Acts 4
Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
Acts 4:1. Λαλούντων, whilst they were speaking) The matter was divinely so ordered as that they first spake out all that was necessary in the temple; afterwards in the council (Sanhedrim), to which they would not have been allowed to go had they not been brought there.—ἐπέστησαν, came upon them) “The cross,” says Jonas, “always accompanies the true Gospel.”—οἱ ἱερεῖς, the priests) who were troubled (alarmed) as to their priesthood being in danger.—ὁ στρατηγὸς τοῦ ἱεροῦ, the captain, or prefect of the temple) who was troubled (alarmed) as to the public welfare (republicâ, the state), as being the chief prefect, under whom were the prefects of the watches in the temple: Luke 22:4.—οἱ Σαδδουκαῖοι, the Sadducees) who were troubled as to their doctrine.

Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
Acts 4:2. Διὰ τὸ διδάσκειν αὐτοὺς, on account of their teaching) This the Priests were annoyed at, on account of their authority: the Prefect of the temple, through fear of attempts at revolution.—καταγγέλλειν, their announcing) This the Sadducees were annoyed at, as they denied the resurrection: and their error was being utterly refuted by the one sole and incontrovertible example of Jesus Christ especially.

And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
Acts 4:3. Εἰς τήρησιν, in confinement, custody) So Peter and John were sharpened (exercised) in faith.—αὔριον, the morrow, the next day) The morrow is here put for the next day, by Mimesis (i.e. using the words which were probably used by the persons committing the apostles to prison: Append.). [On that night what great things we may suppose occurred (passed) in the souls of those great apostles!—V. g.]—ἑσπέρα, evening) of that day, the morning of which is in ch. Acts 3:1.

Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
Acts 4:4. Τῶν ἀνδρῶν, the men) The number, therefore, with the women and children, was much greater. In this multitude, amounting to about five thousand, there seem to be included those who are mentioned in ch. Acts 2:41, “about three thousand souls.” Subsequently, after other accessions, ch. Acts 5:14, Acts 6:1; Acts 6:7, they became several myriads: ch. Acts 21:20, “Thou seest how many myriads [not thousands, as Engl. Vers.] of Jews there are who believe.”

And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
Acts 4:5. Αὐτῶν, of them) viz. the Jews.—τοὺς ἄρχοντας καὶ πρεσβυτέρους καὶ γραμματεῖς, rulers and elders and scribes) who were conspicuous in authority, counsel, and doctrine.—εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ, to Jerusalem) from the neighbourhood: unless εἰς be put for ἐν.[34]

[34] And indeed the Germ. Vers. prefers the reading ἐν, after the margin of both Greek Editions.—E. B.

Ἐν is the reading of ABDE Vulg. Theb. Rec. Text has no very old authority for εἰς.—E. and T.

And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
Acts 4:6. Τὸν ἀρχιερέα, the High Priest, the chief of the priests) This is to be understood of Caiaphas also.—Ἀλέξανδρον, Alexander) This name was frequent among the Jews from Alexander the Great.

And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
Acts 4:7. Ἐπυνθάνοντο) they began asking, in many words, as if it were a matter unknown or obscure. To it corresponds γνωστὸν, Be it known, Acts 4:10.—δυνάμει, ὀνόματι, by what power or name) Something had been reported to them of the words of Peter, ch. Acts 3:6; Acts 3:12; Acts 3:16 [as they use the very same words, name and power]. And this very expression (viz. ‘name’) is admirably repeated by Peter, Acts 4:10; Acts 4:12.—ἐποιήσατε, have ye done) They speak ambiguously: they do not say, have ye healed?

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
Acts 4:8. Πλησθεὶς, being filled) at that very moment. The power which was dwelling in him put itself forth. So ch. Acts 13:9. As the existing time (exigency) in each instance demands, so GOD moves His instruments. But πλήρης, full, when used, expresses habitual fulness: Acts 6:3; Acts 6:5, “Stephen—full (πλήρη) of faith and of the Holy Ghost.”—ἄρχοντες, rulers) In the beginning he gives honour to them. But he addresses in a different manner, when they persevere in assailing Christianity, Acts 4:19; and again in ch. Acts 5:29. Comp. Acts 7:2, at the beginning, with Acts 4:51.

