Acts 5:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 5:1, NIV: Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.

Acts 5:1, ESV: But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,

Acts 5:1, KJV: But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

Acts 5:1, NASB: But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,

Acts 5:1, NLT: But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property.

Acts 5:1, CSB: But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property.

What does Acts 5:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The church has grown to over five thousand members, many of them still in Jerusalem (Acts 4:4). The first members are from Galilee (Acts 1:13–15) and the second, larger batch are from as far away as Rome, Alexandria, and Mesopotamia (Acts 2:9–11). Many didn't expect to stay long in Jerusalem; those who live there share their possessions and even sell land and homes to support those who are struggling (Acts 2:44–45; 4:32–37).

The Bible doesn't give specifics about Ananias and Sapphira. This is not the Ananias who helps Saul repent and find forgiveness in Jesus (Acts 9:10–19). Nor is it the high priest Annas (Acts 4:6) or the high priest Ananias (Acts 23:2) or the paralytic Aeneas (Acts 9:32–33). We just are only told that Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold some land and appear to be active members of the church. Their motivation for doing so, however, proves their motives are at least partially insincere.

"Property" doesn't necessarily mean land. The Greek means anything that can be possessed, such as houses and furniture. However, Peter later identifies the property as land (Acts 5:3). The account of Ananias and Sapphira comes right after a short comment about Barnabas, another church member who sold land and gave the proceeds to the apostles (Acts 4:36–37). But while Ananias and Sapphira's story ends here, Barnabas the encourager becomes an essential part of the spread of the gospel. He acts as a liaison between the church in Jerusalem and Saul, the convert who had persecuted the Jesus-followers (Acts 9:26–30), and he invites Saul into ministry in Syrian Antioch (Acts 11:25–26). Barnabas is generous not just with his money but with his heart, something Ananias and Sapphira lack.