BibleTools.info

Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Loading...

Acts 1:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

But ye shall receive power - Ληψεσθε δυναμιν . Translating different terms of the original by the same English word is a source of misapprehension and error. We must not understand δυναμις which we translate power in this verse, as we do εξουσια, translated by the same word in the preceding verse. In the one, God's infinite authority over all times and seasons, and his uncompellable liberty of acting or not acting in any given case, are particularly pointed out: in the other, the energy communicated by him to his disciples, through which they were enabled to work miracles, is particularly intended; and δυναμις, in general, signifies such power, and is sometimes put for that of which it is the cause, viz. a miracle. See Matthew 7:22; Matthew 11:20-23; Matthew 13:54, Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5; Luke 10:13; and Acts 2:22. The disciples were to be made instruments in the establishment of the kingdom of Christ; but this must be by the energy of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; nevertheless, this energy would be given in such times and seasons, and in such measures, as should appear best to the infinite wisdom of God. Christ does not immediately answer the question of the disciples, as it was a point savouring too much of mere curiosity; but he gave them such information as was calculated to bring both their faith and hope into action. St. Chrysostom has well observed, "that it is the prerogative of an instructer to teach his disciple, not what he wishes to learn, but what his master sees best for him:" Διδασκαλου τουτο εστι μη ἁ βουλεται ὁ μαθητης, αλλ 'ἁ συμφερει μαθειν, διδασκειν .

Ye shall be witnesses - in all Judea, etc. - Though the word earth, ἡ γη, is often used to denote Judea alone, yet here, it is probable, it is to be taken in its largest extent. All the inhabitants of the globe might at that period be considered divisible into three classes.

  1. The Jews, who adhered to the law of Moses, and the prophetic writings, worshipping the true God only, and keeping up the temple service, as prescribed in their law.
  • The Samaritans, a mongrel people, who worshipped the God of Israel in connection with other gods, 2 Kings 17:5, etc., and who had no kind of religious connection with the Jews. See on Matthew 10:5; (note). And,
  • The Gentiles, the heathens through all other parts of the world, who were addicted to idolatry alone, and had no knowledge of the true God.
  • By the terms in the text we may see the extent to which this commission of instruction and salvation was designed to reach: to the Jews; to the Samaritans, and the uttermost part of the earth, i.e. to the Gentile nations, thus, to the whole human race the Gospel of the kingdom was to be proclaimed. When the twelve disciples were sent out to preach, Matthew 10:5, their commission was very limited - they were not to go in the way of the Gentiles, nor enter into any city of the Samaritans, but preach the Gospel to the lost sheep of the house of Israel: but here their commission is enlarged, for they are to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. See Matthew 28:18.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    But ye shall receive power … - Literally, as it is translated in the margin, “Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you.” This was said to them to console them. Though they could not know the times which God reserved in his own appointment, yet they should receive the promised Guide and Comforter. The word “power” here refers to the help or aid which the Holy Spirit would grant; the power of speaking with new tongues; of preaching the gospel with great effect; of enduring great trials, etc. See Mark 16:17-18. The apostles had impatiently asked him if he was then about to restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus by this answer rebuked their impatience, taught them to repress their ill-timed ardor; and assured them again of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

    Ye shall be witnesses - For this purpose they were appointed; and to prepare them for this they had been with him for more that three years. They had seen his manner of life, his miracles, his meekness, his sufferings; they had listened to his instructions, and had conversed and eaten with him as a friend; they had seen him after he was risen, and were about to see him ascend to heaven; and they were thus qualified to bear witness to these things in all parts of the earth. Their number was so great that it could not be pretended that they were deceived; they had been so intimate with him and his plans that they were qualified to state what his doctrines and purposes were; and there was no motive but conviction of the truth that could induce them to make the sacrifices which they would be required to make in communicating these things to the world. In every respect, therefore, they were qualified to be impartial and competent witnesses. The original word here is μάρτυρες marturesmartyrs. From this word the name martyrs has been given to those who suffered in times of persecution. The reason why this name was given to them was that they bore witness to the life, instructions, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, even in the midst of persecution and death. It is commonly supposed that nearly all of the apostles bore witness as martyrs in this sense to the truths of the Christian religion, but of this there is not clear proof. See Mosheim‘s Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. p. 55,56. Still the word here does not necessarily mean that they to whom this was addressed would be martyrs, or would be put to death in bearing witness to the Lord Jesus; but that they were everywhere to testify to what they knew of him. The fact that this was the design of their appointment, and that they actually bore such testimony, is abundantly confirmed in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 1:22; Acts 5:32; Acts 10:39, Acts 10:42; Acts 22:15.

