The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Verse 1. - I made for have I made, A.V.; concerning for of, A.V.; to teach for teach, A.V. The former treatise; literally, the first history, narrative, or discourse. The form of the Greek, τὸν μὲν τρῶτον, shows that the writer had in his mind at the time to contrast the second history, which he was just beginning, and that naturally τὸν δὲ δεύτερον or τοῦτον δὲ τὸν λόγον, ought both grammatically and logically, to have followed. But the mention of "the apostles whom he had chosen" drew him, as it were, into the stem of his history before he was able to describe it. O Theophilus. The omission of the title "most excellent," given to Theophilus in the Gospel (Luke 1:3), is one among other indications that the publication of the Acts followed very closely upon that of the Gospel. Began both to do and to teach Some take the phrase as equivalent to did and taught; others supply the sense and continued until the day, etc.; or, which is the same thing, supply the terminus a quo, making the whole sense equivalent to "all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day," etc.; others again, as Bishop Wordsworth, gather St. Luke's meaning to be that in the Acts he is about to narrate the continuance by our Lord in heaven of the work which he only began on earth. Meyer thinks that, by the insertion of the word "began," the thing said or done "is in a vivid and graphic manner denoted according to its moment of commencement;" so that our Lord is represented as at one time actively beginning to heal, then to teach, then to walk on the sea, and so on. But the words "began" and "until the day" certainly suggest the beginning and the ending of our Lord's ministry, or rather the whole ministry from its beginning to its end, so that the meaning would be "of all that Jesus did and taught from first to last." To do and to teach. So the disciples on the way to Emmaus speak of Jesus as "a Prophet mighty in deed and word" (Luke 24:19). Compare the stress laid upon the works of Christ in Acts 10:38, 39.
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
Verse 2. - Received for taken, A.V.; commandment for commandments, A.V.; after that he had given commandment through the Holy Ghost for after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments, A.V. The commandment or directions given by our Lord to the apostles between the Resurrection and the Ascension are recorded partly in Luke 24:44-49; Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15-18; John 21; and yet more fully in vers. 3-8 of this chapter. Through the Holy Ghost. The sense is certain. Jesus gave his charge to his apostles through the Holy Ghost. It was by the Holy Ghost abiding in him that he spake to the apostles. This is the repeated declaration of Holy Scripture. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38. See also Luke 4:1; Matthew 12:28; Hebrews 9:14; and for the construction, Acts 11:28; Acts 21:4). Received up (ἀνελήφθη); the stone word as is used in the Septuagint of Elijah (2 Kings 2:10, 11). In Luke 24:5 it is carried up. (ἀνεφέρετο)
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
Verse 3. - Proofs for infallible proofs, A.V.; appearing unto them for seen of, A.V.; concerning for pertaining to, A.V. The addition of the words by many proofs makes it necessary to understand the words allowed himself (παρέστησεν ἑαυτόν) in the sense which it bears both in classic and Scriptural Greek, of proved or demon-strafed: "To whom he gave distinct proofs of his being alive after his passion;" the proofs follow - being "seen of them" for forty days at intervals, talking with them, and (ver. 9) "being taken up while they were looking." Doubtless, too, he had in his mind those other proofs which he records in Acts 10:41, and those referred to by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). For this sense of παρίστημι, see Acts 24:13, "to rove:" and Lysias's 'Oration against Eratosthenes' (p. 125), where the almost identical phrase occurs which we have here, Ἀμφότερα ταῦτα πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις παραστήσω, "I will prove both these things by many certain proofs." The A.V. rendering, "infallible proofs," was quite justified. Stephanus says, "De certo et indubitato signo dicitur apud Rhetoricos" ('Thesaurus,' 9216); and the technical meaning of τεκμήριον in Aristotle is a "demonstrative proof," as opposed to a σημεῖον, which leaves room for doubt; and in medical writers, which is important as regards St. Luke, the τεκμήριον is the "infallible symptom." St. Luke, by the use of the word here, undoubtedly meant to express the certainty of the conclusion based on those proofs. Appearing unto them. The Greek ὀπτανόμενος, corresponding to the φανερωθεὶς of the Epistle of Barnabas, cap. 15, only occurs in the New Testament in this place. In the Septuagint of 1 Kings 8:8 it is used of the staves of the ark within the veil, which "were not seen without." The idea intended to be conveyed, both by the use of this verb and by the use of διὰ (by the space of), is that our Lord was not with the apostles always, as he was before the Resurrection, but that he came and again disappeared (St. Chrysostom). They were fleeting appearances spread over forty days. The nearly related substantive, ὀπτασία, means "a vision," and is frequently used by St. Luke 1:22; Luke 24:23; 26:19. It is also found in 2 Corinthians 12:l. Concerning the kingdom of God; a subject which had deeply engaged their thoughts (Luke 19:11), and on which it was most needful that they should now be fully instructed, that they might teach others (Acts 20:25).
