1. The early church in Jerusalem, 1:1-5:42

xv] The disciples before the Sanhedrin


Luke now records the apostle's second confrontation with Israel's religious authorities. We read of the apostles' arrest, their miraculous escape from prison, their rearrest, and Peter's defence of their actions before the Sanhedrin. Under the hand of the Lord, the apostles have no need to step back from their preaching mission.


With the realisation of the kingdom of God, the gospel cannot be muffled. The powers of darkness may rant and rave, but they are left befuddled before God's mighty hand.


i] Context: See 4:1-22


ii] Background: See The movement of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, 1:1-11; The theological structure of the gospel message; 3:11-26; Prophecy in the New Testament and Signs and Wonders in Acts, 4:23-31.


iii] Structure: The disciples before the Sanhedrin:

The apostles are arrested for preaching in the temple, v17-18;

The miraculous breakout from prison, v19-20;

Back in the temple preaching again, v21-26;

Their witness before the Sanhedrin, v27-32;

An expedient solution for The Way, v33-42.


iii] Interpretation:

Luke's prime intent in Acts is to record the advance of the gospel from Jerusalem to the centre of the world, Rome, and the important part played in this advance by his hero, Paul, apostle to the Gentiles. This is certainly his overarching concern, but he has many other profound truths he wishes to communicate to God's assembled people, the church, in order to enable both nurture and outreach. In this passage, Luke tells us that the apostles, under the Lord, do not give ground on their preaching mission in the temple, and that although the authorities rant and rave, they are left befuddled before God's mighty hand. Luke's message is simple enough, the gospel cannot be muffled by the powers of darkness - truth will out.

Both Dunn and Tannehill focus on the pointed critique of the Sadducees and their repression of the gospel, particularly as they represent the temple authorities who plotted Jesus' death and continue in their persecution of his flock. Tannehill notes the link between the Sadducees' opposition and the apostles' preaching on the resurrection; the Sadducees do not believe in the resurrection of the dead.

Johnson notes that this second trial before the Sanhedrin is filled with irony; pomp and circumstance is pitted against the powerful will of God revealed in the miraculous release of the apostles from prison. "God is at work in the apostles, and they will not be stopped."

Barrett agrees on "the uselessness of fighting against God", and adds that Luke is also intent on making a number of other points: the apostle's representative role; the independence of Christianity from Judaism; the authoritative foundation of the gospel as a message concerning "the God of our fathers"; and of the positive approach, at least at this point of time, of the Pharisees.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 5:17

The disciples before the Sanhedrin, v17-42: i] Luke begins his account with the custodians of temple-worship taking action against the apostles for flouting their instruction to cease preaching in the temple precincts, v17-18.

oiJ "associates" - [but/and the high priest and all] the ones [with him]. The article serves as a nominalizer, turning the prepositional phrase "with him" into a substantive, nominative subject of the verb "to be filled [of = with jealousy]." The preposition sun, "with", gives the sense "associates".

ousa (eimi) "who were [members]" - [the sect, school, party] being. The participle of the verb to-be is adjectival, attributive, limiting the noun "the sect", usually translated as a relative clause, as NIV. Possibly a technical use meaning "current", so "local" as of "the local party (school) of the Sadducees", Barrett.

twn Saddoukaiwn gen. "the Sadducees" - of the sadducees. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / identification; "members of the party known as the Sadducees."

zhlou (oV) gen. "[full] of jealousy" - [they were filled] of zeal, jealousy. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / content, what they were full of; "envy", Bruce, although a positive sense is possible, "a holy sense of the truth as they believed it to be", cf., Barrett.

anastaV (anisthmi) aor. part. "-" - having stood up. The participle is probably adverbial, consecutive, expressing result, modifying the main verb "to be filled [of jealousy]." Sometimes the verb is used to indicate the initiation of an action, as here, so "the high priest and his supporters ........ were filled with envy and so (as a result) they decided to take action." Usually regarded as redundant and only serving to link the Sadducees' action with the preceding verse, so NIV. Possible variant, "Annas stood up." "Thereupon", Bruce.


epebalon (epiballw) aor. "they arrested [the apostles]" - [and] they laid, threw [the hands upon the apostles]. The use of "apostles" here may indicate a more extensive roundup and arrest than just Peter and John.

dhmosia/ adj. or adv. "public [jail]" - [and put them in] the public [jail]. Bruce thinks the word is used as an adjective, as NIV, describing something about the prison, possibly just "city jail", CEV, or "public" in the sense of a jail for the riffraff; "the common jail", Williams. As an adverb, it means "put them in prison publicly ", Barrett, that is, in such a way as to shame them.