    In Jerusalem - In the capital of the nation. See Acts 8:1, Acts 8:4. The apostles remained there until Herod put James to death. Compare Acts 8:1, with Acts 12:1-2. This was about eight years. During this time, however, Paul was called to the apostleship, and Peter had preached the gospel to Cornelius, Philip to the eunuch, etc.

    In all Judea - Judea was the southern division of the Holy Land, and included Jerusalem as the capital. See the notes on Matthew 2:22.

    And in Samaria - This was the middle portion of Palestine. See the notes at Matthew 2:22. This was fulfilled by the disciples. See Acts 8:1, “And they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria”; compare Acts 1:4-5, “They that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.” See also Acts 1:14; Acts 9:31.

    And unto the uttermost part of the earth - The word “earth,” or “land,” is sometimes taken to denote only the land of Palestine. But here there does not seem to be a necessity for limiting it thus. If Christ had intended that, he would have mentioned Galilee, as being the only remaining division of the country. But as he had expressly directed them to preach the gospel to all nations, the expression here is clearly to be considered as including the Gentile lands as well as the Jewish. The evidence that they did this is found in the subsequent parts of this book, and in the history of the church. It was in this way that Jesus replied to their question. Though he did not tell them the time when it was to be done, nor affirm that he would restore the kingdom to Israel, yet he gave them an answer that implied that the work should advance - should advance much further than the land of Israel; and that they would have much to do in promoting it. All the commands of God, and all his communications, are such as to call up our energy, and teach us that we have much to do. The uttermost parts of the earth have been given to the Saviour Psalm 2:8, and the church should not rest until he whose right it is shall come and reign, Ezekiel 21:27.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    They were earnest in asking about that which their Master never had directed or encouraged them to seek. Our Lord knew that his ascension and the teaching of the Holy Spirit would soon end these expectations, and therefore only gave them a rebuke; but it is a caution to his church in all ages, to take heed of a desire of forbidden knowledge. He had given his disciples instructions for the discharge of their duty, both before his death and since his resurrection, and this knowledge is enough for a Christian. It is enough that He has engaged to give believers strength equal to their trials and services; that under the influence of the Holy Spirit they may, in one way or other, be witnesses for Christ on earth, while in heaven he manages their concerns with perfect wisdom, truth, and love. When we stand gazing and trifling, the thoughts of our Master's second coming should quicken and awaken us: when we stand gazing and trembling, they should comfort and encourage us. May our expectation of it be stedfast and joyful, giving diligence to be found of him blameless.
    Ellen G. White
    The Desire of Ages, 821

    But the work was not to stop here. It was to be extended to the earth's remotest bounds. To His disciples Christ said, You have been witnesses of My life of self-sacrifice in behalf of the world. You have witnessed My labors for Israel. Although they would not come unto Me that they might have life, although priests and rulers have done to Me as they listed, although they have rejected Me as the Scriptures foretold, they shall have still another opportunity of accepting the Son of God. You have seen that all who come to Me, confessing their sins, I freely receive. Him that cometh to Me I will in nowise cast out. All who will, may be reconciled to God, and receive everlasting life. To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to Israel first, and then to all nations, tongues, and peoples. It is to be given to Jews and Gentiles. All who believe are to be gathered into one church. DA 821.1

    Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the disciples were to receive a marvelous power. Their testimony was to be confirmed by signs and wonders. Miracles would be wrought, not only by the apostles, but by those who received their message. Jesus said, “In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17, 18. DA 821.2

    At that time poisoning was often practiced. Unscrupulous men did not hesitate to remove by this means those who stood in the way of their ambition. Jesus knew that the life of His disciples would thus be imperiled. Many would think it doing God service to put His witnesses to death. He therefore promised them protection from this danger. DA 821.3

