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42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Life among the Believers

43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

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42. continued steadfastly in—"attended constantly upon."

the apostles' doctrine—"teaching"; giving themselves up to the instructions which, in their raw state, would be indispensable to the consolidation of the immense multitude suddenly admitted to visible discipleship.

fellowship—in its largest sense.

breaking of bread—not certainly in the Lord's Supper alone, but rather in frugal repasts taken together, with which the Lord's Supper was probably conjoined until abuses and persecution led to the discontinuance of the common meal.

prayers—probably, stated seasons of it.

43. fear came upon every soul—A deep awe rested upon the whole community.

44. all that believed were together, and had all things common—(See on Ac 4:34-37).

46. daily … in the temple—observing the hours of Jewish worship.

and breaking bread from house to house—rather, "at home" (Margin), that is, in private, as contrasted with their temple-worship, but in some stated place or places of meeting.

eat their meat with gladness—"exultation."

and singleness of heart.

47. Praising God—"Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart, for God now accepteth thy works" (Ec 9:7, also see on Ac 8:39).

having favour with all the people—commending themselves by their lovely demeanor to the admiration of all who observed them.

And the Lord—that is, Jesus, as the glorified Head and Ruler of the Church.

added—kept adding; that is, to the visible community of believers, though the words "to the Church" are wanting in the most ancient manuscripts.

such as should be saved—rather, "the saved," or "those who were being saved." "The young Church had but few peculiarities in its outward form, or even in its doctrine: the single discriminating principle of its few members was that they all recognized the crucified Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. This confession would have been a thing of no importance, if it had only presented itself as a naked declaration, and would never in such a case have been able to form a community that would spread itself over the whole Roman empire. It acquired its value only through the power of the Holy Ghost, passing from the apostles as they preached to the hearers; for He brought the confession from the very hearts of men (1Co 12:3), and like a burning flame made their souls glow with love. By the power of this Spirit, therefore, we behold the first Christians not only in a state of active fellowship, but also internally changed: the narrow views of the natural man are broken through; they have their possessions in common, and they regard themselves as one family" [Olshausen].