Bible: Acts 4-5; 12; 16; 18; 21
The Arrest and Trial of Peter and John
4:1 While Peter and John 1 were speaking to the people, the priests and the commander 2 of the temple guard 3 and the Sadducees 4 came up 5 to them, 4:2 angry 6 because they were teaching the people and announcing 7 in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 4:3 So 8 they seized 9 them and put them in jail 10 until the next day (for it was already evening). 4:4 But many of those who had listened to 11 the message 12 believed, and the number of the men 13 came to about five thousand.
4:5 On the next day, 14 their rulers, elders, and experts in the law 15 came together 16 in Jerusalem. 17 4:6 Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and others who were members of the high priest’s family. 18 4:7 After 19 making Peter and John 20 stand in their midst, they began to inquire, “By what power or by what name 21 did you do this?” 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, 22 replied, 23 “Rulers of the people and elders, 24 4:9 if 25 we are being examined 26 today for a good deed 27 done to a sick man – by what means this man was healed 28 – 4:10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ 29 the Nazarene whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, this man stands before you healthy. 4:11 This Jesus 30 is the stone that was rejected by you, 31 the builders, that has become the cornerstone. 32 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people 33 by which we must 34 be saved.”
4:13 When they saw the boldness 35 of Peter and John, and discovered 36 that they were uneducated 37 and ordinary 38 men, they were amazed and recognized these men had been with Jesus. 4:14 And because they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say against this. 39 4:15 But when they had ordered them to go outside the council, 40 they began to confer with one another, 4:16 saying, “What should we do with these men? For it is plain 41 to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable miraculous sign 42 has come about through them, 43 and we cannot deny it. 4:17 But to keep this matter from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more 44 to anyone in this name.” 4:18 And they called them in and ordered 45 them not to speak or teach at all in the name 46 of Jesus. 4:19 But Peter and John replied, 47 “Whether it is right before God to obey 48 you rather than God, you decide, 4:20 for it is impossible 49 for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” 4:21 After threatening them further, they released them, for they could not find how to punish them on account of the people, because they were all praising 50 God for what had happened. 4:22 For the man, on whom this miraculous sign 51 of healing had been performed, 52 was over forty years old.
The Followers of Jesus Pray for Boldness
4:23 When they were released, Peter and John 53 went to their fellow believers 54 and reported everything the high priests and the elders had said to them. 4:24 When they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind 55 and said, “Master of all, 56 you who made the heaven, the earth, 57 the sea, and everything that is in them, 4:25 who said by the Holy Spirit through 58 your servant David our forefather, 59
and the peoples plot foolish 62 things?
4:26 The kings of the earth stood together, 63
and the rulers assembled together,
4:27 “For indeed both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together in this city against 66 your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 67 4:28 to do as much as your power 68 and your plan 69 had decided beforehand 70 would happen. 4:29 And now, Lord, pay attention to 71 their threats, and grant 72 to your servants 73 to speak your message 74 with great courage, 75 4:30 while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs 76 and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 4:31 When 77 they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, 78 and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak 79 the word of God 80 courageously. 81
Conditions Among the Early Believers
4:32 The group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, 82 and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but everything was held in common. 83 4:33 With 84 great power the apostles were giving testimony 85 to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. 4:34 For there was no one needy 86 among them, because those who were owners of land or houses were selling 87 them 88 and bringing the proceeds from the sales 4:35 and placing them at the apostles’ feet. The proceeds 89 were distributed to each, as anyone had need. 4:36 So Joseph, a Levite who was a native of Cyprus, called by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”), 90 4:37 sold 91 a field 92 that belonged to him and brought the money 93 and placed it at the apostles’ feet.
The Judgment on Ananias and Sapphira
5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with Sapphira his wife, sold a piece of property. 5:2 He 94 kept back for himself part of the proceeds with his wife’s knowledge; he brought 95 only part of it and placed it at the apostles’ feet. 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled 96 your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of 97 the land? 5:4 Before it was sold, 98 did it not 99 belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money 100 not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart? 101 You have not lied to people 102 but to God!”
5:5 When Ananias heard these words he collapsed and died, and great fear gripped 103 all who heard about it. 5:6 So the young men came, 104 wrapped him up, 105 carried him out, and buried 106 him. 5:7 After an interval of about three hours, 107 his wife came in, but she did not know 108 what had happened. 5:8 Peter said to her, “Tell me, were the two of you 109 paid this amount 110 for the land?” Sapphira 111 said, “Yes, that much.” 5:9 Peter then told her, “Why have you agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out!” 5:10 At once 112 she collapsed at his feet and died. So when the young men came in, they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 5:11 Great 113 fear gripped 114 the whole church 115 and all who heard about these things.
