Acts 2:46-47

Acts 2:46-47

46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:46-47 NIV

46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food together with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 praising God and having grace with all the people. And the Lord added to the congregation daily such as should be saved.
Acts 2:46-47 JUB

These are the last two verses of Acts 2. Two versions to bring attention to the use of with glad and sincere hearts and with gladness and singleness of heart which are remarkably similar, yet both are not as strong as the original Greek would indicate.

Let’s take first the word glad or gladness. From Strong’s Greek 20, agalliasis, it means wild joy, ecstatic delight, exultation, exhilaration. Now this is speaking of their heart condition when praising God so looking at the definition the words glad and gladness seem somewhat tame to me. A few versions have exultation or great joy or joy/joyful which are closer to the meaning in the Greek. In Luke 1:14, where an angel was addressing Zechariah about the future birth of his son John, only in the LEB do we read that the angel said

And you will experience joy and exultation, and many will rejoice at his birth.

Later when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, met Elizabeth, pregnant with John, we read in most versions that John

As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

Where the leaping tied with for joy brings us back to wild joy, ecstatic delight, exultation, exhilaration.

Personally I really like the idea of praising God with great gladness in my heart or wild joy in my heart or ecstatic delight in my heart or exultation in my heart or exhilaration in my heart. All too often we are very reserved in our praise of God. Should we be, when our hearts are filled with great joy at the great Gift of Grace He has given us through Christ on the cross?

Lets now move on to sincere hearts or singleness of heart. From Ellicott’s Commentary we find the word translated sincere or singleness

The literal meaning of this word, which does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, was the smoothness of a soil without stones. Thence it came to be used for evenness and simplicity, unity of character; thence for that unity showing itself in love; thence, by a further transition, for unalloyed benevolence, showing itself in act.

Now if you have never helped clear a field of stones this may not mean much to you, but if you have cleared a field of stones it may mean much more. On the small four acres (small compared to the large dairy farms surrounding us) I grew up on, the three acres behind the house and barn had to be plowed and disked, then dragged to remove stones prior to planting. Our father used a homemade drag of sorts to smooth out the field. Some of us would ride on it, while the rest of us would walk beside it picking up stones and tossing them on the drag itself. When all done, we would all (six of us) ride on the drag for one last pass smoothing out the field. After the last pass, such a field was a sight to behold, incredibly smooth and ready for planting.

Such a word used in the praise of God implies to me a heart fully ready to praise God with no stones or disbelief to get in the way. Such praise would not only go forward to God, but be planted in one’s own heart.