Acts 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Acts 1)

Verse 2

[2] Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

After having given commandment — In the 3d verse Acts 1:3 St. Luke expresses in general terms what Christ said to his apostles during those forty days. But in the 4th Acts 1:4 and following verses he declares what he said on the day of his ascension. He had brought his former account down to that day; and from that day begins the Acts of the Apostles.

Verse 3

[3] To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

Being seen by them forty days — That is, many times during that space.

And speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God — Which was the sum of all his discourses with them before his passion also.

Verse 4

[4] And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

Wait for the promise of the Father, which ye have heard from me — When he was with them a little before, as it is recorded, Luke 24:49.

Verse 5

[5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost — And so are all true believers to the end of the world. But the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost also are here promised.

Verse 6

[6] When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Dost thou at this time — At the time thou now speakest of? not many days hence? restore the kingdom to Israel? - They still seemed to dream of an outward, temporal kingdom, in which the Jews should have dominion over all nations. It seems they came in a body, having before concerted the design, to ask when this kingdom would come.

Verse 7

[7] And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

The times or the seasons — Times, in the language of the Scriptures, denote a longer; seasons, a shorter space.

Which the Father hath put in his own power — To be revealed when and to whom it pleaseth him.

Verse 8

[8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

But ye shall receive power — and shall be witnesses to me - That is, ye shall be empowered to witness my Gospel, both by your preaching and suffering.

Verse 12

[12] Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

A Sabbath-day's journey — The Jews generally fix this to two thousand cubits, which is not a mile.

Verse 13

[13] And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

They went up into the upper room — The upper rooms, so frequently mentioned in Scripture, were chambers in the highest part of the house, set apart by the Jews for private prayer. These, on account of their being so retired and convenient, the apostles now used for all the offices of religion. Matthew 10:2; Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13.

Verse 14

[14] These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

His brethren — His near kinsmen, who for some time did not believe; it seems not till near his death.

Verse 15

[15] And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

The number of persons together — Who were together in the upper room.

were a hundred and twenty — But he had undoubtedly many more in other places; of whom more than five hundred saw him at once after his resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:6.

Verse 16

[16] Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

Psalms 41:9.

Verse 18

[18] Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

This man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity — That is, a field was purchased with the reward of his iniquity; though very possibly Judas might design the purchase.

And falling down on his face — It seems the rope broke before, or as he died.

Verse 19

[19] And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

In their own tongue — This expression, That is, the field of blood, St. Luke seems to have added to the words of St. Peter, for the use of Theophilus and other readers who did not understand Hebrew.

Verse 20

[20] For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

His bishopric — That is, his apostleship. Psalms 69:25.

Verse 21

[21] Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

All the time that the Lord Jesus was going in and out — That is, conversing familiarly: over us - as our Master. Psalms 109:8.

Verse 22

[22] Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

To be a witness with us of his resurrection — And of the circumstances which preceded and followed it.

Verse 23

[23] And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

And they appointed two — So far the faithful could go by consulting together, but no further. Therefore here commenced the proper use of the lot, whereby a matter of importance, which cannot be determined by any ordinary method, is committed to the Divine decision.

Verse 25

[25] That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

Fell — By his transgression - Some time before his death: to go to his own place - That which his crimes had deserved, and which he had chosen for himself, far from the other apostles, in the region of death.