The Apostles Perform Miraculous Signs and Wonders
5:12 Now many miraculous signs 116 and wonders came about among the people through the hands of the apostles. By 117 common consent 118 they were all meeting together in Solomon’s Portico. 119 5:13 None of the rest dared to join them, 120 but the people held them in high honor. 121 5:14 More and more believers in the Lord were added to their number, 122 crowds of both men and women. 5:15 Thus 123 they even carried the sick out into the streets, and put them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow would fall on some of them. 5:16 A crowd of people from the towns around Jerusalem 124 also came together, bringing the sick and those troubled by unclean spirits. 125 They 126 were all 127 being healed.
Further Trouble for the Apostles
5:17 Now the high priest rose up, and all those with him (that is, the religious party of the Sadducees 128 ), 129 and they were filled with jealousy. 130 5:18 They 131 laid hands on 132 the apostles and put them in a public jail. 5:19 But during the night an angel of the Lord 133 opened 134 the doors of the prison, 135 led them out, 136 and said, 5:20 “Go and stand in the temple courts 137 and proclaim 138 to the people all the words of this life.” 5:21 When they heard this, they entered the temple courts 139 at daybreak and began teaching. 140
Now when the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they summoned the Sanhedrin 141 – that is, the whole high council 142 of the Israelites 143 – and sent to the jail to have the apostles 144 brought before them. 145 5:22 But the officers 146 who came for them 147 did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, 148 5:23 “We found the jail locked securely and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, 149 we found no one inside.” 5:24 Now when the commander 150 of the temple guard 151 and the chief priests heard this report, 152 they were greatly puzzled concerning it, 153 wondering what this could 154 be. 5:25 But someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courts 155 and teaching 156 the people!” 5:26 Then the commander 157 of the temple guard 158 went with the officers 159 and brought the apostles 160 without the use of force 161 (for they were afraid of being stoned by the people). 162
5:27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the council, 163 and the high priest questioned 164 them, 5:28 saying, “We gave 165 you strict orders 166 not to teach in this name. 167 Look, 168 you have filled Jerusalem 169 with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood 170 on us!” 5:29 But Peter and the apostles replied, 171 “We must obey 172 God rather than people. 173 5:30 The God of our forefathers 174 raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. 175 5:31 God exalted him 176 to his right hand as Leader 177 and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 178 5:32 And we are witnesses of these events, 179 and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey 180 him.”
5:33 Now when they heard this, they became furious 181 and wanted to execute them. 182 5:34 But a Pharisee 183 whose name was Gamaliel, 184 a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up 185 in the council 186 and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. 5:35 Then he said to the council, 187 “Men of Israel, 188 pay close attention to 189 what you are about to do to these men. 5:36 For some time ago 190 Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. He 191 was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and nothing came of it. 192 5:37 After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census, 193 and incited people to follow him in revolt. 194 He too was killed, and all who followed him were scattered. 5:38 So in this case I say to you, stay away from these men and leave them alone, because if this plan or this undertaking originates with people, 195 it will come to nothing, 196 5:39 but if 197 it is from God, you will not be able to stop them, or you may even be found 198 fighting against God.” He convinced them, 199 5:40 and they summoned the apostles and had them beaten. 200 Then 201 they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. 5:41 So they left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy 202 to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 203 5:42 And every day both in the temple courts 204 and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news 205 that Jesus was the Christ. 206
The Obedience of Abram
“Go out 3 from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household
to the land that I will show you. 4
and I will make your name great, 7
so that you will exemplify divine blessing. 8
12:3 I will bless those who bless you, 9
but the one who treats you lightly 10 I must curse,
and all the families of the earth will bless one another 11 by your name.”
12:4 So Abram left, 12 just as the
12:6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the oak tree 19 of Moreh 20 at Shechem. 21 (At that time the Canaanites were in the land.) 22 12:7 The
12:8 Then he moved from there to the hill country east of Bethel 25 and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the
The Promised Blessing Jeopardized
12:10 There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt 29 to stay for a while 30 because the famine was severe. 31 12:11 As he approached 32 Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, 33 I know that you are a beautiful woman. 34 12:12 When the Egyptians see you they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will keep you alive. 35 12:13 So tell them 36 you are my sister 37 so that it may go well 38 for me because of you and my life will be spared 39 on account of you.”
12:14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 12:15 When Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. So Abram’s wife 40 was taken 41 into the household of Pharaoh, 42 12:16 and he did treat Abram well 43 on account of her. Abram received 44 sheep and cattle, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
12:17 But the
The Birth of Ishmael
16:1 Now Sarai, 1 Abram’s wife, had not given birth to any children, 2 but she had an Egyptian servant 3 named Hagar. 4 16:2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Since 5 the
16:3 So after Abram had lived 9 in Canaan for ten years, Sarai, Abram’s wife, gave Hagar, her Egyptian servant, 10 to her husband to be his wife. 11 16:4 He had sexual relations with 12 Hagar, and she became pregnant. 13 Once Hagar realized she was pregnant, she despised Sarai. 14 16:5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You have brought this wrong on me! 15 I allowed my servant to have sexual relations with you, 16 but when she realized 17 that she was pregnant, she despised me. 18 May the
16:9 Then the
“You are now 32 pregnant
and are about to give birth 33 to a son.
