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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 4 - Verse 4

Verse 4. Howbeit. But; notwithstanding.

Many of them, etc. This was one of the instances which has since been so often repeated, in which persecution has only had a tendency to extend and establish the faith which it was designed to destroy. It finally came to be a proverb, that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church;" and there is no lesson which men have been so slow to learn, as that to oppose and persecute men is the very way to confirm them in their opinions, and to spread their doctrines. It was supposed here that the disciples were few, that they were without power, wealth, and influence, and that it was easy to crush them at once. But God made their persecution the means of extending, in a signal manner, the truths of the gospel and the triumphs of his word. And so in all ages it has been, and so it ever will be.

And the number, etc. It seems probable that in this number of five thousand there were included the one hundred and twenty who are mentioned in Ac 1:15, and the three thousand who were converted on the day of Pentecost, Ac 2:41. It does not appear probable that five thousand should have been assembled and converted in Solomon's porch, (Ac 3:11,) on occasion of the cure of the lame man. Luke, doubtless, means to say that, up to this time, the number of persons who had joined themselves to the apostles was about five thousand. On this supposition, the work of religion must have made a very rapid advance. How long this was after the day of Pentecost is not mentioned; but it is clear that it was at no very distant period; and the accession of near two thousand to the number of believers was a very striking proof of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Of the men. Of the persons. The word men is often used without reference to sex, Lu 11:31; Ro 4:8; 11:4.

 

{+} "Howbeit" "Nevertheless" {a} "many of them" Ac 28:24

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