ii] The breakout, v19-20. The religious authorities, particularly the Sadducees, were obviously planning some serious retribution, but the apostles are mysteriously freed and are again preaching "in the temple courts." Their mysterious escape at least implies that they had support in high places, so the authorities take care how they proceed. Luke tells us that the apostles were not freed because of a political conspiracy, but rather by the direct hand of God; a messenger (an "angel") from the Lord set them free and told them to continue preaching. Luke does not focus on the miracle, but on the apostles' continued proclamation of the gospel and, as a consequence, the Sadducees distress.

dia + gen. "during" - [and] through. Temporal use of the preposition, through in time = "during".

nuktoV (ux uktoV) gen. "night" - the night. A variant has the article, thus "the night in question."

aggeloV (oV) "an angel" - an angel. Nominative subject of the verb "to say." A messenger of the Lord, one who attends to God's divine will.

kuriou (oV) gen. "of the Lord" - of lord. The genitive may be ablative of source, "an angel from the Lord", although the lack of the article with both "angel" and "Lord" is typical of the LXX and usually indicates a possessive genitive, as of "belonging to the Lord." The actual identity of "the Lord" is not spelled out, either Jesus, or God the Father.

exagagwn (exagw) aor. part. "brought [them] out" - [having opened the doors of the jail and] having led out, brought out [them, said]. As with anoixaV, "having opened", attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "he said."


Continued proclamation is the order of the day.

staqenteV (iJsthmi) aor. pas. part. "stand" - [go and] having stood [speak in the temple]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "to go". As usual, best translated by a finite verb joined by "and", here taking its imperatival force from the imperative "go"; "go and stand in the temple", Moffatt.

tw/ law/ (oV) dat. "the people" - to [all] the people. Dative of indirect object.

ta rJhmata (a atoV) "the [full] message" - [all] the words. Accusative direct object of the verb "to say." They must proclaim all the words; hold nothing back.

thV zwhV gen. "of [this] new life" - of [this] life. The genitive is probably adverbial, of reference / respect; "the full message with respect to / with reference to this life." Bruce notes that the words "life" and "salvation" are interchangeable when used of the Christian message (the gospel), cf,. 13:26, "this salvation." So, probably a shorthand way of saying "this way of life" = the gospel, although most translators opt for "new life", as NIV. "Go, stand in the temple, and tell the crowds everything about this message of life (message of salvation)", Junkins.


iii] The apostles are back at preaching again; a story told with a definite touch of irony, v21-26. The Sanhedrin is doing its thing, but the Lord is doing his thing. This possibility is later acknowledged by the Pharisees, particularly Gamaliel with his comment, "if it is from God, you will not be able to destroy them." For Luke, the focus is on "the impotence of human authorities to control the course of events", Tannehill, or more particularly, the impotence of human authorities to hinder the communication of the gospel; the message of God's grace in Christ cannot be hindered by any powers or authorities.

akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "-" - [but/and] having heard. The participle is adverbial, temporal; "after receiving these instructions", Phillips.

uJpo + acc. of time "at [daybreak]" - under [the early morning they entered into the temple and were teaching]. This preposition, followed by an accusative, would normally be translated "under", but it is rather awkward to describe the apostles entering the temple "under the dawning sun", although the construction is classical for "at daybreak", as NIV. Culy suggests the construction may imply stealth.

paragenomenoV (paraginomai) aor. part. "when .... arrived" - [and the high priest] having come [and the ones with him]. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV. Obviously they didn't arrive where the apostles were preaching, but "arrived at the place where the Sanhedrin was to meet", Barrett.

kai "-" - [they called together the council] and [the assembly of the elders]. Bruce suggests the conjunction here is epexegetic, introducing an explanation of the makeup of the "Sanhedrin"; "the Sanhedrin, that is, the whole Jewish senate", Barclay.

twn uiJwn (oV) gen. "of the elders [of Israel]" - of the sons [of israel]. The genitive is adjectival, possibly of material; "the full assembly consisting of the elders of Israel."

acqhnai (agw) aor. pas. inf. "for" - [and they sent to the jail for the prisoners] to be brought, led, driven [to them]. The infinitive expresses purpose, "the authorities sent word to the jail in order to have the apostles brought to them."


paragenomenoi (paraginomai) aor. part. "on arriving" - [but/and the servants] having come, appeared [did not find them in the jail]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, "the arriving servants" = "the servants who arrived", although a temporal sense makes better sense, "when the officers arrived at the prison", NJB. The "servants" are "probably Levities of the temple watch", Bruce.

