November 19

Acts 4:1 — 6:15

Now while the [two] were speaking to the people, the chief priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 being annoyed because they were teaching the people and were plainly declaring the resurrection from the dead in the case of Jesus; 3 and they laid their hands upon them and put them in custody till the next day, for it was already evening. 4 However, many of those who had listened to the speech believed, and the number of the men became about five thousand.

5 The next day there took place in Jerusalem the gathering together of their rulers and older men and scribes 6 (also Annas the chief priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander and as many as were of the chief priest’s kinsfolk), 7 and they stood them in their midst and began to inquire: “By what power or in whose name did YOU do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with holy spirit, said to them:

“Rulers of the people and older men, 9 if we are this day being examined, on the basis of a good deed to an ailing man, as to by whom this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of YOU and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom YOU impaled but whom God raised up from the dead, by this one does this man stand here sound in front of YOU. 11 This is ‘the stone that was treated by YOU builders as of no account that has become the head of the corner.’ 12 Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”

13 Now when they beheld the outspokenness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were men unlettered and ordinary, they got to wondering. And they began to recognize about them that they used to be with Jesus; 14 and as they were looking at the man that had been cured standing with them, they had nothing to say in rebuttal. 15 So they commanded them to go outside the Sanhedrin hall, and they began consulting with one another, 16 saying: “What shall we do with these men? Because, for a fact, a noteworthy sign has occurred through them, one manifest to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. 17 Nevertheless, in order that it may not be spread abroad further among the people, let us tell them with threats not to speak anymore upon the basis of this name to any man at all.”

18 With that they called them and charged them, nowhere to make any utterance or to teach upon the basis of the name of Jesus. 19 But in reply Peter and John said to them: “Whether it is righteous in the sight of God to listen to YOU rather than to God, judge for yourselves. 20 But as for us, we cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard.” 21 So, when they had further threatened them, they released them, since they did not find any ground on which to punish them and on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God over what had occurred; 22 for the man upon whom this sign of healing had occurred was more than forty years old.

23 After being released they went to their own people and reported what things the chief priests and the older men had said to them. 24 Upon hearing this they with one accord raised their voices to God and said:

“Sovereign Lord, you are the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them, 25 and who through holy spirit said by the mouth of our forefather David, your servant, ‘Why did nations become tumultuous and peoples meditate upon empty things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.’ 27 Even so, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with [men of] nations and with peoples of Israel were in actuality gathered together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28 in order to do what things your hand and counsel had foreordained to occur. 29 And now, Jehovah, give attention to their threats, and grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand for healing and while signs and portents occur through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31 And when they had made supplication, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were one and all filled with the holy spirit and were speaking the word of God with boldness.

32 Moreover, the multitude of those who had believed had one heart and soul, and not even one would say that any of the things he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common. 33 Also, with great power the apostles continued giving forth the witness concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and undeserved kindness in large measure was upon them all. 34 In fact, there was not one in need among them; for all those who were possessors of fields or houses would sell them and bring the values of the things sold 35 and they would deposit them at the feet of the apostles. In turn distribution would be made to each one, just as he would have the need. 36 So Joseph, who was surnamed Barnabas by the apostles, which means, when translated, Son of Comfort, a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 possessing a piece of land, sold it and brought the money and deposited it at the feet of the apostles.

However, a certain man, Ananias by name, together with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession 2 and secretly held back some of the price, his wife also knowing about it, and he brought just a part and deposited it at the feet of the apostles. 3 But Peter said: “Ananias, why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field? 4 As long as it remained with you did it not remain yours, and after it was sold did it not continue in your control? Why was it that you purposed such a deed as this in your heart? You have played false, not to men, but to God.” 5 On hearing these words Ananias fell down and expired. And great fear came over all those hearing of it. 6 But the younger men rose, wrapped him in cloths, and carried him out and buried him.

7 Now after an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter said to her: “Tell me, did YOU [two] sell the field for so much?” She said: “Yes, for so much.” 9 So Peter said to her: “Why was it agreed upon between YOU [two] to make a test of the spirit of Jehovah? Look! The feet of those who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Instantly she fell down at his feet and expired. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her alongside her husband. 11 Consequently great fear came over the whole congregation and over all those hearing about these things.

