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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Acts of Apostles 4:1-37

4  While the two were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple,+ and the Sadducees+ came up to them.  These were annoyed because the apostles were teaching the people and were openly declaring the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.*+  So they seized* them and took them into custody+ until the next day, for it was already evening.  However, many of those who had listened to the speech believed, and the number of the men became about 5,000.+  The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem,  along with Anʹnas+ the chief priest, Caʹia·phas,+ John, Alexander, and all who were relatives of the chief priest.  They stood Peter and John in their midst and began to question them: “By what power or in whose name did you do this?”+  Then Peter, filled with holy spirit,+ said to them: “Rulers of the people and elders,  if we are being examined today about a good deed to a crippled man,+ and you want to know who made this man 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 Naz·a·reneʹ,+ whom you executed on a stake+ but whom God raised up from the dead,+ by means of him* this man stands here healthy in front of you. 11  This is ‘the stone that was treated by you builders as of no account that has become the chief cornerstone.’+ 12  Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name+ under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”+ 13  Now when they saw the outspokenness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and ordinary men,+ they were astonished. And they began to realize that they had been with Jesus.+ 14  As they were looking at the man who had been cured standing with them,+ they had nothing to say in answer to this.+ 15  So they commanded them to go outside the Sanʹhe·drin hall, and they began consulting with one another, 16  saying: “What should we do with these men?+ Because, for a fact, a noteworthy sign has occurred through them, one evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem,+ and we cannot deny it. 17  So that this does not spread any further among the people, let us threaten them and tell them not to speak to anyone anymore on the basis of this name.”+ 18  With that they called them and ordered them not to say anything at all or to teach on the basis of the name of Jesus. 19  But in reply Peter and John said to them: “Whether it is right 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 after they had threatened them further, they released them, since they did not find any grounds for punishing them and on account of the people,+ because they were all glorifying God over what had happened. 22  For the man on whom this miracle of healing had been done was more than 40 years old. 23  After being released, they went to their own people and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24  On hearing this, they raised their voices with one accord 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 said through holy spirit by the mouth of our forefather David,+ your servant: ‘Why did nations become agitated and peoples meditate on empty things? 26  The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers gathered together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.’+ 27  For truly both Herod and Pontius Pilate+ with men of the nations and with peoples of Israel were gathered together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,+ 28  to do what your hand and counsel had determined beforehand to occur.+ 29  And now, Jehovah, give attention to their threats, and grant to your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness, 30  while you stretch out your hand for healing and while signs and wonders occur+ through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”+ 31  And when they had made supplication, the place where 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 believed were of one heart and soul, and not even one of them would say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.+ 33  And with great power the apostles continued giving the witness about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,+ and undeserved kindness was upon them all in large measure. 34  In fact, no one was in need among them,+ for all those who owned fields or houses would sell them and bring the value of what was sold, 35  and they would deposit it at the feet of the apostles.+ In turn distribution would be made to each one according to his need.+ 36  So Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barʹna·bas+ (which means, when translated, “Son of Comfort”), a Levite, a native of Cyʹprus, 37  owned a piece of land, and he sold it and brought the money and deposited it at the feet of the apostles.+

Footnotes

Or “the resurrection from the dead in the case of Jesus.”
Or “arrested.” Lit., “laid hands on.”
Or “has saved this man.”
Or possibly, “in this name.”

Study Notes

temple captains: Here the Greek text literally reads “captains,” but Lu 22:52 adds “of the temple,” to indicate what kind of captains were referred to. Thus, “temple” was added here for clarification. Luke alone mentions these officials. (Ac 4:1; 5:24, 26) They were leaders of the temple guards. They may have been included in the discussion with Judas to make the planned arrest of Jesus appear legal.

the two: Lit., “they,” that is, Peter and John.

