Book of Acts of the Apostles

Compiled by WD Kemner January 2024




Chapter 4:32 – 5:42 Overview




The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was detailed previously in Acts Chapter 2.  There is a huge change in the attitude of believers towards earthly possessions and what belongs to them or belongs to God.  At this point in chapter 4, Peter and John have been released by the religious leaders and Luke begins to discuss this attitude towards personal wealth once again.



Acts Chapter 4 verse 32-37


And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.


Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.


And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.




The following passage discusses the results of “Lying to the Holy Ghost”.  In that regard the following story is familiar in religious circles.  However, it is a story that also reinforces what the “practices” of the early believers was in regards to their earthly possessions. 



Acts Chapter 5 verse 1-11


But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.


And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.


And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.


Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.


And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.




If we were to truly see the power of the Holy Ghost and what has been transpiring, why was there such great fear upon the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira for being guilty of trying to deceive God. When the rest of the body of believers were willing to make sacrifices for the needs of others they were not.


It was not the act of not giving all their money to God that was the sin.  It was the act of planning to lie about what they were giving.  They would not have been in trouble for giving less than they did.  They were in trouble for the act of “wanting to look good before everyone”.  They wanted everyone to see what they had given.



Acts Chapter 5 verse 12-16


And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people;


(and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)


Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.




Notice they were meeting in “Solomon’s Porch”.  This is a section of the temple. They were all in one accord.  Everyone that was brought to the disciples for healing WAS healed. Why do we not see the results of such ministry today?  We have slipped so very far from what God ordained.



Acts Chapter 5 verse 17-25


Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.


But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught.


But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.


Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.




The act of healing the people (something the religious leaders could not do) disturbed the religious structure.  They decide to have the disciples arrested again.  It has not been long since the first arrest of Peter and John.


God had other plans. They were brought out by an angel of the Lord.  Instead of running from fear of being caught they were instructed by the angel to go BACK to the temple and speak again.  Following God’s directives gave them another opportunity to speak of God in front of the council.



Notice the deliverance of the disciples.  The angel of the Lord “opened the prison doors”, then later when the captain is reporting what happened, he states that the “keepers were standing” outside the doors and NEVER saw the prisoners leave!  Is that not enough to make believers out of the keepers?


Imagine the scene when the chief priests learn of the escape of the prisoners and are wondering what will come of this “problem”.  They then learn that the “escapees” went immediately back to what they were doing when the chief priests had interrupted the day before!


The disciples are brought back before the council for NOT obeying the previous instructions given to them by the religious leaders.



Acts Chapter 5 verse 26-28


Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.




What was Peter’s response?  To cower in fear of those who are in earthly power?



Acts Chapter 5 verse 29-32


Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.




They are so mad that anyone can question the authority of the council that they now want to destroy the Apostles. Even in the crowd of evil there can be a voice of wisdom.  Gamaliel speaks with the only words of wisdom in the place.



Acts Chapter 5 verse 33-40


When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.


Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.


For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.


And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.


And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.




The evil that resides in man still had to proclaim that the Apostles needed to be beaten before released.



Acts Chapter 5 verse 41-42


And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.