Kingdoms in Conflict (Acts 12:1-25)

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When you study the book of Acts (or, in fact, any book of Scripture), there is always the danger of missing the forest for the trees. You can get so caught up in the details that you miss the bigger picture. As we pick up our study in the book of Acts once again, it is thus important for us to understand something of the bigger picture before we delve into the details of chapter 12.

Acts, you will remember, is the missiological record of the early church. It is the history of the church’s response, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Great Commission mandate of Acts 1:8. We would, therefore, be wise to interpret all of the events recorded in Acts in the overall context of this theme.

The mission of God, simply stated, is the glory of His name through the gladness of the nations through the gospel of Christ (see Psalm 67). Since that is the mission of God, it is likewise to be the mission of the church. And it is a mission in which, by God’s sovereign decree, we are guaranteed success. It can rightly be described as a world outreach celebration.

But, let’s be frank, not all of the mission is at first blush a celebration. Discouragement arises. Division occurs. Dishonesty and doctrinal heresy surface. Discipline is necessary. Death still marches on. In short, difficulty abounds. Acts 12 is a case in point. And while it points us to the difficulties faced by the church, it also points us to the hope that the church embraced.

In this chapter we have the record of the early church in Jerusalem (once again) going through difficulties (cf. Acts 8). The weight of a pseudo-theocracy fell on the church in this chapter. The historic conflict between Jacob and Esau continued. One apostle was martyred, another arrested. And yet, in the midst of such difficulties, the church marched on. And though their circumstances differed from ours today, the fundamental principles remain. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church.

This chapter highlights the reality of kingdoms in conflict, which in many ways is the story of history. The story of history is one of a fierce conflict between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of God’s dear Son. We, however, have hope, because we know that our King will ultimately prove victorious. He has already won the war, and therefore despite the difficulties that we face, we are encouraged that our King will win.

But, again, the promised victory does not minimise the reality of the conflict. As MacArthur notes, “Though the folly of fighting Him is self-evident, that does not stop each succeeding generation from trying. They pit their impotence against His omnipotence, shattering themselves like raw eggs thrown against granite.”1

Stott’s overview of the chapter is helpful:

The destructive power of Herod and the saving power of God are contrasted. Indeed, throughout church history the pendulum has swung between expansion and opposition, growth and shrinkage, advance and retreat, although with the assurance that even the powers of death and hell will never prevail against Christ’s church, since it is built securely on the rock.2

As we consider the conflict faced by the Jerusalem church as recorded in this chapter, I trust that we will once again take practical encouragement from God’s Word concerning the conflicts that we face.

The Vicious Conflict

The opening verses of this chapter (vv. 1-4) introduce us to a king who actively persecutes a kingdom. The spiritual warfare seen here takes the form of persecution.

The Context

The events recorded in our text took place “about that time” (v. 1); that is, about the time of the events recorded in Acts 11. About the time that persecution scattered the Jerusalem church—all except the apostles (11:19)—Herod joined the party. “About that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church” (v. 1).

“Herod the king” was the great-grandson of Herod the Great (a self-proclaimed title), who had sought to kill Jesus by murdering all the male children under the age of two in Israel. Herod the Great killed his wife, mother-in-law and son, and his heir was his nephew, Herod Antipas. Antipas was the Herod who was involved in crucifying Jesus. The Herod of whom we read in this text was the son of Herod Antipas.

Herod was forever in trouble with Rome. He was in great debt, and for a time was even banned from the Roman Empire, but political expediency dictated that the Romans eventually made him governor of Judea.

Though, as an Idumean (Edomite), Herod was despised by the Jews, he was nevertheless a political pragmatist who was greatly interested in currying the favour of the Jews (v. 3). In order to do so, he set out to “harass some from the church.”

The word “harass” means “to oppress,” “to hurt,” “to mistreat” or “to injure.” The word is used in 7:6, 19 to describe Pharaoh’s cruel mistreatment of the Israelites in the days of the Exodus. It is used later of unbelieving Jews persecuting Gentile Christians (14:2), and God used the term to promise Paul that no one in Corinth would “hurt” him during his ministry there (18:10). We might say that Herod threw his hands on some in the church. He was no doubt politically motivated to do so. In some way, he perceived the church to be a threat to him.

The Onslaught

In this persecution, we read of the first of the apostles to be martyred, while another is arrested.

Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.