If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
Acts 4:9. Εἰ, if) i.e. since. He means the ἀνάκρισις, examination, now going forward.—ἀνακρινόμεθα, we be examined) By judicial process.—εὐεργεσίᾳ, a good deed) whereas ordinarily it is persons who have done an evil deed, that must submit to examination. The article is not added; but there follows, in Acts 4:12, ἡ σωτηρία, the salvation, where the article forms an Epitasis [emphatic addition to the previous enunciation, viz. to the εὐεργεσίᾳ without the article]. Christ was σωτὴρ καὶ εὐεργέτης, a most beneficent Saviour. See Chrysost. de Sacerd. p. 208.—ἐν τίνι, by what) The rulers had asked, by what power (virtue), and by what name. This Peter takes up, changing the adjective [substituting τίνι for ποίᾳ, ποίῳ], in order to make his reply the more definite: and immediately also replies concerning the authority and name, Acts 4:10.—οὗτος, this man) who is here present, Acts 4:10; Acts 4:14.—σέσωσται, is made whole) To this word is to be referred ἡ σωτηρία, σωθῆναι, the salvation, be saved, Acts 4:12, from the notation (signification) of the name Jesus, Acts 4:10. [The health of the body is as it were a type and mirror of the health of the soul.—V. g.]

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
Acts 4:10. Γνωστὸν, known) This Peter, as a great herald (preacher), spoke with his voice raised. He expresses the whole in a brief compass.—ὑμῖν, unto you) rulers.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Acts 4:11. Οὗτος, this) He brings a more severe charge against the rulers, than in ch. Acts 3:17 against the people.—ὁ λίθος, the stone) The article refers the hearers back to prophecy. See Matthew 21:42, note.—ὑφʼ ὑμῶν, by you) This is added with boldness of speech.—εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας, the head of the corner) This is explained in the following verse. The very rejection on the part of the builders proves the stone [to be the one chosen of God].

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:12. Ἐν ἄλλῳ οὐδενὶ, in none other) i.e. it is wholly in Him alone that salvation is. Hereby the question, Acts 4:9, by what means, is clearly set at rest (is a fixed point).—ἡ σωτηρία, the salvation) which was promised, and long wished for, whereby we escape every misery: the salvation (health) of body and soul: with which comp. Acts 4:9. There is great force in the article.—γὰρ, for) It is necessary that there should be divinely given and proclaimed a name, wherein there is salvation. It belongs not to us to mark out, or devise, a name whereby to obtain salvation: it belongs not to Rome to canonise the departed.—ἓτερον, other such [‘alterum,’ second]) This has the force of Epitasis (augmentation of the force of what precedes, by addition), in relation to the ἄλλῳ [‘alio’] preceding. Ammonius observes: “ἕτερος is used in the case of two; ἄλλος, in the case of more than two.[35] Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:8-9, ἄλλῳ δὲἑτέρῳ δὲ; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-7, notes.—τὸ τὸν οὐρανὸν, under heaven) i.e. in all the earth: ch. Acts 2:5. The dwellers on the earth had need of salvation; and it behoved the Saviour to establish (plant) salvation on the earth. Matthew 9:6, “The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive.”—τὸ δεδομένον, given) Which has been given, viz. from heaven.—ἐν ἀνθρώποις, among men) There is one Mediator: there is no second one in the whole human race. 1 Timothy 2:5.—ἡμᾶς, us) viz. all men.

