What does Acts 5:42 mean?
ESV: And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
NIV: Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
NASB: And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and preaching the good news of Jesus as the Christ.
CSB: Every day in the temple, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
NLT: And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: 'Jesus is the Messiah.'
KJV: And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Verse Commentary:
The apostles have met their first line of resistance and proved triumphant. The Sanhedrin, the council responsible for upholding the Mosaic law among the Jews, arrested, questioned, and beat them. The apostles do not react in shame, fear, or hate. They are grateful they stood firm and "were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" (Acts 5:41). This small blip of persecution will not slow them down.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the people that children of God love their enemies and pray for them (Matthew 5:44–45). Paul says those who show genuine love do so by blessing their persecutors (Romans 12:14). He goes on to say to live at peace with others, as far as it is possible, and if they cause harm let God take care of it (Romans 12:17–19).

The apostles also exemplify Romans 12:20: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink." The members of the Sanhedrin, perhaps more than anyone else in Jerusalem, are hungry for God and thirsty for the truth. "Teaching" is from the Greek root word didaskō, which means to provide instruction. "Preaching" is from the Greek root word euangelizō. It means to teach about Jesus and His offer of salvation. The apostles do both within earshot of the men who arrested and beat them. In response, "a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7).

Christians today often over-think the persecutions they face—especially in the west, where full-blown persecution is rare—and fail to remember the love and prayer their enemies need. It is certainly within our rights to strive for churches, ministries, and individuals to enjoy freedoms enshrined in law. However, when we value those freedoms more than the lost hearts around us, we need to consider if we are really "worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" (Acts 5:41).
Verse Context:
Acts 5:27–42 occurs in the aftermath of a miraculous jailbreak. The chief priests arrested the apostles for teaching and healing in Jesus' name (Acts 5:17–18). On the morning of the inquiry, the guards find the prison cells empty and the apostles, again, preaching in the temple courtyard (Acts 5:22, 25). The guards bring the apostles back, and the Sanhedrin questions them. When the apostles insist Jesus is alive, the priests want them killed. But a Pharisee, Gamaliel, calms the situation. The Sanhedrin do flog the apostles before releasing them, starting the long history of physical persecution against Christ-followers. Verse 29 is a cornerstone of Christian ethics: that God's will is worth suffering for.
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 3/1/2024 2:49:29 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.