Biblical People

Biblical People: Ananias (1)

Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sell some land and give the proceeds to the church. A lot of Jesus’s more well-to-do followers are doing the same thing.

However, Ananias and Sapphira keep some of the money for themselves. They’re free to do this. But they claim their donation is the full amount of the sale. They’re liars and posers.

Peter confronts Ananias about his duplicity. Ananias drops dead. There’s no mercy offered, no second chance given, and no investigation conducted. In this case, God’s judgment is swift and final. Some of the men in their community bury him.

A few hours later, not knowing the fate of her husband, Sapphira shows up. Peter confronts her as well. Again, there’s no mercy, second chance, or investigation. She, too, falls dead. The men who just buried Ananias then bury her.

A holy fear grips the church.

We seldom suffer immediate punishment for the wrong things we do. This delay could cause us to assume judgment won’t happen. But without Jesus’s saving power, punishment is inevitable.

Ananias and Sapphira agree to deceive Peter and the church of Jesus. More significantly, they lie to the Holy Spirit. In their case, lying to the Holy Spirit is punishable by death—an immediate death. 

We need to guard against doing wrong, especially about lying to the Holy Spirit.

[Discover more about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1–11.]

Read more about other biblical characters in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at