(Acts 12:2-4)

You will remember the incident recorded in Matthew 20:20-23, in which James and John, led by their mother, approached Jesus for the privilege to be seated on his right and left hand in glory.  Jesus informed them that they were asking for something that they could not understand, and asked whether they were willing to suffer with Him. When they replied that they were indeed willing, Jesus said, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with.” Here, then, we have the fulfilment—at least in James’ case—of Jesus prophecy.

Have no doubt: It is a costly thing to follow Jesus! Do you wish to be great in the kingdom? Are you willing, then, to suffer the persecution suffered by James, and by other “great” men of God (e.g. Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah)? Are you really willing to suffer what it takes to be considered a great hero of the faith?

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy.

(Hebrews 11:35-38)

Imagine how this martyrdom must have impacted the church. They had just experienced great persecution in chapter 11, and now the opposition begins with fresh fervour and one of their most beloved leaders is killed. I am quite certain that this must have been an extremely sobering time for the church.

While the church was grieving James’ death, Herod “saw that it pleased the Jews.” Obviously, this is a reference to unbelieving Jews, who were perhaps feeling somewhat threatened by the increasing population of Gentiles within the church. The unbelieving Jews were happy with the martyrdom of James, and the surest way for Herod to curry further favour was for him to execute Peter too. He therefore arrested Peter “during the days of Unleavened Bread,” intending to carry out the execution “after Passover.”

The two terms—“Unleavened Bread” and “Passover”—describe the same event. It was one of the annual Jewish feasts during which Jerusalem was packed with visiting Jews. The population of the city swelled during this festival, and so it was a perfect opportunity for Herod to offer a display of solidarity with Judaism.

Barclay hits the nail on the head when he writes,

The great tragedy of this particular wave of persecution was that it was not due to any man’s principles, however misguided; it was simply due to Herod’s bid to gain the popular favour of the people.3

We should recognise that the persecution against the church here was horribly disproportionate. Herod was a political leader with the backing of the mighty Roman Empire. What threat could James possibly pose to him? The church, under apostolic guidance, was instructed to be submissive to government, and there was therefore no real political threat to be posed by the church or the apostles. On the contrary, the Roman government—including Herod—never had any better citizens than the Christians!

Furthermore, arresting Peter, Herod “delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him.” Peter was one man. Clearly his reputation preceded him (see Acts 5), but in a culture in which prisoners were routinely chained to a single guard, four squads of soldiers—that is, sixteen soldiers—seems excessive! Incredibly, rather than being moved by the earlier miracle in which Peter escaped from prison, the authorities now took whatever steps they could to ensure it would not happen again.

We must understand, however, that the opposition was not, in reality, against the Christians, but against King Jesus. This is a great tragedy of history. Persecution levelled against the church is frequently disproportionate to the actual “threat” the church poses to the persecutor. But the bigger picture is always the spiritual warfare raging in the background. Remember, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Herod was, in reality, little more than a pawn in the hand of Satan as he opposed the church.

We should never be taken by surprise when we face opposition. Spiritual warfare is a reality that we should expect. Conflict, even to the point of persecution, is the norm for the church, and it frequently comes from religious half-brothers (see Galatians 4:21-26). We cannot take it personally, for ultimately we are persecuted only because the world hates our King.

A Victorious Contrast

In vv. 1-4 we saw a king persecuting a kingdom; in vv. 5-19 we find the persecuted kingdom responding by petitioning its King.

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognised Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place. Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.

(Acts 12:5-19)

In the spiritual battle that they faced, the church members in Jerusalem employed the spiritual weaponry at their disposal.

A Means of Grace

The prayer of the church is introduced with a word of stark contrast. “Peter was therefore kept in prison but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” If the persecution was excessive, the church responded with the only appropriate weaponry: that of prayer.

The word “kept” means “to be kept under guard.” As see above, Peter was guarded by sixteen soldiers—four squads—who evidently took shifts, because according to v. 6 he was permanently chained to two guards.

“Constant” prayer was offered to God for Peter. The word is actually a medical term, which means “to stretch a muscle to its limit.” This church was praying fervently, unceasingly and earnestly. They were stretching their prayer muscles to the limit. And it was not simply a small group of believers that was praying, but “the church.” Peter was, therefore, being kept by Christ through prayer.

