Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Acts 2:27

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell - Εις Ἁιδου, in hades, that is, the state of separate spirits, or the state of the dead. Hades was a general term among the Greek writers, by which they expressed this state; and this Hades was Tartarus to the wicked, and Elysium to the good. See the explanation of the word in the note on Matthew 11:23; (note).

To see corruption - Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return, was a sentence pronounced on man after the fall: therefore this sentence could be executed on none but those who were fallen; but Jesus, being conceived without sin, neither partook of human corruption, nor was involved in the condemnation of fallen human nature; consequently, it was impossible for his body to see corruption; and it could not have undergone the temporary death, to which it was not naturally liable, had it not been for the purpose of making an atonement. It was therefore impossible that the human nature of our Lord could be subject to corruption: for though it was possible that the soul and it might be separated for a time, yet, as it had not sinned, it was not liable to dissolution; and its immortality was the necessary consequence of its being pure from transgression.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Thou wilt not leave my soul - The word “soul,” with us, means “the thinking, the immortal part of man,” and is applied to it whether existing in connection with the body or separate from it. The Hebrew word translated “soul” here, נפשׁ nepheshhowever, may mean “spirit, mind, life,” and may denote here nothing more than “me” or “myself.” It means, properly, “breath”; then “life,” or “the vital principle, a living being”; then “the soul, the spirit, the thinking part.” Instances where it is put for the individual himself, meaning “me” or “myself” may be seen in Psalm 11:1; Psalm 35:3, Psalm 35:7; Job 9:21. There is no clear instance in which it is applied to the soul in its separate state, or disjoined from the body. In this place it must be explained in part by the meaning of the word hell. If that means grave, then this word probably means “me”; thou wilt not leave me in the grave. The meaning probably is, “Thou wilt not leave me in Sheol, neither,” etc. The word “leave” here means, “Thou wilt not resign me to, or wilt not give me over to it, to be held under its power.”

In hell - - εἰς ᾅδου eis HadouThe word “hell,” in English, now commonly denotes “the place of the future eternal punishment of the wicked.” This sense it has acquired by long usage. It is a Saxon word, derived from helan, “to cover,” and denotes literally “a covered or deep place” (Webster); then “the dark and dismal abode of departed spirits”; and then “the place of torment.” As the word is used now by us, it by no means expresses the force of the original; and if with this idea we read a passage like the one before us, it would convey an erroneous meaning altogether, although formerly the English word perhaps expressed no more than the original. The Greek word “Hades” means literally “a place devoid of light; a dark, obscure abode”; and in Greek writers was applied to the dark and obscure regions where disembodied spirits were supposed to dwell. It occurs only eleven times in the New Testament. In this place it is the translation of the Hebrew שׁאול Sheowl Revelation 20:13-14, it is connected with death: “And death and hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them”; “And death and hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire.” See also Revelation 6:8; Revelation 1:18, “I have the keys of hell and death.” In 1 Corinthians 15:55 it means the grave: “O grave (Hades), where is thy victory?” In Matthew 11:23 it means a deep, profound place, opposed to an exalted one; a condition of calamity and degradation, opposed to former great prosperity: “Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell” (Hades). In Luke 16:23 it is applied to the place where the rich man was after death, in a state of punishment: “In hell (Hades) he lifted up his eyes, being in torments.” In this place it is connected with the idea of suffering, and undoubtedly denotes a place of punishment. The Septuagint has used this word commonly to translate the word שׁאול Shèowlit is used as a translation of the phrase “the stones of the pit” Isaiah 14:19; twice to express silence, particularly the silence of the grave Psalm 94:17; Psalm 115:17; once to express the Hebrew for “the shadow of death” Job 38:17; and sixty times to translate the word Sheol. It is remarkable that it is never used in the Old Testament to denote the word קבר qeberwhich properly denotes “a grave or sepulchre.” The idea which was conveyed by the word Sheol, or Hades, was not properly a grave or sepulchre, but that dark, unknown state, including the grave, which constituted the dominions of the dead. What idea the Hebrews had of the future world it is now difficult to explain, and is not necessary in the case before us. The word originally denoting simply “the state of the dead, the insatiable demands of the grave,” came at last to be extended in its meaning, in proportion as they received new revelations or formed new opinions about the future world. Perhaps the following may be the process of thought by which the word came to have the special meanings which it is found to have in the Old Testament:

(1) The word “death” and the grave קבר qeberwould express the abode of a deceased body in the earth.

