Sacred Texts  Bible  Bible Commentary  Index 
Acts Index
  Previous  Next 

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

Acts Chapter 5

Acts 5:2

act 5:2

Kept back (ἐνοσφίσατο)

Only here, Act 5:3, and Tit 2:10, where it is rendered purloining. From νόσφι, aloof, apart. The verb means to set apart for one's self; hence to appropriate wrongfully.

Acts 5:3

act 5:3

To lie to (ψεύσασθαι)

Rather, to deceive. The design of Satan was to deceive the Holy Ghost. To lie to would require a different case in the noun, which occults in Act 5:4, where the same verb is properly rendered lie (unto God). Satan fills the heart to deceive. The result of the attempt is merely to lie.

Acts 5:4

act 5:4

Whiles it remained, was it not thine own (οὐχὶ μένον? σοὶ ἔμενε)

A play on the words. Lit., remaining, did it not remain to thee? Rev., very happily, whiles it remained, did it not remain thine own?

Conceived (ἔθου)

Lit., put or fixed. Wherefore didst thou fix this deed in thy heart? - i.e., resolve upon it.

Acts 5:5

act 5:5

Gave up the ghost (ἐξέψυξε)

Used by Luke only. A rare word, occurring in the Septuagint, and in medical writers. See Eze 21:7, "Every spirit shall faint." See, also, on failing, Luk 21:26.

Acts 5:6

act 5:6

Wound him up (συνέστειλαν)

Better, as Rev., wrapped him round. The verb means to draw together, or draw in; hence used for shortening sail, reducing expenses, lowering or humbling a person. In Co1 7:29, it occurs in the phrase, "the time is short (συνεσταλμένος, Rev., properly, shortened);" i.e., drawn together, contracted. In the sense of wrapping up it is found in Aristophanes, of wrapping cloaks or garments about one; also of tucking up the garments about the loins, as a preparation for service. In the sense of shrouding for burial, it occurs in Euripides ("Troades," 382): "They were not shrouded (συνεπεστάλησαν) by the hands of a wife." In medical language, of bandaging a limb; of the contraction of tumors, and of organs of the body, etc. Some, however, as Meyer, refer the word here to the pressing together of the dead man's limbs.

Acts 5:8

act 5:8


"The woman, whose entrance into the assembly of the saints was like a speech" (Bengel).

For so much (τοσούτου)

Perhaps pointing to the money still lying at his feet.

Acts 5:9

act 5:9

Ye have agreed together (συνεφωνήθη ὑμῖν)

The verb is passive. Lit., was it agreed by you. The figure in the word is that of concord of sounds. Your souls were attuned to each other respecting this deceit. See on music, Luk 15:25.

To tempt (πειράσαι)

To put it to the proof whether the Holy Spirit, ruling in the apostles, could be deceived. See on Act 5:3.

The feet

Graphic. The steps of the young men returning from the burial are heard at the door.

Acts 5:12

act 5:12

Were wrought (ἐγένετο)

The best texts read ἐγίνετο the imperfect, were being wrought from time to time.


The whole body of believers.

Acts 5:13

act 5:13

The rest

Unbelievers, deterred by the fate of Ananias from uniting themselves to the church under false pretences.

Join himself (κολλᾶσθαι)

See on Luk 15:15; and Luk 10:11. In all but two instances (Rom 12:9; Co1 6:17), the word implies a forced, unnatural, or unexpected union. Thus Philip would not, without a special command, have "joined himself" to the chariot of the Ethiopian prince (Act 8:29). Saul's attempt to join himself to the apostles was regarded by them with suspicion (Act 9:26); and the fact that certain persons "clave to" Paul in Athens is expressly contrasted with the attitude of the citizens at large. The sense of an unnatural union comes out clearly in Co1 6:16.

Acts 5:14

act 5:14

Were added (προσετίθεντο)

Imperfect: kept being added.

Acts 5:15

act 5:15

Couches (κραββάτων)

See on Mar 2:4.

The shadow of Peter passing by

But the proper rendering is, as Peter passed by, his shadow might, etc.

Acts 5:18

act 5:18

In the common prison (ἐν τηρήσει δημοσίᾳ)

Incorrect. Τήρησις is not used in the sense of prison, but is an abstract term meaning ward or keeping, as in Act 4:3. There is no article, moreover. Note, too, that another word is used for the prison in the next verse (τῆς φυλακῆς). Rev., therefore, correctly, in public ward.

Acts 5:19

act 5:19

By night (διὰ τῆς νυκτὸς)

More correctly, during the night: διά, in the course of. Compare Act 16:9.

Acts 5:20

act 5:20


Compare Act 2:14; and see on Luk 18:11; and Luk 19:8.

Of this life

The eternal life which Christ revealed. It is a peculiar use of the phrase, which is commonly employed in contrast with the life to come, as Co1 15:19. Compare Joh 6:63, Joh 6:68. Not equivalent to these words of life.

Acts 5:21

act 5:21

Early in the morning (ὑπὸ τὸν ὄρθρον)

Ὑπό, beneath, is often used in the sense of just about, or near. Ὄρθρον, is from ὄρνυμι, to cause to arise: the dawn. See on Luk 24:1. Render as Rev., about daybreak.

