Acts 5:4
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."

King James Bible
Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Darby Bible Translation
While it remained did it not remain to thee? and sold, was it not in thine own power? Why is it that thou hast purposed this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied to men, but to God.

World English Bible
While you kept it, didn't it remain your own? After it was sold, wasn't it in your power? How is it that you have conceived this thing in your heart? You haven't lied to men, but to God."

Young's Literal Translation
while it remained, did it not remain thine? and having been sold, in thy authority was it not? why is it that thou didst put in thy heart this thing? thou didst not lie to men, but to God;'

Acts 5:4 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Whiles it remained - As long as it remained unsold. This place proves that there was no "obligation" imposed on the disciples to sell their property. They who did it, did it voluntarily; and it does not appear that it was done by all, or expected to be done by all.

And after it was sold ... - Even after the property was sold, and Ananias had the money, still there was no obligation on him to devote it in this way. He had the disposal of it still. The apostle mentions this to show him that his offence was especially aggravated. He was not "compelled" to sell his property - he had not even the poor pretence that he was "obliged" to dispose of it, and was "tempted" to withhold it for his own use. It was "all" his, and might have been retained if he had chosen.

Thou hast not lied unto men - Unto people "only," or, it is not your "main" and "chief" offence that you have attempted to deceive people. It is true that Ananias "had" attempted to deceive the apostles, and it is true, also, that this was a crime; but still, the principal magnitude of the offence was that he had attempted to deceive "God." So small was his crime as committed against "men" that it was lost sight of by the apostles, and the great, crowning sin of attempting to deceive "God" was brought fully into view. Thus, David also saw his sin as committed against "God" to be so enormous that he lost sight of it as an offence to man, and said, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight," Psalm 51:4.

But unto God - It has been "particularly" and "eminently" against God. This is true, because:

(1) He had professedly "devoted" it to God. The act, therefore, had express and direct reference to him.

(2) it was an attempt to deceive him. It implied the belief of Ananias that God would not detect the crime, or see the motives of the heart.

(3) it is the prerogative of God to judge of sincerity and hypocrisy; and this was a case, therefore, which came under his special notice. Compare Psalm 139:1-4. The word "God" here is evidently used in its plain and obvious sense as denoting the "supreme divinity," and the use of the word here shows that the Holy Spirit is "divine." The whole passage demonstrates, therefore, one of the important doctrines of the Christian religion, that the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son, and yet is divine.

Acts 5:4 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Whom to Obey, --Annas or Angel?
'Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 18. And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 19. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20. Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 21. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

On Zeal
"It is good to be always zealously affected in a good thing." Gal. 4:18. 1. There are few subjects in the whole compass of religion, that are of greater importance than this. For without zeal it is impossible, either to make any considerable progress in religion ourselves, or to do any considerable service to our neighbour, whether in temporal or spiritual things. And yet nothing has done more disservice to religion, or more mischief to mankind, than a sort of zeal which has for several ages prevailed,
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Whether Human Law Binds a Man in Conscience?
Objection 1: It would seem that human law does not bind man in conscience. For an inferior power has no jurisdiction in a court of higher power. But the power of man, which frames human law, is beneath the Divine power. Therefore human law cannot impose its precept in a Divine court, such as is the court of conscience. Objection 2: Further, the judgment of conscience depends chiefly on the commandments of God. But sometimes God's commandments are made void by human laws, according to Mat. 15:6: "You
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Devil is Directly the Cause of Man's Sinning?
Objection 1: It would seem that the devil is directly the cause of man's sinning. For sin consists directly in an act of the appetite. Now Augustine says (De Trin. iv, 12) that "the devil inspires his friends with evil desires"; and Bede, commenting on Acts 5:3, says that the devil "draws the mind to evil desires"; and Isidore says (De Summo Bono ii, 41; iii, 5) that the devil "fills men's hearts with secret lusts." Therefore the devil is directly the cause of sin. Objection 2: Further, Jerome says
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 5:5
It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.

Acts 5:3
But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?

Acts 5:9
Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well."

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