You are to name him Ishmael, 34
16:12 He will be a wild donkey 36 of a man.
He will be hostile to everyone, 37
and everyone will be hostile to him. 38
He will live away from 39 his brothers.”
16:13 So Hagar named the
Three Special Visitors
18:3 He said, “My lord, 12 if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by and leave your servant. 13 18:4 Let a little water be brought so that 14 you may all 15 wash your feet and rest under the tree. 18:5 And let me get 16 a bit of food 17 so that you may refresh yourselves 18 since you have passed by your servant’s home. After that you may be on your way.” 19 “All right,” they replied, “you may do as you say.”
18:6 So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Take 20 three measures 21 of fine flour, knead it, and make bread.” 22 18:7 Then Abraham ran to the herd and chose a fine, tender calf, and gave it to a servant, 23 who quickly prepared it. 24 18:8 Abraham 25 then took some curds and milk, along with the calf that had been prepared, and placed the food 26 before them. They ate while 27 he was standing near them under a tree.
18:9 Then they asked him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He replied, “There, 28 in the tent.” 18:10 One of them 29 said, “I will surely return 30 to you when the season comes round again, 31 and your wife Sarah will have a son!” 32 (Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, not far behind him. 33 18:11 Abraham and Sarah were old and advancing in years; 34 Sarah had long since passed menopause.) 35 18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, 36 “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, 37 especially when my husband is old too?” 38
Abraham Pleads for Sodom
18:16 When the men got up to leave, 44 they looked out over 45 Sodom. (Now 46 Abraham was walking with them to see them on their way.) 47 18:17 Then the
18:20 So the
18:22 The two men turned 62 and headed 63 toward Sodom, but Abraham was still standing before the
18:26 So the
18:27 Then Abraham asked, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord 68 (although I am but dust and ashes), 69 18:28 what if there are five less than the fifty godly people? Will you destroy 70 the whole city because five are lacking?” 71 He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
18:31 Abraham 77 said, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
18:32 Finally Abraham 78 said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
The Birth of Isaac
21:6 Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. 9 Everyone who hears about this 10 will laugh 11 with me.” 21:7 She went on to say, 12 “Who would 13 have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have given birth to a son for him in his old age!”
21:8 The child grew and was weaned. Abraham prepared 14 a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 15 21:9 But Sarah noticed 16 the son of Hagar the Egyptian – the son whom Hagar had borne to Abraham – mocking. 17 21:10 So she said to Abraham, “Banish 18 that slave woman and her son, for the son of that slave woman will not be an heir along with my son Isaac!”
21:11 Sarah’s demand displeased Abraham greatly because Ishmael was his son. 19 21:12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be upset 20 about the boy or your slave wife. Do 21 all that Sarah is telling 22 you because through Isaac your descendants will be counted. 23 21:13 But I will also make the son of the slave wife into a great nation, for he is your descendant too.”
21:14 Early in the morning Abraham took 24 some food 25 and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He put them on her shoulders, gave her the child, 26 and sent her away. So she went wandering 27 aimlessly through the wilderness 28 of Beer Sheba. 21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she shoved 29 the child under one of the shrubs. 21:16 Then she went and sat down by herself across from him at quite a distance, about a bowshot 30 away; for she thought, 31 “I refuse to watch the child die.” 32 So she sat across from him and wept uncontrollably. 33
21:17 But God heard the boy’s voice. 34 The angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and asked her, “What is the matter, 35 Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard 36 the boy’s voice right where he is crying. 21:18 Get up! Help the boy up and hold him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 21:19 Then God enabled Hagar to see a well of water. 37 She went over and filled the skin with water, and then gave the boy a drink.
21:22 At that time Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, said to Abraham, “God is with you 40 in all that you do. 21:23 Now swear to me right here in God’s name 41 that you will not deceive me, my children, or my descendants. 42 Show me, and the land 43 where you are staying, 44 the same loyalty 45 that I have shown you.” 46
21:24 Abraham said, “I swear to do this.” 47 21:25 But Abraham lodged a complaint 48 against Abimelech concerning a well 49 that Abimelech’s servants had seized. 50 21:26 “I do not know who has done this thing,” Abimelech replied. “Moreover, 51 you did not tell me. I did not hear about it until today.”
21:27 Abraham took some sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech. The two of them made a treaty. 52 21:28 Then Abraham set seven ewe lambs apart from the flock by themselves. 21:29 Abimelech asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these 53 seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?” 21:30 He replied, “You must take these seven ewe lambs from my hand as legal proof 54 that I dug this well.” 55 21:31 That is why he named that place 56 Beer Sheba, 57 because the two of them swore 58 an oath there.
21:32 So they made a treaty 59 at Beer Sheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, returned 60 to the land of the Philistines. 61 21:33 Abraham 62 planted a tamarisk tree 63 in Beer Sheba. There he worshiped the