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    The Acts of the Apostles, 31

    The Saviour knew that no argument, however logical, would melt hard hearts or break through the crust of worldliness and selfishness. He knew that His disciples must receive the heavenly endowment; that the gospel would be effective only as it was proclaimed by hearts made warm and lips made eloquent by a living knowledge of Him who is the way, the truth, and the life. The work committed to the disciples would require great efficiency; for the tide of evil ran deep and strong against them. A vigilant, determined leader was in command of the forces of darkness, and the followers of Christ could battle for the right only through the help that God, by His Spirit, would give them. AA 31.1

    Christ told His disciples that they were to begin their work at Jerusalem. That city had been the scene of His amazing sacrifice for the human race. There, clad in the garb of humanity, He had walked and talked with men, and few had discerned how near heaven came to earth. There He had been condemned and crucified. In Jerusalem were many who secretly believed Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah, and many who had been deceived by priests and rulers. To these the gospel must be proclaimed. They were to be called to repentance. The wonderful truth that through Christ alone could remission of sins be obtained, was to be made plain. And it was while all Jerusalem was stirred by the thrilling events of the past few weeks, that the preaching of the disciples would make the deepest impression. AA 31.2

    During His ministry, Jesus had kept constantly before the disciples the fact that they were to be one with Him in His work for the recovery of the world from the slavery of sin. When He sent forth the Twelve and afterward the Seventy, to proclaim the kingdom of God, He was teaching them their duty to impart to others what He had made known to them. In all His work He was training them for individual labor, to be extended as their numbers increased, and eventually to reach to the uttermost parts of the earth. The last lesson He gave His followers was that they held in trust for the world the glad tidings of salvation. AA 32.1

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    The Acts of the Apostles, 27-9

    During these days that Christ spent with His disciples, they gained a new experience. As they heard their beloved Master explaining the Scriptures in the light of all that had happened, their faith in Him was fully established. They reached the place where they could say, “I know whom I have believed.” 2 Timothy 1:12. They began to realize the nature and extent of their work, to see that they were to proclaim to the world the truths entrusted to them. The events of Christ's life, His death and resurrection, the prophecies pointing to these events, the mysteries of the plan of salvation, the power of Jesus for the remission of sins—to all these things they had been witnesses, and they were to make them known to the world. They were to proclaim the gospel of peace and salvation through repentance and the power of the Saviour. AA 27.1

    Before ascending to heaven, Christ gave His disciples their commission. He told them that they were to be the executors of the will in which He bequeathed to the world the treasures of eternal life. You have been witnesses of My life of sacrifice in behalf of the world, He said to them. You have seen My labors for Israel. And although My people would not come to Me that they might have life, although priests and rulers have done unto Me as they listed, although they have rejected Me, they shall have still another opportunity of accepting the Son of God. You have seen that all who come to Me confessing their sins, I freely receive. Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to both Jews and Gentiles—to Israel, first, and then to all nations, tongues, and peoples. All who believe are to be gathered into one church. AA 27.2

    The gospel commission is the great missionary charter of Christ's kingdom. The disciples were to work earnestly for souls, giving to all the invitation of mercy. They were not to wait for the people to come to them; they were to go to the people with their message. AA 28.1

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    Gospel Workers 1915, 284

    “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come,” “He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” [John 16:13, 8.] GW 284.1

    The preaching of the word is of no avail without the presence and aid of the Holy Spirit; for this Spirit is the only effectual teacher of divine truth. Only when the truth is accompanied to the heart by the Spirit, will it quicken the conscience or transform the life. A minister may be able to present the letter of the word of God; he may be familiar with all its commands and promises; but his sowing of the gospel seed will not be successful unless this seed is quickened into life by the dew of heaven. Without the co-operation of the Spirit of God, no amount of education, no advantages, however great, can make one a channel of light. Before one book of the New Testament had been written, before one gospel sermon had been preached after Christ's ascension, the Holy Spirit came upon the praying disciples. Then the testimony of their enemies was, “Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.” [Acts 5:28.] GW 284.2

    Read in context »
    More Comments