What do you think these believers prayed for? No doubt, part of the prayer was that God would miraculously release Peter as He had done before. Perhaps they were also praying for Peter’s faith to be strong. Perhaps they were further praying for their own protection. After all, if James had already been martyred and Peter now arrested, how long would it be before Herod came after the church at large?

The contrast could not be clearer. The world was using various weapons against the church: persecution, martyrdom, imprisonment, etc. The church responded by using invisible weaponry. But, because the real battle is not a fleshly but a spiritual one, the church’s arsenal proved to be most effective. It always is (see James 5:16).

Here then were two communities, the world and the church, arrayed against one another, each wielding an appropriate weapon. On the one side was the authority of Herod, the power of the sword and the security of the prison. On the other side, the church turned to prayer, which is the only power which the powerless possess.4

As Barclay notes, “When they were up against it and when they had nowhere else to go they went to God.”5 What we see here is the power of an earthly monarch pitted against the power of prayer to the Monarch. And, in reality, there is no match.

There is a well-known song that asks the question, “Where could I go but to the Lord?” Let me ask: Where do you go first when a problem arises? I trust that we will take our lead from this church and turn first to the Lord. Prayer is perhaps the most neglected spiritual discipline of our day—at least in the West. Why is that? Perhaps it is because we don’t see our deep need. But we must see our need, and respond in kind.

The Miracle of Grace

Even as the church was in deep and fervent prayer for Peter’s wellbeing, “Peter was sleeping.” In fact, so deep was Peter’s sleep that the angel sent by God had to “strike” him to wake him up! The apostle was evidently not as concerned for his own welfare as his brothers and sisters were.

Perhaps Peter recalled the time when, in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus slept while he and his fellow-disciples panicked. Perhaps he was resting on the great truth of which he would later write in 1 Peter 5:7. Perhaps he recalled Jesus’ promise that he would die an old man (John 21:18) and not a young one at the hand of Herod. Whatever the precise reason was, he was clearly at peace in prison.

Meanwhile, “an angel of the Lord stood by him.” We read of angels at least twenty times in Acts. Peter had already been the recipient of a miraculous deliverance by an angel in chapter 5. According to the author of Hebrews, angels are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (1:14). Here, the angel ministered to an imprisoned apostle.

Though Peter had already experienced delivered at the hand of an angel, he, for whatever reason, “did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.” It did not take very long, however for him to “come to himself.” After passing two guard posts undetected, and having an iron gate open for him automatically, he finally realised that he was (again) being delivered miraculously. Even as a murderous, bloodthirsty maniac and mob plotted against him, God graciously rescued him from their hand.

While we rejoice with the church at Peter’s deliverance, we may be tempted to wonder why God did not similarly deliver James. Clearly, He could have done so, but He did not. How do we understand that?

A friend recently spoke to me about his son’s health. Some time ago, the young boy was diagnosed with cancer in his brain. As part of his treatment he had his molars removed, and doctor’s informed him that they would never grow again. He has also been undergoing chemotherapy on and off as a means to retard the growth of the cancer. Medical opinion was that the damage done could not be reversed, only slowed. People around the world have been praying for his health.

When I spoke to my friend recently, he informed me that a recent scan has shown no enhancement of any of the problem areas. In fact, there is evidence of some reversal of the earlier damage! Further, his son’s molars are beginning to grow back! My friend told me of the great encouragement it has been to them as a family to see God answering prayer.

It was wonderful news to hear and to share, but I immediately thought of those who would ask, “But what if not?” What if the cancer comes back? What if the molars don’t grown back properly?

Ultimately, we must rest in the sovereignty of God. When Peter was told that he would die a martyr’s death as an old man, he immediately turned to John and asked the Lord, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus replied, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me” (John 21:21-22). God is sovereign. We do not always know why He does what He does, but we can know that He is in control and that everything He does and allows—even the martyrdom of the apostle James, despite constant prayer being lifted for James’ release—ultimately works to His glory and the good of His people. That is encouraging. There is enough revealed about God to help us to accept what is not.

A Marvellous Grace

Having just experienced a mighty deliverance, Peter immediately makes his way “to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.” We were informed in v. 5 that “the church” was praying for Peter. I don’t imagine that the entire church was gathered in this one house. Evidently there were home groups around the city where people were gathered. Peter immediately set out for one of these groups.

Scholars suspect that Mary’s house may have been the very house where the upper room was. We cannot prove this assertion, but it was obviously an established meeting place for the church, because Peter knew that he would find believers there, despite the late hour. And so he made his way across town to Mary’s house.

