Acts 3:25
You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, And in your seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) And of the covenant. . . .—It is a significant indication of the unity of apostolic teaching, which it was St. Luke’s aim to bring before his readers, that St. Peter thus refers chiefly to the covenant made with Abraham (Genesis 12:3), with as full an emphasis as St. Paul does when he had learnt to see that it implicitly involved the calling of the Gentiles into the kingdom of Christ (Galatians 3:8.).

3:22-26 Here is a powerful address to warn the Jews of the dreadful consequences of their unbelief, in the very words of Moses, their favourite prophet, out of pretended zeal for whom they were ready to reject Christianity, and to try to destroy it. Christ came into the world to bring a blessing with him. And he sent his Spirit to be the great blessing. Christ came to bless us, by turning us from our iniquities, and saving us from our sins. We, by nature cleave to sin; the design of Divine grace is to turn us from it, that we may not only forsake, but hate it. Let none think that they can be happy by continuing in sin, when God declares that the blessing is in being turned from all iniquity. Let none think that they understand or believe the gospel, who only seek deliverance from the punishment of sin, but do not expect happiness in being delivered from sin itself. And let none expect to be turned from their sin, except by believing in, and receiving Christ the Son of God, as their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.Ye are the children of the prophets - Greek: "Ye are the sons of the prophets." The meaning is, not that they were literally the "descendants" of the prophets, but that they were their "disciples," "pupils," "followers." They professed to follow the prophets as their teachers and guides. Teachers among the Jews were often spoken of under the appellation of fathers, and disciples as sons, Matthew 12:27. See notes on Matthew 1:1. As they were the professed disciples of the prophets, they should listen to them. As they lived among the people to whom the prophets were sent, and to whom the promises were made, they should avail themselves of the offer of mercy, and embrace the Messiah.

And of the covenant - Ye are the sons of the covenant; that is, you are of the posterity of Abraham, with whom the covenant was made. The word "sons" was often thus used to denote those to whom any favor pertained. whether by inheritance or in any other way. Thus, Matthew 8:12, "The children (sons) of the kingdom"; John 17:12, "the son of perdition." The word "covenant" denotes properly "a compact or agreement between equals, or those who have a right to make such a compact, and to choose or refuse the terms." When applied to God and man, it denotes a firm promise on the part of God; a pledge to be regarded with all the sacredness of a compact, that he will do certain things on certain conditions. It is called a covenant only to designate its sacredness and the certainty of its fulfillment, not that man had any right to reject any of the terms or stipulations. As man has no such right, as he is bound to receive all that his Maker proposes, so, strictly and literally, there has been no compact or covenant between God and man. The promise to which Peter refers in the passage before us is in Genesis 22:18; Genesis 12:3.

In thy seed - Thy posterity. See Romans 4:13, Romans 4:16. This promise the apostle Paul affirms had express reference to the Messiah, Galatians 3:16. The word "seed" is used sometimes to denote an individual Genesis 4:25; and the apostle Galatians 3:16 affirms that there was special reference to Christ in the promise made to Abraham.

All the kindreds - The word translated "kindreds" πατριαὶ patriai denotes "those who have a common father or ancestor," and is applied to families. It is also referred to those larger communities which were descended from the same ancestor, and thus refers to nations, Ephesians 3:15. Here it evidently refers to "all nations."

Be blessed - Be made happy.

25. Ye are the children … of the covenant—and so the natural heirs of its promises.

in thy seed, &c.—(See on [1944]Ga 3:8, &c.).

Children of the prophets; the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are called prophets, Psalm 105:15, and did prophesy, foretelling things to come, &c. The disciples of the prophets are also called their children, or sons, 2 Kings 2:3; and so these pretended and desired to be accounted. Children of the covenant are sixth unto whom the covenant belongs, which God made with Abraham and his seed; hence they are called the children of the promise, Romans 9:8 Galatians 4:28; and the children of the kingdom, Matthew 8:12. And this covenant of God with Abraham was the cause, that notwithstanding all the sore and heavy calamities of that people. God did always preserve some, and there was a remnant saved.

Kindreds; families, or nations.

