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Acts 5:3

    Acts 5:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    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?

    Webster's Revision

    But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

    World English Bible

    But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

    Definitions for Acts 5:3

    Satan - Adversary.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 5:3

    Why hath Satan filled thine heart - The verb πληροειν, which we translate to fill, Kypke has showed by many examples to signify, to instigate, excite, impel, etc., and it was a common belief, as well among the heathens as among the Jews and Christians, that, when a man did evil, he was excited to it by the influence and malice of an evil spirit. It is strange that, by the general consent of mankind, sin against God has been ever considered so perfectly unnatural, and so evil in itself, that no man would commit it unless impelled to it by the agency of the devil. The words of St. Peter here prove that such an agency is not fictitious: if there had been no devil, as some wish and perhaps feel it their interest to believe, or if this devil had no influence on the souls of men, Peter, under the agency of the Holy Spirit, would not have expressed himself in this way; for, if the thing were not so, it would have been the most direct means to lead the disciples to form false opinions, or to confirm them in old and absurd prejudices.

    To lie to the Holy Ghost - Ψευσασθαι το Πνευμα το Ἁγιον, To deceive the Holy Spirit. Every lie is told with the intention to deceive; and they wished to deceive the apostles, and, in effect, that Holy Spirit under whose influence they professed to act. Lying against the Holy Ghost is in the next verse said to be lying against God; therefore the Holy Ghost is God.

    To keep back part of the price - Νοσφισασθαι απο της τιμης. The verb νοσφιζειν, νοσφιζεσθαι, is used by the Greek writers to signify purloining part of the public money, peculation. The word is used here with great propriety, as the money for which the estate was sold was public property; as it was for this purpose alone that the sale was made.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 5:3

    But Peter said ... - Peter could have known this only by "revelation." It was the manifest design of Ananias to deceive; nor was there any way of detecting him but by its being revealed to him by the Spirit of God. As it was an instance of enormous wickedness, and as it was very important to detect and punish the crime, it was made known to Peter directly by God.

    Why hath Satan - Great deeds of wickedness in the Scripture are traced to the influence of Satan. Compare Luke 23:3; John 13:27. Especially is Satan called the "father of lies," John 8:44-45. Compare Genesis 3:1-5. As this was an act of "falsehood," or an attempt to deceive, it is with great propriety traced to the influence of Satan. The sin of Ananias consisted in his "yielding" to the temptation. Nowhere in the Bible are people supposed to be free from guilt from the mere fact that they have been "tempted" to commit it. God requires them to "resist" temptation; and if they "yield" to it, they must be punished.

    Filled thine heart - A man's "heart" or "mind" is "full" of a thing when he is "intent on it"; when he is strongly "impelled to it"; or when he is fully occupied with it. The expression here means that he was "strongly impelled" or "excited" by Satan to this crime.

    To lie to - To attempt to deceive. The deception which he meant to practice was to keep back a "part" of the price, while he "pretended" to bring the whole of it; thus "tempting" God, and supposing that he could not detect the fraud.

    The Holy Ghost - τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον to pneuma to hagion. The main inquiry here is, whether the apostle Peter intended to designate in this place the "third person" of the Trinity; or whether he meant to speak of God "as God," without any reference to the distinction of persons; or whether he referred to the "divine influence" which inspired the apostles, without reference to the special offices which are commonly ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Or, in other words, is there a "distinction" here recognized between the Father and the Holy Spirit? That there "is," will be apparent from the following considerations:

    (1) If no such distinction is "intended," it is remarkable that Peter did not use the usual and customary "name" of God. It does not appear why he guarded it so carefully as to denote that this offence was committed against the "Holy Spirit," and "the Spirit of the Lord," Acts 5:9.

    (2) the name used here is the one employed in the Scriptures to designate the third person of the Trinity, as implying a distinction from the Father. See Matthew 3:16; Matthew 1:18, Matthew 1:20; Matthew 3:11; Matthew 12:32; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:8; Mark 3:29; Mark 12:36; Luke 12:10; John 14:26; John 7:39; John 20:22; Acts 4:8; Acts 5:32, etc.

    (3) Peter intended, doubtless, to designate an offence as committed particularly against the person, or influence, by which he and the other apostles were inspired. Ananias supposed that he could escape detection, and the offence was one, therefore, against the Inspirer of the apostles. Yet that was the Holy Spirit as "distinct from the Father." See John 14:16-17, John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-11; John 20:22. Compare Acts 5:32. The offence, therefore, being against him who was "sent" by the Father, and who was appointed to a particular work, clearly supposes that the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father.

    (4) a further incidental proof of this may be found in the fact that the sin here committed was one of special magnitude - so great as to be deemed worthy of the immediate and signal vengeance of God. Yet the sin against the Holy Spirit is uniformly represented to be of this description. Compare Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29. As these sins evidently coincide in enormity, it is clear that the same class of sins is referred to in both places; or, in other words, the sin of Ananias was against the third person of the Trinity. Two remarks may be made here:

    (1) The Holy Spirit is a distinct Person from the Father and the Son; or, in other words, there is a distinction of some kind in the divine nature that may be designated by the word "person." This is clear from the fact that sin is said to have been committed against him - a sin which it was supposed could not be detected. "Sin" cannot be committed against an "attribute" of God, or an "influence" from God. We cannot "lie unto" an attribute, or against wisdom, or power, or goodness; nor can we "lie unto" an "influence," merely, of the Most High. Sin is committed against a "Being," not against an "attribute"; and as a sin is here charged on Ananias against "the Holy Spirit," it follows that the Holy Spirit has a "personal" existence, or that there is such a distinction in the divine essence that it may be proper to "specify" a sin as committed especially against him. In the same way sin may be represented as committed especially against the "Father" when his "name" is blasphemed; when his "dominion" is denied; when his mercy in sending his Son is called in question. Sin may be represented as committed against "the Son" when his atonement is denied; his divinity assailed; his character derided, or his invitations slighted. And thus sin may be represented as committed against "the Holy Spirit" when his office of renewing the heart, or sanctifying the soul, is called in question, or when "his" work is ascribed to some malign or other influence. See Mark 3:22-30. And as sin against the Son proves that he is in some sense distinct from the Father, so does sin against the Holy Spirit prove that in some sense he is distinct from the Father and the Son.

    (2) the Holy Spirit is divine. This is proved, because he is represented here as being able to search the heart, and to detect insincerity and hypocrisy. Compare Jeremiah 17:10; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Corinthians 2:10, "The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God"; Revelation 2:23. And he is expressly "called" God. See the notes on Acts 5:4.

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 5:3

    5:3 To lie to the Holy Ghost - Who is in us. And to keep back - Here was the first instance of it. This was the first attempt to bring propriety of goods into the Christian Church.

    Verses Related to Acts 5:3

    Hosea 11:12 - Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.
    Proverbs 13:5 - A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
    Revelation 22:15 - For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
    Book: Acts
    Topic: Lying

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