Acts 4:35
And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made to every man according as he had need.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(35) And laid them down at the apostles’ feet,—The words are a vivid picture of one phase of Eastern life. When gifts or offerings are made to a king, or priest, or teacher, they are not placed in his hands, but at his feet. The Apostles sat, it would seem, in conclave, on their twelve seats, as in the figurative promise of Matthew 19:28, and the vision of Revelation 4:4.

4:32-37 The disciples loved one another. This was the blessed fruit of Christ's dying precept to his disciples, and his dying prayer for them. Thus it was then, and it will be so again, when the Spirit shall be poured upon us from on high. The doctrine preached was the resurrection of Christ; a matter of fact, which being duly explained, was a summary of all the duties, privileges, and comforts of Christians. There were evident fruits of Christ's grace in all they said and did. They were dead to this world. This was a great evidence of the grace of God in them. They did not take away others' property, but they were indifferent to it. They did not call it their own; because they had, in affection, forsaken all for Christ, and were expecting to be stripped of all for cleaving to him. No marvel that they were of one heart and soul, when they sat so loose to the wealth of this world. In effect, they had all things common; for there was not any among them who lacked, care was taken for their supply. The money was laid at the apostles' feet. Great care ought to be taken in the distribution of public charity, that it be given to such as have need, such as are not able to procure a maintenance for themselves; those who are reduced to want for well-doing, and for the testimony of a good conscience, ought to be provided for. Here is one in particular mentioned, remarkable for this generous charity; it was Barnabas. As one designed to be a preacher of the gospel, he disentangled himself from the affairs of this life. When such dispositions prevail, and are exercised according to the circumstances of the times, the testimony will have very great power upon others.And laid them down ... - That is, they committed the money received for their property to the disposal of the apostles, to distribute it as was necessary among the poor. This soon became a burdensome and inconvenient office, and they therefore appointed men who had special charge of it, Acts 6:1-2, etc. 35. laid … at the apostles' feet—sitting, it may be, above the rest. But the expression may be merely derived from that practice, and here meant figuratively. Laid them down at the apostles’ feet; submitted them to the apostles’ disposal: this metaphor is used, 1 Corinthians 15:27,

He hath put all things under his feet. According as he had need; the poor man’s want is the fittest measure for our relief. And laid them down at the apostles' feet,.... Showing great veneration and respect to the apostles, and a sort of neglect and contempt of their worldly substance; and signifying that they entirely delivered them to the apostles, and subjected them to their disposal:

and distribution was made unto every man, according as he had need; though they had all things in common, yet there was an order observed; a man might not go to the common stock and take out of it what he would; but as all was committed to the care of the apostles, and was in their power; the distribution was made by them, to every man, to the original proprietors, as well as to others, and that not as much as a man would have, or he might crave; but as much as he needed, for the present, of which the apostles were the judges.

