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The Followers of Jesus Pray for Boldness

23 When they were released, Peter and John[a] went to their fellow believers[b] and reported everything the high priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind[c] and said, “Master of all,[d] you who made the heaven, the earth,[e] the sea, and everything that is in them, 25 who said by the Holy Spirit through[f] your servant David our forefather,[g]

Why do the nations[h] rage,[i]
and the peoples plot foolish[j] things?
26 The kings of the earth stood together,[k]
and the rulers assembled together,
against the Lord and against his[l] Christ.’[m]

27 “For indeed both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together in this city against[n] your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,[o] 28 to do as much as your power[p] and your plan[q] had decided beforehand[r] would happen. 29 And now, Lord, pay attention to[s] their threats, and grant[t] to your servants[u] to speak your message[v] with great courage,[w] 30 while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs[x] and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 When[y] they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken,[z] and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak[aa] the word of God[ab] courageously.[ac]

Conditions Among the Early Believers

32 The group of those who believed were of one heart and mind,[ad] and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but everything was held in common.[ae] 33 With[af] great power the apostles were giving testimony[ag] to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. 34 For there was no one needy[ah] among them, because those who were owners of land or houses were selling[ai] them[aj] and bringing the proceeds from the sales 35 and placing them at the apostles’ feet. The proceeds[ak] were distributed to each, as anyone had need. 36 So Joseph, a Levite who was a native of Cyprus, called by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”),[al] 37 sold[am] a field[an] that belonged to him and brought the money[ao] and placed it at the apostles’ feet.

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  1. Acts 4:23 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Peter and John) have been specified in the translation for clarity, since a new topic begins in v. 23 and the last specific reference to Peter and John in the Greek text is in 4:19.
  2. Acts 4:23 tn Grk “to their own [people].” In context this phrase is most likely a reference to other believers rather than simply their own families and/or homes, since the group appears to act with one accord in the prayer that follows in v. 24. At the literary level, this phrase suggests how Jews were now splitting into two camps, pro-Jesus and anti-Jesus.
  3. Acts 4:24 sn With one mind. Cf. Acts 1:14.
  4. Acts 4:24 tn Or “Lord of all.”sn The use of the title Master of all (δεσπότης, despotēs) emphasizes that there is a sovereign God who is directing what is taking place.
  5. Acts 4:24 tn Grk “and the earth, and the sea,” but καί (kai) has not been translated before “the earth” and “the sea” since contemporary English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
  6. Acts 4:25 tn Grk “by the mouth of” (an idiom).
  7. Acts 4:25 tn Or “ancestor”; Grk “father.”
  8. Acts 4:25 tn Or “Gentiles.”
  9. Acts 4:25 sn The Greek word translated rage includes not only anger but opposition, both verbal and nonverbal. See L&N 88.185.
  10. Acts 4:25 tn Or “futile”; traditionally, “vain.”
  11. Acts 4:26 tn Traditionally, “The kings of the earth took their stand.”
  12. Acts 4:26 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.
  13. Acts 4:26 sn A quotation from Ps 2:1-2.
  14. Acts 4:27 sn The application of Ps 2:1-2 is that Jews and Gentiles are opposing Jesus. The surprise of the application is that Jews are now found among the enemies of God’s plan.
  15. Acts 4:27 sn A wordplay on “Christ,” v. 26, which means “one who has been anointed.”
  16. Acts 4:28 tn Grk “hand,” here a metaphor for God’s strength or power or authority.
  17. Acts 4:28 tn Or “purpose,” “will.”
  18. Acts 4:28 tn Or “had predestined.” Since the term “predestine” is something of a technical theological term, not in wide usage in contemporary English, the translation “decide beforehand” was used instead (see L&N 30.84). God’s direction remains as the major theme.
  19. Acts 4:29 tn Or “Lord, take notice of.”
  20. Acts 4:29 sn Grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage. The request is not for a stop to persecution or revenge on the opponents, but for boldness (great courage) to carry out the mission of proclaiming the message of what God is doing through Jesus.
  21. Acts 4:29 tn Grk “slaves.” See the note on the word “servants” in 2:18.
  22. Acts 4:29 tn Grk “word.”
  23. Acts 4:29 tn Or “with all boldness.”
  24. Acts 4:30 tn The miraculous nature of these signs is implied in the context.
  25. Acts 4:31 tn Grk “And when.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  26. Acts 4:31 sn The place where they were assembled…was shaken. This signifies that God is in their midst. See Acts 16:26; Exod 19:18; Ps 114:7; Isa 6:4.
  27. Acts 4:31 tn The imperfect verb has been translated as an ingressive imperfect (“began to speak”). Logical sequencing suggests that their speaking began after they were filled with the Spirit. The prayer was answered immediately.
  28. Acts 4:31 tn Or “speak God’s message.”
  29. Acts 4:31 tn Or “with boldness.”
  30. Acts 4:32 tn Grk “soul.”
  31. Acts 4:32 tn Grk “but all things were to them in common.”sn Everything was held in common. The remark is not a reflection of political philosophy, but of the extent of their spontaneous commitment to one another. Such a response does not have the function of a command, but is reflective of an attitude that Luke commends as evidence of their identification with one another.
  32. Acts 4:33 tn Grk “And with.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  33. Acts 4:33 tn Or “were witnessing.”
  34. Acts 4:34 tn Or “poor.”
  35. Acts 4:34 tn Grk “houses, selling them were bringing.” The participle πωλοῦντες (pōlountes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  36. Acts 4:34 tn The word “them” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.
  37. Acts 4:35 tn Grk “It” (or “They,” plural). The referent of the understood pronoun subject, the proceeds from the sales, of the verb διεδίδετο (diedideto) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  38. Acts 4:36 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. Note how the actions of Barnabas are in keeping with the meaning of his nickname. He stands in contrast to Ananias and Sapphira in 5:1-11.
  39. Acts 4:37 tn Grk “selling a field that belonged to him, brought” The participle πωλήσας (pōlēsas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  40. Acts 4:37 tn Or “a farm.”
  41. Acts 4:37 tn Normally a reference to actual coins (“currency”). See L&N 6.68.