Biblical People

Biblical People: Sapphira

Sapphira and her husband sell some land and give part of the proceeds to the church. They keep some of it for themselves, which they’re free to do, but they say their donation is the full amount of the sale.

Peter confronts Sapphira’s husband about his duplicity. The man drops dead. There’s no mercy offered, no second chance given, and no investigation conducted. In this case, God’s judgment is swift. It’s final.

 Later, not knowing the fate of her husband, Sapphira shows up, and Peter confronts her as well. Again, there’s no mercy, second chance, or investigation. She, too, falls dead. 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.

Sapphira and her husband conspire to deceive the church, but more significantly, they lie to the Holy Spirit. In their case, lying to the Holy Spirit is punishable by death, an immediate death. 

How might we lie to the Holy Spirit?

[Discover more about Sapphira in Act 5:1–11.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, 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