The Book of Acts 7 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 625)

Acts 7 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 7

Stephen’s Discourses. Then the high priest asked, “Is this so?” And he replied,[a] “My brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia,[b] before he had settled in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go forth from your land and [from] your kinsfolk to the land that I will show you.’ So he went forth from the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, he made him migrate to this land where you now dwell. Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but he did promise to give it to him and his descendants as a possession, even though he was childless. And God spoke thus, ‘His descendants shall be aliens in a land not their own, where they shall be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation they serve,’ God said, ‘and after that they will come out and worship me in this place.’ Then he gave him the covenant of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, as Isaac did Jacob, and Jacob the twelve patriarchs.

“And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into slavery in Egypt; but God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his afflictions. He granted him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, who put him in charge of Egypt and [of] his entire household. 11 Then a famine and great affliction struck all Egypt and Canaan, and our ancestors could find no food; 12 but when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there a first time. 13 The second time, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent for his father Jacob, inviting him and his whole clan, seventy-five persons; 15 and Jacob went down to Egypt. And he and our ancestors died 16 and were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor at Shechem.

17 “When the time drew near for the fulfillment of the promise that God pledged to Abraham, the people had increased and become very numerous in Egypt, 18 until another king who knew nothing of Joseph came to power [in Egypt]. 19 He dealt shrewdly with our people and oppressed [our] ancestors by forcing them to expose their infants, that they might not survive. 20 At this time Moses was born, and he was extremely beautiful. For three months he was nursed in his father’s house; 21 but when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated [in] all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds.

23 “When he was forty years old, he decided to visit his kinsfolk, the Israelites. 24 When he saw one of them treated unjustly, he defended and avenged the oppressed man by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He assumed [his] kinsfolk would understand that God was offering them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26 The next day he appeared to them as they were fighting and tried to reconcile them peacefully, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why are you harming one another?’ 27 Then the one who was harming his neighbor pushed him aside, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? 28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 Moses fled when he heard this and settled as an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

30 “Forty years later, an angel appeared to him in the desert near Mount Sinai in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look at it, the voice of the Lord came, 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.’ Then Moses, trembling, did not dare to look at it. 33 But the Lord said to him, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34 I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.’ 35 This Moses, whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge?’ God sent as [both] ruler and deliverer, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the desert for forty years. 37 It was this Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you, from among your own kinsfolk, a prophet like me.’ 38 It was he who, in the assembly in the desert, was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our ancestors, and he received living utterances to hand on to us.

39 “Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him; instead, they pushed him aside and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will be our leaders. As for that Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ 41 So they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifice to the idol, and reveled in the works of their hands. 42 Then God turned and handed them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:

‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
    for forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?
43 No, you took up the tent of Moloch
    and the star of [your] god Rephan,
        the images that you made to worship.
So I shall take you into exile beyond Babylon.’

44 Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the desert just as the One who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern he had seen. 45 Our ancestors who inherited it brought it with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out from before our ancestors, up to the time of David, 46 who found favor in the sight of God and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob.47 But Solomon built a house for him. 48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:

49 ‘The heavens are my throne,
    the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house can you build for me?
    says the Lord,
    or what is to be my resting place?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?’

Conclusion. 51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. 52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. 53 You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it.”

Stephen’s Martyrdom. 54 When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,[c] 56 and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,[d] and rushed upon him together. 58 They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”[e] 60 Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:2–53 Stephen’s speech represents Luke’s description of Christianity’s break from its Jewish matrix. Two motifs become prominent in the speech: (1) Israel’s reaction to God’s chosen leaders in the past reveals that the people have consistently rejected them; and (2) Israel has misunderstood God’s choice of the Jerusalem temple as the place where he is to be worshiped.
  2. 7:2 God…appeared to our father Abraham…in Mesopotamia: the first of a number of minor discrepancies between the data of the Old Testament and the data of Stephen’s discourse. According to Gn 12:1, God first spoke to Abraham in Haran. The main discrepancies are these: in Acts 7:16 it is said that Jacob was buried in Shechem, whereas Gn 50:13 says he was buried at Hebron; in the same verse it is said that the tomb was purchased by Abraham, but in Gn 33:19 and Jos 24:32 the purchase is attributed to Jacob himself.
  3. 7:55 He…saw…Jesus standing at the right hand of God: Stephen affirms to the Sanhedrin that the prophecy Jesus made before them has been fulfilled (Mk 14:62).
  4. 7:57 Covered their ears: Stephen’s declaration, like that of Jesus, is a scandal to the court, which regards it as blasphemy.
  5. 7:59 Compare Lk 23:34, 46.