And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 4:35. The statement marks, it is true, an advance upon the former narrative, Acts 2:44, but one which was perfectly natural and intelligible. Here for the first time we read that the money is brought and laid at the Apostles’ feet. As the community grew, the responsibilities of distribution increased, and to whom could the administration of the common fund be more fittingly committed than to the Apostles? The narrative indicates that this commital of trust was voluntary on the part of the Ecclesia, although it was marked by an act of reverence for the Apostles’ authority. The fact that Barnabas is expressly mentioned as laying the value of his field at the Apostles’ feet, may be an indication that the other members of the community were acting upon his suggestion; if so, it would be in accordance with what we know of his character and forethought, cf. Acts 9:27, Acts 11:22-24, Hort, Ecclesia, pp. 47, 48. There is no reason to reject this narrative as a mere repetition of Acts 2:44-45. The same spirit prevails in both accounts, but in the one case we have the immediate result of the Pentecostal gift, in the case before us we have the permanence and not only the vitality of the gift marked—the Christian community is now organised under Apostolic direction, and stress is laid upon the continuance of the “first love,” whilst the contrast is marked between the self-sacrifice of Barnabas and the greed of Ananias and Sapphira, see Rendall, Acts, p. 196, and also Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte, p. 198, in answer to recent criticisms.—παρὰ τοὺς πόδας: the Apostles are represented as sitting, perhaps as teachers, Acts 22:3, cf. Luke 2:46, and also as an indication of their authority: the expression in the Greek conveys the thought of committal to the care and authority of any one, cf. Acts 5:2, Acts 7:58, Acts 22:20, so Matthew 15:30, or that of reverence and thankfulness. Oecumenius sees in the words an indication of the great honour of the Apostles, and the reverence of those who brought the money. Friedrich notes the expression as characteristic of St. Luke’s style, since it is used by him five times in the Gospel, six times in Acts, and is found in the N.T. only once elsewhere, see above, cf. Cicero, Proverbs Flacco, 28, and instances in Wetstein.—διεδίδετο: impersonal, or τὸ ἀργύριον may be supplied, Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 57 (1896), and in St. Luke’s Gospel twice, Acts 11:22, Acts 18:22; only once elsewhere in N.T., John 6:11; on the abnormal termination ετο for οτο, cf. LXX, Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek, p. 159, cf. Exodus 5:13, ἐδίδοτο, but A -ετο; Jeremiah 52:34, ἐδίδοτο, but [165] [166]-ετο; 1 Corinthians 11:23, Winer-Schmiedel, p. 121.—καθότι: only found in St. Luke in N. T., twice in Gospel, four times in Acts; Luke 1:7; Luke 19:9, Acts 2:24; Acts 2:45; Acts 4:35; Acts 17:31; on the imperfect with ἄν in a conditional relative clause, Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, pp. 13, 125, and Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 142 (1893), cf. Acts 2:45; Acts 2:33-35 are ascribed by Hilgenfeld to his “author to Theophilus,” but this reviser must have been very clumsy to introduce a notice involving a general surrender of all landed property, as Hilgenfeld interprets the verse, which could not be reconciled with St. Peter’s express words in Acts 5:4—words which, on Hilgenfeld’s own showing, the reviser must have had before him.

[165] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[166] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.35. and laid them down at the apostles’ feet] A significant act, whereby it was shewn that they gave the Apostles entire control over the bestowal of these sums. For the figure, cp. Psalm 8:6, and Cicero Proverbs Flacco (xxvii. § 68), ante pedes praetoris in foro expensum est auri pondo centum paullo minus.

and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need] Better, unto each according as any had need. There were no doubt many who were not in need, and they of course lived on their own. The distribution was intended only for the needy, as widows, &c., and for those who could not otherwise support themselves while they took part, as many did, in the active propagation of the new faith. It may be, too, that some were deprived of the means of support because they had become Christians. Cp. the threat of the authorities, John 9:22.Acts 4:35. Καὶ ἐτίθουν, and laid them down) as soldiers lowering or laying down their arms. They hereby were intimating that the apostles, under the guidance of Divine wisdom, should have all the control over their effects.—[καθότι, according as) Not according as each had given up more or less.—V. g.]Verse 35. - Laid them for laid them downs A.V.; unto each... as any one for unto every man... as he, A.V., a change without an improvement. Laid them at the apostles' feet. A significant token of the place occupied by the apostles (as later by the bishops of the Church) as the trustees and dispensers of the Church's funds as well as of the Church's doctrines. Compare "Ante pedes praetoris in fore expensum est auri pondo centum" (Cie. pp. Flacco, quoted by Alford). We have, too, here an instance of the way in which Church institutions rose gradually as occasion gave birth to them. So the institution of deacons (Acts 6:2, 3), of presbyters or priests (Acts 14:23), of bishops (1 Timothy 1-3.), of Confirmation (Acts 8:14-17), appear to have come about in each case pro re nata.
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