Acts 4J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
The first clash with Jewish authorities
4 1-4 While they were still talking to the people the priests, the captain of the Temple guard and the Sadducees moved towards them, thoroughly incensed that they should be teaching the people and should assure them that the resurrection of the dead had been proved through the rising of Jesus. So they arrested them and, since it was now evening, kept them in custody until the next day. Nevertheless, many of those who had heard what they said believed, and the number of men alone rose to about five thousand.
Peter’s boldness at formal questioning
5-7 Next day the leading members of the council, the elders and scribes, met in Jerusalem with Annas the High Priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the whole of the High Priest’s family. They had the apostles brought in to stand before them and they asked them formally, “By what power and in whose name have you done this thing?”
8-11 At this Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke to them, “Leaders of the people and elders, if we are being called in question today over the matter of a kindness done to a helpless man and as to how he was healed, it is high time that all of you and the whole people of Israel knew that it was done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! He is the one whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, and it is by his power that this man at our side stands in your presence perfectly well. He is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone’.
12 In no one else can salvation be found. For in all the world no other name has been given to men but this, and it is by this name that we must be saved!”
The embarrassment of the authorities
13-15 When they saw the complete assurance of Peter and John, who were obviously uneducated and untrained men, they were staggered. They recognised them as men who had been with Jesus, yet since they could see the man who had been cured standing beside them, they could find no effective reply. All they could do was to order them out of the Sanhedrin and hold a conference among themselves.
16-17 “What are we going to do with these men?” they said to each other. “It is evident to everyone living in Jerusalem that an extraordinary miracle has taken place through them and that is something we cannot deny. Nevertheless, to prevent such a thing spreading further among the people, let us warn them that if they say anything more to anyone in this name it will be at their peril.”
18-20 So they called them in and ordered them bluntly not to speak or teach a single further word about the name of Jesus. But Peter and John gave them this reply: “Whether it is right in the eyes of God for us to listen to what you say rather than to what he says, you must decide; for we cannot help speaking about what we have actually seen and heard!”
21-22 After further threats they let them go. They could not think of any way of punishing them because of the attitude of the people. Everybody was thanking God for what had happened—that this miracle of healing had taken place in a man who was more than forty years old.
The united prayer of the young Church—
23-30 After their release the apostles went back to their friends and reported to them what the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it they raised their voices to God in united prayer and said, “Lord, you are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ’. For truly against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together to do whatever your hand and your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak your word, by stretching out your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’
31 When they had prayed their meeting-place was shaken; they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God fearlessly.
—and their close fellowship
32-35 Among the large number who had become believers there was complete agreement of heart and soul. Not one of them claimed any of his possessions as his own but everything was common property. The apostles continued to give their witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great force, and a wonderful spirit of generosity pervaded the whole fellowship. Indeed, there was not a single person in need among them. For those who owned land or property would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and place them at the apostles’ feet. They would distribute to each one according to his need.
Generosity and covetousness
36-37 It was at this time that Barnabas (the name, meaning son of comfort, given by the apostles to Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus) sold his farm and put the proceeds at the apostles’ disposal.