The Book of Acts 6 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 624)

Acts 6New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 6

The Need for Assistants. [a]At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.[b]So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.[c]Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them.[d] The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Accusation Against Stephen. [e]Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, 10 but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke. 11 Then they instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, accosted him, seized him, and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They presented false witnesses[f] who testified, “This man never stops saying things against [this] holy place and the law. 14 For we have heard him claim that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.” 15 All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:1–7 The Hellenists…the Hebrews: the Hellenists were not necessarily Jews from the diaspora, but were more probably Palestinian Jews who spoke only Greek. The Hebrews were Palestinian Jews who spoke Hebrew or Aramaic and who may also have spoken Greek. Both groups belong to the Jerusalem Jewish Christian community. The conflict between them leads to a restructuring of the community that will better serve the community’s needs. The real purpose of the whole episode, however, is to introduce Stephen as a prominent figure in the community whose long speech and martyrdom will be recounted in Acts 7.
  2. 6:2–4 The essential function of the Twelve is the “service of the word,” including development of the kerygma by formulation of the teachings of Jesus.
  3. 6:2 To serve at table: some commentators think that it is not the serving of food that is described here but rather the keeping of the accounts that recorded the distribution of food to the needy members of the community. In any case, after Stephen and the others are chosen, they are never presented carrying out the task for which they were appointed (Acts 6:2–3). Rather, two of their number, Stephen and Philip, are presented as preachers of the Christian message. They, the Hellenist counterpart of the Twelve, are active in the ministry of the word.
  4. 6:6 They…laid hands on them: the customary Jewish way of designating persons for a task and invoking upon them the divine blessing and power to perform it.
  5. 6:8–8:1The summary (Acts 6:7) on the progress of the Jerusalem community, illustrated by the conversion of the priests, is followed by a lengthy narrative regarding Stephen. Stephen’s defense is not a response to the charges made against him but takes the form of a discourse that reviews the fortunes of God’s word to Israel and leads to a prophetic declaration: a plea for the hearing of that word as announced by Christ and now possessed by the Christian community.

    The charges that Stephen depreciated the importance of the temple and the Mosaic law and elevated Jesus to a stature above Moses (Acts 6:13–14) were in fact true. Before the Sanhedrin, no defense against them was possible. With Stephen, who thus perceived the fuller implications of the teachings of Jesus, the differences between Judaism and Christianity began to appear. Luke’s account of Stephen’s martyrdom and its aftermath shows how the major impetus behind the Christian movement passed from Jerusalem, where the temple and law prevailed, to Antioch in Syria, where these influences were less pressing.

  6. 6:13 False witnesses: here, and in his account of Stephen’s execution (Acts 7:54–60), Luke parallels the martyrdom of Stephen with the death of Jesus.

The Book of Acts 5 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 623)

Acts 5New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 5acts-5

Ananias and Sapphira.[a] A man named Ananias, however, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. He retained for himself, with his wife’s knowledge, some of the purchase price, took the remainder, and put it at the feet of the apostles. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you lied to the holy Spirit and retained part of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain yours? And when it was sold, was it not still under your control? Why did you contrive this deed? You have lied not to human beings, but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last, and great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men came and wrapped him up, then carried him out and buried him.

After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, unaware of what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me, did you sell the land for this amount?” She answered, “Yes, for that amount.” Then Peter said to her, “Why did you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen, the footsteps of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 At once, she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men entered they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

Signs and Wonders of the Apostles.[b] 12 Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles. They were all together in Solomon’s portico. 13 None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them. 14 Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them. 15 Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. 16 A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.

Trial Before the Sanhedrin.[c] 17 Then the high priest rose up and all his companions, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and, filled with jealousy, 18 laid hands upon the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said, 20 “Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.” 21 When they heard this, they went to the temple early in the morning and taught. When the high priest and his companions arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin, the full senate of the Israelites, and sent to the jail to have them brought in. 22 But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison, so they came back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked and the guards stationed outside the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 When they heard this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss about them, as to what this would come to. 25 Then someone came in and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area and are teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them in, but without force, because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

27 When they had brought them in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, 28 “We gave you strict orders [did we not?] to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 [d]The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand[e] as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.”

