The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 2

Spring Cherry blossoms on a tree

Literary Context

The beginning of the passage starts at Acts 4:31b-32 “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit  and began to speak the word of God with boldness and the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them” (NASB). Beginning with the day of Pentecost Peter began his mission of spreading the Gospel in Jerusalem. Our opening verse is the new convert’s general reaction to the preaching of Peter to the people of Jerusalem. They became of one mind in belief and sold off their property to aid first the spread of the Gospel and then one another. The scripture goes on and says that they all had enough. All their property was sold and the proceeds went to the Apostles or the property became communal property for the benefit of all. This sharing helped eradicate poverty within the ranks of the new converts.

The ending of the passage is Acts 5:12 “At the hands of the apostle’s many signs and wonders were taking place among the people, and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico”(NASB). The ending of the passage reflects what the Apostles are doing in response to the Holy Spirits indwelling. Solomon’s Portico or porch was located on the eastern side of the court of the Gentiles in Herod’s temple. This is the same place Jesus taught from in John 10:23. It was here that the Peter was preaching to the people of Jerusalem and it was here that the ministry in Jerusalem began and was taking place. Again the scripture reiterates that all the people were of one mind that was in attendance at Solomon’s Portico. It appears that even with the Ananias and Sapphira incident, the people did not sway from their loyalty to Peter and the Apostles.

During this time of rapid growth within the early church, the Sanhedrin was already preparing to stop this ministry. The Sanhedrin has already begun the inquiry of the Apostles and has demanded them not to preach in the Name of Jesus. Peter’s response stated that “they could not deny what they had seen”. The chain of events truly did begin shortly after the Day of Pentecost. Although scripture does not specifically state a timeframe for these events, it has to be assumed that it was near the beginning of the Apostles ministry in Jerusalem, which began at Pentecost. Because of the quick success of the ministry, it would have caught the attention of the Jewish leaders and inquiries would have started. The people in Jerusalem were very receptive to the message of the risen Messiah and that message drew them together in one mind and spirit. Although the message was extremely successful not all people opened their hearts to the message of Peter. The Jewish leaders rejected it again as well as some of the people of Jerusalem. The Apostles thru the empowerment of the Holy Spirit performed miracles and continued to preach after they were instructed to quit preaching by the Sanhedrin. They were imprisoned but at night were let out of their prison cell by an angel of the Lord. The Apostles went back to Solomon’s Portico and continued to preach the Good News of the Gospel.

The selected text illustrates the people’s response to the beginning of the Apostles’ ministry. The text surrounding it illustrates what the response from the Sanhedrin was going to be as well. Regardless the ministry of the Apostles was going to continue even unto their death because of the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, and a testimony that they could not keep to themselves.

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Click on any link below to read the other parts of this blog entry:

The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 1
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 2
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 3
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 4
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 5
The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 6

Author: Chris Flees

I am an artist, art promoter, and art marketing professional who specializes and blogs primarily about art topics and the “behind the scenes” of my subject and images. Occasionally I blog about Christian topics.