Bible Society of South Africa

Bound by love - 13 May 2024

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

44All the believers continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another.

The early church took the idea “together in close fellowship” very seriously, even to the point where many people would have started to draw back. To touch someone’s money is, after all, to move onto dangerous terrain. Just see what happened in Acts 5 when Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold some property, but held back some of the money for themselves. This was, fortunately, the exception. From all that we read about the early church, the members had a strong bond with one another and shared everything willingly.

I would have liked to know exactly how they organised everything. In Acts 6, we get some insight into the running of the church. They appointed seven men who were wise and filled with the Holy Spirit to run the daily affairs of the church. However, we find the most important reason for the well-being of the church in Acts 4:32: “The group of believers was one in mind and heart. None of them said that any of their belongings were their own, but they all shared with one another everything they had.” The most important thing of all was that they cared for each other.

In a commentary about the Acts, professor JL de Villiers said that members of the congregation still had the right of possession over their possessions, but they willingly sold all or some of it and gave the money to the apostles for distribution to those in need. I have also worked it out for myself that some possessions would probably be kept, as they still needed places to live in, a bed to sleep on and utensils to prepare food. The most important thing was that nobody claimed what they had as solely for their own benefit. Out of love and fellowship, they probably made sure that nobody had a shortage of food and that everyone had somewhere to stay.

Being one in mind and heart was the most important glue that held them together and made it possible for the spread of the gospel to the end of the earth. This should still be the most important part of every church and congregation.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please make me aware of the needs of others, not only of fellow believers, but anyone in need that might cross my path. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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