33 When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death. 34 [f]But a Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up, ordered the men to be put outside for a short time, 35 and said to them, “Fellow Israelites, be careful what you are about to do to these men. 36 [g]Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed, and all those who were loyal to him were disbanded and came to nothing. 37 After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census. He also drew people after him, but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered. 38 So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. 39 But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him. 40 After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. 41 So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 42 And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus.

Footnotes:

  1. 5:1–11 The sin of Ananias and Sapphira did not consist in the withholding of part of the money but in their deception of the community. Their deaths are ascribed to a lie to the holy Spirit (Acts 5:3, 9), i.e., they accepted the honor accorded them by the community for their generosity, but in reality they were not deserving of it.
  2. 5:12–16 This, the third summary portraying the Jerusalem community, underscores the Twelve as its bulwark, especially because of their charismatic power to heal the sick; cf. Acts 2:42–47; 4:32–37.
  3. 5:17–42 A second action against the community is taken by the Sanhedrin in the arrest and trial of the Twelve; cf. Acts 4:1–3. The motive is the jealousy of the religious authorities over the popularity of the apostles (Acts 5:17) who are now charged with the defiance of the Sanhedrin’s previous order to them to abandon their prophetic role (Acts 5:28; cf. Acts 4:18). In this crisis the apostles are favored by a miraculous release from prison (Acts 5:18–24). (For similar incidents involving Peter and Paul, see Acts 12:6–11; 16:25–29.) The real significance of such an event, however, would be manifest only to people of faith, not to unbelievers; since the Sanhedrin already judged the Twelve to be inauthentic prophets, it could disregard reports of their miracles. When the Twelve immediately resumed public teaching, the Sanhedrin determined to invoke upon them the penalty of death (Acts 5:33) prescribed in Dt 13:6–10. Gamaliel’s advice against this course finally prevailed, but it did not save the Twelve from the punishment of scourging (Acts 5:40) in a last endeavor to shake their conviction of their prophetic mission.
  4. 5:30 Hanging him on a tree: that is, crucifying him (cf. also Gal 3:13).
  5. 5:31 At his right hand: see note on Acts 2:33.
  6. 5:34 Gamaliel: in Acts 22:3, Paul identifies himself as a disciple of this Rabbi Gamaliel I who flourished in Jerusalem between A.D. 25 and 50.
  7. 5:36–37 Gamaliel offers examples of unsuccessful contemporary movements to argue that if God is not the origin of this movement preached by the apostles it will perish by itself. The movement initiated by Theudas actually occurred when C. Cuspius Fadus was governor, A.D. 44–46. Luke’s placing of Judas the Galilean after Theudas and at the time of the census (see note on Lk 2:1–2) is an indication of the vagueness of his knowledge of these events.

The Book of Acts 4 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 622)

Acts 4New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)acts-4

Chapter 4

While they were still speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees[a] confronted them, disturbed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They laid hands on them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. But many of those who heard the word came to believe and [the] number of men grew to [about] five thousand.

Before the Sanhedrin. On the next day, their leaders, elders, and scribes were assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly class. They brought them into their presence and questioned them, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, 10 then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. 11 He is ‘the stone rejected by you,[b] the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 [c]There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

13 Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus. 14 Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply. 15 So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, and conferred with one another, saying, 16 “What are we to do with these men? Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign was done through them, and we cannot deny it. 17 But so that it may not be spread any further among the people, let us give them a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name.”

18 So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. 20 It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After threatening them further, they released them, finding no way to punish them, on account of the people who were all praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing had been done was over forty years old.

Prayer of the Community. 23 After their release they went back to their own people and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them. 24 And when they heard it, they raised their voices to God with one accord and said, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them, 25 you said by the holy Spirit through the mouth of our father David, your servant:

‘Why did the Gentiles rage
    and the peoples entertain folly?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand
    and the princes gathered together
        against the Lord and against his anointed.’

27 Indeed they gathered in this city against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, Herod[d] and Pontius Pilate, together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do what your hand and [your] will had long ago planned to take place. 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30 as you stretch forth [your] hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 [e]As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Life in the Christian Community.[f] 32 The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. 34 There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, 35 and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

