Acts 3:16

Thursday, 23 December 2021

And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. Acts 3:16

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

Peter has conveyed to the people their denial and killing of Jesus, but God’s approval of Him through the resurrection. With that stated, he now immediately turns to the power that comes with this fact. The Greek reads in a different order than the NKJV cited above –

And His name, through faith in His name… (NKJV)
And upon the faith of the name of Him… (CG)

In this, the Greek does not say dia, or “through.” It says epi, or “upon.” It is an important distinction. There is also an article which must be translated, “the faith.” The account from Luke is precise. This man had not heard any word concerning Christ Jesus. Peter simply brought him from being a cripple to being healed –

And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. Acts 3:2-7

It was not the man’s faith, but “the faith” which is found in Jesus Christ. One might say, “The church is established upon the faith found in (as the basis of) the name of Jesus.” This is the thought being expressed by Peter. The corresponding account of Paul healing a cripple is completely different –

And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. Acts 14:8-10

There, it refers to the man’s faith. He had faith (there is no preceding article in the Greek) to be healed after hearing the gospel and Paul commanded him to stand. As for Peter, he healed the man based upon the faith found in (based upon) the name of Jesus. It is this faith which Peter says, “has made this man strong.”

Faith in the man was not a requirement for this healing for exactly the reason that Peter had been explaining. Israel was guilty of crucifying their Messiah, but to demonstrate that God had, in fact, raised Christ, the power of His name was used to prove the matter. This is to contrast what Peter said in verse 3:12

“…why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (3:12)

“And upon the faith of the name of Him has made this man strong.” (3:16).

This is the proof of what Peter carefully explained in the intervening verses. The miracle had been wrought by power which is upon (based on) the faith of the name. As an additional note of the undeniable surety of the matter, Peter next says, “whom you see and know.”

So surely is this a valid miracle that Acts 4 will detail a trial held by the leaders concerning what happened. There it says –

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” 21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. 22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed. Acts 4:20-22

The people knew the man, they had seen the miraculous change in his physical body, and they had no excuse to not believe what their eyes beheld. Peter’s words, as recorded by Luke, are precise and exacting. This includes what he next says to the people, “Yes, the faith which comes through Him.”

This time, the translation is correct. The word dia, or “through,” is used when speaking of Christ. Again, it is not speaking of the man’s faith. It is speaking of “the faith,” meaning the basis of the faith, which comes through the resurrected Messiah. It is this new formulation in the ongoing redemptive narrative that has been presented to Israel.

In times past, miracles were done in the name of the Lord, Yehovah. But now, it is power in the name of Jesus (Yeshua – Salvation) that such miracles are proclaimed, and which then occur. As such, Peter notes that the faith which comes through Jesus “has given him this perfect soundness.”

Here, Peter uses a word found only this one time in the Bible, holokléria. Souter says that it pertains to “the condition of wholeness, where all the parts work together for ‘unimpaired health.’” The miracle was wrought, and there was nothing lacking in it. The man went from a total cripple from his mother’s womb to a man that could walk and leap about without even needing to be trained to do so once his body was healed. Everything worked as if it had been working all his life. With that stated, Peter finishes with a note that it was done “in the presence of you all.”

Even if the people didn’t actually see the healing happen, many had come through the same gate just before it happened. The man lay there, broken and helpless, begging alms. Some may have handed him a coin. Some may have pointed at him and mocked. Some may have said to their children, “This is the curse of God.” Whatever they thought or did as they passed, they had seen him laying there, understanding his condition was hopeless. And yet, he was now before them completely healed. The testimony to all of the people concerning the faith in the name could not be denied.

Life application: Just a few incorrectly translated prepositions and missing articles can change the entire meaning of a verse. And with the change in meaning, there is seen to be an entirely different purpose for what was said than would otherwise have been known. Israel is being given instruction on a miracle that occurred among them. But with the faulty translation of the KJV, which is then repeated in the NKJV, people will have a complete misunderstanding of what is being conveyed.

In Acts 14, in the comparable healing passage which refers to Paul, there will be a different design and purpose for what is said. In noticing these differences, one’s theology will be strengthened and more perfectly aligned with what the Bible is telling us. But without noticing these things, we will remain deficient in our thinking.

In learning this lesson, it should teach us for our own spiritual lives. Let us endeavor to always be precise in how we present the gospel. Including various words not laid out in Scripture concerning the gospel, we can easily present a false gospel. The beauty of being saved by faith alone through Christ alone can be obliterated by saying something as innocuous as “repent and be baptized.”

Acts 2:38 says this, but Acts 2:38 must be taken in its proper context (as noted then) or a false impression of what Peter was saying (and to whom he is speaking) will arise. Learn the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4), and then proclaim that by believing that message salvation will be realized. Yes, let us be precise concerning such important matters.

O God, help us to be faithful in presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. And when we do, help us to faithfully present it. May our words be words approved by You in Your word so that no errors in thinking arise in those we speak to. To Your glory we pray, Amen