on Acts 2 :44
And, all that believed - Οἱ πιστευοντες, The believers, i.e. those who conscientiously credited the doctrine concerning the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and had, in consequence, received redemption in his blood.
Were together - Επι το αυτο. "These words signify either, in one time, Acts 3:1; or in one place, Acts 2:1; or in one thing. The last of these three senses seems to be the most proper here; for it is not probable that the believers, who were then 3000 in number, Acts 2:41, besides the 120 spoken of Acts 1:15, were used all to meet at one time, or in one place, in Jerusalem." See Bp. Pearce.
And had all things common - Perhaps this has not been well understood. At all the public religious feasts in Jerusalem, there was a sort of community of goods. No man at such times hired houses or beds in Jerusalem; all were lent gratis by the owners: Yoma, fol. 12. Megill. fol. 26. The same may be well supposed of their ovens, cauldrons, tables, spits, and other utensils. Also, provisions of water were made for them at the public expense; Shekalim, cap. 9. See Lightfoot here. Therefore a sort of community of goods was no strange thing at Jerusalem, at such times as these. It appears, however, that this community of goods was carried farther; for we are informed, Acts 2:45, that they sold their possessions and their goods, and parted them to all, as every man had need. But, this probably means that, as in consequence of this remarkable outpouring of the Spirit of God; and their conversion, they were detained longer at Jerusalem than they had originally intended, they formed a kind of community for the time being, that none might suffer want on the present occasion; as no doubt the unbelieving Jews, who were mockers, Acts 2:13, would treat these new converts with the most marked disapprobation. That an absolute community of goods never obtained in the Church at Jerusalem, unless for a very short time, is evident from the apostolical precept, 1 Corinthians 16:1, etc., by which collections were ordered to be made for the poor; but, if there had been a community of goods in the Church, there could have been no ground for such recommendations as these, as there could have been no such distinction as rich and poor, if every one, on entering the Church, gave up all his goods to a common stock. Besides, while this sort of community lasted at Jerusalem, it does not appear to have been imperious upon any; persons might or might not thus dispose of their goods, as we learn front the case of Ananias, Acts 5:4. Nor does it appear that what was done at Jerusalem at this time obtained in any other branch of the Christian Church; and in this, and in the fifth chap., where it is mentioned, it is neither praised nor blamed. We may therefore safely infer, it was something that was done at this time, on this occasion, through some local necessity, which the circumstances of the infant Church at Jerusalem might render expedient for that place and on that occasion only.
on Acts 2 :44
All that believed - That is, that believed that Jesus was the Messiah; for that was the distinguishing point by which they were known from others.
Were together - Were united; were joined in the same thing. It does not mean that they lived in the same house, but they were united in the same community, or engaged in the same thing. They were doubtless often together in the same place for prayer and praise. One of the best means for strengthening the faith of young converts is for them often to meet together for prayer, conversation, and praise.
Had all things common - That is, all their property or possessions. See Acts 4:32-37; Acts 5:1-10. The apostles, in the time of the Saviour, evidently had all their property in common stock, and Judas was made their treasurer. They regarded themselves as one family, having common needs, and there was no use or propriety in their possessing extensive property by themselves. Yet even then it is probable that some of them retained an interest in their property which was not supposed to be necessary to be devoted to the common use. It is evident that John thus possessed property which he retained, John 19:27. And it is clear that the Saviour did not command them to give up their property into a common stock, nor did the apostles enjoin it: Acts 5:4, "While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold was it not in thine own power?" It was, therefore, perfectly voluntary, and was as evidently adapted to the special circumstances of the early converts. Many of them came from abroad. They were from Parthia, and Media, and Arabia, and Rome, and Africa, etc. It is probable, also, that they now remained longer in Jerusalem than they had at first proposed; and it is not at all improbable that they would be denied now the usual hospitalities of the Jews, and excluded from their customary kindness, because they had embraced Jesus of Nazareth, who had been just put to death. In these circumstances, it was natural and proper that they should share their property while they remained together.
on Acts 2 :44