Acts 5: The Great Deception

How involved in church ministry do you think Ananias and Sapphira were?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:1 One day, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold a piece of property
5:2 and kept a portion for themselves while saying they were giving it all to the apostles.
King James
Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
5:2 and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

People tell lies when they think they have something to gain. What did Ananias have to gain by saying he had given the entire price of the land? What percentage do you think was withheld?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:1 One day, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold a piece of property
5:2 and kept a portion for themselves while saying they were giving it all to the apostles.
King James
Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
5:2 and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

A lie has no value unless it is thought to be the truth, so we can be sure that Ananias did his best to appear completely honest. How might Peter have known about Ananias’s deception?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:3 “Ananias,” Peter said, “why have you allowed the adversary to fill your heart to withhold some of the money and lie to the Holy Spirit?”
King James
Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Ananias thought he had lied to people, but Peter said he had lied to the Holy Spirit. Why is that an important distinction?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:4 Selling the land and how much you gave—that was entirely up to you, so what made you think of this deception? You’ve not just lied to men. You’ve lied to God.
King James
Acts 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Peter said Ananias didn’t have to give everything, so what kind of social pressure might have led him to think he needed to present that appearance?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:4 Selling the land and how much you gave—that was entirely up to you, so what made you think of this deception? You’ve not just lied to men. You’ve lied to God.
King James
Acts 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

If you were a medical examiner called to check Ananias’s body and determine the cause of death, what would you write on the report?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:5 After hearing these words, Ananias fell to the floor, dead. This brought great fear upon the people, that they not misrepresent the truth.
King James
Acts 5:5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

Why might others who heard about Ananias have reason to fear?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:5 After hearing these words, Ananias fell to the floor, dead. This brought great fear upon the people, that they not misrepresent the truth.
King James
Acts 5:5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

What kind of funeral proceedings do you think might have accompanied the burial of Ananias?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:6 Young men came in, wrapped Ananias in burial clothes, and put him in the grave.
King James
Acts 5:6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

Why might Sapphira have gone to see Peter three hours later?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:7 About three hours later, Sapphira came in, unaware of what had happened.
King James
Acts 5:7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

Peter asked Sapphira about the amount of the land sale. Why do you think he didn’t tell her about her husband?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:8 “I understand,” Peter said, “that you sold the land for this amount. Is that true?” “Yes,” she said, “that was the price.”
King James
Acts 5:8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

A conspiracy requires the agreement of more than one person. Do you think Sapphira was the first to be tempted to withhold a portion of the money, or was it her husband? What might motivate the spouse to agree?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:9 Peter said, “How did you and your husband conspire to tempt the Holy Spirit. Those who buried your husband are at the door, ready to carry you out.”
King James
Acts 5:9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

Sapphira suffered the same fate as her husband. Do you think either of them were given an opportunity to repent and be forgiven? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:10 She also fell to the floor, dead, and the young men buried her beside her husband.
King James
Acts 5:10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

As news spread throughout the community, what concerns might the followers of Jesus had? How would those feelings be different among nonbelievers?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:11 As the news spread throughout the community, great fear came upon the church, making people concerned about their behavior.
King James
Acts 5:11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

Among the people who assembled in the Temple, do you think the miracles were reserved only for the followers of Jesus or might God have reached out to others? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:12 As the people assembled at Solomon’s porch in the Temple, unified in praise and purpose, the apostles did many miracles and amazing deeds.
King James
Acts 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

What would make outsiders apprehensive about joining the believers?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:13 Outsiders had great appreciation for the believers, but they were apprehensive about joining them.
King James
Acts 5:13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.

Why do you think so many people believed, even though they were apprehensive?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:14 Yet multitudes of both men and women believed in the Lord Jesus,
5:15 so much so that the sick were brought into the streets on beds and mats in hope that Peter’s shadow might fall on them.
King James
Acts 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.
5:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

How could Peter’s shadow have any effect on people’s faith and their wellbeing?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:14 Yet multitudes of both men and women believed in the Lord Jesus,
5:15 so much so that the sick were brought into the streets on beds and mats in hope that Peter’s shadow might fall on them.
King James
Acts 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.
5:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

People came from outlying towns to seek healing. How did they hear about what was happening in Jerusalem and have reason to believe God would do something for them?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:16 A multitude came from surrounding towns into Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those who were troubled by evil spirits, and they were healed.
King James
Acts 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

Why would the high priest and Temple leaders be upset about the great things that were happening among the people?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:17 The high priest and his supporters, mainly Sadducees, were filled with resentment.
King James
Acts 5:17 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.

The Greek apostolos, which is often translated “apostles,” simply means “messenger,” perhaps referring to Jesus’ twelve disciples, but not necessarily. Why would it be important for the Jews to arrest the messengers rather than the followers of Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:18 They arrested the apostles and locked them up in the city jail.
King James
Acts 5:18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.

