Acts 2:42-47 – The beginning of Messianic Faith

Updated: Jan 28

In the Episcopal Lectionary for the Fourth Sunday of Easter includes this reading from the Acts of the Apostles:



She then said scholars had investigated the concept of early Christians selling all their belongings and determined that was only a brief moment in history, which they concluded ended because that didn’t work out very well.  It seems there are more people who are going to the Church of the Unknown Scholars and bowing down in belief, praying, “Thank you almighty scholars for keeping me from having to be a poor man or woman.”


Again, I paraphrase, but that is close to what was really said. Let me clear this reading up.


I have taken the Episcopal Lectionary preparation of this reading and broken it down by verse above.  Here is the reality of what was written [scroll down to verse 42, if following via the link], and take note how the Episcopal Church has taken liberties in translation – they paraphrased.

  1. They were now steadfastly continuing in the teaching of the apostles, and in fellowship, the breaking of the bread, and the prayers.

  2. There was coming then upon every soul awe, many and both wonders and signs through the apostles were taking place.

  3. All now having believed were together the same and having all things in common;

  4. and the possessions and the goods they were selling and were dividing them to all, as anyone need had.

  5. Every day and steadfastly continuing with one accord in the temple, breaking then at each house bread, they were partaking of food with gladness and sincerity of heart,

  6. praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord kept adding those who would be saved every day to their number.

To me, this is crystal clear and there is nothing written here that is not the absolute truth.  The only way its message can be misconstrued is:


for one to not be one of “the apostles,”

not be one whose “soul [found] awe,”

not being “together the same” as are all apostles the same resurrection of Jesus Christ [thus true Christians],

not sharing “to all” other apostles “as anyone has need,”

not being the Lord’s “bread” sent to share the meaning of Scripture with others gladly and sincerely,

and not “praising God” for having allowed them all to be His apostles.


In short, not being an apostle makes it impossible to fully comprehend this reading.

The priest whose sermon I listened to said, “I kept coming back to the reading from Acts.”  She said that knowing this is generally called Good Shepherd Sunday by the Church and the Acts reading is the only selection this day that does not directly state sheep or shepherd in it.  That lack means “apostles” are the shepherds, as Jesus the Good Shepherd resurrected.  Then the priest said, “There is very little written that explains these verses.”  Simply by having to look up what someone else thought means she had no divine insight, which clearly says she is not an apostle, not a resurrected Jesus, and not a true Christian. 


She dwelled on verses 44 and 45, which the Episcopal Church paraphrased as “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.”  That is the mantra chanted by Socialists who have invaded the Western churches like a coronavirus, choking the life breath out of those who still call themselves Christians.  Socialists love to make Jesus be a slave to their cause, so (in the brains of Socialists) apostles must match that message of giving everything for the common good [as long as good meets their political needs].


The priest then got bent out of shape in her anger that anyone would try to use guns to enter the statehouse in Michigan [not a state she was preaching in] and protest the “stay at home” orders there.  She spit venom at those who would not wear masks and gloves, while she wore neither.  She ridiculed one person interviewed at a beach somewhere “partying,” who said, “If I get coronavirus then I get it, but I’m not going to live my life in fear of it.”  She then explained that the “stay at home” was not out of fear, but out of Jesus’ love for the common good [as determined by politicians, with advisors in all professions]. 


Then, in case anyone questioned her piety, she gave praise to all types of “essential workers,” which is a Socialist call to “be like loyal patriots comrades!” propaganda.


The verses written by Luke [the Acts author, some scholars believe] are only placing focus on the Acts of the Apostles, not the acts of the political factions of Jerusalem (the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes, the High Priest and his buddy priests), nor the acts of the Roman overlords, or the acts of the common Jews, which included all their lame, sick, diseased, and birth defected.  It is only placing focus on “the apostles.” 


