Acts 1:15
And in those days Peter stood up in the middle of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) The number of names together were about an hundred and twenty.—The number probably included the Seventy of Luke 10:1, perhaps also Joseph of Arimathæa and Nicodemus, and some of the “five hundred” who had seen their risen Lord in Galilee or elsewhere (1Corinthians 15:6). The use of “names” may be merely as a synonym for “persons,” but It suggests the idea of there having been a list from which St. Luke extracted those that seemed most conspicuous.

Acts 1:15. In those days — While they were waiting for the promise of the Spirit; Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples — Probably being under a peculiar divine influence on this occasion. The number of the names, or persons, together — That is, who were together in the upper room; were a hundred and twenty — It seems the greater part of the five hundred to whom Christ had appeared (see 1 Corinthians 15:6) continued in Galilee during this interval between the feast of the passover and that of pentecost. Dr. Lightfoot reckons that the eleven apostles, the seventy disciples, and about thirty-nine more, all of Christ’s own kindred, country, and company, made up this one hundred and twenty; and that these were a sort of synod, or congregation of ministers, a standing presbytery, (Acts 4:23,) to whom none of the rest durst join themselves, Acts 5:13; and that they continued together till the persecution at Stephen’s death dispersed them all but the apostles, Acts 8:1. But he thinks that, besides these, there were many hundreds, if not thousands, in Jerusalem at this time who believed; and indeed we read of many who believed on him there, but durst not confess him. Here was the beginning of the Christian Church; this one hundred and twenty was the grain of mustard-seed that was to grow into a tree, the leaven that was to leaven the whole lump.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.In those days - On one of the days intervening between the ascension of Jesus and the day of Pentecost.

Peter stood up - Peter standing up, or rising. This is a customary expression in the Scriptures when one begins to do a thing, Luke 15:18. The reason why Peter did this may be seen in the notes on Matthew 16:16-17. It is not improbable, besides, that Peter was the most aged of the apostles; and from his uniform conduct we know that he was the most ardent. It was perfectly characteristic, therefore, for him to introduce the business of the election of a new apostle.

The disciples - This was the name, which was given to them as being learners in the school of Christ. See the notes on Matthew 5:1.

The number of the names - The number of the persons, or individuals. The word "name" is often used to denote "the person," Revelation 3:4; Acts 4:12; Acts 18:15; Ephesians 1:21. In Syriac it is, "The assembly of people was about an hundred and twenty." This was the first assembly convened to transact the business of the church; and it is not a little remarkable that the vote in so important a matter as electing apostle was by the entire church. It settles the question that the election of a minister and pastor should be by the church, and that a pastor should not be placed over a church by a patron, or by an ecclesiastical body. If a case could ever occur where it would be right and proper that one should be selected to exercise the office of a minister of Christ by the ministry only, the election of one to fall the office of an apostle was such a case. And yet in this the entire church had a voice. Whether this was all the true church at this time does not appear from the history. This expression cannot mean that there were no more Christians, but that these were all that had convened in the upper room. It is certain that our Saviour had, by his own ministry, brought many others to be his true followers. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:6.

15-26. in those days—of expectant prayer, and probably towards the close of them, when the nature of their future work began more clearly to dawn upon them, and the Holy Ghost, already "breathed" on the Eleven (Joh 20:22), was stirring in Peter, who was to be the leading spirit of the infant community (Mt 16:19).

the number … about an hundred and twenty—Many, therefore, of the "five hundred brethren" who saw their risen Lord "at once" (1Co 15:6), must have remained in Galilee.

In those days, between our Saviour’s ascension and Pentecost.

Peter, as generally, spake for and amongst the apostles; but now especially, to express his zeal and faithfulness to our Saviour, whom he had so lately denied, he being also designed the minister of the circumcision, which place he began now to execute.

The number of the names, or persons, together were about an hundred and twenty; probably Christ had converted many men, but these might be either men of name or quality, or meant of such as, Acts 1:21, had accompanied with Christ and his apostles, and were designed for the ministry. And in those days Peter stood up,.... That is, in one of the days after Christ's ascension, and before the day of Pentecost, whilst the disciples were waiting for the promise of the Spirit. The Ethiopic version reads, "on that day"; as if it was the same day they came first into Jerusalem, and went into the upper room; and which is likely enough; for no time was to be lost in choosing one in the room of Judas; when Peter, not only as a forward person, and who had been used to be the first mover and actor in any affair; but as willing to show his zeal for Christ, whom he had so lately denied, and as being the senior man in company, as well as the minister of the circumcision, rises, and stands up, as persons used to do, when about to make an oration, and in respect and reverence to the persons addressed:

in the midst of the disciples; not only the other ten, but the whole hundred and twenty. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, read, "in the midst of the brethren", and so reads the Vulgate Latin version; and the Ethiopic version, "in the midst of his own brethren",

and he said what is expressed in the following verses, which before the historian relates, he inserts in a parenthesis this clause,

the number of the names; that is, of persons; see Revelation 11:13. Some copies read, "of the men", and so the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions; who

