Acts 4: Silence the Message

How do you think Temple leaders learned what Peter was saying and decided this was a problem that must be dealt with?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:1 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the leading priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some Sadducees confronted them.
King James
Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them.)

The best way to kill a message is to destroy its source. What did Temple leaders dislike about what Peter was saying?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:1 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the leading priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some Sadducees confronted them,
4:2 angry because the apostles were teaching the people, saying Jesus had risen from the dead.
King James
Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
4:2 being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

How do you think Temple leadership was affected whenever people heard about the resurrection of Jesus and believed?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:1 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the leading priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some Sadducees confronted them,
4:2 angry because the apostles were teaching the people, saying Jesus had risen from the dead.
King James
Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
4:2 being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Of the leading priests, Temple guards, and Sadducees, who had the most to lose? Why? What would be lost?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:1 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the leading priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some Sadducees confronted them,
4:2 angry because the apostles were teaching the people, saying Jesus had risen from the dead.
King James
Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
4:2 being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Several hours passed between the healing at 3:00 p,m. and the arrest in the evening. What do you think must have happened during that time (1) with Peter and John before the crowd and (2) among those who were stirred against the message?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:3 The Temple officials arrested Peter and John that evening, locking them in prison for the night.
King James
Acts 4:3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

In the days after Passover and Pentecost, Pilate would have left Jerusalem for his home in Caesarea Philippi, and those arrested for misconduct in the Temple normally fell under Jewish, not Roman, jurisdiction, as with the stoning of Steven. What do you think conditions were like in the prison where Peter and John were locked up and spent the night?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:3 The Temple officials arrested Peter and John that evening, locking them in prison for the night.
7:59 While the stones were striking, Stephen cried out to God, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
King James
Acts 4:3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

On the day of Pentecost, three thousand people believed and were baptized. The count of five thousand in Acts 4:4 could have been the number added that day, or it could have been as most translations assume—the current total of Jesus followers. Which do you think is correct? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 2:41 Those who believed the message were baptized—adding some three thousand people to the group of Jesus’ disciples.
4:4 After hearing Peter and John, many more became followers of Jesus, increasing their number to about five thousand.
King James
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

To be recognized as believers, the new converts would have repented, been baptized, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Who do you suppose did the baptisms?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 2:38 “Repent,” Peter said, “and be baptized. By the authority of Jesus Christ, your sins will be forgiven and you will receive this gift of the Holy Spirit.
4:4 After hearing Peter and John, many more became followers of Jesus, increasing their number to about five thousand.
King James
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

When Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin to answer for their conduct, what apprehensions might they have had?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 4:5 The next day, the Jewish magistrates, respected leaders, and teachers of the Law
4:6 assembled with the high priest Annas, as well as Caiaphas, John, and Alexander and others connected with the priestly order.
4:7 They brought Peter and John before them for questioning. “Under what power and authority have you been doing these things?”
King James
Acts 4:5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
4:6 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.
4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?

Why do you think Peter and John were asked about their power and authority?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:7 They brought Peter and John before them for questioning. “Under what power and authority have you been doing these things?”
King James
Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?

Did they need to be concerned about how they would answer?

Author’s Thoughts
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Luke 12:11 When you are arrested and stand before synagogue authorities, governors, and kings, do not worry about what to say.
12:12 At the time you must speak, you will be given the right words to say.
Acts 4:8 Under the inspiration and voice of the Holy Spirit, Peter said, “Respected leaders and members of the Sanhedrin,
4:9 today you have asked how we are able to perform such a good deed, restoring a helpless cripple to perfect health.
King James
Luke 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
4:9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole.

How do you think the men of the Sanhedrin felt when they were told that the source of miracle power was the one they had crucified?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:10 So let me make this truth known to everyone here and to everyone in Israel: Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the one you crucified but God raised from the dead, is our source of power and authority, the means by which this man stands before you, completely whole.
King James
Acts 4:10 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.

What is the significance of a builder’s rejected stone becoming the cornerstone?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:11 As the song says so well, Give glory to God, for he is our great benefactor, whose kindness endures forever. The stone that the builders have rejected has become the cornerstone.
4:12 God has done this, and it is a wonderful sight to behold. Make no mistake about this. Jesus is the only power and authority under heaven who will save us from our afflictions and restore our relationship with God.
King James
Acts 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Peter said a relationship with God is only possible through Christ. Do you think it’s possible for people who call themselves Christian to use the name but not know the person Jesus Christ? Is it possible for people who don’t call themselves Christian to know the person Jesus without using his name? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:11 As the song says so well, Give glory to God, for he is our great benefactor, whose kindness endures forever. The stone that the builders have rejected has become the cornerstone.
4:12 God has done this, and it is a wonderful sight to behold. Make no mistake about this. Jesus is the only power and authority under heaven who will save us from our afflictions and restore our relationship with God.
King James
Acts 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

What did the Sanhedrin think Peter and John’s eloquent speaking ability came from, since they had never attended seminary? To what extent was their judgment accurate or inaccurate?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:13 The leaders marveled at the eloquent words of Peter and John, uneducated men of Galilee who had no schooling under Temple rabbis. Obviously, their boldness had come from their being with Jesus.
King James
Acts 4:13 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.

When we share our stories, should we rely entirely on the Holy Spirit? How important is preparation and practice?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:13 The leaders marveled at the eloquent words of Peter and John, uneducated men of Galilee who had no schooling under Temple rabbis. Obviously, their boldness had come from their being with Jesus.
King James
Acts 4:13 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.