Now, the Episcopal priest did a good job of pointing out that verse 42 is referring to “the three thousand” who instantly became apostles on Pentecost, due to the voice of God flowing from the Apostles’ lips and landing in the new apostles’ hearts.  That day there probably were a thousand or so who were not transformed into apostles.  Luke is not focusing on them either. 


The three thousand were ALL pilgrims who spoke foreign languages naturally, meaning they lived elsewhere.  After Pentecost was over, they would ALL go home.  None of them would become BFF of Peter or the other eleven.  But “They were now steadfastly continuing in the teaching,” which was the “teaching” of the Christ Mind, sent only to apostles by God via the Holy Spirit.


The “fellowship” that “the apostles” had was not to each other – although that is the essence of a separate group of Jews who had suddenly seen the truth of their promised Messiah by them becoming Jesus reborn – as the word means “a partnership.”  Each pilgrim filled with the Holy Spirit became interrelated by that Spirit, as Brothers (and Sisters), all in the name of Jesus Christ; but they would each go his and her separate ways after the festival was over.  This is the true meaning of being Christian, because “the apostles” were all the marriage partners of Yahweh, who gave birth to His Son within them ALL


The “breaking bread” means three thousand Jews of ignorance became freshly risen loaves of the bread of Heaven, to be served to those seeking spiritual nourishment (not those who believed, “No thanks.  I’m good with the way things are.”)  The element of “prayer” to an apostle is their ability to communicate with God, both talking to Him and hearing His guidance.


It is through that two-way line of communication with God that “upon every soul came awe.”  The Greek word “psychē” means “soul,” as opposed to the physical human flesh of a person.  The Greek word “phobos” means “awe,” as “reverence and respect,” but it also means “fear, terror, alarm, or the object or cause of fear.”  By talking to God directly, personally, each soul KNEW that God was real and ALL-KNOWING and ALL-SEEING and ALL-POWERFUL.  Every soul of an apostle became well aware that being unfaithful to their new Husband meant no chance of eternal life; but they all also felt the supreme comfort in knowing that service only to Yahweh meant His eternal protection of their souls from harm – no self-inflicted destruction.


Now the Episcopalian priest was blinded to the words that state “many and both wonders and signs through the apostles were taking place.”  She did not mention them at all.  That can be excused, because this is where the Greek reads choppily, which means it must be read slowly.  The Greek words “polla te terata” can say “many both wonders,” which is difficult to grasp.  The same words can equally say, “much (or often) also marvels.”  That fully supports a “soul in awe” and should be how one reads those words. 


The commonality of the Greek word “te” being translated as “both” can then be read as the truth that each apostles was “both” a soul of life breath, joined by the soul of Jesus, where “both” were amazed by the Word received by them from God the Father.  The “wonders” can then be seen as an apostle doing all the amazing things that Paul listed – the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 


That aspect of apostlehood is better stated in the Greek word that follows, “sēmeia,” which means “signs, miracles, indications, and distinguishing marks.”  One is able to tell who a true apostle is by the works one does, which are divinely manifested – not researched from books written by others, so one without opinions can share the opinion of another as one’s own.  A true apostle stands and speaks the Word without thinking first.  A hired hand prepares a sermon from researching what others have written prior.


When verse 42 says, “All now having believed were together the same and having all things in common,” that has to be understood fully.  The Greek word “pisteuontes” means “having believed,” but should be understood as meaning “having faith in,” where faith is better grasped as true belief, more than hearsay belief.  It is then because the apostles all are demonstrating the “signs” of “having faith in” God that they are “together,” in the sense that all apostles are doing the same miracle works.  They are not physically together doing those works, but “together” with God, so they are all doing “the same” good works.  Thus, “having all things in common” is not a reference to possessions commonly available to all apostles, but “altogether they shared the same” God-given abilities.  That is a viable translation of “hapanta koina” – “altogether shared.”