the captain of the temple: Also mentioned at Ac 5:24, 26. By the first century C.E., this official position was held by a priest who was second in authority to the high priest. The temple captain was in charge of the priests serving at the temple. He also maintained order in and around the temple by means of what may be called a temple police force made up of Levites. Subordinate captains oversaw the Levites who opened the temple gates in the morning and closed them at night. These guards protected the temple treasury, generally kept the crowds in order, and ensured that no one entered restricted areas. There were 24 divisions of Levites. Each division served a week at a time in rotation, twice a year, and likely had a captain who answered to the captain of the temple. The temple captains were men of influence. They are mentioned along with the chief priests who conspired to have Jesus put to death. On the night Jesus was betrayed, they came with their forces to arrest him.​—Lu 22:4 (see study note), 52.

elders: Lit., “older men.” In the Bible, the Greek term pre·sbyʹte·ros refers primarily to those who hold a position of authority and responsibility in a community or a nation. Although the term sometimes refers to physical age (as at Lu 15:25; Ac 2:17), it is not limited to those who are elderly. Here it refers to the leaders of the Jewish nation who are often mentioned together with chief priests and scribes. The Sanhedrin was made up of men from these three groups.​—Mt 21:23; 26:3, 47, 57; 27:1, 41; 28:12; see Glossary, “Elder; Older man.”

chief priest Annas and . . . Caiaphas: When pinpointing the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist, Luke refers to the days when the Jewish priesthood was being dominated by two powerful men. Annas was appointed high priest about 6 or 7 C.E. by Quirinius, the Roman governor of Syria, and served until about 15 C.E. Even after Annas was deposed by the Romans and no longer held the official title of high priest, he evidently continued to exercise great power and influence as high priest emeritus and the predominant voice of the Jewish hierarchy. Five of his sons held the office of high priest, and his son-in-law Caiaphas served as high priest from about 18 C.E. to about 36 C.E. So although Caiaphas served as high priest in 29 C.E., Annas could rightly be designated a “chief priest” because of his dominant position.​—Joh 18:13, 24; Ac 4:6.

Annas the chief priest: Annas was appointed high priest about 6 or 7 C.E. by Quirinius, the Roman governor of Syria, and served until about 15 C.E. Even after Annas was deposed by the Romans and no longer held the official title of high priest, he apparently continued to exercise great power and influence as high priest emeritus and was the predominant voice of the Jewish hierarchy. Five of his sons held the office of high priest, and his son-in-law Caiaphas served as high priest from about 18 C.E. to about 36 C.E. (See study note on Lu 3:2.) At Joh 18:13, 19, Annas is referred to as “the chief priest.” The same Greek word (ar·khi·e·reusʹ) could be used with regard to both the current high priest and a prominent member of the priesthood, including a deposed high priest.​—See Glossary, “Chief priest.”

Caiaphas: This high priest, appointed by the Romans, was a skillful diplomat who held office longer than any of his immediate predecessors. He was appointed about 18 C.E. and remained in office until about 36 C.E. He was the one who examined Jesus and handed him over to Pilate. (Mt 26:3, 57; Joh 11:49; 18:13, 14, 24, 28) This is the only time he is mentioned by name in the book of Acts. Elsewhere in Acts he is referred to as “the high priest.”​—Ac 5:17, 21, 27; 7:1; 9:1.

the Nazarene: A descriptive epithet applied to Jesus and later to his followers. (Ac 24:5) Since many Jews had the name Jesus, it was common to add a further identification; the practice of associating people with the places from which they came was customary in Bible times. (2Sa 3:2, 3; 17:27; 23:25-39; Na 1:1; Ac 13:1; 21:29) Jesus lived most of his early life in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, so it was natural to use this term regarding him. Jesus was often referred to as “the Nazarene,” in different situations and by various individuals. (Mr 1:23, 24; 10:46, 47; 14:66-69; 16:5, 6; Lu 24:13-19; Joh 18:1-7) Jesus himself accepted the name and used it. (Joh 18:5-8; Ac 22:6-8) On the sign that Pilate placed on the torture stake, he wrote in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek: “Jesus the Nazarene the King of the Jews.” (Joh 19:19, 20) From Pentecost 33 C.E. onward, the apostles as well as others often spoke of Jesus as the Nazarene or as being from Nazareth.​—Ac 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 10:38; 26:9; see also study note on Mt 2:23.

