What does Acts 3:3 mean?
ESV: Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.
NIV: When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.
NASB: When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple grounds, he began asking to receive a charitable gift.
CSB: When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked for money.
NLT: When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
KJV: Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
NKJV: who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Acts 3:1–10 illustrates one of the ''wonders and signs'' the apostles performed after receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:43). The setting is completely mundane. As Jews, Peter and John go to the temple to pray and find a lame beggar they wish to help. As specially-empowered followers of Jesus, healing the man comes second nature. The act validates Peter's status as witness to Jesus (Acts 1:8), and he is ready with an explanation that ties the event to Jesus' call to repentance (Acts 3:11–26). This miracle, however, catches the attention of the Sanhedrin and starts the long road of church persecution (Acts 4).
Chapter Summary:
Acts 3 is comprised of two sections: the healing of a lame man and the explanation of that healing. First, a man who has been lame his whole life approaches Peter and John to beg from them at the temple. When Peter heals him in Jesus' name, a crowd gathers around. Peter gives witness to Jesus (Acts 1:8) and tells the crowd that Jesus' authority and power healed this man. Looking back as modern readers, we see how, as the man's body symbolically ''repented,'' or turned away, from its broken form into freedom of movement, so the people can repent from their broken thoughts, actions, and beliefs, and find freedom from sin.
Chapter Context:
Acts 3 contains the second major speech of Jesus' followers. In Acts 1, Jesus ascended into heaven. In Acts 2, His followers received the Holy Spirit and gave such witness to Him that three thousand people believed in Him. Here, Peter explains that Jesus' power and authority have healed a lame man, and Jesus can heal sinful hearts, as well. This moment will bring the fledgling church to the attention of the Sanhedrin: the Jewish ruling court. There, Peter and John will set the example for all Jesus-followers. Jesus told them to be His witness (Acts 1:8); nothing a human authority can say will stop them.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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