Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 4, 1950

Where Are The Saved?

Daniel I. Hiler, Dilley, Texas

The latter part of the last verse of the second chapter of Acts is variously rendered in different versions of the New Testament. In the King James it reads thus: "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." In the American Standard version the word "them" takes the place of "the church", and a footnote indicates that the original really means "together" rather than "them". At first glance, all this may seem confusing, but let us look at it. Who were the "them" to whom the Lord added people every day? The apostles? Let us see. In that case the first one added would have been added to the apostles—not as an apostle, of course, but as a disciple. Then the second one added would have been added to the apostles plus the first one added; and so on till soon the twelve apostles would have constituted a very small minority in the group. Whether or not any specific reference to the apostles is intended, the Lord was adding people day by day to a group that certainly had his approval. About three thousand were added the first day when those who received Peter's words were baptized (verse 41). Later the number came to be about five thousand men (chapter 4:4) and multiplied exceedingly (chapter 6:7). This group is referred to as "the multitude of them that believed" (Chapter 4:32), "the disciples" (chapter 6:1, 7), and "the church" (chapter 5:11; 8:1); and the apostles were members of it (chapter 8:1.) So, whether the particular version we happen to be reading says "church" or not, it must be evident that the Lord was adding people to the church.

The Lord was adding to the church. But to which, of all the churches that have ever existed, was he adding people? There was only one then, the one that he himself had founded (Matthew 16:18), the one of which he was the head (Ephesians 1:22) and the Savior (chapter 5:23.) But if there had been others then, it is inconceivable that he would have added to one founded and governed by men and without a savior; for men can not save in the sense in which the word is used in Acts 2:47.

Now whom was the Lord adding daily to the church? The King James version says, "such as should be saved." The American Standard says, "those that were saved", and adds the footnote: "Or, were being saved." Every day people were being saved, and as they were saved the Lord added them to his church.

Since the saved were added to the church, who were those that were not added, those on the outside of the church?

We who call ourselves the church of Christ believe and preach the doctrine set forth in Acts 2:47. We believe that when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, repented of our sins, and were baptized in his name (as clearly taught in Acts 2:36-38 that all should do), we were forgiven—saved—and that the Lord added us to his church. We plead with other people that they do as we have done, not because we have done it but because the Lord requires it, so they, too, may be saved and added to his church, —not ours but his.