36 Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, 37 sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the apostles.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:1 The priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees: the priests performed the temple liturgy; the temple guard was composed of Levites, whose captain ranked next after the high priest. The Sadducees, a party within Judaism at this time, rejected those doctrines, including bodily resurrection, which they believed alien to the ancient Mosaic religion. The Sadducees were drawn from priestly families and from the lay aristocracy.
  2. 4:11 Early Christianity applied this citation from Ps 118:22 to Jesus; cf. Mk 12:10; 1 Pt 2:7.
  3. 4:12 In the Roman world of Luke’s day, salvation was often attributed to the emperor who was hailed as “savior” and “god.” Luke, in the words of Peter, denies that deliverance comes through anyone other than Jesus.
  4. 4:27 Herod: Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Perea from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39, who executed John the Baptist and before whom Jesus was arraigned; cf. Lk 23:6–12.
  5. 4:31 The place…shook: the earthquake is used as a sign of the divine presence in Ex 19:18; Is 6:4. Here the shaking of the building symbolizes God’s favorable response to the prayer. Luke may have had as an additional reason for using the symbol in this sense the fact that it was familiar in the Hellenistic world. Ovid and Virgil also employ it.
  6. 4:32–37 This is the second summary characterizing the Jerusalem community (see note on Acts 2:42–47). It emphasizes the system of the distribution of goods and introduces Barnabas, who appears later in Acts as the friend and companion of Paul, and who, as noted here (Acts 4:37), endeared himself to the community by a donation of money through the sale of property. This sharing of material possessions continues a practice that Luke describes during the historical ministry of Jesus (Lk 8:3) and is in accord with the sayings of Jesus in Luke’s gospel (Lk 12:33; 16:9, 11, 13).

The Book of Acts 3 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 621)

Acts 3New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

Cure of a Crippled Beggar. [a]Now Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer.[b] And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. [c]Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk.” Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.

Peter’s Speech. 11 As he clung to Peter and John, all the people hurried in amazement toward them in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.”12 When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety? 13 The God of Abraham, [the God] of Isaac, and [the God] of Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified[d] his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence, when he had decided to release him. 14 You denied the Holy and Righteous One[e] and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 [f]The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. 16 And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you. 17 Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance,[g] just as your leaders did; 18 but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets,[h] that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, 20 and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus,[i] 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration[j] of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old. 22 For Moses said:[k]

‘A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
    from among your own kinsmen;
to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
23 Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
    will be cut off from the people.’

24 Moreover, all the prophets who spoke, from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days. 25 You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he said to Abraham, ‘In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1–4:31 This section presents a series of related events: the dramatic cure of a lame beggar (Acts 3:1–10) produces a large audience for the kerygmatic discourse of Peter (Acts 3:11–26). The Sadducees, taking exception to the doctrine of resurrection, have Peter, John, and apparently the beggar as well, arrested (Acts 4:1–4) and brought to trial before the Sanhedrin. The issue concerns the authority by which Peter and John publicly teach religious doctrine in the temple (Acts 4:5–7). Peter replies with a brief summary of the kerygma, implying that his authority is prophetic (Acts 4:8–12). The court warns the apostles to abandon their practice of invoking prophetic authority in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:13–18). When Peter and John reply that the prophetic role cannot be abandoned to satisfy human objections, the court nevertheless releases them, afraid to do otherwise since the beggar, lame from birth and over forty years old, is a well-known figure in Jerusalem and the facts of his cure are common property (Acts 4:19–22). The narrative concludes with a prayer of the Christian community imploring divine aid against threats of persecution (Acts 4:23–31).
  2. 3:1 For the three o’clock hour of prayer: literally, “at the ninth hour of prayer.” With the day beginning at 6 A.M., the ninth hour would be 3 P.M.
  3. 3:6–10 The miracle has a dramatic cast; it symbolizes the saving power of Christ and leads the beggar to enter the temple, where he hears Peter’s proclamation of salvation through Jesus.
  4. 3:13 Has glorified: through the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, God reversed the judgment against him on the occasion of his trial. Servant: the Greek word can also be rendered as “son” or even “child” here and also in Acts 3:26; 4:25 (applied to David); Acts 4:27; and Acts 4:30. Scholars are of the opinion, however, that the original concept reflected in the words identified Jesus with the suffering Servant of the Lord of Is 52:13–53:12.
  5. 3:14 The Holy and Righteous One: so designating Jesus emphasizes his special relationship to the Father (see Lk 1:35; 4:34) and emphasizes his sinlessness and religious dignity that are placed in sharp contrast with the guilt of those who rejected him in favor of Barabbas.
  6. 3:15 The author of life: other possible translations of the Greek title are “leader of life” or “pioneer of life.” The title clearly points to Jesus as the source and originator of salvation.
  7. 3:17 Ignorance: a Lucan motif, explaining away the actions not only of the people but also of their leaders in crucifying Jesus. On this basis the presbyters in Acts could continue to appeal to the Jews in Jerusalem to believe in Jesus, even while affirming their involvement in his death because they were unaware of his messianic dignity. See also Acts 13:27 and Lk 23:34.
  8. 3:18 Through the mouth of all the prophets: Christian prophetic insight into the Old Testament saw the crucifixion and death of Jesus as the main import of messianic prophecy. The Jews themselves did not anticipate a suffering Messiah; they usually understood the Servant Song in Is 52:13–53:12 to signify their own suffering as a people. In his typical fashion (cf. Lk 18:31; 24:25, 27, 44), Luke does not specify the particular Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus. See also note on Lk 24:26.
  9. 3:20 The Lord…and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus: an allusion to the parousia or second coming of Christ, judged to be imminent in the apostolic age. This reference to its nearness is the only explicit one in Acts. Some scholars believe that this verse preserves a very early christology, in which the title “Messiah” (Greek “Christ”) is applied to him as of his parousia, his second coming (contrast Acts 2:36). This view of a future messiahship of Jesus is not found elsewhere in the New Testament.
  10. 3:21 The times of universal restoration: like “the times of refreshment” (Acts 3:20), an apocalyptic designation of the messianic age, fitting in with the christology of Acts 3:20that associates the messiahship of Jesus with his future coming.
  11. 3:22 A loose citation of Dt 18:15, which teaches that the Israelites are to learn the will of Yahweh from no one but their prophets. At the time of Jesus, some Jews expected a unique prophet to come in fulfillment of this text. Early Christianity applied this tradition and text to Jesus and used them especially in defense of the divergence of Christian teaching from traditional Judaism.

