This scripture divides somewhat unnaturally into two sections.

One is a positive statement and the other is a parenthesis in the midst of that statement.

I’d like to use that division as the two points to our thoughts this evening.

And those thoughts are basically about Faith and Fear

Let’s begin with the parenthesis and think about the fear that people had.

Notice the last part of verse 12 through verse 14:

“And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.

And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.”

What was the membership of the Jerusalem church by this time?

They started out with about 120 just after the Lord’s ascension.

On the Day of Pentecost there were about 3,000 people added to the church.

And then after the healing of the man at the Beautiful Gate there were another 5,000 who believed.

I can’t dogmatically tell you that these 5,000 all became members of the church,

But neither can anyone else tell us that they didn’t.

It is reasonable to assume that Luke was given the number because the church had counted them.

And the easiest way to make that count would have been at their baptism.

As I’ve said many times, I’m not convinced that anyone who refuses baptism has been truly born again.

In addition to these, there were likely others coming to Christ and joining the church at other times.

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

So it is very probable that the number of the believers and the membership of the church was approaching 10,000 people.

“And they were ALL with one accord in Solomon’s porch.”


I’m going to give you the opportunity to greatly disagree with me tonight.

There is no unanimity among the experts about who the “they” were in verse 12.

The general rule about pronouns is that they refer to the nearest, previous, applicable noun.

So were the people among whom the Apostles were working signs and wonders the folk in one accord?

I don’t think so.

The miracles were being given by God not to bless the saints, but to impress the unbelievers.

Just as it was with tongues, miracles “are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” – I Cor. 14:22.

Were the unsaved with one heart and one accord in Solomon’s porch?

Definitely not.

Well then, it must have been the church that was so united; right?

I will not say that this was impossible and definitely not the case,

But I have my doubts that was what Luke was saying here.

Is he talking about the 10,000 members of the church?

I have tried to learn what I could about Solomon’s Porch.

It was actually a portico, or a long walkway covered with a roof supported by a number of columns.

A couple of my commentaries give us some dimensions, but I couldn’t corroborate them with any of my dictionaries or Bible encyclopedias.

Those commentaries, quoting from the same source, said that it was 400 cubits long & 20 cubits wide.

So that would be about 600 feet by 30 feet with columns breaking it up all the way along.

I have no idea how many people you can crowd into an area of about 18,000 square feet,

But it just doesn’t seem big enough for all 10,000 church members.

Is Luke telling us that the church members were all in unison in Solomon’s Porch?

There is another possible answer to the “they” question in verse 12.

The noun which was mentioned just prior to the “people” was the “Apostles.”

“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.”

Let’s say that you were all among the 120 first members of the church in Jerusalem, and I was Peter.

Along come a couple of members who I know, by the revelation of God, to be lying to the church.

As I speak to them, they are struck dead by God.

Are all of you happy with me for being responsible for the execution of a couple of members?

It’s hard to get twelve jurors to agree let alone ten times that many.

OK, what is the likelihood of the rest of the Apostles all being in agreement about this?

certainly more likely than the 120 or the entire church.

The Bible seems to say that the whole church were not comfortable about the Ananias situation.

In fact there were a great many members who were decidedly frightened.

And who knows whether even the original 120 were pleased.

But it was important that, at the very least, the twelve were unanimous

Although I can’t be dogmatic about it, I think that verse 12 is saying:

“The apostles were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.”

“And of the rest durst no man join himself to them.”

Again, I think that the “them” refers to the Apostles.

And in this case the “the rest” refers to the general membership of the church.

After all, it was a couple of church members who were struck dead.

Who is to say that more church members might die?

Let’s say that God has given to me knowledge of your private life, or you think that He has.

And let’s say that He gave me the authority to execute people who were secret hypocrites and sinners?

How close are you going to want to be to me?

Even if you were not deliberately trying to hide unconfessed sin, you might be a little frightened about shaking my hand.

There might be sins of which you might not be aware in your life.

Can you be sure that I wouldn’t strike you dead?

What is the solution to this dilemma?

Daily confess your sins to God, and even confess your ignorance.

“He is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”

You and I need to be far more concerned about sin that we are.

As far as the rest of Jerusalem was concerned there was a certain kind of respect towards the Apostles.

At the very least there was a love for the Lord’s miracles.