executed on a stake: Or “to be fastened on a stake (pole).” This is the first of over 40 occurrences of the Greek verb stau·roʹo in the Christian Greek Scriptures. This is the verb for the Greek noun stau·rosʹ, rendered “torture stake.” (See study notes on Mt 10:38; 16:24; 27:32 and Glossary, “Stake”; “Torture stake.”) The verb form is used in the Septuagint at Es 7:9, where the order was given to hang Haman on a stake that was over 20 m (65 ft) tall. In classical Greek, it meant “to fence with pales, to form a stockade, or palisade.”

the Nazarene: See study note on Mr 10:47.

executed on a stake: Or “fastened on a stake (pole).”​—See study note on Mt 20:19 and Glossary, “Stake”; “Torture stake.”

the chief cornerstone: Or “the most important stone.” The Hebrew expression at Ps 118:22 and the Greek expression used here literally mean “the head of the corner.” Although it has been understood in different ways, it apparently refers to the stone that was installed atop the junction of two walls to hold them firmly together. Jesus quoted and applied this prophecy to himself as “the chief cornerstone.” Just as the topmost stone of a building is conspicuous, so Jesus Christ is the crowning stone of the Christian congregation of anointed ones, which is likened to a spiritual temple.

the chief cornerstone: See study note on Mt 21:42.

outspokenness: Or “boldness; fearlessness.” The Greek word par·re·siʹa has also been rendered “freeness of speech; confidence.” (Ac 28:31; 1Jo 5:14) This noun and the related verb par·re·si·aʹzo·mai, often rendered “speak boldly (with boldness),” occur several times in the book of Acts and convey an identifying mark of the preaching done by the early Christians.​—Ac 4:29, 31; 9:27, 28; 13:46; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8; 26:26.

uneducated: Or “unlettered.” While the Greek term used here (a·gramʹma·tos) can mean illiterate, in this context it likely refers to those not educated in rabbinic schools. It appears that most Jews in the first century could read and write, in part because many schools were held in synagogues. Like Jesus, though, Peter and John had not studied at the rabbinic schools. (Compare Joh 7:15.) The religious elite in Jesus’ day felt that these schools were the only acceptable places for receiving a religious education. The Sadducees and the Pharisees no doubt felt that Peter and John were unqualified to teach or to expound the Law to the people. In addition, both of these disciples came from Galilee​—an area where most people were farmers, shepherds, and fishermen. The religious leaders and others from Jerusalem and Judea apparently looked down on people from that region and viewed Peter and John as “uneducated” and “ordinary.” (Joh 7:45-52; Ac 2:7) God did not view them that way. (1Co 1:26-29; 2Co 3:5, 6; Jas 2:5) Before his death, Jesus had educated and trained them and his other disciples extensively. (Mt 10:1-42; Mr 6:7-13; Lu 8:1; 9:1-5; 10:1-42; 11:52) After his resurrection, he continued to teach his disciples by means of holy spirit.​—Joh 14:26; 16:13; 1Jo 2:27.

their Sanhedrin hall: Or “their Sanhedrin.” The Sanhedrin was the Jewish high court in Jerusalem. The Greek word rendered “Sanhedrin hall” or “Sanhedrin” (sy·neʹdri·on) literally means a “sitting down with.” Although it was a general term for an assembly or a meeting, in Israel it could refer to a religious judicial body or court. The Greek word can refer to the people making up the court itself or to the building or location of the court.​—See study note on Mt 5:22 and Glossary, “Sanhedrin”; see also App. B12 for the possible location of the Sanhedrin Hall.

the Sanhedrin hall: Or “the Sanhedrin.”​—See study note on Lu 22:66.

miracle: Or “sign.” Here the Greek word se·meiʹon, often rendered “sign,” refers to a miraculous event that gives evidence of divine backing.