Be blessed: through Christ, who is this seed of Abraham, all mercies in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, are bestowed; grace and glory, and every good thing. Ye are the children of the prophets,.... Of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are called prophets, Psalm 105:15 being lineally and naturally descended from them; to them belonged the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, and the promises of him; they were heirs of them;

and of the covenant which God made with our fathers; so the phrase , "children of the covenant", is used by the Jews, as peculiar to themselves; See Gill on Romans 9:8 and so , "a son of the law" (n), is also used by them in a like sense; the law, the covenant, and the promises, externally belonging to them:

saying unto Abraham, Genesis 22:18

and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed; meaning the Messiah, that sprung from him, and is called the son of Abraham; in whom, not only all Abraham's spiritual seed among the Jews, or the elect of God in that nation, and who were truly the children of Abraham, and of the promise, but even all the chosen of God among the Gentiles, in every nation, and of every kindred and family among them, are blessed in Christ, with all spiritual blessings; with peace, pardon, righteousness, redemption, and salvation: for this is not a form of blessing the Gentiles would use, when they blessed themselves, or others; saying, God bless thee, as he blessed Abraham's seed; for no one instance can be produced, when the Gentiles ever used such a form of blessing as this; but a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles by the Messiah, and of their being blessed in him; see Galatians 3:16 and though this sense is departed from by modern Jews, it was what the ancient synagogue gave into (o).

(n) T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 62. 1.((o) Sepher Chasidim, sect. 961. apud Allix, Judgment of the Jewish Church, p 57.

{4} Ye are the {i} children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

(4) The Jews that believed are the first begotten in the kingdom of God.

(i) For whom the Prophets were especially appointed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 3:25. Ye[152] are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant, i.e. ye belong to both, inasmuch as what was promised by the prophets and pledged in the covenant is to be realized for and in you, as the recipients in accordance with promise and covenant. Comp. Acts 2:39; Romans 9:4; Romans 15:8. On υἱοὶ τῆς διαθήκης, comp. the rabbinical passages in Wetstein. Concerning υἱός, used to denote closer connection (like בֵּן), see on Matthew 8:12. Incorrectly Lightfoot, Wolf, and Kuinoel render: “prophetarum discipuli (Matthew 7:27; so the Greek ΠΑῖΔΕς; Blomf. Gloss. Perss. 408), because then υἱοί (in the same signification does not suit τῆς διαθήκης. Hence, incorrectly, also Michaelis, Morus, Heinrichs: “e vestra natione provenerunt prophetae.”

ΔΙΑΘΉΚΗ, covenant. For God bound Himself by covenant to bless all generations through the seed of Abraham, on the condition, namely, that Abraham obeyed His command (Genesis 12:1). On ΔΙΈΘΕΤΟ, comp. Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16; Genesis 15:18, al.; 1Ma 1:11. So with διαθήκην also in the classics.

πρὸς τοὺς πατ. ἡμ.] πρός denotes the ethical direction. Bernhardy, p. 265. Abraham is conceived as representative of the forefathers; hence it is said that God had bound Himself towards the fathers when He spoke to Abraham.

ΚΑῚ ἘΝ Τῷ ΣΠΈΡΜΑΤΊ ΣΟΥ] ΚΑΊ, and, quite as in Acts 2:17.

The quotation (Genesis 22:18; comp. Acts 18:18, Acts 12:3) is not exactly according to the LXX. According to the Messianic fulfilment, from which point of view Peter grasps and presents the prophetic meaning of the passage (see Acts 3:26), ἐν τῷ σπ. σου is not collective, but: in thy descendant, namely, the Messiah (comp. Galatians 3:16), the future blessing of salvation has its causal ground. As to ΠΑΤΡΙΑΊ, gentes, here nations, see on Ephesians 3:15.

