Acts 5:18

Saturday, 26 February 2022

and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. Acts 5:18

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).

The previous verse noted the rising up of the high priest and those with him from the sect of the Sadducees, being filled with indignation. From there it now says, “and laid their hands.” It is essentially the same words found in Acts 4:3, an account that occurred in the same general manner as is happening now –

“Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.” Acts 4:1-3

There is an active arrest going on. This time it isn’t just Peter and John, but it more generally says, “on the apostles.” No indication is given if it is all the apostles, or just some of them, but those that had been meeting together at the time are certainly who are being referred to, be it five, eight, or all twelve. From there, it next notes the actions of those arresting them, saying, “and put them in the common prison.”

The translation is not correct. There is no definite article, and the word translated as “prison” signifies “custody” as in Acts 4:3. A literal rendering would be “and put them in public custody.” Once again, trouble from the leading authorities of Israel has come upon those who are proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Life application: There are pastors, evangelists, teachers, etc., who spend their entire lives without ever being confronted with arrest for their teaching. And then, there are some who seem to be hounded by the authorities at every turn. The reason can be as simple as the person is a miscreant who is looking for attention and willingly goes outside of the bounds of propriety in a culture, or even beyond the legally set laws of the land.

There is nothing heroic in this, but such people are often heralded as champions of freedom or lights for the oppressed. But then, there are those men who are simply upholding the values of Scripture and teaching what is distasteful to those in leadership positions, even if they are not doing anything wrong. In this, the leaders are the ones who go beyond the legally set laws of the land, imposing their corrupt power upon the people, attempting to silence anyone who they disagree with.

There are many varied other levels of such things as well. Scripture gives us general guidelines concerning obedience to the governing authorities, but it also teaches that God’s word must come first in all matters. If the word of God is silenced by a nation, then that must be disobeyed.

As far as moral, cultural, or governmental issues not directly addressed by the Bible, each person must evaluate his position within the society and decide if what he intends to do is right or wrong. For example, the constitution of the US grants certain freedoms. At times, the government, usually the lefties, will attempt to override those freedoms. And yet, the issue really has nothing to do with Scripture. In such instances, it is up to the citizens to decide how to respond to such matters.

The Bible should not be used to make cases against government tyranny when the issue has nothing to do with the Bible. But the Bible is to be the ultimate standard for the conduct of believers in Jesus Christ. When a government attempts to silence Christians concerning matters directly related to their faith, or when a government mandates disobedience to the precepts of Scripture, it is incumbent upon men of God to stand against those unlawful edicts.

Let us pray for wisdom in such matters, and may we be firm that the Bible is the ultimate standard by which we will conduct our lives before God.

Most gracious and kind God, please grant us the wisdom to know when to act in matters concerning our faith when it is necessary to do so. But may we refrain from acting improperly concerning such matters when the Bible is silent on them. We need a proper balance in our thinking. And so, Lord, grant us wisdom in these things. To Your glory we pray. Amen.