And believers were being added to the Lord continually.

As some of you know, I am reading a very old book – written in the 18th century and published in 1845.

It consists of several dozen different books and articles, dealing with a variety of theological material.

One of the things that amazes me is the attention to detail the writer and his opponents have.

They seem to split hairs over things that I don’t consider worth dulling a knife.

For example some of the arguments deal with the time of a person’s salvation.

There are theologians who insist, to the exclusion of every other idea,

That God’s elect were saved in eternity past because of the decree of God.

For some of them, they believe that the saved were never lost, never children of Hell.

Then there are some who believe that those elect were saved when Christ died on the cross, because it was at that time that the atonement was actually made for their sins.

And there are yet many others who insist that a person is saved only when he repents and trusts Christ.

Well, I believe that all three of these ideas are correct as they speak about different aspects of salvation.

I even believe that there are few additional aspects to the time question.

Notice that verse 14 says, “And believers were the more added to the Lord.”

If this is talking about additions to the church, then I’d sure like to change the terminology.

The melding of “the Lord” and “the church” is leaning toward some very dangerous false doctrine.

Were the believers being added to the church as they were at the end of chapter 2?

I sure hope so.

But, I think that this is talking about people being saved from their lost and dead spiritual condition.

They were receiving new, and eternal life in Christ, and becoming new creatures in Christ.

And when were they being added to the Lord?

At the time of their faith.

For all intents and purposes, no one is saved until they believe the gospel and repent of their sin.

So what is my perspective on this scriptural parenthesis?

Despite the fear that many people had of the Apostles, both inside and outside of the Church,

The Gospel was being preached,

And multitudes of people, both men and women, were coming to Christ by faith.

The more positive statement deals with the signs and wonders, and leads us to think about faith.

“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people;

Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches,

That at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks,

And them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.”

What about the shadow of Peter?

Are we ever told that the shadow of the Lord Jesus healed the sick?

What about the shadows of Elijah or Elisha, the other great miracle-workers?

Does this passage clearly say that the shadow of Peter was healing people?

Doesn’t it say that people THOUGHT that the shadow of Peter would heal them?

Notice, “and BY THE HANDS of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people.”

Should the word “hands” be taken literally or in some other fashion?

Actually, when you study the word throughout the New Testament it talks about literal hands and also about agency.

Peter accused the Jews, “by wicked hands you have crucified and slain the Messiah.”

The Lord has his fan in his hand and will judge the earth.

Acts 4:30: “Lord stretch forth thine hand to heal.”

This verse could mean either the appendage at the end of the Apostle’s arm, or it could mean just the power of God through those apostles.

And what does that reveal to us about the shadow of Peter? Not a whole lot.

Personally, I don’t think that there is enough evidence to say that Peter’s shadow was healing people.

What we read here is that for some reason the idea was spreading among the wicked and foolish that Peter’s shadow could heal.

What does this teach us about faith?

It shows us that there can be relatively good faith in relatively bad things.

If these people believed that the servants of God could be used to channel God’s power to them, that was a good thing.

But it was a secondary faith and, as a result, a mis-spent faith.

In fact that was a fleshly faith and an imitation of the true faith which only God could give.

It was akin to the faith which demons have of God, which only makes them tremble.

Faith to believe on Christ as Lord and Saviour is something that cannot be homegrown.

That kind of faith is the gift of God.

It is not intellectual, but spiritual, and can’t be found in a spiritually dead soul.

This desire for healing and intellectual faith to believe that the shadow of Peter could heal, were not necessarily the work of the Holy Spirit.

The people of Jerusalem had been correctly told to repent and to trust Christ.

This was their great need.

What does this scripture teach us about the faith of the Apostles?

Well, I can’t say that it teaches us anything at all about their faith.

Did they have faith in the Lord? Absolutely.

Did they believe that they could heal the sick and cast out demons? Undoubtedly.

Did their ability to do these things depend on the strength of their faith?

There isn’t a shred of evidence that this was the case.

Were everyone healed who came under the shadow of Peter?

I don’t think that is what the Bible says.

Were everyone healed upon whom the Apostles put their hands? Possibly.

Were everyone who were vexed by unclean spirits healed who applied to the Lord through the Apostles?

That is what the Bible says, and so that is the truth.

Whether we go beyond what the Bible clearly says, would probably be a mistake.