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Acts 4:25

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

By the mouth of thy servant David hast said - Several add, but impertinently, δια πνευματος ἁγιου, by the Holy Spirit; but it is sufficient that God has said it; and thugs we find that David spoke by the inspiration of God; and that the second Psalm relates to Jesus Christ, and predicts the vain attempts made by Jewish and heathen powers to suppress Christianity.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Who by the mouth … - , Psalm 2:1-2. This is a strong, solemn testimony to the inspiration of David. It is a declaration of the apostles, made in solemn prayer, that God himself spake by the mouth of David. This is the second part of their prayer. In the first, they acknowledge the right of God to rule; in this, they appeal to a prophecy; they plead that this was a thing foretold; and as God had foreseen it and foretold it, they appealed to him to protect them. The times of tumult and opposition which had been foreseen, as about to attend the introduction of the gospel, had now come. They inferred, therefore, that Jesus was the Messiah; and as God had designed to establish his kingdom, they appealed to him to aid and protect them in this great work. This passage is taken from Psalm 2:1-2, and is an exact quotation from the Septuagint. This proves that the Psalm had reference to the Messiah. Thus, it was manifestly understood by the Jews; and the authority of the apostles settles the question. The Psalm was composed by David, but on what occasion is not known; nor is it material to our present purpose. It has been a matter of inquiry whether it referred to the Messiah primarily, or only in a secondary sense. Grotius supposes that it was composed by David when exposed to the hostility of the Assyrians, the Moabites, Philistines, Amalekites, etc.; and that, in the midst of his dangers, he sought consolation in the purpose of God to establish him and his kingdom. But the more probable opinion is, that it referred directly and solely to the Messiah.

Why did the heathen - The nations which were not Jews. This refers, doubtless, to the opposition which would be made to the spread of Christianity, and not merely to the opposition made to the Messiah himself, and to the act of putting him to death.

Rage - This word refers to the excitement and tumult of a multitude; not a settled plan, but rather the heated and disorderly conduct of a mob. It means that the progress of the gospel would encounter tumultuous opposition, and that the excited nations would rush violently to put it down and destroy it.

And the people - The expression “the people” does not refer to a class of people different essentially from the pagan. The “pagan,” Hebrew and Greek, “the nations,” refer to people as organized into communities; the expression the people is used to denote the same persons without respect to their being so organized. The Hebrews were in the habit, in their poetry, of expressing the same idea essentially in parallel members of a sentence; that is, the last member of a sentence or verse expressed the same idea, with some slight variation, as the former. (See Lowth on the sacred poetry of the Hebrews.)

Imagine - The word “imagine” does not quite express the force of the original. The Hebrew and the Greek both convey the idea of meditating, thinking, purposing. It means that they employed “thought,” “plan,” “purpose,” in opposing the Messiah.

Vain things - The word used here κενά kenais a literal translation of the Hebrew רק rēyqand means usually “empty,” as a vessel. which is not filled; then “useless,” or what amounts to nothing, etc. Here it means that they devised a plan which turned out to be vain or ineffectual. They attempted an opposition to the Messiah which could not succeed. God would establish his kingdom in spite of their plans to oppose it. Their efforts were vain because they were not strong enough to oppose God; because he had purposed to establish the kingdom of his Son; and because he could overrule even their opposition to advance his cause.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ's followers do best in company, provided it is their own company. It encourages God's servants, both in doing work, and suffering work, that they serve the God who made all things, and therefore has the disposal of all events; and the Scriptures must be fulfilled. Jesus was anointed to be a Saviour, therefore it was determined he should be a sacrifice, to make atonement for sin. But sin is not the less evil for God's bringing good out of it. In threatening times, our care should not be so much that troubles may be prevented, as that we may go on with cheerfulness and courage in our work and duty. They do not pray, Lord let us go away from our work, now that it is become dangerous, but, Lord, give us thy grace to go on stedfastly in our work, and not to fear the face of man. Those who desire Divine aid and encouragement, may depend upon having them, and they ought to go forth, and go on, in the strength of the Lord God. God gave a sign of acceptance of their prayers. The place was shaken, that their faith might be established and unshaken. God gave them greater degrees of his Spirit; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than ever; by which they were not only encouraged, but enabled to speak the word of God with boldness. When they find the Lord God help them by his Spirit, they know they shall not be confounded, Isa 1.7.
Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 241.5

God is good, and greatly to be praised. His mercies have been freely bestowed upon us. He has surrounded us with tokens of His love. The heathen may rage and imagine vain things, but the Lord is unchangeable. He has made the strength of the everlasting hills to be a safe retreat for His people. He has prepared the mountains and the caves for His oppressed and persecuted children. We may sing, “God is our refuge and strength in time of trial.” He who made the towering mountains, the everlasting hills—to Him we may look.—Manuscript 100, August 20, 1898, “Through Nature to Nature's God.” TDG 241.5

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 60-9

“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” AA 60.1

Thus the disciples preached the resurrection of Christ. Many among those who listened were waiting for this testimony, and when they heard it they believed. It brought to their minds the words that Christ had spoken, and they took their stand in the ranks of those who accepted the gospel. The seed that the Saviour had sown sprang up and bore fruit. AA 60.2

While the disciples were speaking to the people, “the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” AA 60.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 67

Their Saviour had been rejected and condemned, and nailed to the ignominious cross. The Jewish priests and rulers had declared, in scorn, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” But that cross, that instrument of shame and torture, brought hope and salvation to the world. The believers rallied; their hopelessness and conscious helplessness had left them. They were transformed in character, and united in the bonds of Christian love. Although without wealth, though counted by the world as mere ignorant fishermen, they were made, by the Holy Spirit, witnesses for Christ. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were the heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence and power that shook the world. TM 67.1

The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of Acts give an account of their witnessing. Those who had rejected and crucified the Saviour expected to find His disciples discouraged, crestfallen, and ready to disown their Lord. With amazement they heard the clear, bold testimony given under the power of the Holy Spirit. The words and works of the disciples represented the words and works of their Teacher; and all who heard them said, They have learned of Jesus, they talk as He talked. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” TM 67.2

The chief priests and rulers thought themselves competent to decide what the apostles should do and teach. As they went forth preaching Jesus everywhere, the men who were worked by the Holy Spirit did many things that the Jews did not approve. There was danger that the ideas and doctrines of the rabbis would be brought into disrepute. The apostles were creating a wonderful excitement. The people were bringing their sick folk, and those that were vexed with unclean spirits, into the streets; crowds were collecting around them, and those that had been healed were shouting the praises of God and glorifying the name of Jesus, the very One whom the Jews had condemned, scorned, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and caused to be scourged and crucified. This Jesus was extolled above the priests and rulers. The apostles were even declaring that He had risen from the dead. The Jewish rulers decided that this work must and should be stopped, for it was proving them guilty of the blood of Jesus. They saw that converts to the faith were multiplying. “Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” TM 67.3

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Expansion of the Early Church in Palestine