together, all put together in one sum, or as meeting together in one and the same place, or as agreeing in the same faith and judgment, so the Arabic version, "and there was there a company whose names and wills agreed in this same opinion"; they were all in one place, and of the same mind; and the sum of them

were about an hundred and twenty; among whom were the eleven apostles, and seventy disciples, which made eighty one; so that there were thirty nine persons more in this company: not that it is to be thought that these were all that were in Jerusalem that believed in Christ; but these were the number of the persons that met and embodied together in a church state, and who not only gave themselves to the Lord, but to one another, by the will of God; and their names being taken and registered, the historian calls the account of them, the number of the names, and not persons; though he means persons. This was a number pretty famous among the Jews; the sanhedrim of Ezra, called the men of the great synagogue, consisted of an "hundred and twenty elders"; the last of which was Simeon the just, and he comprehended the hundred and twenty (h). And such a number was requisite for a sanhedrim in any place; it is asked,

"how many must there be in a city, that it may be fit for a sanhedrim? "an hundred and twenty"; R. Nehemiah says two hundred and thirty (i):

but the decision is according to the former: hence they say (k), that "they fix in every city in Israel, where there is an "hundred and twenty", or more, a lesser sanhedrim.---A city in which there is not an hundred and twenty, they place three judges, for there is no sanhedrim less than three.

(h) Juchasin, fol. 13. 2. Bartenora in Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 1. Elias Levit. prefat. 3. ad Sepher Masoret. (i) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 6. Vid. Maimon. & Bartenora in. ib. & T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 17. 2.((k) Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 3, 4.

{6} And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of {p} names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

(6) Peter is made the spokesman and interpreter of the whole company of the Apostles, either by secret revelation of the Holy Spirit, or by the express judgment of the congregation.

(p) Because men are commonly referred to and enrolled by their names.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 1:15. Ἐν ταῖς ἡμέρ. ταύτ.] between the ascension and feast of Pentecost.

Πέτρος] even now asserting his position of primacy in the apostolic circle, already apparent in the Gospels, and promised to him by Jesus Himself.

τῶν ἀδελφῶν (see the critical notes) denotes, as very often in the Book of Acts and the Epistles, the Christians according to their brotherly fellowship; hence here (see the following parenthesis) both the apostles and the disciples of Jesus in the wider sense.

ὀνομάτ.] of persons, who are numbered. Comp. Ewald, ad Revelation 3:4. The expression is not good Greek, but formed after the Hebrew (Numbers 1:2; Numbers 1:18; Numbers 1:20; Numbers 3:40; Numbers 3:43).

There is no contradiction between the number 120 and the 500 brethren in 1 Corinthians 15:6 (in opposition to Baur and Zeller, who suppose the number to have been invented in accordance with that of the apostles: 12 × 10), as the appearance of Jesus in 1 Cor. l.c., apart from the fact that it may have taken place in Galilee, was earlier, when many foreign believers, pilgrims to the feast, might have been present in Jerusalem, who had now left. Comp. Wieseler, Synops. p. 434, and see on 1 Corinthians 15:6; also Lechler, apost. u. nachapost. Zeitalt. p. 275 f.; Baumgarten, p. 29 f.

ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό] locally united. Comp. Acts 2:1, Acts 3:1; Luke 17:35; Matthew 22:34; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Corinthians 11:20; 1 Corinthians 14:23; Hist. Susann. 14; often also in the LXX. and in Greek writers. See Raphel, Polyb., and Loesner.Acts 1:15. καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις: St. Luke often employs such notes of time, used indefinitely like similar expressions in Hebrew—e.g., 1 Samuel 28:1, both in his Gospel and in Acts. Friedrich, p. 9, Lekebusch, p. 53.—ἀναστὰς: it is very characteristic of St. Luke to add a participle to a finite verb indicating the posture or position of the speaker. This word is found in St. Luke’s Gospel seventeen times, and in Acts nineteen times, only twice in Matthew, six or seven times in Mark; cf. also his use of σταθείς, three times in Gospel, six times in Acts, but not at all in the other Evangelists.—Πέτρος: that St. Peter should be the spokesman is only what we should naturally expect from his previous position among the Twelve, but, as St. Chrysostom observes, he does everything with the common consent, nothing imperiously. The best fruits of his repentance are here seen in the fulfilment of his commission to strengthen his brethren. ἐν μέσῳ: another favourite expression of St. Luke both in his Gospel and in the Acts, in the former eight times, in the latter five times (four times in St. Matthew, twice in St. Mark). Blass compares the Hebrew בְּתוֹךְ, Grammatik des N. G., p. 126, and in loco.—μαθητῶν: Blass retains and contends that ἀδελφ. has arisen from either Acts 1:14 or Acts 1:16; but there is strong critical authority for the latter word; cf. Acts 6:1. In LXX it is used in three senses; a brother and a neighbour, Leviticus 19:17; a member of the same nation, Exodus 2:14, Deuteronomy 15:3. In the N.T. it is used in these three senses, and also in the sense of fellow-Christians, who are looked upon as forming one family. The transition is easily seen: (1) member of the same family; (2) of the same community (national), of the same community (spiritual). Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Greek, pp. 95, 96. On its use in religious associations in Egypt see Deissmann, Bibelstudien, i., 82, 140, 209.—τε: here for the first time solitarium. On the frequent recurrence of this word in Acts in all parts, as compared with other books of the N.T., see Blass, Grammatik des N. G., pp. 257, 258.—ὀνομάτων: R.V., “persons”. Lightfoot compares the use of the word in Revelation 3:4; Revelation 11:13 (so too Wendt), where the word is used to signify any persons without distinction of sex, so that the word may have been used here to include the women also. But he considers that it rather means men as distinct from women, and so, as he says, the Syriac and Arabic understand it here. Its use in the sense of persons reckoned up by name is Hebraistic שֵׁמוֹת LXX, Numbers 1:2; Numbers 1:18; Numbers 1:20; Numbers 3:40; Numbers 3:43; Numbers 26:53 (Grimm-Thayer, sub v.), but see also for a similar use on the Egyptian papyri, Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 24 (1897).—ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ, “gathered together,” R.V.; cf. Matthew 22:34, Luke 17:35, Acts 2:1; Acts 2:44; Acts 2:47 (so W.H[105], R.V., see in loco, Wendt, Weiss), 1 Corinthians 11:20; 1 Corinthians 14:23. Holtzmann, in loco, describes it as always local, and it is no doubt so used in most of the above passages, as also in LXX Psalm 2:2 (cf. Acts 4:26), 2 Samuel 2:13, 3Ma 3:1, Sus. Acts 1:14, and in classical Greek. But when we remember the stress laid by St. Luke in the opening chapters of the Acts upon the unanimity of the believers, it is not unlikely that he should use the phrase, at all events in Acts 2:44; Acts 2:47, with this deeper thought of unity of purpose and devotion underlying the words, even if we cannot render the phrase in each passage in Acts with Rendall (Acts, p. 34), “with one mind,” “of one mind”.—ὡς ἑκατὸν εἴκοσιν. Both Wendt and Feine reject the view that the number is merely mythical (Baur, Zeller, Overbeck, Weizsäcker), and would rather see in it a definite piece of information which St. Luke had gained. It is quite beside the mark to suppose that St. Luke only used this particular number because it represented the Apostles multiplied by 10, or 40 multiplied by 3. If he had wished to emphasise the number as a number, why introduce the ὡς?

[105] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.15–26. Election of an Apostle into the place of Judas Iscariot

15. And in those days] i.e. the days intervening between the Ascension and Pentecost.

Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples] The best MSS. read brethren for disciples. Here we have a formal assembling of all those who were avowed followers of Jesus in Jerusalem, and the rising of Peter to address them bespeaks the importance which he attached to the duty they were about to perform in electing a successor to Judas.

the number, &c.] Render, and there was a multitude of persons (Gr. names) gathered together, about a hundred and twenty. For this use of names = persons cp. Revelation 3:4, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments.”

The hundred and twenty here collected is in no way inconsistent with St Paul’s statement (1 Corinthians 15:6) that Christ shewed Himself on one occasion, before His Ascension, to more than five hundred brethren at once. Those were gathered from all parts of the land, and we have now mention made only of such as had continued in the Holy City.Acts 1:15. Ἀναστὰς, having stood up) as men are wont to do when about to make a speech. This speech of Peter, though delivered before the great Pentecost, yet bears the impress, not of the discipleship, but of the apostleship, owing to the “receiving of the Holy Ghost,” as mentioned in John 20:22.—ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ, together, at the same time) namely, in that place. In other places there may have been more disciples, especially outside of the city.—ὡς ἑκατὸν εἴκοσι, about one hundred and twenty) A tenth part of this number consisted of apostles. Εἴκοσι and εἴκοσιν[5] are written, according to the statement of Eustathius.—εἶπενἄνδρες, said—men) There is a parenthesis between the proposition and its discussion, as in Genesis 6:9-10, “These are the generations of Noah (Noah was a just man, etc.); and Noah begat three sons.”

[5] ABCE support εἴκοσι: Rec. Text εἴκοσιν.—E. and T.Verse 15. - These for those, A.V.; brethren for disciples, A.V. and T.R.; and there was a multitude of persons gathered together for the number of names together were, A.V.; a for an, A.V. Peter justifies his primacy by taking the lead in the first onward movement of the Church. Names is a common Hebraism for "persons" (see Revelation 3:4; Numbers 1:2). Gathered together; i.e. to one place and at one time (see the same phrase, Acts 2:1, 44). Wordsworth quotes Ignat., 'Ad Magnes' 7, and Clem. Romans 1:4, where the same phrase, ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ, indicative of Church unity occurs. Of the disciples (τῶν μαθητῶν)

The best texts read ἀδελφῶν, brethren.

The number of the names together were about, etc. (ἦν τε ὄχλος ὀνομάτων ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ)

Much better as Rev., and there was a multitude of persons gathered together, about, etc. Ὄχλος, multitude, would not be used of a number about to be stated.

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