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Verse 4. - He charged them not to deport for commanded them that they should not depart, A.V.; to wait for wait, A.V.; said he for saith he, A.V.; from me for of me, A.V. Being assembled, etc. (R.T. on, its μετ'αὐτῶν); more exactly, as he was assembling with them (Field, in 'Otium Norvicense'). Not to depart from Jerusalem. (See Luke 24:49.) It was necessary, according to the prophecy, Micah 4:2; Isaiah 2:3, that the gospel should go forth from Jerusalem. Wait for the promise. (See Luke 24:49.) The promise of the Father formed the subject of our Lord's discourse to the apostles on the last night of his earthly life, as recorded in John 14:16, 17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7-14. He doubtless here refers to that conversation, though not, of course, to the record of it in the Gospel of St. John.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Verse 5. - Indeed for truly, A.V. Ye shall be baptized, etc. (Comp. Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; John 1:33.) St. Peter refers to this saying of the Lord's in his address to the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 11:16), and the record of it here may be an indication that St. Luke derived his information of these early events from Peter. A curious question arises as to the baptism of the apostles themselves. When were they baptized, and by whom? Chrysostom says, "They were baptized by John." But it is evident, from John 3:22; John 4:1, 2, that converts were baptized with Christian, as distinct from John's, baptism in our Lord's lifetime, and hence it may seem probable, especially considering that St. Paul was baptized, that the apostles may have been baptized by Christ (Bishop Wordsworth On John 4:2). If so, the baptism with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was the complement of that baptism, not the substitute for it. "In our case," says Chrysostom, "both (the baptism of water and of the Spirit) take place under one act, but then they were divided."
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Verse 6. - They therefore, when for when they therefore, A.V.; him for of him, A.V.; dost thou for wilt thou, A.V.; restore for restore again, A.V. Dost thou at this time, etc.? It appears from Luke 19:11 and Luke 24:21, as well as from other passages, that the apostles expected the kingdom of Christ to come immediately. It was most natural, therefore, that, after the temporary extinction of this hope by the Crucifixion, it should revive with new force when they saw the Lord alive after his passion. They had doubtless too been thinking over the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit "not many days hence." Restore. (Comp. restitution, Acts 3:21; and see Matthew 17:11.)