After the angel set his messengers free and told them to resume their speaking in the Temple, what might the reaction have been among the prison guards?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:19 But God’s angel came at night, opened the doors, and brought them out, saying,
5:20 “Go stand in the Temple and speak the message of eternal life to the people.”
5:21 Heeding those words, the apostles entered the Temple early the next morning and taught. At the same time, the high priest and his supporters had a council meeting of the Sanhedrin, the governing body of Israel, and sent for the apostles to be brought in from the jail.
5:22 When the officers discovered that the men weren’t there, they returned to the council,
5:23 saying, “We found the jail locked securely. The guards were standing outside the doors. But when we went in, no one was there.”)
King James
Acts 5:19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
5:20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
5:21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
5:22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,
5:23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

How soon did the messengers follow what the angel told them to do? What was going on with the Sanhedrin at the same time?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
5:21 Heeding those words, the apostles entered the Temple early the next morning and taught. At the same time, the high priest and his supporters had a council meeting of the Sanhedrin, the governing body of Israel, and sent for the apostles to be brought in from the jail.
King James
5:21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

If the officers found the jail locked securely, with the guards unaware that the prisoners were missing, by what means do you think the angel brought their escape?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:22 When the officers discovered that the men weren’t there, they returned to the council,
5:23 saying, “We found the jail locked securely. The guards were standing outside the doors. But when we went in, no one was there.”)
King James
Acts 5:22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,
5:23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

What might the Temple leaders have thought when they heard that the messengers were missing?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:24 When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering what was happening.
King James
Acts 5:24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.

When the messengers were found back in the Temple, teaching, what prevented their immediate arrest?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:25 A man came in, saying, “Those men you locked up in jail are in the Temple, teaching the people.”
5:26 The captain and his officers, fearing a riot and being stoned by the people, peaceably brought the apostles
5:27 before the Sanhedrin. The high priest began the interrogation,
5:28 saying, “Didn’t we strictly command you not to teach in the name of Jesus? You’re stirring up all Jerusalem with your doctrine and trying to blame us for this man’s death.”
King James
Acts 5:25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
5:26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
5:27 before the Sanhedrin. The high priest began the interrogation,
5:28 saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

Why do you think the Temple leaders were concerned most about the teaching and not about the means of the escape?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:26 The captain and his officers, fearing a riot and being stoned by the people, peaceably brought the apostles
5:27 before the Sanhedrin. The high priest began the interrogation,
5:28 saying, “Didn’t we strictly command you not to teach in the name of Jesus? You’re stirring up all Jerusalem with your doctrine and trying to blame us for this man’s death.”
King James
Acts 5:26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
5:27 before the Sanhedrin. The high priest began the interrogation,
5:28 saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

How did the motivation of the apostles compare with the desires of the Sanhedrin?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:29 “We are compelled to obey God, not men,” Peter said, and the rest of the apostles agreed.
King James
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Why might the unified position of all the messengers been important during the interrogation? How do you suppose that agreement was expressed?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:29 “We are compelled to obey God, not men,” Peter said, and the rest of the apostles agreed.
King James
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

How might the Temple leaders’ expectation differ from what Peter said the Messiah’s purpose was for coming?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:30 “You crucified Jesus, but the God of our ancestors raised him from the dead.
5:31 God has promoted him to the highest honor, the superhero leader and deliverer to bring Israel to a change of heart and forgive their sins.
King James
Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

What is the value of being an eyewitness?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:32 We are eyewitnesses to these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”
King James
Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Why did the Sanhedrin believe the messengers should be killed? What means of elimination do you think might have been considered?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:33 After hearing this, the council was furious and deliberated ways they might kill the apostles.
7:58 After dragging him out of the city, they stoned him. Stephen’s accusers left their coats under the watchful eye of a young man named Saul.
23:12 The next morning, the Jews conspired against Paul, swearing that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed him.
King James
Acts 5:33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
23:12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.

Why did Gamaliel recommend caution?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:34 Gamaliel, a Pharisee and teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood among the Sanhedrin and ordered the apostles to be removed for a while.
5:35 “Men of Israel,” he said, “we should be cautious in dealing with these men.
5:36 Theudas once boasted to be somebody and some four hundred men became his followers. When he was killed, his disciples were scattered and his campaign dwindled to nothing.
5:37 Later, during the census, Judas of Galilee gathered a huge following. But after he died, all his followers lost interest.
5:38 So this is my advice: Let these men go, because this movement will soon die if it’s a human contrivance.
5:39 But if it’s of God, we can’t overthrow it, and we shouldn’t want to.”
King James
Acts 5:34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
5:35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
5:36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
5:37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
5:38 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:
5:39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

If the Sanhedrin agreed with Gamaliel’s counsel, why did they still have the apostles flogged?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:40 Agreeing with his counsel, the Sanhedrin had the apostles flogged and let them go after commanding them never to speak as ones under Jesus’ direction and authority.
King James
Acts 5:40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

What do you think the flogging did for, or against, the message about Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:41 The apostles left the assembly rejoicing that their flogging was bringing recognition and honor to Jesus’ name.
King James
Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Do you think the opposition of Temple leadership helped or hindered the spread of the gospel? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 5:42 From house to house and daily in the Temple, they continued to proclaim the good news about Jesus Christ.
King James
Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.