Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.…
"They continued steadfastly." The word seems to imply a double action; first, that of stretching out the hand to grasp firmly; and having done this, to adhere strongly to the object in our possession. They were perseveringly devoted to —
1. The apostles' doctrine; the great, deep, broad fundamental truths and principles upon which the whole catholic faith is founded, and according to which the lives of the members of the Church must be regulated and conformed. Before we proceed to teach a truth, before we even profess to embody a truth in life and conduct, we should have a clear conception of the same. And before we ask others to frame their life and conduct according to these principles, we must see that upon them and according to them we frame and fashion our own. A profession without practice will never tend to the conversion of others, it can only bring ridicule and contempt upon ourselves.
2. The apostles' fellowship. Besides the community of principle, there was a community of life. Nothing tends to give principles so much force as seeing and feeling them embodied, not merely in the lives of isolated individuals, but in the life of a society. The power of a small united body of men is many times greater than that of each separate unit multiplied by the whole number. Let us remember that the wisdom and teaching of the Church is more perfect than that of any individual within it. Let us cultivate a spirit of watchful obedience; and let us be careful to check in ourselves or in others a spirit of self-wisdom, which, could we only regard it in its true light, would be seen to be little more than the spirit of selfishness.
3. The breaking of the bread. They were careful to be regular communicants. The most familiar name of that sacred service reminds us that it is meant to be a bond of union; those who neglect to partake thereof are, by absenting themselves from it, guilty of encouraging divisions in the Church. In the Holy Communion God calls us to rejoice with Him over the celebration of the closest union between the Divine and the human. It is the spirit of selfishness which causes us to disobey that call. But the Holy Communion is more than the chief bond of unity in the Church. It is in worthily partaking of the blessings offered there that the Christian soldier receives his chief support; there he gains the strength he needs in the day of battle; there he re-equips himself for active service.
4. The prayers. As they had a common creed and a common life, as they joined together in the participation of the Holy Communion, so they took part in a form of common prayer. The principal feature of the prayer-book upon which! Would now dwell is this — it teaches regular, systematic, common and public prayer. Nothing ministers more surely to the unity of faith and the unity of life than the unity of worship. That we think the same thing, that we aspire towards the same ideal, that we ask the same blessing, the prayer-book is ever reminding us.
(W. E. Chadwick, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.