[35] Not merely is there the wished for salvation in none other (of many), but there is no second name, besides that of Jesus, whereby we must be saved. Ἕτερος has more the sense, different, than ἄλλος.—E. and T.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13. Θεωροῦντες) beholding.—παῤῥησίαν, the freedom of speech) The noun παῤῥησία, and the verb παῤῥησιάζομαι, both very frequently used in this book of Acts, inasmuch as being appropriate to its subject, express the characteristic of true religion. It was by this boldness of speech that they overcame both city and world (urbem et orbem).—καταλαβόμενοι, having perceived) now, or even before.—ἄνθρωποι, men) This is a more humble designation than ἄνδρες.—ἀγράμματοι, unlearned) who could scarcely read or write, having hardly made further progress even in sacred learning.—ἰδιῶται, untutored men) Private persons, viz. fishermen; and therefore not endued with those accomplishments on which political and eloquent men depend. The ἀγράμματος is unaccomplished; the ἰδιώτης, still more so. See the remarks which we have made concerning this word, on Chrysost. de Sacerd., § 413. “It is by men of this kind, despised in the eyes of the world, that God has ALWAYS caused His word to be preached.”—Justus Jonas.—ἐπεγίνωσκόν τε, and they knew or recognised) now at last: for a little before they had paid less attention to them.

And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
Acts 4:14. Σὺν αὐτοῖς, with them) viz. with Peter and John.—ἕστωτα, standing) with firm ankle.—οὐδὲν εἶχον, they had nothing) although they were wishing it: Acts 4:21. They themselves say, we cannot: Acts 4:16.

But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
Acts 4:16. Τί ποιήσομεν, what shall we do?) The answer is ready to those who ask this question; Believe.—τοῖς) The Ablative.—φανερὸν, manifest) viz. is. And on this depends ὅτι γνωστὸν, κ.τ.λ.

But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
Acts 4:17. Διανεμηθῇ) They regard the whole as a gangrene or canker. For so it is described in 2 Timothy 2:17, “Their word will eat or have pasture (νομὴν ἓξει) as doth a canker or gangrene” (γάγγραινα).—ἀπειλῇ, with threatening) Your efforts are vain, ye rulers. These men have a resource to flee to: Acts 4:29.—τούτῳ, this) They do not deign to mention the name Jesus: ch. Acts 5:28.

And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Acts 4:18. Φθέγγεσθαι, to speak) in familiar discourse.—διδάσκειν, to teach) in their public speeches (sermons).

But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
Acts 4:19. Ἀποκριθέντες, having answered) openly and in plain terms. They employ no artifice, with a view to being let go.—ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, in the sight of God) The world accounts many things as right, which in the sight of God are not right: and vice versâ.—ἀκούειν) to hearken to, for to obey. He who does not comply, even hears with reluctance.—μᾶλλον, rather) On the part of the courageous saints the authority of those rulers (high priests) alone is respected, who establish or command nothing that is contrary to GOD.—κρίνατε, judge ye) The figure Communicatio [leaving the judgment of a matter to the hearers, or even to the very adversaries themselves]. The world cannot readily maintain their own laws against the cause of GOD with so great perverseness, as that natural equity should be utterly stifled.

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Acts 4:20. Ἡμεῖς, we) They already do that which the rulers had hardly yet prohibited (had scarcely left off prohibiting), and they maintain their right.—οὐ δυνάμεθα μὴ λαλεῖν, we cannot but speak) Amos 3:8, “The Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” [Real fulness of heart hath (carries with it) incredible force.—V. g.]

So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
Acts 4:21. Προσαπειλησάμενοι) having further threatened them.—πάντες, all men) Often the people is sounder than those who rule.

For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.
Acts 4:22. Πλειόνων, more than forty years) The infirmity of the man who was born lame had been inveterate.—ἐφʼ ὃν) on whom.

And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
Acts 4:23. Ἀπήγγειλαν, they reported) Although the rulers were opposed to their doing so, yet it was no sin on the part of the apostles.—οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι, the chief priests and elders) The Sadducees are not named, who partly are contained under them, ch. Acts 5:17, partly were not assessors in the council.

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Acts 4:24. Ὁμοθύμαδον ᾖραν φωνὴν, with one accord they lifted up their voice) Peter even here seems to have led the way in this address to God: but the others also employed their voice. [The devotion of their minds was so much the more kindled thereby.—V. g.]—Δέσποτα) Lord of the family of believers.—σὺ, Thou) An enunciation, the subject of which is, Thou, O GOD, who hast made all things; then, understanding art, the predicate follows, [Thou art He] who hast spoken.—ὁ ποιήσας, who hast made) This is a lofty exordium, employed in prayers of more than ordinary solemnity. Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah! Lord God, behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.” Nehemiah 9:6. Therefore the will of GOD is done in the heaven, earth, and sea; and the will of men on the earth ought not to be set up against it, or be put before it: it is in vain that petty men make their attempts. The Creator even by miracles refutes them.

