Thursday, May 14, 2009

Identifying some people from Acts 4:1,5-6

The captain of the temple guard was the leader of the temple police, the priest who ranked next to the high priest.

The Saducees were a political group supported by and supporting the priesthood.

The rulers were collectively known as the Sanhedrin or chief priests, a group of 71 men, led by the high priest. They administered the temple duties.

Elders were family (or clan) leaders in the Jewish community.

The teachers of the Law were the scribes whose job it was to copy, conserve and interpret Scripture. They mostly belonged to the party of the Pharisees.

Acts 4:6 gives more specific details of the rulers who were present. Annas was high priest from AD6-14, but was deposed by the Romans and succeeded by several members of his family. This included his son-in-law Caiaphas, who was high priest from AD18-36. Despite his deposition, Annas still had much influence and he kept his title. Annas and Caiaphas both interviewed Jesus during his trials before his crucifixion . Other members of the high priestly family were the men who help the official positions in the temple administration.

[Sources: I Howard Marshall, Acts (1980) Tyndale New Testament Commentary and John R W Stott, The Message of Acts (1990) The Bible Speaks Today series.]

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