[152] Observe the great emphasis of the ὑμεῖς as of the ὑμῖν (ver. 26). From their position of preference they ought, in the consciousness of their being the people of God, to feel the more urgently the duty of accepting the Messiah.Acts 3:25. ὑμεῖς, as in Acts 3:26, emphatic, “obligat auditores” Bengel, cf. Acts 2:39, Romans 9:4; Romans 15:8; their preference and destiny ought to make them more sensible of their duty in the reception of the Messiah; υἱοί, “sons” as in Matthew 8:12, R.V. The rendering “disciples” (Matthew 12:2), even if υἱοί could be so rendered with προφητῶν (J. Lightfoot, Kuinoel), could not be applied to τῆς διαθήκης. The expression is Hebraistic, see Grimm-Thayer, sub υἱός, 2, and on many similar expressions Deissmann, Bibelstudicn, p. 163 ff.—διαθ. διέθετο, cf. Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16, Genesis 15:18, 1Ma 1:11, for a similar construction in LXX in more than seventy places, so also frequently in classical writers.—διαθήκης: on the word, see below, Acts 7:8.—ἐν τῷ σπέρματί σου, cf. Genesis 22:18; Genesis 12:3. For the application of the prophecy to the Messiah as the seed of Abraham by the Rabbinical writers, see Wetstein on Galatians 3:16 (and Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii., p. 712); so by St. Luke, although the words of the prophecy were first uttered in a collective sense.—πατριαὶ: “families,” R.V., Luke 2:4, Ephesians 3:15; “kindreds,” A.V., is the rendering of other words, Acts 4:5, Acts 7:3. πατριά is found in LXX (and in Herodotus); in Genesis 12:3 φυλαί is used, and in Acts 18:18 ἔθνη, but in Psalm 22:27 and in 1 Chronicles 16:28 we have the phrase αἱ πατριαὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν (but see Nösgen, in loco). In this quotation, cf. Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:16, and in the πρῶτον of the next verse we may see a striking illustration of the unity of Apostolic preaching, and the recognition of God’s purpose by St. Peter and St. Paul alike (Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9-10).—ἐνευλογηθήσονται: ἐν of the instrument as often: the verb is not used in classical writers, but Blass gives several instances of verbs similarly compounded with ἐν, cf. ἐνευδαιμονεῖν, ἐνευδοκιμεῖν. The compound verb is found several times in LXX.25. Ye are the children [better, sons] of the prophets] i.e. of the same race, and therefore what the prophets spake is meant for you. The prophet foretold by Moses is raised up for you.

and [sons] of the covenant] Therefore, heirs to its promises and its obligations. So (2 Kings 14:14) hostages are called literally sons of the pledgings or compacts.

saying unto Abraham] Genesis 22:18.Acts 3:25. Ὑμεῖς, ye) who are alive in these days.—τῶν προφητῶν) “ye are children of the prophets,” in their character as prophets, that is, of their prophecies. So what follows coheres with this, and of the covenant: as in Daniel 9:24, The Vision and prophecy (in Hebr. prophet). To you, saith Peter, appertain the prophecies and covenant. He binds under obligation of the covenant his hearers.—καὶ ἐν τῷ σπέρματί σου ἐνευλογηθήσονται πᾶσαι αἱ πατριαὶ τῆς γῆς) Genesis 22:18, LXX., καὶ εὐλογηθήσονται (Al. ἐνευλογηθήσονται) ἐν τῷ σπέρματί σου πάντα τὰ ἔθνη τῆς γῆς. By Peter they are termed πατριαὶ, families (kindred) [not ἔθνη, nations or Gentiles, as in LXX.], as it were under that veil;[33] as to which we have treated in ch. Acts 2:39. Comp., as to this passage, the notes, Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:16 [The promise of the blessing is in the seed, i.e. Christ. The promise of the inheritance of the earth is to Abraham and his seed, i.e. his countless posterity].

[33] Whereby the apostles were guided to use words implying truths, as here the conversion of the Gentiles, which were as yet future, and but imperfectly understood by themselves. Had Peter used ἔθνη, the meaning would have been no longer veiled, but explicit.—E. and T.Verse 25. - Sons for children, A.V.; your for our, A.V. and T.R.; families for kindreds, A.V. Ye are the sons of the prophets, meaning that they inherited all the promises made by the prophets to their fathers. Just as in Acts 2:39 he said, "The promise is unto you and to your children" (comp. Romans 9:4; Romans 15:8). He thus enforces the solemn obligation of giving heed to what the prophets had said concerning Christ and his kingdom. In thy seed (see Galatians 3:16). This covenant, into which God entered with Abraham, with an oath (Genesis 22:16, 18), and which was a repetition and amplification of the covenant and promise already recorded in Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15; Genesis 17:1-8, was made πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας, with a view to, in the direction of, the fathers, so as to include them and their children after them. It was now fulfilled to those whom St. Peter was addressing, as is set forth in the next verse. Covenant (διαθήκης)

See on Matthew 26:28.

Made (διέθετο)

The Rev. gives covenanted in margin. The noun covenant is derived from the verb διατίθημι, originally to distribute or arrange. Hence to arrange or settle mutually; to make a covenant with.

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