The Book of Acts 2 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 620)

Acts 2New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 2

The Coming of the Spirit. [a]When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind,[b] and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,[c] which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues,[d] as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, 11 both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” 12 They were all astounded and bewildered, and said to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others said, scoffing, “They have had too much new wine.”

II. The Mission in Jerusalem

Peter’s Speech at Pentecost. 14 [e]Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘It will come to pass in the last days,’ God says,
    ‘that I will pour out a portion of my spirit
    upon all flesh.
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your young men shall see visions,
    your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids
    I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days,
        and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will work wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below:
        blood, fire, and a cloud of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness,
    and the moon to blood,
        before the coming of the great and splendid day of the Lord,
21 and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.’

22 You who are Israelites, hear these words. Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.23 This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. 24 But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says of him:

‘I saw the Lord ever before me,
    with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
26 Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
    my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
27 because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
    nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

29 My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day.30 But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. 33 Exalted at the right hand of God,[f] he received the promise of the holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you [both] see and hear. 34 For David did not go up into heaven, but he himself said:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand
35     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

36 Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” 38 Peter [said] to them, “Repent and be baptized,[g] every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” 40 He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Communal Life.[h] 42 They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Footnotes:

  1. 2:1–41 Luke’s pentecostal narrative consists of an introduction (Acts 2:1–13), a speech ascribed to Peter declaring the resurrection of Jesus and its messianic significance (Acts 2:14–36), and a favorable response from the audience (Acts 2:37–41). It is likely that the narrative telescopes events that took place over a period of time and on a less dramatic scale. The Twelve were not originally in a position to proclaim publicly the messianic office of Jesus without incurring immediate reprisal from those religious authorities in Jerusalem who had brought about Jesus’ death precisely to stem the rising tide in his favor.
  2. 2:2 There came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind: wind and spirit are associated in Jn 3:8. The sound of a great rush of wind would herald a new action of God in the history of salvation.
  3. 2:3 Tongues as of fire: see Ex 19:18 where fire symbolizes the presence of God to initiate the covenant on Sinai. Here the holy Spirit acts upon the apostles, preparing them to proclaim the new covenant with its unique gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:38).
  4. 2:4 To speak in different tongues: ecstatic prayer in praise of God, interpreted in Acts 2:6, 11 as speaking in foreign languages, symbolizing the worldwide mission of the church.
  5. 2:14–36 The first of six discourses in Acts (along with Acts 3:12–26; 4:8–12; 5:29–32; 10:34–43; 13:16–41) dealing with the resurrection of Jesus and its messianic import. Five of these are attributed to Peter, the final one to Paul. Modern scholars term these discourses in Acts the “kerygma,” the Greek word for proclamation (cf. 1 Cor 15:11).
  6. 2:33 At the right hand of God: or “by the right hand of God.”
  7. 2:38 Repent and be baptized: repentance is a positive concept, a change of mind and heart toward God reflected in the actual goodness of one’s life. It is in accord with the apostolic teaching derived from Jesus (Acts 2:42) and ultimately recorded in the four gospels. Luke presents baptism in Acts as the expected response to the apostolic preaching about Jesus and associates it with the conferring of the Spirit (Acts 1:5; 10:44–48; 11:16).
  8. 2:42–47 The first of three summary passages (along with Acts 4:32–37; 5:12–16) that outline, somewhat idyllically, the chief characteristics of the Jerusalem community: adherence to the teachings of the Twelve and the centering of its religious life in the eucharistic liturgy (Acts 2:42); a system of distribution of goods that led wealthier Christians to sell their possessions when the needs of the community’s poor required it (Acts 2:44 and the note on Acts 4:32–37); and continued attendance at the temple, since in this initial stage there was little or no thought of any dividing line between Christianity and Judaism (Acts 2:46).

