Acts 4–6; Psalm 127

Peter and John Before the Council

And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and lthe captain of the temple and mthe Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming nin Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and oput them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and pthe number of the men came to about five thousand.

On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with qAnnas the high priest and rCaiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, sBy what power or tby what name did you do this? Then Peter, ufilled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today vconcerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that wby the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, xwhom God raised from the deadby him this man is standing before you well. 11 yThis Jesus1 is the stone that was zrejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.2 12 And there is asalvation bin no one else, for cthere is no other dname under heaven given among men3 by which we must be saved.

13 eNow when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed fstanding beside them, gthey had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, hWhat shall we do with these men? For that ia notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them jto speak no more to anyone in this name. 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, kWhether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for lwe cannot but speak of what mwe have seen and heard. 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, nbecause of the people, for all were praising God ofor what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

The Believers Pray for Boldness

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices ptogether to God and said, Sovereign Lord, qwho made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,4 said by the Holy Spirit,

rWhy did the Gentiles rage,

and the peoples plot in vain?

26  The kings of the earth set themselves,

and sthe rulers were gathered together,

against the Lord and against his tAnointed5

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your uholy servant Jesus, vwhom you anointed, both wHerod and xPontius Pilate, along ywith the Gentiles and zthe peoples of Israel, 28 ato do whatever your hand and byour plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, clook upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all dboldness, 30 while eyou stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed fthrough the name of your gholy servant Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, hthe place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and ithey were all filled with the Holy Spirit and jcontinued to speak the word of God with boldness.

They Had Everything in Common

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of kone heart and lsoul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but mthey had everything in common. 33 And with great npower the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and ogreat grace was upon them all. 34 pThere was not a needy person among them, for qas many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and rlaid it at the apostles' feet, and sit was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means tson of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and ulaid it at the apostles' feet.

Ananias and Sapphira

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife's knowledge vhe kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and wlaid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why has xSatan filled your heart to lie yto the Holy Spirit and zto keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but ato God. When Ananias heard these words, he bfell down and breathed his last. And cgreat fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and dwrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.

After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, Tell me whether you6 sold the land for so much. And she said, Yes, for so much. But Peter said to her, How is it that you have agreed together eto test fthe Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out. 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And ggreat fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

Many Signs and Wonders Done

12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people hby the hands of the apostles. And they were all itogether in jSolomon's Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but kthe people held them in high esteem. 14 And lmore than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 mso that they even ncarried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by oat least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, pbringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

The Apostles Arrested and Freed

17 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of qthe Sadducees), and filled with rjealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and sput them in the public prison. 19 But during the night tan angel of the Lord uopened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all vthe words of wthis xLife. 21 And when they heard this, ythey entered the temple zat daybreak and began to teach.

Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, 23 We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside. 24 Now when athe captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. 25 And someone came and told them, Look! The men whom you put in prison bare standing in the temple and teaching the people. 26 Then cthe captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for dthey were afraid of being stoned by the people.

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, eWe strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you fintend to bring this man's blood upon us. 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, gWe must obey God rather than men. 30 hThe God of our fathers iraised Jesus, jwhom you killed by hanging him on ka tree. 31 God exalted lhim at his right hand as mLeader and nSavior, oto give prepentance to Israel and oforgiveness of sins. 32 And qwe are witnesses to these things, and rso is the Holy Spirit, swhom God has given to those who obey him.

33 When they heard this, they twere enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named uGamaliel, va teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For wbefore these days Theudas rose up, xclaiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of ythe census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for zif this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but aif it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You bmight even be found opposing God! So they took his advice, 40 and cwhen they had called in the apostles, dthey beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, erejoicing that they were counted worthy fto suffer dishonor for gthe name. 42 And every day, hin the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and ipreaching jthat the Christ is Jesus.

Seven Chosen to Serve

Now in these days kwhen the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists7 arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in lthe daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. mTherefore, brothers,8 pick out from among you seven men nof good repute, ofull of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But pwe will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, qa man full of faith and rof the Holy Spirit, and sPhilip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, ta proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and uthey prayed and vlaid their hands on them.

And wthe word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests xbecame obedient to ythe faith.

Stephen Is Seized

And Stephen, full of grace and zpower, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But athey could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then bthey secretly instigated men who said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God. 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they cset up false dwitnesses who said, This man never ceases to speak words against ethis holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth fwill destroy this place and will gchange hthe customs that Moses delivered to us. 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face iwas like the face of an angel.


Unless the Lord Builds the House

A Song of mAscents. Of Solomon.

127  Unless the Lord builds the house,

those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord xwatches over the city,

the watchman stays awake in vain.

It is in vain that you rise up early

and go late to rest,

eating the bread of anxious ytoil;

for he gives to his zbeloved asleep.

Behold, bchildren are a heritage from the Lord,

cthe fruit of the womb a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of da warrior

are the children1 of one's youth.

Blessed is the man

who fills his quiver with them!

He shall not be put to shame

when he speaks with his enemies ein the gate.2