Acts 5:34 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 5:34, NIV: But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.

Acts 5:34, ESV: But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while.

Acts 5:34, KJV: Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;

Acts 5:34, NASB: But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time.

Acts 5:34, NLT: But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while.

Acts 5:34, CSB: But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while.

What does Acts 5:34 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, is usually described as containing three different classes, from two different sects. The chief priests and elders were generally Sadducees. The scribes were Sadducees or Pharisees.

Sadducees were already predisposed against the apostles, because followers of Christ teach that God raised Jesus from the dead. The Sadducees did not believe resurrection from the dead was possible: they held to the ancient equivalent of annihilationism. In their view, if and when God restores and blesses Israel, only those alive at the time will reap the rewards. Until then, Sadducees were happy to make the best life they could, accumulating influence and money in the present.

The Pharisees, however, believed in the resurrection from the dead. Although Pharisees were a minority in the Sanhedrin, one of the most respected scribes in Israel of any sect was the Pharisee Gamaliel. In fact, one commentary on the Talmud says, "When Rabban Gamaliel the elder died, the glory of the law ceased and purity and abstinence died." When Paul gives his defense and wants to emphasize the depth of his Jewish knowledge, he mentions he studied under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).

Thus it is that Gamaliel can afford to be a little calmer and more objective about the situation, despite Peter's wild claims that Jesus is the Leader and Savior of the Jews and sits at God's right hand (Acts 5:31). Even so, extra-biblical writings affirm that Gamaliel believed Christians were apostates and should perish. He's not remotely friendly to Christians, but he is more measured in his approach.