Acts 4-6 Bible in Basic English

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Peter and John before the Council

4 1  And while they were talking to the people, the priests and the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees came up to them, 2  Being greatly troubled because they were teaching the people and preaching Jesus as an example of the coming back from the dead. 3  And they took them and put them in prison till the morning, for it was now evening. 4  But a number of those who gave hearing to the word had faith; and they were now about five thousand.

5  And on the day after, the rulers and those in authority and the scribes came together in Jerusalem; 6  And Annas, the high priest, was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all the relations of the high priest. 7  Then sending for Peter and John, they said, By what power and in whose name have you done this? 8  Then Peter, being full of the Holy Spirit, said to them, O you rulers of the people and men of authority, 9  If we are questioned today about a good work done to a man who was ill, as to how he has been made well, 10  Take note, all of you, and all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you put to death on the cross, whom God gave back from the dead, even through him is this man now before you completely well. 11  He is the stone which you builders had no use for, but which has been made the chief stone of the building. 12  And in no other is there salvation: for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, through which we may have salvation. 13  Now when they saw that Peter and John were without fear, though they were men of no education or learning, they were greatly surprised; and they took note of them that they had been with Jesus. 14  And, seeing that the man who had been made well was there with them, they were not able to say anything against it.

15  But when they had given them orders to go out of the Sanhedrin, they had a discussion among themselves, 16  Saying, What are we to do with these men? for certainly it is clear to all who are living in Jerusalem that a most important sign has been done by them, and it is not possible to say that it is not so. 17  But so that it may not go farther among the people, let us put them in fear of punishment if they say anything in future in this name. 18  And they sent for them, and gave them orders not to make statements or give teaching in the name of Jesus. 19  But Peter and John in answer said to them, It is for you to say if it is right in the eyes of God to give attention to you more than to God: 20  For it is not possible for us to keep from saying what we have seen and have knowledge of. 21  And when they had said more sharp words to them, they let them go, not seeing what punishment they might give them, because of the people; for all men were giving praise to God for what had taken place. 22  For the man on whom this act of power was done was more than forty years old.

The Believers Pray for Boldness

23  And when they had been made free, they came back to their friends, and gave an account of all the things which the chief priests and the authorities had said to them. 24  And hearing it, they all, with one mind, made prayer to God and said, O Lord, maker of heaven and earth and the sea and all things in them: 25  Who has said, by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David your servant, Why are the nations so violently moved, and why are the thoughts of the people so foolish? 26  The kings of the earth were lifted up, the rulers came together, against the Lord, and against his Christ: 27  For, truly, in this town, against your holy servant, Jesus, who was marked out by you as Christ, Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, came together, 28  To do that which had been fixed before by your hand and your purpose. 29  And now, Lord, take note of their cruel words, and give your servants power to be preachers of your word without fear, 30  While your hand is stretched out to do works of mercy; so that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus. 31  And when their prayer was ended, the place where they were was violently moved, and they all became full of the Holy Spirit, preaching the word of God without fear.

All Things in Common

32  And all those who were of the faith were one in heart and soul: and not one of them said that any of the things which he had was his property only; but they had all things in common. 33  And with great power the Apostles gave witness of the coming back of the Lord Jesus from the dead; and grace was on them all. 34  And no one among them was in need; for everyone who had land or houses, exchanging them for money, took the price of them, 35  And put it at the feet of the Apostles for distribution to everyone as he had need. 36  And Joseph, who was given by the Apostles the name of Barnabas (the sense of which is, Son of comfort), a Levite and a man of Cyprus by birth, 37  Having a field, got money for it and put the money at the feet of the Apostles.

Ananias and Sapphira

5 1  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, got money for his property, 2  And kept back part of the price, his wife having knowledge of it, and took the rest and put it at the feet of the Apostles. 3  But Peter said, Ananias, why has the Evil One put it into your heart to be false to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4  While you had it, was it not your property? and after you had given it in exchange, was it not still in your power? how has this purpose come into your mind? you have been false, not to men, but to God. 5  And at these words, Ananias went down on the earth, and his life went from him: and great fear came on all who were present. 6  And the young men went and made ready his body, and took it out, and put it in the earth. 7  And about three hours after, his wife, having no knowledge of what had taken place, came in. 8  And Peter said to her, Give me an answer: was this amount of money the price of the land? And she said, Yes, it was. 9  But Peter said to her, Why have you made an agreement together to be false to the Spirit of the Lord? See, the feet of the young men who have put the body of your husband in the earth, are at the door, and they will take you out. 10  And straight away she went down at his feet, and her life went from her: and the young men came in and saw her dead, and they took her out and put her in the earth with her husband. 11  Then great fear came on all the church and on all who had knowledge of these things.

Many Signs and Wonders Performed

12  Now a number of signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the Apostles; and they were all together in Solomon's covered way. 13  The others, in fear, kept back from joining them: but the people made much of them; 14  And a great number of men and women had faith, and were joined to the Lord; 15  And they even took into the streets people who were ill, and put them on beds, so that when Peter went by, some of them might be in his shade. 16  And numbers of people came together from the towns round about Jerusalem, with those who were ill and those who were troubled with unclean spirits: and they were all made well.

The Apostles Persecuted

17  But the high priest and those who were with him (the Sadducees) were full of envy, 18  And they took the Apostles and put them in the common prison. 19  But in the night an angel of the Lord, opening the doors of the prison, took them out and said, 20  Go, take your place in the Temple and give the people all the teaching about this Life. 21  And hearing this, they went into the Temple at dawn, and were teaching. But the high priest and those who were with him got together the Sanhedrin and the representatives of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to get them. 22  But the men who were sent saw that they were not in the prison, and came back with the news, 23  Saying, The doors of the prison were safely shut, and the keepers were at the doors, but when they were open, there was nobody inside. 24  Now, at these words, the captain of the Temple and the chief priests were greatly troubled about what might be the end of this business. 25  And someone came and said to them, The men, whom you put in prison, are in the Temple teaching the people.

26  Then the captain and some of the police went and took them, but not violently, for fear that they might be stoned by the people. 27  And they took them into the Sanhedrin, and the high priest said to them, 28  We gave you very clear orders not to give teaching in this name: and now Jerusalem is full of your teaching, and you are attempting to make us responsible for this man's death. 29  But Peter and the Apostles, answering, said, We have to do the orders of God, not of man. 30  The God of our fathers gave Jesus back to life, whom you had put to death, hanging him on a tree. 31  Him God has put on high at his right hand, as a Ruler and a Saviour, to give to Israel a change of heart and forgiveness of sins. 32  And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who keep his laws. 33  But when these words came to their ears, they were cut to the heart, and had a mind to put them to death. 34  But one of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a man of learning in the law, of whom all the people had a high opinion, got up and made a suggestion for the men to be put outside for a little time. 35  And he said to them, Men of Israel, take care what you do about these men. 36  For before this there was Theudas, who said he was someone important, to whom about four hundred men gave their support: he was put to death, and his band was broken up and came to nothing. 37  After this man, there was Judas of Galilee, at the time of the numbering, and some of the people went after him: he was put to death, and all his supporters were put to flight. 38  And now I say to you, Do nothing to these men, but let them be: for if this teaching or this work is of men, it will come to nothing: 39  But if it is of God, you will not be able to overcome them, and you are in danger of fighting against God. 40  And he seemed to them to be right: and they sent for the Apostles, and, after having them whipped and giving them orders to give no teaching in the name of Jesus, they let them go. 41  So they went away from the Sanhedrin, happy to undergo shame for the Name. 42  And every day, in the Temple and privately, they went on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

The Appointment of the Seven

6 1  Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was increasing, protests were made by the Greek Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were not taken care of in the distribution of food every day. 2  And the Apostles sent for all the disciples and said, It is not right for us to give up preaching the word of God in order to make distribution of food. 3  Take then from among you seven men of good name, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, to whom we may give control of this business. 4  Then we will give all our time to prayer and the teaching of the word. 5  And this saying was pleasing to all of them: and they made selection of Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip and Prochorus and Nicanor and Timon and Parmenas and Nicolas of Antioch, who had become a Jew: 6  These they took to the Apostles, who, after prayer, put their hands on them. 7  And the word of God was increasing in power; and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem became very great, and a great number of priests were in agreement with the faith.

The Arrest of Stephen

8  And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9  But some of those who were of the Synagogue named that of the Libertines, and some of the men of Cyrene and of Alexandria and those from Cilicia and Asia, had arguments with Stephen. 10  But they were not able to get the better of him, for his words were full of wisdom and of the Spirit. 11  Then they got men to say, He has said evil against Moses and against God, in our hearing. 12  And the people, with the rulers and the scribes, were moved against him, and they came and took him before the Sanhedrin, 13  And they got false witnesses who said, This man is for ever saying things against this holy place and against the law: 14  For he has said in our hearing that this Jesus of Nazareth will put this place to destruction and make changes in the rules which were handed down to us by Moses. 15  And all those who were in the Sanhedrin, looking at him, saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

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