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Verse 7. - Times or seasons for the times or the seasons, A.V.; set within his own authority for put in his own power, A.V. It is not for you to know, etc. The time of the end is always spoken of as hidden (so Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32; 1 Thessalonians 5:1, 2; 2 Peter 3:10, etc.). Times or season. Times with reference to duration, seasons with reference to fitness or opportunity. Which the Father. The distinctive use of the word "Father" here agrees with our Lord's saying in Mark 13:32, "Neither the Son, but the Father." Hath set within his own authority (ἐξουσίᾳ). Hath reserved under his own authority ('Speaker's Commentary'); "Has established by means of his own plenitude of power" (Meyer); "Hath put or kept in his own power (A.V., and so Afford). This last seems the best.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Verse 8. - When for after that, A.V.; my witnesses for witnesses unto me, A.V. and T.R.; Samaria for in Samaria, A.V. Ye shall receive power (δύναμιν); a word sped-ally used of the power of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 6:8). "Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit" (Luke 4:14; see too Luke 24:49); "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power" (Acts 10:38); "Through the power of the Holy Ghost" (Romans 15:13); "The demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (1 Corinthians 2:4); "Strengthened with might (δυνάμει) by his Spirit" (Ephesians 3:16); "The powers of the world to come" (Hebrews 6:6). My witnesses. This function of the apostles, to be witnesses of Christ, is one much insisted upon in Scripture. So we read in ver. 22, "Of these must one become ['be ordained,' A.V.] a witness with us of his resurrection." So again in Acts 10:40-42, "God... showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us.... And he commanded us to testify," etc. (see also Vers. 39 and 42 of the same chapter; Acts 13:31; Luke 24:48; Acts 4:33; Acts 13:31; Acts 22:15, 18, 20; Acts 26:16; 1 Peter 5:1; 1 John 1-3, etc.).
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Verse 9. - Said for spoken, A.V.; as they were looking for while they beheld, A.V. They were to be αὐτόπται, eye-witnesses, of the Lord's ascension, arid so it is particularly noted that he was taken as they were looking. He did not disappear from their sight till he reached the cloud which enveloped him.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Verse 10. - Were looking for looked, A.V. ; into for toward, A.V.; went for went up, A.V. Two men. St. Luke describes them according to their appearance. They were really angels. In like manner, in Joshua 5:13 we read, "There stood a man over against him;" and in Genesis 18:2, 16; Genesis 19:10, 12, 16, we read of "the men;" and in Judges 13:6, 8, 10, 11, of "the man of God;" the persons spoken of in all these cases being angels (comp. Daniel 3:25; Daniel 8:15, 16; Daniel 9:21, etc.; Zechariah 1:8, 10; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4). Gabriel, too, means "man of God." In white apparel, typical of perfect holiness, and of the glory which belongs to the inhabitants of heaven (comp. Daniel 10:5, 6; Matthew 17:2; Matthew 28:3; Mark 9:3; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4; Revelation 7:9, 13; Revelation 3:5, 18; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 19:8, etc.).
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Verse 11. - Looking for gazing up, A.V.; this for this same, A.V.; was received for is taken, A.V.; beheld him going for have seen him go, A.V. In like manner; i.e. in a cloud. The description of our Lord's second advent constantly makes mention of clouds. "Behold, he cometh with clouds" (Revelation 1:7). "One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven" (Daniel 7:13; and so Matthew 26:64; Luke 21:27, etc.). We are reminded of the grand imagery of Psalm 104:3, "Who maketh the clouds his chariot, who walketh upon the wings of the wind." It may be remarked that the above is by far the fullest account we have of the ascension of our Lord. St. Luke appears to have learnt some further particulars concerning it in the interval between writing his Gospel (Luke 24:50-52) and writing the Acts. But allusions to the Ascension are frequent (Mark 16:19; John 6:62; John 20:17; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 4:8, 9; Philippians 2:9; Colossians 3:1; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:22, etc.). With reference to Zeller's assertion, that in St. Luke's Gospel the Ascension is represented as taking place on the day of the Resurrection, it may freely be admitted that the narrative in the Gospel does not mark distinctly the interval of time between the different appearances and discourses of our Lord from the day of the Resurrection to that of the Ascension. It seems to group them according to their logical connection rather than according to their chronological sequence, and to be a general account of what Jesus said between the Resurrection and the Ascension. But there is nothing whatever in the text of St. Luke to indicate that what is related in the section Luke 24:44-49 took place at the same time as the things related in the preceding verses. And when we compare with that section what is contained in Acts 1:4, 5, it becomes clear that it did not. Because the words "assembling together with them," in ver. 4, clearly indicate a different occasion from the apparitions on the day of the Resurrection; and as the words in Luke 24:44-49 correspond with those in Acts 1:4, 5, it must have been also on a different occasion that they were spoken. Again, the narrative of St. John, both in the twentieth and the twenty-first chapters, as well as that of Matthew 28:10, 16; Mark 16:7, precludes the possibility of the Ascension having taken place, or having been thought to have taken place, on the day of the Resurrection, or for many days after, so that to force a meaning upon the last chapter of St. Luke's Gospel which it does not necessarily bear, and which places it at variance with St. Luke's own account in the Acts (Acts 1:3; 13:31), and with the Church traditions as preserved by St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. John, is a violent and willful transaction.
Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
Verse 12. - Nigh unto for from, A.V.; journey off for journey, A.V. Olivet, from the Vulgate Olivetum. The particular Greek form Ἐλαιὼν, Elaeon, occurs in the New Testament only here. In Luke 19:29; Luke 21:37, according to the T.R., and that followed in the R.V., it is Ἐλαιῶν, of Olives. But as St. Luke usually has τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν when he speaks of it as "the Mount of Olives" (Luke 19:37; Luke 22:39), and as here he calls it Elaeon, which is its name in Josephus ('Jud. Ant.,' 7:9, 2; see too 20:8, 6), it seems probable that in Luke 19:29; Luke 21:27, we ought to read, with Lachmann and Tischendorf (see Meyer on Luke 19:29), Ἐλαιὼν, Elaeon, Olivet. In the Old Testament, in 2 Samuel 15:30, it is "the ascent of the Olives" (A.V., "the ascent of Mount Olivet"); in Zechariah 14:4, "the Mount of Olives." A sabbath day's journey off; i.e. six, or according to Schleusner, seven and a half, furlongs (or two thousand cubits). Josephus ('Jud. Ant.,' 20:8, 6) calls it "five furlongs," but he only measured to the foot of the hill, whereas St. Luke gives the distance from the spot whence Christ ascended. Bethany itself, according to John 11:18, was fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem.
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Verse 13. - The upper chamber for an upper room, A.V.; where they were abiding for where abode, A.V.; son of James for brother of James, A.V. The upper chamber; perhaps the same room where they had eaten the Passover with Christ (Luke 22:12); but this is very uncertain, though affirmed by Epiphanius, and by Nicephorus, who further relates that the very house in which the upper chamber was built into the back part of the temple which the Empress Helena erected on Mount Sion. The word here is ὑπερῷον, there it is ἀνώγεον. The ὑπερῷον (Hebrew עֲליּהָ, 2 Kings 4:10, 11) was the room immediately under the roof; the ἀνώγεον was synonymous. Where they were abiding. A slight change in the order of the words, as adopted in the text of the R.V., makes Peter and the other apostles the nominative case to the verb "went up," instead of, as in the A.V., to "abode." In regard to the list of the apostles which follows, it may be noticed first, that it is identical with that of Luke 6:14-16, except in the omission of Judas Iscariot and the order in which the apostles are named. The order in Luke seems to have followed that of natural birth and association. The brothers, Peter and Andrew, James and John, are classed together; Philip and Bartholomew, or Nathanael, go together, and so on. But in this list John follows Peter, his close companion in missionary work (Acts 3:1, etc.; Acts 4:12; 8:14); James follows instead of preceding John; and others are classed somewhat differently, for reasons probably analogous, but which we know not. Of the other lists that in Mark 3:16-19 agrees most nearly with that before us. In all, Simon Peter stands first. The Jude of Luke 6:16 (comp. Jude 1:1) and Acts 1:13 is called Thaddaeus in Matthew 10:3 (" Lebbaeus whose surname was Thaddaeus," A.V.) and in Mark 3:18; but no doubt the persons are the same. In all the lists Philip stands fifth. In three Bartholomew is sixth, while in the list in Acts his being named after Thomas makes him seventh. In all the lists James the son of Alphaeus is ninth, and Judas Iscariot the last, except in the Acts, where he is not named, being already dead. The underwritten columns give the four lists in one view: - Matthew 10:2-5
1. Simon Peter
9. James son of Alphaeus
11. Simon the Cananaean
12. Judas Iscariot Mark 3:16-19
1. Simon Peter
9. James son of Alphaeus
11. Simon the Cananaean