anastreyanteV (anastrefw) aor. part. "so they went back" - [but/and] having returned [they reported]. The participle is possibly attendant circumstance, expressing action accompanying the verb "reported", so translated as a finite verb, "they returned and told their story", Barclay, but also possibly temporal, "afterward, they went back and reported", or even consecutive expressing result, "with the result that they went back and reported", as NIV, NAB, REB, NJB .....


legonteV (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to report, announce", v22, pleonastic (redundant), introducing direct speech (although note the use here of oJti for that purpose), or adverbial, modal, expressing manner. See legonteV, 1:6.

en + dat. "securely" - [we found] with/in [all safety/security]. Here adverbial, modal, introducing a phrase expressing the manner in which the jail was "having been closed", ie., it was locked "securely"; "locked tight", CEV.

kekleismenon (kleiw) perf. pas. part. acc. "locked" - having been closed, locked, shut. The perfect tense expresses a completed action with ongoing consequences, so "incarcerated". The accusative participle serves as the complement of the object "jail", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object - "We found (verb) the prison (accusative object) securely locked (accusative complement)", cf., Wallace p182.

eJstwtaV (iJsthmi) perf. part. acc. "standing" - [and we found the guards] having stood [at the door]. The participle serves as an object complement, as above; "we found (verb) the guards (accusative object) standing (accusative complement)."

anoixanteV (anoigw) aor. part. "when we opened them" - [and] having opened [it, we found no one inside]. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV. "When we unlocked the door we found no one inside", NJB.


wJV "on [hearing]" - [but/and] when [they heard these words]. Here serving as a temporal conjunction rather than as a comparative.

te ....kai "and" - both [the caption of the temple] and [the chief priests]. Coordinate construction; "both ....., and ....."

dihporoun (diaporew) imperf. "were puzzled / were at a loss" - were thoroughly perplexed, baffled. Note again how the focus of this episode is not so much on the miraculous escape, but rather the confused response of the authorities as they are faced with their incapacity to muzzle the gospel. If the escape were all about escaping arrest then they wouldn't have been sent back to the temple to commence their preaching and so be arrested again. The story highlights the impotence of those who would muzzle the gospel. "Were quite at a loss", Moffatt.

peri "-" - about [them]. Reference; "concerning them."

tiv a]n + opt. "[wondering what this might lead to]" - if [this may be] what? The interrogative predicate nominative tiv with the indefinite a]n + the optative verb "to become", is probably an example of an oblique optative construction, a construction used only by Luke in the NT., expressing what is merely thought in indirect discourse, much the same as a deliberative subjunctive, but stronger, BDF#386. Wallace, on the other hand, does not regard it as oblique because of the presence of the particle a]n, and so in his view it is a potential optative functioning in an incomplete (always so in NT.) conditional clause 4th class where the stated condition, which must be supplied, has a vague possibility of occurring in the future. So, the authorities "were puzzled" in the terms of something like: "if [as seems to be the case] these men have somehow vanished from a jail cell which was locked and properly guarded (unstated protasis), [then] what could be happening? (apodosis). The "wondering", NIV, is not in the Gk., but is deduced from the use of the optative, and is akin to "being amazed", that is, troubled by a divine mystery; something unnatural has occurred. "They were completely mystified at the apostles' disappearance and wondered what further developments there would be", Phillips.


paragenomenoV (paraginomai) aor. part. " came [and said]" - [but/and a certain one] having come, arrived, appeared [reported, announced]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to report", as NIV; "however, someone came and reported to them", Moffatt.

autoiV dat. pro. "-" - to them. Dative of indirect object.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of direct speech.

eisin .. estwteV + pres. part. "are standing [in the temple]" - [behold, the men whom you put in the jail] are having stood [and are teaching the people in the temple]. The present tense of the verb to-be with the perfect participle forms a periphrastic perfect construction. The verb to-be also links to the present participle "teaching" forming a present periphrastic construction. The use of a periphrastic construction possibly serves to underline the durative nature of the action.


tote adv. "at that" - then, at that moment. Temporal adverb.

apelqwn (apercomai) aor. part. "went" - [the commander of a military unit = temple guard] having departed [with the = his servants, were leading them]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to lead", "the officers went and brought them", although with tote it may be classified as adverbial, temporal.

meta + gen. "they did [not] use [force]" - not with force. Here the preposition functions adverbially, modal, forming an adverbial phrase expressing the manner in which they were leading them, namely, "not with force." The sense here is that the officers led the apostles as if escorting them, rather than as if they had arrested them; "they dared not use any violence", Phillips.

gar "for" - because [they feared the people]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the officers did not use force.