(2) man has a soul, a thinking principle, and the inquiry must arise, What will be its state? Will it die also? The Hebrews never appear to have believed that. Will it ascend to heaven at once? On that subject they had at first no knowledge. Will it go at once to a place of happiness or of torment? Of that, also, they had no information at first Yet they supposed it would live; and the word שׁאול Sheowlexpressed just this state - the dark, unknown regions of the dead; the abode of spirits, whether good or bad; the residence of departed people, whether fixed in a permanent habitation, or whether wandering about. As they were ignorant of the size and spherical structure of the earth, they seem to have supposed this region to be situated in the earth, far below us, and hence, it is put in opposition to heaven, Psalm 139:8, “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell (Sheol), behold, thou art there”; Amos 9:2. The most common use of the word is, therefore, to express those dark regions, the lower world, the region of ghosts, etc. Instances of this, almost without number, might be given. See a most striking and sublime instance of this in Isaiah 14:9; “Hell from beneath is moved to meet thee,” etc.; where the assembled dead are represented as being agitated in all their vast regions at the death of the King of Babylon.

(3) the inquiry could not but arise whether all these beings were happy. This point revelation decided; and it was decided in the O d Testament. Yet this word would better express the state of the wicked dead than the righteous. It conveyed the idea of darkness, gloom, wandering; the idea of a sad and unfixed abode, unlike heaven. Hence, the word sometimes expresses the idea of a place of punishment: Psalm 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell,” etc.; Proverbs 15:11; Proverbs 23:14; Proverbs 27:20; Job 26:6. While, therefore, the word does not mean properly a grave or a sepulchre, it does mean often “the state of the dead,” without designating whether in happiness or woe, but implying the continued existence of the soul. In this sense it is often used in the Old Testament, where the Hebrew word is Sheol, and the Greek Hades: Genesis 37:35, “I will go down into the grave, unto my son, mourning” I will go down to the dead, to death, to my son, still there existing; Genesis 42:38; Genesis 44:29, “He shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave; Numbers 16:30, Numbers 16:33; 1 Kings 2:6, 1 Kings 2:9; etc. etc. in the place before us, therefore, the meaning is simply, thou wilt not leave me among the dead. This conveys all the idea. It does not mean literally the grave or the sepulchre; that relates only to the body. This expression refers to the deceased Messiah. Thou wilt not leave him among the dead; thou wilt raise him up. It is from this passage, perhaps, aided by two others (Romans 10:7, and 1 Peter 3:19), that the doctrine originated that Christ “descended,” as it is expressed in the Creed, “into hell”; and many have invented strange opinions about his going among lost spirits. The doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church has been that he went to purgatory, to deliver the spirits confined there. But if the interpretation now given be correct, then it will follow:

(1)That nothing is affirmed here about the destination of the human soul of Christ after his death. That he went to the region of the dead is implied, but nothing further.

(2)It may be remarked that the Scriptures affirm nothing about the state of his soul in that time which intervened between his death and resurrection. The only intimation which occurs on the subject is such as to leave us to suppose that he was in a state of happiness. To the dying thief he said, “This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” When Jesus died, he said, “It is finished”; and he doubtless meant by that that his sufferings and toils for man‘s redemption were at an end. All suppositions of any toils or pains after his death are fables, and without the slightest warrant in the New Testament.

Thine Holy One - The word in the Hebrew which is translated here “Holy One” properly denotes “One who is tenderly and piously devoted to another,” and corresponds to the expression used in the New Testament, “my beloved Son.” It is also used, as it is here by the Septuagint and by Peter, to denote “One that is holy, that is set apart to God.” In this sense it is applied to Christ, either as being set apart to this office, or as so pure as to make it proper to designate him by way of eminence the Holy One, or the Holy One of God. It is several times used as the wellknown designation of the Messiah: Mark 1:24, “I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God”; Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14, “But ye denied the Holy One, and the just,” etc. See also Luke 1:35, “That holy thing that is born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