When one gets down to verse 43 and the statement “and the possessions and the goods they were selling and were dividing them to all, as anyone need had,” the Greek word “ktēmata” as to be recognized as meaning “possessions,” but this is more a reference to land holdings or “property” owned than all the things surrounding one at home.  Those are summed up in the Greek word “hyparxeis,” which means “goods, substance, property, possessions” as well as “subsistence, existence, property.”  The key word of translation is then the Greek verb “epipraskon,” which says “they were selling.”  However, therein lies the mistake everyone makes, unless guided by the Holy Spirit to understand.


The root Greek word for “epipraskon” is “pipraskó,” which means “ I sell; pass: I am a slave to, am devoted to.”  The way this word should be read is then as “ridding.”  The apostles were “ridding themselves of dependencies to property and goods.”  To think that only means “to sell,” then one has done nothing but exchange one thing of slavery (possessions and goods) for another (love of money). 


It is then important to realize that Jesus had told a young Pharisee (I believe he was Nicodemus), “Follow the Law, sell everything you own and give to the poor, then follow me.”  The Pharisee could not understand that and neither could the Episcopal priest whose sermon I listened to.  If one is led by the Christ Mind, one sees the idiocy of taking one’s slavery to money and making some other poor bastard take it away from you.  The mistake is to think taking from the rich and giving to the poor solves anything, when the reality is it simply makes the rich poor and the poor rich, same situation reversed.  Thus, verse 43 says, “the properties, the goods of the apostles they ceased being slave to, so they stopped being possessive and judging others by what they had or did not have and divided what they had so OTHER APOSTLES could have their needs OF MINISTRY met.” {Again, I paraphrase intuitively.]


The Episcopal priest made a point of jumping ahead in Acts to the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), saying they tried to hold back a little of their money from land sold and “that did not work out well for them.”  It did not work out well because those two were not truly filled with the Holy Spirit and not true apostles.  They were WANTABES and they “gave up the ghost” (their soul of life breath) from trying to lie and pretend they were.  The measure of an apostle is not about hard currency, or lack thereof.  Peter told them that God never made any demands on them to sell anything.  God knows not everyone is made of the cloth from which true Christians are made.  Everyone can be if they truly desire God and seek Him out; but, ask ole Karl Marx how well that works out … in reality, not utopia.  I’m sure his soul knows by now.


When verse 46 states, “Every day and steadfastly continuing with one accord in the temple,” the Greek word translated as “one accord” is “homothymadon.”  That word means “with one mind.”  That “one mind” is the Christ Mind.  The “temple” is not Herod’s Temple, but the one we all know: the body is the “temple” of the soul.” When the verse continues to state, “breaking then at each house bread,” that means the three thousand apostles each took the Christ Mind home with them, to their families.  There, they could have the same affect on loved ones as Peter and the eleven had on them.  They are steadfastly continuing the teaching by breaking and scattering, going to three thousand different houses of worship – the truest meaning of a “church” (“ekklēsia“).  In each house the “bread” of Heaven was served to nourish souls, not bellies.  When the verse ends by stating, “they were partaking of food with gladness and sincerity of heart,” the Greek word translated as “food” is “trophēs,” which also means “nourishment or maintenance”.


When verse 47 begins is says, “praising God.”  The apostles and their families had found gladness and sincerity in their hearts that filled them with greater awe, so they gave praise to the source of that, which was Yahweh.  Without that presence WITHIN ONE’S SOUL-BEING one cannot truly give God praise.  Praise is not uttered words, but actions that speak louder than words. 


When verse 47 continues to state, “having favor with all the people,” the word translated as “favor” (“charin“) actually means “grace, as a gift or blessing brought to man by Jesus Christ.” (Strong’s)  That means wherever a true apostle walked the “people” (mostly Jews in the beginning) could feel the presence of God’s grace.  The apostles projected the kindness of Christianity that does not condemn people for going to the beach or carrying guns legally.  Kindness teaches the truth without bending or twisting it to suit one’s agenda.  Thus, we read “the Lord kept adding those who would be saved every day to their number.”


Unfortunately, that happy ending is not so much the case today.


Amen

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