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Acts Chapter One


Acts 1

Let us now examine the chapters in their course. Chapter 1 supplies us with the narrative of that which relates to Jesus risen, and the actions of the apostles before the descent of the Holy Ghost. The Lord's communications present several very interesting points. Jesus, the risen man, acts and speaks by the Holy Ghost after His resurrection as before it. Precious token of our own position, as reminding us that we shall have the Holy Ghost after our resurrection, and that, being no longer engaged in restraining and mortifying the flesh, His divine energy in us will be entirely consecrated to eternal joy and worship, and to the service committed to us by God. The risen Lord then gives His disciples commandments in connection with the new position He assumes. Their life and their service are to be formed and guided in view of His resurrection-a truth of which they had irrefragable proofs. They were still on earth, but they were pilgrims there, having Him in view who had gone before them raised from among the dead. Their relations with Him are still connected with their position on earth. He speaks to them of the kingdom, and of that which concerned the kingdom. Jerusalem was the starting-point of their ministry, even more than of His own. For He had gathered together the poor of the flock wherever He had found them, especially in Galilee; [1] but now, resurrection having made Him in power the vessel of the sure mercies of David, He calls Israel afresh to own as Prince and Saviour the One whom they had rejected as the living Messiah on earth. The Epistles of Peter are connected with the gospel in this point of view.

Nevertheless, to exercise this ministry, they were to wait for the accomplishment of the Father's promise, the Holy Ghost, with whom they were to be baptised, according to John's testimony, which the Lord assured them should soon take place. The mission of the Holy Ghost led them, at the same time, out of the Jewish field of purely temporal promises. The Father's promise of the Holy Ghost was a very different thing from that of the restoration of the kingdom of Israel by the power of Jehovah, the God of judgment. It was not for them to know the time and season of this restoration, the knowledge of which the Father kept in His own possession; but they should themselves receive the power of the Holy Ghost, who would come down upon them; and they should be witnesses unto Jesus (as they had known Him, and according to the manifestation of Himself after His resurrection), both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth-thus making Jerusalem the starting-point and first object, according to the mission, Luke 24:47. Nevertheless, their testimony was founded on their beholding their Master and their Lord caught up from their midst, and received into the clouds of heaven, which hid Him from their sight. While looking steadfastly upwards, as this took place, two messengers from heaven come and announce to them that He will return in like manner. His manifestation in this lower world, beneath the heavens, is therefore here intended. He will return to earth to be seen of the world. We have not the rapture of the assembly, nor the assembly's association with Him while absent. With the knowledge of Jesus taken up out of the world, and to come again into the world, as the termini and elements of all their teaching, they return to Jerusalem, there to wait for the Holy Ghost who was promised unto them. It is not into Galilee that they go. They are to be witnesses in Jerusalem of the heavenly rights of that Christ who had been rejected on earth by Jerusalem and the Jews. [2] All this clearly shews the position in which they were placed, and the mission committed to them. But before they receive the Holy Ghost for its fulfilment, some other characteristic circumstances find their place in this chapter. They act, under the guidance of Peter, according to intelligence in the word, before they are endowed with power from on high. These two things are therefore distinct from each other.

It appears that, although Peter was not directly led of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit put His seal on that which was done in accordance with the word in the Old Testament understood by the apostle. We have before seen that Christ, after His resurrection, opened the understanding of His disciples that they might understand the scriptures. They now act, not having received the Holy Ghost, according to a Jewish principle. They present the lot to the Lord, that He may decide. Nevertheless the lot was not all, nor was it drawn without making a distinction. Apostolic authority flowed from the nomination of Christ Himself. Intelligence of the scriptures makes them understand that which ought to be. The object which the Lord had assigned to their service narrowed the choice to the little circle of those who could fulfil that object. Their history made them capable, as Jesus had said, of being His witnesses, because they had been with Him from the beginning, and could now testify that this same Jesus, whom the Jews had rejected and crucified, was indeed risen from among the dead.

Apostolic authority is exercised in Jerusalem on the Jewish principle, before the gift of the Holy Ghost. In this there was neither research nor the exercise of the human mind. "His bishopric let another take" guided their conduct; the capacity to testify of Jesus in His life on earth, and now of His resurrection and ascension, decided on the needed qualifications; the lot of Jehovah determined the individual who was to take Judas' place. Two are chosen, according to these needful qualifications, and the lot falls upon Matthias, who is numbered with the eleven apostles. But they were still without the promised power.