Sovereign Lord: The Greek word de·spoʹtes has the basic meaning “lord; master; owner.” (1Ti 6:1; Tit 2:9; 1Pe 2:18) When used in direct address to God, as here and at Lu 2:29 and Re 6:10, it is rendered “Sovereign Lord” to denote the excellence of his lordship. Other translations have used such terms as “Lord,” “Master,” “Sovereign,” or “Ruler (Master; Lord) of all.” Some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew use the Hebrew term ʼAdho·naiʹ (Sovereign Lord), but at least one such translation uses the Tetragrammaton here.

the Christ: Or “the Anointed One; the Messiah.” The title “Christ” is derived from the Greek word Khri·stosʹ and is equivalent to the title “Messiah” (from Hebrew ma·shiʹach), both meaning “Anointed One.”​—See study note on Mt 1:1 and on the Christ of Jehovah in this verse.

the Messiah: Or “the Anointed One.” The Greek word Mes·siʹas (a transliteration of the Hebrew word ma·shiʹach) occurs only twice in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (See Joh 4:25.) The Hebrew verb from which the title ma·shiʹach is derived is ma·shachʹ, meaning “to smear or spread (with liquid)” and “to anoint.” (Ex 29:2, 7) In Bible times, priests, rulers, and prophets were ceremonially anointed with oil. (Le 4:3; 1Sa 16:3, 12, 13; 1Ki 19:16) Here at Joh 1:41, the title “Messiah” is followed by an explanation, which means, when translated, “Christ.” The title “Christ” (Greek, Khri·stosʹ) occurs more than 500 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures and is equivalent to the title “Messiah,” both meaning “Anointed One.”​—See study note on Mt 1:1.

whom you anointed: Or “whom you made Christ (Messiah).” The title Khri·stosʹ (Christ) comes from the Greek verb khriʹo, which is used here. It literally refers to pouring oil on someone. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, it is used only in a sacred and figurative sense, referring to God’s setting a person aside for a special assignment under His direction. This Greek verb also occurs at Lu 4:18; Ac 10:38; 2Co 1:21; and Heb 1:9. Another Greek word, a·leiʹpho, refers to the applying of literal oil or ointment to the body, such as when it was used after washing, applied as a medicine, or poured on a body to prepare it for burial.​—Mt 6:17; Mr 6:13; 16:1; Lu 7:38, 46; Jas 5:14.

Jehovah: In this quote from Ps 2:2, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text.​—See App. C.

his anointed one: Or “his Christ; his Messiah.” The Greek term used here is Khri·stosʹ, from which the title “Christ” is derived. At Ps 2:2, quoted here, the corresponding Hebrew term, ma·shiʹach (anointed one), is used. From this term the title “Messiah” is derived.​—See study notes on Lu 2:26; Joh 1:41; Ac 4:27.

whom you anointed: Or “whom you made Christ (Messiah).” The title Khri·stosʹ (Christ) comes from the Greek verb khriʹo, which is used here. It literally refers to pouring oil on someone. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, it is used only in a sacred and figurative sense, referring to God’s setting a person aside for a special assignment under His direction. This Greek verb also occurs at Lu 4:18; Ac 10:38; 2Co 1:21; and Heb 1:9. Another Greek word, a·leiʹpho, refers to the applying of literal oil or ointment to the body, such as when it was used after washing, applied as a medicine, or poured on a body to prepare it for burial.​—Mt 6:17; Mr 6:13; 16:1; Lu 7:38, 46; Jas 5:14.

Jehovah: In this quote from Ps 2:2, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text.​—See App. C.

Jehovah: These words are part of a prayer addressed to the “Sovereign Lord” (Ac 4:24b), a term that is rendered from the Greek word de·spoʹtes and that is also used to address God in a prayer recorded at Lu 2:29. In this prayer in Acts, Jesus is called “your holy servant.” (Ac 4:27, 30) The disciples’ prayer includes a quote from Ps 2:1, 2, where the divine name is used. (See study note on Ac 4:26.) In addition, this request that Jehovah give attention to their threats, that is, the threats of the Sanhedrin, uses terms that are similar to those used in prayers recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures, such as at 2Ki 19:16, 19 and Isa 37:17, 20, where the divine name is used.​—See App. C3 introduction; Ac 4:29.

