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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: The Acts of the Apostles

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Frameworks: Acts 4


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. )


v.1-4 Peter and John imprisoned

v.5-7 The Sanhedrin Question them next day

v.8-12 Peter explains how the man was healed

v.13-18 The Council Consider & demand they stop using Jesus' name

v.19-22 Peter challenges this decision and they are released

v.23-31 The Church Prays & the Spirit Comes

v.32-37 The Believers Share Their Possessions



v.1-4 Peter and John imprisoned


v.1  The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people.

v.2  They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

v.3  They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.

v.4  But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.


[Passage Synopsis: Even as in the previous chapter we saw the first healing, now in this following chapter we see the first outright opposition as the two apostles are arrested and put in prison over night – just for preaching Jesus.]



v.5-7 The Sanhedrin Question them next day


v.5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.

v.6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest's family.

v.7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”


[Passage Synopsis: We have called this the Sanhedrin but it may not have been the full council, just some of the senior members. They bring them out of prison and challenge their authority.]



v.8-12 Peter explains how the man was healed


v.8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!

v.9  If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed,

v.10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.

v.11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.' [Psa 118:22]

v.12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”


[Passage Synopsis: Note again, ‘filled with the Holy Spirit'. God empowers Peter (you can see which side He's on!). Peter observes that being arrested for an act of kindness is not on, and refusing to be held back declares the name of Jesus and yet again uses OT prophetic scriptures to justify his position.]



v.13-18 The Council Consider & demand they stop using Jesus' name


v.13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

v.14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.

v.15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.

v.16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it.

v.17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

v.18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.


[Passage Synopsis: The power of his presentation challenges the council who talk in private about what to do with them. They simply demand again that the apostles stop using the name of Jesus.]



v.19-22 Peter challenges this decision and they are released


v.19  But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God's eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!

v.20  As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

v.21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.

v.22  For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.


[Passage Synopsis: Peter rejects their demands saying they must obey God for it is obvious what has happened – they know what they have seen! They are released and the ordinary people rejoice.]



v.23-31 The Church Prays & the Spirit Comes


v.23 They report all this to the church

v.23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.


v.24-26 The church then uses OT teaching from Psa 2 in their prayers

v.24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.

v.25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “‘Why do the nations rage  and the peoples plot in vain?

v.26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one. [That is, Messiah or Christ Psa 2:1,2]


v.27-28 and they apply it to the recent days

v.27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.

v.28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.


v.29-31 So now they appeal to the Lord to come in power and He does

v.29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.

v.30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

v.31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.


[Passage Synopsis: A wonderful example of scripture enabled praying that takes prophecy, applies it to the present and petitions God on that basis. The Lord answers directly!]



v.32-37 The Believers Share Their Possessions


v.32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

v.33-35 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

v.36,37 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.


[Passage Synopsis: Another glimpse into the life of the early church, their unity and their care for one another. One should perhaps not [to avoid extremist teaching] that it doesn't say they sold ALL their property, but nevertheless there was real sharing, meeting one another's needs.]




Continue to chapter 5