Acts 5:29
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(29) Then Peter and the other apostles.—The whole company of the Twelve, it must be remembered, were now the objects of attack, and they all accept Peter as their spokesman.

We ought to obey God rather than men.—The words are an assertion of the same general law of duty as that of Acts 4:19-20, but the command of the angel in Acts 5:20 had given them a new significance.

Acts 5:29-32. Then Peter and the other apostles — Or, Peter, in the name of the others, who, it seems, were all present; said — He does not give them the titles of honour which he did before; (Acts 4:8;) but enters directly upon the subject, and justifies what he and his brethren had done. This is, as it were, a continuation of that discourse, but with an increase of severity; We ought to obey God rather than men — They do not plead the power they had to work miracles; a power which spoke sufficiently for them, and proved their divine mission; and therefore, they humbly declined mentioning it themselves: but appealed to a maxim universally owned, to which even reason must subscribe, and which was a perfect justification of their conduct; God had commanded them to teach in the name of Christ, and therefore they were in duty bound to do it, though the chief priests forbade them. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus — Of the seed of David, according to the promises made to our fathers; that is, he qualified him for, and called him to, his great undertaking. It seems to refer to the promise made by Moses. See Acts 3:22. Or, he may speak of God’s raising him from the grave. Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree — As if he had been the meanest of slaves, and the vilest of malefactors. You put him to death in the most infamous manner; but God has restored him to life; so that God and you are manifestly contesting about this Jesus, and which must we side with? Him — This very person, notwithstanding all the outrage with which you treated him; hath God exalted with his right hand — By his almighty power, from the grave to heaven; or, to his right hand. You loaded him with disgrace; but God has crowned him with honour; and ought not we to honour him whom God honours? A Prince and a Saviour — To his people, whom he both governs and delivers, and therefore we ought to preach in his name, and make known the laws of his kingdom, as he is a Prince; and the offers of his grace, as he is a Saviour. Observe, reader, we cannot have Christ to be our Saviour, unless we be willing to take him for our Ruler. We cannot be redeemed and healed by him, unless we give up ourselves to be governed by him. His saving us is in order to his ruling us. To give repentance to Israel — To give the people of Israel place or room for repentance, notwithstanding their aggravated guilt; and to declare unto them the terms of peace and reconciliation: or, to call them to repentance by the gospel, and give them grace to enable them to obey the call; and forgiveness of sins — To all the truly penitent, on whom alone that blessing is bestowed: for there is no remission without repentance; none are freed from the guilt and punishment of sin, but those who are freed from the power and dominion of it; that are turned from it to God. And on the other hand, wherever repentance takes place, accompanied with fruits worthy of repentance, and faith in Christ, and in the promises of God through him, remission is granted without fail. Some infer from hence, that repentance and faith are as mere gifts of God, as remission of sins. Not so: for man co-operates in the former, but not in the latter. God alone forgives sins. And we are his witnesses of these things — How incredible soever they may appear to you, and are appointed by him to publish them to the world: and if we should be silent, as you would have us to be, we should be false to, and betray, a trust of the greatest possible importance; and so is also the Holy Ghost — A much greater witness, a witness from heaven; whom God hath given — In his gifts, as well as graces, as has been abundantly manifested of late, in the presence of thousands; to them that obey him — That obey his gospel, and submit themselves to his government. “The testimony arising from this miraculous communication of the Spirit to Christians at that time, entirely removes the objection from Christ’s not appearing in public after his resurrection: for had there been any imposture, it had been easier of the two to have persuaded people at a distance, that he had so appeared to the Jewish rulers, or even to the multitude, and yet had been rejected, than that he had given his servants such extraordinary powers; since, had this assertion been false, every one might have been a witness to the falsehood of such a pretence, without the trouble and expense of a journey to Jerusalem, or any other distant place.” — Doddridge.5:26-33 Many will do an evil thing with daring, yet cannot bear to hear of it afterward, or to have it charged upon them. We cannot expect to be redeemed and healed by Christ, unless we give up ourselves to be ruled by him. Faith takes the Saviour in all his offices, who came, not to save us in our sins, but to save us from our sins. Had Christ been exalted to give dominion to Israel, the chief priests would have welcomed him. But repentance and remission of sins are blessings they neither valued nor saw their need of; therefore they, by no means, admitted his doctrine. Wherever repentance is wrought, remission is granted without fail. None are freed from the guilt and punishment of sin, but those who are freed from the power and dominion of sin; who are turned from it, and turned against it. Christ gives repentance, by his Spirit working with the word, to awaken the conscience, to work sorrow for sin, and an effectual change in the heart and life. The giving of the Holy Ghost, is plain evidence that it is the will of God that Christ should be obeyed. And He will surely destroy those who will not have Him to reign over them.We ought to obey ... - See the notes on Acts 4:19. 29, 30. Then Peter, &c.—(See on [1954]Ac 2:22, and [1955]Ac 3:13, &c.). This they all agree in, and it is the common sense of all considering men; as Socrates in his apology told the Athenians, I embrace and love you, O Athenians, and yet I will obey God rather than you. This the apostles had formerly asserted, Acts 4:19. Then Peter, and the other apostles, answered and said,.... Peter began, as the mouth of the apostles, being the eldest man, and very bold and zealous; and the rest followed, or joined, with him in what he said:

