New American Standard Bible
But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;
King James Bible
But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
Darby Bible Translation
But Peter and John answering said to them, If it be righteous before God to listen to you rather than to God, judge ye;
World English Bible
But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves,
Young's Literal Translation
and Peter and John answering unto them said, 'Whether it is righteous before God to hearken to you rather than to God, judge ye;
Acts 4:19 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Whether it be right ... - The apostles abated nothing of their boldness when threatened. They openly appealed to their judges whether their command could be right. And in doing this, they expressed their full conviction of the truth of what they had said, and their deliberate purpose not to regard their command, but still to proclaim to the people the truth that Jesus was the Messiah.
In the sight of God - That is, whether God will judge this to be right. The grand question was how God would regard it. If he disapproved it, it was wrong. It was not merely a question pertaining to their reputation, safety, or life; it was a question of conscience before God. We have here a striking instance of the principle on which Christians act. It is, to lay their safety, reputation, and life out of view, and bring everything to the test whether it will please God. If it will, it is right; if it will not, it is wrong.
Judge ye - This was an appeal to them directly as judges and as men. And it may be presumed that it was an appeal which they could not resist. The Sanhedrin acknowledged itself to have been appointed by God, and to have no authority which was not derived from his appointment. Of course, God could modify, supersede, or repeal their authority; and the abstract principle that it was better to obey God than man they could not call in question. The only inquiry was whether they had evidence that God had issued any command in the case. Of that the apostles were satisfied, and that the rulers could not deny. It may be remarked that this is one of the first and most bold appeals on record in favor of the right of private judgment and the liberty of conscience. That liberty was supposed in all the Jewish religion. It was admitted that the authority of God in all matters was superior to that of man. And the same spirit manifested itself thus early in the Christian church against all dominion over the conscience, and in favor of the right to follow the dictates of the conscience and the will of God. As a mere historical fact, therefore, it is interesting to contemplate this, and still more interesting in its important bearings on human liberty and human happiness. The doctrine is still more explicitly stated in Acts 5:29, "We ought to obey God rather than man."
LibraryWith and Like Christ
'Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.' --ACTS iv. 13. Two young Galilean fishermen, before the same formidable tribunal which a few weeks before had condemned their Master, might well have quailed. And evidently 'Annas, the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest,' were very much astonished …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts
The First Blast of Tempest
"And all that Believed were Together. " Acts 4:44.
Ananias and Sapphira
Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and to all the people, saying, "The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard.
And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat it."
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's blood upon us."
But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.
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