Taught (ἐδίδασκον)

Imperfect: began teaching.

The council (συνέδριον)

The Sanhedrim.

The senate (γερουσίαν)

From γέρων, an old man, like the Latin senatus, from senex, old. Taking on very early an official sense, the notion of age being merged in that of dignity. Thus in Homer γέροντες are the chiefs who form the king's council. Compare the Latin patres, fathers, the title used in addressing the Roman senate. The word in this passage is the name of the Spartan assembly, Gerousia, the assembly of elders, consisting of thirty members, with the two kings. "The well-known term," as Meyer remarks, "is fittingly transferred from the college of the Greek gerontes to that of the Jewish presbyters." They summoned, not only those elders of the people who were likewise members of the Sanhedrim, but the whole council (all the senate) of the representatives of the people.

Prison (δεσμωτήριον)

Still another word for prison. Compare Act 5:18, Act 5:19. Rev., prison-house. The different words emphasize different aspects of confinement. Τήρησις is keeping, as the result of guarding. See on Act 5:18. Φυλακή emphasizes the being put under guard, and δεσμωτήριον the being put in bonds.

Acts 5:22

act 5:22

Officers (ὑπηρέται)

See on Mat 5:25.

Acts 5:24

act 5:24

They doubted (διηπόρουν)

See on Luk 9:5. Rev., were much perplexed, giving the force of διά, thoroughly at a loss. Compare Luk 24:4.

Acts 5:28

act 5:28

Did not

The best texts omit οὐ, not, and the question.

We straitly charged

So Rev. (παραγγελίᾳ παρηγγείλαμεν). Lit., we charged you with a charge. See on Luk 22:15, with desire I have desired.

Intend (βούλεσθε)

Or ye want. See on willing, Mat 1:19.

This man's

The phrase is remarkable as furnishing the first instance of that avoidance of the name of Christ which makes the Talmud, in the very same terms, refer to him most frequently as Peloni=, "so and so."

Acts 5:29

act 5:29

We ought (δεῖ)

Stronger, we must.

To obey (πειθαρχεῖν)

Not often used in the New Testament to express obedience, the most common word being ὑπακούω. Sometimes πείθω is used. But this word, in itself, is the only one of the several in use which expresses the conception of obedience exclusively. Ὑπακούνειν is to obey as the result of listening to another: πείθεσθαι is to obey as the result of persuasion. This is the special term for the obedience which one owes to authority (ἀρχή): It occurs four times in the New Testament: Act 5:29, Act 5:32; Act 27:21; Tit 3:1; and in every case, of obedience to established authority, either of God or of magistrates. In Act 27:21, where it is used of the ship's officers hearkening to Paul's admonition not to loose from Crete, Paul speaks of his admonition as divinely inspired; compare Act 27:10. In Act 4:19, Peter and John say hearken (ἀκούειν). That is a mere listening to or considering the proposition made to them. This is a deliberate course of action.

Acts 5:30

act 5:30

Ye slew (διεχειρίσασθε)

Only here and Act 26:21. To slay with one's own hands.


See on Luk 23:31.

Acts 5:31

act 5:31


See on Act 3:15.

Repentance - remission

See on Mat 3:2; and Jam 5:15; and Luk 3:3.

Acts 5:32

act 5:32


See on Act 1:22.


See on Act 5:29.

Acts 5:33

act 5:33

They were cut to the heart (διεπρίοντο)

Only here and Act 7:54. The verb means, originally, to saw asunder. A strong figure for exasperation.

To slay

See on Luk 23:32.

Acts 5:34

act 5:34

The apostles

The best texts substitute τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, the men.

A little space (βραχύ)

Better as Rev., a little while.

Acts 5:36

act 5:36

Joined themselves (προσεκολλήθη)

The best texts read προσεκλίθη, were inclined; i.e., leaned to, or took sides with.

Acts 5:37

act 5:37


Note the word for obeyed (ἐπείθοντο) implying the persuasive power of Theudas' boasting. See on Act 5:29.

Taxing (ἀπογραφῆς)

See on Luk 2:1, Luk 2:2.

Much people

The best texts omit much.

Were dispersed (διεσκορπίθησαν)

See on Mat 25:24.

Acts 5:38

act 5:38

Refrain (ἀπόστητε)

Lit., stand off.

Of men (ἐξ ἀνθρώπων)

Out of men, proceeding out of their devices.

It will come to naught (καταλυθήσεται)

Lit., be loosened down. Used of the dilapidation of the temple (Luk 21:6), and of the dissolution of the body under the figure of striking a tent (Co2 5:1). See on Mar 13:2.

Acts 5:39

act 5:39

To fight against God (θεομάχοι)

Lit., to be God- fighters.

Acts 5:41

act 5:41

They were counted worthy to suffer shame (κατηξιώθησαν ἀτιμασθῆναι)

This is an instance of what rhetoricians style an oxymoron, from ὀξύς, sharp, and μωρός, foolish; a pointedly foolish saying, which is witty or impressive through sheer contradiction or paradox, as laborious idleness, sublime indifference. In this case the apostles are described as dignified by indignity.

Next: Acts Chapter 6