1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Acts 1 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Acts 1 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

"All that Jesus began both to do and teach" John 21:25 says that a single book couldn't contain all the things that Jesus did. Yet the author of Acts claims that he included everything that Jesus did in his "former treatise" (the gospel of Luke).
Did Luke include everything that Jesus did?
It is amusing to notice that the author of the SAB in an earlier version of his manuscript of his introduction to Acts lists the chapters of Romans. And the earlier the manuscript, the more reliable of course...
On all that Luke described, yes he described every single waking second. Or perhaps that isn't the meaning of all. See the excellent answer by LookingUntoJesus.

2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

"[Jesus] commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem."
Acts and Luke (24:49) say Jerusalem, but Matthew (28:10) and Mark (16:7) say Galilee.
Where did Jesus tell his disciples to go after his resurrection?

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Jesus tells his disciples to be witnesses in Samaria, contrary to his command in Mt.10:5.
Should the gospel be preached to everyone?
Different times, see Matthew 10:5.

9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

"When he had spoken these things ... he was taken up."
When did Jesus ascend into heaven?
After forty days as Luke tells us in verse 3.

10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

"Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?"
This verse was used by a Dominican friar to discourage the use of Galileo's telescope. (Notice the pun on Galileo's name in "men of Galilee".)
Anyone can misuse any text of the Bible, that hardly does count, does it? It's clear that this verse doesn't address the question of looking at the stars at all. For starters, it was during the middle of the day, no stars to be seen during that time of the day I've been told. If we want to use a verse, a text like Ps. 8:3 is much more applicable. Clearly the psalmist has been looking at the heavens.

12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.

13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

"Judas the brother of James"
Here we are told that Judas the brother of James is an apostle and that Thaddeus is not, but in both Matthew (10:3) and Mark (3:18) Judas is not included as one of the apostles and Thaddeus is.
Who were the apostles?
Judas, the brother of James, is the same as Thaddeus, see Matthew 10:3.

14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

"The number of names together were about an hundred and twenty."
After the ascension of Jesus, there were about a hundred and twenty" believers. but 1 Cor.15:6 says that Jesus appeared to more than 500 believers before his ascension.
How many believers were there at the time of the ascension?
Jesus appeared in Galilee as well, see John 21:1. Many of the people in Galilee lived and worked there. In this verse, the disciples are in Jerusalem, so obviously there were less in Jerusalem. Claiming that because Paul says he appeared to over 500 believers, they should all be together in this room at this time, else we have a contradiction, is absurd.

16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

"The Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake"
When was the Holy Ghost given?

17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

"Now this man purchased a field ... and falling headlong ... all his bowels gushed out."
Who bought the potter's field?
How did Judas die?
The potter's field was bought by the priests, see Matthew 27:7. As John Gill explains this verse and the next one should be read between parenthesis, as an insertion by Luke the historian.
And truly it can be said that Judas bought it, because it was bought with his money. He threw it away in the temple, but the priests didn't want it and used Judas money to buy this field. As the Greek word translated as purchase can also be translated by possess, he might even have been buried here. This is what his betrayal money bought: a field of blood.
On how Judas did die, see Matthew 27:5.

19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

"Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men"
Does God know everything?
Does God know what is in everyone's heart?
As this verse clearly indicates, God knows the hearts of all men.

25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

"And they gave forth their lots."
Is gambling condemned by the bible?
The definition of gambling: “to play at any game of chance for money or other stakes.” The author of the SAB will not be able to point to any dictionary to defend his use of the word gambling to describe what is happening here. Gambling is condemned by the Bible, but casting lots isn't gambling.