The Expositor's Bible

The Acts of the Apostles

Part I

G. T. Stokes

Table of Contents

Title Page


Chapter I

The Origin And Authority Of The Acts Of The Apostles.

Acts 1:1-2.

Title — Apocryphal Acts — Paul And Thecla — Evidence Of Tertullian — His Chronological Position — Modern Analogies — Muratorian Fragment And Bobbio — Epistle From Lyons — Pothinus An Apostolic Man — Marcion And St. Luke — Defects Of German Criticism — Growth Of New Testament Canon — Newly-Discovered Second Century Documents — Scillitan Martyrs — Primitive Christians And Biblical Criticism — Advantages Of Uncertainty On Theology — Theological Accuracy Of St. Luke

Chapter II

The Conversations Of The Great Forty Days.

Acts 1:6-9.

Subject-Matter Revealed In The Acts — Our Lord's Post-Resurrection Appearances — Apostolic Curiosity — Messianic Idea Among Jews — Books Of Enoch And Of Jubilees — Evidence For Inspiration Of New Testament — Christianity A Practical Religion — Contrast With Paganism — Mithraism — Spiritual Blessing Of Christ's Reticence Concerning The Future — Antinomies In Scripture — Bad Effects Of Human Curiosity — At Thessalonica — In The Middle Ages — In Last And Present Centuries — Irvingism — Holy Ghost Alone The Source Of Spiritual Power

Chapter III

The Ascension Of Christ, And Its Lessons.

Acts 1:9.

Position Of Doctrine Of Ascension In Epistles — And In Apostolic Teaching — Curious And Foolish Questions About It — The Unseen Um'verse — Fitness Of The Doctrine — And Necessity If The Church Was To Rise Out Of Judaism Into Christianity — Illustrations, London And The Papacy — Renan's Theory — The Ascension Glorified Human Nature — Paganism Degraded It — Gladiatorial Shows And Story Of The Monk Telemachus — Tacitus And Slavery — Cato The Censor And The Treatment Of Slaves — The Ascension And Darwinism

Chapter IV

The Election Of Matthias.

Acts 1:24-26.

Expectation Days — Principle Of Divine Delay — Christian Seasons And Judaism — Pentecost And Sinai — Continuity Of The Divine Purposes — Christian Chronology — Tatian's Orati.Oti — The Apostles And The Upper Room — Narratives Of Epiphanius And Cyril Of Jerusalem — Christianity Supra-Local — Last Notice Of The Blessed Virgin — Doctrine Of The Assumption — Self Restraint Of Scriptural Writers — Choice Of New Apostle — St. Peter's Proposition^his Character — Privilegium Petri — Reasons For The Election — The Christian Ministry And The Resurrection — C. Leslie's Short And Easy Method — History Of St. Matthias — Apocryphal Gospels — Papias On Fate Of Judas Iscariot

Chapter V

The Pentecostal Blessing.

Acts 2:1-4.

Origin And History Of Pentecost — Gnosticism And Antinomianism — Modern Aspect Of Ancient Pleresies — Ancient Union And Modern Divisions Of Christendom — Jeremy Taylor's Prayer — The Fiery Tongues — Protest Against Persecution And Pena Laws In Religion — Ussher And Baxter, Mistakes Of — Death Scene Of Queen Caroline — Importance Of Corporate Aspect Of Christianity — Clergy And Laity In Apostolic Church — Gift Of Tongues And Irvingism — Modern Theories About Pentecost — Hypnotism — Greek And Latin Not Universal Languages In Apostolic Times — Ramsay's Geography Of Asia Minor

Chapter VI

St, Peter's First Sermon.

Acts 2:14.

Reports Of Ancient Sermons, How Derived — Use Of Shorthand Among Ancients — St. Peter's Auditory — Celts Of Britain At Crucifixion — Jews In Arabia — Homerite Martyrs — St. Peter's Conduct At Pentecost An Evidence For The Resurrection — Contrast With His Action At Antioch — St. Peter's Universal Conceptions And Language — A Protest Against Ebionism And Unitarianism — St. Peter And Christ's Descent Into Hades — Apollinarianism And The True Doctrine Of Our Lord's Humanity — David's Sepulchre And Christ's Resurrection — Jewish Traditions

Chapter VII

The First Fruits Of Pentecost.

