Acts 4:24
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
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(24) They lifted up their voice to God with one accord.—The phrase seems to imply an intonation, or chant, different from that of common speech (Acts 14:11; Acts 22:22). The joint utterance described may be conceived as the result either (1) of a direct inspiration, suggesting the same words to all who were present; (2) of the people following St. Peter, clause by clause; (3) of the hymn being already familiar to the disciples. On the whole, (2) seems the most probable, the special fitness of the hymn for the occasion being against (3), and (1) involving a miracle of so startling a nature that we can hardly take it for granted without a more definite statement. The recurrence of St. Luke’s favourite phrase (see Note on Acts 1:14) should not be passed over.

Lord.—The Greek word is not the common one for Lord (Kyrios), but Despotes, the absolute Master of the Universe. It is a coincidence worth noting that, though but seldom used of God in the New Testament, it occurs again, as used by the two Apostles who take part in it, as in 2Peter 2:1, and Revelation 6:10. (See Note on Luke 2:29.) In the Greek version of the Old Testament it is found applied to the Angel of Jehovah in Joshua 5:14, and to Jehovah Himself in Proverbs 29:25. The hymn has the special interest of being the earliest recorded utterance of the praises of the Christian Church. As such, it is significant that it begins, as so many of the Psalms begin, with setting forth the glory of God as the Creator, and rises from that to the higher redemptive work. More strict, “the heaven, the earth, and the sea,” each region of creation being contemplated in its distinctness.

4:23-31 Christ's followers do best in company, provided it is their own company. It encourages God's servants, both in doing work, and suffering work, that they serve the God who made all things, and therefore has the disposal of all events; and the Scriptures must be fulfilled. Jesus was anointed to be a Saviour, therefore it was determined he should be a sacrifice, to make atonement for sin. But sin is not the less evil for God's bringing good out of it. In threatening times, our care should not be so much that troubles may be prevented, as that we may go on with cheerfulness and courage in our work and duty. They do not pray, Lord let us go away from our work, now that it is become dangerous, but, Lord, give us thy grace to go on stedfastly in our work, and not to fear the face of man. Those who desire Divine aid and encouragement, may depend upon having them, and they ought to go forth, and go on, in the strength of the Lord God. God gave a sign of acceptance of their prayers. The place was shaken, that their faith might be established and unshaken. God gave them greater degrees of his Spirit; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than ever; by which they were not only encouraged, but enabled to speak the word of God with boldness. When they find the Lord God help them by his Spirit, they know they shall not be confounded, Isa 1.7.They lifted up their voice - To lift up the voice, among the Hebrews, was a phrase denoting either an "address" to the people Judges 9:7, or a phrase expressive of "weeping" Genesis 29:11; Judges 2:4; Ruth 1:9; 1 Samuel 24:16, or of "prayer." To lift up the voice to God means simply they prayed to Him.

With one accord - Unitedly. Properly, with one mind or purpose. See notes on Acts 1:14. The union of the early Christians is often noticed in the Acts of the Apostles. Thus far, there was no jar or dissension in their society, and everything has the appearance of the most entire affection and confidence.

Lord - Greek: Δέσποτα Despota - "Despota." From this word is derived the word "despot." This is not the usual word employed by which to address God. The word commonly translated "Lord" is Κυρίος Kurios. The word used here denotes "one who rules over others," and was applied to the highest magistrate or officer. It denotes "authority; power; absoluteness in ruling." It is a word denoting more authority in ruling than the other. That more commonly denotes a property in a thing; this denotes "absolute rule." It is applied to God in Luke 2:29; Revelation 6:10; Jde 1:4; to Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 2:1; to masters, 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:9; 1 Peter 2:18; to husbands, 1 Peter 3:6; and to a possessor or owner, 2 Timothy 2:21.

Thou art God - This ascription of praise seems to have been designed to denote their sense of his power to deliver them, and of his right to dispose of them. They were employed in his service; they were encompassed with dangers; and they acknowledged him as their God, who had made all things, and who had an entire right to direct, and to dispose of them for his own glory. In times of danger and perplexity we should remember that God has a right to do with us as he pleases; and we should go cheerfully, and commit ourselves into his hands.

