Acts 5:15

so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. (ESV)

According to Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, the people "did not ascribe healing power to Peter’s shadow".

Then, what was the purpose in the shadow falling upon the sick?


to bring out the sick into the streets, and to put them on cots and mats, that of Peter coming, at least the shadow might envelop some of them.

The shadow of itself is nothing. The idea is that by putting people on the street, as/if Peter walked by he would be in close proximity and that would be near enough for the holiness of God IN Peter to effect healing.

Now many signs and wonders were happening among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13Now none of the rest dared to join them, but the people were magnifying them. v12-13

They thought that just being near to an Apostle was enough for a miracle to happen. The "shadow' is merely an evidence (in their minds) of Peter's physical closeness to them.

The whole narrative is similar to, "if I just touch his cloak" Matt 9:21

Did the cloak have special powers? No, but the wearer did, just as Peter did, but not his 'shadow'.

  • I think of this like the episode of the paralized man at the pool in John 5... I'm inclined to believe that John, by writing about the angel touching the water, was just presenting what the general population believed about it, and not stating a doctrinal fact. Nov 19 '21 at 12:36
  • Yes, that’s an interesting connection…
    – steveowen
    Nov 19 '21 at 18:54

Bible commentary is wonderful, but it is an error to move beyond what the text says.

It says the people wanted at least his shadow to fall. They wanted to get healed. They knew people were getting healed after encountering Peter. They believed his shadow would heal their sick.

  • Up-voted +1. Kan needs attention. 'And if' 'if so much as' 'at the least' 'yet.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 19 '21 at 10:56

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