What does Acts 5:3 mean?
ESV: But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
NIV: Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
NASB: But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the proceeds of the land?
CSB: "Ananias," Peter asked, "why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land?
NLT: Then Peter said, 'Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.
KJV: But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Verse Commentary:
Ananias—not the man who Saul met with after His encounter with Jesus (Acts 9:10–19)—has presented some of the proceeds from the sale of a piece of land to the apostles for the care of the church members. Unfortunately, he seems to have vowed to God that he would donate all the money and has decided to bring only part of it (Acts 5:1–2). He is within his rights to give as much as he decides, but he had already decided to give it all. By going back on his word, and much more so by lying about it to the congregation, he "kept back" or embezzled part of donation. He took that which rightfully belonged to God.

The fact that Satan has filled Ananias' heart is often interpreted to mean he does not have saving faith. Jesus said the church would be infiltrated by those who were not truly Christians, and who would do damage to believers in the church (Matthew 13:24–30). Because it is so early in the history of the church, God takes care of these "weeds" immediately. In general, though, Jesus says "weeds" will remain undisturbed until the time of judgment.

It is also possible that Ananias and Sapphira are believers. In that case, this might be an extreme example of 1 John 5:16 in action. When a believer is in unrepentant sin to the point it hurts others and the reputation of the church, God may choose to take that believer "early," from a human perspective.

Ananias' belief that he could lie to God is ridiculous. In Psalm 139:1–16, David goes into great detail about how God knows everything about him. God knows Ananias' actions, thoughts, habits, and the words he will speak before he can get them out of his mouth. He cannot hide from the Holy Spirit, whether in the land of the dead, the bottom of the sea, or the darkest night. It's a wonder Ananias thought he could hide from his lies in the church.
Verse Context:
Acts 5:1–11 contains the unfortunate story of Ananias and Sapphira. While the story of Peter and John's arrest by the Sadducees shows the beginning of problems outside the church (Acts 4), the account of Ananias and Sapphira reveals issues inside the church. As people listen to the witness of the apostles and come to a saving faith in Jesus, they donate what they have so that everyone in the church has what they need (Acts 4:32–37). Ananias and Sapphira want to join the wave of altruism, but not completely. God loves generosity, but not shallow performances which attempts to make a fool of Him and His people.
Chapter Summary:
The apostles continue to make hard decisions in the name of Jesus, both inside and outside the church. When Ananias and Sapphira lie to God, the Holy Spirit inspires Peter to pronounce God's judgment on them, protecting the church from the love of the world. Despite the Sanhedrin's watchful eye—and direct orders (Acts 4:17–18)—the apostles continue to preach and heal openly. The guards arrest the apostles, but the Sanhedrin settles for beating them instead of capital punishment. The apostles consider it an honor to suffer on behalf of their Savior.
Chapter Context:
In Acts 5, persecution from unbelievers begins to accelerate. The Sanhedrin has become aware the apostles teach that Jesus rose from the dead (Acts 4). Now, they start to push back in earnest, arresting and beating the apostles. Soon, a mob will kill Stephen, a deacon (Acts 7:54–60), and the Sanhedrin will empower Saul to run down and arrest any Jesus-follower he can find (Acts 8:1–3). The apostles will stay in Jerusalem. Other Jesus-followers will carry His offer of forgiveness and reconciliation with God into the Roman Empire and beyond. The apostles' faithfulness and submission to the Holy Spirit is why we have the gospel message today.
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 12:46:03 AM
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