we ought to obey God rather than men; this is said in answer to the charge of disobedience to the orders and commands of the council: men, civil magistrates, and ecclesiastical rulers, are to be obeyed in things which are not repugnant to the will of God; but in things that are, God is to be obeyed, and not men. God had commanded by an angel, that the apostles should go to the temple, and there preach the doctrines of the Gospel; the sanhedrim had forbid them to speak and teach in the name of Christ; who were now to be obeyed? God, and not men: from whence it appears that the apostles were to be justified in disregarding the council, and neglecting its orders; and which is no ways contrary to that obedience and submission, that is to be yielded to those that are in authority, in things civil and lawful.

{10} Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

(10) We should obey man only in so far that in obeying him we also obey God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 5:29. Καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι] and (generally) the apostles. For Peter spoke in the name of all; hence also the singular ἀποκριθ., see Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 111 [E. T. 127].

πειθαρχεῖν κ.τ.λ.] “Ubi enim jussa Domini et servi concurrunt, oportet illa prius exsequi.” Maimon. Hilchoth Melach. iii. 9. Comp. on Acts 4:19. The principle is here still more decidedly expressed than in Acts 4:19, and in all its generality.Acts 5:29. St. Peter as the spokesman, primus inter pares; the Apostles as a body are associated with him in his answer: “but Peter and the Apostles,” R.V. A.V. renders “Peter and the other Apostles,” and we may understand an ellipse of ἄλλοι or λοιποί before οἱ ἀπόστολοι, Blass, Grammatik des N. G., p. 286.—ἀποκ., cf. Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 112 (1896).—πειθαρχεῖν: only used by St. Luke and St. Paul; cf. Acts 5:32, Acts 27:21, Titus 3:1; in this chapter and in St. Paul, in its classical use, obeying one in authority, or τοῖς νόμοις, etc. The word is used in Polybius, and Josephus, and frequently in Philo, but only three times in the LXX; cf. 1Es 8:94, of obeying the law of the Lord. The reply of St. Peter, who speaks for all the Apostles, is practically the same as in Acts 4:19, but still more decisive in its tone as was natural after the recent command, Acts 5:20.29. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said] The Greek has no word for other. It is quite like the style of the New Testament to say “Peter and the apostles,” and it is not implied hereby that Peter was excluded from the number of the Apostles, but, as he probably was the chief speaker, his name is singled out for prominence in the narrative (see note on Acts 4:6). Here again we have evidence that St Luke has made no attempt to do more than produce for us the substance of such speeches as he notices.

We ought to obey God rather than men] Better, We must, &c. In substance, though not in words, this is the argument used by Peter and John (Acts 4:19), though here more stress is laid upon the impossibility of doing otherwise than as they had begun.Acts 5:29. Πετρος, Peter) Although Peter had already more than the others felt the hatred of the world, yet he does not put away from himself the task of speaking and acting. He also does not now use the title in addressing them, as in ch. Acts 4:8; nay, this is as it were the continuation of his speech on that occasion, accompanied with increasing severity.—Θεῷ, God) who by the angel ordered him to speak: Acts 5:20.—ἀνθρώποις, men) viz. you who order us to be silent.Verse 29. - But for then, A.V.; the apostles for the other apostles, A.V.; must for ought to, A.V. Peter is the spokesman, the sentiment is that of the united apostolate. Must obey God, etc. The rule is a golden one for all men, all circumstances, and all time (comp. Acts 4:19). Peter does not deny having received the prohibition, but pleads the superior force of the command of God, as set forth in the following verses. We ought (δεῖ)

Stronger, we must.

To obey (πειθαρχεῖν)

Not often used in the New Testament to express obedience, the most common word being ὑπακούω. Sometimes πείθω is used. But this word, in itself, is the only one of the several in use which expresses the conception of obedience exclusively. Ὑπακούνειν is to obey as the result of listening to another: πείθεσθαι is to obey as the result of persuasion. This is the special term for the obedience which one owes to authority (ἀρχή): It occurs four times in the New Testament: Acts 5:29, Acts 5:32; Acts 27:21; Titus 3:1; and in every case, of obedience to established authority, either of God or of magistrates. In Acts 27:21, where it is used of the ship's officers hearkening to Paul's admonition not to loose from Crete, Paul speaks of his admonition as divinely inspired; compare Acts 27:10. In Acts 4:19, Peter and John say hearken (ἀκούειν). That is a mere listening to or considering the proposition made to them. This is a deliberate course of action.

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