Acts 5

Acts chapter 5

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Acts 5 Chapter, Commentary, Bible Study

Acts 5:1-11

Acts 5:12-16 Solomon's Porch
Acts 5:17-28 Sadducees
Acts 5:28-33 Obey God rather than Men
Acts 5:34-42 Gamaliel
ACTS 5:1-6  1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

What "possession" did Ananias and Sapphira sell?
Their "land" (Acts 5:3)

What did they do with the "proceeds"?
Ananias "kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet." (Acts 5:2)

What was wrong with keeping back part of the proceeds?
There was nothing intrinsically wrong with it. Peter even told him he could have done whatever he wanted with it: "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?" (Acts 5:4)

Then what was Ananias guilty of?
Lying to God. Ananias had claimed that the money he brought was the entire proceeds from the sale of the land. He thought he was lying to men but Peter corrected him: "You have not lied to men but to God." (Acts 5:4)

Why would Ananias make that claim?
He was probably jealous of and trying to copy Joses, who had been named the "Son of Encouragement" by the Apostles and who had brought in the entire proceeds from the sale of his land as mentioned at the end of the previous chapter: "And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet." (Acts 4:36-37)

What would have happened if Ananias had simply brought in some money for the needs of others?
He would have been fine and probably praised. But Ananias had wanted more, to be known as someone who had at least matched Joses' devotion. His motivation wasn't to please God and help people, at least not purely, but (also) to glorify himself, while being led by greed to hold back some money, and by Satan to lie. 

What does this passage say about the Holy Spirit?
By telling Ananias, "why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit... You have not lied to men but to God," Peter testified that Holy Spirit is God.

ACTS 5:7-11  7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

Did Peter trap Sapphira with his question, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" (Acts 5:8)
No, he "answered" her with that question, which means that Sapphira first asked him a question or said something that led him to respond with this question.

Why do Peter and Sapphira converse in terms of "so much"?
Both of them most likely could visualize the money that Ananias had brought in and were conversing while looking at and/or pointing to it.

What does Peter learn from her answer?
Sapphira had been party to the lie: "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?" (Acts 5:9)

Did Peter kill Sapphira?
No, he prophesied that she would end up like her husband.

What effect did this incident have on the church?
"Great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things." (Acts 5:11)

How can the offerings of Joses, Ananias and Sapphira be compared?
We don't know the values of the land sold by Joses and Ananias and Sapphira. It's possible that Ananias and Sapphira's land was much larger and they had brought in more money than the entire proceeds from the sale of Joses' land. But the amount isn't what God is cares about, since everything in the universe is His, and He just wants to see how we treat and what we do with what He has entrusted to our care. Joses brought in God's money to God out of a true desire to serve Him and fellow Christians, and was praised. Ananias and Sapphira brought in "their" money to be praised by men, out of pride, and were struck dead.

Why do you give "your" money, skills and time to God?
 

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