Acts 2:42-47

Acts 2:42-47
Eastertide A23


42 They devotedA themselves to the apostles’B teachingC and fellowship,D to the breaking of bread and the prayers.E

Notes on verse 42

A “devoted” = proskartereo. 10x in NT. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + kartereo (to be strong, endure; figuratively to be steadfast, to persevere, to be patient); {from kratos (strength, power, dominion; vigor in a literal or figurative sense; power that is exercised)}. This is to show strength consistently in the face of trials. It can also mean to persist, stand ready, be earnest, or attend to something.
B “apostles’” = apostolos. From apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for)}. This is a messenger – someone sent out on a mission as an envoy or delegate. It can also refer to someone set at liberty. Generally, this is a messenger who is meant to be a representative of the one who sent them. They are thus, set apart on a mission literally or figuratively.
C “teaching” = didache. From didasko (to teach, direct, instruct, or impart knowledge; in the New Testament, almost always used for teaching scripture); from dao (to learn). This is teaching or doctrine.
D “fellowship” = koinonia. 19x in NT. From koinonos (partner, companion, partaker, sharer); From koinos (common, shared, unclean, ritually profane); probably from sun (with, together with). This is sharing in common so it is fellowship, participation, communion, and aid that comes from the community.
E “prayers” = proseuche. From proseuchomai (to pray or pray for, to worship or supplicate; more literally exchanging one’s own wishes for God’s); {from pros (advantageous for, at, toward) + euchomai (to wish, make a request, pray)}. This is prayer, worship, or a place where one prays.

43 AweF cameG upon everyone,H because many wondersI and signsJ were being done by the apostles. 

Notes on verse 43

F “awe” = phobos. From phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect.
G “came” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
H “everyone” = pas + psuche. Literally “every soul.” Psuche is from psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
I “wonders” = teras. 16x in NT. This is a wonder or marvel performed to get bystanders to react. It could also be a portent or omen.
J “signs” = semeion. From the same as semaino (to give a sign, signify, indicate, make known); from sema (a sign or mark). It is literally a sign of any kind. It also refers to a sign given by God to confirm or authenticate a message or prophecy. It is not necessarily miraculous, but it can be. The Gospel of John generally uses this word instead of miracle.

44 All who believedK were together and had all things in common;L 45 they would sell their possessionsM and goodsN and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.O 

Notes on verses 44-45

K “believed” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
L “in common” = koinos. Related to “fellowship” in v42. 14x in NT. See note D above.
M “possessions” = ktema. 4x in NT. From ktaomai (to get, purchase, possess). This is a possession as something acquired. It particularly refers to field or property that is land.
N “goods” = huparxis. 2x in NT. From huparcho (to begin or be ready, to exist or possess; what one already has or possesses); {from hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power)}. This is a possession that is at your own disposal and is available to you. It is possessions, goods, wealth, or property.
O “need” = chreia. From chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request); related to chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary). This is the is task, business, or affair. It can also be need, want, or destitution.

46 Day by day, as they spent much timeP togetherQ in the temple,R

Notes on verse 46a

P “spent much time” = proskartereo. Same as “devoted” in v42. See note A above.
Q “together” = homothumadon. 11x in NT. From homou (together); {from homos (the same)} + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}}. This is having one mind or a shared passion. It is people who share the same desire.
R “temple” = hieron. From hieros (sacred, something sacred, temple, holy, set apart; something consecrated to a god). This is the word for temple.

they broke bread at homeS and ateT their foodU with gladV and generousW hearts,X 

Notes on verse 46b

S “home” = oikos. This is house – the building, the household, the family, descendants, the temple.
T “ate” = metalambano. 7x in NT. From meta (with among, behind, beyond; implies a change following contact or action) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is take a or partake, to share, or participate.
U “food” = trophe. 16x in NT. Perhaps from trepho (to bring up, rear, nourish, fatten, nurse; properly, to enlarge through proper nourishment). This is nourishment in a literal or figurative sense. By implication, it can be ration or wages.
V “glad” = agalliasis. 5x in NT. From agalliao (joy that prompts you to jump up. It is a full body experience of joy: exulting, rejoicing, or even boasting from joy); from agallomai (to exalt, make glorious) {from agan (much, very) + hallomai (to leap or leap up; when referring to water, springing up or bubbling up; to jump or figuratively to gush)}. This is exultation, wild joy, exhilaration, gladness, or welcome.
W “generous” = aphelotes. 1x in NT. From apheles (no stone – even or smooth); {from a (not, without) + phellos (a stone; something that one stubs their foot on)}. This is lacking rocks – being level or smooth. Figuratively, it refers to things being uncomplicated or lacking a stumbling block. So, it can be simplicity or sincerity.
X “hearts” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.

47 praisingY GodZ and having the goodwillAA of all the people.BB And day by day the LordCC addedDD to their number those who were being saved.EE

Notes on verse 47

Y “praising” = aineo. 8x in NT. From ainos (praise, saying, story, proverb). This is to praise.
Z “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
AA “goodwill” = charis. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.
BB “people” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.
CC “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
DD “added” = prostithemi. 18x in NT. 18x in NT. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is to add, place to, bring together for a reason, or add up.
EE “saved” = sozo. From sos (safe, rescued, well). This is to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively. This is the root that “savior” and “salvation” come from in Greek.

Image credit: “Painting in the Early-Christian catacomb of San Callisto (Saint Calixte Catacomb) ,” Rome, 3rd century.

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