Which hast made ... - Genesis 1:This passage is taken directly from Psalm 146:6. Compare Revelation 14:7.

24. they lifted up their voice—the assembled disciples, on hearing Peter's report.

with one accord—the breasts of all present echoing every word of this sublime prayer.

Lord—(See on [1949]Lu 2:29). Applied to God, the term expresses absolute authority.

God which hast made heaven and earth—against whom, therefore, all creatures are powerless.

And when they, their own company, believers, unto whom they went, heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord; either jointly, with one heart and spirit, agreeing in the same words, or saying Amen to the same thing.

And said, Lord; they begin prayer with such a reverend compellation, as suited best to the matter of their prayer and praises: whether by Lord they meant their Saviour, who was usually so called by them, or God the Father, (because the word here is not Kurie, but Despota), is not material; for when any person in the Trinity is invoked, the others are included; for we worship the Trinity in Unity, and the Unity in Trinity.

Which made heaven and earth, &c.; the creation and government of the world, is a good consideration to confirm us under all things that befall us here.

And when they heard that,.... The whole of the report the apostles made; and which they heard with patience, and without making any unworthy reflections upon the sanhedrim; and being, on the one hand, not over much terrified, and cast down, and, on the other hand, not sluggish, careless, and secure; they betake themselves, not to plots, conspiracies, and seditions; nor to arms to defend and avenge themselves, though their numbers were large; but to prayer, that they might not be deterred by threatenings, from speaking boldly the word of the Lord:

they lift up their voice to God with one accord; being inspired by the Holy Ghost, they not only agreed in the matter of their petitions, which agreement is of great avail with God; for whatever two or more agree in to ask of God, shall be given to them; but also in the very words which were vocally expressed by them, and that in a very loud and sonorous way, to signify the vehemency and ardour of their minds and affections:

and said, Lord, thou art God; or, as in one of Beza's copies, "Lord our God"; or, as in the Ethiopic version, "Lord, thou art our God"; addressing God, the Father of Christ, as appears from Acts 4:27 as their own God, their covenant God and Father in Christ, from whom they might hope for help, and in whom they might expect safety, and every supply of grace:

which hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; and which is a full proof of the omnipotence of God; an attribute of singular use to the saints in distressed circumstances; for what is it he cannot do, who made all things that are? and what is it he will not do for his saints, for the accomplishment of his purposes, the making good of his covenant and promises, the fulfilment of prophecies; the good of his people, and the glory of his name?

{10} And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

(10) We should neither be afraid of the threats of our enemies, neither yet foolishly condemn their rage and madness against us: but we have to set against their force and malice an earnest thinking upon the power and good will of God (both which we manifestly behold in Christ) and so flee to the aid and assistance of our Father.

Acts 4:24. ὁμοθυμαδὸν, see above on Acts 1:14. The word must not be pressed to mean that they all simultaneously gave utterance to the same words, or that they were able to do so, because they were repeating a familiar Hymn; it may mean that the Hymn was uttered by one of the leaders, by St. Peter, or St. James (Zöckler), and answered by the responsive Amen of the rest, or that the words were caught up by the multitude of believers as they were uttered by an inspired Apostle (so Felten, Rendall).—ἦραν φωνήν: the same phrase is used in Luke 17:13, so in Acts 2:14; Acts 14:11; Acts 22:22, ἐπαίρειν, and also in Luke 11:27. Both phrases are peculiar to St. Luke, but both are found in the LXX, and both are classical (Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium, p. 29, and Plummer on Luke 11:27).—Δέσποτα κ.τ.λ.: the words form the earliest known Psalm of Thanksgiving in the Christian Church. In its tenor the Hymn may be compared with Hezekiah’s Prayer against the threats of Assyria, Isaiah 37:16; Isaiah 37:20. It begins like many of the Psalms (18, 19, 53) with praising God as the Creator, a thought which finds fitting expression here as marking the utter impotence of worldly power to withstand Him. The word Δέσποτα, thus used in the vocative in addressing God here and in Luke 2:29 only (found nowhere else in Gospels, although several times in the Epistles), expresses the absolute control of a Master over a slave, cf. also Luke 2:29, where τὸν δοῦλόν σου answers to it, as here τοῖς δούλοις in Acts 4:29. It also expresses here as often in the LXX the sovereignty of God over creation, cf. Job 5:8, Wis 6:7, Jdt 9:12. So Jos., Ant., iv., 3, 2, puts it into the mouth of Moses. It is very rarely used in the N.T. as a name of God or of Christ, but cf. Revelation 6:10 of God, and 2 Peter 2:1 of Christ (where the metaphor of the master and slave is retained), and see Judges 1:4, R.V. (although the name may refer to God); and so in writings ascribed to men who may well have been present, and have taken part in the Hymn. The word is also used of the gods in classical Greek; but the Maker of heaven and earth was no “despot,” although His rule was absolute, for His power was never dissociated from wisdom and love, cf. Wis 11:26, Δέσποτα φιλόψυχε. On the use of the word in Didache 1, x., 3, in prayer to God, see Biggs’ note.

