Acts 4

Acts 4
Papyrus 8 - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin inv. 8683 - Acts of the Apostles 4, 5 - recto.jpg
Acts 4:31–37; 6:8-15 on the recto side of Papyrus 8 (4th century).
BookActs of the Apostles
CategoryChurch history
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part5

Acts 4 is the fourth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The book containing this chapter is anonymous but early Christian tradition affirmed that Luke composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke.[1] This chapter records the aftermath of a healing by Simon Peter and his preaching in Solomon's Portico, that Sanhedrin arrested the apostles, but had to let them go.[2]


The original text was written in Koine Greek and is divided into 37 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

Old Testament references[edit]

New Testament references[edit]

Conflicting reactions (4:1–4)[edit]

Peter's speech (Acts 3) was interrupted by the temple authorities who come to silence the apostles, but behind the scenes, more people join the church.[6]

Arrest and Trial (4:5–12)[edit]

The apostles spent a night in jail (verse 5) and brought before a full session of Sanhedrin the next morning.[7]

Verse 10[edit]

[Simon Peter said]: "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."[8]

Peter replies to the question of the council (verse 7) on the origin of the healing power by identifying it with Jesus Christ of Nazareth.[7]

Verse 11[edit]

[Simon Peter said]: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."[9]

Citing Psalm 118:22.[7]

Verse 12[edit]

[Simon Peter said]: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."[10]

In his last sentence, Peter "goes further than anything he has yet said: Christ is the only mean of salvation."[7]

Deliberation of the Council (4:13–22)[edit]

Here Luke gives a glimpse of "the inner workings of the Sanhedrin", especially the elitist perspective: perceiving the apostles in verse 13 as 'uneducated and untrained' (not the sense of illiterate but the sense of not having the education level of the elders and the scribes) as well as displaying 'us' and 'them' attitude toward 'the people' (verses 16, 17, 21).[7]

A Prophetic Prayer (4:23–31)[edit]

This section gives a glimpse of "the apostolic circle at prayer", and this particular prayer provides a "theological framework" for "legitimate exercise of free speech in the face of a tyrannical abuse of authority" (verse 29).[7]

The Common Life (4:32–37)[edit]

A slightly more detailed than in 2:44-45, it notes how money raised from the property sale was "channelled through the apostles" (verse 35) to emphasize "the sense of centralized authority".[7]

Verses 32–35[edit]

32All 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.33With 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 34that 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 35and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.[11]

Several Christian communities look to the first church in Jerusalem, as described in Acts 2 and 4 for a direction for how to put Jesus' commands to love God and neighbour into practice. The Simple Way, the Bruderhof,[12] the Hutterites and Rutba House all draw inspiration from Acts 4:32–35. The Bruderhof, an international communal movement of families and singles live in full community of goods; no one possesses anything and everything is shared in common.[13]

Verses 36–37[edit]

36And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.[14]
  • "Barnabas" would later play an important role in the early ministry of Apostle Paul (Acts 9:26-30; Acts 11), and, "with typically Lukan economy" of literary device, is introduced here as a character who displays "a positive example of the ideal use of wealth".[15]
  • "Son of Encouragement": The Greek text υἱὸς παρακλήσεως, hyios paraklēseōs can also mean "son of consolation". One theory is that this is from the Aramaic בר נחמה, bar neḥmā, meaning 'son (of) consolation'. Another is that it is related to the Hebrew word nabī (נביא, Aramaic nebī) meaning "prophet".[16][17] In the Syriac Bible, the phrase "son of consolation" is translated bara dbuya'a.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alexander 2007, p. 1028.
  2. ^ Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an abbreviated Bible commentary. 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House. 1962.
  3. ^ Aland, Kurt; Aland, Barbara (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Erroll F. Rhodes (trans.). Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8028-4098-1.
  4. ^ a b Kirkpatrick 1901, p. 840.
  5. ^ Kirkpatrick 1901, p. 838.
  6. ^ Alexander 2007, p. 1033–1034.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Alexander 2007, p. 1034.
  8. ^ Acts 4:10, NKJV
  9. ^ Acts 4:11 NKJV
  10. ^ Acts 4:12 NKJV
  11. ^ Acts 4:32–35 NIV
  12. ^ "Life Among The Bruderhof". The American Conservative. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  13. ^ "Bruderhof – Fellowship for Intentional Community". Fellowship for Intentional Community. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  14. ^ Acts 4:36-37 NKJV
  15. ^ Alexander, 2007 & p]1034.
  16. ^ David H. Stern (1992). Jewish New Testament Commentary. pp. 235–6. ISBN 978-9653590113.
  17. ^ "Barnabas". BibleHub. from Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
  18. ^ "Acts 4". BibleHub.


External links[edit]