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Geneva Study Notes
Acts Chapter 5

Acts 5:1
5:1 But {1} a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife,
    sold a possession,

 (1) Luke shows by contrary examples how great a sin hypocrisy
     is, especially in those who under a false pretence and
     cloak of zeal seem to shine and be of great importance in
     the Church.

Acts 5:2
5:2 And {a} 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.

    (a) Craftily took away.

Acts 5:3
5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan {b} filled thine
    heart {c} to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part]
    of the price of the land?

    (b) Fully possessed.
    (c) For when they had appointed that farm or possession for
        the Church, they were foolish to keep away a part of the
        price, as though they were dealing with men, and not
        with God, and therefore he says afterwards that they
        tempted God.

Acts 5:4
5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was
    sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou {d}
    conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto
    men, but unto God.

    (d) By this is meant an advised and purposeful deceit, and
        the fault of the man in listening to the devil's
        suggestions.

Acts 5:9
5:9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed
    together to {e} tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the
    feet of them which have buried thy husband [are] at the
    {f} door, and shall carry thee out.

    (e) Look how often men do things with an evil conscience;
        and so they pronounce sentence against themselves, and
        as much as in them lies, they provoke God to anger, as
        they do this on purpose, in order to test whether he is
        just and almighty or not.
    (f) Are at hand.

Acts 5:11
5:11 {2} And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as
     many as heard these things.

 (2) The Lord by his marvellous power bridles some so that they
     may not hurt the Church: others he keeps in awe and fear of
     him: and others he draws unto himself.

Acts 5:13
5:13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the
     people {g} magnified them.

     (g) Highly praised them.

Acts 5:17
5:17 {3} Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were
     with him, (which is the {h} sect of the Sadducees,) and
     were filled with indignation,

 (3) The more that the Church increases, the more the rage os
     Satan increases, and therefore they proceed from threats to
     imprisonment.
     (h) The word which is used here is "heresy", which
         signifies a choice, and so is taken for a right form of
         learning, or faction, or study and course of life,
         which the Latins call a sect: at first this word was
         used indifferently, but at length it came to be used
         only in reference to evil, whereupon came the name of
         "heretic" which is taken for one that goes astray from
         sound and wholesome doctrine in such a way that he
         thinks lightly of the judgment of God and his Church,
         and continues in his opinion, and breaks the peace of
         the Church.

Acts 5:19
5:19 {4}  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison
     doors, and brought them forth, and said,

 (4) Angels are made servants of the servants of God.

Acts 5:20
5:20 {5} Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the
     {i} words of this life.

 (5) God therefore delivers his own, so that they may more
     vigorously provoke his enemies.
     (i) Words by which the way unto life is shown.

Acts 5:21
5:21 {6} 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.

 (6) God mocks his enemies attempts from above.

Acts 5:25
5:25 {7} Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men
     whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and
     teaching the people.

 (7) The more openly that Christ's power shows itself, the more
     the madness of his enemies who conspire against him
     increases.

Acts 5:26
5:26 {8} Then went the captain with the officers, and brought
     them without violence: for they feared the people, lest
     they should have been stoned.

 (8) Tyrants who do not fear God are forced to fear his
     servants.

Acts 5:28
5:28 {9} 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 {k} to bring this
     man's blood upon us.

 (9) It is the characteristic of tyrants to set down their own
     commandments as right and proper, be they ever so wicked.
     (k) Make us guilty of murdering that man whom yet they will
         not condescend to name.

Acts 5:29
5:29 {10} Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said,
     We ought to obey God rather than men.

 (10) We should obey man only in so far that in obeying him we
      also obey God.

Acts 5:30
5:30 {11} The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew
     and hanged on a tree.

 (11) Christ is appointed and indeed declared Prince and
      preserver of his Church, in spite of his enemies.

Acts 5:32
5:32 {12} And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is]
     also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey
     him.

 (12) It is not sufficient for us that there is a proper goal,
      but we must also according to our calling go forward until
      we come to it.

Acts 5:33
5:33 When they heard [that], they {l} were cut [to the heart],
     and took counsel to slay them.

     (l) This shows that they were in a most vehement rage, and
         tremendously disquieted in mind, for it is a borrowed
         kind of speech taken from those who are harshly cut
         in pieces with a saw.

Acts 5:34
5:34 {13} 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;

 (13) Christ finds defenders of his cause, even in the very
      company of his enemies, as often as he thinks necessary.

Acts 5:36
5:36 {14} For before these days rose up Theudas, {m} 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.

 (14) In matters of religion we must take good heed that we
      attempt nothing under a pretence of zeal to which we have
      not been called.
      (m) To be of same fame.

Acts 5:38
5:38 And now I say unto you, {n} Refrain from these men, and let
     them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of {o} men,
     it will come to nought:

      (n) He dissuades his fellows from murdering the apostles,
          neither does he think it good to refer the matter to
          the Roman magistrate, for the Jews could endure
          nothing worse than to have the tyranny of the Romans
          confirmed.
      (o) If it is counterfeit and devised.

Acts 5:41
5:41 {15} And they departed from the presence of the council,
     rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for
     his name.

 (15) The apostles, accustomed to suffer and bear words, are
      eventually accustomed to bearing stripes, and yet in such
      a way that by means of them they become stronger.

Acts 5:42
5:42 And daily in the {p} temple, and in every house, they
     ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

      (p) Both publicly and privately.



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