Acts 2:37-39.

Contrast Between Our Lord's Preaching And That Of His Apostles — Proof Of Extraordinary Work Of The Spirit — Evidence Of Tacitus — Spiritual Power A Different Thing From Religious Knowledge — Character Of St. Peter's Teaching — Repentance — Modern Antinomianism. — Williams, Baxter, Stilling Fleet, Wesley — St. Peter And Baptism — Baptism In The Didache — Story Of That Manual And Its Discovery — The Baptisma Formula — Immersion — Infant Baptism — St. Peter And The Power Of The Keys

Chapter VIII

First Recorded Miracle And First Persecution.

Acts 3:1-6.

The Acts A Mirror Of Church History — Pause After Pentecost, Reason Of — Need Of Pastoral Work — Relapses In Mission Field — The Corinthian Case — Rest And Spiritual Growth — Evils Of Excitement — Contrast Of Christianity With The Montanists And Cynics — True Religion Not, However, Purely Contemplative — Circumstances Of First Miracle — Which Was Typical Of Church's Future Work — Among The Poor And Sick — Story Of St. Crispin — St. Chrysostom's Sermons — First Franciscans Contrasted With Early Methodists — Medical Missions — Place Of Miracle — Solomon's Porch — St. Peter's Address Model For Preachers — Shows Divinity Of Christ — Exalts Christ — is Bold And Prudent Withal

Chapter IX

The First Persecution.

Acts 4:1-3, 5-7.

St. Peter's Teaching In Solomon's Porch And The Captain Of The Temple — The Romans And Jewish Law — Discovery Of Temple Tablet — The Sadducees And The Work Of Opposition — Sadduceism And Modern Theories — Sceptics And Religious Intolerance — Pliny And The Martyrs — Trial Of The Apostles — Constitution Of The Sanhedrin — Sadducism And The Priesthood — St. Peter's Defence And Christ's Promise — Afford No Support To Unprepared Teaching In Ordinary Life — St. Peter And The Power Of Christ's Name — The Sanhedrin And Miracles — The Jews And Magic — Reverence Towards The Name Of God — Early Symbolism And Christ's Name — Salvation Through Christ And The Wider Hope

Chapter X

The Community Of Goods.

Acts 4:32-35.

The Holy Scriptures And The Editors Of Their Heroes — Controversy Between St. Jerome And St. Augustine — A Mistaken View Of Christ's Second Advent The Source Of Community Of Goods — Communism And The Essenes — And Anabaptists — And Plymouthism — Source Of Poverty In Jerusalem Church — Warning To Missionary Churches — Apostolic Constitutions — And Primitive Missions — Fayum Documents — Evils Of Indiscriminate Almsgiving — True Christian Charity — Post Office Savings Banks — Jerusalem Communism And Modern Legislation And Ideals — A Warning And Yet A Noble Conception — Connection Of Enthusiasm And Spiritual Power

Chapter XI

Honesty And Pretence In The Primitive Church.

Acts 4:36, 37 ; V. 1-6.

Hebrews And Hellenists In The Synagogue And In The Church — Original Christians Were Hebrews — Introduction Of Hellenists — Who Became The Bridge Whereby Christianity Was Communicated To The World — Barnabas And Greek Culture — A Native Of Cyprus — His Personal Appearance — And History According To Simeon Metaphrastes — Personal Character — Story Of Ananias — His Sin And Punishment — Proved That Christianity Had A Stem As Well As A Loving Side — Dr. Vaughan's Application Of This Incident

Chapter XII

Gamaliel And His Prudent Advice.

Acts V. 38-40.

The Apostles Again Brought Before Sanhedrin — Because Of St. Peter's Miracles — Note On The Miraculous Effects Of St. Peter's Shadow And Hypnotism — St. Peter And Angelic Deliverances — Jortin's Theory — The Incarnation Rendered The Age A Special Time — The Sadducees And Materialism — Gamaliel A Pharisee — Effect Of A Spiritual Creed On The Character — His Address — Cases Of Judas And Theudas — Modern Illustrations — Gamaliel's Family History — Gamaliel In The Clementme Recognitions And In Greek Christian Traditions — Gamaliel And Nicodemus In The Bibliotheca Of Photius — Gamaliel And The Spirit Of Toleration — St. Augustine And Cornelius A Lapide — Conduct Of The Apostles

Chapter XIII

Primitive Dissensions And Apostolic Precautions.

Acts 6:1-4.

The Election Of The Seven A Crisis In Church History — Date Of St. Stephen's Martyrdom — Occasion Of It — Primal Relation Of Judaism To Christianity — Not Mutually Exclusive — Illustrated By Those Of First Methodists To Church Of England — Tyranny And Deposition Of Pilate — Multiplication Of Christians Led To Murmuring And Thence To Choice Of Seven — Showing Benefits And Drawbacks Of Prosperity — Imperfections Of Apostolic Church — Fallacy Of Roman ά Priori Argument For Infallibility — Reciprocal Influence Of Church And World — Various Meanings Of Term "World" — Murmuring Arose From Racial And Linguistic Differences — Hebrews And Hellenists — Modern Analogies — Diversity Of Functions In Church — Serving Of Tables Differs From Ministry Of Word — Which Demands Study, Meditation, And Prayer — Weakness Of Modern Pulpit Accounted For — Election Of Deacons And Number — The Diaconate And Cardinalate

Chapter XIV

St. Stephen And The Evolution Of The Christian Ministry.

Acts 6:5, 6 ; 8-1 1.

The Seven Were Scriptural — Origin Of Diaconate — Bishop Lightfoot's View — Influence Of The Synagogue Upon The Church — Illustrated By Marcionites — And By Pilgrim Fathers In New England — Constitution Of Synagogues — Jewish Almoners Or Deacons — Evidence To Diaconate Of Apostolic Fathers — Of Pliny — Of Irenaeus — Connection Of Community Of Goods With The Eucharist — Poor Law Among Jews — And Christians — Testimony Of Lucian — Christianity Viewed From The Outside — Difference Between Ancient And Modern Office — Life-Long Diaconate In Ancient Celtic Church — St. Patrick's Father — Election Of Deacons In The Synagogues — Imposition Of Hands And Ordination — Names Of Deacons And Nicolas Of Antioch — St. Stephen And The Charge Of Blasphemy — Every True Teacher Must Expect Misrepresentation

Chapter XV

St. Stephen's Defence And The Doctrine Of Inspiration.

Acts 6:12-14; 7:1, 2.

Derivation And Meaning Of Name " Stephen " — Libertine Assailants Of St. Stephen — United With Cilicians — St. Paul And The Sanhedrin — Selden On Sanhedrin — Use Of Shorthand Among The Ancients — The Acts Of The Martyrs And Investigations Of M Le Blant — Effective Character Of Stephen's Apology — Analysis Of It — Naturally Irritating To Jewish Officialism — Charity Towards Persecutors — Reverence Towards The Past — A Good Thing, But May Be Pressed Too Far — Lessons For Our Age — Science And Religion — Mistakes In The Martyr's Speech — Natural — Useful, Too, As Testifying To Honesty Of Report — And Teaching True Doctrine Of Inspiration — Dr. Vaughan On St. Stephen's Mistakes — St. Stephen And Freedom Of Church Worship — Christian Universalism Not Inconsistent With Sacred And Consecrated Buildings

Chapter XVI

The First Christian Martyrdom.

Testimony Of Church Of Lyons To St. Stephen's Martyrdom — Earliest Celtic Martyrdoms And Celtic Assemblies — Christmas Day And St. Stephen's Day — Christmas Season And Three Classes Of Martyrs — Dies Natalis And The Liturgies — Immediate Cause Of St. Stephen's Death — Locality Of The Martyrdom — Newly-Discovered Church Of St. Stephen — Survey Of Western Palestine — Jewish Stonings — St. Stephen Died Under Forms Of Law — Christianity And Human Law — Testimony Of St. Clement's Epistle — St. Stephen And Prayer To Jesus Christ — Doctrine Of Book Of Common Prayer — St. Stephen's Funeral — Early Christian View Of Resurrection — Story Told By John Malalas — Persecution And Church Extension

Chapter XVII

Simon Magus And The Conversion Of Samaria.

Prominence Of Hellenists In The Church's Earliest Days — Apostles And Deacons Contrasted — Source Of St. Luke's Knowledge Of Early Church History — St. Philip At Csesarea — Exact Locality Where Philip Taught In Samaria — Our Lord's Ministry In Samaria A Failure — Why? — Because The Spirit Was Not Yet Given — Presence Of The Holy Ghost The Condition Of Permanent Blessing — St. Philip And Simon Magus — Story Of Simon As Told By Justin Martyr — Evidence For Early Date Of The Acts — Justin And Simon's Statue — Simon A Sorcerer — Jews And Sorcery — Jewish Gnosticism — Fayum Manuscripts And Magic — Contrast Between Philip's Miracles And Simon's Magic — Need Of Miracles At Outset Of Christianity — Philip's Doctrine Concerning The Kingdom Of God — What It Involved — Church's Prosperity Dependent Entirely Upon Christ — Threefold Result Of Philip's Teaching — John Keble On Christian Joy

Chapter XVIII

The Apostles And Confirmation.

Apostolic Mission To Samaria — Development Of Church — Position Of St. Peter — False Decretals — Confirmation, Origin Of — New Testament Is Not An Exhaustive Manual Of Rites And Ceremonies — Tertullian On Standing At Prayer — Conservative Character Of Church Ritual — Illustrated By Cases Of Dean Hook, J. H. Newman, Tate And Brady, And The Plymouth Brethren — Apostolic Example Perpetuated In Second Century Practice — And In Case Of Confirmation — Calvin On Its Apostolic Origin

Chapter XIX

St. Peter And Simon Magus.

Acts 8:18, 19.

Change In Confirmation At Reformation Yet The Rite Remained Essentially The Same As Of Old — Importance Of Tertullian's Testimony For Its Primitive Origin — Cyprian's And Augustmes View — Relation Of Cyprian To Tertullian — Imposition Of Hands United With Prayer In Ancient And Modern Church — Utility And Blessings Of The Rite — Improvement Which Might Be Made In Its Administration-Conduct Of Simon Magnums Was Intellectually Convinced But Spiritually Unconverted — Application Of His Example To Foreign Missions — Late Controversy Concerning Educational Missions-Simon's Conduct And Simony — Definition Of Simony — Sin Not Confined To Established Churches — Takes Subtle Shapes In Every Community — St. Peter's Exhortation To Simon Magus — Corrects A Modern Error

Chapter XX

Evangelistic Work In The Philistine's Land.

Acts 8:6-8 ; 9:32.

Those Passages Typical Of Evangelistic Efforts And Qualifications For Success In Them — St. Philip Contrasted With St. Peter — Need Of Education For Mission Field — Christian Missionaries Of Early Centuries Partook Of Highest Culture — Pantrenus Oricren — Clement — These Texts Show Importance Of Clear Conception In Theology-Clear Views Need Not Be Narrow Views — Distinction Between St. Philip's Guidance And That Of St. Peter — Reasons For Angelic 'Interference — Archbishop Trench On John V. 4. — Apostolic Labours All Tended Westward — philip's Mission Towards Gaza — Obstinate Paganism Of Gaza — Proved By Survey Of Palestine — Ethiopian Eunuch — Candace And Her Kingdom — St. Philip's Doctrines — Abyssinian Traditions — Revised Version And The Eunuch's Confession — Creed Of Apostolic Church — Witness Of Aristides' Apology