Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Not all Bible stories have happy endings: Ananias and Sapphira in Animation

I was looking for some material on the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira ( Acts 5:1-11) when I ran across this video presentation of the story.

This is probably one of the more bizarre passages in the New Testament. For a book that teaches all about love, forgiveness and acceptance, the execution of this couple for lying about their offering seems out of place. I know of few people who are hoping that God will start striking people dead for lying and I am not even sure that is supposed to be the point of the story.

The video is creative, but I am not sure the moral the narrator offers at the end is much more helpful. He suggests that although there is no happy ending there is a warning. "Take God very seriously, dare I say, deadly serious."

What do you think? What is the point of the Ananias and Sapphira story and how is or can it be relevant to modern readers of the Bible?


  1. Surely it's Luke's usual thing that the rich are going to come to a bad end unless they sell up and give it to the poor. Barnabas and Zaccaeus are OK; the rich man with Lazarus at his gate, Ananias and Sapphira, and the fellow in the story of the Rich Young Man aren't.

  2. The point of Acts is to portray the earliest Christian movement as unified and in terms that were generally admired in the pagan civic context. Communitarianism was widely extolled in antiquity (to a greater degree than it was ever practiced, one imagines). So the point here is that the communitarianism of the group was so seriously practiced that it had divine sanction and even enforcement. Secondarily it shows that the unity of the early church was similarly ordained by God and was not corrupted by wealthy members.