Acts 11:4
But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
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(4) But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning.—Better, perhaps, the word “rehearse” having grown into a different shade of meaning, began and set forth the matter. The translators seem to have paraphrased the participle “having begun” somewhat more fully than its actual meaning admits. The almost verbal repetition of the same narrative as that of Acts 10 seems, at first sight, inconsistent with our common standard of skill in composition. The probable explanation of it is that St. Luke obtained the first narrative from the disciples whom he met at Cæsarea, and the second from those of Jerusalem, and that the close agreement of the two seemed to him, as indeed it was, a confirmation of the truth of each.

Acts 11:4-15. But Peter rehearsed Εξετιθετο, laid open; the matter from the beginning — Of the vision which he had seen, which was evidently designed to dispose him to such condescension, and gave them a full detail of all the particulars, with the exactest truth and simplicity. So far was he from taking it ill to be questioned, or desiring to be treated as infallible. And he answers the more mildly, because it related to a point which he had not readily believed himself. See these verses explained in the notes on Acts 10:11-33; Acts 10:44.

11:1-18 The imperfect state of human nature strongly appears, when godly persons are displeased even to hear that the word of God has been received, because their own system has not been attended to. And we are too apt to despair of doing good to those who yet, when tried, prove very teachable. It is the bane and damage of the church, to shut out those from it, and from the benefit of the means of grace, who are not in every thing as we are. Peter stated the whole affair. We should at all times bear with the infirmities of our brethren; and instead of taking offence, or answering with warmth, we should explain our motives, and show the nature of our proceedings. That preaching is certainly right, with which the Holy Ghost is given. While men are very zealous for their own regulations, they should take care that they do not withstand God; and those who love the Lord will glorify him, when made sure that he has given repentance to life to any fellow-sinners. Repentance is God's gift; not only his free grace accepts it, but his mighty grace works it in us, grace takes away the heart of stone, and gives us a heart of flesh. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.But Peter rehearsed - Greek: Peter beginning, explained it to them in order; that is, he began with the vision which he saw, and gave a narrative of the various events in order, as they actually occurred. A simple and unvarnished statement of facts is usually the best way of disarming prejudice and silencing opposition. Opposition most commonly arises from prejudice, or from false and exaggerated statements, and such opposition can be best removed, not by angry contention, but by an unvarnished relation of facts. In most cases prejudice will thus be disarmed, and opposition will die away, as was the case in regard to the admission of the Gentiles to the church.

And expounded it - Explained it; stated it as it actually occurred.

In order - One event after another, as they happened. He thus showed that his own mind had been as much biased as theirs, and stated in what manner his prejudices had been removed. It often happens that those who become most zealous and devoted in any new measures for the advancement of religion were as much opposed to them at first as others. They are led from one circumstance to another, until their prejudices die away, and the providence and Spirit of God indicate clearly their duty.

3, 4. Thou wentest in … But Peter rehearsed the matter, &c.—These objectors scruple not to demand from Peter, though the first among the apostles, an explanation of his conduct; nor is there any insinuation on Peter's part of disrespect towards his authority in that demand—a manifest proof that such authority was unknown both to the complainers and to himself. This great apostle condescends to the least and weakest amongst them, and gives an account of what he had done and the reasons that moved him unto it, if by any means he might gain some, and confirm others.

But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning,.... Of the vision at Joppa;

and expounded it by order unto them; or related every particular, in a very methodical and orderly manner: he did not insist upon his authority as an apostle, and much less pretended to a primacy to the rest of the apostles; but submitted to have his case heard, examined, and judged of by the body of the brethren.

But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
Acts 11:4. ἀρξ. δὲ ὁ Π. “But Peter began, and expounded the matter”: ἀρξ. may be pleonastic, Acts 1:4, cf. καθεξῆς, or may be used graphically, or because the reproaches of οἱ ἐκ περιτ. gave the first incentive to St. Peter’s recital.—καθ. only in Luke, Gospel and Acts, see Acts 3:24.—ἐξετίθετο, Acts 18:26, Acts 28:23, Jos., Ant., i., 12, 2, so also in Polyb., x., 9, 3. Perhaps used here by St. Luke from its use by Dioscorides; familiar word to him also as a physician, see Vogel, p. 17. Evidently St. Luke by the two accounts attaches great significance to this first reception, exceptional case as it was, of a Gentile proselyte like Cornelius into the Christian Church, but it was an isolated case, and moreover a case within Palestine, not beyond its borders, so that the great questions of a mission to the Gentiles of the heathen world, and of the conditions for their reception as Christians, were not matter for consideration as afterwards in chap. 15, see Wendt, edition 1899, p. 211; Hort, Ecclesia, pp. 58, 59; and see below on Acts 11:12.

4. But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them] Better, “But Peter began and rehearsed the matter in order unto them.”

Acts 11:4. Ἀρξάμενος, beginning) He began to speak in many words.—ἐξετίθετο, expounded) Peter was not offended at his being questioned, nor did he demand, that he, even without any exposition of his reasons, should be held as superior to all (any) objections being made on the part of his colleagues and all believers. It is not the indication of the best mind or the best cause, along with the Pope or his attendants (hangers-on), to be offended at the question, What art thou doing? Peter answers with mildness, as to a subject which he himself before had not very readily comprehended.

Verse 4. - Began and expounded the matter unto them in order for rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, A.V. Acts 11:4Began

Graphically indicating the solemn purport of the speech (compare Luke 12:1), or perhaps, in connection with expounded, his beginning with the first circumstances and going through the whole list of incidents.

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