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Acts 4:19

    Acts 4:19 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    But Peter and John answered and said to them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, judge you.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye:

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    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:

    Webster's Revision

    But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye:

    World English Bible

    But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves,

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye:

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 4:19

    Whether it be right in the sight of God - As if they had said: Worldly prudence and a consideration of our secular interests would undoubtedly induce us to obey you; but acting as before God, and following the dictates of eternal truth and justice, we dare not be silent. Can it be right to obey men contrary to the command and will of God? When he commands us to speak, dare we hold our tongue? We have received our authority from God through Christ, and feel fully persuaded of the truth by the Holy Spirit which now dwells in us; and we should be guilty of treason against God, were we on any consideration to suppress his testimony. Your own consciences testify that we should be sinners against our heavenly King, were we to act according to your orders; and the conclusion is, that we cannot but speak what we have seen and heard.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 4:19

    Whether it be right ... - The apostles abated nothing of their boldness when threatened. They openly appealed to their judges whether their command could be right. And in doing this, they expressed their full conviction of the truth of what they had said, and their deliberate purpose not to regard their command, but still to proclaim to the people the truth that Jesus was the Messiah.

    In the sight of God - That is, whether God will judge this to be right. The grand question was how God would regard it. If he disapproved it, it was wrong. It was not merely a question pertaining to their reputation, safety, or life; it was a question of conscience before God. We have here a striking instance of the principle on which Christians act. It is, to lay their safety, reputation, and life out of view, and bring everything to the test whether it will please God. If it will, it is right; if it will not, it is wrong.

    To hearken - To "hear" and to "hearken" are often used to denote to "obey," John 5:24; John 8:47, etc.

    Judge ye - This was an appeal to them directly as judges and as men. And it may be presumed that it was an appeal which they could not resist. The Sanhedrin acknowledged itself to have been appointed by God, and to have no authority which was not derived from his appointment. Of course, God could modify, supersede, or repeal their authority; and the abstract principle that it was better to obey God than man they could not call in question. The only inquiry was whether they had evidence that God had issued any command in the case. Of that the apostles were satisfied, and that the rulers could not deny. It may be remarked that this is one of the first and most bold appeals on record in favor of the right of private judgment and the liberty of conscience. That liberty was supposed in all the Jewish religion. It was admitted that the authority of God in all matters was superior to that of man. And the same spirit manifested itself thus early in the Christian church against all dominion over the conscience, and in favor of the right to follow the dictates of the conscience and the will of God. As a mere historical fact, therefore, it is interesting to contemplate this, and still more interesting in its important bearings on human liberty and human happiness. The doctrine is still more explicitly stated in Acts 5:29, "We ought to obey God rather than man."

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 4:19

    4:19 Whether it be just to obey you rather than God, judge ye - Was it not by the same spirit, that Socrates, when they were condemning him to death, for teaching the people, said, O ye Athenians, I embrace and love you; but I will obey God rather than you. And if you would spare my life on condition I should cease to teach my fellow citizens, I would die a thousand times rather than accept the proposal.