Acts 2:46 MEANING

Acts 2:46
(46) Continuing daily with one accord in the temple.--At first it would have seemed natural that the followers of a Teacher whom the priests had condemned to death, who had once nearly been stoned, and once all but seized in the very courts of the Temple (John 8:59; John 10:31; John 7:45), should keep aloof from the sanctuary that had thus been desecrated. But they remembered that He had claimed it as His Father's house, that His zeal for that house had been as a consuming passion (John 2:16-17), and therefore they had attended its worship daily before the Day of Pentecost (Luke 24:53); and it was not less, but infinitely more, precious to them now, as the place where they could meet with God, than it had been in the days of ignorance, before they had known the Christ, and through Him had learnt to know the Father. The apparent strangeness of their being allowed to meet in the Temple is explained partly by the fact that its courts were open to all Israelites who did not disturb its peace, partly by the existence of a moderate half-believing party in the Sanhedrin itself, including Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathaea, and Gamaliel (Acts 5:35); and by the popularity gained for a time by the holiness and liberal almsgiving of the new community.

Breaking bread from house to house.--Better, with the margin, at home--i.e., in their own house. The Greek phrase may have a distributive force, but Romans 16:5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:14, where the same formula is used, seem to show that that is not the meaning here. They met in the Temple, they met also in what, in the modern sense of the word, would be the "church" of the new society, for the act of worship, above all, for the highest act of worship and of fellowship, for which the Temple was, of course, unsuitable.

Did eat their meat . . .--We have again the tense which implies a customary act. The words imply that as yet the solemn breaking of bread was closely connected with their daily life. Anticipating the language of a few years later, the Agape, or Love-feast, was united with the Eucharistic Communion. The higher sanctified the lower. It was not till love and faith were colder that men were forced to separate them, lest (as in 1 Corinthians 11:20-21) the lower should desecrate the higher.

Gladness and singleness of heart.--This "gladness" is significant. The word was the same as that which had been used by the angel to Zacharias (Luke 1:44) in announcing the birth of the Forerunner. The verb from which the noun was derived had been employed by our Lord when He bade His disciples rejoice and be glad (Matthew 5:12). The literal meaning of the word translated "singleness," which does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, was the smoothness of a soil without stones. Thence it came to be used for evenness and simplicity, unity of character; thence for that unity showing itself in love; thence, by a further transition, for unalloyed benevolence, showing itself in act.

Verse 46. - Day by day continuing steadfastly for they continuing daily, A.V.; at home for from house to house, A.V.; they did take their food for did eat their meat, A.V. In the temple. It is very remarkable that at this early age of the Church's existence Christians did not deem themselves separated from their Jewish brethren, or from the Old Testament institutions. Christianity was but Judaism perfected; the gospel the full blossoming of the Law. The first Christian Jews, therefore, did not conceive of themselves as quitting the religion of their fathers, but rather hoped that their whole nation would in a short time acknowledge Jesus to be the Christ. Christian institutions, therefore - the prayers, the breaking of bread, the prophesyings and speaking with tongues, and the apostolic teachings - were supplemental to the temple service, not antagonistic to it; and the church took the place rather of the synagogue than of the temple (see 'Dict. of Bible:' "Synagogue"). At home. This version hardly represents the true idea of the original; κατ οϊκον represents the private Christian place of meeting, as contrasted with the temple. The meaning is not that every disciple broke bread in his own house, but that they broke bread at the house where the Christian assemblies were held, whether one or more. We have already seen the Church gathered together "in an upper room" (Acts 1:13), in "one place," in "a house" (Acts 2:1, 2), and "together" (ver. 44; see too Acts 4:31); and we know that as the synagogue was called בֵּית תְפִּלָּה, house of prayer, or בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת, the house of assemblage, so the Christian place of meeting was called ὁ Κυριακὸς οῖκος; the Lord's house, whence the word "church." (For breaking bread, see above, ver. 42.) They did take their food. The link of connection is the ἀγάπη or love-feast, which formed an important part of the κοινωνία, or common life, of the early Christians. The whole description is a beautiful picture of Christian unity, piety, love, and joy.

2:42-47 In these verses we have the history of the truly primitive church, of the first days of it; its state of infancy indeed, but, like that, the state of its greatest innocence. They kept close to holy ordinances, and abounded in piety and devotion; for Christianity, when admitted in the power of it, will dispose the soul to communion with God in all those ways wherein he has appointed us to meet him, and has promised to meet us. The greatness of the event raised them above the world, and the Holy Ghost filled them with such love, as made every one to be to another as to himself, and so made all things common, not by destroying property, but doing away selfishness, and causing charity. And God who moved them to it, knew that they were quickly to be driven from their possessions in Judea. The Lord, from day to day, inclined the hearts of more to embrace the gospel; not merely professors, but such as were actually brought into a state of acceptance with God, being made partakers of regenerating grace. Those whom God has designed for eternal salvation, shall be effectually brought to Christ, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of his glory.And they continued daily with one accord in the temple,.... Every day they went up to the temple, at the time of prayer, or whenever any religious service was to be performed; this was their constant practice, and in this they agreed:

and breaking bread from house to house; either administering the Lord's supper in private houses, as the Jews kept their passover, sometimes administering it at one house, and sometimes at another; or because their number was so large, that one house could not hold them, they divided themselves into lesser bodies; and some met, and had the ordinance administered to them in one house, and some in another: or this may be understood of their common meals, which they ate together at one another's houses in great love and friendship; for

they did eat their meat with gladness; with great thankfulness to the God of their mercies for their daily food, acknowledging that all came from him, and that they were undeserving of it, and with much cheerfulness and affability one among another, without murmuring and repining at their lot, or envying each other, or grudging what each other partook of:

and singleness of heart; without deceit and hypocrisy; either in their thanksgivings to God, or in their welcome and entertainment of each other; and with great sincerity, openness, and frankness before God, and one another. The Syriac version joins this clause with the beginning of the next verse, "with singleness of heart, praising God".

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