What does Acts 5:7 mean?
ESV: After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
NIV: About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
NASB: Now an interval of about three hours elapsed, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
CSB: About three hours later, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
NLT: About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
KJV: And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
NKJV: Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
Verse Commentary:
Over five thousand people have repented of their sins and joined the church in Jerusalem (Acts 4:4). Many of them are not from the area (Acts 2:9–11), and there are many poor people, so the locals provide what they can, some even selling land and houses and donating the money for the apostles to use (Acts 4:32–37). Luke says that Barnabas is one of the generous donors, foreshadowing the "encourager's" generosity with his time and heart: he will later take Saul and John-Mark on missionary journeys (Acts 11:25–26; 12:25; 15:37–41).

The burst of generosity catches Ananias and Sapphira in its wake, but something goes wrong. After claiming to donate all the proceeds from the sale of some land, they keep some of the money back. The description of their choice implies dishonesty—they are lying about how much money they obtained. It's the lie, not the dollar amount, that means they are effectively embezzling what is rightfully God's. Ananias has already brought the money, and Peter confronted him. Because he lied to God, God condemned Ananias to death (Acts 5:1–6).

Sapphira knows Ananias brought the money, but she's unaware that God struck him down. Her husband has died and was buried. She can escape the same fate if she is just honest. She needs to take the example of Abigail. When her foolish husband, Nabal, cheated David of what he was due, David resolved to kill the wealthy landowner. Abigail humbly approached David and apologized, saving her husband from a violent death and David from unjustified homicide. God struck Nabal down for his sin, but Abigail became the wife of a king (1 Samuel 25).

Sadly, Sapphira will not make the same choice.
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.
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