Acts 5:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 5:21, NIV: At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin--the full assembly of the elders of Israel--and sent to the jail for the apostles.

Acts 5:21, ESV: And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

Acts 5:21, KJV: And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

Acts 5:21, NASB: Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple area about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, that is, all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison for them to be brought.

Acts 5:21, NLT: So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching. When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council--the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial.

Acts 5:21, CSB: Hearing this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. When the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin--the full council of the Israelites--and sent orders to the jail to have them brought.

What does Acts 5:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Sanhedrin, the religious court of the Jews, arrested Peter and John and ordered them not to speak in Jesus' name. Peter and John respectfully told them they were going to do what God told them to do. When they returned to their friends, the group prayed for boldness and courage, and the Holy Spirit responded, shaking the ground with His approval (Acts 4:1–31).

The apostles continued their ministry in the temple courtyard, and the priests put them all in jail (Acts 5:17–18). This next morning, the priests gather with the rest of the Sanhedrin—the elders and scribes from both the Sadducees and Pharisees—to try the apostles for breaking their direct order. Except, the defendants aren't there. In the night, God sent an angel to release them and tell them to continue their work (Acts 5:19–20).

Jesus prepared the apostles for this civil disobedience. He taught them not to fear those who threaten to kill their bodies but to respect the God who can send their souls to hell (Luke 12:4–5). Before they received the Holy Spirit, they couldn't do this. They scattered at Jesus' arrest (Mark 14:50), Peter denied knowing Him (Mark 14:66–72), and even after Jesus rose from the dead they hid from the Jewish leaders in a locked room (John 20:19). Now that they have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they are emboldened to defy human rulers in the service of God.