[1] The mission given in Luke 24 is the one fulfilled both in Peter's and Paul's discourses in the Acts, but especially in chapters 2 and 13, not that of Matthew 28 which, indeed, was only to Gentiles. Luke's was on His ascension from Bethany, Matthew's in resurrection from Galilee, where He had sought the poor of the flock (compare Matt. 4:15).

[2] In this sense it is not a continuation of Christ's mission on the earth, continued in the Matthew mission from Galilee.

── John DarbySynopsis of Acts


Acts 1

Chapter Contents

Proofs of Christ's resurrection. (1-5) Christ's ascension. (6-11) The apostles unite in prayer. (12-14) Matthias chosen in the place of Judas. (15-26)

Commentary on Acts 1:1-5

(Read Acts 1:1-5)

Our Lord told the disciples the work they were to do. The apostles met together at Jerusalem; Christ having ordered them not to depart thence, but to wait for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. This would be a baptism by the Holy Ghost, giving them power to work miracles, and enlightening and sanctifying their souls. This confirms the Divine promise, and encourages us to depend upon it, that we have heard it from Christ; for in Him all the promises of God are yea and amen.

Commentary on Acts 1:6-11

(Read Acts 1:6-11)

They were earnest in asking about that which their Master never had directed or encouraged them to seek. Our Lord knew that his ascension and the teaching of the Holy Spirit would soon end these expectations, and therefore only gave them a rebuke; but it is a caution to his church in all ages, to take heed of a desire of forbidden knowledge. He had given his disciples instructions for the discharge of their duty, both before his death and since his resurrection, and this knowledge is enough for a Christian. It is enough that He has engaged to give believers strength equal to their trials and services; that under the influence of the Holy Spirit they may, in one way or other, be witnesses for Christ on earth, while in heaven he manages their concerns with perfect wisdom, truth, and love. When we stand gazing and trifling, the thoughts of our Master's second coming should quicken and awaken us: when we stand gazing and trembling, they should comfort and encourage us. May our expectation of it be stedfast and joyful, giving diligence to be found of him blameless.

Commentary on Acts 1:12-14

(Read Acts 1:12-14)

God can find hiding-places for his people. They made supplication. All God's people are praying people. It was now a time of trouble and danger with the disciples of Christ; but if any is afflicted, let him pray; that will silence cares and fears. They had now a great work to do, and before they entered upon it, they were earnest in prayer to God for his presence. They were waiting for the descent of the Spirit, and abounded in prayer. Those are in the best frame to receive spiritual blessings, who are in a praying frame. Christ had promised shortly to send the Holy Ghost; that promise was not to do away prayer, but to quicken and encourage it. A little company united in love, exemplary in their conduct, fervent in prayer, and wisely zealous to promote the cause of Christ, are likely to increase rapidly.

Commentary on Acts 1:15-26

(Read Acts 1:15-26)

The great thing the apostles were to attest to the world, was, Christ's resurrection; for that was the great proof of his being the Messiah, and the foundation of our hope in him. The apostles were ordained, not to wordly dignity and dominion, but to preach Christ, and the power of his resurrection. An appeal was made to God; "Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men," which we do not; and better than they know their own. It is fit that God should choose his own servants; and so far as he, by the disposals of his providence, or the gifts of his Spirit, shows whom he was chosen, or what he has chosen for us, we ought to fall in with his will. Let us own his hand in the determining everything which befalls us, especially in those by which any trust may be committed to us.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Acts


Acts 1

Verse 2

[2] Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

After having given commandment — In the 3d verse Acts 1:3 St. Luke expresses in general terms what Christ said to his apostles during those forty days. But in the 4th Acts 1:4 and following verses he declares what he said on the day of his ascension. He had brought his former account down to that day; and from that day begins the Acts of the Apostles.

Verse 3

[3] To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

Being seen by them forty days — That is, many times during that space.

And speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God — Which was the sum of all his discourses with them before his passion also.

Verse 4

[4] And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

Wait for the promise of the Father, which ye have heard from me — When he was with them a little before, as it is recorded, Luke 24:49.

Verse 5

[5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost — And so are all true believers to the end of the world. But the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost also are here promised.

Verse 6

[6] When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Dost thou at this time — At the time thou now speakest of? not many days hence? restore the kingdom to Israel? - They still seemed to dream of an outward, temporal kingdom, in which the Jews should have dominion over all nations. It seems they came in a body, having before concerted the design, to ask when this kingdom would come.

Verse 7

[7] And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

The times or the seasons — Times, in the language of the Scriptures, denote a longer; seasons, a shorter space.

Which the Father hath put in his own power — To be revealed when and to whom it pleaseth him.

Verse 8

[8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

But ye shall receive power — and shall be witnesses to me - That is, ye shall be empowered to witness my Gospel, both by your preaching and suffering.