24. And when they heard that (better it)] The Greek = and having heard.

they lift up their voice to God with one accord, and said] The words of the prayer which follows have so direct a reference to the circumstances which had just occurred that we cannot interpret otherwise than that to the prayer, uttered by the lips of one, all the rest, with one mind, pronounced fervent Amens. “The author (says Zeller) takes no forbidden liberty when he collects the concordant expressions of individuals into one common expression.”

Lord] Lit. Master. The word is not often used of God (Luke 2:29) or Christ, but it is worth notice that St Peter (2 Peter 2:1) and St Jude (4) apply it to Jesus.

thou art God] The words art God are not in the oldest MSS. but the clause reads, O Lord, thou that hast made, &c.

Acts 4:24. Ὁμοθύμαδον ᾖραν φωνὴν, with one accord they lifted up their voice) Peter even here seems to have led the way in this address to God: but the others also employed their voice. [The devotion of their minds was so much the more kindled thereby.—V. g.]—Δέσποτα) Lord of the family of believers.—σὺ, Thou) An enunciation, the subject of which is, Thou, O GOD, who hast made all things; then, understanding art, the predicate follows, [Thou art He] who hast spoken.—ὁ ποιήσας, who hast made) This is a lofty exordium, employed in prayers of more than ordinary solemnity. Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah! Lord God, behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.” Nehemiah 9:6. Therefore the will of GOD is done in the heaven, earth, and sea; and the will of men on the earth ought not to be set up against it, or be put before it: it is in vain that petty men make their attempts. The Creator even by miracles refutes them.

Verse 24. - They, when they heard it, lifted for when they heard that they lifted, A.V.; O Lord, thou that didst make, or as in margin, thou art he that did make, for Lord, thou art God, which hast made, T.R. and A.V.; the heaven and the earth for heaven and earth, A.V. With one accord (ὁμοθυμαδόν) occurs eleven times in the Acts (ten times in the R.T.) and only once elsewhere in the New Testament, viz. in Romans 15:6. O Lord, etc. Either the margin or the A.V. is preferable to the R.V., which gives an unmeaning vocative pendent. The word here used for "Lord" is δεσπότης, from which our English word "despot" comes. It means "master, owner," in respect of slaves, and "a lord" or "king," whose power over his subjects is similar to that of a master over slaves. Here, with reference to creation and God's unlimited power overall that he has made, the Church in danger finds support and solace in the thought of God's absolute sovereignty. The term is applied to God in the New Testament elsewhere only in Luke 2:29 (where observe its relation to δοῦλον); 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 1:4, R.T. (of our Savior); and Revelation 6:10, where σύνδουλοι αὐτῶν immediately follows, as here in ver. 29 does "thy servants." In the LXX. it sometimes answers to Elohim, and sometimes to Adonai. As regards the question how the whole assembly joined in this prayer, whether by a common inspiration, or by repeating the words after him that prayed them aloud (Alford), or by merely singing the second psalm (Baumgarten), or by all using what was already a formulary prepared for the needs of the Church (Meyer), it is difficult to speak positively, nor is it of any moment. Another possible explanation is that several members of the congregation, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, uttered brief prayers and praises, the consenting matter of which Luke thus puts together. Acts 4:24Lord (δέσποτα)

See on 2 Peter 2:1.

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