Acts 4 Commentary

Acts chapter 4 commentary Bible study

Acts Chapter 4 Commentary Bible Study


Acts 4:11-12 Chief Cornerstone
Acts 4:13 Peter and John
Acts 4:14-22 Lame Man
Acts 4:23-31 You are God
Acts 4:32-35 One Heart One Soul
Acts 4:36-37 Barnabas
Acts 4 Bible Study Questions (Handout)
ACTS 4:1-2  1 Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Who are "they" (Acts 4:1) and where were they?
Acts 4 continues Acts 3, in which Peter and John healed a lame man in the name of Jesus, and then preached the Gospel to the people who gathered at Solomon's Porch.

Who is the "captain of the temple" (Acts 4:1)?
The captain of the Jewish temple guards. Most likely, he would have brought some of his guards with him.

Who are the "Sadducees" (Acts 4:1)?
See Sadducees.

Why would they be "greatly disturbed" (Acts 4:2) by Peter's message?
They considered the temple to be their turf, and "resurrection from the dead" (Acts 4:2) would have been particularly disturbing to the Sadducees, who deny life after death.

ACTS 4:3-4  3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

What was the result of Peter's message?
"Many of those who heard the word believed" (Acts 4:4). Acts 2:41 records the number of men who believed after Peter's first sermon as three thousand. Now it was "about five thousand" (Acts 4:4), which means the total number of Christians including women and children would have been in the five figures.

What happened to Peter and John?
They were arrested and put "in custody until the next day" (Acts 4:3).

ACTS 4:5-7  5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, 6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

Who had gathered "on the next day" (Acts 4:5)?
The Sanhedrin.

Wasn't Caiaphas the high priest?
See Annas and Caiaphas.

Who are "John and Alexander" (Acts 4:6)?
The "John" named in this passage is most likely Annas' son who succeeded Caiaphas as the 'official' high priest in 37 AD. Not much is known about Alexander.

Why did they ask, "By what power or by what name have you done this (Acts 4:7)?"
They were asking at least about the power or authority by which the lame man had been healed. In addition, they could have been asking also about the power or authority by which the people in the temple had been taught.

Did Peter and John have cause for concern?
The last time this group had gathered for something to do with Jesus, they had committed murder. We know that Peter and John lived past this confrontation, but standing before the Sanhedrin at this moment, the apostles could well have thought that they would be murdered as well because of what Peter was about to tell them.

ACTS 4:8-10  8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

Does Peter mince words or try to sugarcoat his response?
No, he confronts them head on, even mentioning, "Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead" (Acts 4:10).

Who is empowering Peter?
"The Holy Spirit" (Acts 4:8).