Verse 12

[12] Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

A Sabbath-day's journey — The Jews generally fix this to two thousand cubits, which is not a mile.

Verse 13

[13] And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

They went up into the upper room — The upper rooms, so frequently mentioned in Scripture, were chambers in the highest part of the house, set apart by the Jews for private prayer. These, on account of their being so retired and convenient, the apostles now used for all the offices of religion. Matthew 10:2; Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13.

Verse 14

[14] These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

His brethren — His near kinsmen, who for some time did not believe; it seems not till near his death.

Verse 15

[15] And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

The number of persons together — Who were together in the upper room.

were a hundred and twenty — But he had undoubtedly many more in other places; of whom more than five hundred saw him at once after his resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:6.

Verse 16

[16] Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

Psalms 41:9.

Verse 18

[18] Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

This man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity — That is, a field was purchased with the reward of his iniquity; though very possibly Judas might design the purchase.

And falling down on his face — It seems the rope broke before, or as he died.

Verse 19

[19] And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

In their own tongue — This expression, That is, the field of blood, St. Luke seems to have added to the words of St. Peter, for the use of Theophilus and other readers who did not understand Hebrew.

Verse 20

[20] For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

His bishopric — That is, his apostleship. Psalms 69:25.

Verse 21

[21] Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

All the time that the Lord Jesus was going in and out — That is, conversing familiarly: over us - as our Master. Psalms 109:8.

Verse 22

[22] Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

To be a witness with us of his resurrection — And of the circumstances which preceded and followed it.

Verse 23

[23] And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

And they appointed two — So far the faithful could go by consulting together, but no further. Therefore here commenced the proper use of the lot, whereby a matter of importance, which cannot be determined by any ordinary method, is committed to the Divine decision.

Verse 25

[25] That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

Fell — By his transgression - Some time before his death: to go to his own place - That which his crimes had deserved, and which he had chosen for himself, far from the other apostles, in the region of death.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Acts


Chapter 1.