12. Judas Iscariot Luke 6:14-16
1. Simon Peter
9. James son of Alphaeus
10. Simon the Zealot
11. Judas, the son, or brother, of James
12. Judas Iscariot Acts 1:13
1. Simon Peter
9. James son of Alphaeus
10. Simon the Zealot
11. Jude, the son, or brother, of James
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Verse 14. - With one accord continued steadfastly for continued with one accord, A.V.; prayer for prayer and supplication, A.V. and T.R. The women. St. Luke, in his Gospel, makes frequent mention of the women who followed our Lord, and generally of things that happened to women (see Luke 23:27, 49, 55; Luke 24:10, 22, etc. See also Luke 7:37, etc.; Luke 8:23; 10:38, 42; etc.). We notice the same tendency in the Acts, here, and in Acts 2:17, 18; Acts 5:14; Acts 9:36; Acts 12:13; Acts 16:14, 16; Acts 17:4, 34; Acts 18:26; Acts 21:9; Acts 24:24; Acts 25:23; etc. Mary the mother of Jesus appears here not as an object of worship, but as humbly joining in the prayers of the Church. And with his brethren. The Lord's brethren are spoken of by name in Matthew 13:55 as "James, and Joses ['Joseph,' R.V.], and Simon, and Judas." So also Mark 6:3 (see too Acts 4:31-35). "James the Lord's brother" is mentioned by St. Paul (Galatians 1:19); "the brethren of the Lord "are mentioned 1 Corinthians 9:5; and again in John 7:3, 5, 10, "the brethren of Jesus" are spoken cf. This is not the place to enter upon the difficult question of their parentage. But it may suffice to say that if James and Judas are the two apostles of that name (which Alford, however, thinks they certainly were not, referring- to John 7:5, compared with John 6:67), then the brethren here spoken of as distinct from the apostles would be Joses and Simon.
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Verse 15. - These for those, A.V.; brethren for disciples, A.V. and T.R.; and there was a multitude of persons gathered together for the number of names together were, A.V.; a for an, A.V. Peter justifies his primacy by taking the lead in the first onward movement of the Church. Names is a common Hebraism for "persons" (see Revelation 3:4; Numbers 1:2). Gathered together; i.e. to one place and at one time (see the same phrase, Acts 2:1, 44). Wordsworth quotes Ignat., 'Ad Magnes' 7, and Clem. Romans 1:4, where the same phrase, ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ, indicative of Church unity occurs.
Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Verse 16. - Brethren, it teas needful that the Scripture should be fulfilled for men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, A.V.; spake before by the mouth of David for by the mouth of David spake before, A.V. It was needful, etc. So our Lord declared, "The Scriptures cannot be broken" (John 10:35); and "All things must be fulfilled which were written" ere. (Luke 24:25-27, 44-46). It is most important to our Christian integrity that we should view the Scriptures in the same light as our Lord and his apostles did, as containing real prophecies, spoken by the Holy Ghost. (Compare the manner in which the sixty-ninth psalm is here quoted with that of Hebrews 3:7.) So the Creed, "I believe in the Holy Ghost .... who spake by the prophets" (comp. Acts 4:25; Acts 28:25). Who was guide, etc. If St. Peter had only been addressing his brother apostles, who were well acquainted with the treachery of Judas, it would scarcely have been natural to introduce these words; they would have seemed rather to be explanatory words added by the historian. But the circumstances might be very imperfectly known to many of the hundred and twenty brethren assembled on this occasion; and if so, the reference to Judas's treachery would not be out of place in St. Peter's mouth.
