Acts 2:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 2:23, NIV: This man was handed over to you by God's deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

Acts 2:23, ESV: this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Acts 2:23, KJV: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Acts 2:23, NASB: this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

Acts 2:23, NLT: But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.

Acts 2:23, CSB: Though he was delivered up according to God's determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail him to a cross and kill him.

What does Acts 2:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter is talking to a group of Jews who have traveled from all over the Roman Empire and the Middle East to come to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost (Acts 2:9–11). It's unlikely that many of these men were present fifty days prior, during the Passover, when Jesus was crucified. And Peter's words may be directed at the few locals present. But Peter still lays Jesus' death at all their feet.

God's relationship with Israel was unique. To a large extent, it was corporate—God blessed or punished the people for obedience or rebellion that was prevalent across the entire nation. Eternal salvation was individual and required individual faith (Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 11:1–2). But God often held all Jews responsible for what was done under the authority of the leadership, and the crucifixion of Jesus certainly applies (John 19:12–16). Jewish leaders and a Jewish mob delivered Jesus to be crucified by Romans: "lawless men." The ruling council of Jews had no legal reason to execute Jesus under the Mosaic law so they manipulated those outside the Mosaic law to murder Him.

God exists outside of time. When Adam and Eve sinned, He didn't have to spontaneously come up with a plan to save the human race. He always knew Adam and Eve would sin, and He always planned for Jesus to die for us (1 Peter 1:20–21). The first inkling we have is in Genesis 3:15, right after Adam and Eve sinned. But there are many more places in Scripture where God gave His people hints of what would happen (Matthew 26:56; 27:9; Mark 14:49; Luke 22:37; 24:44; John 13:18; 15:25; 17:12; 19:36–37).

"Definite" is from the Greek root word horizō, and "plan" is from the Greek root word boule. "Foreknowledge" is from the Greek root word prognōsis. Together, they mean God understood all possible conditions, outcomes, and variables, and decided His purpose would be best met by the act of Jesus' crucifixion.