Acts 4:16
Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle has been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) What shall we do to these men?—The question now debated was clearly one that never ought to have been even asked. They were sitting as a Court of Justice, and should have given their verdict for or against the accused according to the evidence. They abandon that office, and begin discussing what policy was most expedient. It was, we may add, characteristic of Caiaphas to do so (John 11:49-50).

A notable miracle.—Literally, sign.

We cannot deny it.—The very form of the sentence betrays the will, though there is not the power.

4:15-22 All the care of the rulers is, that the doctrine of Christ spread not among the people, yet they cannot say it is false or dangerous, or of any ill tendency; and they are ashamed to own the true reason; that it testifies against their hypocrisy, wickedness, and tyranny. Those who know how to put a just value upon Christ's promises, know how to put just contempt upon the world's threatenings. The apostles look with concern on perishing souls, and know they cannot escape eternal ruin but by Jesus Christ, therefore they are faithful in warning, and showing the right way. None will enjoy peace of mind, nor act uprightly, till they have learned to guide their conduct by the fixed standard of truth, and not by the shifting opinions and fancies of men. Especially beware of a vain attempt to serve two masters, God and the world; the end will be, you can serve neither fully.What shall we do to these men? - The object which they had in view was evidently to prevent their preaching. The miracle was performed, and it was believed by the people to have been made. This they could not expect to be able successfully to deny. Their only object, therefore, was to prevent the apostles from making the use which they saw they would to convince the people that Jesus was the Messiah. The question was, in what way they should prevent this; whether by putting them to death, by imprisoning them, or by scourging them; or whether by simply exerting theft authority and forbidding them. From the former they were deterred, doubtless, by fear of the multitude; and they therefore adopted the latter, and seemed to suppose that the mere exertion of their authority would be sufficient to deter them from this in future.

The council - Greek: The "Sanhedrin." This body was composed of 71 or 72 persons, and was entrusted with the principal affairs of the nation. It was a body of vast influence and power, and hence they supposed that their command might be sufficient to restrain ignorant Galileans from speaking. Before this same body, and probably the same men, our Saviour was arraigned, and by them condemned before he was delivered to the Roman governor, Matthew 26:59, etc. And before this same body, and in the presence of the same men, Peter had just before denied his Lord, Matthew 26:70, etc. The fact that the disciples had fled on a former occasion, and that Peter had denied his Saviour, may hate operated to induce them to believe that they would be terrified by their threats, and deterred from preaching publicly in the name of Jesus.

A notable miracle - A known, undeniable miracle.

That it spread - That the knowledge of it may not spread among them any further.

Let us straitly threaten them - Greek: "Let us threaten them with a threat." This is a "Hebraism" expressing intensity, certainty, etc. The threat was a command Acts 4:18 not to teach, implying their displeasure if they did do it. This threat, however, was not effectual. On the next occasion, which occurred soon after Acts 5:40, they added beating to their threats in order to deter them from preaching in the name of Jesus.

16. a notable miracle … done by them is manifest to all … in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it—And why should ye wish to deny it, O ye rulers, but that ye hate the light, and will not come to the light lest your deeds should be reproved? What shall we do? At what a loss are these great men, about the manner of their proceeding with the apostles! They might seem to have the victory in their hands, and yet they are evidently overcome by three witnesses; viz. by both the apostles and the lame man, and especially by the evidence of this fact itself: though they did not boggle at being unjust, yet they were loath to seem to be so, and therefore they take counsel to hide it, or palliate it before men; more valuing their credit, than the salvation of their own or other men’s souls. Saying, what shall we do to these men?.... Whether they should punish them by scourging them, or detain them longer in custody, or commit them to prison, or dismiss them:

for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them: they were convicted that a miracle was wrought; that it was a clear case, a well known thing, of which there was no room to doubt, and that it was done by the apostles; but this was not all the difficulty, had it been a thing only within their knowledge, and which they could have concealed, it would have given them no uneasiness; but, as they observe,

it is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem: for the man having been so long lame, and had lain so long at the temple, where all the inhabitants frequently went, he was known and took notice of by them; and his cure being wrought so openly, and in such a miraculous way, it was the common talk of the city: so that there was no smothering it:

and we cannot deny it; the fact is so certain and evident; nor hide it, as the Ethiopic version renders it, it being so notorious and public.

{6} Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

(6) He that flatters himself in ignorance, at length comes to do open wickedness, and that against his own conscience.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 4:16. The positive thought of the question is: We shall be able to do nothing to these men. What follows contains the reason: for that a notable miracle (a definite proof of divine co-operation) has happened through them, is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we are not in a position to deny it.

To the μέν corresponds ἀλλʼ, Acts 4:17; to the γνωστόν is opposed the mere δοξαστόν, Plat. Pol. v. p. 479 D, vi. p. 510 A.Acts 4:16. τί ποιήσομεν: for the deliberative subjunctive, which should be read here, cf. Acts 2:37; it may express the utter perplexity of the Sanhedrists (so Rendall); in questions expressing doubt or deliberation, the subjunctive would be more usual in classical Greek than the future indicative, Blass, u. s., p. 205.—ὅτι μὲν: μέν answered by ἀλλά in Acts 4:17 (omitted by .), cf. Mark 9:12, see Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 168, and for other instances of μέν similarly used, see also Lekebusch, Apostelgeschichte, pp. 74, 75.—γνωστὸν, that which is a matter of knowledge as opposed to δοξαστόν, that which is matter of opinion (so in Plato). The word is characteristic of St. Luke, being used by him twice in the Gospel, ten times in Acts, and elsewhere in N.T. only three times (Friedrich).16. manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem] Because all the inhabitants knew the beggar at the Temple-gate, and that he had been lame all his life. There could only be two grounds on which, in reference to the cure of the cripple, the Apostles could be worthy of punishment: (1) If it were a case of imposture, but this nobody in the council or anywhere else insinuated, or (2) if the miracle had been wrought by some unlawful agency (Deuteronomy 13). The question of the Sanhedrin points in this direction, “By what power have ye done this?” But Peter from the first (Acts 3:13) had ascribed the miracle to the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” and again testifies that it is God through Jesus Christ that hath made the man whole. So that there was no charge possible on the second ground.Acts 4:16. Τί ποιήσομεν, what shall we do?) The answer is ready to those who ask this question; Believe.—τοῖς) The Ablative.—φανερὸν, manifest) viz. is. And on this depends ὅτι γνωστὸν, κ.τ.λ.Verse 16. - Wrought through them for done by them, A.V.; to all for to all them, A.V. Only here and at ver. 22 and in Luke 23:8 has miracle been retained in the R.V. as the rendering of σημεῖα: everywhere else it is sign. Wrought through them; more literally, hath come to pass through them.
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