New Defender's Study Bible Notes
4:2 through Jesus the resurrection. The authorities tried in every way to stop the spread of the Christian faith, especially “being grieved” at the preaching of the resurrection, since so many were believing it (Acts 4:4). They could have stopped the spread of the faith easily, of course, merely by producing and displaying the dead body of Jesus. This they could not do, however, because He had risen from the dead and ascended to heaven! Their inability to produce His body is thus one of the “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) of His bodily resurrection. They would surely have done this if they could.
4:6 Annas the high priest. The stone burial ossuary of Caiphas in the tomb of Annas was identified in 1994 near the Hinnom Valley in Jerusalem.
4:11 head of the corner. Peter, with John, preached with great boldness, even accusing the same chief priests that had manipulated the crucifixion of Jesus just a few weeks before. That same Peter had once been so fearful of his life that he denied Christ three times. The amazing transformation in Peter can only be explained in one way: he knew beyond any question that Jesus had triumphed over death and was now energizing him by His indwelling Spirit. He quoted Psalm 118:22 to them, exactly as Jesus had done earlier (Matthew 21:23,42), applying it directly against them.
4:12 none other name. This is one of the clearest statements that can be found anywhere setting forth the one way of salvation. Only Christ can save, for He both created and sustains all things. He Himself has made this plain (e.g., John 14:6). As offensive as such a truth may be to non-Christians, we must continually make it clear in our witness to them, for without Christ they are lost and bound for hell.
4:13 unlearned and ignorant men. Being “with Jesus” yields greater wisdom and courage, as well as happier and more productive lives, than great wealth or great learning, entities possessed in large measure by the men whom Peter and John were accusing. Suddenly the accused had become the accusers, and had silenced their intended judges.
4:14 nothing against it. Intellectual or philosophical arguments are silenced when confronted with direct evidence of the power of the gospel.
4:24 which hast made heaven. The first Christians firmly believed in a personal omnipotent Creator, who had now become man in the person of Jesus Christ, whom their own religious leaders had rejected. Knowing Him, they were glad to suffer persecution for His name’s sake (Acts 5:41).
4:25 thy servant David. Psalm 2:1-2 is quoted here in Acts 4:25-26, then applied in Acts 4:27-28. It is noteworthy that David is not actually listed as author of this psalm in a superscript in the book of Psalms itself, as was true for most of his psalms. This suggests that some of the other anonymous psalms may also have been written by David.
4:25 heathen. The reference to the “heathen” or “Gentiles” was meant to apply to Herod, Pilate and the other Gentiles who persecuted and executed Jesus. “The people,” therefore, refers to the Jewish mob and their leaders who were guilty of the same crime.
4:26 kings of the earth. The Messianic prophecies in the second psalm go well beyond their precursive fulfillment in the rejection and crucifixion of Christ at His first coming, looking ultimately to a worldwide rejection of Him and His people in the last days. See notes on Psalm 2.
4:28 determined before. “Determined before” is the same in the Greek as “predestinated.” These verses contain another striking example of the conjoining of human responsibility and God’s sovereignty in the same context, with no hint of this being a problem. Note also Acts 2:23.
4:29 with all boldness. This should be our prayer and attitude in these last days as Christians today face similar opposition in every land.
4:31 filled with the Holy Ghost. This was at least the second time that these early Christians in the Jerusalem church were filled with the Holy Spirit (note Acts 2:4). The “filling” of the Holy Spirit is not a once-for-all experience, but an oft-repeated experience, to be attained through earnest prayer and desire to honor God. Its manifestation is not usually that of supernatural speaking in other languages, as at Pentecost, but rather that of “speaking the word of God with boldness,” as on this occasion, and that of a joyful and godly Christian life (see Ephesians 5:18-20).
4:32 one soul. “One soul” connotes a common spirit of enthusiasm for the job at hand.
4:32 all things common. “Common” in the Greek means simply “ordinary.” Some believers (e.g., Barnabas—Acts 4:36-37) were well to do, but considered their possessions as just common goods which could easily be given up. This was not an early example of socialism or communism, as some teach, for it was entirely voluntary, not planned and enforced governmentally. They did not give up their possessions except as needed, but were quite willing to do so. Furthermore, this was done because of the special circumstances at the time and was not the practice among other churches. We should always be willing to share as needed, but this does not normally entail turning all possessions over to the church leaders.
4:33 witness of the resurrection. The apostles could witness “with great power” because they had seen the irrefutable evidence of the bodily resurrection of Christ. This is the crowning proof of the truth of Christianity. Only God Himself could defeat death, and Jesus had thereby demonstrated His unique deity. It is no wonder that very soon “the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly” (Acts 6:7).