Daily Bible Reading
Today's reading: Acts 4-6
Look for the promises in God’s word. As you read and find them, write them in your journal along with the scripture reference.
The Arrest and Trial of Peter and John
1. While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests and the commander of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them,
2. angry because they were teaching the people and announcing in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
3. So they seized them and put them in jail until the next day (for it was already evening).
4. But many of those who had listened to the message believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
5. On the next day, their rulers, elders, and experts in the law came together in Jerusalem.
6. Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and others who were members of the high priest’s family.
7. After making Peter and John stand in their midst, they began to inquire, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”
8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, replied, “Rulers of the people and elders,
9. if we are being examined today for a good deed done to a sick man – by what means this man was healed –
10. let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, this man stands before you healthy.
11. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone.
12. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.”
13. When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and discovered that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized these men had been with Jesus.
14. And because they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say against this.
15. But when they had ordered them to go outside the council, they began to confer with one another,
16. saying, “What should we do with these men? For it is plain to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable miraculous sign has come about through them, and we cannot deny it.
17. But to keep this matter from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”
18. And they called them in and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19. But Peter and John replied, “Whether it is right before God to obey you rather than God, you decide,
20. for it is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
21. After threatening them further, they released them, for they could not find how to punish them on account of the people, because they were all praising God for what had happened.
22. For the man, on whom this miraculous sign of healing had been performed, was over forty years old.
The Followers of Jesus Pray for Boldness
23. When they were released, Peter and John went to their fellow believers and reported everything the high priests and the elders had said to them.
24. When they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, “Master of all, you who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them,
25. who said by the Holy Spirit through your servant David our forefather, ‘Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot foolish things?
26. The kings of the earth stood together, and the rulers assembled together, against the Lord and against his Christ.’
27. “For indeed both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,
28. to do as much as your power and your plan had decided beforehand would happen.
29. And now, Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage,
30. while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31. When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously.
Conditions Among the Early Believers
32. The group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but everything was held in common.
33. With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all.
34. For there was no one needy among them, because those who were owners of land or houses were selling them and bringing the proceeds from the sales
35. and placing them at the apostles’ feet. The proceeds were distributed to each, as anyone had need.
36. So Joseph, a Levite who was a native of Cyprus, called by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”),
37. sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and placed it at the apostles’ feet.
The Judgment on Ananias and Sapphira
1. Now a man named Ananias, together with Sapphira his wife, sold a piece of property.
2. He kept back for himself part of the proceeds with his wife’s knowledge; he brought only part of it and placed it at the apostles’ feet.
3. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land?
4. Before it was sold, did it not belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God!”
5. When Ananias heard these words he collapsed and died, and great fear gripped all who heard about it.
6. So the young men came, wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
7. After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, but she did not know what had happened.
8. Peter said to her, “Tell me, were the two of you paid this amount for the land?” Sapphira said, “Yes, that much.”
9. Peter then told her, “Why have you agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out!”
10. At once she collapsed at his feet and died. So when the young men came in, they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
11. Great fear gripped the whole church and all who heard about these things.
The Apostles Perform Miraculous Signs and Wonders
12. Now many miraculous signs and wonders came about among the people through the hands of the apostles. By common consent they were all meeting together in Solomon’s Portico.
13. None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high honor.
14. More and more believers in the Lord were added to their number, crowds of both men and women.
15. Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets, and put them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow would fall on some of them.
16. A crowd of people from the towns around Jerusalem also came together, bringing the sick and those troubled by unclean spirits. They were all being healed.
Further Trouble for the Apostles
17. Now the high priest rose up, and all those with him (that is, the religious party of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy.
18. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail.
19. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said,
20. “Go and stand in the temple courts and proclaim to the people all the words of this life.”
21. When they heard this, they entered the temple courts at daybreak and began teaching. Now when the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they summoned the Sanhedrin – that is, the whole high council of the Israelites – and sent to the jail to have the apostles brought before them.
22. But the officers who came for them did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported,
23. “We found the jail locked securely and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”
24. Now when the commander of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, they were greatly puzzled concerning it, wondering what this could be.
25. But someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courts and teaching the people!”
26. Then the commander of the temple guard went with the officers and brought the apostles without the use of force (for they were afraid of being stoned by the people).
27. When they had brought them, they stood them before the council, and the high priest questioned them,
28. saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name. Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood on us!”
29. But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people.
30. The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree.
31. God exalted him to his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
32. And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”
33. Now when they heard this, they became furious and wanted to execute them.
34. But a Pharisee whose name was Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the council and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time.
35. Then he said to the council, “Men of Israel, pay close attention to what you are about to do to these men.
36. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and nothing came of it.
37. After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census, and incited people to follow him in revolt. He too was killed, and all who followed him were scattered.
38. So in this case I say to you, stay away from these men and leave them alone, because if this plan or this undertaking originates with people, it will come to nothing,
39. but if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them, or you may even be found fighting against God.” He convinced them,
40. and they summoned the apostles and had them beaten. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them.
41. So they left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
42. And every day both in the temple courts and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus was the Christ.
The Appointment of the First Seven Deacons
1. Now in those days, when the disciples were growing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Greek-speaking Jews against the native Hebraic Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
2. So the twelve called the whole group of the disciples together and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to wait on tables.
3. But carefully select from among you, brothers, seven men who are well-attested, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this necessary task.
4. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
5. The proposal pleased the entire group, so they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a Gentile convert to Judaism from Antioch.
6. They stood these men before the apostles, who prayed and placed their hands on them.
7. The word of God continued to spread, the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.
Stephen is Arrested
8. Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.
9. But some men from the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and the province of Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen.
10. Yet they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
11. Then they secretly instigated some men to say, “We have heard this man speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.”
12. They incited the people, the elders, and the experts in the law; then they approached Stephen, seized him, and brought him before the council.
13. They brought forward false witnesses who said, “This man does not stop saying things against this holy place and the law.
14. For we have heard him saying that Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”
15. All who were sitting in the council looked intently at Stephen and saw his face was like the face of an angel.