mh aor. pas. subj. "that" - lest [they should be stoned]. A shortened version of iJna mh, "in order that not" = "lest [they be stoned]", so introducing a negated purpose clause. Variants exist with iJna mh. Wallace suggests that we have here a particular use of mh + the subjunctive after the verbs expressing "warning, caution or anxiety", so Culy. As such it would introduce a dependent statement of perception expressing the fear the officers have for the people, namely, of being stoned, as NIV. The officers are anxious about their own safety, rather than the safety of the apostles.


iv] The apostles before the Sanhedrin again, v27-33. In the presence of the Sanhedrin, the apostles are reminded that they were given strict instructions not to teach the people about "that man." Of course, they have done the opposite. The Sadducees interpret the apostles' actions as an attempt to hold them responsible for the death of Jesus in the eyes of the populous. Peter, on behalf of the other apostles, answers the charge by resting his case on divine authority. The authority of the Sanhedrin is substantial, but the apostles must submit to God rather than the authority of man.


In v30-31, Peter goes on to restate the substance of the apostolic gospel. cf., 2:22-36, 3:13-26, 4:10-12.

The time is fulfilled:

"God raised Jesus up", in the sense of establishing him as messiah, in the same sense as God "raised up David", cf. 3:26, 13:33. So, God has anointed Jesus as Israel's long-awaited prophet, priest and king.

"You killed by hanging him on a tree." As prophesied, God's people set upon his suffering servant, cursing him with an ignominious death - "he that is hanged on a tree is cursed of God", Deut.21:23. As prophesied, the people of Israel have inflicted disgrace on their messiah, disgrace on the innocent one.

The kingdom of God is at hand:

"God exalted him." Here the reference is most likely to Jesus' resurrection and ascension. Jesus is now Lord and Saviour, possessing glory, authority and power.

Repent and believe the gospel (for the forgiveness of sins):

"To grant repentance and forgiveness of sins." Therefore, Jesus is authorized to provide for his people a time to repent, along with the blessing of forgiveness (peace with God).


Peter ends his address in v32 by making the point that the apostles are witnesses of these truths - they "beheld his glory"; they are witnesses to Christ's life, death, resurrection and ascension. This witness is confirmed by the Holy Spirit, whose power is active in the apostles' ministry.

agagonteV (agw) aor. part. "having brought" - [but/and] having brought [them they stood in the council]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to stand"; "they brought them in and placed them before", Barclay, but it could be treated as adverbial, temporal; "when they brought them in to face the Sanhedrin", NJB.

en + dat. "before [the Sanhedrin]" - in [the council]. Local, expressing space.

oJ arciereuV - iJreuV "the High Priest" - [and] the high priest [questioned them]. Nominative subject of the verb "to question." Note the possible alternate reading "priest", or even "temple manager"


legwn (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to question", v27. A redundant Semitic construction introducing direct speech; "the high priest questioned them and said." For a classification adverbial, modal, expressing manner, see legonteV, 1:6.

ou "-" - did we not. Variant. This negation is used in a question where an affirmative answer is expected; "did we not strictly order you ..?", Barclay.

uJmin dat. pro. "[give] you" - [command] you. Dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "to command."

paraggelia/ (a) dat. "strict orders" - with a command. This cognate dative is adverbial, modifying / strengthening the verb "to command"; "Did we not strictly command you .....?" Barrett suggests that the construction imitates a Hebrew infinitive absolute. The apostles, having previously been commanded to be silent, are in a sense, now in contempt of court.

mh didaskein (didaskw) pres. inf. "not to teach" - not to teach. The infinitive is used to form a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the authorities originally told the apostles not to do, namely, to teach.

epi "in [this name]" - upon [this name]. Various prepositions are used to introduce this idiomatic phrase identifying the authority of the person upon which the action is based; "in the name of Jesus", cf., 4:18. The authorities don't want to mention Jesus' name, so for them it is "this name." Usually in the sense of "under the authority of Jesus." "We gave you strict orders not to go on teaching in that name", NCV.

peplhrwkate (plhrow) perf. "you have filled" - [and behold,] you have filled [jerusalem]. The perfect tense (an aorist variant exists) is probably extensive (consummative), emphasizing the completed past action of filling Jerusalem with their teaching which has now produced ongoing consequences.

thV didachV (h) gen. "with [your] teaching" - of the teaching [of you]. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / content; "you have filled Jerusalem full of your teaching."

epagagein (epagw) aor. inf. "[determined] to make" - [and you will, want] to bring [upon us]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to will."

to aiJma (a atoV) "blood" - the blood [of this man]. Referring to Jesus' execution. The authorities feel that they are being accused of playing a part in a sham trial and execution. The apostles certainly hold the Jewish authorities responsible, rather than the Roman authorities. "Whom you crucified", is fairly pointed, and Peter goes on to restate the charge in 5:30. It is unlikely that the authorities feel any shame for their actions, but they certainly would be concerned if the populous begin to hold them responsible for a miscarriage of justice. "The expression is disparaging", Barrett. "You are determined to fasten the guilt of that man's death upon us", Phillips.