12 Moreover, through the hands of the apostles many signs and portents continued to occur among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s colonnade. 13 True, not a one of the others had the courage to join himself to them; nevertheless, the people were extolling them. 14 More than that, believers in the Lord kept on being added, multitudes both of men and of women; 15 so that they brought the sick out even into the broad ways and laid them there upon little beds and cots, in order that, as Peter would go by, at least his shadow might fall upon some one of them. 16 Also, the multitude from the cities around Jerusalem kept coming together, bearing sick people and those troubled with unclean spirits, and they would one and all be cured.

17 But the high priest and all those with him, the then existing sect of the Sadducees, rose and became filled with jealousy, 18 and they laid hands upon the apostles and put them in the public place of custody. 19 But during the night Jehovah’s angel opened the doors of the prison, brought them out and said: 20 “Be on YOUR way, and, having taken a stand in the temple, keep on speaking to the people all the sayings about this life.” 21 After hearing this, they entered into the temple at daybreak and began to teach.

Now when the high priest and those with him arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin and all the assembly of older men of the sons of Israel, and they sent out to the jail to have them brought. 22 But when the officers got there they did not find them in the prison. So they returned and made report, 23 saying: “The jail we found locked with all security and the guards standing at the doors, but on opening up we found no one inside.” 24 Well, when both the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they fell into a quandary over these matters as to what this would come to. 25 But a certain man arrived and reported to them: “Look! The men YOU put in the prison are in the temple, standing and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain went off with his officers and proceeded to bring them, but without violence, as they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

27 So they brought them and stood them in the Sanhedrin hall. And the high priest questioned them 28 and said: “We positively ordered YOU not to keep teaching upon the basis of this name, and yet, look! YOU have filled Jerusalem with YOUR teaching, and YOU are determined to bring the blood of this man upon us.” 29 In answer Peter and the [other] apostles said: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men. 30 The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom YOU slew, hanging him upon a stake. 31 God exalted this one as Chief Agent and Savior to his right hand, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these matters, and so is the holy spirit, which God has given to those obeying him as ruler.”

33 When they heard this, they felt deeply cut and were wanting to do away with them. 34 But a certain man rose in the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a Law teacher esteemed by all the people, and gave the command to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, pay attention to yourselves as to what YOU intend to do respecting these men. 36 For instance, before these days Theudas rose, saying he himself was somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined his party. But he was done away with, and all those who were obeying him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose in the days of the registration, and he drew off people after him. And yet that man perished, and all those who were obeying him were scattered abroad. 38 And so, under the present circumstances, I say to YOU, Do not meddle with these men, but let them alone; (because, if this scheme or this work is from men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is from God, YOU will not be able to overthrow them;) otherwise, YOU may perhaps be found fighters actually against God.” 40 At this they gave heed to him, and they summoned the apostles, flogged them, and ordered them to stop speaking upon the basis of Jesus’ name, and let them go.

41 These, therefore, went their way from before the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to be dishonored in behalf of his name. 42 And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.

Now in these days, when the disciples were increasing, a murmuring arose on the part of the Greek-speaking Jews against the Hebrew-speaking Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. 2 So the twelve called the multitude of the disciples to them and said: “It is not pleasing for us to leave the word of God to distribute [food] to tables. 3 So, brothers, search out for yourselves seven certified men from among YOU, full of spirit and wisdom, that we may appoint them over this necessary business; 4 but we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And the thing spoken was pleasing to the whole multitude, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith and holy spirit, and Philip and Prochorus and Nicanor and Timon and Parmenas and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch; 6 and they placed them before the apostles, and, after having prayed, these laid their hands upon them.

7 Consequently the word of God went on growing, and the number of the disciples kept multiplying in Jerusalem very much; and a great crowd of priests began to be obedient to the faith.

8 Now Stephen, full of graciousness and power, was performing great portents and signs among the people. 9 But certain men rose up of those from the so-called Synagogue of the Freedmen, and of the Cyrenians and Alexandrians and of those from Cilicia and Asia, to dispute with Stephen; 10 and yet they could not hold their own against the wisdom and the spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say: “We have heard him speaking blasphemous sayings against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the older men and the scribes, and, coming upon him suddenly, they took him by force and led him to the Sanhedrin. 13 And they brought forward false witnesses, who said: “This man does not stop speaking things against this holy place and against the Law. 14 For instance, we have heard him say that this Jesus the Nazarene will throw down this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”

15 And as all those sitting in the Sanhedrin gazed at him, they saw that his face was as an angel’s face.