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
Acts 4:25. Ἱνατίαὐτοῦ) Psalm 2:1-2. So altogether the LXX.—ἐφρύαξαν) This word is strictly said of horses, to snort fiercely.—κενὰ) This is equivalent to an adverb. So the LXX., παρακαλεῖτε κενά, “Comfort ye me in vain,” Job 21:34. This word in the second hemistich, is parallel to the interrogation in the former hemistich.

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
Acts 4:26. Οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς, the kings of the earth) All the kingdoms of the world have at some time or other assailed the Gospel.—οἱ ἄρχοντες, the rulers) Pilate was the representative of these; as Herod was of “the kings.” The prophecy and the event accurately correspond. Subsequently we read of Herod, not Pilate, having afflicted also the apostles.

For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Acts 4:27. Συνήχθησαν, were gathered together) This is repeated from Acts 4:26.—ἐπʼ ἀληθείας, of a truth) as the fact itself demonstrates.—παῖδά σου, Thy Servant or Minister [not child, as Engl. Vers.]) of whom David was a type: for the latter is called by the same designation, Acts 4:25, “Thy servant (παιδός σου) David.”—ὃν ἔχρισας, whom Thou hast anointed) He is the Lord’s Anointed (= Christ) King, Acts 4:26. Psalm 2:2; Psalm 2:6, “Yet have I set (Hebr. anointed) my King upon My holy hill of Zion.”—Ἡρώδης, Herod) He, when he had Jesus in his power, nevertheless did not let Him go, but sent Him back to Pilate; thereby consenting to those things which the latter was about to do: Luke 23:7, etc., Acts 13:31, The Pharisees said,—“Herod will kill Thee.”—λαοῖς, the peoples) The plural, repeated from the Psalm; used poetically. One or two MSS. have λαός, but λαοῖς has reference to the 25th verse, λαοὶ, plural.[36] Comp. 1 Kings 22:28, ἀκούσατε λαοὶ πάντες. And the present prayer of the disciples answers to the second Psalm, as a comparison shows:

[36] E and Hilary read λαος. But the weight of authorities is on the side of λαοῖς.—E. and T.

the kings,


the rulers,

Pontius Pilate:

the heathen,

the heathen (= the Gentiles):

the peoples,

the peoples of Israel.

The Psalm is treating of the Kingdom of Christ: wherefore Herod and Pilate are mentioned among His enemies, rather than Caiaphas the High Priest, who is included in Acts 4:29.

For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Acts 4:28. Ποιῆσαι, to do) They could not do more, though they wished it. Construe this with, were gathered together, not with, Thou hast anointed: for the subject of the verb to do are the enemies gathered together, concerning whom the prediction had been given. Comp. ch. Acts 2:23, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God:” Acts 3:18.—ὅσα, whatsoever things) not fewer things, but not more.—ἡ χείρ σου καὶ ἡ βουλή σου, Thy hand and Thy counsel) The order of the words is worthy of observation. The hand of God is felt sooner than His counsel. His power and His wisdom are meant.—προώρισε) determined before.

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
Acts 4:29. Ἀπειλὰς, threatenings) The plural: Acts 4:17; Acts 4:21.—παῤῥησίας, boldness of speech) whatsoever they may threaten.—λαλεῖν, to speak) They do not ask that they may be allowed to give over speaking, much less that others may be sent (in their stead); for they were sure of their own call to the office.

By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
Acts 4:30. Ἐν τῷ, in or by) in stretching forth, that is, whilst Thou dost stretch forth. Miracles accompany the word, and give a stimulus to its efficiency: ch. Acts 14:3, “The Lord—gave testimony unto the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done.” Mark 16:20.—ἐκτείνειν σε, Thy stretching forth) Often in the Old Testament the arm of the Lord is spoken of as stretched forth.—εἰς ἴασιν, to healing) Acts 4:22.—γίνεσθαι) Repeat ἐν τῷ, whilst signs, etc., are being done. For I cannot admit the construction εἰς γίνεσθαι, as there is no article intervening (i.e. before γίνεσθαι): therefore εἰς ἴασιν is to be construed with ἐκτείνειν. The comma ought to be, not before εἰς, but after ἴασιν: whilst thou art stretching forth—and whilst signs are being done. Thus all is clear.—ὀνόματος, the name) Acts 4:17.