When he arrived he knocked on the door, which was answered by a servant girl named Rhoda. Without even opening the door, she recognised Peter’s voice and immediately ran to interrupt the prayer meeting. The announcement was met by great scepticism. At first they insisted that she was mad, but when she kept insisting they surmised that it was perhaps “his angel.” Poor Peter, meanwhile, was standing outside, no doubt looking over his shoulder for the soldiers sent to find him!

We should perhaps pause to make a comment about “his angel.” This is interesting because Scripture nowhere suggests that believers are represented by an angel. Perhaps these believers had some concept of a guardian angel, or perhaps they believed that Peter had in fact been executed and it was his ghost at the door. (The word “angel” can be translated as “ghost.”) Again, there is no evidence in Scripture that departed souls leave a ghost behind them.

Whatever their precise thinking behind Peter’s “angel” or “ghost,” it seems clear that these believers had some doctrinal misunderstanding. Wonderfully, however, God’s answer to their prayer was not dependent on their theological orthodoxy!

When Rhoda could not be dissuaded from her insistence that Peter was in fact standing outside the front door, the rest of the church went to verify her suspicions. When they saw him they were “amazed.” The term means “to marvel” or “to put out of one’s wits.” They were amazed beyond belief that God had actually answered their prayer!

Have you ever been there? Have you ever prayed fervently for something while harbouring unbelief in the back of your mind? Have you prayed for the fall of Islam while despairing at reports of Islamic conquest? Have you prayed for conversions while sceptically dismissing reports of conversions by missionaries? Have you prayed for the conversion of an unbelieving spouse or unbelieving children while harbouring deep doubt as to any answers to those prayers? Let me urge you to beware of unbelief! Perhaps we need to learn to pray with the father in Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

As the group of believers stood around, excitedly babbling about God’s answer to their prayer, Peter motioned “to them with his hand to be silent.” You can appreciate the scene. Surely not everyone would be as excited about his release as they were, and he was perhaps understandably nervous about the wrong people hearing of his escape.

He explained to them precisely what had happened and then instructed them, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Obviously, this was not James the son of Zebedee, for he had already been killed. Most likely, this James was the other apostle James, the son of Alphaeus, who was a cousin of the Lord and seemingly the pastor-teacher of the Jerusalem church. Some have identified this as James the Lord’s half-brother, which is also possible, though (at least in my estimation) somewhat less likely than the apostle. Regardless of the identity of James, he was clearly the pastor-teacher of the church, and Peter wanted him and the entire church to know that he had been freed.

Having instructed the brothers to inform James of his release, Peter “departed and went to another place.” Roman Catholic tradition asserts that “another place” is a reference to Rome, and that Peter spent the rest of his ministry as the head of the Roman church. It seems to me that such an assertion reads quite a bit into the text. More likely, “another place” was simply another house group in Jerusalem. With no central church building, the church was obviously divided into various home groups. James, the pastor-teacher of the church, was not at this home, and this suggests that there must have been other groups. It seems likely, then, that Peter simply moved from this home group to another home group. He wanted word to get around to the entire church of his release, and he would deliver some of that news himself.

Regardless of whether the James here was the Lord’s half-brother or the other apostle, it was the same James who wrote the epistle bearing his name. You will recall that James had much to say about the power of prayer in his letter (5:13-18). I wonder if, as he wrote those words, he wasn’t perhaps thinking of this very incident in which the prayers of many righteous persons had great power as they were working.

Further, in writing of kingdoms in conflict, James again spoke of the power of prayer. “You do not have because you do not ask,” he said (4:2). Too often we do not experience the victories we would like to experience in conflict because we do not pray as we ought. If we realise the ferocity of the battle, we will take God seriously and go to Him in prayer, as this church did.

The ending was not a happy one for the soldiers who had been appointed to guard Peter. “As soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death.” The victory for the kingdom of God’s dear Son resulted in dire consequences for the kingdom of darkness. According to Roman practice, if a prisoner escaped, the guards appointed to watch him would suffer whatever penalty the prisoner faced. Despite a wonderful miracle and multiple witnesses, hardness of heart continued.

A Vindicated Church

The closing verses show us the King preserving His kingdom.

Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country. So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God grew and multiplied.

And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.