Acts 1 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 619)

Acts 1New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. The Preparation for the Christian Mission

Chapter 1[a]

The Promise of the Spirit. In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days[b] and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father[c]about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.”

The Ascension of Jesus. When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going[d] to restore the kingdom to Israel?” [e]He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. [f]But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. 10 While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.

The First Community in Jerusalem. 13 When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

The Choice of Judas’s Successor. 15 During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, 16 “My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. 18 He bought a parcel of land with the wages of his iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his insides spilled out.[g] 19 This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is, Field of Blood. 20 For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

‘Let his encampment become desolate,
    and may no one dwell in it.’

And:

‘May another take his office.’

21 Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”26 [h]Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1–26 This introductory material (Acts 1:1–2) connects Acts with the Gospel of Luke, shows that the apostles were instructed by the risen Jesus (Acts 1:3–5), points out that the parousia or second coming in glory of Jesus will occur as certainly as his ascension occurred (Acts 1:6–11), and lists the members of the Twelve, stressing their role as a body of divinely mandated witnesses to his life, teaching, and resurrection (Acts 1:12–26).
  2. 1:3 Appearing to them during forty days: Luke considered especially sacred the interval in which the appearances and instructions of the risen Jesus occurred and expressed it therefore in terms of the sacred number forty (cf. Dt 8:2). In his gospel, however, Luke connects the ascension of Jesus with the resurrection by describing the ascension on Easter Sunday evening (Lk 24:50–53). What should probably be understood as one event (resurrection, glorification, ascension, sending of the Spirit—the paschal mystery) has been historicized by Luke when he writes of a visible ascension of Jesus after forty days and the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost. For Luke, the ascension marks the end of the appearances of Jesus except for the extraordinary appearance to Paul. With regard to Luke’s understanding of salvation history, the ascension also marks the end of the time of Jesus (Lk 24:50–53) and signals the beginning of the time of the church.
  3. 1:4 The promise of the Father: the holy Spirit, as is clear from the next verse. This gift of the Spirit was first promised in Jesus’ final instructions to his chosen witnesses in Luke’s gospel (Lk 24:49) and formed part of the continuing instructions of the risen Jesus on the kingdom of God, of which Luke speaks in Acts 1:3.
  4. 1:6 The question of the disciples implies that in believing Jesus to be the Christ (see note on Lk 2:11) they had expected him to be a political leader who would restore self-rule to Israel during his historical ministry. When this had not taken place, they ask if it is to take place at this time, the period of the church.
  5. 1:7 This verse echoes the tradition that the precise time of the parousia is not revealed to human beings; cf. Mk 13:32; 1 Thes 5:1–3.
  6. 1:8 Just as Jerusalem was the city of destiny in the Gospel of Luke (the place where salvation was accomplished), so here at the beginning of Acts, Jerusalem occupies a central position. It is the starting point for the mission of the Christian disciples to “the ends of the earth,” the place where the apostles were situated and the doctrinal focal point in the early days of the community (Acts 15:2, 6). The ends of the earth: for Luke, this means Rome.
  7. 1:18 Luke records a popular tradition about the death of Judas that differs from the one in Mt 27:5, according to which Judas hanged himself. Here, although the text is not certain, Judas is depicted as purchasing a piece of property with the betrayal money and being killed on it in a fall.
  8. 1:26 The need to replace Judas was probably dictated by the symbolism of the number twelve, recalling the twelve tribes of Israel. This symbolism also indicates that for Luke (see Lk 22:30) the Christian church is a reconstituted Israel.