One Heart and Soul: Acts 4:32
“And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” Acts‬ ‭4‬:‭32‬
The wording of “one heart and soul” was an ancient expression of deep bounding, trust and friendship. The old Hebrew definition of true friendship was “two bodies, one soul.” Even Aristotle when being asked what is a friend, answered; “it is one soul dwelling in two bodies.”
It can be concluded that the quality the ancients longed for in just one true platonic friendship, the early Christians experienced. But in this verse, the ancient value of “two being of one soul” was being stretched to an unfathomable level. It was present in the whole congregation of believers. Luke was treating this as “extraordinary!”
This phenomenon was so present and real among the early believers that Luke placed it in the category of the power of the Holy Spirit through the apostles in the very next verse. (Read Acts 4:32 and 33 together.) The expression of genuine agape love among the early Christians was indeed a validation of the “extraordinary” work of the Holy Spirit among them.
Jesus foretold this phenomenon in John 13:34-35; “34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35) By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.””
Paul also describes the phenomenon of an outpouring of agape love by the Holy Spirit in Romans 5:5; “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” ‭‭ I can biblically make an argument that the spontaneous flow of genuine agape love from the indwelling Holy Spirit became one of the measuring sticks of true conversion in the early church. In fact, it became more important than the manifestation of sign gifts as the New Testament unfolds. This is exemplified by 1 Corinthians 13 being right in the center of Paul’s discussion of spiritual gifts. Agape love become his measuring stick of Christian maturity.
If you want to pursue this concept, take some time and study Philippians 1:9, Colossians 1:4, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:5 and 2 Peter 1:5-7. Add to this list the discussion the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-24 and Paul’s dialogue on agape love in 1 Corinthians 13 and this argument becomes very compelling.
But let’s get back to our context in the book of Acts. If you take time and carefully read Acts 2-4, Luke was very moved by this phenomenon of agape love and fellowship among the early Christians. He described it in Acts 2:42-47 and then returned to it again in Acts 4:32-37. He actually placed it on the level of signs and wonders in the early church. He treated being of “one heart and soul” as being truly miraculous.
If this level of agape love and fellowship is missing in your life or church, you have compelling reason to pray for revival and awakening. For some reason, you are out of step with God and the Holy Spirit.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global