The Beginning of the Christian Church – Part 3

a sunflower with several busy bees on it


Scripture Passage

Act 4:31b-5:12 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.  (33)  And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.  (34)  For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales  (35)  and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.  (36)  Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement),  (37)  and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  (5:1)  But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,  (2)  and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet.  (3)  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?  (4)  “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”  (5)  And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.  (6)  The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.  (7)  Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  (8)  And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”  (9)  Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.”  (10)  And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  (11)  And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.  (12)  At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.  people held them in high esteem” (NASB).

Outline of Passage 

  1. The Unity of the Believers – Acts 4:31b-37
    1. Believers are of One Mind – 4:32
    2. All Shared Worldly Possessions 4:32-35
    3. Barnabas Gift 4:36-37
  2. Ananias and Sapphira’s  deception – Acts 5:1-5:12
    1. The Plot to Keep a Portion of the Sale 5:2
    2. Ananias Lie and Death 5:3-5
    3. Sapphira’s Lie and Death 5:6-10
    4. The reaction among the Believers 5:11-12


There are a few verses that because of the difference in sentence structure in Greek and English that the opening word of the verse has been changed or deleted. In the cases when this has occurred within this scriptural study words that would translate to “(and “kai”) and begin a verse has been replaced with (with) is verses such as Acts 4:33, 5:1, 5:10. These omissions or “changes due to translation issues within this particular passage do not significantly alter the meaning of the passage, but allows for English structured verses” (NETbible).

Verse 5:3 uses the Greek words “Σατανᾶς  πληρόω” or  “Satanas  plhrow” which literally means the adversary has taken control over someone’s thoughts and actions (Gaebelein, 315) (NETbible). The word “Σατανᾶς or  Satanas” is a common Greek word that literally translates to either adversary or accuser depending on the context of the sentence. This word implies “the Devil” or “chief of the devils” as we understand today. Verse 5:11 has the first reference to the word (ἐκκλησία, ekklhsia) which is translated to the word “church” but it literally means a gathering of people (NETbible).


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.

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