The Greek that is typically translated in English as “sign” is translated in Huehuetla Tepehua as “thing to be marveled at” (source: Larson 1889, p. 279) and in Mairasi as “big work” (source: Enggavoter 2004).

apostle, apostles

The Greek term that is usually translated as “apostle(s)” in English is (back-) translated in the following ways:

Scot McKnight (in The Second Testament, publ. 2023) translates it into English as commissioner.

In American Sign Language it is translated with a combination of the signs for “following” plus the sign for “authority” to differentiate it from disciple. (Source: RuthAnna Spooner, Ron Lawer)

“apostles” in American Sign Language, source: Deaf Harbor


The Greek that is often translated as “wonder” into English is different from the term that is translated as “miracle” (see miracle) since it “usually involves some unusual phenomena in nature which are a portent of dire woe or extraordinary blessing.” In Huichol these are “awe-inspiring things,” in Yucateco they are “things which show what is coming,” and in Eastern Highland Otomi the expression must be cast into the form of a verb phrase “they will amaze the people.”

together, with one accord

The Greek that is translated as “together” or “with one accord” in English is translated in Yamba and Bulu as “(with) one heart.” (Source: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff. )

In Enlhet it is translated as “their innermosts did not go past each other.” “Innermost” or valhoc is a term that is frequently used in Enlhet to describe a large variety of emotions (for other examples see here). (Source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 24ff. )

Following are some other translations:

complete verse (Acts 5:12)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 5:12:

  • Uma: “The apostles of the Lord Yesus did many surprising signs and powerful things in the eyes of the people. All the believers in the Lord Yesus were of-one-heart gathering at the Porch of Salomo at the House of God.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Many works of power and works of wonder were done by the ones commissioned by Isa among the people of Awrusalam. All the ones who trusted in Isa often gathered there on Sulaiman’s Porch.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And as for the apostles, the signs and miracles which they showed among the people were many. And all of the believers, they were always gathering in that place called the Sheltering Place of King Solomon.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Where-the believers -were-meeting-together was what they called Solomon’s Roofed-Shelter which was in the Temple area. As for those who did not believe, they were afraid to join (them), but the many-people nevertheless acknowledged-with-respect the believers and many men and women were joining/being-added who believed. There were many amazing-things that the apostles were doing that the many-people were seeing.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “As for those apostles, many were signs which were amazing things they were able to do before the eyes of everyone. And all the believers really were harmonious, who gathered every day there at what was referred to as Portico of Solomon.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

Translation commentary on Acts 5:12

Miracles and wonders reflects the same Greek expression which appears in 2.19. A number of languages require a somewhat different expression for “performing miracles,” and in many instances it is useful to employ an active rather than a passive construction, for example, “the apostles caused many miracles and wonders to happen.” In other languages one must “show miracles and wonders” or even “cause them to be seen.”

Some languages require a goal to the term believers, for example, “believers in Jesus.”

Together in a group is the same word which is translated by New English Bible, Phillips, Jerusalem Bible as “by common consent”; for the meaning of this word see 1.14. The emphasis upon unity in the expression together in a group is rendered in some languages as “united just as though one person.” In other languages, “together like a single family.”

Quoted with permission from Newman, Barclay M. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The Acts of the Apostles. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1972. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .