Great fear (Acts 5:11)

“Great fear

Came upon

The whole church.

Great fear

Came upon

All who heard

Of these things.”

Καὶ ἐγένετο φόβος μέγας ἐφ’ ὅλην τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς ἀκούοντας ταῦτα.

The author of Acts indicated that great fear (φόβος μέγας) came upon (Καὶ ἐγένετο) the whole church (ἐφ’ ὅλην τὴν ἐκκλησίαν) and on all those (καὶ ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς) who had heard of these things (τοὺς ἀκούοντας ταῦτα).  This would certainly put the fear of God in you.  They just saw what had happened to this couple who lied about how much money they had sold their land for.  Everyone who heard about this was concerned.  This included those in the early Christian community and those outside their group who saw what was happening.  This was the first use in Acts, of a term that will appear over and over again, Church (ἐκκλησίαν).  Quite often this term will be used to designate a local community or assembly of believers.  However, this term has many layers of meaning, either the messianic community in general, the Jerusalem community or other the particular Judean or gentile communities, but also the universal assembly of all the Christians everywhere.  It could mean a small assembly of worshipping Christians or all the Christians everywhere.  Today, we speak of the Christian Church in general or a Christian Church in particular in the same way.  Obviously, everyone was a little upset over this incident.  Peter seemed to have the power of life and death.  However, the Holy Spirit worked in him.  Have you seen people die suddenly?

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