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Acts 23:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection - It is strange, since these denied a future state, that they observed the ordinances of the law; for they also believed the five books of Moses to be a revelation from God: yet they had nothing in view but temporal good; and they understood the promises in the law as referring to these things alone. In order, therefore, to procure them, they watched, fasted, prayed, etc., and all this they did that they might obtain happiness in the present life. See the account of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Matthew 3:7; Matthew 16:1.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For the Sadducees say - They believe.

No resurrection - Of the dead. By this doctrine they also understood that there was no future state, and that the soul did not exist after death. See the notes on Matthew 22:23.

Neither angel - That there are no angels. They deny the existence of good or bad angels. See the notes on Matthew 3:7.

Nor spirit - Nor soul. That there is nothing but matter. They were materialists, and supposed that all the operations which we ascribe to mind could be traced to some modification of matter. The Sadducees, says Josephus (Jewish Wars, book ii. chapter 8, section 14), “take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades.” “The doctrine of the Sadducees is this,” says he (Antiq., book 18, chapter 1, section 4), “that souls die with the bodies.” The opinion that the soul is material, and that there is nothing but matter in the universe, has been held by many philosophers, ancient and modern, as well as by the Sadducees.

Confess both - Acknowledge, or receive both as true; that is, that there is a future state, and that there are spirits distinct from matter, as angels, and the disembodied souls of people. The two points in dispute were:

(1)Whether the dead would be raised and exist in a future state; and,

(2)Whether mind was distinct from matter. The Sadducees denied both, and the Pharisees believed both. Their belief of the Latter point was, that spirits existed in two forms - that of angels, and that of souls of people distinct from the body.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Pharisees were correct in the faith of the Jewish church. The Sadducees were no friends to the Scripture or Divine revelation; they denied a future state; they had neither hope of eternal happiness, nor dread of eternal misery. When called in question for his being a Christian, Paul might truly say he was called in question for the hope of the resurrection of the dead. It was justifiable in him, by this profession of his opinion on that disputed point, to draw off the Pharisees from persecuting him, and to lead them to protect him from this unlawful violence. How easily can God defend his own cause! Though the Jews seemed to be perfectly agreed in their conspiracy against religion, yet they were influenced by very different motives. There is no true friendship among the wicked, and in a moment, and with the utmost ease, God can turn their union into open enmity. Divine consolations stood Paul in the most stead; the chief captain rescued him out of the hands of cruel men, but the event he could not tell. Whoever is against us, we need not fear, if the Lord stand by us. It is the will of Christ, that his servants who are faithful, should be always cheerful. He might think he should never see Rome; but God tells him, even in that he should be gratified, since he desired to go there only for the honour of Christ, and to do good.
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1077

1, 2. Attention Focused on Birth of Jesus—The Lord moved upon the wise men to go in search of Jesus, and He directed their course by a star. This star, leaving them when near Jerusalem, led them to make inquiries in Judah; for they thought it was not possible for the chief priests and scribes to be ignorant of this great event. The coming of the wise men made the whole nation acquainted with the object of their journey, and directed their attention to the important events which were transpiring (The Spirit of Prophecy 2:26). 5BC 1077.1

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 411-6

“But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. AA 411.1

“And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.” The two parties began to dispute between themselves, and thus the strength of their opposition against Paul was broken. “The scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.” AA 411.2

In the confusion that followed, the Sadducees were eagerly striving to gain possession of the apostle, that they might put him to death; and the Pharisees were as eager in striving to protect him. “The chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.” AA 412.1

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Cross References
Paul's Arrest and Imprisonment