Wednesday Feb 16, 2022

Acts 5:8

Wednesday, 16 February 2022


And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”
She said, “Yes, for so much.” Acts 5:8


The previous verse noted that Sapphira had come in without knowing any of the details concerning the death of Ananias. With that being the context, Peter is obviously prompted in his spirit to find out if the matter extended to her as well. With that in mind, it says, “And Peter answered her.”


In the Bible, the word “answered” is frequently used to indicate “asked,” even if it is the beginning of a conversation. There is a matter that is waiting for a resolution and so it is “answered” to. Hence, the word “answered” responds to the as-yet unstated issue and not necessarily to someone’s query. Understanding this, Peter introduces the issue, saying, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”


The issue is the sale of the land for a certain amount of money. It may be that the bag of money was still there where it had been left as a witness to the deceit of Ananias. The arrival of Sapphira was like its own discourse to open the matter up for a resolution. As such, Peter answers by asking.


In this, the matter is set forth and the evidence is either openly present, or the amount was asked by Peter, even if unrecorded by Luke. Either way, the amount was made manifest to her, and Peter then asked about it. With this precise line of presenting evidence and then questioning the details, Luke next records that “She said, ‘Yes, for so much.’”


The question from Peter was not, “Is this the amount you and your husband decided to present to us?” Rather, it was whether the land was sold for the amount presented. As such, her answer is false.


Life application: Although we should not expect that every person who lies about such a matter will suddenly keel over and expire, the purpose of including this story is surely to instruct us in our own responsibilities in running matters of the church.


First, it is an indication that the Lord is aware of even the smallest details of our daily lives. This is evident from the parable He gave concerning the unjust steward in Luke 16:1-13. Secondly, it is to be remembered that that church at this time did not have a New Testament to conduct its affairs by. And so, the Lord directed the early church, through the apostles, and He did it – at times – by having things come about that are not to be considered normative once the epistles were written.


With the epistles now available, a matter such as this one can now be evaluated based on what is written there, and decisions can be rendered based on that guidance. Thus, it is incumbent on those who find error within the church to go to the word, ensure that the matter is evaluated based on what the word says, and then a decision is rendered based on that evaluation.


Let us be sure to consult the word. To not do so defeats the purpose of having it in the first place. Keep reminding yourself as you go through Acts that it is a descriptive account. It is not prescribing anything in matters such as this one, and what occurs is certainly not to be considered normative for the rest of the church age.


Glorious God, what a gift You have given to us in the pages of the Bible. If we are willing to adhere to it as the guiding rule for our lives, then our lives will certainly be better off for it. You are the Creator, and we are the work of Your hands. Certainly, what You have given us in the word is a reflection of the care You have for us. Thank You for this word! Amen.

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