To see corruption - To see corruption is to experience it, to be made partakers of it. The Hebrews often expressed the idea of experiencing anything by the use of words pertaining to the senses, as, to taste of death, to see death, etc. Corruption here means putrefaction in the grave. The word which is used in the Psalm, שׁחת shachathis thus used in Job 17:14, “I have said to corruption, thou art my father,” etc. The Greek word used here properly denotes this. Thus, it is used in Acts 13:34-37. This meaning would be properly suggested by the Hebrew word, and thus the ancient versions understood it. The meaning implied in the expression is, that he of whom the Psalm was written should be restored to life again; and this meaning Peter proceeds to show that the words must have.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
From this gift of the Holy Ghost, Peter preaches unto them Jesus: and here is the history of Christ. Here is an account of his death and sufferings, which they witnessed but a few weeks before. His death is considered as God's act; and of wonderful grace and wisdom. Thus Divine justice must be satisfied, God and man brought together again, and Christ himself glorified, according to an eternal counsel, which could not be altered. And as the people's act; in them it was an act of awful sin and folly. Christ's resurrection did away the reproach of his death; Peter speaks largely upon this. Christ was God's Holy One, sanctified and set apart to his service in the work of redemption. His death and sufferings should be, not to him only, but to all his, the entrance to a blessed life for evermore. This event had taken place as foretold, and the apostles were witnesses. Nor did the resurrection rest upon this alone; Christ had poured upon his disciples the miraculous gifts and Divine influences, of which they witnessed the effects. Through the Saviour, the ways of life are made known; and we are encouraged to expect God's presence, and his favour for evermore. All this springs from assured belief that Jesus is the Lord, and the anointed Saviour.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 41-2

In answer to the accusation of the priests Peter showed that this demonstration was in direct fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, wherein he foretold that such power would come upon men to fit them for a special work. “Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem,” he said, “be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” AA 41.1

With clearness and power Peter bore witness of the death and resurrection of Christ: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him ... ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.” AA 41.2

Peter did not refer to the teachings of Christ to prove his position, because he knew that the prejudice of his hearers was so great that his words on this subject would be of no effect. Instead, he spoke to them of David, who was regarded by the Jews as one of the patriarchs of their nation. “David speaketh concerning Him,” he declared: “I foresaw the Lord always before My face, for He is on My right hand, that I should not be moved: therefore did My heart rejoice, and My tongue was glad; moreover also My flesh shall rest in hope: because Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.... AA 41.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 221

This chapter is based on Acts 17:1-10.

After leaving Philippi, Paul and Silas made their way to Thessalonica. Here they were given the privilege of addressing large congregations in the Jewish synagogue. Their appearance bore evidence of the shameful treatment they had recently received, and necessitated an explanation of what had taken place. This they made without exalting themselves, but magnified the One who had wrought their deliverance. AA 221.1

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 194

The Saviour is still carrying forward the same work as when He proffered the water of life to the woman of Samaria. Those who call themselves His followers may despise and shun the outcast ones; but no circumstance of birth or nationality, no condition of life, can turn away His love from the children of men. To every soul, however sinful, Jesus says, If thou hadst asked of Me, I would have given thee living water. DA 194.1

The gospel invitation is not to be narrowed down, and presented only to a select few, who, we suppose, will do us honor if they accept it. The message is to be given to all. Wherever hearts are open to receive the truth, Christ is ready to instruct them. He reveals to them the Father, and the worship acceptable to Him who reads the heart. For such He uses no parables. To them, as to the woman at the well, He says, “I that speak unto thee am He.” DA 194.2

When Jesus sat down to rest at Jacob's well, He had come from Judea, where His ministry had produced little fruit. He had been rejected by the priests and rabbis, and even the people who professed to be His disciples had failed of perceiving His divine character. He was faint and weary; yet He did not neglect the opportunity of speaking to one woman, though she was a stranger, an alien from Israel, and living in open sin. DA 194.3

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Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 244-5

Peter showed them that this manifestation was the direct fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, wherein he foretold that such power would come upon men of God to fit them for a special work. SR 244.1

Peter traced back the lineage of Christ in a direct line to the honorable house of David. He did not use any of the teachings of Jesus to prove His true position, because he knew their prejudices were so great that it would be of no effect. But he referred them to David, whom the Jews regarded as a venerable patriarch of their nation. Said Peter: SR 244.2

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