Along with Peter and John, the formerly lame man had been called before the Sanhedrin. What might he have said?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 4:14 With the evidence of the healed man standing before them, they didn’t know what to say in rebuttal.
King James
Acts 4:14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

Why was the evidence so strong that nothing could be said against it?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:15 But after dismissing the men, they debated among themselves,
4:16 saying, “What shall we do? We can’t deny the magnitude of this miracle since so many in Jerusalem have witnessed it themselves.
King James
Acts 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
4:16 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.

Why didn’t the Sanhedrin want news of the miracle to spread? What result do you think they feared?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:17 “To keep its effect from spreading, let’s threaten severe consequences, that they never speak to anyone about Jesus.”
4:18 So they called Peter, John, and the formerly lame man before them, commanding that they never speak anything about this Jesus.
King James
Acts 4:17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

What kinds of threats might have been made to prevent Peter, John, and the man from telling their story?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:17 “To keep its effect from spreading, let’s threaten severe consequences, that they never speak to anyone about Jesus.”
4:18 So they called Peter, John, and the formerly lame man before them, commanding that they never speak anything about this Jesus.
King James
Acts 4:17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

The healing was undeniable, but the power could have been attributed to God and not Jesus. Why were Peter and John unwilling to remove the name of Jesus from their testimony?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:18 So they called Peter, John, and the formerly lame man before them, commanding that they never speak anything about this Jesus.
4:19 Peter and John shook their heads. “Which do you think we should do—obey God or men?
4:20 What we have seen and heard is too important to keep quiet.”)
King James
Acts 4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
4:19 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.
4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

The judgment to release the men was based on (1) a lack of evidence of any wrongdoing, legally, and (2) the men’s popularity. Which area do you think carried the greater concern? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:21 Since the Jews had no evidence of wrongdoing that would justify punishment and knowing the men’s popularity among the people, they threatened them again and let them go.
King James
Acts 4:21 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.

In telling the story, why was the healed man’s age important?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:22 The healed man was more than forty years old, making the miracle credible if he dared speak of it.
King James
Acts 4:22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.

How might the perspectives differ when this story was told by the healed man, Peter, or John?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 4:23 Released, they went to their friends and told all that had happened.
King James
Acts 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.

The news brought unified praises to God. Some of the believers’ songs were from scripture, while others were born out of spontaneous recognition of what God was doing. Why might that response be expected?

Author’s Thoughts
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Lev 26:10 The abundance of your harvest will last into the next year, and you’ll have to get rid of the old to make room for the new.
Mat 11:25 Suddenly, he looked upward and said, “I thank you, Father, ruler of heaven and earth, because you have revealed to ordinary people what you have hidden from those who think they are educated and wise.
21:16 They said to Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes, I do,” Jesus said. “Haven’t you read the scriptures? From the mouths of infants and children, you have raised up a strong voice to refute your enemies, silencing the adverse words of all who oppose you.
Act 4:24 After hearing the news, the people with one voice praised God, singing, “You are our Sovereign Lord, creator of the universe and every living thing, who is always faithful and true to his word,
4:25 who by the mouth of your servant David said, Why are the unbelievers so angry that they devise such vanities.
4:26 Earth’s kings sit upon their thrones and plot against the Lord and his Anointed, but he who sits on his throne in Heaven is laughing at the silliness of their presumption.
4:27 Herod and Pilate and Israelites and foreigners have gathered against your Anointed, your holy Son, Jesus,
4:28 to do what your purpose and plan had determined must happen.”
4:29 Now, O Lord, give your servants boldness to speak your truth, fearless in the face of their threatening.
4:30 Extend your healing hand, revealing your miraculous power in the authority of Christ Jesus.”
King James
Lev 26:10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
21:16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
Act 4:24 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:
4:25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
4:27 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,
4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
4:30 by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

After praise came prayer. Given the nature of their praise, what do you think the nature of their prayer would have been?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 4:31 After they had prayed, the room shook and the Holy Spirit filled them all, giving them boldness to speak God’s word.
King James
Acts 4:31 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.

The function of being “filled with the Spirit” was to boldly speak God’s word. How was this outpouring different from what happened on the day of Pentecost?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 12:12 At the time you must speak, you will be given the right words to say.
Acts 4:31 After they had prayed, the room shook and the Holy Spirit filled them all, giving them boldness to speak God’s word.
King James
Luke 12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
Acts 4:31 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.

People make sacrifices only if they believe in the reward. What “single vision” do you think the believers had, which would cause them all to sell their assets and give to those in need?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 4:32 The large company of believers were of one mind, with a single vision, regarding none of their possessions as exclusively their own but sharing with one another all they had.
King James
Acts 4:32 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.

With the sale of assets, Jesus’ followers possessed less. What had been gained that “showed God’s favor upon them all”?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Luke 12:15 He said to the crowd, “Look, do not be greedy. Satisfaction in life does not come from having an abundance of possessions.”
Acts 4:33 With the help of the Holy Spirit, God’s messengers gave powerful testimonies about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. In the midst of political and social pressures, God’s favor was upon them all.
4:34 Nothing was lacking among the Christians, because owners sold their houses and land and brought all money from the transactions
4:35 and gave it to the apostles to distribute to others according to their needs.
King James
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
4:34 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,
4:35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

From the sale of his land, Barnabas gave the entire amount to the apostles. Why do you suppose he wanted to give everything?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Mark 12:44 The rich gave a portion of their abundance that they will never miss, but she has given all she had to live on.
Acts 4:36 Joseph, a Levite native to Cyprus—called Barnabas by the apostles, meaning son of comfort—
4:37 sold his land and brought the entire sum for the apostles’ use.
King James
Mark 12:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Acts 4:36 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,
4:37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.