Acts 4:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 4:2, NIV: They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

Acts 4:2, ESV: greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 4:2, KJV: Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 4:2, NASB: being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 4:2, NLT: These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead.

Acts 4:2, CSB: because they were annoyed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

What does Acts 4:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Like modern Christianity, Judaism has and had different sects with very different beliefs. The Pharisees were legalistic—so legalistic that they added details to the Law God gave Moses. They also hated that Rome ruled Israel and they believed in the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees took the Mosaic law as the Scriptures present it. They didn't mind the Romans; the occupation gave them an opportunity to make money. And they absolutely rejected the concept of resurrection from the dead.

The Pharisees lived throughout Judea and Galilee. The Sadducees stayed closer to Jerusalem. Most, if not all, of the priests were Sadducees and most of the Sanhedrin, made up of priests, scribes, and elders, were as well. So when Peter and John teach that Jesus rose from the dead, the Sanhedrin takes notice.

God made many promises to Israel that, at the time described in this passage, were not yet fulfilled. Some await fulfillment still today. We understand now that Israel will not see their promised peace, prosperity, and honor until the millennial kingdom when Jesus returns to earth to rule the Jews directly. At this point in Acts, neither the Sadducees nor the Pharisees realized that their Messiah had come and returned to heaven (Acts 1:9). Jesus, the Messiah, came first to provide spiritual salvation—peace with God through forgiveness of sins made possible by Jesus' work on the cross and His resurrection. Jesus will return to bring the physical promises of peace made to Israel. The Pharisees' belief in the resurrection allows that they may come back to experience the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel. The Sadducees believe these promises will come to fruition for Israel at a particular time, but if they as individuals are not alive at this time, they won't experience it. This may be why they valued money, prestige, and power so much—they believed this life is all they will ever get.

Paul will deal with this belief in Corinth, as the Greeks didn't believe in the resurrection, either. After he had taught for some time in Corinth and gone on in his missionary journey, false teachers convinced the believers there that Jesus couldn't have risen from the dead because the resurrection of the dead is impossible. Paul wrote to them, pointing out that without Jesus' resurrection, how could they be saved? And without their own resurrection, what was the point of their faith? Being a Christian certainly helps us in our everyday, earthly lives. But the point of reconciling with God is getting to be with Him. We can't do that if, at death, we cease to exist (1 Corinthians 15:12–19).