(Acts 12:20-25)

His plans to execute Peter having been foiled, Herod “went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there” (v. 19). Caesarea was something of a political retreat. Caesarea was in the region of Tyre and Sidon, and there was great angst between Herod and the inhabitants of that region.

About this time, however, the residents of Tyre and Sidon see the need to make peace with Herod. He was, after all, in authority over them. They seemingly bribed Blastus, his chamberlain, to meet with them and to set things right between them and the king. Blastus evidently convinced Herod to make peace, and so on an appointed day Herod appeared in his royal garb to give a speech and pronounce peace. Roman historian Josephus tells us that Herod appeared this day in a silver-threaded robe, which sparkled brightly in the sun. He timed his speech in such a way that he stood in the sunlight, which simply reflected his robe even more.

The people of the region, meanwhile, eager to secure favour with Herod, began flattering him: “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Josephus tells us that Herod received this adoration, rather than refusing it, and so “immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” Josephus again tells us that Herod suffered terribly for five days with abdominal pain, which “suggests and infestation by intestinal roundworms, which grow as long as ten to sixteen inches and feed on the nutrient fluids in the intestines.”6

We should learn from this that all opposition to Christ and His kingdom is ultimately idolatrous. The reason people won’t believe is because they have set their idols in the hearts. There is a sense in which Christianity is therefore iconoclastic (see 2 Corinthians 10:1-5).

Herod’s obituary is rather sad: “He did not give God the glory; he died; he was eaten by worms.” Of course, this is in reality the testimony of humanity. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Because of that we all die and are all eaten by worms. When John Paton was cautioned not to go to the New Hebrides islands, and warned that he would be eaten by cannibals, he replied to the one warning him: “Sir, one day you will die and be eaten by worms. What does it matter who eats us?”

All of this happened in vindication of the church. We know that because “the word of God grew and multiplied.” As Stott rightly observes,

The chapter opens with James dead, Peter in prison and Herod triumphing; it closes with Herod dead, Peter free, and the word of God triumphing. Such is the power of God to overthrow hostile human plans and to establish his own in their place. Tyrants may be permitted for a time to boast and bluster, oppressing the church and hindering the spread of the gospel, but they will not last. In the end, their empire will be broken and their pride abased.7

The concept of God’s word growing and multiplying is found time and again in Acts. Satan used Herod as a pawn to stunt the growth of the church, but God’s sovereignty decreed that Satan’s best-laid plans only served to further church growth. The gates of hell would not (and will not) prevail against Christ’s church!

Satan thought he could curtail the expansion of the gospel, but Jesus Christ reigns on the right hand of the Father and would not permit it to be so. When the kingdoms collided and darkness tried to stop the light, the church prayed, God intervened, and Christ’s kingdom proved victorious.

We may not face the same opposition that the church faced in Acts 12—at least not in a country like South Africa—but there is still all sorts of opposition to the church today. The kingdoms are still in conflict. If we are not careful we can believe all the news reports that the best days are behind us. We can believe the lie that no further gospel conquest awaits the church in the future. But if we believe the Bible we must affirm that Jesus Christ will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. We can experience victory through the gospel.

The chapter closes with a reference to “Barnabas and Saul” who “returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry.” According to 11:27-30 Barnabas and Saul had taken the financial offering of the Antioch church to Jerusalem, and so were present during the events unfolding in this chapter. No doubt, they, with “John whose surname was Mark” as their witness, testified to the Antioch church the great things that God had done in Jerusalem. And their report, I suspect, played a large part in the next great success story of the church (see 13:1ff). It was no accident that the church in Antioch sent out the first cross-cultural missionaries. As Barnabas and Saul testified to the great victory in Jerusalem, it no doubt encouraged the church that there were more victories to be won.

The kingdoms are in conflict, but the victory is ours through Jesus Christ our Lord. And the main weapons of our warfare, as seen in this chapter, are prayer and the Word of God. We should believe that God’s Word will continue to grow and multiply, and believing that, we should pray fervently to see it realised in His timing and by His power.

Show 7 footnotes

  1. John F. MacArthur, Jr., Acts: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 2 vols. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 1:319.
  2. John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1990), 207.
  3. William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles: The Daily Study Bible Series (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1955), 100.
  4. Stott, The Message of Acts, 209.
  5. Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 101.
  6. Richard N. Longnecker, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1981), 9:413.
  7. Stott, The Message of Acts, 213.