Acts 4:13-22 John Nicholas’ Sunday School Notes From 3/4/2018
13Θεωροῦντες δὲ τὴν τοῦ Πέτρου παρρησίαν καὶ Ἰωάννου καὶ καταλαβόμενοι ὅτι ἄνθρωποι ἀγράμματοί εἰσιν καὶ ἰδιῶται, ἐθαύμαζον ἐπεγίνωσκόν τε αὐτοὺς ὅτι σὺν τῷ Ἰησοῦ ἦσαν,
Now they saw the boldness of Peter and John and understood that uneducated and untrained men they were, they were astonished, and recognized them that they had been with Jesus
- Katalabomenoi – to come to understand something which was not understood or perceived previously—‘to understand, to realize, to grasp, to comprehend.’
- The implication is that the apostles’ eloquence was inspired by the Spirit.
- Unlettered men without technical training in the professional rabbinical schools of Hillel or Shammai. Jesus himself was so regarded (John 7:15, “not having learned letters”)
- Kai idiotai – and untrained – layman. Much like agrammatos.
- It is from ἰδιος [idios] (one’s own) and our “idiosyncracy” is one with an excess of such a trait, while “idiot” (this very word) is one who has nothing but his idiosyncracy.
- Or, And ignorant (και ἰδιωται [kai idiōtai]). Old word, only here in the N. T. and 1 Cor. 14:24; 2 Cor. 11:6. It does not mean “ignorant,” but a layman, a man not in office (a private person), a common soldier and not an officer, a man not skilled in the schools
- Ie – Peter and John were not rabbis
- Not only do they point to Jesus but now the Sanhedrin recognize them as having been with Jesus(witness/association)
14τόν τε ἄνθρωπον βλέποντες σὺν αὐτοῖς ἑστῶτα τὸν τεθεραπευμένον οὐδὲν εἶχον ἀντειπεῖν.
And because they saw the man with them standing there who had been healed they had nothing to say in return
- Nothing to say because the evidence(a man lame from birth walking/leaping) stood as witness
- How can the Sanhedrin deny the obvious evidence in front of them?
- The irony can scarcely be missed—the accused spoke with utter boldness and freedom; their accusers sat in stony silence.
15κελεύσαντες δὲ αὐτοὺς ἔξω τοῦ συνεδρίου ἀπελθεῖν συνέβαλλον πρὸς ἀλλήλους
But (after they) had ordered them to go outside the Sanhedrin began to confer with one another
- With Peter and John and the lame man outside, they began to compare (συν, βαλλω [sun, ballō]) notes and take stock of their predicament.
- they were following normal procedure. Their custom after hearing the witnesses was to dismiss them in order to have as clear and open a discussion among themselves as possible.
- We need not ask how Luke obtained the results of this conference, for since so many were conferring, it was impossible to keep things secret.
16λέγοντες· τί ποιήσωμεν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τούτοις; ὅτι μὲν γὰρ γνωστὸν σημεῖον γέγονεν διʼ αὐτῶν πᾶσιν τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν Ἰερουσαλὴμ φανερὸν καὶ οὐ δυνάμεθα ἀρνεῖσθαι·
Saying, ‘what should we do with these men; because/that indeed for a remarkable sign has taken place through them to all those who live in Jerusalem is evident, and (we are) not able to deny it.’
- The perplexity of the members of the council in face of an undeniable miracle of healing has already been described, and the remarks ascribed to the council members simply reflect their obvious feelings.
17ἀλλʼ ἵνα μὴ ἐπὶ πλεῖον διανεμηθῇ εἰς τὸν λαὸν ἀπειλησώμεθα αὐτοῖς μηκέτι λαλεῖν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ μηδενὶ ἀνθρώπων.
But in order that (it may) not spread much (further?) among the people, let us warn them to speak no more in this name to no man(no one)
- the accused were popular with the people, for the news about healing of the lame man had already spread throughout Jerusalem. There was only one thing they could do—they could threaten. They would warn the apostles to no longer speak “in this name” (v. 17).
- Onomati touto – name this, ie – this name. derogatory in nature, this is contemptuous in nature
18Καὶ καλέσαντες αὐτοὺς παρήγγειλαν τὸ καθόλου μὴ φθέγγεσθαι μηδὲ διδάσκειν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Ἰησοῦ.
And called them (back?), commanded (them) not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus
- The threat was implied. To disobey a strict order of the supreme Jewish court was at that time a more serious thing than contempt of court is now. The order is summary and permits no exception of any kind.
- The best they could do was to forbid the preaching of the gospel on their own authority; at a later stage the apostles could in effect be indicted for contempt of court.
19ὁ δὲ Πέτρος καὶ Ἰωάννης ἀποκριθέντες εἶπον πρὸς αὐτούς· εἰ δίκαιόν ἐστιν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμῶν ἀκούειν μᾶλλον ἢ τοῦ θεοῦ, κρίνατε·
But Peter and John answered (and) said to them, ‘if/whether it is right in the sight of God to listen than to God, you decide
- The response of Peter and John was in direct discourse; it was bold and almost defiant: “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.”
- Appealing to the highest authority – God Himself
- The statement can be seen as an affirmation of the freedom of the individual’s conscience over against the state, and so in a sense it is: the individual claims the freedom to obey what he believes to be the command of God
- But the important point is that it is the higher obedience due to God which is at issue, and this obedience stands above the commands of any religious or political system (for the Jews these were one and the same system). Here is the limit which is implicit in Romans 13:1–7. 
- Notice that the Jewish court would have thought they were speaking with God’s voice
20οὐ δυνάμεθα γὰρ ἡμεῖς ἃ εἴδαμεν καὶ ἠκούσαμεν μὴ λαλεῖν.
For we are not able to not refrain from speaking about the things we have seen and heard
- This is defiance of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities that was justified, for the temple authorities stepped in between the conscience and God. Peter and John were willing to pay the price of this defiance with their lives. This is the courage of martyrs through all the ages.
- Peter and John willing to pay the price for disobedience
- The term Martyr will soon have a different meaning as death will be involved
21οἱ δὲ προσαπειλησάμενοι ἀπέλυσαν αὐτούς, μηδὲν εὑρίσκοντες τὸ πῶς κολάσωνται αὐτούς, διὰ τὸν λαόν, ὅτι πάντες ἐδόξαζον τὸν θεὸν ἐπὶ τῷ γεγονότι·
So after threatening them further they released the finding no way to punish them because of the people, because all were praising/glorifying God for what had happened
- Edoxazon – glorifying
- The Sanhedrin is helpless to stop what God is doing.
- Here for the first time is found a theme that will recur throughout Acts—the rejection of the Messiah by the Jews. For many of them, particularly their official leadership, he was, and continued to be, the stone rejected by the builders.
22ἐτῶν γὰρ ἦν πλειόνων τεσσεράκοντα ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐφʼ ὃν γεγόνει τὸ σημεῖον τοῦτο τῆς ἰάσεως.
For the man was more than forty years old on whom this sign of healing had been performed
- A further statement of the man’s age, which is further testimony to the scope and quality of this miracle
 Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 381). New York: United Bible Societies.