What does Acts 4:18 mean?
ESV: So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
NIV: Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
NASB: And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
CSB: So they called for them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
NLT: So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
KJV: And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
NKJV: So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Verse Commentary:
Peter and John have broken no laws, either religious or civil. While Jesus and Stephen are, wrongly, charged with disrespecting the temple (Mark 14:57–58; Acts 6:13–14), the guards arrested Peter and John after the two went to the temple for afternoon prayers (Acts 3:1; 4:1–2). But Peter and John teach that Jesus rose from the dead. Not only do most of the members of the Sanhedrin reject the possibility of resurrection, the message of resurrection has accumulated a large following that drive the council mad with jealousy (Acts 5:17).

The Sanhedrin can't refute the resurrection of Jesus because they had no proof (Matthew 28:11–15). They aren't seeking truth, they're seeking to maintain their authority with the people. It isn't a crime to teach the resurrection—the Pharisees do it. It would be a crime to disobey the Jewish supreme court. So they give Peter and John a direct order to stop teaching in Jesus' authority. When they and the other apostles ignore the order, the Sanhedrin has grounds to not only arrest them but to beat them (Acts 5:17–42).

Jesus warned the apostles this would happen. He told them that if they—the unbelievers of the fallen world—persecute Him, they will also persecute His followers (John 15:18–20). He explained, "But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me" (John 15:21). The Sanhedrin is made up of chief priests, elder-judges of the community, and experts in the Mosaic law. Their job is to enforce the Law that God gave Moses. And yet, Jesus says, they don't even know God.

The apostles, on the other hand, know God. They know Jesus. And they have the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–4). And they cannot stop teaching what they know. Their obedience to Christ is worth more to them than their position, their nation, or their lives.
Verse Context:
Acts 4:13–22 covers the reaction of the Sanhedrin to Peter's convicting assertion: that he and John healed a lame man by the power of Jesus' name. The Sanhedrin is frustrated to learn the followers of Jesus—the man they had killed—are in Jerusalem, healing and preaching and gathering more followers. The Sanhedrin wants them out of the way before they grow too popular. So they start slowly by forbidding Peter and John to teach about Jesus. It's an apparent win-win: either these uneducated commoners will stop telling everyone about Jesus or they will disobey a direct order and be vulnerable to greater punishment.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 4 continues the story started in Acts 3. Peter and John have healed a man born lame and preached that Jesus has risen from the dead. The Sanhedrin orders their arrest for teaching the resurrection. The Jewish officials warn Peter and John to stop speaking in Jesus' name. Peter and John refuse, but, since they have committed no crime, the Sanhedrin releases them. Peter and John return to their friends, and the Jesus-followers pray for boldness in the face of growing persecution. The church continues to grow, sharing all their possessions so that no one is in need.
Chapter Context:
Acts 4 gives the first hints of the persecution the church will face throughout its history. Peter and John attract attention when Peter heals a well-known lame beggar, and Peter uses the publicity to tell others about Christ. The Sanhedrin cannot allow the apostles to continue teaching Jesus rose from the dead. They arrest, warn, and free Peter and John, but it's just the beginning. Soon, they will arrest and beat all the apostles (Acts 5:17–42). Then a mob will stone Stephen (Acts 7:54–60). And Saul will persecute Jesus-followers in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1–3) and beyond (Acts 9:1–2). The Sanhedrin fails to realize—if you send Jesus-followers fleeing into the world, they will take Jesus' message with 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.
Accessed 5/24/2024 9:29:54 PM
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