Previous Verse Next Verse


And they were showing a steadfast strength

Go to footnote number

regarding the teaching of the Apostles and fellowship and the breaking of bread

Go to footnote number

and prayer.


They persisted in giving constant attention to the teaching of those who had heard Jesus teach many times, to gathering together to encourage one another, remembering the sacrifice of Jesus for them, and praying.



The root idea behind this word is “to show persistent strength” in a matter. From there it gained additional usages such as “to persist, to persevere, to pay constant attention to something, to stay fixed in one direction, to be devoted to something, to be steadfastly attentive to something.”


Did “the breaking of bread” refer to eating normal meals together, or to replicating the last Passover meal of Jesus (what we call “the Lord’s supper, communion, or the eucharist”)? I believe it was what we call Communion for two reasons: 1) fellowship is mentioned in this list, and fellowship is the main reason for eating together, and in verse 46 it will mention breaking bread and eating together in a way that I think indicates two separate activities. Therefore, in order to be consistent, it seems best to take the phrase “breaking of bread” as code language for the Lord’s supper.


This verse tells us what their priorities were and what they spent their time doing. We can list these priorities as:

  1. truth – the teaching of truth by those who had been with Jesus, and the learning of truth by the rest,
  2. fellowship – connecting with fellow believers in order to encourage one another (not just to hang out),
  3. Remembering what Jesus had done for them,
  4. Prayer

We do well when we focus on the same set of priorities.


Take note of the fact that the first thing on the list of priorities given here in Acts 2:42 was “the teaching of the Apostles.” They had been with Jesus. They had heard Him say certain things many times in different settings, and sometimes with different words, but the same ideas were communicated often. This body of teaching had to be the foundation on which the new church was built; there could be no other.

I find it very interesting that the New Testament never gives a clear, concise doctrinal statement to keep us all in line. The closest thing we have is a brief summary by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as a matter of first [importance] what I also received: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised up on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to ….” It doesn’t even mention the ascension or the day of Pentecost. That is because Paul used the fact that Jesus appeared to many people as a springboard to begin talking about how Jesus also appeared to him on the road to Damascus.

It seems to us that God should have done more to protect true biblical doctrine. Instead Jesus went back to heaven and left the responsibility of sharing the Good News and protecting its key tenants in the hands of 12 men who had followed Him around and heard Him teach (Matthias was one of the ones who had followed Jesus starting with the baptism of John, but he was not considered among the twelve until he was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot). In most people’s eyes that was not a very solid foundation to build on. People will acknowledge that the coming of the Holy Spirit changed things, but that group of guys still does not look very impressive. Beyond that, neither Jesus, nor His first followers, ever solidified sound doctrine in a concise, clear, easily repeatable fashion.

It appears that, in order to understand what sound doctrine is, one has to know the Old Testament and know the teachings of Jesus. The Jews of that day relied on the Old Testament to help them interpret things like Revelation; they looked back while we look around or look forward. They also based their teaching on that of Jesus. I have come to realize lately that Paul relied on the teachings of Jesus much more than I thought he did. We were given four accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus in order to prove the veracity of the accounts about Him, and to give us a fuller picture of Him and what He taught.

So in God’s mind we have enough. We have the Old Testament (which modern Christians don’t put as much emphasis on as we should), and we have the teachings of Jesus.

One of the so called “problems” with house-churches is that they don’t do much to protect sound doctrine. In fact, with the proliferation of house-churches can come the proliferation of many wild ideas. But that seems to be a risk God was willing to take. Instead of solidifying doctrine and church practice by making His church a well-established organization or institution, He kept it fluid and flexible (but only certain things are fluid and flexible, others are solid and unmovable). God would rather risk some people teaching strange things than establish one way of doing things and then having that become corrupted by man and yet still be seen as the one God-ordained church. Consider how many denominations have started out with a good purpose and pretty good doctrine, but over the years have become something that gets further and further from biblical truth. They have ceased to represent Jesus and are representing themselves. They are now trying to make God in man’s own image. For this reason (and probably others) God was willing to take the risk that is inherent in house-churches – that doctrine must be vigorously defended because there is a tendency for each leader to want to go his own way. Notice how often the writers of the epistles must address heresy or strange ideas. It is a common theme. Once again I say it was a risk God was willing to take.