Peter Stood Up
Judus Burst Open

I. Promise the Coming of the Holy Spirit

  1. Witnesses of the Lord
  2. The Ascension of Christ
  3. Prophecy of Coming Back

II. Join Together Constantly in Prayer

  1. The Upper Room of the House of Mark's Mother
  2. A Hundred and Twenty
  3. Constant in Prayer

III. Select Witness Companion

  1. The Ends of Judus
  2. Matthias was added
  3. Included in the Apostles
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter One General Review
1) To begin our study of Acts with a review of things taught by Jesus
   between His resurrection and ascension:  the kingdom of God, the
   Promise of The Father, being baptized by the Spirit
2) To note the role and qualifications of the apostles as witnesses of
   the resurrection of Christ
3) To see how Luke sets the stage for the great events described in
   chapter two
Luke begins his second book to Theophilus by alluding to the first (the
gospel of Luke, Lk 1:1-4).  He briefly reviews what occurred during the
forty days between the resurrection and ascension of Christ (cf. Lk
24:1-53).  Special attention is given to the Promise of the Father
regarding the apostles being baptized by the Holy Spirit, who would
empower them as witnesses for Christ in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and
even to the end of the earth (1-8).
The ascension of Jesus is then described (cf. also Lk 24:50-51), along
with the promise of His return by two men in white apparel standing by
(9-11).  Obeying the command of the Lord, the apostles return to
Jerusalem, where they wait and continue in prayer along with the women,
Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (12-14).
During this time, Peter addresses the (120) disciples regarding Judas
who betrayed Jesus.  Both the fall and replacement of Judas were
foretold by the Spirit through the mouth of David, so Peter proposes
guidelines for nominees to take the place of Judas in the apostolic
ministry of being a witness of Jesus' resurrection.  Two men are
selected for consideration, and following prayer for the Lord to show
which of the two He has chosen, lots are cast and Matthias is numbered
with the eleven apostles (15-26).
      1. Of all that Jesus began to do and teach
      2. Until the day in which Jesus was taken up
      3. After He had given commandments to the apostles
         a. To whom He had shown Himself alive, being seen during forty
         b. Speaking of things pertaining to the kingdom of God
      1. The apostles commanded to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the
         Promise of the Father
         a. Which they had heard from Him
         b. For while John baptized with water, they would be baptized
            with the Holy Spirit shortly
      2. The apostles question Jesus concerning the kingdom
         a. Would He now restore the kingdom to Israel?
         b. It is not for them to know the times or seasons which the
            Father has put in His own authority
      3. When the Spirit has come upon the apostles...
         a. They shall receive power
         b. They shall be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria,
            and to the end of the earth
      1. When He had spoken these words, while they watched
      2. A cloud received Him out of their sight
      1. While looking steadfastly as Jesus ascends, two men in white
         apparel stand by
      2. They address the apostles
         a. "Men of Galilee"
         b. "Why do you stand gazing up into heaven?"
      3. They promise Jesus will return
         a. "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven"
         b. "Will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven"
      1. From the mount called Olivet
      2. About a Sabbath day's journey
      1. In an upper room where they were staying
      2. The names of the apostles:  Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip,
         Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon
         the Zealot, Judas the son of James
      3. They pray with the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and His
      1. To about 120 disciples, of  the need to replace Judas
         a. His betrayal prophesied by the Spirit through David
            1) He became a guide to those who arrested Jesus
            2) Though he was numbered with the apostles and had a part
               in their ministry
         b. His gruesome death described by Luke
            1) He purchased a field with the wages of iniquity (Mt
            2) He fell headlong, burst open in the middle, entrails
               gushing out
            3) The field is called Akel Dama, Field of Blood
         c. His end and replacement foretold in the Psalms
            1) "Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live
               in it" (Psa 69:25)
            2) "Let another take his office" (Psa 109:8)
      2. Stipulating requirements for one to be a witness of His
         resurrection with the apostles
         a. Having accompanied the apostles all the time Jesus went in
            and out among them
         b. Beginning from the baptism of John, until the day Jesus
            ascended to heaven
      1. Two are proposed
         a. Joseph called Barsabas and surnamed Justus
         b. Matthias
      2. Prayer is offered to the Lord, who knows the hearts of all
         a. To show which of these two He has chosen
         b. Who would take part in the ministry and apostleship from
            which Judas fell
      3. Lots are cast
         a. The lot fell on Matthias
         b. He was numbered with the eleven apostles
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The Prologue (1-8)
   - The Ascension Of Christ (9-11)
   - The Waiting In Jerusalem (12-14)
   - The Selection Of Matthias (15-26)
2) What is the "former account" Luke has reference to? (1)
   - The gospel of Luke (Lk 1:1-4)
3) What three things does Luke mention Jesus did before He ascended?
   - Gave commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen
   - Presented Himself alive by many infallible proofs
   - Spoke of things pertaining to the kingdom of God
4) How long a period was it between the resurrection and ascension of
   Christ? (3)
   - Forty days
5) What command did Jesus leave with His apostles? (4)
   - Not to depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the
6) What did this "promise" pertain to? (5)
   - Being baptized with the Holy Spirit
7) What question did the apostles ask Jesus?  How did he respond? (6-7)
   - Would He at that time restore the kingdom to Israel?
   - It was not for them to know the times and seasons which the Father
     has put in His own authority
8) What was promised when the Spirit came upon them? What would they
   then be? (8)
   - The apostles would receive power
   - His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to end of the earth
9) What happened as Jesus ascended to heaven? (9)
   - A cloud received Him out of their sight
10) As Jesus ascended to heaven, who stood nearby? (10)
   - Two men in white apparel
11) What did they promise? (11)
   - Jesus will return in like manner as they saw Him ascend to heaven
12) From where did Jesus ascend to heaven?  How far was this from
    Jerusalem? (12)
   - Mount Olivet (near Bethany, cf. Lk 24:50)
   - A Sabbath day's journey (nearly a mile)
13) Where did the apostles stay in Jerusalem?  With whom did they
    pray? (13-14)
   - An upper room
   - With the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers
     (cf. Mt 13:55; Jn 7:5)
14) How many disciples were gathered there in those days? (15)
   - 120
15) Who stood up to speak?  What about? (15-20)
   - Peter
   - Replacing Judas who betrayed Jesus and hung himself
16) What happened to the body of Judas?  In what field? (18; Mt 27:3-10)
   - Fell headlong, burst open in the middle, and entrails gushed out
     (presumably after he hanged himself)
   - The field purchased with money paid to betray Jesus, known as Akel
     Dama, the Field of Blood
17) What were the requirements to be considered a replacement for Judas?
   - Had accompanied the apostles all the time the Lord Jesus went in
     and out among them
   - From the baptism of John to the day Jesus ascended to heaven
18) What would be a primary role of the replacement? (22)
   - To be a witness with the apostles of the resurrection of Jesus
19) What two candidates were selected? (23)
   - Joseph called Barsabas, surnamed Justus
   - Matthias
20) What procedure was used to determine who would replace Judas?
   - Prayer, and then the casting of lots
21) Who was numbered with the eleven apostles? (26)
   - Matthias


--《Executable Outlines