Rather than defend the charge, Peter rests his argument on an overriding principle - it is necessary to obey God.

apokriqeiV (apokrinomai) aor. pas. part. "-" - [but/and] having answered [peter and the apostles said]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say"; redundant Aramaic construction. The order in the Gk. suggests that it was Peter who actually spoke and did so with the agreement of, and on behalf of, the other apostles; "So Peter answered on behalf of the apostles, 'Our duty is to obey God, not men.'"

peiqarcein (peiqarcew) pres. inf. "We [must] obey" - to obey [god is necessary, more = rather than man]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the impersonal verb "is necessary." For a complementary classification, see plhrwqhnai, 1:16. The sense is that where there is a conflict between the authority of God and the authority of man (secular or religious powers), "we must obey the orders of God rather than the orders of men", Phillips.

qew/ (oV) dat. "God" - god. Probably best classed as a dative of direct object after the verb "to obey", but it may also be treated as adverbial, reference / respect "to obey is necessary with respects / reference to God."


Peter, in v31-32, declared the kerygma / gospel: (In fulfilment of prophecy) God raised up Jesus as his anointed messiah, whom you then murdered, but God exalted him as Lord, so providing to Israel salvation / forgiveness of sins through repentance.

twn paterwn (hr roV) gen. "of [our] fathers" - [the god] of the fathers [of us]. Genitive of relationship where Peter ties the apostles and the authorities together under the same God, Yahweh. "The Christian faith is the fulfillment, not the contradiction of Judaism", Barrett.

hgeiren (egairw) aor. "raised [Jesus] from the dead" - raised, lifted up [jesus]. The NIV, as do many commentators, assumes that Luke is referring to the resurrection of Jesus, but it seems more likely, at this point in Peter's address, that the establishment of Jesus as messiah is in mind - in the same sense as God "raised up (exalted) David", cf., 3:26, 13:33. So, it seems likely that Luke is using this verb here with the same sense as anisthmi, "to raise up", the raising up of the prophet Jesus, 2:24, or Thaudas, 5:36, or Judas the Galilean, 5:37. God anointed Jesus as Israel's long-awaited prophet, priest and king, but his own people, set upon him and murdered him. God raised up Jesus to be the messiah, you kill him, but God exalted him.

kremasanteV (krennanumi) aor. part. "by hanging him [on a tree]" - [whom you killed = murdered] having hung [upon a tree, post = gallows, cross]. The participle is adverbial, instrumental, expressing means; Jesus was murdered "by means of" crucifixion. The reference is to Deut.21:22-23.


uJywsen (uJyow) aor. "[God] exalted" - [god] lifted up, exalted. The exaltation of Christ involves his resurrection, ascension and enthronement as Lord. Of course, those who take "raised up" in v30 as a reference to Christ's resurrection, take "exalted" here to refer to his ascension and enthronement / glorification.

th/ dexia/ dat. "to [his] right hand" - to the right [of him]. The dative is possibly local, as NIV, but instrumental seems better, "by/with his right hand."

archgon kai swthra "Prince and Saviour" - [this one] a prince and saviour. Accusative complement of the direct object "this one", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object "this one", so Culy, as NIV. Possibly as compound accusatives that are predicative, "exalted him to be Prince and Saviour", Barrett. The term "Prince" probably equates with "Lord" = the glorified messiah, Bruce. "Saviour", a not-so-common title for Jesus, but an obvious one in that he is the one who rescues us from sin and death.

tou dounai (didwmi) aor. inf. "that he might give / bring" - to give, grant. The genitive article is a variant producing an articular infinitive expressing purpose. With, or without the article, the infinitive is obviously adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to give", Williams.

metanoian (a) "repentance" - repentance. Accusative direct object of the infinitive "to give." The gift of a time of repentance, an opportunity to repent, rather than repentance itself.

tw/ Israhl dat. "Israel" - to israel. Dative of indirect object.

aJmartiwn (a) gen. "of sins / their sins" - [and forgiveness] of sins. The genitive is usually treated as adjectival, verbal, objective.


A rather provocative concluding statement where Peter aligns his testimony with that of the Holy Spirit.

hJmeiV "we" - [and] we [we are witnesses]. Emphatic by position and use.

twn rJhmatwn (a atoV) gen. "of these things" - of these words, things, events. The genitive is adjectival, verbal, objective, or possibly adverbial, of reference / respect; "we are witnesses with respect to these matters, that is, the glorification of the messiah / Jesus through his death, resurrection and ascension."

kai "and so is [the Holy Spirit]" - and = along with [the holy spirit]. Here establishing a coordinate relationship; the apostles' witness "is only possible in the power and at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit", Dunn.

toiV peiqarcousin (peiqarcew) dat. pres. part. "to those who obey" - [which god gave] to the ones obeying. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object. An unusual word, obviously meaning something less mechanical than "practice obedience / obey his commands." "Commitment" is more likely; "full commitment to Christ's cause", Dunn. So, something akin to faith/ belief / trust in Jesus is intended.

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - him. Dative of direct object after the verb "to obey."


v] An expedient solution for dealing with the way, v33-42. Peter's words inflame the Sadducees, but a respected Pharisee, named Gamaliel, calms the council, and offers an expedient solution to the problem caused by the sect of The Way. His solution certainly works for the believers, in that they can now go about the Lord's business unhindered, but "in the final analysis, his advice is fatalistic and flawed, because it does not take seriously the challenges presented by Peter", Barrett.

oiJ de "-" - but/and they. Transitional construction, serving to indicate a change in subject from Peter to the Council.

akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "when they heard" - having heard [they were infuriated]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

anelein (anairew) aor. inf. "[wanted] to put [them] to death" - [and were wanting, willing] to kill, destroy [them]. This infinitive is normally classified as complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to want", but as is often the case with a cognitive verb, it can often be treated as introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception, expressing what is desired, namely, that they might put them to death. "Immediately, they went into a consultation to find a way to have the special missionaries executed", Junkins.


There were a number of great Jewish teachers called Gamaliel, this particular teacher going by the name Rabban Galaliel I (the Elder). Presumably this is the same Gamaliel who was Paul's teacher, Act.22:3. He is a Pharisee, a puritan of his day, one "who kept aloof from those who were casual about keeping God's law", Peterson D. As noted above, Luke is not expressing a positive view of Pharisaism. Gamaliel may believe in the resurrection, but he doesn't believe in Jesus' resurrection,

tiV pro. "-" - [but/and] a certain [pharisee in the council]. Presumably the pronoun functions as an adjective limiting the noun "Pharisee", but of course it may serve as a noun, "a certain one", with "Pharisee" standing in apposition, "a certain one, a Pharisee, ..."; "A certain member of the council", Cassirer.

onomati (a atoV) dat. "named [Gamaliel]" - in / by name [gamaliel]. The dative is adverbial, reference / respect, "with respect to his name, Gamaliel"; "A man by the name of Gamaliel", Cassirer.

nomodidaskaloV (oV) "a teacher of the law" - a person skilled in teaching and interpreting the law. Standing in apposition to "Gamaliel".

timoV adj. "who was honoured" - honourable. The adjective could be treated as a substantive, "a man held in honour by all the people", in which case it stands in apposition to "teacher of the law", but the NIV treats it as an adjective introducing an attributive modifier of "teacher of the law."

panti dat. adj. "by all [the people]" - in all [the people]. The dative may be classified as local, although Culy suggests that it is ethical, indicating those whose perspective is in view. Either way, the sense is "in the eyes of all the people"; "universally honoured", Barclay.

anastaV (anisthmi) aor. part. "stood up" - having arisen, [commanded]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to command"; "stood up and gave orders", ESV.

poihsai (poiew) aor. inf. "that [the men] be put [outside]" - to put [the men outside briefly]. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Gamaliel ordered. "He ordered the apostles to be taken out of the room for a little while", CEV.


proV + acc. "-" - [but/and he said] toward [them]. Again Luke uses this preposition in place of a dative of direct object.

Israhlitai (hV ou) "[men] of Israel" - [men] israelites. Vocative, standing in apposition to "men".

eJautoiV dat. pro. "-" - [pay attention to] yourselves. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to pay attention to."

tiv pro. "what" - what. Interrogative pronoun introducing an indirect question.

prassein (prassw) aor. inf. "[you intend] to do" - [you are about] to do. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to be about to."

epi + dat. "to [these men]" - upon [these men]. Adverbial use of the preposition, reference / respect, "Men of Israel, be circumspect about these men, as to what you are about to do."


Josephus records a minor revolt led by Theudas, although he has it during the time when Fadus was procreator of Judea, AD 45-46. Not only is this event after the speech delivered by Gamaliel (around AD 37), but it is well after the revolt led by Judas the Galilean, around AD 6, a revolt also recorded by Josephus. Either Luke or Josephus has their facts wrong, or as Peterson D suggests, Luke is referring to some other Theudas. Minor revolts were common at the time of Herod the Great's death, AD 4.

gar "-" - for. More reason than cause; here serving to introduce an example in support of the contention that the Council needs to consider carefully before acting against the apostles; "Consider this point, ......."

pro + acc. "[some time ago]" - before [these days]. Temporal use of the preposition.

legwn "claiming" - [theudas arose] saying. The NIV treats the participle as adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his rising up = appearance, but it may just be attendant on the verb "to rise up", "Theudas appeared on the scene and said = claimed that he was somebody."

einai (eimi) pres. inf. "to be [somebody]" - to be [a certain one himself]. The infinitive serves to introduce an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Theudas claimed. "He claimed that he was someone to be reckoned with", Cassirer.

wJV "about" - [a number of men] as [four hundred]. When used with numbers, this particle expresses approximation, as NIV; "about four hundred men joined him", CEV. The genitive "of men" is adjectival, partitive.

w|/ dat. pro. "[rallied] to him" - [were joined to] whom = him [who was killed = executed]. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to join to / associate with."

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - [all were scattered, as many as were persuaded by] him [and it became into nothing]. Dative of direct object after the verb "to persuade" / here passive, "be persuaded by." The phrase "it came to nothing" is an idiomatic expression meaning that something is ultimately futile and meaningless. "He was killed, his followers dispersed, and nothing came of it", Peterson.


Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews, also records the revolt led by Judas the Galilean in response to the census conducted by Quirinius in AD 6. Of course, the revolt was unsuccessful in preventing the census, but it did spur on the Zealots in their opposition to Roman rule.

meta + acc. "after [him]" - after [this, judas the galilean arose in]. As with en, "in", the preposition is temporal; "Later, Judas the Galilean came on the scene during the days of the census."

thV apografhV (h) "of the census" - [the days] of the census. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / possibly temporal, "the days when the census was held."

apesthsen (afisthmi) aor. act. " led [a band of people in revolt]" - [and] led away [a group of people after him]. The overall sense is "draw followers" = "lead a revolt", given that this verb, when passive, means "to revolt." The adverb opisw, "after", is used as a preposition + gen.

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - [and that one perished, and all were scattered, as many as were persuaded by] him. Dative of direct object after the verb "to persuade" / here passive, "be persuaded by." "He perished, and those who followed him were scattered."


Gamaliel has in mind the defiling of his fellows when he makes the point "stay away from these men", with Codex D adding "without defiling your hands." His argument in v38-39 is likely a commonly used argument at the time. A similar argument is attributed to R. Johanan the Sandalmaker, "Any assembling together that is for the sake of heaven shall in the end be established, but any that is not for the sake of heaven shall not in the end be established."

ta "[in] the [present case]" - [and] the [now things]. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the temporal adverb nun, "now", into a nominal phrase, accusative of respect; "So, with respect / concerning / about the present circumstances, I say to you, keep away from these men."

uJmin dat. pro. "[I advise] you" - [i say] to you [depart from these men and permit them]. Dative of indirect object after the verb "to say." The verb afihmi, "to permit", in this context may mean "leave them alone", "let them alone", REB, or "release them", "let them go", Cassirer. The preposition apo, "from", expresses separation, "away from."

oJti "for" - because. Serving to introduce a causal clause explaining why the Council should "leave these men alone."

ean + subj. "if" - if, as the case may be, [it is from men, then this counsel = plan, or this work, will be destroyed = overturned]. Introducing a 3rd. class conditional clause where the proposed condition has the possibility of coming true. The preposition ex, "from", expresses source / origin.


ei + ind. "[but] if" - [but/and] if, as is the case, [it is from god, then]. Introducing a conditional clause 1st. class where the proposed conditions is assumed to be true.

katalusai (kataluw) aor. inf. "to stop" - [you are not able] to destroy = overthrow [them]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to be able."

mhpote + subj. "-" - [and] not = in order that not, lest [you may be found]. Introducing a negated final clause expressing purpose, so modifying aposthte, "depart from", v38, but possibly used here, in its own right, to express conjecture, "Perhaps you will be found", Barrett, possibly even "Do not be found ....", Bruce Gk.

