And they continued stedfastly - They persevered in, or they adhered to. This is the inspired record of the result. That any of these apostatized is nowhere recorded, and is not to be presumed. Though they had been suddenly converted; though they were suddenly admitted to the church; though they were exposed to much persecution and contempt, and to many trials, yet the record is that they adhered to the doctrines and duties of the Christian religion. The word rendered "continued stedfastly" - ͂ proskarterountes - means "attending one, remaining by his side, not leaving or forsaking him."
The apostles' doctrine - This does not mean that they held or believed the doctrines of the apostles, though that was true; but it means that they adhered to, or attended on, their teaching or instruction. The word doctrine has now a technical sense, and means a collection and arrangement of abstract views supposed to be contained in the Bible. In the Scriptures the word means simply "teaching" ; and the expression here denotes that they continued to attend on their instructions. One evidence of conversion is a desire to be instructed in the doctrines and duties of religion, and a willingness to attend on the preaching of the gospel.
And fellowship - The word rendered "fellowship," ́ koinōnia , is often rendered "communion." It properly denotes "having things in common, or participation, society, friendship." It may apply to anything which may be possessed in common, or in which all may partake. Thus, all Christians have the same hope of heaven; the same joys; the same hatred of sin; the same enemies to contend with. Thus, they have the same subjects of conversation, of feeling, and of prayer; or they have communion in these things. And thus the early Christians had their property in common. The word here may apply to either or to all of these things to their conversation, their prayers, their dangers, or their property; and means that they were united to the apostles, and participated with them in whatever befell them. It may be added that the effect of a revival of religion is to unite Christians more and more, and to bring those who were before separated to union and love. Christians feel that they are a band of brethren, and that, however much they were separated before they became Christians, now they have great and important interests in common; they are united in feelings, in interests, in dangers, in conflicts, in opinions, and in the hopes of a blessed immortality.
Breaking of bread - The Syriac renders this "the eucharist" or the Lord' s Supper. It cannot, however, be determined whether this refers to their partaking of their ordinary food together, or to feasts of charity, or to the Lord' s Supper. The bread of the Hebrews was made commonly into cakes, thin, hard, and brittle, so that it was broken instead of being cut. Hence, to denote "intimacy or friendship," the phrase "to break bread together" would be very expressive in the same way as the Greeks denoted it by drinking together, ́ sumposion . From the expression used in Acts 2:44, compare with Acts 2:46, that they had all things common, it would rather seem to be implied that this referred to the participation of their ordinary meals. The action of breaking bread was commonly performed by the master or head of a family immediately after asking a blessing (Lightfoot).
In prayers - This was one effect of the influence of the Spirit, and an evidence of their change. A genuine revival will be always followed by a love of prayer.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Acts 2:42:
2 Corinthians 13:14
1 John 1:3
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