corinthians 9:5, “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord?”—Μαρίᾳ, Mary) of whom the last mention in the New Testament is made here. She being held in high esteem among the saints, on account of both her holiness and her age, furnished testimony as to all things which had taken place all along from the time of the Annunciation.—ἀδελφοῖς, with His brethren) His cousins. These two were gained over, though in the beginning they had not believed. [John 7:5.]

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Acts 1:15. Ἀναστὰς, having stood up) as men are wont to do when about to make a speech. This speech of Peter, though delivered before the great Pentecost, yet bears the impress, not of the discipleship, but of the apostleship, owing to the “receiving of the Holy Ghost,” as mentioned in John 20:22.—ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ, together, at the same time) namely, in that place. In other places there may have been more disciples, especially outside of the city.—ὡς ἑκατὸν εἴκοσι, about one hundred and twenty) A tenth part of this number consisted of apostles. Εἴκοσι and εἴκοσιν[5] are written, according to the statement of Eustathius.—εἶπενἄνδρες, said—men) There is a parenthesis between the proposition and its discussion, as in Genesis 6:9-10, “These are the generations of Noah (Noah was a just man, etc.); and Noah begat three sons.”

[5] ABCE support εἴκοσι: Rec. Text εἴκοσιν.—E. and T.

Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Acts 1:16. Ἄνδρες ἀδελφοὶ, men brethren) This is a more blessed mode of address than the well-known one of Demosthenes, etc., Men of Athens. It is an appellation expressive of honour and love, calculated to conciliate the hearers.—ταύτην) this Scripture, viz. in Ps. 69. and 109.

For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
Acts 1:17. Ὄτι, because) This expresses the reason for which Judas is here mentioned, because he had held an office.—κατηριθμημένος, numbered with us) It is sad to be numbered, and yet not continue.—κλῆρον, [‘part’] the allotment) Lot or allotment is said of whatever falls to the share of one without any exertion on his part.—τῆς διακονίας, the ministry) So most frequently, in this and the following books, the ministry of the New Testament is termed: but in the Old Testament the LXX. translators for the most part use λειτουργεῖν for שרת, to attend on the service of the sanctuary; an expression which of itself conveys to the mind the idea of something rather magnificent: whereas the apostles followed (adopted) an easy humility.[6]—ταύτης, of this) viz. our.

[6] “Expeditam humilitatem,” a lowliness unencumbered by the state and magnificence which marked the Aaronic priesthood.—E. and T.

Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
Acts 1:18. Ἐκτήσατο, acquired possession of) purchased. Judas, indeed, did not pay the money, Matthew 27:5, “He cast down the pieces of silver in the temple—And the chief priests took the silver pieces—and bought with them the potters’ field:” but yet he either had determined to purchase it: comp. 2 Kings 5:26 [Elisha to Gehazi, “Went not mine heart with thee when,” etc.]; or by making the commencement of the purchase, gave occasion to the priests to consummate it. The wretched man did not believe that the cause of Jesus would be a lasting one: and in the event of its coming to nought, he had marked out, against the time to come, a dwelling-place for himself and those belonging to him (Psalm 109:9 implies he had a wife and children, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow: let his children be continually vagabonds and beg”), whither they might betake themselves; and he wished to provide for his and their livelihood. Others explain it, ἐκτήσατο, he acquired, or obtained, viz. not for himself, but in reality for others.—πρηνὴς γενόμενος, having fallen forward on his face [headlong]) The kind of death which Judas inflicted on himself (Matthew 27:5, note; he strangled himself, a death which is usually effected by hanging. So Ahitophel, 2 Samuel 17:23), was at the time well known. Therefore it is taken for granted in this place; and what followed that act is added, namely, the position of the dead body after it had been cast out with ignominy, viz. lying prostrate on the face; whereas those decently buried are laid out lying on the back. The passage may be illustrated from a book written in elegant Greek, 3Ma 5:41 (43), where a king, most hostile to the Jews, threatens that he will level the temple to the ground by fire, τὸν ναὸν πυρὶ πρηνέα καταστήσειν. Πρηνῆ γένεσθαι does not mean to throw himself headlong.—ἐλάκησε μέσος, burst asunder with a crash [loud noise] in the midst) Hesychius explains ἔλακεν by ἐψόφησεν. And the μέσος makes the language more express and explicit. The verb coheres with πρηνὴς, as in Wis 4:19, ῥήξει αὐτοὺς ἀφώνους πρηνεῖς.—σπλάγχνα, bowels) He had himself previously laid aside the bowels of compassion: Psalm 109:17-18, “As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water.”

And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
Acts 1:19. Γνωστὸν ἐγένετο, it became known) namely, that which is mentioned in the beginning of Acts 1:18.—τῇ ἰδίᾳ, in their own idiom [tongue]) This and the subsequent interpretation of it, This is the field of blood, Luke has added to the speech of Peter for the information of Theophilus, and the reader who does not understand Hebrew.

