Bruce, F.F. The Book of Acts Revised. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988. Kindle Electronic Edition. “Acts 2” “ I. The Birth of the Church (1:1-5:42)” “D. All Things in Common (4:32-5:11)” pp. 100-107.
Commenting on Acts 2:32-35, Bruce notes the similarity between this passage and the end of chapter 2. He considers, though, this passage toserve a different purpose. Here, Luke is drawing a contrast between the faithful Barnabas and the unfaithful Ananias (Bruce 1988, 100). Normally the early Christians shared voluntarily. This is in contrast to the required sharing of other communities in antiquity. Barnabas sold a piece of property and brought the proceeds to the apostles so as to help the poor (Bruce 1988, 101).
In the beginning of chapter 5 we find that Ananias and his wife sell some property. Apparently their desire is that everyone should think they turned over all the proceeds, like Barnabas. But they secretly kept part back. Bruce compares this to the narrative of Achan in the book of Joshua (Bruce 1988, 102). Peter’s confrontation of both Ananias and Sapphira is surprising. Bruce carefully declines to explain Peter’s actions. There is not sufficient context (Bruce 1988, 104). At issue is the reality of the Holy Spirit who knows and judges our intents. We also realize from the passage that Christians have never been perfect.
It seems that Sapphira was not informed of her husband’s death (Bruce 1988, 106). When she arrived, several hours later, she gave the same account as Ananias. Bruce notes that Peter gave her opportunity to change her story, but that she did not (Bruce 1988, 107). This event was recognized by the “church (a term used ofChristians first here) as a sign of power. It created fear and reverence in the people.