Everything in Acts 4 relates directly to the matter of speech. In Acts 3 is the record of the first miracle by the apostles after the ascension of Christ, and Peter’s second sermon. The result of the apostolic word and work was that the Jewish authorities were angered and became increasingly bent on stamping out the new religion.
Their initial effort was to arrest Peter and John, bring them before the Sanhedrin for trial, and to threaten and bully them into silence (Acts 4:3-7,17,21). Against that backdrop, notice how often words referring to speech occur in the chapter.
• The Jews were angry because the apostles “were speaking to the people” (Acts 4:1).
• They were “greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people” (Acts 4:2).
• “Many of those who had heard the word believed” (Acts 4:4).
• The apostles were charged “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18).
• The apostles replied, “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
•The believers’ prayer was that God grant them the boldness to speak His word (Acts 4:29).
• This prayer was granted and they “continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
The Jewish establishment was as controlling and powerful as any entrenched bureaucracy today. But it trembled before the power of the spoken truth. There is so much fake news (cf. Matthew 28:11–15), lies, error, intimidation, and bullying today that we are prone to forget the power of spoken truth.
If the truth is failing today, it isn’t because it’s weak, but because we are timid in speaking it. Let us pray for the boldness to speak the truth, the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation.