The Trinity in Scripture: Acts 4

Acts chapter 4 continues the account of the fallout resulting from Peter and John pronouncing healing upon a lame beggar at the temple gate.  Now, the religious and civil authority shows up:  not usually the indication of coming mirth.  Quickly sought to squelch the happenings and arrested said apostles.  Not, it should be noted, before 5,000 souls had believed the word.  The next day, Peter and John were brought before the Jews to give an account of the uproar they caused.  Peter’s answer contains the first Trinitarian reference in the chapter:

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:8-12

In this passage we see the promise of Jesus recorded in Acts 1:8 being fulfilled.  The Son had promised that the Holy Spirit would grant power to be witnesses in Jerusalem and now he was doing just that.  The Holy Spirit gives boldness to the once frightened fisherman to proclaim to the very ones who arrested and handed over the Lord that God had raised Jesus and was now saving men through him.  The Holy Spirit provides power to proclaim the power of God in choosing and exalting Christ as Savior of the all men.  And we will shortly see that the Spirit had been at this for quite some time!

The Jewish leaders, as was their custom, were too afraid of the crowds to do what they really wanted to do to Peter and John:  so they simply gave them some threats and sent them on their way.  Peter and John returned to their friends who lifted their voices in a prayer of praise which included a Trinitarian citation of the Old Testament:

And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed‘–   Acts 4:24-26

This is not quite along the same lines of the earlier citation of Joel 2 since Joel contains in the text itself what can seen as a reference to each member of the Trinity.  Psalm 2 contains extensive explicit references to the Father and Son, but nowhere mentions the Spirit of the Lord.  But here again, just as in 1 & 2 Peter, we are reminded that whatever is recorded in Scripture is regarded as the work of the Holy Spirit breathing out God’s words.  Psalm 2 is a sermon of the Holy Spirit urging mankind to be reconciled to the Father through the Son.

Luke closes out the account of this episode by writing, “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

From what we know in Acts already, it seems safe to propose the “word of God” they spoke upon being “filled with the Holy Spirit” was the same word preached already in chapters 2, 3, and 4—the word regarding the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus of Nazareth.

2 thoughts on “The Trinity in Scripture: Acts 4

  1. Bob,
    Below are some links that give a historical answer to your question.

    The theological answer to your question is found in Isaiah 44-45 (Cyrus mentioned in 44:28 & 45:1). Cyrus is yet another demonstration that the Lord is God. For one hundred years before Cyrus was born, God moved the prophet Isaiah to speak of him. This seems to be the point of God making such a prophecy– Isaiah 44-45 is a tremendous meditation of the God-hood of God. His prediction of Cyrus is just one more indication that he is in control of all things.

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