What does Acts 4:9 mean?
ESV: if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed,
NIV: If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed,
NASB: if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,
CSB: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man, by what means he was healed,
NLT: are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed?
KJV: If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
Verse Commentary:
Peter and John are defending themselves before the Sanhedrin. What, exactly, they're defending is a bit confusing. While going to the temple to pray, Peter healed a lame man (Acts 3:1–10). When the other worshipers crowded them, wanting to know where Peter received his ability to heal, Peter and John explained it was by the power of Jesus, who died and rose again (Acts 3:11–26). The priests and Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, arrested them, "greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead" (Acts 4:2). But their question is, "By what power or by what name did you do this?" (Acts 4:7).

Peter starts out almost innocently. Were they really arrested for this good deed? That a huge crowd saw? The same crowd that saw the temple guard take them away? Peter's comment hits its mark, and eventually the Sanhedrin will let them go: "When they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened" (Acts 4:21). Still, Peter is more than willing to be witness to Jesus' resurrection to the Sanhedrin. And, eventually, some will listen (Acts 6:7).

Later, when the Sanhedrin arrests all the apostles, Luke will reveal the council's real problem with the Jesus-followers. Peter and John weren't preaching the destruction of the temple, like people claimed of Jesus (Mark 14:57–59) and Stephen (Acts 6:12–14). They weren't healing on the Sabbath, like the Pharisees often criticized Jesus for (Mark 3:1–4; Luke 13:10–17; 14:1–6). And it wasn't illegal to teach the resurrection; the Pharisees believed in the resurrection. Rather, the chief priests and Sadducees were jealous (Acts 5:17). Jerusalem was their town, and they didn't want to share. When someone believes this life is all they have, it's disturbing what they'll do to protect it.
Verse Context:
Acts 4:5–12 covers Peter and John's defense before the Sanhedrin—the ruling Jewish council. The priests and other Sadducees have arrested Peter and John because after they healed a lame man, they taught a crowd that Jesus rose from the dead (Acts 3). The Sadducees don't believe resurrection is possible and really don't want to hear that a dissident they had killed has come back to life. They ask how Peter got the power to heal the man. Peter tells them, not only is Jesus alive, He's the Messiah of the Jews and the only path to salvation.
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 4/18/2024 8:33:25 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.