The Meaning of Acts 4:4 Explained

Acts 4:4

KJV: Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

YLT: and many of those hearing the word did believe, and the number of the men became, as it were, five thousand.

Darby: But many of those who had heard the word believed; and the number of the men had become about five thousand.

ASV: But many of them that heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

What does Acts 4:4 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Belief was the key factor in many more becoming Christians (cf. Acts 3:19), not believing and being baptized ( Acts 2:38). Note that Luke wrote that they "believed" the message they had heard. The total number of male converts in Jerusalem now reached5 ,000 (cf. Acts 1:15; Acts 2:41) because of Peter"s message. The Greek word andron specifies males rather than people. Normally most of the people in the temple courtyard who would have witnessed these events would have been males. Estimates of Jerusalem"s total population range from25 ,000 to250 ,000 , though the lower figure seems more probable. [1] One writer argued for60 ,000 or more inhabitants. [2] Another believed100 ,000 to120 ,000 people inhabited the city in the forties. [3] Obviously there is a wide range of speculation.

Context Summary

Acts 4:1-12 - The Name Above Every Name
The Sadducees are particularly mentioned, because they were the agnostics of the age, and had no belief in the unseen and eternal. The fact of our Lord's resurrection was, therefore, especially obnoxious to them. The captain of the Temple, who was head of the Levitical guard, was probably their nominee. How weak man shows himself when he sets himself against God! All that they could do was to shut the Apostles up; but they could not bind nor imprison the Living Spirit or the speech of one saved soul to another, and so the numbers of disciples kept mounting up.
Peter must have contrasted this with his former appearance in that hall. Then he trusted his own power; now he was specially filled with the Holy Spirit for a great and noble confession. The name of Jesus stands for His glorious being. It was because the man had come into vital union with the ever-living Christ, that disease was stayed and health restored. The name of Jesus rings through these chapters like a sweet refrain. Evidently He was living and at hand, or the streams of power and grace could not have poured forth to make desert lives begin to blossom as the garden of the Lord. [source]

Chapter Summary: Acts 4

1  The rulers of the Jews, offended with Peter's sermon,
3  imprison him and John
5  After, upon examination
8  Peter boldly avouching the lame man to be healed by the name of Jesus,
11  and that only by the same Jesus we must be eternally saved,
13  they threaten him and John to preach no more in that name,
23  whereupon the church flees to prayer
31  And God, by moving the place where they were assembled, testifies that he heard their prayer;
34  confirming the church with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and with mutual love and charity

Greek Commentary for Acts 4:4

Men [ανδρων]
Strictly, men and not women, for αντρωπος — anthrōpos is the term for both men and women. But in Luke 11:31 ανδρες — andres seems to include both men and women and that is possible here, though by no means certain, for see note on Matthew 14:21 where the women and children are expressly excepted. [source]
The number was about five thousand []
Translate ἐγενήθη as Rev., came to be; indicating the addition to the original number of the many that believed. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Acts 4:4

Acts 21:20 How many thousands [ποσαι μυριαδες]
Old word for ten thousand (Acts 19:19) and then an indefinite number like our “myriads” (this very word) as Luke 12:1; Acts 21:20; Judges 1:14; Revelation 5:11; Revelation 9:16. But it is a surprising statement even with allowable hyperbole, but one may recall Acts 4:4 (number of the men--not women--about five thousand); Acts 5:14 (multitudes both of men and women); Acts 6:7. There were undoubtedly a great many thousands of believers in Jerusalem and all Jewish Christians, some, alas, Judaizers (Acts 11:2; Acts 15:1, Acts 15:5). This list may include the Christians from neighbouring towns in Palestine and even some from foreign countries here at the Feast of Pentecost, for it is probable that Paul arrived in time for it as he had hoped. But we do not have to count the hostile Jews from Asia (Acts 21:27) who were clearly not Christians at all. All zealous for the law (παντες ζηλωται του νομου — pantes zēlōtai tou nomou). Zealots (substantive) rather than zealous (adjective) with objective genitive (του νομου — tou nomou). The word zealot is from ζηλοω — zēloō to burn with zeal, to boil. The Greek used ζηλωτης — zēlōtēs for an imitator or admirer. There was a party of Zealots (developed from the Pharisees), a group of what would be called “hot-heads,” who brought on the war with Rome. One of this party, Simon Zelotes (Acts 1:13), was in the number of the twelve apostles. It is important to understand the issues in Jerusalem. It was settled at the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15; Galatians 2) that the Mosaic ceremonial law was not to be imposed upon Gentile Christians. Paul won freedom for them, but it was not said that it was wrong for Jewish Christians to go on observing it if they wished. We have seen Paul observing the passover in Philippi (Acts 20:6) and planning to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost (Acts 20:16). The Judaizers rankled under Paul‘s victory and power in spreading the gospel among the Gentiles and gave him great trouble in Galatia and Corinth. They were busy against him in Jerusalem also and it was to undo the harm done by them in Jerusalem that Paul gathered the great collection from the Gentile Christians and brought it with him and the delegates from the churches. Clearly then Paul had real ground for his apprehension of trouble in Jerusalem while still in Corinth (Romans 15:25) when he asked for the prayers of the Roman Christians (Romans 15:30-32). The repeated warnings along the way were amply justified. [source]
Acts 5:14 Both of men and women [ανδρων τε και γυναικων]
The distinction between ανδρες — andres and γυναικες — gunaikes and to be considered in connection with ανδρες — andres in Acts 4:4 which see. [source]
Galatians 6:6 In the word [τὸν λόγον]
The gospel. Usually in Paul with some qualifying word, as of God. Comp. Acts 4:4; Acts 8:4; Acts 11:19; Acts 14:25; Acts 16:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Colossians 4:3. [source]

What do the individual words in Acts 4:4 mean?

Many however of those having heard the word believed and became the number of the men about thousand five
πολλοὶ δὲ τῶν ἀκουσάντων τὸν λόγον ἐπίστευσαν καὶ ἐγενήθη ‹ὁ› ἀριθμὸς τῶν ἀνδρῶν ὡς χιλιάδες πέντε

πολλοὶ  Many 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: πολύς  
Sense: many, much, large.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
τῶν  of  those 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Plural
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀκουσάντων  having  heard 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἀκουστός 
Sense: to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.
λόγον  word 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: λόγος  
Sense: of speech.
ἐπίστευσαν  believed 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: πιστεύω  
Sense: to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in.
ἐγενήθη  became 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: γίνομαι  
Sense: to become, i.
ἀριθμὸς  number 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀριθμός  
Sense: a fixed and definite number.
τῶν  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Plural
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀνδρῶν  men 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἀνήρ  
Sense: with reference to sex.
ὡς  about 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ὡς 
Sense: as, like, even as, etc.
χιλιάδες  thousand 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: χιλιάς  
Sense: a thousand, the number one thousand.
πέντε  five 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: πέντε  
Sense: five.