ESL for Acts 5

1.  In Acts 5:27-42, search for the ten vocabulary words listed in #2.

 27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.NIV®

2.  Read Acts 5:27-42 in your native language. Then play this quick matching game. Time yourself. Can you do it in two minutes?

1.  determined             A.  A rebellion against authority; an attempt to overthrow the government

2.  furious                    B.  Shame, a loss of respect

3.  honored                  C.  Firmly decided

4.  rally (verb)              D.  The act of counting the number of people in an area

5.  disperse                  E.  To beat

6.  census                     F.  Very angry

7.  revolt                      G.  To gather around, to join forces

8.  origin                      H.  Highly respected and admired

9.  flog                         I.  To separate from one another; to scatter

10. disgrace                 J.  A source; the beginning place

(Answers are at the end.)

3. Notice this expression: come to nothing. Can you guess the meaning from its use in Acts 5:36? “. . . He [Theudas] was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.”

You’re right if you guessed that the action brought no lasting results.

4.  In place of a game, I’ve written a ridiculous story using the vocabulary words. It’s based a little on an old fable called “Belling the Cat.”

Four mice rallied around their leader, named Jack. The mice had just conducted a census and had found one mouse missing and presumed dead. The group was ready to lead a revolt against the people who shared their building. They were furious that the family had adopted a cat, their greatest enemy, as a pet. However, they didn’t understand the origin of their problem.

Recently, the mice had become too bold, scampering across a room even when the people were in it. Since the family was now aware of the mice, they were determined to get rid of the pesky creatures, for they felt the mice were not only a nuisance, but also a disgrace.

Jack flicked his tail and explained his plan to the waiting mice. “You four will jump on the cat’s back. Then the terrified cat will rush through the house, frightening the people. Before we know it, the humans will all be dispersed.”

The four gasped. One of them asked, “And what will you do, Jack?”

“Oh, I’ll watch and coordinate the attack.” He chuckled.

Well, Jack lost his position as the honored leader. In fact, the four wanted to flog Jack for his stupid plan. When the cat stuck its paw into their hole the next day, the four packed their bags and left. Jack refused to go with them and faced the cat alone. You can guess what came of that!

5. Perhaps you’d prefer an exercise that’s less silly. If so, use the new words in these sentences based on the Bible passage without looking at #2 above.

a.  Gamaliel, an ___________ leader in the Jewish council, gave the other members good advice.

b.  Because Jesus had been crucified, Gamaliel expected the apostles, who had _________ around Jesus, to give up and return to their homes.

c.  He talked about two rebels whose followers were ____________ after their leaders died.

d.  These two rebels, unlike Jesus, had led a _____________ against the government.

e.  One of the rebels had led an uprising during the time of the Roman ____________.

f.  Gamaliel warned that the council would find themselves fighting against God if the _________ of the apostles’ actions was not a human one.

g.  The council members were ___________ because the apostles had not obeyed their orders.

h.  Nevertheless, the apostles were ____________ to obey God.

i.  They were willing to suffer ____________ for the name of Jesus.

j.  Because of Gamaliel’s words, the council had the apostles _________ instead of killing them.

(Answers are at the end.)


Time for a little grammar – Hooray!

When have or get is used in the passive voice to cause something to be done, the phrase doesn’t follow the usual pattern.

Acts 5:40 has an example: “They called in the apostles and had them flogged.” Notice that the past participle flogged is used with had instead of to be flogged (a passive infinitive). Here is the usual pattern with a different verb: “They wanted the apostles to be flogged (by someone).”

Let’s see some examples of how this special pattern with have and get is used in everyday English:

  1. Tom took his dog to the vet to have (or get) its toenails clipped. (incorrect: to be clipped)
  2. I went to a mechanic’s shop to have (or get) my car’s oil changed.
  3. Susan went to the beauty shop to get (or have) her hair styled.

Answers for the Matching Game: 1-C, 2-F, 3-H, 4-G, 5-I, 6-D, 7-A, 8-J, 9-E, 10-B, (If you matched the words in two minutes or less, you can be called an honored vocabulary master!)

Answers for the fill-in-the-blank exercise: a.) honored  b.) rallied  c.) dispersed  d.) revolt  e. census  f.) origin  g.) furious  h.) determined  i.) disgrace  j.) flogged

Want to know more about the apostles’ courage and persistence demonstrated in this chapter? Click here or on the top tab titled Explorations in Acts and look for Acts 5.

Scripture quotations marked (NIV®) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV® Copyright © 1973,1978,1984,2011 by Bilica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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