What does Acts 5:8 mean?
ESV: And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.”
NIV: Peter asked her, 'Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?' 'Yes,' she said, 'that is the price.'
NASB: And Peter responded to her, 'Tell me whether you sold the land for this price?' And she said, 'Yes, for that price.'
CSB: "Tell me," Peter asked her, "did you sell the land for this price? ""Yes," she said, "for that price."
NLT: Peter asked her, 'Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?' 'Yes,' she replied, 'that was the price.'
KJV: And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
Ananias and Sapphira sold some land and, apparently, promised God they would donate all the proceeds to the church. Before they gave the money to the apostles, they either changed their minds and kept some, or never really intended to give all of it. Rather than being honest, the pair seem to have chosen to lie about their generosity. Ananias brought the money earlier in the day, but because of his dishonesty God struck him dead. Sapphira has now appeared and knows nothing of Ananias' death (Acts 5:1–6).
Peter uses a technique God has used throughout history, starting with Adam and Eve. When God came to the garden after Adam and Eve ate the fruit, He called out, "Where are you?" He didn't ask this because He didn't know where they were. He was giving them an opportunity to engage in conversation (Genesis 3:9). He wanted them to admit what they had done so He could restore some of their relationship. God also asks questions when He wants to direct the course of the conversation. He used this tactic with Moses (Exodus 4:2), and Jesus used it with the woman with an issue of blood (Mark 5:30).
God condemned Ananias with death for his lie. Sapphira still has a chance to tell the truth. Peter invites her to do so by directing the conversation. She doesn't have to follow her husband into sin—Abigail didn't (1 Samuel 25). Unfortunately, Sapphira is as deceitful as Ananias. She repeats the lie, and God judges her for it.
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.
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.
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.
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 2/21/2024 6:43:13 AM
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