qeomacoi adj. "fighting against God" - god-opposing. Being nominative, this adjective serves as the complement of the subject "you", standing in a double nominative construction and asserting a fact about the subject, "lest you as god-opposing be found" = "lest you be found opposing God"; "You will be running the risk of finding yourselves making war against God", Cassirer.


autw/ dat. pro. "his [speech persuaded]" - [but/and they were persuaded by] him. Dative of direct object after the passive use of the verb "to persuade."

proskalesamenoi (proskalew) aor. mid. part. "called [the apostles] in" - [and] having called [the apostles]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal; "When they had summoned the apostles."

deiranteV (derw) aor. part. "had them flogged" - having beat [them they warned them]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to warn"; "they beat them and charged them", ESV.

lalein (lalew) pres. inf. "[not] to speak" - [not] to speak. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what they warned them not to do.

epi + dat. "in [the name]" - upon [the name of jesus, and they released them]. See epi, v28.


This verse presents us with an oxymoron, "to be disgracefully treated for Christ's sake is an honour", Barrett.

oiJ ... oun "the apostles" - the = them therefore. Transitional, indicating a change in subject from the Council to the apostles. We may have expected a oiJ de construction, but here with an inference drawn from previous actions, namely, being released; "And so, the apostles left the Council rejoicing."

men "-" - on the one hand. This forward looking indicator is usually completed with de, "but/and on the other hand." Here it is completed with a coordinating te ... kai in v42, "on the one hand the apostles left the Council ......., and on the other hand, they attended the temple and private homes"

apo + gen. "-" - [they were going] from. Expressing separation, "away from."

tou sunedriou (on) gen. "[left] Sanhedrin" - [the face = presence] of the council. The genitive is adjectival, limiting "presence". Culy gives it a technical classification of possessive, but as Semitic idiom, drawn from the LXX (cf., Num.20:6), it is best treated as idiomatic, "the personal presence of individuals together = the face who make up the membership of the Sanhedrin; "The apostles left the Council, full of joy that .....", TEV.

oJti "because" - that. It seems likely that the conjunction here introduces a causal clause explaining why they were rejoicing, ie., providing the grounds for their rejoicing; "because they had been considered worthy", Culy. It could also be treated as introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of their "rejoicing", even epexegetic, specifying the "rejoicing"; "They left the Sanhedrin rejoicing that they had been reckoned worthy to be ill-treated for the Name", Barclay.

antimasqhnai (antimazw) aor. pas. inf. "of suffering disgrace" - [they were considered worthy] to be dishonoured. Usually classified as complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to consider worthy", but of course, as a cognitive verb, the infinitive may be viewed as introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception, expressing what is considered as worthy, namely, that they were given the honour of suffering for the Name.

uJper + gen. "for" - on behalf of [the name]. Probably expressing representation, "on behalf of / for the sake of", but possibly advantage, "for the benefit of." "The Name" represents the person and their authority, in this case, of Jesus Christ.


Luke draws out the fact that the opposition of the religious authorities has come to nothing and that the apostles are again free to proclaim the gospel to the inhabitants of Jerusalem - nothing can stand in the way of the gospel as it spreads to the ends of the earth. Even the persecution of Stephen and his Hellenistic associates, recorded in chapter 8, does not hinder the apostolic mission, rather, it serves to propel the gospel beyond Jerusalem into Samaria, leaving the apostles to continue their work in Jerusalem.

te .... kai "-"- and on the other hand, [every day in the temple] and. See men v41.

kat (kata) + acc. "from [house] to [house]" - according to [house]. A distributive use of the preposition.

didaskonteV (didaskw) pres. part. "[they never stopped] teaching" - [they did not cease, stop] teaching [and preaching]. As with "preaching", the participle serves as the complement of the negated verb "to cease." Barrett suggests that the construction is stronger than the use of the imperfect verbs, "were teaching", and "were preaching." It is possible to link "teaching" with going "from house to house", and "preaching" with "the Christ is Jesus / concerning Jesus the Christ."

ton criston (oV) acc. "the good news that Jesus [is the Christ]" - the christ, messiah [jesus]. Taking "Jesus Christ" as a combined nominal phrase (it certainly develops as such), it would serve as the direct object of the participles "teaching" and "preaching". Barrett suggests that the construction is elliptical, giving the sense "they proclaimed the good news that the Christ was Jesus." With this approach we have an assumed direct object, "the gospel / good news", with an accusative complement "Jesus Christ", or "Jesus is (and assumed eimi) the Christ." As such, the complement specifies a fact about the object; "teaching and telling the good news that Jesus was the Messiah", Barclay.


Acts Introduction

Exegetical Commentaries



[Pumpkin Cottage]