wonders: Or “portents.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the Greek word teʹras is consistently used in combination with se·meiʹon (“sign”), both terms being used in the plural form. (Mt 24:24; Joh 4:48; Ac 7:36; 14:3; 15:12; 2Co 12:12) Basically, teʹras refers to anything that causes awe or wonderment. When the term clearly refers to something portending what will happen in the future, the alternate rendering “portent” is used in a study note.

wonders: Or “portents.”​—See study note on Ac 2:19.

had made supplication: Or “had prayed earnestly (pleadingly).” The Greek verb deʹo·mai refers to the offering of earnest prayer coupled with intense feeling. The related noun deʹe·sis, rendered “supplication,” has been defined as “humble and earnest entreaty.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the noun is used exclusively in addressing God. Even Jesus “offered up supplications and also petitions, with strong outcries and tears, to the One who was able to save him out of death.” (Heb 5:7) The use of the plural “supplications” indicates that Jesus implored Jehovah more than once. For example, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed repeatedly and fervently.​—Mt 26:36-44; Lu 22:32.

the word of God: This expression appears many times in the book of Acts. (Ac 6:2, 7; 8:14; 11:1; 13:5, 7, 46; 17:13; 18:11) Here the term “the word of God” refers to the Christian message originating with Jehovah God and featuring the important role of Jesus Christ in the outworking of God’s purpose.

were of one heart and soul: This expression describes the unity and harmony among the multitude of believers. At Php 1:27, the expression “with one soul” could also be rendered “with one purpose” or “as one man.” In the Hebrew Scriptures, the expression “one heart” is used at 1Ch 12:38, ftn., and at 2Ch 30:12, ftn., to describe unified desire and action. Also, the expressions “heart” and “soul” are often mentioned together to represent the entire inner person. (De 4:29; 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 26:16; 30:2, 6, 10) The Greek phrase is used here in a similar way and could be rendered “they were completely united in thinking and purpose.” This was in harmony with Jesus’ prayer that his followers be united despite their diverse backgrounds.​—Joh 17:21.

Son of: In Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the phrase “son(s) of” can be used to indicate a prominent quality or characteristic that distinguishes a person or to describe a group of people. For example, at De 3:18, “valiant men,” or courageous warriors, are literally called “sons of ability.” At Job 1:3, the expression rendered “people of the East” is literally “sons of the East.” The expression “a worthless man” at 1Sa 25:17 renders the literal expression “a son of belial,” that is, “a son of worthlessness.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, those who pursue a certain course of conduct or who manifest a certain characteristic are designated by such expressions as “sons of the Most High,” “sons of light and sons of day,” and “sons of disobedience.”​—Lu 6:35; 1Th 5:5; Eph 2:2.

Son of Comfort: Or “Son of Encouragement.” The translation of the surname Barnabas, given to one of the disciples named Joseph. Since Joseph was a common name among the Jews, the apostles may have given him the name Barnabas for practical reasons. (Compare Ac 1:23.) As explained in the study note on Son of in this verse, the expression was sometimes used to indicate a prominent quality or characteristic that distinguishes a person. The surname Son of Comfort apparently highlights Joseph’s outstanding ability to encourage and comfort others. Luke reports that Joseph (Barnabas) was sent out to the congregation in Antioch of Syria and began to “encourage” his fellow believers. (Ac 11:22, 23) The Greek verb here rendered “encourage” (pa·ra·ka·leʹo) is related to the Greek word for “Comfort” (pa·raʹkle·sis) used at Ac 4:36.​—See study note on Son of in this verse.

Media

The Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin

Seventy-one members constituted the Jewish high court called the Great Sanhedrin. It was located in Jerusalem. (See Glossary, “Sanhedrin.”) According to the Mishnah, the seating was arranged in a semicircle three rows deep, and two scribes were present to record the court’s rulings. Some of the architectural features shown here are based on a structure discovered in Jerusalem that is considered by some to be the Council Chamber from the first century.​—See Appendix B12, map “Jerusalem and Surrounding Area.”

1. High priest

2. Members of the Sanhedrin

3. A defendant

4. Clerks