Sgt York, in the Ardenne Forest.
Thursday, 3 February 2022
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. Acts 4:32
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).
With the ending of the event in the house where the disciples prayed, the story now changes its direction, beginning with, “Now the multitude of those who believed.”
Acts 4:4 said the number of men had arisen to five thousand. Adding in women and children, it would be a rather large number, and it was one that was surely growing quickly after the event with the healing. Of this large group, it next says, “were of one heart and one soul.”
The Greek uses the word “one” only once – “were of one heart and soul.” It is an idiomatic expression revealing a closeness as if they were literally one body. The blood pumping through them would be as if one. But more, because the heart reflects the seat of reasoning in the Bible, they also had a united purpose.
The animation of the soul is, likewise, as with one united purpose. That makes it the closest bond of all. The expression is seen in the love found between David and Jonathan –
“Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:1
In this state, they were like one living organism. Because of this, Luke next records “neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own.” Unlike the communist model where the state forcibly takes over the private property of the people, this is a completely voluntary thing. The people were pleased to say, “What’s mine is yours.”
This approach to the possessions of the people is an unsustainable one, as will be seen, but it was probably based on the thought that the Lord would be returning soon. If this was on their mind, it was a wonderful expression of hope in the event, but it would eventually lead these people to require charity themselves, as will be noted later and in the epistles.
Luke finishes the verse with, “but they had all things in common.” This is a close model to the modern kibbutz found in Israel. That has worked pretty well, but this is because the people work together and have a united purpose in making the kibbutz run properly. As for these early believers, their model was not as developed, and it would eventually not work out. However, with this, and with persecution of these believers ahead, it will be an impetus for the people to spread out and share the message beyond the area of Jerusalem.
Life application: Even if believers do not share all personal goods in common today, we can still attempt to be of one heart and soul. It is a difficult thing to do because sin fills our lives, but it should be the goal of the body to act in such a manner.
Obviously, doctrinal differences can be so great that it is simply impossible to fellowship with some who have called on Christ. As much as it is possible, however, we should do our best to be closely united with those who are the redeemed of the Lord –
“Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
Heavenly Father, while it isn’t always easy to be close and in a united mind with other believers, we know that this is what You would desire for us. Help us to live in this way, overlooking faults, forgiving disagreements, and loving others just as You have loved us. Help it to be so in our lives. Amen.