For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
Verse 17. - Among for with, A.V. ; received his portion in for had obtained part of, A.V. For he was numbered, etc. This is said in order to show that the passage in the Psalms applied strictly to Judas, seeing he had held his portion in the ministry and office of an apostle (see John 6:71). His portion; literally, his lot; i.e. the portion which fell to him by lot. The language is taken from the Old Testament (see e.g. Joshua 18:10, 11; Joshua 19:1, 10, etc.). Those who received such a portion (κλῆρον) were clergy.
Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
Verse 18. - Obtained for purchased, A.V., an unnecessary change; his iniquity for iniquity, A.V. It is obvious that this verso and ver. 19, which are placed in a parenthesis in the R.V., are not part of St. Peter's discourse, but are explanatory words inserted by St. Luke for the instruction of Theophilus and his other readers. Falling headlong; i.e. from the tree or gallows on which he hung himself (see Matthew 27:3-8). The only apparent discrepancies in the accounts of St. Matthew and St. Luke in regard to the purchase of the field, and the name given to it, are that, according to St. Matthew's more detailed account, it was the chief priests who actually purchased the field with Judas's money, whereas St. Luke says, less accurately, that Judas purchased it. Again, St. Matthew explains the name Akel-dama as being given to the field because it was the price of the "innocent blood" of Jesus betrayed by Judas, whereas St. Luke's account rather suggests that it was Judas's own blood shed in his fall which gave the name. But both accounts of the name might be true, some understanding the name in one sense and some in the other. (Compare the different accounts of the name of Beer-sheba in Genesis 21:31 and Genesis 26:32, 33; of the origin of the proverb, "Is Saul among the prophets?" 1 Samuel 10:11, 12 and 1 Sam 20:24; and other similar cases.) Though, however, there is no serious discrepancy between St. Luke and St. Matthew, it is probable, from the variations above named, that St. Luke had not seen St. Matthew's account.
And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
Verse 19. - Became known for was know,, A.V.; that in their language that field was called Akeldama for as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, A.V. and T.R.
For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
Verse 20. - Made desolate for desolate, A.V.; office (as in margin) for bishopric, A.V. The book of Psalms, one of the recognized divisions of the canonical Scriptures, as we find Luke 24:44, "The law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms," the last standing for the Hagiographa, of which it was the first and principal book. Here, however, as in Luke 20:42, it may rather mean the Book of Psalms proper. (For similar quotations from the Psalms, see Acts 13:33-35; Hebrews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, etc.) His office let another take. Bishop being the English transliteration of ἐπίσκοπος, bishopric is, of course, the literal rendering of ἐπισκοπή; if taken in its wider and more general sense, as in the well-known work of Archdeacon Evans? "the bishopric of souls." This same office is called a διακονία (a deaconship), and ἀποστολὴ (an apostleship) in vers. 17 and 25. So St. Paul cells himself διάκονος (a minister) in Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:23, 25, etc. So the presbyters of the Church are called bishops (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Timothy 1:1, 2. etc.). The ecclesiastical names for the different offices in the Church only acquired their distinctive use later, and by the gradual growth of custom. In the Septuagint, ἐπισκοπή answers to the Hebrew פְקֻדָּה, A.V., "oversight" (Numbers 3:32; Numbers 4:16, etc.).
Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Verse 21. - Of the men therefore for wherefore of these men, A.V.; event out for out, A.V.
Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Verse 22. - The day for that same day, A.V.; received for taken, A.V.; of these must one become for must one be ordained to be, A.V. Beginning belongs to the Lord Jesus. He began to go in and out among his apostles from the time that John baptized, and continued to do so till his ascension, the day that he was received up ("taken up" A.V.), as in ver. 11. This definition of the time of our Lord's public ministry exactly agrees with Matthew 4:12-25; Mark 1; Luke 3, 4; John 1:29-51. Must one become a witness, etc. The resurrection of Christ from the dead thus appears to be a cardinal doctrine of the gospel. The whole truth of Christ's mission, the acceptance of his sacrifice, the consequent forgiveness of sins, and all man's hopes of eternal life, turn upon it. All the sermons of the apostles recorded in the Acts and the Epistles also agree with this (see Acts 2, 3, 4; Acts 5:31, 32; Acts 6:56, 59; 10:39-41; 13:30, etc.; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:4; 2 Corinthians 1:9, etc.; 1 Peter 1.3; 3:21,22; Revelation 1:5,etc.). The great care taken to secure competent witnesses is very remarkable. A disciple who had recently joined the company might be mistaken; one who had been the daily companion of Jesus Christ for three years and a half, and knew every gesture and every feature of the Master with perfect certainty, could not be mistaken.
And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
Verse 23. - Put forward for appointed, A.V.; Barsabbas for Barsabas, A.V. and T.R. Joseph called Barsabbas (or Barsabas). Nothing more is really known of him. His work for Christ has no earthly record, except that Papias (Euseb., 'H.E.,' 3:39) says that, having drunk some deadly poison, by the grace of God he sustained no harm. Eusebius elsewhere (Acts 1:12) says that he and Matthias were reported to be of the seventy, which is not improbable. The derivation of the name Barsabas, or Barsabbas, is unknown; it seems to be a patronymic (son of Sabas, or Sabbas), like Bar-Tholomew, Bar-Jonas, Bar-Jesus, etc. But it might also be descriptive of his qualities, like Barnabas, Son of Consolation (Acts 4:36), in which case one would expect it to mean the same as Justus, as in the case of "Thomas called Didymus" (John 20:4; where Thomas and Di-dymus both mean "a twin"); but no Aramean word of this signification is forthcoming. The surname Justus, with its derivatives Justinus and Justinianus, was not an uncommon Roman name. It was also borne by a Jewish historian contemporary with Josephus, Justus of Tiberias, the son of Pistus (see 'Life of Josephus,'§§ 35, 65) and was the surname of James the Less. Matthias not otherwise known, but said by Nicephorus to have preached and suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia. Eusebius ('H. E.,'3:24) mentions spurious Gospels "of Peter, Thomas, Matthias, and others," as quoted by heretics. A work called 'The Traditions of Matthias'is referred to by Clemens Alexandrinus ('Strom.,' 2:163).
And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
Verse 24. - Of these two the one whom for whether of these two, A.V. and T.R.
That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Verse 25. - To take the place in this for that he matt take part of this, A.V. and T.R.; fell away for by transgression fell, A.V. (παρέβη). The use of παραβαίνω in an intransitive sense for "to transgress, fall away from, turn aside from; and the like, is frequent in the LXX. (Exodus 32:8; Deuteronomy 17:20, etc.). To his own place. An awful phrase, showing that every man has the place in eternity which he has made for himself in time. If the reading place, in the beginning of the verse, is adopted instead of the part (κλῆρον) of the A.V., then them is a contrast between the blessed place of apostleship, which Judas forfeited, and that of traitorship, which he acquired.
And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Verse 26. - They gave lots for them for they gave forth their lots, A.V. and T.R. (αὐτοῖς for αὐτῶν); but the T.R. gives the easiest sense. The exact mode of taking the lot does not appear. Some think the name of each candidate was written on a tablet, and that the first name which fell out of the urn after it had been shaken was the one chosen. Some think the lot was taken by dice. But however the taking of the lot was managed, the effect was to leave the choice to God in answer to prayer.