For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
Acts 1:20. Γενήθητο, κ.τ.λ.) Psalm 69:25 (26), LXX., γενηθήτω ἡ ἔπαυλις αὐτῶν αὐτῶν ἠρημωμένη, καὶ ἐν τοῖς σκηνώμασιν αὐτῶν μὴ ἔστω ὁ κατοικῶν.—ἔπαυλις) that is to say, οἴκημα εὐτελὲς, a mean dwelling, according to Eustathius.—αὐτοῦ, his) The Hebrew and LXX. have αὐτῶν, their. But it is understood of Judas as being included in the plural pronoun, to accord with the present purpose of the apostle. Justus Jonas remarks, “By the rejection of Judas, and the substituting of another, is indicated the casting away of the Jews, and of all who persecute Christ after He has been sent to them.”—[ἔρημος, desolate) This is the lot that falls to all things which the ungodly possess in the world.—V. g.]—μὴ ἔστω, let there not be) This was fulfilled when the field passed into a burying-place for strangers.—καἰ τὴνἓτερος) Psalm 109:8. So clearly the LXX.—ἓτερος, another) Matthias, as an individual, was not more plainly designated, and so occasion arose for recourse to a holy casting of lots.

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Acts 1:21. Δεῖ, it is necessary, it behoves that) So in Acts 1:16.—τῶν) The genitive depends on ἓνα, and is resumed in τούτων, Acts 1:22, the order of the fact and of the words being elegantly appropriate.—εἰσῆλθε, went in) in private. Comp. John 10:9, note, “By Me—he shall go in and out, and find pasture.” [A Hebrew phrase denoting constant intercourse.]—ἐξῆλθεν, went out) in public.—ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς, over[7] us) as a Master. The preposition accords not only with went in, but also with went out.

[7] ‘Among,’ Engl. Vers. Bengel, super nos; which perhaps may mean, in relation to us.—E. and T.

Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Acts 1:22. Ἀπὸ τοῦ βαπτίσματος Ἰωάννου, from the baptism of John) It is with this point that the history of Jesus Christ in Mark has its actual Beginning. The other evangelists briefly explain the preceding events.—ἓως, up to) The testimony of the Twelve Apostles concerning the Lord Jesus and His resurrection, extend up to the day of His Ascension.—τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ, of His resurrection) He who believes in the resurrection of Christ, believes in all which went before and which followed. As to the resurrection of Christ, there is frequent mention of it in the Sermons and in the first Epistle of Peter. As an apostle is a witness of the resurrection of Christ, so he is a Christian who believes in it. At that time there was just as much need of grace (Divine power), to enable one to believe that the act had been accomplished, as there was to believe that there is salvation in that act so accomplished. Accordingly, they who believed in the former received the whole faith. In our days, whilst no one in the Church calls in question the accomplishment of the act, many stop short at that point, and, notwithstanding their belief in the certainty of the fact, do not thereby attain to the whole faith.—ἓνα, one) For there ought not to be more than Twelve, and therefore both were not to be taken into the apostleship together.

And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
Acts 1:23. Δύο, two) The faithful may have arrived at this number by consultation; they went (could go) no farther. Therefore at this point, and not before, the recourse to lots begins, whereby a weighty matter is committed to the Divine decision, and the immediate call [the call direct from God] of the apostle is accomplished. Justus Jonas, on this passage, thinks that in our day also there is possibly room (scope) for the use of lots in the choice of bishops; and a memorable instance of it is related by Comenius in the Hist. of the Slav. Church, § 60. The same also occurs in Rieger’s Böhm. Br. vol. iii. p. 36.—ὃς ἐπεκλήθη, who was surnamed) It might seem, because of this surname, that he ought to have been preferred; but perhaps it was not until afterwards that he obtained this surname, in order that he might perceive, that, although Matthias had been chosen, he notwithstanding did not lose the credit due to his merits.

And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
Acts 1:24. Σὺ, Thou) Thou Thyself. It was necessary that an apostle should be called by an immediate call of God. They invoke Jesus as Lord; Acts 1:21 : for it was His province to choose an apostle; Acts 1:2, ch. Acts 9:17, Acts 26:16, Jesus to Saul, “I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness;” John 6:70, “Have I not chosen you Twelve?”—καρδιογνῶστα, who knowest the hearts) The heart, in the case of a minister of the Gospel, ought to be right: ch. Acts 8:21; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:4. The heart it is which causes that the one should be preferred to the other, who was at least equally good, judging outwardly.—πάντων, of all) even of these two.—ἀνάδειξον, show) This was effected by the issue of the actual casting of lots. Jesus often appeared after the resurrection: and yet He did not then confer the apostle-ship on Matthias; but after the Ascension.

That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Acts 1:25. Εἰς τὸν τόπον τὸν ἴδιον, to his own place) to the place altogether peculiar to him, and distinct from that of the other apostles, [or even distinct from the rest of those who perish.—V. g.] He had sought ἴδιον, a something peculiarly his own property: Acts 1:18, the field: he obtained his own place, which escapes [falls not under] the eyes of survivors, viz. a place in the region of death.

And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Acts 1:26. Ἔδωκαν, they gave forth) They cast.—κλήρους αὐτῶν, their lots) the lots of Joseph and Matthias [not their own lots]. [With prudent consideration they had brought forward two out of the whole multitude, for the purpose of making choice between them: but there remained now no other way of deciding between these two, save that of casting lots.—V. g.] Whilst the apostles had the Lord with them, they had no recourse to lots; nor did they employ them after the coming of the Paraclete, ch. Acts 10:19, Acts 16:6, etc. [The Holy Spirit guided them]: but at this intermediate time alone, and in the case of this one business, they employed them most appropriately.—συγκατεψηφίσθη, he was numbered among) All acquiesced in the showing (the direction) of the Divine choice. Hands are not said to have been laid on the new apostle; for he was ordained by an altogether immediate call.

Gnomon of the New Testament by Johann Bengel

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
John 21
Top of Page
Top of Page