Acts 3:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 3:3, NIV: When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.

Acts 3:3, ESV: Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.

Acts 3:3, KJV: Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

Acts 3:3, NASB: When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple grounds, he began asking to receive a charitable gift.

Acts 3:3, NLT: When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

Acts 3:3, CSB: When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked for money.

What does Acts 3:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Giving alms is a significant part of Judaism for those who have the money to give. "Alms" is from a Greek word that implies pity or mercy. Jesus said, "Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you" (Matthew 5:42). Throughout Paul's ministry, he encouraged the churches outside of Judea to give support to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 11:28–30; 1 Corinthians 16:1–3). The Psalms say that the righteous give to the poor (Psalm 112:9) and are blessed in return (Psalm 41:1). One of the ways the centurion Cornelius showed he was a faithful follower of God was by giving alms (Acts 10:1–2).

Of course, the culture around giving alms can be abused. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for performing religious rites for show and used the example of giving alms as something that should be done from the heart (Luke 11:37–41). When Mary of Bethany spent a great deal of money on the perfume she used to anoint Jesus, Judas Iscariot complained, saying the perfume could have been sold and the money used for alms. He didn't want to give alms with it; he wanted the money for himself (John 12:1–6).

Scripture encourages a giving spirit as well as discernment. There are many ways to give to the poor including directly, through a food bank, or through a rescue mission. Christians ought to pray for guidance when faced with someone asking for mercy.