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:31. Ἐσαλεύθη, was shaken) A proof afforded that all things are about to be shaken (put in commotion) by the Gospel: ch. Acts 16:26 (the earthquake at Philippi preceding the conversion of the gaoler).—ἐπλήσθησαν, they were filled) afresh.—μετὰ παῤῥησίας, with boldness of speech) Boldness of speech was immediately conferred on them, as in Acts 4:29 they had prayed; and this they put forth into exercise on the very earliest opportunity among themselves, and in addressing others.

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
Acts 4:32. Ἡ καρδία καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ μία, one heart and soul) in all matters of belief and of practice (credendis et agendis). A remarkable character given of them.—οὐδὲ εἷς) Not even one, in so great a multitude. The highest degree of concord.—ἔλεγεν, was saying) By this very expression it is taken for granted, that ownership of property was not altogether abolished.—κοινὰ, common) This was required by the Divine direction; as also by the number of believers, which was indeed great, but not so great as it was afterwards; as also by the change of the Jewish state which was impending. The magistrates did not at that time interfere to prevent the Church and individual Christians from disposing of their resources according as they themselves pleased: Acts 4:34-35; Acts 6:1-2; Acts 11:30; Acts 24:17; 1 Corinthians 16:1.

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Acts 4:33. Ἀπεδίδουν, the apostles gave or rendered[37]) Being assured of the truth themselves, they tried to assure others of it.—οἱ ἀπόστολοι, the apostles) The giving testimony was peculiarly their province; for they had seen the facts. To them also was given an extraordinary measure of the Spirit: ch. Acts 5:12.—χάρις, grace) The grace of GOD and the favour of the people.

[37] The ἀπὸ implies, that they gave testimony as a thing that was due, as of a thing which, having received themselves, they gave in turn to others.—E. and T.

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
Acts 4:34. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐνδεής τις, for neither was there any in need) So it ought to be in our days, even without goods being; in common,—a state of things which is suited only to the highest perfection (flower) of faith and love.—πωλοῦντες, selling) They laid out their wealth to good account, before that the Romans devastated the city. As the Israelites made gain from the Egyptians, so did the Christians from the Jews.[38]

[38] Viz. by selling their lands, which the Roman invasion would soon make worthless to the Jews.—E. and T.

And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Acts 4:35. Καὶ ἐτίθουν, and laid them down) as soldiers lowering or laying down their arms. They hereby were intimating that the apostles, under the guidance of Divine wisdom, should have all the control over their effects.—[καθότι, according as) Not according as each had given up more or less.—V. g.]

And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
Acts 4:36. Ὁ ἐπικληθεὶς, who was surnamed) A new specimen of the apostles’ high dignity, to give surnames to believers.—υἱὸς παρακλήσεως, the Son of consolation) A Gospel surname. De Dieu on this passage, and Hiller, Onom. p. 300, explain the etymology.[39]—ΛΕΥΐΤΗς, a Levite) Instead of Levitical ordinances, those of Christianity flourish. The priests also follow, ch. Acts 6:7, “A great company of the priests was obedient to the faith.”—Κύπριος τῷ γένει) So ΠΟΝΤΙΚῸς Τῷ ΓΈΝΕΙ, ἈΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΕῪς Τῷ ΓΈΝΕΙ, ch. Acts 18:2; Acts 18:24.

[39] The παρακλήσεως has evident reference to the Παράκλητος, alluded to in ver. 31.—E. and T.

Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
Acts 4:37. Ὑπάρχοντος αὐτῷ ἀγροῦ, having land) This must have been outside of the land of Israel, in which the Levites had no portion.

Gnomon of the New Testament by Johann Bengel

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