Acts 5:38
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown;

King James Bible
And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

Darby Bible Translation
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;

World English Bible
Now I tell you, withdraw from these men, and leave them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will be overthrown.

Young's Literal Translation
and now I say to you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone, because if this counsel or this work may be of men, it will be overthrown,

Acts 5:38 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Refrain from these men - Cease to oppose them or to threaten them. The "reason" why he advised this he immediately adds, that if it were of human origin, it would come to nothing; if of God, they could not overthrow it.

This counsel or this work be of men - This plan or purpose. If the apostles had originated it for the purposes of imposture.

It will come to nought - Gamaliel "inferred" that from the two instances which he specified. They had been suppressed without the interference of the Sanhedrin; and he inferred that "this" would also die away if it was a human device. It will be remembered that this is the mere advice of Gamaliel, who was not inspired, and that this opinion should not be adduced to guide us, except as it was an instance of great shrewdness and prudence. It is doubtless right to oppose error in the proper way and with the proper temper, not with arms, or vituperation, or with the civil power, but with argument and kind entreaty. But the sentiment of Gamaliel is full of wisdom in regard to error. For:

(1) The very way to exalt error into notice, and to confirm people in it, is to oppose it in a harsh, authoritative, and unkind manner.

(2) Error, if left alone, will often die away itself. The interest of people in it will often cease as soon as it ceases to be opposed; and, having nothing to fan the flame, it will expire. It is not so with truth.

(3) in this respect the remark may be applied to the Christian religion. It has stood too long, and in too many circumstances of prosperity and adversity, to be of human origin. It has been subjected to all trials from its pretended friends and real foes; and it still lives as vigorous and flourishing as ever. Kingdoms have changed; empires have risen and fallen since Gamaliel spoke this; systems of opinion and belief have had their day, and expired; but the preservation of the Christian religion, unchanged through so many revolutions, and in so many fiery trials, shows that it is not of men, but of God. The argument for the divine origin of the Christian religion from its perpetuity is one that can be applied to no other system that has been, or that now exists. For Christianity has been opposed in every form. It confers no temporal conquests, and appeals to no base and strong native passions. The Muslim faith is supported by the sword and the state; paganism relies on the arm of the civil power and the terrors of superstition, and is sustained by all the corrupt passions of people; atheism and infidelity have been short-lived, varying in their forms, dying today, and tomorrow starting up in a new form; never organized, consolidated, or pure; and never tending to promote the peace or happiness of people. Christianity, without arms or human power, has lived, keeping on its steady and triumphant movement among people, regardless alike of the opposition of its foes, and of the treachery of its pretended friends. If the opinion of Gamaliel was just, it is from God; and the Jews particularly should regard as important an argument derived from the opinion of one of the wisest of their ancient rabbis.

Acts 5:38 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Whom to Obey, --Annas or Angel?
'Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 18. And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 19. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20. Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 21. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

On Zeal
"It is good to be always zealously affected in a good thing." Gal. 4:18. 1. There are few subjects in the whole compass of religion, that are of greater importance than this. For without zeal it is impossible, either to make any considerable progress in religion ourselves, or to do any considerable service to our neighbour, whether in temporal or spiritual things. And yet nothing has done more disservice to religion, or more mischief to mankind, than a sort of zeal which has for several ages prevailed,
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Whether Human Law Binds a Man in Conscience?
Objection 1: It would seem that human law does not bind man in conscience. For an inferior power has no jurisdiction in a court of higher power. But the power of man, which frames human law, is beneath the Divine power. Therefore human law cannot impose its precept in a Divine court, such as is the court of conscience. Objection 2: Further, the judgment of conscience depends chiefly on the commandments of God. But sometimes God's commandments are made void by human laws, according to Mat. 15:6: "You
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Devil is Directly the Cause of Man's Sinning?
Objection 1: It would seem that the devil is directly the cause of man's sinning. For sin consists directly in an act of the appetite. Now Augustine says (De Trin. iv, 12) that "the devil inspires his friends with evil desires"; and Bede, commenting on Acts 5:3, says that the devil "draws the mind to evil desires"; and Isidore says (De Summo Bono ii, 41; iii, 5) that the devil "fills men's hearts with secret lusts." Therefore the devil is directly the cause of sin. Objection 2: Further, Jerome says
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Acts 5:37
Top of Page
Top of Page